"What is mercy? Does it taste like marrow?" - Phage, Tyranid Hive Mind

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Building an Army


Starting Your Own Tyranid Army

OK, it's high time I put this down somewhere. I have been playing off and on since May 2001, but I am an analytical guy, some might say too analytical. :-) If you want to play with a buddy, you can pick any point level you like. I recommend no less than 1500. Below that you have to worry more. This is a swarm army. No swarm = less fun. If you want to play in local cons and such, you will need to field a list of 1500-1750 points to even compete. Below I have some sample specs on a list I created.

For a bare minimum, I recommend [Prices updated as of 2004.01.16]:

  • 1 Hive Tyrant ($40) that will cost about 140-200 points
  • 4 boxes of Gaunts ($120, that's 32 of each type) that will cost about 550 points if you field them all in the usual Hormagaunt and Termagant configurations, more if you have a lot of one-off mutants.
  • 1 box of Genestealers ($30, that's 12 models) that will cost about 200 points
  • 1 Carnifex ($35) that will cost about 100-150 points
  • You will have 22 Rippers, which can make seven bases at 3 per base. With 2 Rending Claws mutants, that would be 82 points.
  • Total: $225 which gives you as much as 1200 points.

I strongly recommend 1500 points as a minimum with Tyranids because you have a swarm army and with small points the swarm is hard to execute. I also personally believe once you get below 1500 points you greatly increase the chance that you and your opponent will show up with completely mismatched armies, leaving one of you with an unfair handicap and that's no fun.

For further purchases you need to read up on the units and decided yourself. For 1500 points, You need:

  • More HQ - Hive Tyrant or Warriors? Your choice.
  • Tyrant Guards? For some a must have, for others a waste of points.
  • More Troops - A few more Genestealers to allow two almost full broods, more Gaunts to allows more cheap fodder. Maybe more Ripper Swarm bases, but I like to stick to just one brood of them.
  • Flank harassment - I would recommend at least one Lictor of Biovore. They can help punish an enemy that just sits there and shoots.

In closing, feel free to read my battle reports and see how things work out when the dice start rolling...


Which Hive Fleet Mechanics To Use?

There are basically three major flavors of Tyranid Armies, with increasing orders of complexity:

  • Basic species list. Basically, everything in the Codex before pg. 36.
  • Custom Hive Fleet. Pages 36 & 37. This includes one-off mutations (see above for examples).
  • Custom Hive Fleet with mutated species. This is the most advanced choice and, from what I have seen, the most popular. This adds the extra versatility of being able to create custom species from the five mutable species - Gaunt, Warrior, Ripper Swarm, Hive Tyrant, and Carnifex.

Basic Species List

This entails constraining yourself to the species choices worked out in the basic list. This DOES NOT allow you to take one-off mutations such as Hivenodes, Acid Blood, Exceptional Size, and Weapons Beasts. The most critical implication of this, in my opinion is the low leadership value of the standard Gaunts and the limitation that all Synapse creatures in the basic list can only walk (no Leaping or Wings). With a Ld 5, you will likely end up failing a number of critical morale tests and end up with an uncomfortably high probability of experiencing the following situation:

  1. The bulk of your force rushes forward, leaving Synapse range. Consider that in a single turn, if an opponent is in striking range, a unit of Hormagaunts can travel as much as 24" (including assault); since the Hormagaunt is going to be engaged as quickly as possible, the Synapse creatures are likely still walking into battle, so they will only move 6" (no assault). That's an 18" gap, compared to 12" Synapse. This spread worsens with each turn of movement preceding the fight, due to the Gaunt's Fleet of Claw.
  2. Your gaunts get shot or engaged in close combat.
  3. Morale check failed.
  4. Force runs away (although I admit there is a 1/3rd chance of "Attack!")

You need to be happy with this possibility if you take this.

