Monday, March 7, 2011

Email: 1k List Advice

From Connor:

Hey, I've been enjoying your blog for some time now and I wanted to ask your opinion on a list I am making. In about two months my LGS has a 1,000 pt tourney coming up. I am new (ish) to tyranids, only having played for a month or so, and nothing at a competitive level. Reguardless I am looking to do well and I was hoping you could help with my list. Well, here it goes:


   Hive Guard x2
   Hive Guard x2
   Termagaunts x10
   Termagaunts x10
   Tervigon (TS, AG, Catalyst)
   Tervigon (TS, AG, Catalyst)

   Total: 690

Remaining: 310

Note the empty HQ could be taken by one of the tervigons if a HQ is not added.

Looking at my army now I see Hive Guard cleaning up most of the transport armor.
Gaunts bubble wrapping my tervigons to counter charge any big nasties (looking at those Daemon Princes / Avatars).

This leaves me with three fears, the first is lack of killing power... Hive guard might get two wounds per turn, termagaunts... 1-5 on little stuff, and maybe 2 wounds per turn per tervigon? On one squad of bikers, it will take the entire army two turns to put down enough wounds to take a unit! My second fear is the speed of Tervigons + 24" range of Hive Guard. The threat range of this list is seriously tiny. Finally a Land Raider Redeemer requires one of the tervigons to pop (and they aren't reliable at that).

So a quick recap:
low wounds / turn
small threat range
big armor (land raiders)

Keeping the 310 pt cap in mind this is what I've come up with.

1. Prime + 5 Warriors (Scything Talons, Deathspitter, Toxin Sacs) 295 pts - Give each Tervigon Scything Talons 305 pts
2. Flyrant (2x Twin Linked Devourers, Old Adversary, Wings) 285 pts - Not sure what to do with the 25 pts (TS, AG?) 305 pts
3. Tyrant (2x Twin Linked Devourers, Old Adversary, Regeneration) Tyrant Guard (Lashwhip) 315 pts
4. Trygon Prime (Toxin Sacs, Adrenal Glands) 260 pts - Again not sure about the extra points. devilgaunts?
5. Genestealers x18 (Toxin Sacs)  306 pts

1&3 Will lay out the damage and will stick with a the group.

2,4&5 All three of these can run separate of the army and each greatly increases the threat range.

Comments/ Concerns/ Thoughts?

Theory hammer has me looking at the warriors OR foot slogging tyrant for versatility and keeping the army balanced. At the same time I wouldn't be opposed to considering other suggestions.

Thanks for your time,
Tyrant Tactics

Connor P.


Your core list is solid.  Very similar to my foundation as well as around the internet.  You've done well to assess your own weaknesses and try to plan for various situations and I think you're getting close to a conclusion that we all encounter at some point.

The smaller the point levels, the harder it is to build a balanced list with the tools to truly handly "all comers".  1k points is a good example of this.  You have less points to build with, but the possibility of facing any specific units still exists.  For example, if your opponent brings 15 thunderwolves in 1k, they won't have much else but create a list that can roll over some others without breaking a sweat.  What happens at lower point levels is you head toward rock/paper/scissor lists and gimmick lists that are built to exploit unprepared opponents.

So, while your core is solid, you begin worrying about land raiders (god forbid 2 at 1k), deathstars, and specialist units.  With tervigons, gants, and hive guard, you have good scoring, good anti-transport, and decent anti-list infantry, but are still lacking in a way to deal with heavy armor, heavy infantry, and specialist units.  You could build in a contingency to deal with 15 thunderwolves or 2 land raiders, but what if you face off against 15 missile long fangs instead?  At 1k points, you can't build in the tools to handle every situation.  What you can do is focus more on units that serve multiple purposes and support each other.

Let me try to illustrate.  Keep in mind this is just my opinion and others may disagree.

Let's start with dual tervigons.  They make it nearly impossible to lose objective games, but aren't very killy or reliable for anything except catalyst.  You have 1/2 of your 1k army invested in them and minimum gant squads are easily neutralized outside of 6" or by focusing the tervigons down.  Two units of hive guard are a decent counter to av12 and under transports and dreads, but multiple av13's or higher will give you heartburn.

