Tactical Command

Hive Fleet Keres- A highly experimental Tyranid list
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Author:  Geep [ Thu Dec 10, 2015 11:08 am ]
Post subject:  Hive Fleet Keres- A highly experimental Tyranid list

Attached is my attempt at a new and hopefully interesting Tyranid list. I've taken ideas from many sources, some other Epic Tyranid armies and some more foreign. I've tried to credit all sources in the post below.

This list is highly experimental- especially the points! I haven't yet had a chance to playtest this at all (I am about to run out of local opponents), but any feedback is appreciated!

The second post of this thread is my pre-emptive attempt to answer some of the what and why about this list.

HiveFleetKeres_v1.0.pdf [615.3 KiB]
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Author:  Geep [ Thu Dec 10, 2015 11:22 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hive Fleet Keres- A highly experimental Tyranid list

Hive Fleet Keres

The why:
I haven’t found any Epic list that captures the right ‘feel’ of Tyranids for me, and no list I’ve played with has felt like it has the right balance. As much as I like spawning, expendable and the madness that is Behemoth I feel like most lists don’t have the right mix of theme, options and balance. I’m not saying my list is balanced at all- no doubt it’s far from it! But hopefully some of the ideas addressed here may catch on.
The what:

The first obvious thing about this list is that it is three lists. It has always struck me as strange that Space Marines painted in different colours can get highly varied army lists, but Tyranids (which are even more varied) have no such choice (outside of crossing between NetEA, EpicUK, etc). I’ve divided the list into three based on the stage of the ‘infection’- Invasion, Subjugation and Consumption. I’ll talk more specifically on each stage later.

One of my favourite things about Tyranids is their adaptability, and the options available to their main ‘workhorse’ units (most Synapse creatures and Carnifexes). To make that possible I’ve added weapon selection options to some units, in a similar way to how weapons are added to Titans. It’s probably excessive to give Warrior types that flexibility, but I’m leaving it in for now. Most weapons have equal or minimal cost, and it’s usually possible to create something close to the ‘classic’ version seen in most lists.

I also want a modern-focussed but inclusive list, so the reference sheet is quite large. It’s not based on currently available Epic models only, so conversions, new sculpts and proxying are encouraged. I was inspired by some of the original models, fan-sculpts and common proxies though. The ‘stages’ division will hopefully help prevent list option overcrowding, while still leaving the choices available.

I’ve also redesigned a few units based on the changes that have happened to their 40k versions.
I have obviously borrowed heavily from many lists already out there- I’d like to thank those authors for their work, and will try and give appropriate credit below.

This list represents the initial stages of the Tyranid attack. Scout organisms like Genestealers and Lictors are present in large numbers, as well as fast troops. War Engines are restricted, as I imagine most of these needing time to mature on the ground before they can join the fight. Trygons aren’t present as they take time to dig their tunnels. I see this list as being the ultimate Tyranid horde list, filled with Gaunts and relying on engage actions that are costly for both sides. This list allows plenty of Tervigons which, though expensive and vulnerable, allow for Termagants to be replenished easily.

This is also the only list to have a Space Ship option, allowing for a drop assault army. I have purposefully left Cultists out of this force as I wanted to focus on ‘Tyranid only’ assets, though they would be a perfect ally.
I don’t expect much from the ‘Adrenalin Rush’ rule, but I came across the idea as an old rule for Orks in a previous Epic edition. It reminded me of an old White Dwarf Tyranid drop-troop army for 40k, featuring ‘Nids so hyped up they would die soon after arrival, but cause carnage while they lived. In EA I hope it may encourage people to try for a first-turn Cruiser attack.

This list is the ‘standard’ force, with a mix of scout and heavy options. It just lacks the most extreme units, and the numbers of specialist units available to the other forces. At this point the Tyranid forces are mostly on the ground, and organise resistance is being shattered.

I purposefully mixed Independent and Support formations (or their equivalent) found in other lists so that an army would naturally adopt a minor theme- either filled with scout units, indicating an earlier Subjugation force, or with heavy War Engines, indicating the infestation is reaching ‘Consumption’ stage.

This is the ‘Titan’ style list, designed to crush the last, strongest areas of resistance. It is not Titan-only, as I don’t see Tyranids as ever lacking in their (relatively) smaller forces, but it is possible to avoid taking any of the smallest bugs. The atmosphere is being consumed at this point, so only the most powerful flyers can stay aloft.
Up to 2/3rds of the army points can be spent on the heavy hitters in this list, and heavier rare units can be taken en masse. The list has few Gaunts, and few of the lighter support troops.