Another "problem" is the termagant. Most folks don't feel it is worth the points. Low rate of fire (ROF 1), no AP, you have to forego Fleet of Foot to use the gun, and it does not help in hand-to-hand combat. Finally, as mentioned, all of your Synapse will be walking. This means that if you are lucky, it will take most of the game to reach objectives, let alone the enemy. Ultimately, this choice has much less variability. There are also less opportunities for cool conversions (can you say "Wings"?).

Why should you take it? Well, it is irrefutably the easiest option. There is less modeling work, less worries about conversions, and you might like the random factor of low Leadership (many Ork & Gobbo WFB players do). There is also a lot less decision-making because you don't have to decide on the best mutations for your list choice.

Custom Hive Fleet (basic)

A lot of folks skip right past this option and are not very aware of it. However, you can take a Custom Hive Fleet without taking mutable genus creatures. Why? Well, it allows you to take one-off mutations, such as Hivenodes, Weapons Beasts, Acid Blood, Exceptional Size, and so on. The most popular reasons for this have to be Hivenodes and Rending Claw Weapons Beasts (usually with gaunts/gargoyles). The former plugs the huge gaping Leadership hole and the latter adds some wildcard ability to take down powered armor more effectively and possibly pop lightly armored vehicles.

Custom Hive Fleet with Mutable Genus

Now you have opened the whole can of worms! It may not seem like a lot at first glance, but the ability to mutate just 5 species adds incredible dimension to our list. The most common things done with this are:

  • Hive Tyrants
    • Wings - Fast-moving Synapse and TMC
    • Enhanced Senses - Wow, as accurate as a basic Space Marine!
    • Extended Carapace - Cheaper and more fun because you can actually model it
  • Gaunts
    • Spinegaunts - Gaunt + Spinefist; cheap and uses contents of gaunt box efficiently
    • Scythegaunts - Gaunt + Scything Talons; not quite as cheap as Spinegaunt, but double Attacks. The biggest limitation is that you will want to use your Scything Talons on Hormagaunts or some other Leaper variation, speaking of which...
    • Pumped Up Hormagaunts - Gaunt + Leaping + Scything Talons + Toxins Sacs (+1 S) + Adrenal Gland (WS or Init, depends on tastes); this gives you a Gaunt that can have a chance of popping AV10 vehicle facings.
  • Warriors
    • Wings - Fast-moving Synapse and tough close combat units
    • Fast killing machines - Basic Warriors stats + RC + ST + Wings/Leaping
    • Heavy Weapons Warriors - Entire units of Venom Cannon Warriors; great for dropping light vehicles, but too expensive for some (including me)
  • Rippers
    • Leaping and Wings seem the most popular variation because they are so bloody slow.
  • Carnifex
    • Econofex - Carnifex + STx2 + Adrenal Gland (WS) = 90 pts. Sure, he's "only" S9, but if you want to field a cheap monster, he's not bad.
    • Shooty Venomfex - Carnifex + ST + Venom Cannon + Enhanced Senses = 127 pts.; basically saving 16 pts. on biomorphs that may never matter because he'll be gunned down long before he reaches close combat. :P


A Sample List

Here I will explain why I made a typical list for my hive fleet.


"Thunder" Mutable Hive Tyrant
Biomorphs: Enhanced Senses, Toxin Sacs, Scything Talons (x1), Venom Cannon.
Tyrant Guard x 2


"Lightning" Mutable Hive Tyrant
Biomorphs: Adrenal Glands (In), Adrenal Glands (WS), Extended Carapace, Toxin Sacs, Wings, Scything Talons (x2).
Hive Mind Powers - Warp Blast.


Elites - I did not take any in this list.

Troops - My favorite.

Thymid Stealers (Genestealers) x 9
Thymid Stealers (Genestealers) x 9

Spinegaunts x 32 Mutable Gaunts
Biomorph: Spinefists.
One-off mutants (see page 37 of Codex): 1 Hive Node.


Spinegaunts x 32 Mutable Gaunts
Biomorph: Spinefists.
One-off mutants (see page 37 of Codex): 1 Hive Node.

