Yesterday we talked about how Psychic Awakening: Blood of Baal brings serious options to our table and makes even a formerly useless relic, the Reaper of Obliterax, much more powerful. Today we are going to look at the strongest option Behemoth has, the Scythes of Tyran.
The Codex: Tyranids Bio-artifact Scythes of Tyran are specific to Hive Fleet Behemoth. They replace the model’s Monstrous Scything Talons. You lose the ability to re-roll 1’s to hit in exchange for +1 strength, +1 attack, and the ability to generate extra attacks on a 6+ to hit. Just like the Monstrous Scything Talons, the Scythes of Tyran are AP-3 and do 3 damage per wound.
Just as we planned in yesterday’s article with the Reaper of Obliterax, we are going to use the Murderous Size Adaptive Physiology (for +1 strength, +1 ap and +1 damage), Toxin Sacs for +1 damage on wound rolls of 6+, the Unstoppable Hunger psychic power for +1 to wound, and the Voracious Appetite Stratagem to re-roll wounds.
A Hive Tyrant with this loadout attacking a Shadowsword (or other toughness 8, 3+ armor save equivalent) will do an average of 18.75 damage! 10 damage coming from 2 attacks rolling 6+ thanks to Unstoppable Hunger making that roll easier to achieve. Those numbers are even more reliable when you consider that you always have a command point re-roll to use on the rare occasion that you miss with one of your 2+ to hit melee attacks!
Maximizing Damage Output:
On average, you should be able to kill any Baneblade or Knight equivalent when using Adrenaline Surge to fight twice. However, if you also use psychic powers and shooting to do damage before fighting, you may not even need to fight twice to kill your target. Using Smite, Psychic Scream, and firing a Heavy Venom Cannon at your target may weaken it enough for your average 18.75 damage to finish it off entirely!
Ideally, you will hit your target at full strength. Realistically, however, you will sometimes take a powerful hit from Overwatch and have your Weapon Skill reduced. You may even get charged or have someone interrupt combat with a stratagem and lose your Hive Tyrant before getting to make your attacks. If your Hive Tyrant does happen to die in the fight phase before attacking, remember to use Death Frenzy so that you still get to attack before removing your model. See below for how the numbers break down as your tiers get lower.
7-12 Wounds Remaining = 18.75 Average Damage
4-6 Wounds Remaining = 15 Average Damage
1-3 Wounds Remaining = 11.25 Average Damage (This is also the tier you use when you fight with Death Frenzy.)
Even at the lowest tier, you will still be likely to do 11.25 damage, which is just insane compared to what we did before Psychic Awakening: Blood of Baal. For comparison, see below for the numbers before using Murderous Size and Unstoppable Hunger.
Prior to Blood of Baal: (No +1 to wound, strength 7, AP -3,
and Damage 3)
7-12 Wounds Remaining = 7.716 Average Damage
4-6 Wounds Remaining = 6.173 Average Damage
1-3 Wounds Remaining = 4.630 Average Damage
As you can see, the updates in Blood of Baal do incredible things for us. Hive Tyrants are significantly more dangerous than before and definitely worth taking. I understand that only one can have the Scythes of Tyran and only one can benefit from Unstoppable Hunger, however, I think it is worth it to take one Hive Tyrant with Scythes and another with the Reaper of Obliterax. If one dies or fails to make the charge, the other can still offer significant damage output and both are very powerful.
I would like to reiterate that some people advocate for using Murderous Size on Old One Eye or the Swarmlord instead. I disagree for a couple of reasons. First off, as I stated previously, I want multiple threats so that all my eggs aren’t in one basket. If everything is riding on Old One Eye and he dies, I’m in serious trouble. Even if he lives, he can still only tackle one target at a time unless multiple ideal targets are all close together. Secondly, there’s the chance that GW will FAQ the update and make it so we can’t take Adaptive Physiology on characters like Old One Eye (as suggested by Goonhammer in their Blood of Baal review) so I’m just going to plan on not getting used to it until after a FAQ is released.
What do YOU think?
Is it worth it to spend the resources to make a Hive Tyrant this deadly or do we have better options? What are your favorite combos from Psychic Awakening: Blood of Baal?
As always, thanks for taking the time to read this article. Very special thanks for Greg on the 40k Competitive Tyranids Facebook group for inspiring this article. We would love to hear from you here at Hostile Galaxy so please comment below with your thoughts and be sure to like us on Facebook to see our updates!