Here's a sample 1k list and a breakdown:

Tervigon (HQ) adrenal glands, catalyst, toxin sacs
Hive Guard x2
Hive Guard x2
Genestealers x20 + toxin sacs
Termagants x11
Trygon + adrenal glands

Let's see here.  The tervigon is HQ now so it can't score, but it can still spawn scoring units.  This takes some pressure off it in objective games IMO.  Start the trygon on the table and run it as fast as possible and your opponent will ignore the tervigon.  The trygon can handle land raiders... any vehicle and speed really as well as most infantry.  I'm not a fan of them at 2k, but at 1k they're very good.  Start the genestealers on the table as close as you can to your opponent and now they're really ignoring your tervigon and hive guard.  Between the trygon and genestealers, you can now handle just about any assault threat if you play smart.  Give either catalyst and they're also quite resilient.

One synapse creature is your weakness, but everything except the termagants can still rake in kills on instinctive behavior.  The tervigon should have cover and catalyst if you wish, but I don't see it being a huge weakness.  Trust me, 20 infiltrated genestealers and a trygon rushing up the middle will force your opponent to leave the tervigon alone.

Anyways, that's how I would do it.  Let me know what you end up with and how it runs at the tournament.  Get some practice games in also.  Knowing how to deploy, move, and choose targets in the right order are just as important as bringing the right units.


  1. How does a Trygon work without synapse? Fleeting each turn has me fearing he will instinctive behavior onto a sniper/scout squad if I don't keep him near the Terv. Which wouldn't be the worst thing unless it allows my opponent to move a tank out of the way...

    Do I just run them along with the Trygon 12" in front of the Terv?

  2. Yes, pretty much.

    The beauty of 20 genestealers is you can usually deploy them with 50% in cover, some stretching back into synapse, and still cast a wide enough net to threaten multiple fronts all at the same time with max 2" coherency.

    There's an example of that here:

    How this helps the trygon is you can sweep away less appetizing units. Land raiders are immune to genestealers, but their contents are not. Nobody is going to bring a land raider just for fire support at 1k, so they're going to want to ram it down your throat to deliver the unit inside. However, nothing that comes out will be able to handle all those stealers. So you've forced them to keep a 250+pt vehicle and 200+pt unit on the safe side of the genestealers nullifying half of their 1k army. Or they can tank shock through your big unit which is bringing the land raider right towards your trygon.

    Where I'm going with this is yes, you want to keep the trygon within 12" of the tervigon at least for the first 3 turns. The same goes for at least one model in the genestealer unit. Synapse range is also catalyst range and you need the flexibility and survivability.

    I've only been playing Nids for 12 months now, but one conclusion I reach time and time again is we need to play our army in tight cohesion. I reinforce this here:

    It's unlikely given terrain and run rolls that your trygon will outrun the tervigon early on. It's also the best unit to give cover to the tervigon so it should be riding right up it's rear end. If you allow it to happen, any smart opponent will lure the trygon away with a sacrificial unit. Even still, the trygon only has about 50% chance to fail the IB roll and you still have the option of dominion if he gets away from you.

    Bottom line... at 1k and in the context of this list's function... don't worry about it!

  3. This was a very cool article and request. I have been watching Tyranid Batreps and reading a ton but all the lists used begin at 1500 points and increase from there. It was a nice change to see the smaller lists discussed a bit. I know most tournaments and games aren't played this low but still nice to see it regardless.

    My beginning Nids army was built with 1500 points in mind and using two tervigons. I have since added quite a few other units but still haven't finished enough to get any games in yet. But while I am building and thinking I am still reading articles like this to help me think of other things to try! ;)

  4. I am going to post a comment when I get home and get access to army builder.

    I think you should change some stuff around possibly drop 1 termagant quad and maybe even drop 1 tervigon.

    we will see.

    I have a 750 point list that is pretty hard to take down it seems.

    I think you could build off of that and make something rather effective.

    also at the low points cost i think Zoans are the way to go for AT AV 14


  5. Ok I am back.

    I modified my 750 point list and this is what I came up with.
    Hive Tyrant - TL Dev w/ Brain Leech worms, LW + BS, Armored Shell, Old Adversary, Leech Essence, Paroxysm
    Tyrant Guard - Boneswords

    HiveGuard x2
    Zoanthropes x2

    Tervigon - Scything Talons, AG + TS, Cluster Spines, Catalyst

    Termagants x10

    Genestealers x9

    Total: (996)

    This is somewhat a Castle formation. Gants screen Tyrant Squad & Hive guard that are right behind them and providing cover.

    Then Tervigon /Zoans behind them as you are moving up.