Phagocytic Swarm (Ripper Swarm) x 8
One-off mutants (see page 37 of Codex): 2 Weapon Beast (Rending Claws) Mutants.
Lysogaunts x 24 Mutable Gaunts
Biomorphs: Leaping, Toxin Sacs, Adrenal Glands (In).
One-off mutants (see page 37 of Codex): 1 Hive Node.

Fast Attack - Although I love Gargoyles, I wanted Heavy Support more for this list.

Heavy Support - I think that you should always take a Carnifex unless there a reason not to.

Bursavores (Biovores) x 2
Both with Poison Spore Mines and Bio Acid Spore Mines

"Mjolnir" Mutable Carnifex
Biomorphs: Enhanced Senses, Extended Carapace, Scything Talons (x1), Venom Cannon.


Models in Army: 121

Troop Type Count Unused Points Unused Percent
HQ (>=1 unit <=2 unit) 2 0 409 1291 24%
Elite (<=3 unit) 0 3 0 1700 0%
Troops (>=2 unit <=6 unit) 6 0 1018 682 59%
Fast Attack (<=3 unit) 0 3 0 1700 0%
Heavy Support (<=3 unit) 2 1 273 1427 16%
Other (N/A) 0 n/a 0 1700 0%
Equipment Summary 5 n/a 40 n/a 2%

How Much Money Did it Cost (US dollars)?

  • ($80) 2 Hive Tyrants
  • ($26) 2 Tyrant Guard
  • ($60) 24 Genestealers - I only use 18 above,
  • ($200) 64 Spinegaunts & 24 Lysogaunts - You get 8 of each type in a box, so barring trades, this requires 8 boxes of Gaunts and it probably the most expensive part of my army.
  • (N/A) 8 Ripper Swarms - no extra cost, they come in the box (see my Ripper Swarms comments for more details)
  • ($20) 2 Biovores - You don't *have* to buy more spore mines, but I did, and that runs another six bucks or so. In my case, I bought a pack of extra spore mines for each Biovore.
  • ($35) Carnifex.
  • Total: $421

Phage's Spawn - The Spawn Revealed!

First, the background::

"Hive Fleet Phage, as classified by the Magus Biologis, has the curious characteristic of having evolved beyond the common strains encountered by our valiant soldiers. This Hive Fleet has specialized to the point that entirely different armies have been encountered. The primary force mix, which has been classified as Beta Response, seems to have evolved away from the medium-class creatures. It is composed exclusively of the smaller troop units supported by monster-class creatures and Biovores."

- Darian Cord, Magos Biologis

"Hive Fleet Phage is unique in that it terraforms a planet instead of simply stripping it. The remaining planets are incredibly hostile to humans, but the net biomass lost is trivial. Our xenobotanists have noticed a specific plant that occurs on all such converted planets. We have classified it Barbae Metallicus; it is commonly called Bronze Thistle. It appears to be an essential part of their diet and likely contributes to metallization of their cartilage, creating tough armor plates with less consumption of biomass. As a result, creatures of Hive Fleet Phage can often be identified by bronze-colored flecks in their chitin. A second common marker is bright orange edging on their dark green chitin plates. Their blood has a purple hue to it and this color is reflected in the color of their flesh."

- Mortimer Senik, Xenobiologist

"I now know that we are the plague foretold by Those That Sleep and Hive Fleet Phage is the Great Devourer. The Great Devourer has come to cleanse the galaxy of our plague. Their passing cleanses the universe, preparing it for the awakening of Those That Sleep. Our foul putrescence, propagated by our putrid Corpse-Emperor and his brainwashed minions does not deserve to share their universe. We are barely worthy of consumption. I welcome oblivion."

