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Howdy Faeit212 readers! My name is Reece, or Reecius as I go by on the interwebs here to introduce myself and to talk competitive bugs.
I am one of the owners of a game store in Northern California called Frontline Gaming (come by and say hi if you are in our area!) where we sell discount hobby goodies, have a commission paint studio, twice weekly 30 minute or less podcast (which you can stream on our site every Tuesday and Saturday), and regular video battle reports, and do all sorts of fun stuff. I am an avid 40K player, painter, fluff reader and event organizer (we run the Bay Area Open, Comikaze, and Duelcon as well as the upcoming Las Vegas Open). I love all aspects of the game, but I especially love competitive play, tactics, and list building. I will be writing articles for Faeit212 regularly about those aspects of 40 specifically!

Eldar ready for war.
The Mighty, Mighty Footdar!
One of the cool things about being a game store owner and having a paint studio is that you have access to LOTS of different armies. Plus, as very active tournament players, our team (Team Zero Comp) loves to get together on a regular basis and try out new lists, tactics and match-ups to always stay on the cutting edge of the competitive 40K scene. My latest army of choice is Nids!

Why Nids? Well, I developed a love for playing what conventional 40K wisdom said was "bad." I took all foot Eldar (The mighty, Mighty Footdar!) to the finals at Adepticon last year just to prove a point as the internet collectively told me they were terrible and I was an idiot for thinking that a list like that could do anything but lose terribly. 

Nids similarly get a bad rap at this point in time. Most folks think they are under-powered this edition, but I find it very rewarding to identify the good elements in a "bad" dex and bring them together in a winning combination. Now, just to diffuse any thoughts that I may be implying that I am uniquely capable of doing this because I think I am the universe's greatest 40K player, that isn’t the case.

Anyone can find a way to win with any codex if they approach it with an open mind and a willingness to learn from their mistakes, be patient and experiment. This article will hopefully encourage others to not slavishly adhere to conventional net-think when it comes to 40K, and find the confidence to follow their own ideas! So enough of the pump up speech, let's get down to business.

getting-down-to-business-header

Nids as a whole have some incredibly good (Hive Guard), and some incredibly bad elements (Pyrovores). The depth in this book is actually much greater than in most codices we have available to us now, it is just not always easy to see because of some of the poorer choices. Identifying the best units for your list strategy is a key to success.

They also have something I absolutely LOVE in an army book, which are synergistic elements. I get a great deal satisfaction from playing lists where units combo off of one another to create entirely new ways to play the army. Nids do this in spades. With units like Tervigons, Hive Tyrants, Hive Guard, Ymgarls, the Doom, etc. you can adapt your army to changing conditions by playing your units in different ways and off of one another.

So, let's lay some guidelines. I am writing this based on the assumption that you all reading this play book missions or close to it, and that you play against a wide variety of opponents and army types, as you would in a tournament. That in mind, any time I write a list suited for competitive play, I ask myself the following questions:
  1. How do I deal with hordes of infantry?
  2. How do I deal with heavy infantry/Monstrous Creatures?
  3. How do I deal with mech spam?
  4. How do I deal with AV14?
  5. How do I deal with death stars?
  6. How do I deal with fliers?
  7. How do I reliably take and hold at least one more objective than my opponent?
If your list can do all of the above, you are ready for tournament play.

My Bjorn Wolves: The Taima Legion!
My Bjorn Wolves: The Taima Legion
Now there are two ways that I see to answer the above riddle. You can build an extreme list that dominates one aspect of the game. A good example of this is a SAFH (Shooty Army From Hell) such as my Bjorn, Space Wolf army was (min/maxed for maximum firepower with Bjorn to increase odds of going first for the alpha strike).

This type of army reliably dominates most other lists you will encounter to such a degree that you can ignore some of the questions in the above list. I have found that these armies win through brute force and are very reliable. However, they often have an Achilles heel in the form of a certain type of list they are poorly equipped to deal with. These match-ups can result in situations where you are almost certain to lose or be at a huge disadvantage. For me, this was Battle Wagon Orks, as the massed AV14 plus cover saves meant my huge amount of missiles were largely wasted. The Deff Rollas could destroy masses of my light vehicles in a single movement phase, and the assaulting Orks coming out of them were easily enough to deal with my Min/Maxed foot troops.

What I found was that in a large tournament with numerous rounds of play, the odds of pulling my hard counters (and Battle Wagon Orks weren’t the only one, just the best example) increased to the point that it become a very real liability. My odds of winning an event went down despite the fact that my odds of winning each individual game were very high.

WIP Bugs
WIP Bugs
Nids on the other hand, are extremely flexible when built right. You have speed, fantastic scoring ability, assault power (which is great for taking objectives away from your opponent), immunity to psychology (usually), a wide variety of flexible flexible psychic powers, board control, the ability to threaten your opponent from multiple axis of attack, and an answer for each of the questions I posted above.