    Any land raiders anywhere near 18" of your front line is going to have to worry from the Zoans. Transports can get shot at by the tyrant Squad (as he has TL assault 6 str 6), the Hive Guard, and Zoans.

    Stealers you can outflank for objectives, infiltrate to put pressure on certain units, or possibly place them just behind a little cover waiting for FNP, or behind the gants that screen the front just enough to get cover.

    However the Tyrant squad drops initiative to 1 with the tyrants large base, The unit has 13 invunerable attacks on the assault, Rerolls Failed hits, can cause instant death.

    With the tervigon allow him to run up close behind the Tyrant and Spawn gaunts to Stay in the front or sides and back to make sure no one can get the assault on your large units and keep them there so your Large guys get to pretty much guarantee their assault.

    With the Tyrant also the beauty of having just the 1 gun is that MC's since getting to shoot 2 guns can use 1 of their psychic shooting attacks a turn to either Drop WS/BS of something you are about to have gaunts assault or get assaulted by. Or leech essence if you by chance take some wounds.

    OR you could drop Armored shell and bump your genestealer unit up to 12 models.

    Total: (998)



  6. I've used tyrant deathstars in 1850-2000pt games and it is quite resilient and strong in CC. The problem I experienced the most is lack of speed. At 400pts, it's almost half of a 1k list, doesn't have move-through-cover, and can't deploy in DoW as the tyrant and guard count as 2 units.

    Zoans are good against av14, but only if your opponent allows you to walk into range. It's not hard to focus down 2 zoans in turn 1-2. Also, a land raider can move 12", dump out terminators 2", and they can assault 6". That means a MEQ player with a good eye for ranges can still get their hammernators stuck in without losing their LR.

    I'm not saying the list can't or won't work, but I have played with big tyrant units and foot zoans and they just don't make the cut for me anymore in many situations.

  7. What keeps it from deploying in DoW?

    It is a tyant unit. 1 HQ slot. It counts as 1 HQ for all purposes

    As for the Zoans.. I haven't much experience with them personally.

    I prefer tyrannofex.. but at 1k points they are really expensive.

    -Trygons have the same effect as Zoans in every situation, they are march and can get shot or they Deepstrike and can get focused down in 1-2 turns.

    Trygons maybe worth trying... but they can get blown out of the sky just as easily especially if you are using them as tank poppers from deepstrike.

    The method of the Castle is you deploy as forward as possible and keep moving if necessary.

    I will put together another 1k list that is high mobility but has some AT features. Give me a little time.


  8. Also just a side note. If termies come storming in and assault your gants on the front line... they are more then welcome to. You have them setup so your cannot get assaulted initially except on the dudes that are there to die to stop the main assault. Who also get counter attack, and poisoned weapons.

    Counterassault is in place from your tyrant squad.

  9. Another note about big stealers is you just tank shock them. They are either going to Run or just avoid the LR by moving 7 inches.

    If your Genestealers don't break and run due to being fearless (synapse) then they are already in a bad position as the LR is too close your army with nothing in the backfield that is a threat.

    If they are further away and don't break then it will run past them and just ignore them until it takes out what it needs.

    It can move 7" back and forth with a basic marine squad and hold an objective and most things in melee are going to never break it.

    If you are worried about AV 14 then the effective way is to have a combination of shooting/melee to take out the vehicle. (which is hard to reliably do)

    However my list above had some shooting, melee that both threaten with my castle formation. Also has strong survivability & offense.

    20 genestealers w/ FnP are powerful
    so is a Tyrant w/ guard unit with FNP and bonesword and also drop paroxysm/initiative.

    -With that unit if you are expecting to get assaulted then leave the tyrant in the front and daisy chain the guard behind him so any assaults even if tactical assaults as per the genestealer tactic will drop their initiative to 1 for the models that are base to base allowing you to then swing first almost everytime.

    You may run into a Landraider at 1k points... however i would be more worried about running into a razorback spam list shooting I think they are called "Assault Cannons" Heavy 4

    1k points I could easily see 4-5 rhino/razorbacks on the field if not a couple of more holding minimally sized units.

    Landraiders I would assume as being fewer. However with 1k points it is hard to prepare for everything effectively.

    Thoughts Bro?

  10. Compelling points, but I stand by my initial stance. Some of that could just be personal preference. Let me try to explain better.

