Tyranid Tactics – Warhammer 40k 8th Edition


Servants of the Hive Mind, do you have the (Ultramarine) Blues? Is there an Iron Hand holding you down? Do you see all the candy being passed out to those tasty power-armored treats and wish you had some new biomass to call your own? Well, rejoice, because Psychic Awakening Blood of Baal is here to chase away those blues and help you rise above the oppressive yoke holding you down.

New Rules for Hive Fleets

So, what’s this all about? In a nutshell, Blood of Baal contains new and updated rules for Codex: Tyranids, including Relics, Stratagems and – the big thing – new Hive Fleet Adaptations and Adaptive Physiology. Cool, cool, man. What’s this mean? Let’s dig in!

Hive Fleet Adaptations

These are like Chapter Traits for Space Marines. You can use the adaptations from Codex: Tyranids, or you can create your own Hive Fleet and chose two of the new Adaptations. There are two pages of them, so let’s check out a few of the stand outs and see what they do:

  • Bio-metallic Cysts – Improve the AP for all Scything Talons by 1. You know, Scything Talons, the thing every hormagaunt carries? Tyranid warriors, too. This makes them a lot scarier than the standard AP0 versions. Hormagaunts are cheap, too.
  • Hypermetabolic Acceleration – Re-roll your Advance roll. Save those CP for better things (and there are better things). Note that this is for every unit, doesn’t matter if it’s a hormaguant, warrior, carnifex, whatever. This covers all units in the detachment with this Adaptation.
  • Metamorphic Regrowth – At the start of your turn, every model with this Adaptation regains a lost wound. If you’re all-in on Big Bugs this one can keep them alive longer.
  • Pack Hunters – Improve the AP of a melee weapon by 1 when attacking a unit with less models than in your attacking unit. Yes, this stacks with Bio-metallic Cysts. Yes, you can take hormaguants in 30 gaunt units. AP -2 Scything Talons, anyone?
  • Prey-sight — +1 to hit rolls for a MONSTER unit when it charges, is charged, or Heroically Intervenes. Carnifexes that hit on 2s, re-rolling 1s when they charge. Degraded Hive Tyrants hitting on 2s again. Trygons hitting on 2s re-rolling 1s. You get the idea. I foresee this Adaptation getting used a LOT.
  • Senses of the Outer Dark – 4+ Feel No Pain style save against wounds taken in Overwatch. You know what stinks? When you finally scamper across the board to find your tasty prey just waiting to be devoured, and then you die from Overwatch. This Adaptation is fantastic on any unit or model that you expect to get into melee – and that should be a lot of your units. 
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Adaptive Physiology

Right! So those Hive Fleet Adaptations are definitely cool. But what if you really need to specialize a unit for a certain role or task? Adaptive Physiology has got you covered! Instead of taking a Warlord trait for your Tyranid CHARACTER, you can choose to give an Adaptive Physiology to either a unit of INFANTRY or to a MONSTER model. There are several to choose from, with separate ones for INFANTRY or MONSTER. If you want to give another unit an Adaptive Physiology, there’s the Progeny of the Hive Stratagem. For the low, low price of 1CP you can give another unit an Adaptive Physiology. You can only do this once per battle, so choose carefully.

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Infantry Physiologies

Two of the five INFANTRY-specific adaptations really shine:

  • Enhanced Resistance – AP-1 and/or AP-2 count as AP0. Remember the humble hormagaunt? How about a hormagaunt unit of 30 with AP-2 scything talons that treat AP-1/-2 as AP0?
  • Dynamic Camouflage – If this unit is in cover, add 2 to the saving throw instead of 1. I don’t have to explain to you why this is good, right?
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Monster Physiologies

Do you remember Big Bugs? Nidzilla? Do you remember the last time you saw Nidzilla on the table? No? Well…expect that to change. These new rules for your MONSTER models are good. There are 5 in total, but I think you’ll like these best:

  • Synaptic Enhancement – gain Shadow in the Warp and Synapse abilities, and the SYNAPSE keyword. Instinctive Behavior got your Carnifex distracted? Not any more!
  • Dermic Symbiosis – okay, I’ll admit I saved the best for last. This model has a 5++ invul save and if it has a damage table it is considered to have double the number of wounds remaining. If you asked 10 Tyranid players the thing they want most, I’ll bet most of them would say “An invul save for my big bugs!” Well…here you go!

Bio-Artifacts of the Tyranids

There’s a few new Relics to take on your new juiced-up Nids. They mostly fall under the “enhancement” category, as these two demonstrate:

  • Resonance Bard – PSYKER only, +1 Cast, +1 Deny, and +1 to Psychic tests. It’s like making your Neurothrope a Chief Librarian. Well, almost. ?
  • Arachnacyte Gland – Replaces Adrenal Glands. Roll and additional D6 when you charge and discard one of the dice. +1 to Advance rolls. Simple and effective.