In short, a well built Nid list can fight almost any army in the game with good odds of success. The only truly bad match-up I have found with nearly no exceptions for Nids is mech Dark Eldar. Those Venoms are murder. Combo that with an Eldar Farseer using Doom and it is a bad day in the neighborhood for the Bugs.

This article is running a bit long due to my introduction (which will be absent from subsequent articles) so we will close this article temporarily. In my next article we will dig into an actual list and talk in-depth about why each unit is in it, what they add to it, and how they can combo with the other units in the list to create a flexible and powerful army that is also a great deal of fun to play.

42 Comments:

  1. Yep, never understood that nids aren't popular in the U.S. Tournie scene, they arguably benifited most from 6th, and are doing very well on the uk tournie scene.

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    1. Good to hear! I know a lot of very good players here in the USA that are playing them, but the general consensus is that they suck.

      I agree that they got a huge benefit form 6th

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    2. They didn't get better with 6th edition though. One of their few effective tactics was to clog enemy infantry in a big multi-assault with Termagants while Genestealers pour in off the flanks. Now a multi-assault will lose Termagants too quickly (as multi-assaulting is just a dead prospect in the current rules), and Genestealers can't assault when they come off of the flanks.

      They still suffer Instant Death more than any other army, and have the lowest average toughness, weakest armor saves, but highest points cost among Monstrous Creatures in the game - despite being the army that's supposed to specialize in them.

      Overwatch/Snap fire giving armies another free shot at Tyranids? Yeah...

      They have so few playable units at the moment, and are OVERLY reliant upon synergy. So much so that a simple disruption plan from an enemy all but wipes them out.

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    3. Americans haven't figured out how to play them yet besides the first turn assault/Genestealer rush which was nerfed by 6th edition. Meanwhile, worse off armies such as Tau and Sisters of Battle still manage to rank decently on tourney scores.

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    4. Love that you can claim an entire country doesn't know how to play their bugs. Its like me claiming the English haven't learned to brush their teeth yet........wait.

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    5. I think it's the lack of tanks. We Americans instinctively love vehicles of nearly any kind. :)

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  2. Tyranids require skill in the modelling department too. In the flyer-oriented 6ed, the Harpy, the Shrike, and Sky-Slasher-Swarms are not available from either GW or FW, forcing you to kitbash and/or convert an air force (the obligatory WHT being the notable exception).

    On the bright side, the Bugs are nowhere near as badly neglected model-wise as Sisters (but then again, nothing short of Squats is).

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    1. Didnt you hear? Squats are getting a codex next? A rumored rule is that after deployment you roll a d6. On a 2-6 the game ends and you win, on a 1 roll again.

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    2. Pretty sure that shrikes and sky-slasher swarms are actually available from FW but they're horribly expensive for what they are.

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    3. Sisters are less represented, I agree. And nice Squat pun! haha

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    4. Yeah, now that I look closer, "Tyranid Rippers with wings" and "Tyranid Warrior wings conversion kit" make Skyslashers and Shrikes respectively (silly not to name them as such, though, casual onlookers such as me are easily fooled).

      Still no sign of Harpy though, Harridan is far too big for that. Probably would have to be a kitbash of Trygon/Mawloc - Harpy being compared to one in the codex - with Dragon or Bloodthirster wings if Hive Tyrant wings are not available.

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  3. As a nid player I am looking forward to hearing your opinions and insights in your future articles.

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    1. Awesome! I am glad you are enjoying it so far.

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. Indeed I am too, I am an avid nid player myself and am always looking for ways to improve or hear other peoples tactics/opinions!

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  4. I always enjoy reading your articles Reece.

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    1. Thanks! I appreciate that, I always put a lot of time into them so it is good to know they are enjoyed by others.

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  5. Please write the next installment! My friend continually tells me how bad tyranids are, and that you can't build a decent list by taking the units you like the look of! (well, obviously...) In addition, apparently if you take tyranids to a tournament you are guaranteed to do mediocre at best, so anything showing how to write an incredible tyranid army list would be much appreciated.

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    1. I will do so, most definitely. My next article will be not next, but the following Wednesday. I hope your friend finds it helpful!

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  6. I don't know why anyone says you can't build a good list with nids, my complaint about the codex is that there is little variation in what you can take in a good list. I love my bugs and wouldn't have spent thousands of dollars on them if I didn't. Just give me the rest of the models in my codex and the small list variation opens a bit, I refuse to spend 40$ on a biovore. The most gratifying part of being a bug player is tabling an opponent that underestimates you turn 2.

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    1. I used to think the SAME thing, but having talked to a lot of very good players who take different points of view on it, there is actually a lot of options if you really dig. A lot of stuff I missed.

