Okay, got my pre-ordered tyranid bundle today, and have spent a good portion of the day reading. Having been spoiled by false promises of the rumour department, I can admit to a few initial disappointments, but overall I am satisfied with what GW has produced for us.
First up, things that are gone.
Some special Characters. Namely the Parasite of Mortrex and that pain in the ass Doom of Malan'tai. Will I miss them? Frankly, no. Both of these creatures had amazing potential, but every time I fielded them I found one of two things. Either they would dominate the game, or flop in a single turn. Fun? Sure. Reliable? No. We don't need them.
Other units. The Ymgarl genestealers have disappeared from the army list, being reduced once more to a fluff box on the genestealer page entry. Some might be sad to see these go, I have mixed feelings. They were a fun fluffy unit to play and could quite often turn the tide but on the whole I don't think they are a too big loss. More people might cry about the disappearance of the mycetic spore. Especially those like me who went to pains to convert models for them.
But again, they're not really essential nor were they particularly useful but for the Doom of Malan'tai...
What's back? Depends on what you mean by back. Granted the haruspex and exocrine aren't new creatures, but this is their first appearance in a codex as playable units for 40k as far as I am aware. Other long time veterans may also recognize the name of The Red Terror, who has returned as an upgrade available to ravener broods.
What's new? Lots of things...
How about we start with the long awaited answer to the question how the fuck are we supposed to deal with flyers???
Well the answer swoops down in the form of the Hive Crone, a cousin to the harpy adapted for smashing enemy flyers from the air. Literally. The thing has spikes along its belly and totes a S8 vector strike. It also has the ability to drool on its ground enemies, again literally, via its aptly named "Drool Cannon."
The harpy itself remains unchanged from what it could do previously, with both its main weapons still being blast weapons it still can't hit air targets for squat. I doubt we;ll be seeing much of her in the skies now that her more appealing sister has put in an appearance.
The exocrine I can definitely see being popular. Why? When was the last time tyranids had a large blast weapon with AP2? Yea... Hey Imperial players, remember all those laughs you had when you were dropping demolisher templates on our swarms? Well it's about to be Fuck you time...
The haruspex I am less impressed with, for all its fancy tricks it is still a slow monster that has to plod across the battlefield to really come into its own. Like the harpy, I think it's destined to be outshone by its better in general sibling.
Warlord traits are a nice addition, and all of them are refreshingly useful in most average games. Like the ability to turn any forest you get close to into a death patch, or deconstruct enemy cover saves before the battle starts.
Instinctive behaviour took a small adjustment and... well, don't leave homagaunt or carnifex broods unattended too long, lest they eat each other...
This fun little tweak makes synapse that bit more pivotal without being a complete hindrance, as there is only a small chance that something that drastic will actually occur. Still...
The wargear section was nicely fleshed out and brought up to 6e standard, with every bioweapon being granted its own ap and special rules and whatnot. And on a minor note, spore mine movement is no longer random. You read that correct.
We also now have a selection of Hive artefacts, pieces of bio engineered wargear better than the average biomorph selections, such as a nifty set of pincers granting preferred enemy to the first type of creature they kill, or the Ymargl Factor, which allows one of your characters to mutate its body each turn similar to how the afore named genestealers could in the old book. 2+ Save Tyrant one turn, 6A Tyrant the next? Yes please...
Psychic powers are now restricted, no longer can we select Biomancy, Telepathy or Telekinesis. I'm okay with this, as the Hive Mind Powers are not exactly as useless as they used to be. Plus the fact that your winged Hive Tyrant could potentially be toting a Warp Blast Warp Lance combo as a result, this gives you a second (and awesome) anti air option if Luck is on your side.
There is a lot I still haven't covered, but I'm sure plenty of others can see what I've missed or overlooked. I'm expecting my first game tomorrow so I will be able to give some more insight then.
Anyone else care to ask or share their own thoughts here?
I agree with a lot of this but I want to throw in my 2 cents on certain units and things in particular.
The big change for me at least is the way Scything Talons work. As someone who utilised Raveners and Trygons the loss of the re-rolls they once granted will hurt their melee capabilities.
Going through the book from HQ here are my opinions on the army.
Hive Tyrant-Still awesome, still packs a whallop but a cheaper price tag and cheaper wings gives me more reason to get him. Did I also mention he is psyker level 2 base as well?
Tyrant Guard-Decent. They auto-pass Look Out Sir! (Although that was a given in my mind)but I find the weapon options expensive, especially if extra biomorphs are taken. Although knocking them down 10 points is good in my book.
Tervigon-The real main loser in this transition. Whilst the counter attack range increased to 12 inches so too did the blow up gaunts range. It also lost the ability to throw its toxin sacs and adrenal glands on gaunts. You require 30 now to take one as a troops choice AND they went up by 35 points. Although they did make them I2.
Tyranid Prime-Went up by over 40 points and the weapon options are more expensive. There is precious little to recommend one over a Hive Tyrant now.
