Sunday, March 13, 2011

Emails: Swarmlord

I received two swarmlord based emails this week so I thought I would combine them.

From Soon-J:
     Soon_j here. I was wondering if you could give me some help in my list


2xTyrant Guard

2x hive guard

1x Doom of Malan'tai
2x Zoathrope
Mycetic spore

10x Genestealers
  10x toxin sacs

10x Genestealers
  10x toxin sacs

10x Genestealers
 10x toxin savs

3x Tyranid Warrior
 2 pair boneswords
 1 bonesword with lash

1x Tervigon
20 Devil Gaunts

Heavy Support
1x Trygon Prime

Thats basically my list.
Its a Annihilation match

And from Emilio:
hey there man,

i have a question about the swarmlord, what sort of list should i build?
his is the list that i have built so far and i think it can sort of work. but something in the list is not right to me.

 swarm lord
 Tyrant Guard wip x 2

 Hive Guard x 2
 Zoanthrop  x 2
 Mycetic Spore 1

 Termagant x 10
 Termagant Dev x 10
  genstilers toxin x 23

Fast Attack 0
 Raveners rend claws x 5

Heavy Support
Trygon Prime regen x 1
Bio war x 2


the cap is 1750 for us over here in sweden. can you plz give me some feed back on what i can make better and so on.
best regards muffin

I've actually been pipe-dreaming up swarmlord based lists to play around with once I knock out my NOVA/ATC lists and get them painted up.  My basic take on the swarmlord is this:

His main strength at the end of the day is more about support than killyness.  +1 to reserves and reroll outflank results.  18" synapse and bestowable PE, FC, and AS USR's.  Two psychic shooting attacks per turn.  The invuln and ID in CC are just icing on the cake.  The more of these abilities you can utilize, the better you're realizing his potential.  Therefore, you'll want to build a list specifically tailored to his powers.  If you are trying to throw him into a non-tailored list, you're better off with a vanilla tyrant.

So, to make all those things happen, you need to keep him alive as long as possible.  That means a deathstar loadout IMO.  Here's two lists I think could work.  Bear in mind the swarmlord and incorporated lists are pretty advanced as far as synergy and finesse, so not for the weak of heart.

List #1 - Swarmlord Stealer Shock
Tyrant Guard x3 + whips
Tyranid Prime + regen
Ymgarls x5
Ymgarls x5
Ymgarls x5
Genestealers x5 + broodlord, scytals
Genestealers x5 + broodlord, scytals
Genestealers x5 + broodlord, scytals
Genestealers x5 + broodlord, scytals
Genestealers x6
Tyrannofex + cannon
Tyrannofex + cannon

Ok, let's start at the beginning.  You have 5 units of genestealers to outflank and force your opponent to play in the middle.  If they don't, swarmlord gives you outflank reroll and somewhere near 79% chance you can bring in the genestealers in where you need them most.  3 units of ymgarls now have a much easier time chewing into you opponent who has bunched up.  Prime joins the swarmlord and guard to give the unit more ablative wounds against shooting, so put everything on him.  That's why he only has regen, the swarmlord and guard will be enough CC killyness if they get to assault.  So now your opponent is bunched up in the middle to avoid table edges and now you can run the swarmlord deathstar right up the middle.  The tyrannos stand next to the swarmlord and the retinue follows the swarmord behind the tyrannos to gain cover.  Basically everything that starts on the table is t6 and has 2+ or 4+ cover and 3 wound allocation pools.  Against missiles, that deathstar has 14 wounds or 28 in cover.  That's 32 hits needed and at bs4, 48 fired.  Even the most rediculous wolf or dark eldar list will need 2-3 turns to accomplish this in a void.  In reality, they also need LoS, range, and no disruption which is where the genestealers come in.  In effect, the deathstar will be nearly immortal to anything but the most optimized list under the best generals.

So, turn 2 arrives and the swarmlord is near midfield and hopefully 2 units of ymgarls and 2-3 units of genestealers show up.  I'm not normally a fan of small units or MSU style lists for tyranids, but I feel in reserve lists it helps mitigate coming in piecemeal.  Hopefully, you were able to dormant the ymgarls near center so the swarmlord can give them preferred enemy or furious charge.  The broodlords give small units a real threat and two ablative wounds.  You can bring them in all on the same side and vacinity with the swarmlord and pop auras of despair which stack.  The tyranos give you an answer to av14 at range.  All 8 units of genestealers rend.  Ymgarls can morph to str5 and take furious charge for str6, the same for broodlord.  So everything in the army can do a number on rear armor 10 and even have a chance against front armor 12.  Multiple broodlords also syngergize as aura of despair lowers leadership and hypnotize is a leadership roll-off.

Now, genestealers are running amok turn 2-3 either ambushing units that the tyrannos disembarked, or swarming vehicles with rending attacks.  If your opponent has been shooting the deathstar, chances are you're hitting vehicles auto or 4+.  If they're moving fast to mitigate the genestealer arrival, your deathstar is taking less fire and in better shape.  Chances are your tfexes have at least stunned, immob'd or wrecked something to give you easy targets.  Your opponent is forced to react to all the units that just arrived and buy time for the deathstar and tfex to arrive at midboard.  Then, you have the deathstar to clean up and CC specialist units and large blasts and flamer templates from the tfex for light infantry.  Don't forget your tfexes also have 4 attacks (on the charge, good thing all its shooting weapons are assault) at str6 with 2+ armor, can still tie up tac squads and flip tanks.  The units that arrive turns 4-5 default to scoring and contesting or the easy killpoints.