If you haven’t looked at the list(s) yet it’s a good idea to do that now. The following ramble is my ‘why’ for everything.

Force Selection:
I stole the Hive Fleet Leviathan force selection method, as the clusters are easy to adapt for the multiple army lists I’ve made here.

Special rules:

This is a classic army-wide rule, and I think it’s very appropriate for Tyranids. The added extra protection for Light Vehicles is new, but usually fairly minor.

Synapse is core to Tyranids. The rally bonus represents the fearless effect, and also replaces the rally bonus given in some other lists to help reinforce its importance. It also links with the Expendable rule, so that it’s not only useful when rallying. A Tyranid swarm with Synapse is hard to break and easy to rally, but once lost it is very vulnerable.

Expendable follows the EpicUK rules. I think this is very appropriate for the Gaunts, which are intended to deplete the enemy’s ammunition supply. I’ve always found it a little too powerful though, which is why there is now the new Brood rule.

Brood is the negative side of the expendable rule. Note that, although Brood units can’t capture or contest objectives, you can still use them to spread out non-brood units (with normal unit coherency rules), though this may put important units in dangerous situations. Some weak units have Brood without being Expendable, mostly to encourage their specialisation (which is not solidly holding ground).

Spore Cloud:
I like the ability of Tyranids to bring cover with them, but I found the EpicAU rules to break the Epic mould a bit (with an area effect special rule, and stacking cover). Note that you can ‘chain link’ units for cover, as Infantry can gain cover from an Armoured Vehicle which in turn gains cover from a Spore Cloud. This forces units to clump together, making them vulnerable to barrages. By linking the rule with pre-existing rules, FAQ issues should already be covered. I’ve purposefully included one Spore Cloud unit of each ‘size’, but they are more vulnerable than may otherwise be expected (being a Light Vehicle, or having reduced armour).

The NetEA ability to spawn units is very cool, but is way too powerful when combined with the improved Expendable rule. This ability is therefore restricted to Tervigons, only producing Termagants, but it happens as long as the Tervigon lives. It may be too weak as-is, but is intended to be best with multiple Tervigons.

This is a simple rule intended help the Spore Chimneys act like the big, mindless structures they are, growing all over a planet in the late stages of the invasion.

All Synapse units are Fearless, as usual. Many lists also make Carnifexes Fearless, but there’s no reason for them to be when no other monstrous creatures are. Rather than make all of those creatures Fearless now none of them are, making the rally bonus of the Synapse creatures extra important.

Crushing(Weapon trait)
I wanted an ability to add a Macro Weapon attack, without actually adding more attacks (the role of Scything Talons), and this is what I came up with. It's an unusual rule, but I think it is simple enough to work.


These guys are standard stat-wise.

I went with the EpicUK stats, as I like the ‘quantity over quality’ theme for Gaunts.

These are EpicUK again. I like the AA ability, as I’ve found the lack of AA in the NetEA list to be crippling at times. It also gives them a unique role rather than just ‘faster Termagants’.

EpicUK again, for the same reasons, except that they don’t have Synapse as standard.

As with NetEA, except that it is less good (as these Genestealers are only 4+ in CC). Cost is reduced. He adds Synapse, but most of its benefits don’t apply to Genestealers.

Tyranid Warriors:
These follow the EpicUK list, except with the added options available.

These have the stats from EpicUK, but with the Macro Weapon dropped, as that’s much more powerful than I think it really should be. I’ve given them Brood, simple because they are a very bestial unit (even for Tyranids)- It also means all Common Cluster units suffer this rule.

As with the Warriors, sacrificing armour for speed.

As with NetEA, but with less resilience and more attacks. I prefer Sniper over Macro Weapon, as it seems more thematically appropriate.

As with NetEA, gaining some movement but also becoming Brood units.

These stats are adapted from the Leviathan list. They gained some speed and CC ability, but became Light Vehicles and also have Brood.

This is mostly EpicUK, but with the NetEA change of dropping Reinforced Armour for a better standard save. This is partly just to reduce the number of dice rolls these guys need.

These guys are weaker than they should be in combat, to keep the focus on their Spore Cloud. As Light Vehicles they should be fairly vulnerable.

Hive Guard:
These guys are intended to give some mediocre ranged AT firepower, and not do much else. The range is great by Tyranid standards though, so taking a few may be worth it.

