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Tyranid 6th Edition Codex - Warlord Traits, Synapse, and Psychic Powers Review

Updated on January 14, 2014
Tyranid Codex 6th Edition Review
Tyranid Codex 6th Edition Review

Tyranid Introduction

Greetings friends and enemies of the Hive Mind! Murphy80 back with another look at the new Tyranid Codex for 6th Edition Warhammer 40k. So far I've looked at individual units: their stats, options, and tactics. However, this time around I'm going to dive into the army-wide rules that will impact many individual units. If you are looking for some of those individual reviews, look here and at the bottom of the article for more:

Every 6th edition codex has been blessed with its own, characterful Warlord Chart, and the Tyranids are no different. We will look at how these new traits will impact battles, however randomly. I like Warlord Traits, but to be honest, I often forget to even use them!

The new Synapse and Instinctive Behavior rules are something that every Tyranid player will need to use every game. Victory or defeat will depend on managing this special rule! We will take a look at the new rules and how to use them.

Last, but certainly not least, are the new Powers of the Hive Mind, the Tyranid psychic power list. Ready? Let's go!

Tyranid 6th Edition Review
Tyranid 6th Edition Review

Tyranid Warlord Traits

Every army needs a commander, and in Warhammer 40k, this is chosen as your Warlord. The 40k rulebook has three different categories you can choose from and then you roll a die to see what trait you get. As a Tyranid warlord, you may choose to roll on one of the charts in the main rulebook OR you may roll on the new chart below:

Roll that d6!

  1. Nature's Bane: Every movement phase, nominate a set of Woods within 12" of your Warlord. The woods become Carnivorous Jungle for the rest of the game.
  2. Heightened Senses: Warlord and all units within 12" have Night Vision.
  3. Synaptic Lynchpin: Your Warlord's synapse range is increased to 18".
  4. Mind Eater: You gain 2 victory points every time your warlord slays an Independent Character in a challenge!
  5. Digestive Denial: Choose one piece of terrain in your opponent's deployment zone and that terrain has one worse cover save (5+ become a 6+).
  6. Adaptive Biology: As soon as your warlord takes an unsaved wound, it gains Feel No Pain for the rest of the game.

So . . . these are pretty neat, but they are completely random, so they wont influence your choice of army composition or probably even your battle plan. There are some cool tricks, though, for particular traits. The Carnivorous Jungle one is cool because you know that your opponent will likely abandon that terrain piece to avoid taking those kits.

The stand-out to me is the trait where your gain 2 VPs for killing independent characters with your Warlord. That can be a game changer! Expect enemy commanders to be running for the nearest bunker.

Alright, let's move on to the heart of the Tyranid army: Synapse!

Tyranid Deals Here!

Tyranid Codex Review 6th Edition
Tyranid Codex Review 6th Edition

Tyranid Synapse and Instinctive Behavior

So here's the deal. At the start of every one of your turns, you must check to see if your units are within 12" of a Synapse creature. If any unit is outside this range, then it must pass a Leadership test. If it fails the test, then you must roll on an Instinctive Behavior chart, which means you basically lose control of the unit. There are some exception to this rule:

If a unit is engaged in melee, is falling back, gone to ground, or had arrived from Reserves that turn, then it does not need to check. We will cover what happens with Instinctive Behavior in a moment.

First, the good news about Synapse is that as long as units ARE within 12" of a Synapse creature, that unit is Fearless! A unit that is falling back will also automatically Regroup if it starts the turn within Synapse range. So if your entire army starts the turn in Synapse range, then it will be a Fearless wave of creatures charging forward, heedless of casualties, pinning checks, or anything thing else to slow you down.

EDITED: I had some strategy incorrect before, so thank you to commenter Jonny for the correction! Basically, your units are only Fearless while they are within 12" of a synapse creature, so if that synapse creature is killed during your opponent's turn, your other units will lose Fearless and then be susceptible to Morale checks if subsequently targeted. Protect your Synapse, people!

Instinctive Behavior

There are three types of Instinctive Behavior and every unit has its type mentioned in its description: Lurk, Hunt, and Feed. If you have to make a test and fail the Leadership, you must consult the relevant chart and roll 1d6. Basically 1-3, something really bad happens. 4-5 something aggressive happens. With a roll of a 6; there is a little bonus, but the unit still is out of your control. Let's look.

Lurk: 1-3 the unit Falls Back. 4-5 the unit is not slowed by difficult terrain but may only Shoot if it inside a building or area terrain; it cannot assault. 6 is as above, but the unit gains Stealth.

Hunt: 1-3 the unit Goes to Ground (unless Fearless, then skip to the next result). 4-5 the unit MUST shoot at the nearest enemy in the shooting phase; if no targets in LoS then it does nothing! 6 the unit acts as above, but gains Preferred Enemy!