No update is complete without new Stratagems, and Blood of Baal does not disappoint in that department, with 16 new Strats for Nids. They all have situational use, but as always, some rise to the top:

  • Symbiotic Devastation – 1CP – Select an EXOCRINE unit, they are treated as having not moved in your Movement phase. Ah, having to move is the bane of Exocrines across the galaxy. They really don’t want to move. Sometimes you have to, though, and here’s your solution.
  • Feral Instincts – 1CP – Improve the AP for Hormagaunts by 1 for a Fight phase. Remember that unit of hormagaunts I’ve been talking about all article? How about AP-3 hormagaunts? Yowza!
  • Savage Distraction – 1CP – Use this when you destroy a unit in the Fight phase. In your opponent’s next Shooting phase, any units within 6” of that unit are -1 on their hit rolls. Okay yes, I know this is super situational, but I love the nod to the Distraction Carnifex this Strat represents.
  • Aggressive Adaptation – 1CP – When you destroy an enemy in the Fight phase, this Strat improves the AP of all melee weapons in the unit that did the killing by 1. For the rest of the battle. You can only use it once on any given unit, but…do I need to explain AP-4 Carnifexes?
  • Hunter’s Drive – 1CP – Used when you Charge any units that have lost one or more models from Shooting by a friendly HIVE FLEET SYNAPSE model earlier in the turn. Roll an additional D6 to the Charge roll and discard one of the dice. The first model you move must end its move within an inch of one of those units. The SYNAPSE requirement does make this trickier to pull off – if only there was a way to make more MONSTERs have SYNAPSE. Oh, wait…there is!

Example Army List and Tactica

I don’t think “subtlety” belongs in a description of a Tyranid army – and I think this list follows that idea well.

Bloof of Baal Bug Rush!

++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Tyranids) [50 PL, 8CP, 923pts] ++

+ No Force Org Slot [8CP] +

Battle-forged CP [3CP]

Detachment CP [5CP]

Hive Fleet Getrekticus, Hive Adaptations Bio-metallic Cysts; Pack Hunters

+ HQ [10 PL, 161pts] +

Neurothrope [4 PL, 90pts]

 Bio-Artefact: Resonance Barb

Tyranid Prime [6 PL, 71pts]: Adrenal Glands [1pts], 2x Scything Talons

+ Troops [27 PL, 474pts] +

Hormagaunts [9 PL, 168pts]

. 28x Hormagaunt [168pts]: 28x Adrenal Glands [28pts]

Hormagaunts [9 PL, 180pts]

. 30x Hormagaunt [180pts]: 30x Adrenal Glands [30pts]

Tyranid Warriors [9 PL, 126pts]

. Tyranid Warrior [21pts]: Adrenal Glands [1pts], 2x Scything Talons

. Tyranid Warrior [21pts]: Adrenal Glands [1pts], 2x Scything Talons

. Tyranid Warrior [21pts]: Adrenal Glands [1pts], 2x Scything Talons

. Tyranid Warrior [21pts]: Adrenal Glands [1pts], 2x Scything Talons

. Tyranid Warrior [21pts]: Adrenal Glands [1pts], 2x Scything Talons

. Tyranid Warrior [21pts]: Adrenal Glands [1pts], 2x Scything Talons

+ Elites [13 PL, 288pts] +

Hive Guard [13 PL, 288pts]

. Hive Guard [48pts]: Impaler Cannon [30pts]

. Hive Guard [48pts]: Impaler Cannon [30pts]

. Hive Guard [48pts]: Impaler Cannon [30pts]

. Hive Guard [48pts]: Impaler Cannon [30pts]

. Hive Guard [48pts]: Impaler Cannon [30pts]

. Hive Guard [48pts]: Impaler Cannon [30pts]

++ Spearhead Detachment +1CP (Tyranids) [69 PL, 1,077pts] ++

+ No Force Org Slot [1CP] +

Detachment CP [1CP]

Hive Fleet Gitgudimus, Hive Adaptations: Prey-sight; Senses of the Outer Dark

+ HQ [11 PL, 215pts] +

Hive Tyrant [11 PL, 215pts]: 2x Monstrous Scything Talons [20pts], Adrenal Glands [5pts], Warlord, Wings [2 PL, 47pts]

+ Heavy Support [58 PL, 862pts] +

Carnifexes [18 PL, 261pts]

. Carnifex [87pts]: 2x Monstrous Scything Talons [15pts], Adrenal Glands [5pts]

. Carnifex [87pts]: 2x Monstrous Scything Talons [15pts], Adrenal Glands [5pts]

. Carnifex [87pts]: 2x Monstrous Scything Talons [15pts], Adrenal Glands [5pts]

Carnifexes [18 PL, 261pts]

. Carnifex [87pts]: 2x Monstrous Scything Talons [15pts], Adrenal Glands [5pts]

. Carnifex [87pts]: 2x Monstrous Scything Talons [15pts], Adrenal Glands [5pts]

. Carnifex [87pts]: 2x Monstrous Scything Talons [15pts], Adrenal Glands [5pts]

Exocrine [11 PL, 170pts]

Exocrine [11 PL, 170pts]

++ Total: [119 PL, 8CP, 2,000pts] ++

This list hopefully utilizes the new Adaptations to good effect for each detachment. The Hive Fleet Getrekticus battalion rushes the Prime, Warriors and Hormagaunt units forward, scampering up the table to engage as quickly as possible to sink the shiny new AP-1/-2 scything talons into everything in sight. Drop Feral Instincts on a big hormie unit for some AP-3 lulz. Consume everything in your path! The Neurothrope sits back and provides psychic support for the Hive Guard (which, while unchanged, are still very good at what they do). Smash captain gets too close? Cook him down with a Smite – you know the routine. Hive Fleet Gitgudimus has the warlord forsake his Warlord Trait for Adaptive Physiology and spends a CP for a second one. Either give both Exocrines a 5++ or give one the 5++ and the other SYNAPSE if you feel like you can pull off Hunter’s Drive to boost a unit of Carnies into a tasty target. The Carnifexes bowling ball forward, supported by the Hive Tyrant. Apply Savage Distraction when appropriate and Aggressive Adaptation the first time each unit makes a kill. Subtlety is for Harlequin players – roll up, roll out, and CONSUME!


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As always a big thanks to Games Workshop for the images provided for our article.

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