Tyrant Guard:
Decent combat monsters, but their main role is to take hits, so they’re not too good.

These are a unit with a lot of options. Rather than make half a dozen separate entries, all Carnifexes share the same profile. That’s why their CC is a little lower than usual, and their FF is better than some lists give them. They can be made very close to the ‘classic’ ‘Fex, or the Arbylis of Behemoth or the Barbed Carnifex of Leviathan, or any combination between them.

I went with the EpicUK stats, but the Exocrine has changed a bit since its first Epic appearance, and now sports a short-range, multi-shot plasma gun. I therefore gave it a short ranged, multi-shot, general purpose gun, based on many other plasma weapons in the game. I consider it about equal to the EpicUK bug (less movement, fewer but better shots). I’ve grouped it with the Dactylis for points, but may be over estimating it.

The Haruspex doesn’t have a MW, but has Sniper instead (partly representative of the 40k tongue attack, but mainly for the armour piercing). I wanted to keep it separate from a CC focussed ‘Fex. It’s also faster than a ‘Fex.

Based on the EpicUK bug, but with better combat, less firefight and a transport capacity. I like the idea of being able to make a ‘mobile infantry’ Tyranid formation, and many other lists give it this option.

As the EpicUK version, but with less FF (just because it doesn’t appear to have close-range shooting). I think this also fits the relative ease with which 6 can be taken, so even a weak unit may be able to shut them down with a good FF (as with most artillery).

Hive Tyrant:
The stats for this guy are pretty set across lists. Since I’ve added weapon options he can’t cover quite as many bases at once anymore, so I upped his CC to 2+.

Winged Hive Tyrant:
This is a standard change, sacrificing armour for speed. This option is only in the Invasion list, helping to cover the reduction in other Synapse options. No other AVs match his speed though, so he will be vulnerable.

Hive Symbiote:
This is another fairly standard item, only in this list it doesn’t add to spawning. This is the only way to get a Supreme Commander in an Invasion swarm, which some people will dislike (no Dominatrix option).

This is a relatively weak monstrous creature compared to its 40k counterpart, again to focus on the Spore Cloud. With 5+RA it will fall much easier than most of its 4+RA friends.

An oversized Zoanthrope. I wasn’t sure what to do with this guy, so I’ve given him the odd position of being a Synapse unit not taken as part of a Synapse Swarm. It’s a bit hard to give this guy a role when his 40k version is just so awful.

This is taken from the Leviathan list, with Planetfall added (for an Invasion swarm).

Hive Crone:
This is also from Leviathan.

Based on Leviathan, but with the simplified and weakened spawning rules due to the gaunt changes. Note that you can also spawn termagants despite not having taken casualties. I gave these limited weapon options, though it’s not too important for them. I strongly considered dropping them, as I expect Crushing Claws will almost always be standard over Scything Talons on these guys.

Based on Leviathan again, but with a greater focus on short-ranged shooting and firefights. I know that, when first released for 40k, Tyranid players loved the Rupture Cannon, but that is not the standard armament of the Tyranofex, does not complement their other weapons, and is also frankly pretty awful (only the then even more terrible Venom Cannon made it look good). If people want more ranged AT they should look at a Heirodule, or massed monstrous Venom Cannons.

Based on EpicUK, though the shooting attack is reduced to FF only and CC is increased to 2+.

The War Engine Spore Cloud unit. It also has Synapse, giving it multiple uses. In return it is quite weak in engagements (for a War Engine) and has no shooting. It provides both a nice boost and vulnerability to Heirophants and Hydraphants.

These are based on the EpicUK version with a slight speed boost (as in Leviathan), in keeping with the modern Forgeworld creature. It has been hinted at that many versions of these exist, so I’ve given them a combined profile and weapon options with a choice of 3 weapons. For the standard Barbed Heirodule I’d consider these to be Twin Gargantuan Stranglethorn Cannons and one pair of Gargantuan Scything Talons, while the Scythed Heirodule has two sets of Gargantuan Scything Talons and one Bio-Acid Spray.

Based on the NetEA version, but with improved FF and fewer set weapons. Some of the weapon options come from the Forgeworld upgrades from 40k. It has lost Regeneration, but gained a DC, which involves less book keeping and gives it another boost in engagements and against breaking. It has also lost the Invulnerable save as some compensation for this improvement. The Critical Hit table is a bit more friendly than most, though it can still be ‘1-shot’ed’ The Heirophant shares most of the same weapon options as the Heirodule, as these are exchangeable on the 40k scale models, though points vary.