Feed: 1-3 the unit attacks itself, taking a hit for each model at its basic Strength AP-. If the unit only has one model, then it goes to the next result instead. 4-5 the unit cannot shoot or run, but must assault the closest unit. If no assault is possible then it does nothing during the Assault Phase. 6 the unit acts as above but gains the Rage special rule.

Analysis

So it's not as bad as it appears. If you have absolutely no units in Synapse range by round 2 or 3, it's going to be a tough game for you, as you will have lost all tactical control of your army. However, if a unit finds itself out of synapse range here and there, or you lose a synapse creature in your line, those units will basically do what they are designed to do... Weaker creatures find cover and shoot; Shooting units tend to open fire at the enemy, and Stompy units tend to charge forward.

They're bugs. They aren't smart, but they can still hurt.

The biggest thing is control. You want plenty of Synapse Creatures alive so that your army is Fearless, moving towards your objectives, and totally in your tactical control. This is actually very cool because you are the Hive Mind of your army. If you start losing your Synapse creatures, your plans will start falling apart.

Tyranid Codex Review 6th Edition
Tyranid Codex Review 6th Edition

Tyranid Psychic Powers

So one of the biggest complaints that players have had is that they lost access to the Psychic Disciplines in the main rulebook: most notably, Biomancy. I can understand this pain because I run Chaos Daemons primarily (this last few months) and I eat Biomancy for breakfast. Seriously, that power set has kept my units and Daemon Princes alive or killing things in every game I've played.

So we know what the Tyranids are losing, so what are they gaining. Let's check.

Primaris Power:

Dominion - Warp Charge 1 - you increase your Synapse range by 6". This is quite nice as it turns your 12" radius into an 18" radius, which is a pretty big bubble on the tabletop.

Rolled Powers:

  1. Catalyst - blessing that targets the psykers unit AND another unit within 12": both gain Feel No Pain.
  2. The Horror - malediction that targets an enemy unit at 24". That unit must immediately take a Pinning check at a -2 LD.
  3. Onslaught - blessing for one unit within 24", and the unit can Run and Shoot (just like Eldar, yay!)
  4. Paroxysm - a malediction on a unit within 24" and the target suffers a -1d3 to its WS and BS.
  5. Psychic Scream - A nova targeting enemies within 6" . . . those units must roll 2d6 + 2 and then subtract its LD. It suffers wounds equal to the result with no armor or cover saves!
  6. Warp Blast - Warp Charge 2 - two modes for it, a Burst or a Lance. The Burst is 24" Str 5 AP3 Assault 1 Blast. The Lance is 18" Str 10 AP2 Assault 1 Lance.

Analysis

There are some gems here, and some others that will require some strategy. For instance, Onslaught that turns a unit into a Running/Shooting unit. Meh. This can be great when army-wide like the Eldar have, but it will be tricky to use for one unit. Note, you have to Run and THEN shoot, so you can't even move, shoot, and then run back like the Eldar do.

However, if you have lots of Psychics running around, then multiples of this power can be a multiplier! The one that reduces enemy WS and BS by 1d3? Nice . . . Space Marines can now hit on 5's or 6's! Hit a devastator squad with that and they will be likely useless for a turn.

I want to note that the Warp Blast is a pretty nasty Strength 10 Lance. This will eat through AV 14 like it's nothing.

I see these powers as helpful but hard to build an army around. The Eldar do it, but these aren't Eldar. You will be buffing units, debuffing others, and blasting things. We will have to look at the individual psyker units and see how they fit in. For a future review!

New Tyranid Rules

What do you think about the feel of the new Tyranids?

See results

Conclusion

That's about it! These rules are just a glance at how things will work, but they will not give us a lot of strategy or tactics yet. We really need to see these rules in the context of both individual units, and combinations of units. Don't hate on an army until you play it or play against it . . . though on paper, these rules aren't awe inspiring like some other armies we've seen this year.

Check back soon for some more Tyranid reviews coming up soon. In the mean time, check out my review of these units and some others. Take the poll on the right before you leap at the next article, will you?

If bugs aren't your thing, then how about some power armor? We've got something for everyone here in 40k!

Thanks for reading! Leave a comment below and I'll get back to you! Readers always give great insight and I'm curious what people think about the changes to Synapse and the new Psychic Powers! Alright for now; Murphy Out!

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    • SomeEldarGuy profile image

      Alex 3 years ago

      Adaptive Biology, FNP kicks in the turn AFTER the wound is taken, very important clause

    • SomeEldarGuy profile image

      Alex 3 years ago

      Digestive Denial, only a piece of cover the opponent HASN'T PAID FOR, so no nerfing Aegis Defence lines.

