Monday, 5 December 2011

Hive Fleet Nemesis Drops In To Blog Wars II

This weekend saw the second running of the excellent Blog Wars tournament, perfectly organised as usual by Alex of From the Fang. This tournament is fast becoming the highpoint of my wargaming season, with it's unique blend of specially written missions and competitive-yet-fun gaming. The real draw of Blog Wars for me is the missions that Alex has come up with, coupled with the mandatory choice of at least one unique character selected from your codex. In my case, that meant fielding an almost entirely deepstriking Tyranid force, as follows:

HQ - Hive Tyrant with Wings & Hive Commander

ELITE - 2 x Zoanthropes in Mycetic Spore
ELITE - 2 x Zoanthropes in Mycetic Spore
ELITE - Doom of Malan'Tai in Mycetic Spore

TROOPS - Tervigon with all the trimmings
TROOPS - 10 x Termagants
TROOPS - Tervigon with all the trimmings
TROOPS - 10 x Termagants

HEAVY - Carnifex with Heavy Venom Cannon & Twin-Linked Devourers with Brain-Leech Worms in Mycetic Spore
HEAVY - Carnifex with Heavy Venom Cannon & Twin-Linked Devourers with Brain-Leech Worms in Mycetic Spore

The list is unashamedly designed designed to combat my particular nemesis, MSU/mech Space Marines! My regular gaming friends Mick & Gav (of Claws & Fists) & Dave Pooley all play variations of Space Wolves, and fellow Claws & Fists contributor Andy plays Blood Angels too, and I find that I really struggle to crack open their tanks with any Codex I pick from, and with Tyranids the problem is amplified massively. Therefore my Drop-Spore list is built specifically to limit the opponent's shooting opportunities, whilst bringing my forces in close enough to allow me to get quickly into the thick of the action. Everything except the Tervigons and Termagants deepstrike in, and with the Hive Commander rule, most of the units arrive on turn 2 (with a bit of luck!). Depending on the mission, the Tervigons either start on the table (objective-based games) or in reserve (kill-point games). The ultra-fragile Termagants will always start in reserve if possible!

My initial anti-tank threat is of course the two units of Zoanthropes, whose job is to crack open Rhinos, thus revealing the fleshy Marine targets inside. Deepstriking into action inside Mycetic Spores means the two units of Zoanthropes can usually draw the perfect firing angle on the rear aspect of two different transports, almost guarrenteeing wrecked or exploding tanks because of their AP1 lance!

The second anti-tank threat is the two deepstriking Carnifexes, again inside Mycetic Spores. The Carnifexes pose two threats - the first being multiple shooting attacks on their arrival (Str. 9 from the Heavy Venom Cannon and six twin-linked Str. 6  hits from the Brain-Leech Devourers), and second the obvious effects of a subsequent monstrous creature assault on the tank. What's not to like with Str.9 plus 2D6 of armour penetration?!

The rest of my army is based around spawning Termagants from the two Tervigons, which act as multiple objective-grabbing units. In kill-point missions Tervigons are an absolute liability, so must be kept in reserve for as long as possible (not so easy with the Hive Commander's plus-one to reserves rolls!). However in objectives missions, Tervigons - themselves a Troops choice - and their scuttling spawn are wonderful, and frequent game-winners.

So with this in mind, Andy and I arrived at Maelstrom on Saturday morning ready to see what the day would bring...


The first game was a largely-traditional affair, being kill-points and pitched-battle set-up. My opponent was a top guy named Rick, who was using an all-infantry (and largely Terminator) Black Templars army. Not the multi-Rhino mech list that my Tyranids were deigned to beat, that's for sure! However, my opponent seemed wary of my nearly all-deepstriking army so the early psychological battle seemed to have been won. Unfortunately that's the only battle I did win in the first game! Rick's awesome multi-unit Terminator Squad (two special characters and 10-ish Assault Terminators) was incredibly tough to fight against, and in the end my army was whittled down because I didn't have enough AP2 shooting once the Zoanthropes had been gunned down by the Cyclone Launchers and Lascannons in Rick's supporting firebase.