I wanted the list to have truly massive beast as an option for a Titan-heavy force, so stole the EpicUK Hydraphant. It has an improved CC and FF, in line with the NetEA style, and otherwise follows the Heirophant, with +1DC, no Regeneration and no Invulnerable Save (and no Synapse). This creature is intended to be a horrible close combat monster, though it can also mount some unusual ranged weapons for Tyranids.

The Dominatrix is taken from the NetEA list. Despite being Synapse and gargantuan I consider it a ‘genofixed’ species, so it has no weapon options. It also has one of the only ranged Tyranid Macro Weapons and some of the best AA. As with other WE’s in this list it has lost regeneration in exchange for +1DC, though it does keep an Invulnerable Save. Deathstrikes will be its bane, but they should be!

This is taken from the NetEA list, except that the AP/AT values have been swapped (Venom cannons being more suited to AT duties than AP, though still decent at both). In the Invasion and Subjugation forces it comes with some very cheap Gargoyles- this is because, as a non-Synapse creature, the Gargoyles are as much hindrance as help. I expect they’ll rarely disembark, but they do make the Harridan harder to break.

Spore Chimney:
Based on the EpicUK Hive Nest, only rather than being a tough Synapse unit its role is to provide some AA to the Consumption list (which can easily find itself struggling in this area). Its limited use makes it a non-obvious choice, though it can hold objectives and let the Titans get on with the job of destroying things.

A simple Tyranid Drop Pod, except that it becomes part of the formation once it has landed. It is quite weak, so the Drop Pod function will be the main use (it could be used as transport while on the ground otherwise).

A Cruiser is needed to go with the Tyranocytes and other Planet Fall units for the Invasion list. I decided not to give it any ground-attack weapons, as I wanted to emphasise that for Tyranids the swarms it drops are the weapons. To give it some more purpose, however, I stole ‘The Sky Darkens’ from the Behemoth list, except that this rule applies only for the turn of the craft’s arrival (the way it is presented in Behemoth just seems too much to me), and rather than just placing a Blast Marker it makes a weak AA attack (so a Flyer unit already receiving AA fire won’t gain more markers, and it may live up to the stories of actually bringing down aircraft). As it attacks in the end phase opponents may find themselves with more BMs than they expected.

Author:  Geep [ Thu Dec 10, 2015 11:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hive Fleet Keres- A highly experimental Tyranid list

Tyranid Heavy Weapons:

The Venom Cannon stats are pretty standard across all lists, and it has more AT power than the Barbed Strangler. The Barbed Stranger has Pinning in 40k, so I’ve given it Disrupt. The Barbed Stranger may be better than the Venom Cannon, so may need some adjustment.
Lash whips and Boneswords are quite powerful, and cost more as a result. The downside is that, by taking these, the Tyranids lose one of their ranged weapons.

Tyranid Monstrous Weapons:
The combat weapons allow for the classic combat ‘fex to be created (only slightly weaker due to the stat change). The Hive Tyrant needs to sacrifice its shooting attack to reach its previous combat abilities, which is why its CC value is improved.
These are loosely based on the Leviathan list. At this stage the Venom Cannon becomes better as an AV hunter, and the Barbed Stranger (Stranglethorn Cannon) is strong enough to hurt some weak vehicles. The Devourer is a great short-ranged AP weapon, but its main value is in FFs. In the Leviathan list these give the Carnifex a FF of 3+, but with standardised stats I’ve instead boosted the number of dice rolled. I feel this ties in well with the ‘quantity over quality’ idea again.

Gargantuan Weapons:
Scything Talons are standard TK weapons, from the Leviathan list. Creatures can choose multiples, but CC stats are generally reduced and this sacrifices some of the best ranged shooting. Crushing Claws are very powerful on multiple DC creatures, and so have a higher points cost.
The ranged Gargantuan Weapons deviate a fair bit from currently established lists, but follow the lines already established, with Venom Cannons being AT focussed and Stranglethorn Cannons AP focussed. Spine Launchers have no basis in a current weapon but are an advancement of the Devourer idea. Bio Acid is taken from the Leviathan list, while the Bile Launcher is a NetEA standard weapon. Spine Clouds are a fairly weak AA weapon, based on a Forgeworld Heirophant upgrade.

Hydraphant Weapons:
Limited to the largest possible beast, these options are fairly restricted simply because most limbs would need to be dedicated to holding the creature up! Most of its damage therefore comes from up-close smashing and stomping, though it also provides a good platform for one of a number of carapace weapons, with abilities unusual for ‘Nids.