    • SomeEldarGuy profile image

      Alex 3 years ago

      I can see promise with Swarmlord/Dominion set, as he automatically starts with the Warlord Trait Synaptic Lynchpin, meaning upon activating Dominion, his synapse range is a terrifying 24", in fact, there's a chance of a 30" synapse range with a 'Tyrant with Norn Crown (artefact with increases synapse by 6"), Synaptic Lynchpin (unfortunately only 1 in 6 chance of getting this) and dominion. However the Swarmlord cannot make use of the 2VP per challenge trait as he already comes pre-packed with SL, but a Bonesword 'Tyrant will make use of that all the same, as well... It IS a monstrous creature with ridiculous stats and an aggressive streak that would make Khorne do a double take.

    • profile image

      Jonny 3 years ago

      Alas murphy, the synapse creature rule doesn't quite work as you say. At the start of the turn you check to see if any creatures are in synapse range for the purpose of determining instinctive behaviour, but this does not impart fearless on a unit for the rest if the turn.

      If yiu read the synapse creature rule it makes no differentiation regarding beginning of the turn, or not. Indeed it states that any creature within 12 inches of a synapse creature will have fearless, and hence in your example, if synapse creatures are killed, then none synapse creatures in range loose fearless immediately.

      This may seem worse, but consider also that any unit that comes under synapse range will instantly become fearless. What this means for eaxmple, that if you infiltrate stealers or lictors onto area terrain, and they get shot at, you can go to ground with them. But the moment a synapse creature comes into range, they become fearless, and are no longer pinned, meaning they can act normally from that point. So, one tactic is this. Infiltrate stealers and or lictors into area terrain (ruins would be great), and if targeted go to ground getting +2 to their cover save. Then swing by with a synapse creature (flying tyrant perhaps) and they can then act normally in your turn.

      Also, note that a unit that was not in synapse range at the start of the turn, but in close combat, can obtain fearless by moving a synapse creature into range.

      Another thing of note is that it states that a if a unit that is falling back finds itself under synapse range BEFORE it moves, then it will regroup automatically. Note it doesn't say at the start of the turn like it says for instinctive behaviour, rather just before the falling back unit moves. There is no prerequisite for when that unit has to move in the movement phase, only that it must move, you have the opportunity to move synapse creatures into range., before you must move the falling back unit.

      So overall our synapse creatures are valuable targets, and must somehow be protected, especially warriors who can be easily killed with krak equivalents. So run them behind another unit, to get a cover save from them, perhaps with a venomthrope to boost the save.

    • SomeEldarGuy profile image

      Alex 3 years ago

      ^ very astute. I use most of those tricks normally. Flying Tyrants are still the best Synapse we have, they've even gotten better in some terms, what with being able to purchase tail weapons.

    • murphy80 profile image
      Author

      Murphy 3 years ago from Florida

      Correct. I guess I wasn't clear on this . . . dang, writing an article while trying to watch Downton Abbey in the background! The show's become quite popular over here. No spoilers, please!

    • murphy80 profile image
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      Murphy 3 years ago from Florida

      Correct again. Thanks for clarifying! I guess I wasn't thinking evil enough to include that clause for other players :)

    • murphy80 profile image
      Author

      Murphy 3 years ago from Florida

      Jonny, I am embarrassed to say that you are correct! I thought I'd found a clever trick, but I had mainly referenced the Instinctive Behavior rule for that section. Synapse does grant Fearless, but only while the synapse creature is alive! That is a huge difference and now I must amend the article.

      Thanks a million, though, because I'd rather print a correction than have it wrong for weeks or months on end!

    • SomeEldarGuy profile image

      Alex 3 years ago

      I get a lot of practice with 'thinking evil' from who else, the Eldar. For instance, Deathleaper is actually more deadly out of combat than in it, if the opponent has a prominent Pskyer, use the -d3Ld on it, then move a synapse creature to it! Suddenly that's -3+d3Ld to a psyker, that could literally be a Ld4 Eldrad Ulthran, Ahriman, and although I hadn't thought about it, Ld4 Swarmlord...

    • murphy80 profile image
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      Murphy 3 years ago from Florida

      Gosh, that would be a devastating combo! Of course, you are using up a valuable HQ slot to pull that trick. It might be worth it, though! A Deathleaper/Flyrant build might actually be a more aggressive build than a flyrant/flyrant...

    • SomeEldarGuy profile image

      Alex 3 years ago

      it depends on game sizes, and definitely on the level of psykers they have, I'd love to see this in apocalypse... Who knew there was someone who could out-wit Eldrad Ulthran?... Just as planned...

    • Mauler profile image

      Matt 3 years ago from UK

      A lot of people online have absolutely panned Nature's Bane saying that it is useless as it is highly situational. Well a fair few battlefields have areas of wooded terrain and the Bane applies to woods, forest or jungle (unlike just jungle terrain as the first rumours stated).

