Psychic Awakening: Blood of Baal has brought some very solid additions to the Tyranid arsenal. While good in and of themselves, I’m particularly excited about how Blood of Baal (BoB) can improve units we already had to begin with. Let’s start by taking a look at one of the most iconic units the Tyranids have, the Hive Tyrant.
At the beginning of 8th edition, Hive Tyrants were so prevalent that they helped inspire the rule of 3. Ever since then, Tyrants have seemed less and less effective and are seen less frequently in high level play. There’s nothing significantly wrong with them. They can have wings for movement and deployment benefits, can be geared for shooting and/or melee combat, and are potent psykers. All this on a reasonably durable frame. Their main problem is in damage output. I personally still like them as I find that doing damage over multiple phases of the game and being able to come in from reserves fits my playstyle BUT there are many times where the damage output just isn’t there. So how do we fix that?
I have always liked the Codex relic “The Reaper of Obliterax.” Doubling damage brings the Tyrant to obscene levels of damage output IF it actually connects with that 6 to wound. Then, you have to get through the opponent’s armor, which is difficult with only AP-2. BoB brings answers to these problems and then some! I’m going to show you how a regular old Hive Tyrant can get scary and deal an average of 16 wounds and knock out a Repulsor with the not-so-unlikely potential to even kill a knight right out!
Hive Tyrant + Monstrous Bonesword and Lashwhip / the Reaper of Obliterax + Toxin Sacs + Unstoppable Hunger (Behemoth Psychic Power BoB) + Murderous Size (Adaptive Physiology BoB)
(You may also want to drop wings and Adrenal Glands on this tyrant so it can reliably come in from reserves and reach combat.)
Murderous Size brings your Reaper of Obliterax to Str 7, AP -3, and D4! Rolling a six to wound brings the damage output to 9 damage per attack with Toxin Sacs! Unstoppable Hunger means you do 9 damage on a 5+ to wound. The codex stratagem “Voracious Appetite” gives you re-rolls to get that delicious 5+.
This build includes all the tools we need to pull off some massive damage that should be enough to kill most tanks in a single fight phase and even take out titanic units reliably if you’re willing to spend the command points. Here is how it all works together:
Movement Phase: Hive Tyrant arrives from reserves 9.1” from target unit.
Psychic Phase: Hive Tyrant casts Unstoppable Hunger on itself.
Fight Phase: Use Voracious Appetite on the Hive Tyrant. Now murder your target!
With 4 attacks hitting on 2+, you are likely to hit with all attacks (feel free to use a command point re-roll here if you miss with one of those attacks since they hit on a 2+). Out of those hits, at least 1 should wound on a 5+ and you should be able to re-roll 2-3 dice resulting in a total of two or three wound rolls of 5+ for that fight phase. Against a toughness 8 target like a Repulsor or a Knight, you will most likely get those wounds past their armor save and deal around 16 wounds!
Side note: I rolled this out a few times just to get an idea of how my dice would roll. Here is how the dice broke down for me:
36 damage 10% of the time
22 damage 10% of the time
18 damage 40% of the time
13 damage 30% of the time
4 damage 10% of the time
This was absurd because 90% of the time I rolled 13 damage or better!
(The actual mathhammer on this is an average of 15.432 wounds!)
Even if you fail to kill your target, you still have a chance to fight again with Adrenaline Surge! Unless they kill you when they strike back, of course. Even then, you still have a chance to finish it off by using the codex stratagem Death Frenzy to fight once more upon your death. You only hit on a 4+ now but you also have already damaged that knight and should only need one more 5+ wound to go through to take it down with you.
If you survive the fight phase, you will most likely get obliterated by the rest of the opponent’s army when they see how scary your monster is but that’s okay because any firepower coming at your Hive Tyrant is not going after your other units.
If you managed to kill the Knight in the first round of fighting, you might want to consider using Overrun to get right up next to the most dangerous shooting unit your opponent has so you can use the BoB stratagem Savage Distraction to make it harder to bring down that tyrant next turn. For fun, cast the codex psychic power The Horror on the shootiest unit your opponent has so you can make it extra hard for it to target your Tyrant. Just because we assume it will die in the following turn doesn’t mean we need to make it easy for them!!!
This is ONLY considering the Hive Tyrant itself. If you can take a few wounds off before the Hive Tyrant launches into the Knight, your odds of taking it out go up significantly!
I really love what we are getting in BoB and I think there are combos in here that will be surprisingly effective in competitive play.
Note: Several people have told me they want to use the Murderous Size Adaptive Physiology on a character like Old One Eye or the Swarmlord to increase their damage output even further. I personally disagree with this option. Old One Eye and the Swarmlord already have very reasonable damage output. They will kill most of their targets without any extra help. Furthermore, they are also already large targets that the enemy has to kill to reduce your army’s ability to knock out hard targets. By using Murderous Size on a Hive Tyrant instead, you are adding another model that can smash things even harder than the Swarmlord or Old One Eye! This means you have more targets for your opponent to kill and you also don’t take such a hard loss when any one of those units is taken out.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read this article. Let me know what you think! Is this combo a hit or a miss? Will you be trying it out? Comment below!
(Edit: Previous versions of this article stated the damage output would be 8 damage on the 6+ to wound. This has been corrected to 9 with Toxin Sacs.)