Author:  LeCacty [ Tue Dec 22, 2015 12:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hive Fleet Keres- A highly experimental Tyranid list

For me this is basically the Vi'orla list for tau but in bug form as in it has the more modern units. So basically... friggin epic!

Author:  Geep [ Wed Dec 23, 2015 12:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hive Fleet Keres- A highly experimental Tyranid list

The more I think about it the more I think it needs some changes- particularly in balancing the weapon options.

For example, the 2x Devourer Carnifex has 5 FF shots at 5+, for an average of 1.667 hits. That's on top of a decent (if short) shooting attack, though makes the model fairly horrible in base-to-base. A double-scythe Carnifex has 3 CC 4+ attacks, averaging only 1.5 hits, and needing to make it into base-to-base, with no shooting attack. It's clearly worse. Boosting the Carnifex's CC to 3+ would help (going up to 2 hits on average), though Devourers may still need a points cost (or a reduction in FF). A 3+ CC Carnifex also treads more heavily on the toes of the Haruspex.

I'm hoping others will spot similar issues, but this sun forum looks a bit dead right now.

Author:  LeCacty [ Wed Dec 23, 2015 11:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hive Fleet Keres- A highly experimental Tyranid list

Would a double scything Carni actually have 4 attacks? 2 attacks w/ 1 EA each, or am I interpreting EA wrong?

Author:  Geep [ Wed Dec 23, 2015 3:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hive Fleet Keres- A highly experimental Tyranid list

In the rules given here a double-scythe carnifex has 3 CC attacks. All models have 1 base attack, then each scythe is an EA+1 weapon (so 2x EA+1 = EA+2 -> becomes 3 total). I'm not sure where you get your extra attack from to reach 4? Assuming you have a 40k background, there is no extra attack from having 2 close combat weapons in Epic.

I think I've really over rated MW attacks compared to Extra Attacks. Against a Marine 1 4+ MW attack and 2 4+ normal attacks have the same damage average, but the normal attacks have higher damage potential. Marines have a lot more armour than many other things in the game. MWs really only come into their own vs RA, or the rare 3+ save units.

Author:  LeCacty [ Sun Jan 17, 2016 11:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hive Fleet Keres- A highly experimental Tyranid list

Haha! I can't math! What the hell is wrong with me. (2*1)+1 is definitely four right? :{[]

Author:  AbrahamCaribdis [ Thu Feb 25, 2016 12:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hive Fleet Keres- A highly experimental Tyranid list

this looks so cool! :)
Have you tested it already?

Author:  Geep [ Sat Feb 27, 2016 2:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hive Fleet Keres- A highly experimental Tyranid list

Sadly my only local opponent left just before Christmas, so no- I haven't had the chance. I hope to recruit another player or two soon, or- if not- I'll try and get a few people active on Vassal.

When I have the chance I really need to revise it- thinking more about it I know a few things are quite unbalanced (for internal choice).

Author:  Hulksmash [ Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hive Fleet Keres- A highly experimental Tyranid list

Has there been any movement on this? I'm curious as I'm considering building up a Leviathan list and if this is dead then I'd be looking to trying to update the current leviathan list instead of starting from zero.

Author:  mordoten [ Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hive Fleet Keres- A highly experimental Tyranid list

Wow! Excellent work mate, you've really put your heart into this. Looking forward to reading it.

Author:  mordoten [ Mon Jan 01, 2018 10:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hive Fleet Keres- A highly experimental Tyranid list

Haja, realized this draft was published 2 years ago! Heres my thoughts anyways:

After reading the list i must say I'm really impressed with it!

I really like the 3 in 1 format with the different stages of a Tyranid Invasion. It think this list has a big potential.

Theres however waaaay to many special rules and options in the list. A first step to make it playable (in my opinion) would be to standardize the weapons for all units except the Titans. I also think a few special rules should be dialed down.

Author:  Geep [ Thu Feb 15, 2018 3:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hive Fleet Keres- A highly experimental Tyranid list

I haven't touched this list in ages, but I agree with your points- I went very special rules heavy and very adaptable, probably too much so. I think I'd take a page out of some of the other 'Nid lists and have a few set 'fexes or other big creatures, rather than having them too flexible (it's just not appropriate for Epic).

If people are actually interested I can try and revisit this, but it didn't seem to get much attention previously so I let it be.

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