Result: A fun game against a great bloke, but a disappointing thirteen-to-zero kill-point loss.


The second mission, and opposing army, seemed ready-made for my Tyranids. The mission was to grab table-quarters and hold them uncontested with troops choices (or with your nominated Unique Character). My opponent was Commissar Dave and his Imperial Guard. Again, it was a fun game (for me, at least). I have to thank Dave for being so calm, patient and stoic as my whole day's quotient of luck arrived in two turns of shooting, where my Zoanhropes and Carnifexes wrecked every one of Dave's tanks before he had a chance of retaliating. Coupled to that, the Doom of Malan'Tai then sucked the life-force from his foot-troops.

In the end though, the game was won by my Tervigons and Termagants. I was lucky with my spawning rolls, which meant I was able to swamp three table-quarters with at least half-a-dozen small Termagant units. The final battle came down to a duel between one of my Tervigons and Commissar Yarrick. I had to kill him twice, but he finally stayed down and the Tyranids won the game.

Result: A paper-scissors-stone victory for the Tyranids against just the sort of mechanised force the army was designed to work against.


In the final game I was paired against Matt of From the Fang (I always seem to play one of the FtF boys in the last game of a tournament!). The mission was to hold five objectives, which again is something my Tervigons & Termagants should excel at. However, Matt had something to say about this! He poured down a terrific rate of fire from his Predators and Storm Raven, and assaulted well with his Blood Talon-armed Dreadnoughts and Mephiston - a particular highlight for me was the Dreadnought/Tervigon close assault in the early turns.

Later in the game I had managed to disperse most of Matt's jump infantry, and by turn five I was claiming two objectives to Matt's one. However, I was doing this with about four models! Sadly for me the game continued to turn seven, by which time Matt's surviving forces had whittled me down to just a couple of models left, and ended with a climactic double assault between a Tervigon and a Predator, and the Doom of Malan'Tai and another Predator!

Result: A turn five win ended up being a turn seven defeat for the Tyranids in a fun and see-sawing game, where the result hinged on the final dice roll!

In the final reckoning, my Drop-Spore Tyranids ended up a solid fifteenth out of twenty-two. Not bad for an army concept conceived at midnight only eight days ago! In addition I had a fun day and met lots of top guys, so all in all a very good event.

I will also go on record as saying I really like the Special Missions, so please keep 'em in for next year Alex!


  1. Nice work on the day - it was great to see another Nid player (your the first I've seen at a comp). I meant to have a chat with you about your list but never had chance - maybe BW3?

  2. I'll also be taking a very similar build of Tyranids to the Caledonian Open in January if you're thinking of going to that one? That tournament is 1,850pts and does allow Special/Unique Characters so the Doom of Malan'Tai will definitely be appearing again. The only thing I may do is swap a Carnifex or Tervigon for a couple of units of Genestealers, but I need to test that out first.

    So anyway, I'll be there at Maelstrom again in January so please pop over and say hi! Always happy to talk and show off my latest bitz-box conversions.

  3. I was disappointed not to end the day fighting your nids Graham. It's become somewhat of a tradition although there were no consolation cupcakes to be seen this time!

    Matt said that he found his game against you far more challenging than he expected. It's a very solid list and a good premise. I think you were pretty unlucky to be drawn against the BT in the first round.

    Great to see you there again and thanks for your very kind comments here and on my blog.

    @6th degree I'll be posting some details of BW3 up asap and hopefully be able to confirm a date soon.

  4. I'll admit I was lucky that the Drop-Spore list worked 'straight out of the box'. O will be taking a modified list to the Caledonian Open in January, just need to add 100pts to take it to 1850pts. Would like to get either sone Genestealers or Raveners on there for some anti-power-armoured infantry threat.

    Alex, we'll have to conspire to come last again for a final-game 'Fate of the Imperium' battle at the next tournament!