-Last transmission of Heretic Robert Gadolin, Former Professor of Necron Studies, Jalis Institute, Morna Prime

  • The Unit Names

  • HQ
    • Thunder - Mutable Hive Tyrant with Venom Cannon, Scything Talons, Enhanced Senses, and Toxin Sacs; usually with Tyrant Guard (points willing)
    • Lightning - Mutable Hive Tyrant with Wings, Scything Talons (x2), Toxin Sacs, Adrenal Glands (x2), Extended Carapace, Warp Blast, Catalyst, Enhanced Senses.
  • Elite
    • Hemagogues - Standard Warriors, Extended Carapace, Flesh Hooks; mixed weapons - Rending Claws & ST, Venom Cannon & ST, and STx2.
    • Lictors
  • Troops
    • Thymid Stealers - Standard Genestealers
    • Lysogaunts - Mutable Genus Gaunts with Leaping, Toxin Sacs, Adrenal Gland (usually +1 I), and Scything Talons; Mutant - Hivenode
    • Spinegaunts - Mutable Genus Gaunts with Spinefists; Mutant - Hivenode
    • Phagocytic Swarm - Standard Ripper Swarm; Mutants - Rending Claws Weaponbeasts
  • Fast Attack
    • Gargoyles
    • Red Terror
  • Heavy Support
    • Mjolnir - Mutable Carnifex w/ Venom Cannon and Scything Talons, Enhanced Senses, and Extended Carapace
    • Gungnir - Mutable Carnifex w/ Venom Cannon and Scything Talons, Enhanced Senses, and Extended Carapace
    • Hemagogues Type II - Standard Warriors, Extended Carapace, Flesh Hooks; mixed weapons - Rending Claws & ST, Venom Cannon & ST (multiples of these, hence HS), and STx2

The Current Contents of the Hive Ship

Here's what I own. The numbers in parenthesis show the acceptable brood sizes.

  • Headquarters
    • Hive Tyrant 2 (1)
    • Tyrant Guard Brood 6 (2-3)
  • Elites
    • Lictors 3 (1-3). Maximum of one unit in an army, or maximum of 3 models in an army.
    • Warriors 18 (3 to 9)
  • Troops
    • Genestealers: 48 (6 to 12)
    • Termagant 48 (8 to 32)
    • Ripper Swarm 65 pieces [I need to decide how many pieces per stand] (3 to 10 stands)
    • Hormagaunt 48 (8 to 32)
  • Fast Attack
    • Ravener 6 (1 to 6)
    • Gargoyles 36 (8 to 32)
  • Heavy Support
    • Carnifex 4, 2 new and 2 old (1)
    • Zoanthropes 3 (1 to 3). Maximum of one unit in an army, or maximum of 3 models in an army.
    • Biovores 3 (1 to 3). Maximum of one unit in an army, or maximum of 3 models in an army.
      • Poison x 9
      • Fragmentation x 9
      • Acid x 9
  • 1 Red Terror
  • 1 Old One Eye

Tyranid Value - Unit Costs [Prices updated as of 2004.01.16]

Unit Cost per unit Points Points/Dollar
Hive Tyrant $40 102-220 2.55 - 5.5
Tyrant Guard $13 45-52 3.5 - 4.0
Lictor $20 80 4
Warrior $30/3 = $10.00 20-64 (w/ mutations) 2-6.4
Genestealer $30/12 = $2.5 16-22 6.4 - 8.8
Termagant* $30/16 = $1.88 7 3.7*
Hormagaunt* $30/16 = $1.88 10 5.3*
Ripper Swarm** $8.50/4 = $2.13** 10 4.7**
Ravener $10 45-53 4.5 - 5.3
Gargoyle $4.50 10 2.2
Carnifex $35 100-170 2.9 - 4.9
Zoanthrope $10 39-59 3.9 - 5.9
Biovores*** $10*** 50-78 5.0 - 7.8***
Red Terror $25 104 4.2
Old One Eye $40 164 4.1

* - a box Gaunts give 8 of each and one Ripper Swarm, for about 146/$25 or 5.8 points per dollar. Also, note that may folks take more or less expensive Gaunts.
** - based on the old Ripper Swarm price of $8.50 for 12 and assuming 3 per base. See my Ripper Swarms comments for more info.
*** - Of course, the spore mines cost extra $7 for a blister of 6 (2 of each type), or about $1 apiece, and I would need to have a few more blisters to account for all of the ammo that might be used in a given battle.

