About Xenos and Proud

This is a small blog about my Warhammer 40,000 hobby. I will try to concentrate on the tactics behind the general game and my Xenos armies but there will be the odd post about random stuff.

About Me

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Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Xenos and Proud is an 18 year old from Scotland who has been playing 40K for the last 4 years. He loves the 'under-dog' xenos armies, namely his Tyranid Gorgon splinter fleet, his Saim-Hann windrider host, his Tau Vleastean Hunter-cadre and the newest addition, the Shadowfax Corsairs. Although his tactics are mostly 'borrowed', his painting skills still 'developing' and his luck becoming evermore 'ridiculous' he continues to play, paint and roll in the hope that one day things will get better.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Tyranid Tactics: Pinning Units

One major weakness with the Tyranid army is that it is largely very slow and close combat orientated. Most armies can run away as fast as we can chase them which means you need a way to stop your enemy from just running rings around you (this has become especially important in today's mech heavy meta-game). Here are some ways to 'pin' your opponents army sot hat you will always be able to get into CC.

This technique is very simple to understand but not so to use. Simply it is surrounding your opponent with so many threats and models that they have to be in range of something big and threatening. This is usually the objective of a horde army as you have so many models it is impossible to avoid them all. Orks are the masters of this technique. 

However, you must be careful when applying your forces as there is often a 'no-mans-land' your army must stomp through before getting to grips with the enemy. If caught out there most Tyranids, with their bad/non-existent armour save will get mowed down, very quickly. That is unless you can overwhelm your opponent with targets so that they cannot possibly kill everything even though it is out of cover. After that turn is over you have them. 

The easiest way to make this not work is by rushing as fast as you can towards your opponent with everything. Everything should be going through cover and although most nids have move through cover some will get slowed down. Your opponent will then just destroy the closest target each turn and leave you with not enough stuff to trap them. Not good. To avoid this just move units up equally, keep them in cover and don't provide obvious threats. Remember that your opponent will be constantly moving too (or should be) so you need to adjust and evolve.

This is the technique I use mostly as I love fast units which is what this is all about. The idea is to have a few 'grapple' units which can jump ahead of the main army in one turn and get into CC with a unit so as to tie it up and wait for slower, yet better equipped models. A great example of this is Raveners. They have amazing speed being beasts so can catch almost anything; they are durable with 3 wounds and given cover are even better; they are fairly cheap so you can get a lot of them and they can have Rending which makes them a threat to anything. 

However they are best used on the assault and cannot survive incredibly long in combat having only a 5+ armour save. This means they need some support the turn after they assault to 'bail them out'. This is for me in the form of lots of Termagaunts who can drag down the toughest of opponents with help from a Tervigon. 

Seeing a trend yet? Everything supports everything else and covers the other weaknesses so as to maximise their strengths. The Raveners are fast, the Gaunts are slow. The Raveners are fragile, the Gaunts are plentiful/expendable.

My Shrikes can also fulfill this niche but are best used as a counter-assault unit which I will talk about next time.....


  1. Neat tactic. I have yet to play against the new Tyranids but my Tau still fear them...this tactic would be touch for me. With raveners entering combats and tying up my units for a turn, thats a lot of shooting that I am going to lose...

  2. The tactic is solid; but raveners aren't exactly cheap at 30pts per model. Ymgarl, stealers, hormagaunts, and gargoyles all fill the same role, but more cheaply. The stealers' ability to infiltrate makes them a key in this role.

  3. Yes they are expensive-ish but they have so many attacks and wounds for their points that it is easily worth it. Plus they are the fastest unit in the codex. They are also incredibly versatile as they have many attacks with high initiative, high WS, decent strength and Rending means they can threaten tanks, light infantry, heavy infantry and basically anything but an Ironclad dreadnought.

    Stealers (and Ymgarls) fulfill a different role in my opinion, more of a nuisance and distraction that kills weapons teams and devastators in the back than a fast tie up unit. Hormagaunts are faster anyway, and cheaper with the same attacks. But they again fill a different role, the one of the reinforcer as they are kind-of fast, resiliant in numbers, best on the charge and have high attacks.

    I haven't tried gargoyles but I consider them a screen presently but can see them working as a grapple unit. They are numerous to flood the opponent too....


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