You can find the ITC Champion’s Missions here.
ITC 2020 missions have brought several changes including a shakeup of the secondary missions. These changes are largely good for Tyranids and give us a better chance of maxing out secondary points than we had previously. One thing to note about the new missions is that you must now take at least one secondary mission that revolves around killing things (Seek and Destroy Secondaries) and one that revolves around board control (Maneuver Secondaries).
Tyranid armies will often excel at board control and struggle to get a lot of kills (at least earlier on). I personally find that when I go to tournaments, I don’t get as many points for killing models because my games tend to time out before the last couple of rounds. I once had a tournament game get called for time at the end of my opponent’s second turn when I had only had my first turn. The judge let us start my second turn and I managed to take the win in the movement phase (that board control!) so it ended up okay for me but TLDR is this: You need to be able to claim as many points early on as possible in timed events.
With that said, I highly recommend taking “Sappers” as one of your Secondary Missions. Not only do Tyranids have the tools to consistently score Sappers, but it also helps you earn your Primary Missions for objectives by allowing two of your units to gain the ability to make an objective UNSCORABLE for your opponent for primary AND secondary objectives! Here’s the full rule taken from the ITC Missions link posted previously in this article:
“Sappers: Select two non-character/non-fortification/non-Flyer battlefield role units from your army to be Sappers. So long as a Sapper unit ends your turn within 3” of an Objective outside of the controlling player’s deployment zone and made no attacks or attempted to manifest any psychic powers that turn, the Sapper unit may render the objective Unscorable for any primary or secondary objectives for the Sapper unit’s opponent so long as it remains in this state. Note, a Sapper may render an objective unscorable even if they do not control the objective. Once rendered Unscorable, an objective remains in this state until the Sapper moves more than 3” away from it, is destroyed, makes any attacks or manifests any psychic powers. If at the end of your turn your Sappers have rendered any objectives Unscorable, earn 1pt. Starting turn 2 and on, you can earn up to a maximum of 2pts per turn for Sapping two or more objectives. Units chosen to be Sappers may never benefit from a rule that keeps them from being the target of attacks, Cloud of Flies, for example. They can benefit from terrain blocking Line of Sight to them. If a Sapper unit ever splits into multiple units during the course of the game using an ability such as the Combat Squads rule or is combined into another unit such as with Consolidate Squads stratagem they are no longer Sapper units and lose all of the above abilities for the rest of the game.”
Reasons Why This Is Great For Tyranids
- Natural Sappers: We have a lot of durable, fast, units that don’t have a lot of punching power so not attacking isn’t really a loss. This allows two units to become a lot more valuable than their points costs would imply.
- Mobility: We have mobility shenanigans that can help our units get to key objectives. The Swarmlord’s Hive Commander ability and the Metabolic Overdrive stratagem are big winners here. Metabolic Overdrive is especially useful here as you can’t shoot or charge if you use it anyway which won’t hinder your Sappers in the least.
- Objective Scoring: Tyranids often have an advantage when it comes to scoring objectives. Gaining the ability to take away what few objectives your opponent has available to them can possibly deny them the chance to hold any objectives at all which could make a big difference in swinging the points your way as far as Primary Missions are concerned. You could deny them the point for holding an objective, gain the point for holding more objectives, and even possibly deny them the point for a secondary mission if they chose to take one that is objective-based. That is a potential 3-point swing in your favor each turn!
- Target Priority: A good opponent can defeat Tyranids by knowing which units they need to kill and when. Most opponents will kill your Genestealers before your Hormagaunts or aim their heavy weapons at your Winged Hive Tyrants instead of your Mawlocs when they drop in on the same turn, for example. However, if you have a brood of 30 Hormagaunts denying their home objective on turn 1, suddenly they can’t afford to focus their fire on your Genestealers anymore. Which leads us to…
Tyranids are fortunate enough to have several units that will make excellent natural Sappers.
- Can score objectives easily being troops.
- They are cheap so a full brood won’t be a large investment.
- Durable in a full brood. Think of forcing your
opponent to try and kill 30 Hormagaunts that have Catalyst cast on them and are
stretching far enough back to benefit from a Maleceptor! Want the math? Check
- 80 Bolter shots with full re-rolls to hit (Chapter Master) and re-rolling 1’s to wound (Lieutenants) will kill 29 buffed Hormagaunts. It takes more than 80 Bolter shots to take this unit down! That means 80+ Bolter shots NOT heading towards your Genestealers, Devilgaunts, etc.
- Same potential durability as Hormagaunts above.
- Gargoyles are fast and doubling their move with the Swarmlord or Metabolic Overdrive will ensure they get where they want to go!
- Same durability as Hormagaunts and Gargoyles with buffs but also…
- A Tervigon can keep this unit alive, especially if it’s camping a midfield objective.
- Mawlocs don’t need any buffs to get close, they can pop up outside of 1” of an enemy unit meaning they can go places that literally no other Tyranid unit can.
- Arriving from reserve with Terror From the Deep allows the Mawloc to also do damage when it pops up and is not restricted by the Sappers rule.
- Mawlocs are reasonably tough and require dedicated firepower to wipe out. Bringing them up on a distant objective will force your opponent to reallocate resources to that part of the table to bring it down or risk allowing you to keep scoring each turn.
- It will take the same kind of firepower to take down a Mawloc as it takes to bring down other Tyranid monsters and Tyranid Warriors. When given the choice between a Winged Hive Tyrant and a Mawloc, most opponents would just knock out the Hive Tyrant. They may still choose to do that but now they get punished on points for doing so!
There are certain risks involved in taking Sappers. For one thing, your opponent may be perfectly fine killing all your Hormagaunt Sappers and still having the firepower to drop your Genestealer broods down to negligible sizes. For another, your opponent may wipe out your Sappers before you gain the maximum points for them. There are definitely ways a smart opponent can hurt you for taking this Secondary Mission. That being said, however, I still believe that using Sappers gives you better opportunities to score overall and will go a long way to making Tyranids successful in the 2020 ITC season!
Tyranids have great ways to use Sappers and can really get great value out of choosing this Secondary Mission. It can indirectly help you score your Primary Missions and it gives you more bang for your buck with your cheaper units. Despite the risks, there are really strong benefits to taking the right units as Sappers against most opponents. As you get to pick Secondaries each game, you can make that choice on a case by case basis depending on what you are up against so there’s no harm in at least seriously considering choosing Sappers at the beginning of each game!
I hope this article is helpful and offers a new perspective. Please let us know what you think about this strategy in the comments below! And if you enjoy articles like this one, please consider becoming a Citizen of the Hostile Galaxy at this link to enable us to make content more frequently!
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