    1. A hive tyrant with tyrant guard are indeed 2 units for the purpose of DoW. The tyrant may choose to join the unit becoming in effect an un-targetable character, but he doesn't have to. The unit counts as 2 HQ's even though guard don't take up a FoC slot, and yeild 2 KP if they are both killed. As such, you can't deploy them both together in DoW. Since guard don't have move-through-cover, the tyrant loses it when they're joined. That combined with lack of fleet makes the unit slower than just about everything in the codex. The DoW situation only makes the speed issue worse. In the list you posted, 40% of the list is invested in that unit which needs to attain close combat to sway the battle enough to be worth the investment. Psychic powers are nice support but many armies pack countermeasures.

    2. 9 naked genestealers in your list can't cause much disruption. Tables don't fill up in 1k games. Less models means more space and an easier time deploying centrally to nullify the value of outflanking. Running up the middle is stopped easily; a standard tac squad and rhino can reliably roll up, dump out, rapid fire, and shrug off the remainder in assault. Genestealers reach a critical mass when you run them in 20's. They can threaten multiple units with a viable threat net covering 2/3 of the table width when strung out and taking fleet into account.

    3. The list actually lacks target priority synergy. All the anti-infantry focus goes into your 9 genestealers during the first turns. The tyrant unit can be kited and all the shooting is short ranged so all heavy weapon shots go into the zoans. It plays defensively well as an onion/castle formation with several layers, but that's only if your opponent acutally wants to get close to you. This means you excel against assaulty opponents which should be easy for us already, we need to be able to handle shooty mechanized opponents.

    4. Part of our ultimate success needs to come from winning mental battles. We do this by taking control of situations, making target priority decisions difficult, and disrupting our opponent's battle plan. By playing a slow list with short range shooting, you make several of those decisions much easier for your opponent and give more control of the game to them. That's another benefit of bumping up genestealers to 20. With 9, an experienced opponent knows how to counter them and come out on top - 10 tac marines. With 20, they will usually undercommit ensuring your genestealers break through and create disruption and casualties. If they overcommit (hard to do at 1k), they're ignoring the rest of your army for 2 turns thus facilitating the arrival of the trygon and hive guard attaining central control and firing positions.

    Table control does matter, as does acting over reacting. By infiltrating 20 genestealers, you begin the game with table control and the trygon moves up fast to mantain that backed up by the hive guard. The only thing your opponent can do is retreat until the genestealers are handled. Even with a tank shock, the can only move a portion of a very large unit.

    Think of the varying armies we face in a tournament or our gaming club like a graph of a sound wave. There are high points that represent an extreme unit or army type like elite/deathstar builds. There are low dips at the other end of the spectrum such as horde or mech spam. The baseline are balanced lists that can assault, shoot, and maneuver. Now assign quantities to the high and low points like mephiston or a LR crusader with a massive terminator deathstar inside. What about 4 razorbacks or 90 orks at 1k? Now, objectively apply your army list and tactics and assess if you can handle those extreme builds.

  11. Yes, a tyrant can get off a paroxysm and 13 attacks with rerolls on the charge, but you aren't being realistic. Most assault specialist units have either fleet, move-through-cover, a transport, or psychic defense so assuming you'll get off your power and an assault is naive. It may work against unprepared opponents, but play the same person 10 times and they will know how to avoid that scenario since the unit is so slow.

    That's the thinking behind the list I posted. It can handle deathstars, hordes, and mech spam in the 1k environment. The list has mobility, suppression fire, multiple assault units, and resilient scoring and contesting units.

    That's about all the energy I can commit to theory hammer. Once reason I focus so much on batreps is they are the practical application of my theories in a real environment. If anyone would like to send me batreps and pics at 1k, I'll gladly post them and open up the debate as it's a bracket I never play.

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  14. I agree with a lot of your points Sir.

    I do understand quite a lot of it already.

    At 1k points is a bit rough for us. Especially on a 4 x 6

    The 750 points I have is actually based on a small local tourney in which they are running games on 4 x 4.

    I am going to do some research into the Hive tyrant/ Tyrant guard in DoW.

    -Found the answers I needed about this. I didn't actually know that. I have to correct that then.

    Genestealers can actually be effective in units of 5. They however require different strategy and finesse. That however isn't what you are using for the threat. They are opportunistic.

    I hope the gent looking for advise has been able to take atleast something away the post and our comments. There is a lot of information here.


  15. I'd like to thank Lackeylsk and hyv3 for holding a commentary that I couldn't participate in and expanding on some units strengths and weaknesses.