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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
After 5 months of play testing, I've formed a theory on the Tactic of Tyranid Denial. This theory is based on the concept of an average 6 turn game, playing as Tyranids, where the opponent is tactically bright enough not to voluntarily get any closer to your deployment zone then he has to.

Webster’s defines denial as "A refusal to satisfy a request or desire".
In this case we are going to refuse to satisfy the opponents desire to shoot at us first and try to refuse them the right to have the same number of turns as us as well.

In the Tyranid codex, we are presented with a nearly unheard of ability to reserve an entire army and bring them on in the second turn from varying locations with an 83% success rate for each unit.
The Hive Tyrant's Hive Commander ability, when meshed with the Swarmlord's Alien Cunning provides us with that ability, as well as enabling much outflanks madness.

The introduction of No-Mishap Mycetic Spores and Trygons further reinforces this synergy. And with the exception of deep striking, all of your units can assault the turn they come in, if in range. The Tyranid codex makes outflanking a common practice and thus it’s entirely possible to get multiple assaults on the turn you enter from reserves.

So how does this reserve of the army actually affect the game?

A high percentage of the Tyranid Codex is either not equipped with range weapons, or have only weapons that can be used in the 12" to 18" range, neither being optimal for a long range gun fight.
This compared with every other Codex, except perhaps Orks, falls well short of the average range of 24" for most shooting weapons. This leaves the Tyranids at a disadvantage when attempting to fight a gun battle.

Typically, the army that fires first has an advantage in the shooting game as well. They inflict casualties first, thus there are less shots coming back at them. Many lists, such as Imperial Guard, are dependent on this facet of the game. This is commonly referred to as Alpha Strike.

Alpha Strike Reversal:
By reserving your army, regardless of whether you go first or second, you are guaranteeing that you have the opening salvo of shooting in the game. You cannot be shot at when you are in reserves, and you are allowed to shoot when you enter from reserves.
This is a pretty simple concept that many people intuitively grasp without actual contemplating it.

Drop Pod Assault/Deathwing Assault:
These lists must deploy half of their army in the first turn. A turn in which you are not on the board. This takes the bite out of the Alpha Strike that such units generally deal out.

But there is another aspect of this that most players haven't considered. Warhammer 40k is a game of two players taking turns shooting and assaulting each other. At the end, a specific set of conditions is matched to the results to determine the winner. Each player is given one turn per Game turn, so there is always a fair distribution of time.

That’s how it should be at least.

Shooting Phase Denial:
With a grasp that the Tyranid Codex is geared more towards assaulting then shooting, it makes sense that the Tyranid player would prefer to have less turns to play the game, in which to be shot at. By reserving everything until turn 2, the Tyranid player has actually shortened a 6 turn average game by 1 turn.
Most would discount this by saying that the Tyranids have lost a turn of assault as well. But we can look at it and realize that although each person receives, on average, 6 turns of shooting, there is, on average, a potential of 12 turns of assault. Assault happens in both player turns of each game turn.
By reserving the first turn, the Tyranid player has shortened the game to 5 shooting phases, and 10 assault phases.
10 potential assault phases is still mammoth, but 5 shooting phases are scary to most armies that relying heavily on shooting.

So far we have discussed the common tactics of always shooting first, and lowering the number of game turns in a game. Each of these concepts is fairly easy to grasp and its effect can be mitigated by your opponent with careful planning.

We will now turn to the harshest tactic in the game to date:

Turn Denial:
With this tactic, we can force our opponent to, in most effects; lose a complete player turn while you do not. At the beginning of each game the players roll of to see who gets to go first/deploy first. Most armies rely on Alpha Strike and will choose to go first so as to inflict the first wounds of the game. The Tyranid player should always choose to go second, if he can.
This sounds like you should have a 50% chance of going second in each game, but in truth it is much greater, depending on how wily your opponent is, and which list he is running.

By going second, not only does the Entire first game turn go by with only the opponent being allowed to move, but his player of turn of game turn 2 as well. With the idea that the opponent will not willingly attempt to get too close to your deployment zones thanks to the images of Monstorous Creatures ripping apart his units, his 2 free turns of movement are a muted idea at best.
Let’s count this up in a 6 turn game:

Movements: 6
Shooting Phases: 4
Potential Assault Phases: 9

Movements: 5
Shooting phases: 5
Potential Assault Phases: 9

By decreasing the total number of turns you can move, you have decreased the total number of shooting phases your opponent has. Keeping in mind that the second free movement phase for most opponents won't be used to much effect, as they will generally already have found their cover/optimum positions in the first turn. In the end, you actually end up having a similar amount of movement as your opponent, while having an extra turn of shooting!

Demonic Assault:
By going second and being in reserve, a demon list is going to have to deploy half of his army on the table, where you are not at. So much for the much vaunted Flamers of Tzeentch!

Optimum Units for Synergy with this Tactic:
-Swarmlord for Alien Cunning and 18" Synapse to control the long range shooting entering from Standard Reserves
-Hive Tyrant for Hive Commander. The ability to make a warrior or gaunt squad outflank is immeasurable.
-Zoanthropes for Mycetic Drops. Being able to crack open the toughest vehicles is imperative to removing the walls that will prevent your assault units from being effective.
-Hive Guard. Multiple Str 8 guns are critical to taking out the units that are fast enough to evade your assault troops, and will keep most space marine characters away from your deployment zone thanks to Instant Death.
-Genestealers. The ability to outflank, fleet, and move thru cover makes this unit perfect for this tactic.
-Harpies. High strength long range blast markers, with excellent mobility make this unit perfect for any game where you shoot more times than your opponent.
-Biovores. 48" range 3xLarge Blast that shoots more turns then your opponent? Yeah boy!
-Trygons. No Mishap Deep striking, 6 toughness, 6 wounds and 3+ save make this the ultimate in "in your face" deep striking squads.