Well, it shows what you knew all along, Gargoyles are expensive to field in numbers. Genestealers win out as the most fiscally economical path to a high point army, with Gaunts coming in a distant second. Without their need for a Synapse creature and the versatility of their rending claws, the Genestealers are pretty cool. Of course, you can take some Gaunt mutants that are expensive. The most expensive that you could get without buying wings would be leaping, toxin sacs, fleshborer, and bio-plasma attack; that would cost 18 points each.

Flexible Biomorphing

So, you can't decide exactly what to have on your miniature, and you have the Tyranid army, so you have a staggering number of choices. If you're like me, you want to try out a biomorph before you permanently affix it to your model. Well, I have an answer - RUBBER CEMENT.

Yep, it works. Try it out. It will look a little different because the cement will be a little blobby and shiny, depending on your glue application skill. You can paint over the cement if you like. Most importantly, you can just pop off the piece later if you like. You may need to clean and touch up the areas, but the other option is permanently affixing the biomorphs.

What you do:

  1. Buy some rubber glue/cement. This is easy. Even grocery stores will stock this with their school supplies and stationery.
  2. Clean/prep/paint the model and biomorph.
  3. Set up some way to support the pieces if needed. For example, if you want to rubber cement a Venom Cannon arm pair onto a Tyranid Monstrous Creature, then you will want something to support the weapon at the desired angle while the glue cures.
  4. Dab some rubber cement on the biomorph or the attachment point. Try not to use more than you need. Since you can do this over and over with reasonable safety, you can experiment with how much you need.
  5. Join the pieces.
  6. Put support in place as needed. Realize that the rubber cement gives a little, so there will be a tiny bit of sag in a long piece joined at a small point, such as a Venom Cannon arm pair.
  7. Wait for the glue to dry. I waited for hours, but I have not experimented to see what the minimum time is.

Idea (not tested): Another, not so straight forward approach is pins. I haven't tried this with models, but I have used for parts in research. It's simple, get some rigid rod, your pin vise, and a drill bit with the same or slightly larger diameter than your rod material.

  1. Cut off a short piece of the rod to serve as a pin
  2. Drill holes in the piece and the mounting joint
  3. Join the parts with the pin

Depending on how well the pin fits, you may need to file a taper on it. Ideally, the hole and the pin would match exactly and you would have a friction fit. This could turn your model into an action figure of sorts. :-) If the hole is too big, the arms will just rotate freely. If that was the case, I might just use a little dab of rubber cement as well to hold the desired position.

Let me know if you have any feedback on this.

Ripper Swarms "Missing"

Fair Warning! In the Codex Tyranids, there is a claim that a Ripper Swarm comes on every sprue. Not true. Ripper Swarms are present on Monster, Termagant, and Warrior sprues in boxed sets as follows:

Short Rippers
Tall Rippers
My Rippers
Hive Tyrant (2)
Tyranid Warriors (6 boxes)
Gaunts (6 boxes)
Carnifex (2 boxes)
Old One Eye (1)

Tyranids Box, Blister and Sprue Guide

Sprue/Blister/Box contents

Blister, Biovore (1 Biovore and 3 Spore Mines)

  • Body
  • Head
  • Four legs
  • One each of the three different types of mines that vary among three slightly different models for each type.


Blister, Gargoyles (2 per blister, by far the most expensive unit in terms of points per dollar)

  • Wings
  • Body
  • Arms w/ Fleshborer
  • Elevated bases

What's Missing? Nothing. They have no biomorphs and they are not mutable genus. You can do one-off mutation if you choose a custom hive fleet, though.


Blister, Lictors (1 per Blister)

  • 2 Legs
  • 1 pair Scything Talons arms
  • 1 pair Rending Claws arms
  • 2 Flesh hooks
  • 1 Body
  • 1 Head

What's Missing? Nothing! They have no biomorphs and are genofixed.