      Got hostiles in cover? Woodland cover? This is a great way to dislodge them without having to assault into it: turning the comfy wooded copse into a mess of OM NOM NOM TREES means that any unit within gets slapped with D3 S5 AP- hits at the beginning of their shooting phase, automatically. "That's no good, those guys have a movement phase to get out before they get nommed" I see you think and that's OK, perfect even, because for light infantry you've just denied them a whole piece of area terrain. T3 & T4 infantry with a naff save will not ant to be anywhere near that - Kroot are a prime example, bonus for them being in woodland, low toughness & rubbish save. Pathfinders - also going to be moving and there goes their BS3 Markerlight fire. It may not be a lot of wounds - 3 at the most - but that can be enough to break a Pathfinder team as it's likely to be over 25%.

      But then what warlord train isn't 'situational'? Keep up the good work, Murph! :]

    • SomeEldarGuy profile image

      Alex 3 years ago

      Flyrants again make the most of this, as they can utilize their movement to affect enemy deployment zone terrain, also, this can be used to deter attempts on your deployment zone objectives, as they have the choice of going through the jungle or staying in the open... Not terrible, but the randomness of the list makes it hard to plan for.

    • murphy80 profile image
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      Murphy 3 years ago from Florida

      Thanks for the reads and comments, guys.

    • profile image

      (classified) 3 years ago from (classified)

      Thanks for the Hub! What do you think on me taking a Flyrant with 2 pairs of Scything Talons, Adrenal Glands, and the Ymgarl Factor bio-artifact?

    • SomeEldarGuy profile image

      Alex 3 years ago

      2 Scytal's gets an extra attack for you, plus you already ignore armour as an MC, Yrmgarl gets you an extra strength for Vector Strike come to think of it as well... Adrenal glands get you a reroll for charge distances which is all important. A nice Flyrant indeed! I might consider different options for weapons however, 2 pairs of scytals... I dunno, your call.

    • profile image

      (classified) 3 years ago from (classified)

      I just chose Scything Talons because I want to keep the points low (like 265), but still thanks for the info! Didn't remember Ymgarl affects Vector Strike.

    • SomeEldarGuy profile image

      Alex 3 years ago

      no problem, but remember, this bad boy's gonna take a chunk out of your points no matter what, you can afford to go the whole mile. Or you can do the opposite and downgrade everything, because it's going to draw a lot of fire either way, so you cap your losses.

    • SomeEldarGuy profile image

      Alex 3 years ago

      no problem, but remember, this bad boy's gonna take a chunk out of your points no matter what, you can afford to go the whole mile. Or you can do the opposite and downgrade everything, because it's going to draw a lot of fire either way, so you cap your losses.

    • murphy80 profile image
      Author

      Murphy 3 years ago from Florida

      A lot of people on the internet are buying their Flyrants with dual heavy venom cannons. You can replace both pairs of sything talons with heavy venom cannons, and as a monstrous creature you can fire two weapons in the Shooting Phase. This gives your Flyrant two blast markers every turn that are Str 9 AP 4.

      I think the idea of this build is that it keeps your Flyrant in the air, as opposed to landing and getting shot by everything near by. If you equip the Flyrant for melee (which he is pretty great at!) then you are inviting your opponent to shoot everything at him when he lands and gets caught in the open.

      I think a melee oriented Flyrant would still be great, as it will definitely kill a fair amount of models, but consider this. You land and charge a group of space marines. Their sergeant issues a challenge that you now have to accept b/c your hive tyrant is a character and may be the only one in the combat. You kill the sergeant. The space marines attempt to flee and, since your initiative is only 1 higher, they stand a great chance of escaping. Now it's HIS turn and he shoots the crap out of your Flyrant that is now standing around instead of Swooping through the air.

      Both builds have their advantages, of course. Try it out, but I suggest magnets to equip any arms :)

    • SomeEldarGuy profile image

      Alex 3 years ago

      that's why you charge the special characters first if possible, WS9 S6 (7 with Yrmgarl) ignoring armour, IDing on 6's to wound if you pick up boneswords, and with a nice amount of attacks, you're taking your points back very quickly with a few character kills.

    • profile image

      (classified) 3 years ago from (classified)

      Just remember that in the current codex, the tyrant's WS is now 8, unless I'm mistaken.

    • SomeEldarGuy profile image

      Alex 3 years ago

      my mistake, thinking of the Swarmlord.

    • profile image

      (classified) 3 years ago from (classified)

      And also I remembered you can't increase the Flyrant's strength in Vector Strike because the Ymgarl Factor only allows you to shapeshift during the Assualt phase, and it lasts until the end of the phase.

    • murphy80 profile image
      Author

      Murphy 3 years ago from Florida

      Good point, too. There are so many caveats to 40k rules now that I quite often get it wrong unless I play with the same units for several games in a row. It's a learning process :) You don't want to know how many times I've forgotten to roll on the Winds of Chaos table with my Daemons.

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