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    2. I guess I'm just comparing apples to oranges, I do a lot of club play and orks are my # 1, the amount of viable builds in the orks codex puts the Nid options to shame. I think when played correctly nids are efficient as can be at clearing enemy models, assuming i dont throw a handful of 1s for reserves, but I can attribute 1 /3 of my Ork wins to surprising my opponents with units they didn't even know were in the codex. With my nids they always know tervigons and dev guants are coming.

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  7. Reece! You got tactics on my rumor blog! Now I have to tell my main rival this blog stinks too, so that he misses out on your highly effective bug tactics.

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    1. Hahaha, thanks, bro! I know you have my back =)

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  8. Reece! You got tactics on my rumor blog! Now I have to tell my main rival this blog stinks too, so that he misses out on your highly effective bug tactics.

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    1. haha, thanks, bro! I know you have my back!

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  9. Who said nids are underpowered? Honestly they're like one of the best things to deal with daemons out there and are pain for other armies too...

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    1. You are right, but I think those of us who feel that way are in the minority. I hear very frequently how folks feel like they struggle and are under powered.

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  10. One of our local players who always places top 3, if not first, plays either Tyranids or Orks week to week, and it's generally held here that Nids are pretty powerful, granted we do the full 6th ed rule set and do monthly 2k point tournaments, so double foc is in, which definitely makes a big deal for them.

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    1. I agree, double FOC makes bugs MUCH better, but they are very good as you go down in points, too.

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    2. Pboyle, sounds like you have met my doppelgänger.

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  11. Let me guess: Two flying Hive Tyrants with double set of their twin-linked S6-gun rolling on Biomancy, two Tervigons, Termagants to make them troops, Gargoyles, Ymgarls and then to round off either Trygons/Mawlocks/Hive Guard/Zoanthropes depending on your flavour and point limit?

    I think Nids are quite strong these days, but also quite limited in what works.

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    1. Yes and no on this. You've listed the staple list true, but nothing makes my opponent wince like a massive swarm list with psychic support and one or two heavy hitters.

      It gives you board control, target saturation and lots of objective grabbers. After a couple of rounds of shooting I've typically broken my opponents moral and my swarms crack open his armies power armour to get at the chewy centre.

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    2. Not quite, but yes, that is a good build. There is actually a lot more variety than it at first appears.

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    3. In that case I'm curious indeed! Because that build is the only one I see these days, so then part two should be something then!

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    4. I like to run a shell tyrant, catch flak for it but I just like the model too much, was my centerpiece before fmc rules, he gets hive com and the flyrant gets old adversary.

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  12. This is a great article. I have ran into the same things with my Grey Knights shooty force. Winning against most armies is a breeze, then suddenly you face Battle Wagon Orks and literally get steam rolled. 1 loss in an otherwise perfect tourney record will only get you second place at best. Since then I have revised my lists and hopefully they have gotten much better.

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  13. I can't wait to read the next article, since I am building a Nid list and would love to see what you say about them, which could possibly change my list. Though I don't play against a huge variety of people, 1 person has GK/Tau/SM while another plays Orks/Necrons, and the other who plays DA/Blob Guard, with me playing Parking lot Guard, not mech with tons of Chimera's, but LR's and HH's.

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  14. I have 10k Nids, played them only no other armor for most of my 40k carrer, did great in 5th compare to 6th, 6th nids are dead. No Grenades, flamers, or strong realiable shooting, MC's are all 15-20% over cost, Gens, Warriors, Shrikes and many other CC unit lack any good was to survive to actually get into assault with a 4/5+ save being Ravagers/shrikes/warriors all able to be instand killed. Force weapons can Instant kill all MC too. and with allt he MC benig very slow to move with a 3+ at best isnt a realiable way to get them across the field. That and not being able to deal with flyers hurts alot "But you get a Tyrant with wings and 12 TL shots" Yeah at 260pts over the Cost of a Stormraven... OVER the cost of a Stormraven... oh and can ge grounded by ANY to hit that actually hits... like Markerlights, Boltgun, Lasguns etc... Ppl talk about the harpy... Oh a s5 vector skrike and 3 different template weapons to pick from... hmm how is that going to hurt any other flyer? Nids have so many bad points to them, that the few really good unit IMO will never make up for all the crap they get.

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  15. Folks: come to Mesa, AZ, and I'll introduce you to 3 Tyranid players who all run different lists (two of which are similar, but one guy keeps changing things up 'cuz he's got something like 25K points of bugs, I kid you not), and all three of them know how to clean yer clock. Nids were terrible in 5th, but are really strong in 6th in the hands of a general who knows what he's doing. My recommendation: Quit yer bitching and figure out how to win with your favorite army, and become a better general in the process...

    Just sayin... :-)

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  16. BTW, great article, Reese, looking forward to the next one, and more after that. Thanks for taking the time to write for us over here on Faeit 212, and thanks to Natfka for hosting you here...

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