Blister, Ravener

  • Tail/abdomen
  • Torso
  • Head (two pieces)
  • 1 pair of Devourer arms
  • 1 pair of Scything Talons

What's Missing?

  • Rending Claws
  • Deathspitter
  • Spinefists


Blister, Spore Mines

2 of each type of mine for a total of 6; the mines vary among three slightly different models for each type.

Which are which? Flip to page 25 of your codex. The order of the minis in the picture matches the order of the names in the caption - frag (plates), poison (ribbed vent and 4 knobs along center), bio-acid (trio of tubes on either side, short line of ridged plates on back).


Blister, Tyrant Guard (1 per blister)

  • Body & Head
  • 2 Legs
  • 1 Rending Claw arm
  • 1 Lash Whips arm (so that's what is looks like!)
  • 1 Shield & arms

What's missing?

  • Flesh Hooks
  • Implant Attack


Blister, Zoanthrope (1 per blister)

  • Body
  • Head
  • Skullplate

What's Missing? Nothing! They have no biomorphs and are genofixed. Technically, you can make them one-off mutants, but why?


Box, Battleforce

A Battleforce box includes the contents of 2 boxes of Gaunts, 1 box of Warriors, and 1 box of Genestealers. That gives you:


Box, Carnifex (1 per Box)

What's Missing? Well, they are mutable, so quite a bit:

  • Deathspitter
  • Devourer
  • Lash Whips - See the Tyrant Guard Image (Pg. 26 Codex Tyranids) to see what this looks like.
  • Flesh Hooks
  • Implant Attack
  • Bio-Plasma Attack - The only example in the 3rd ed is the Gargoyle's Gieger-esque mouth gun
  • Adrenal glands
  • Enhanced Senses
  • Toxin Sacs


Box, Gaunts (Box of 8 Hormagaunts, 8 Termagants, 5 Ripper Swarm Pieces)

What's missing? Potentially quite a lot, especially if you consider mutations:

  • Wings - Gargoyles seem to be the only source and they are the most expensive unit in points per dollar.
  • Enhanced Senses - Example in book shows use of Green Stuff to make them.
  • Flesh Hooks
  • Implant Attack
  • Bio-Plasma Attack - Is that the Alien-like mouth on the Gargoyles?


Box, Genestealers (12 per box)

Gotta love those geno-fixed species! It's just bodies, arms, and bases. Each sprue consists of four individual mini sprues containing a base, body, and two pairs of arms. Basically, two slightly different Genestealer bodies/poses. I got bored with that and took advantage of the fact that they are all plastic to do some simple conversions for variety.

What's missing? There are no bits to represent the biomorphs they can take:

  • Scything Talons
  • Flesh Hooks
  • Implant Attack
  • Toxin Sacs
  • Extended Carapace


Box, Hive Tyrant (1 per box)

What's missing? The things they can take that is not in the box are:

  • Deathspitter
  • Devourer
  • Spinefists
  • Lash Whips - See the Tyrant Guard Image (Pg. 26 Codex Tyranids) to see what this looks like.
  • Flesh Hooks
  • Implant Attack
  • Bio-Plasma Attack - Is that the Alien-like mouth on the Gargoyles?


Box, Tyranid Warriors (box)

What's missing?

  • Lash Whips - See the Tyrant Guard Image (Pg. 26 Codex Tyranids) to see what this looks like.
  • Rending Claws - Only one pair on the Monster sprue.