Tyranid Warriors-Mostly stayed the same. Although with more model options now and the ability to take assault grenades they may become more popular.
Genestealers-Another unit that stays the same. Except the Broodlord is more expensive and loses the nifty hypnotic gaze power. Still would not recommend.
Termagaunts-Went down in price by a point and Spinefists are free now. They got a LD boost (Now 6!) so Synapse is not as much as a problem. Still not great either though. Will still take these.
Hormagaunts-Also went down a point and Bounding leap allows them to reach the enemy faster to tie up those annoying shooting units for a turn. Will defo include more of these in my army.
Ripper Swarms-Became more expensive in points but at least they will still be effective at tying stuff up. Not to mention they lose the mindless rule.
Hive Guard-Became 5 points more expensive but they still kick ass. The Impaler cannon got better (now ignores cover flat out) and the shockcannons are a nice alternative but the big kicker is that they are now BS3.
Zoanthropes-went down 10 points and stayed the same. Now because they are Brotherhood of psykers they get to use the assault profile of the Warp Blast/Lance attack as equal to the number of zoans in the unit. Warp Fields are still awesome.
Venomthropes-Also down 10 points whilst staying the same. Although the spore cloud is now *only* shrouded for units within 6 inches. Toxic Miasma is a lot better as well.
Lictors-Down 15 points and now can infiltrate to get more use out of the Pheromone Trail rule. Miles better because of this and if you do deep strike they now never scatter when doing so.
Haruspex-Very interesting as a beastie. I feel more than 1 is needed to get the most out of them. However regenerating wounds when it kills a guy in assault is nice as well as the new acid blood combined with the armourbane crushing claws now have make this impressive. Might not look like it has many attacks but it is ideal at tearing infantry units apart over 2 combat phases (which is the ideal for Nids).
Pyrovores-Went down 5 points but still runt of the Elites in my eyes. The volatile rule works instantly now not a 50:50 like before. Flamespurt did not get torrent.
Tyranid Shrikes-Went down 5 points whilst staying the same. Get same weapon options as normal warriors (this includes assault 'nades).
Raveners-Stayed the same points but lost an attack (technically they get it back by having 2 sets of combat weapons so no big deal). Spinefists are cheaper and the Red Terror is interesting to add as comedic value but don't rely on him. The restrictions of what he can swallow whole limit what he could eat that is of value (and no a Red Terror cannot eat another Red Terror since it can't swallow models that are very bulky).
Sky Slasher Swarms-More expensive for no change (except losing Mindless) do not take.
Gargoyles-Stay the same points but have Hunt rather than lurk and Blinding Venom is a poisoned (6+) attack now. Still dirt cheap for what you get.
Harpy-Slashed by 25 points and can use spore mine bombs more than once per game. Keeps the same options for the same price except now one has to pay for stinger salvos/cluster spines (meh). Best thing is that it got an extra wound as well.
Hive Crone-Will see lots of usage as the one realiable anti-air unit. S8 vector strike combined with S5 Haywire missiles that reroll misses against FMC's and Flyers. Drool Cannon not that great but that is not why one buys this thing.
Spore Mine Clusters-up by 5 points each but now get to control where they move. Would only take as an amusing divertion to place on objectives.
Carnifex-Still in broods and got price slashed by a 1/4 from last book. Gained 1I and have great options for them. Living Battering Ram is better now and they really look great for Shock Assaults. Also get tail weapons back (Yay!)
Biovores-Down 5 points and gained an extra wound. Spore Mine attack still the same but each one launches D3 Spore Mines for each Biovore firing (may be 3. Forgot and can't be bothered to flick through myself). More worth it now.
Trygon-dropped 10 points but lost 1 attack (but like Raveners gains it back thanks to pairs of CC weapons) apart from that it stays the same. Primes are also the same for 10 points less.
Mawloc-slashed by 30 points and the terror from the deep attack got better by being able to strike twice if the area is not cleared in the first one (I intend to use Lictors to get the most out of this)
Exocrine-New entry and for 170 points is great. Still wish the attack from the gun was S8 so it could insta kill marines but the added BS it picks up by sitting still make up for this. Plus it the hardest artillery piece in the game (T6 with W5 and 3+SV)
Tyrranofex-Slashed by 75 points (Brill!) but now has to buy the thorax swarm (although since all 3 are 10 points this is not really an issue) however the price increase of the Rupture Cannon is worrisome (up by 15 points)
Other big things to mention are that Toxin Sacs are still must haves on MC's that intend to be in combat and Adrenal Glands are better but are more expensive comparatively.
Of course these summaries are based of what I think on paper. I will start testing the units from tomorrow to gain a better analysis on how the army works. At a stab I think that troops will mainly be 10-15 man units of Gaunts/Hormagaunts for 4-6 choices since this is incredibly cheap to do so but then fleshed out with monsters and certain medium beasties (Zoanthropes especially!)