List 2 - Swarmlord's Circus
Tyrant Guard x3 + whips
Tyranid Prime
Hive Guard x3
Hive Guard x3
Genestealers x20 + toxins
Termagants x10
Tervigon + ts, ag, catalyst
Gargoyles x30 + ts, ag
Raveners x6 + rending

This list runs as a layered threat foot list.  The trick is in the big units and buff bubbles.  Deploy them as strung out as possible so each unit has one model in spore cloud range.  String the genestealers out during infiltration so one is in spore cloud range and stretch to within 12"/18" of enemies.  If you can get a first turn assault, cool.  Give them preferred enemy and FnP.  Fly up the gargoyles behind the genestealers and give them preferred enemy and FnP next.  Remember to always string them into synapse as fearless is important.  While your opponent is figuringout how to deal with 20 stealers and 30 gargoyles, your raveners have attained position and jump in the fray.  Again, five them furious charge and FnP from your support units.  By turns 2-3, all 3 units should be causing hell and now the swarmlord can add paroxysm to the mix.  You may have many genestealers, gargoyles, or raveners left.  Use the tervigon and swarmlord to support them.  FnP, preferred enemy, and paroxysm are very strong when used in conjunction.  The list is weak against av14, but play smart and you'll be ok.  Genestealers and raveners with furious charge can glance av14, as can hive guard.

To Soon_J and Emilio ~ I hope some of these ideas make sense for your swarmlord lists.  Also Soon_J, warriors need to be equipped the same so all boneswords or all bs/lw.  If you want to stay close to your original list, I would drop the trygon and make it 2x20 genestealers instead of 3x10.  Also, I would drop the warriors and add another tervigon.  The swarmlord and 40 genestealers will handle any CC you'll face.  Emilio, I would also drop the trygon and max out your elite anti-armor units with either more hive guard or zoans.


  1. That swarmlord/stealer shock list is wicked. Why scytals on 4 broods rather than tox on 3?

  2. @Ghostin - If you calculate the points it is a 2k list with just Scytals on the Broodlord not the whole brood.

    I like both those lists. Think I will only go with two units of Ymgarls but they are worth playing around with since I like Swarmy.

  3. thx for the feedback man, that gave me some new idés and i drop the trygon to get more stelers in to the list in small number to have a stady stream of the guys on the table. and i think that i will try and get 2 x 2 biowars there as well. they work super good for me and give me a lot of support fire.

    there are a lot of SM,IG and DE players and that is way i take my biowars on to the tabel.

    will re-build the list a bit now.

    best regards muffin ^^

  4. Just be careful with the biovores. The main reason I avoid them in my genestealer lists is the risk of friendly fire casualties. Genestealers won't get cover or armor saves if one of your barrages goes off course. Also wandering spore mines can be a liability if they scatter near genestealers and get targetted by your opponent.



  6. What do you kit the Prime with for cc ?


  7. Nothing besides regen if you can believe that. Look at it this way: The swarmlord costs 56pts per wound. The tyrant guards cost 32.5 per wound with whips. The prime with regen is only 30pts per wound and even better if regen fires off. So in these lists, use him as a 4th tyrant guard. Slap all the extra wounds on him and use him to eat some power fist attacks.

    Like I said, the swarmlord and guards are killy enough alone (especially with preferred enemy). The unit is more vulnerable to shooting which is where the prime comes in, increasing the survivability.

  8. Yeh it is sick.

    I ran a unit once with the Standard tyrant with my notmal loadout of Tl dev w/ BL worms, Lw + BS, Leech, Paroxysm, Old Adversary.

    unit of 3 tyrant guard with BS
    1 Tyranid prime with LW + BS.

    Unit was powerful of course. But did a damn good job killing unit of Crushers, A Demon Prince, finishing of a second, and Then broke off the Prime to aid a tervigon from a Slaneesh Greater Demon.

    Fun to play with. Just gotta keep em moving and a gaunt screen from the tervigon on their backside kept them with a guaranteed charge/ countercharge on my terms. Luck enough he never popped and spawned about 40+ gants for me. >:0)

    Unit can soak tons of damage.

    I like the lists, while the first seems to possible have a lot of trouble with rhinospam... moving 7 and causing the roll of 6's to hit can stop stealers without much trouble if they don't have AG to assist with the Pen roll.

    The second looks to be the better option to me.


  9. @ Christopher ~

    Yes, fast vehicles are a challenge for genestealers to hit and rend. But continue your concern through a complete theoryhammer game.

    Rhino spam. Is that like 6 rhinos or 9? In a rhino spam situation, we're assuming they are loaded with infantry right, because if the infantry is on foot we can ignore the rhinos. If there's 6-9 rhinos loaded with infantry, and moving cruising speed to mitigate genestealer damage upon arrival, none of the embarked units are firing. Don't rhino spam armies still have other elements that do want to shoot? Well those will be moving slow enough to hit with genestealers.

    BA razorspam and mech DE are the bigger threat as they can move cruising speed and still fire. In the case of these pairings, you can either reserve everything to keep your tfexes alive longer, or deploy as normal and put the tfexes behind your swarmlord for cover.

    In any case be it rhino, razor, or raider spam, your tfexes auto-damage on every hit. That's the beauty of str10 vs av11. Being assault weapons also means you get to move 6" every turn before shooting to try and remove intervening cover. You have 2 shooting phases before your first wave of genestealers assault. You should have a few stuns/immobs/wrecks from the tfexes by then to provide target opportunities for the genestealers.