Sprue, Biomorph - Gaunts (Enough for 3 models)
  • #1 & #2 Devourer arm pairs - 3 pair per sprue
  • #3 Toxin sacs - 6 per sprue
  • #4-#6 Extended carapace - 3 total per sprue
  • #7-#12 Spinefist arm pairs - 3 pair per sprue
  • #13 Ripper Swarm - 1 per sprue
  • #14 Adrenal glands - 3 per sprue


Sprue, Biomorph - Monsters (one set each of multiple biomorphs)
  • #1 & #2 - 1 pair of Barbed Strangler arms
  • #3 & #4 - 1 pair of Venom Cannon arms
  • #5 & #6 - 1 pair of Rending Claws (somewhat useless for a Monstrous Tyranid)
  • #7 & #8 - 1 pair of Scything Talons arms
  • #9 & #10 - Extended Carapaces (checking with GW customer service)
  • #11 - Ripper Swarm


Sprue, Gaunts H - The ones you would use for Hormagaunts or Gaunts with the Leaping Legs mutation. Each sprue is adequate to make two Hormagaunts.
  • #1-#4 - Heads
  • #5 & #6 - Bodies with Leaping Legs
  • #7-#10 - Pairs of Scything Talons arms


Sprue, Gaunts T - The ones you would use for Termagants or Gaunts without the Leaping Legs mutation . Each sprue is adequate to make two Termagants.
  • #1-#4 - Heads
  • #5 & #6 - Bodies
  • #7-#10 - Pairs of Fleshborer arms


Sprue, Tyranid Warrior

  • #1 Tail/pelvis
  • #2 & #3 Scything Talons
  • #4 & #5 Legs
  • #6 Chest
  • #7 Back
  • #8A & #8B Head with Implant Attack
  • #9A & #9B Head (without Implant Attack)
  • #10 & #11 Flesh Hooks
  • #12 & #14 Deathspitter arms
  • #13 Ripper Swarm


Getting more sprues or just a few bits

  1. Ask your buddies!
  2. Go to your local retailer. They set their own prices and should give you a better deal than GW; if not, their greedy wankers and you should contact GW
  3. Order from GW. They routinely charge $8 per sprue. Damned expensive when you realize that some boxes, e.g. Gaunts, come with seven sprues, so buying piecemeal is more than twice as expensive.
  4. Trade with other people via the internet.


Mutants Not Allowed?

In January 2002, it was announced that in Australian Grand Tournaments (and I hear the Rogue Trader Tournaments) they were not allowing mutable genus Tyranids. That specifically means the variant basic units on page 38 to 40 in the Codex. That did not include the one-off mutants, such as Hive Nodes and Weapon Beasts. This was very bad news for those that were very into converting models and such.

The 2002 United States GT series did allow mutable genus. With the release of the Chaos Space Marines Codex, it would be hard to rationalize why one would need to constrain the Tyranids when faced with the awesome variability of the CSM.

Why did they do this? No one but they will really know, but one suggestion proffered was that the opponent would have a hard time keeping tabs on WYSIWYG. That's a lame reason, IMO, since the Tyranids are actually a lot simpler than a lot of armies. There are no sergeants with radically different abilities, no transport vehicle upgrades, nor lots of little gadgets that completely change their tactical significance. Another reason proffered was that it would be hard to check the lists. That's not really adequate. I have helped process the lists for two convention RTTs and I am working on my third. It is just as hard to check a Tyranid list as any other list - you need someone familiar with the list rules to really do a good job.

Should you worry? Well, now that the Tyranid Codex is not so new and the new Chaos Space Marine Codex has come out, it's not a big deal. The CSM codex provides an absurd amount of customizability, so I suppose in comparison, the Tyranids are pretty plain.

In January 2003, the word was out it would happen again. The UK GTs were also going to ban mutants of all sorts. With a little prodding, players got mobilized and communicated their problems with it. It turns out that in the case of the UK, it mostly came down to Pete Haines' concerns about abuses of Rending Claws Rippers. In the case of Australia, it turns out that it came down to one of the people that built the tournament structure in Australia. I suppose my point is that it's possible to make a difference, so contact GW. Be sober, be polite, and be intelligent; the fundamental point is the the Tyranid Codex is a legal codex and thus should be allowed in its entirety. If rules need to be "clarified", then the studio can address that in Chapter Approved. It is not appropriate for tournaments to pick and choose pieces from a basic codex to the extent that was suggested above.


Last updated 2004-01-17