Of all the terrors that lurk, stalk, thrash out, and vie for power in the Warhammer 40K galaxy, few threats seem as insurmountable as the Tyranids. A group of unknowable aliens who can quickly shift, adapt, and strike, the Warhammer 40K Tyranids seem to move as one unit connected by a great Hive Mind. Spread across the known universe, they strike out from deep within the Warp, seemingly unphased by the terrors that lurk without that broil of emotion layered just beneath real-space. If you want to bring an army of hungy, powerful, completely alien destruction to the tabletop, Games Workshop is now releasing a brand new Codex, a new model, and other assorted releases for the Tyranids up for preorder this weekend, and we got a chance to check it all out. Read on for our Warhammer 40K Tyranids preview!
What's Included In The Warhammer 40K Tyranids Codex?
The Warhammer 40K Tyranids Codex contains everything you need to run a Tyranid army. Clocking in at 127 pages, the Tyranid Codex includes special rules for each of the main Hives of the army, overall army rules, matched and narrative Crusade play options, datasheets for over 40 Tyranid units, wargear, points, and of course tons of lore. Let's dive into each section in a bit more detail.
First, there's the incredible lore that adds color the the Tyranid army. In the Codex, we learn a bit about what makes Tyranids so terrifying. There's details about how they strike, starting with The Shadow in the Void, effectively blanking out all use of psychic energy (including calling for help when they arrive on your planet). Then there's the orbital strike, as their living, organic spaceships lash out against any defenses. But the true terror comes when they land on your planet. As wave after wave of terrifying aliens crash down and begin to sweep, they attack with organic weapons, firing everything from small beetles to toxic barbs from guns that seem grafted into their chitinous flesh. And when they've finally destroyed your forces, the Codex explains how they turn all biomass on the planet into a sort of slurry that is then sucked up to further grow their forces. It's truly terrifying stuff, and it makes for an incredible read.
The lore then goes on to dive into several key encounters humanity has had with the Tyranids, talking at length about these great and terrible wars. What I really like about this Codex is that, because the Tyranids are truly alien, and do not communicate anything to their foes (or "prey") beyond a raging hunger to devour, we see the Tyranid threat through the eyes of humanity. Unlike other Xenos Codex entires like the T'au or the Aeldari, where their lore is told from the inside looking out, the Tyranid Codex all seems framed by how others view the Tyranids. It's a subtle move here that makes for a truly engrossing read in the first part of this Codex. The book then goes on to detail the various Hives of the army, which are sort of like separate chapters in an army. All in all, this lore section paints a grim and bloody picture of who the Tyranids are, and how they decimate planets.
From there, the book delves into the rules, first providing special bonuses for each of the Tyranids' Hive Fleets. These are all incredibly varied, and add a lot of customization to the construction of the army. For instance, the special rules for the lumbering, aggressive Behemoth Hive Fleet are all about buffing their Strength stat, or letting them lash out and attack one last time after they've been killed. For the noxious Hive Fleet Gorgon, their special abilities are all about creating clouds of toxic spores, automatically hitting or wounding with their poisonous weapons.
There are also tons of Stratagems available to the Tyranid army, from allowing for additional manifestations of psychic power, to "Pheromone Trail" which allows units in your army to add 2 to their charge rolls when targeting specific enemy units. One of my favorite Stratagems (for name alone) is "Pathogenic Slime," which (along with sounding like the best punk band to ever shred) turns unmodified rolls of 6 in the attack phase into automatic wounds. The rules for Crusade play are also very in-depth, occurring in three stages: Invasion, Predation, and Consumption. The Codex then dives into explaining the idea of a "Synaptic Link," which creates a chain of linking areas of effect for the army. It can be a lot to take in, but the book does a fantastic job of describing it clearly. Finally, the Datasheets for all units are included, as is to be expected in a proper Codex.
All in all, this Codex is not only comprehensive for this large and very diverse army, but it's also a great read. To dive into the lore behind these creatures was a complete joy, and left me feeling (from a story standpoint) like humanity would never be able to rid the galaxy of these ferocious predators. If you're looking to start a Tyranid army, this Codex is a must-have not just for the rules, but for the picture it paints of the unyielding terror of the Tyranids.
How Does The Warhammer 40K Tyranids New Model, Parasite of Mortex, Play?
The new Warhammer 40K Tyranids model, the Parasite of Mortex, is a winged horror that can easily swoop in and devastate units in your enemy's army. Also up for pre-order alongside the Tyranid Codex, this creature is armed with some pretty impressive weapons. First, there's its Clawed Limbs, which are fairly standard with AP -2 and 1 damage. But it also sports the Barbed Ovipositor, which when it successfully wounds an enemy unit, infects them with parasites. If enough wounds are made with this weapon to a unit during a phase, you can spawn a free Ripper Swarm unit of little nasty parasites. Gross!
This unit is also hard to take down, thanks to its Shadow Hunter ability, which says "Each time an attack is made against this model, subtract 1 from that attack's hit roll and that hit roll cannot be re-rolled." All in all, this is an agile, mobile unit with powerful attacks that can truly make a dent in even the toughest enemy units. Build-wise, putting this unit together was a breeze. We've noticed several quality of life improvements to building new models lately, including easier to fit together pieces with hidden notches, and it makes a world of difference when gluing everything together.
Also included in this week's pre-orders for the Warhammer 40K Tyranids is a set of Datacards, which include 46 stratagems, 14 psychic powers, and 10 synaptic imperatives each on their own card for easy reference when you're putting together your army. And while we didn't receive a kit for review, the other major pre-order this week is the massive Tyranid Combat Patrol box, which includes 43 miniatures to build out your Tyranid army.
And that's all for this week in huge, menacing, terrifying space bug monstrosities. Stay with us for even more Warhammer 40K content, as well as all other releases from the folks at Games Workshop.
The products used in the creation of this review were provided by Games Workshop.