4,190 Posts
Problems that I can see:

The opponent knows what you're doing. Anyone who sees that you don't deploy anything on turn 1 (or worse, sees your list before the game even begins) will know that you will be outflanking with the majority of your army. If someone knows what you are doing, they can start working on ways to counter it. You cannot counter his counter because you are not even on the table, and you are unable to change your plan even if you wanted to.

You give him two turns of unobstructed movement. There is a 3' by 2.5' area in the middle of the table where outflankers (fleet or not) cannot get an assault on the turn they come in. No sane player (knowing what he does about your strategy) will leave any units outside of this zone. He is also free to construct Rhino walls, Turbo boost, gain cover and move screening units however he likes because you've got no firepower to threaten his rear armour value, cause morale checks etc.

As an example of the above, I could make a wall across one edge of my deployment zone with a 10 man squad (blocking up to 24" approx where you cannot walk on or you die), place my 2-3 APCs (Rhinos/Chimeras/Serpents) along the front and my best shooters/assault specialists behind them. You either come on miles away and I shoot you from across the board, or you come on near me, and have to cut through an entire screen of vehicles (which might explode and cause you casualties) or just chaff units before reaching anything worthwhile, and then I probably counter-assault/shoot you and cut you to ribbons.

It's a nice idea, and might work, but suffers badly against certain matchups and a canny opponent.

2,122 Posts
i can also see problem with such lists. Tho i do use a Drop Pod Army having your entire army in reserves for outflanking(Nids and White scars mainly) they can just deploy infutratours on the side and your guys can come in from that board edge effectivly blockign it of. This would eaither drestoy them or force them to apper on the other board edge. So now you have infact made the distance you need to cover more and you can't jsut say they are going to walk on as you have to delcar outflanking before the game.

You ALWAYS have to be carful when using this type of list and i should know. I use a total of 7 Drop pods in my 2000pts list and i figth Tau msot of the time so i expect to get blown to peices if i don't deploy right.

1,115 Posts
Also Deathwing can choose not to deploy half their units in the first turn as the rule says may deploy, not like drop pods, where the player must deploy.

436 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Fair enough on the Deathwing. I recant effectiveness against them here.

The rest I will answer, not because it needs to be, but because I actually have seen them in play and they only work in "best case" scenarios.
(I'm not actually sure what jaws9000 said, so I can't reply to him.)

To the problems listed, I can envision what you’re saying but I will refute them by explaining what happens each time these are tried:

Refused Flank: This has been tried and always ends costing the player the game.
The Swarmlord will pull the Genestealers to the opposite flank with an 86% certainty. This may place them out of position, but everything that was used to refuse flank then proceeds to die. Why? Because you have a Tyrant and Swarmlord entering play at the same time from the Long table edge, which together can topple anything on that flank.
Plus if your opponent's list has that many infiltrators, you'll know it before the game and be able to place a sacrifice squad of infiltrating stealers or two nearby to open up holes in the line.

Counter Reserves: This is potentially the very very worst tactic to use on a Tyranid list if the Tyranids are get to go Second.
A savvy Tyranid player won't reserve anything at that point. He will line up everything on the 12" mark of his deployment zone and rush it across the board, infiltrating stealers up that way too.
When you do enter play you have exactly one shooting phase (where every model you have counts as having moved) before the ENTIRE Tyranid army assaults you in your deployment zone.
I actually had this used on me in the final round of the Ard Boyz 2010 Preliminaries. The person conceded the game at the Top of Three. He had almost nothing left.

If the Tyranid player is forced to go first and reserves everything, and then you follow suit, He'll still have the same effect with Trygons, Mycetic Laden Spores and Genestealers in your Deployment Zone waiting for you. This of course is not as deadly to the opponent as the first Counter Reserves example, as all the Tyranid Long Table Edge Reserves (Tyrants and Shooty stuff) will be a turn or two out from assault. But there is still enough there to ensure you only get a single turn of firing unless you can wipe them all out, and if you don't you'll be tied down for a while, potentially long enough for the Tyrants to Arrive.

Castling inside Transports:
This is perhaps the most effective tactic against Tyranids. I've seen it used and it has a decent chance of providing some shelter. This one really comes down to match ups for the list. And only Imperial Guard have enough high strength weapons to wipe out all the creatures when they arrive. It pretty much comes down to how well you can fit your 9 tanks and 5 billion chimeras in the deployment zone box. If you try this with Marines, or Tau, or Eldar, you will most likely get run over as you can't lay down enough fire power fast enough to stop the Assault Momentum. (Please notice that I conceded the point to the IG Lists)
I do know I've beaten this tactic by the IG thanks to Hive Guard, Deepstriking Zoanthropes, and Trygon massed firing. It isn't full proof, but it can be done.

Now with all that said, I'm afraid most of the repliers have missed the point of this tactica. It's not to show Tyranid Superiority. It’s to show how an assault heavy army can actually deny the opponent an Entire Turn of shooting, without having done so to himself. And if you happen to be playing Tyranids, you have the ability to nearly eliminate the risks of Deep striking, Staggered Arrival from Reserves, Refused Flank, etc that seem to plague so many other armies.
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