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5th Edition Tyranid Heavy Support Review

5th Edition Tactica Heavy Support


With the new codex, the Tyranids get a multitude of new units in the form of the Mawloc, Trygon and Tyrannofex, also now available "Old One Eye" and some new weapons like the heavy venom cannon and the rupture cannon. With all these new units and weapons, the Heavy slots in your Tyranid army will rarely be wasted.

Carnifex Brood

In the previous codex, carnifexs were the tank buster on the tyranid army. Now with a basic strength of 9 and now having access to some of the heaviest of Tyranid weapons, the carnifex is just as powerful as before.


Coming with 2 sets of scything talons free, subject to morphing.

Replacing Scything Talons

- You have 5 weapons that you can trade for any set of scything talons.

  • Crushing Claws: The price hasnt changed however its stats have and for the worst. For 25 points, you can replace one set and only one set of scything talons for a pair of crushing claws, having only +D3 attacks and forcing your carnifex to strike at I1, even on the assault. Removing a set of scything talons removes all rerolls for all misses in close combat for up to 3 extra attacks, for the cost the return is on the low side. This is a bad choice.
  • Twin-linked Deathspitter: With the improved deathspitter, it still struggles to get selection when compared to the devoueres with leeches. Same range, -1S but has an AP. Im afraid for the same points, the devourer out shines this weapon. This is a moderate choice.
  • Twin-linked Devourers with Brainleech worms: This is the most monumental change to the Dakkafex, you now get 6 S6 at 18" per set, meaning you can take 2 sets to get 12 S6 attacks and making any the opponent take a -1 to his LD checks caused by this attack. Coming in at only 15 points per set, twin-linked, and still being able to smashing tanks in close combat, this is a good choice for a shooty carnifex.
  • Stranglethorn cannon: For 20 points you get a S6 AP5 large blast + pinning, this is a good anti-horde option and with a range of 36" you can sit back and hammer the on-coming horde. This is a good choice for a shooty carnifex.
  • Heavy Venom Cannon: The heavy venom cannon is the new black for the carnifex. Small blast, S9 and AP4, there is no reason not to take one, where its tanks or troops, the new venom cannon promises to put the hurt on everything. This is a great choice for the carnifex.


Coming in with the starndard toxin sacs and adrenal glands option, the carnifex also has access to the heavier upgrades.

  • Toxin sacs: This is just overkill, you have S9, dont waste the 10 points on looking tougher, is pointless. This is a bad choice.
  • Adrenal Glands: There is no reason in hell to take these, you get an initiative boost on the charge thanks to the "living battering ram" and your S9, leave this one at home. This is a bad choice.

Deadshot says....

Seeing as how the most common army are MEQ, and Int 4, thses will give you the abilty to Strike with 5, Str 10, Int 4 attacks on the charge. I wouldn't leave without them.

  • Fragspines: Fragspines gives the carnifex assault grenades and only for 5 points if your looking at running a close combat carnifex they are also mandatory but for the shooty carnifex doesn't really need this one. This is a moderate choice.
  • Bio-plasma: One of the biggest changes to upgrades to the carnifex and this one is for the better. Coming in with S7 AP2 small blast, this is a great upgrade for a modest 20 points, although short ranged, an assault weapon that can down terminators is well worth it. This is a good choice.
  • Rengeration: Regeneration hasn't changed, every wound lose, roll a D6 on a 6, you get it back. Sounds ok, but for 25 points and only having 4 wounds and a 3+ save, a squad of thousand sons can kill this beast in 1 salvo. This is a bad choice.


Muilt-role Carnifex

Carnifex -Scything Talons -Heavy Venom Cannon -Fragspines

Coming in at 190, this Carnifex can hold his own in close combat and with assault grenades can rough it out this models in terrain and with a S9 small blast can threaten the heaviest of vehicles for a distance. A solid all rounder.

Close Combat Carnifex by initiatezao
Close Combat Carnifex by initiatezao

Close Combat Carnifex


  • Scything Talons
  • Scything Talons
  • Bio-plasma
  • Fragspines
  • Bonded Exoskeleton

Just cheaper than the all rounder by 5 points, this beast can take the fight to the enemy with little problem, with assault grenades, re-roll all misses in CC and a terminator-killing small blast, this is something to be feared.

Dakkafex by ifurita
Dakkafex by ifurita

Shooty Carnifex


  • Devourer with Brainleech worms
  • Devourer with Brainleech worms

For a modest 190, this heavy can pump out 12 S6 twin-linked shots. Even light tanks will have to be weary zooming around this guy.

Old One Eye by petty3
Old One Eye by petty3

Old One Eye

With the re-introduction of this special character, Old One Eye has been through alot and gained a few thing along the way, but at a pricey 260, is he really worth it?


Old One Eye is a close combat beast with improved strength and leadership, a pair of crushing claws and scything talons standard, he is designed for the hardest of enemies.


With a few special rules, but nothing standout or game changing, you're paying for an over-glorified carnifex. Yes, regeneration is nice and S10 standard, but leadership 8 is rather weak for someone of his calibre and the fact that he cant take a spore as a transport means AP3 weapons will eat him up and running up to the enemies line takes a while. If you want a close combat carnifex, try saving the points and take something like was suggested before. The Old One Eye this a poor choice, sorry old guy.

Biovore by spellscape
Biovore by spellscape

Biovore Brood

With a small amount of change the new biovore is now cheaper, but does that make it more viable?

Weapons and Role

Coming with a 4+ save through hardened carapace, the biovore has medium armour but so does a fire warrior, dont expect these guys to absorb a lot of firepower. However these guys provide a large S4 AP4 blast, that can be launched in directly. Against bunched up infantry, this can be devastating. Having multiple Biovores in the same unit is naturally worth consideration, on account of not being obligated to fire by barrage, and thus being more able to take advantage of 5th edition blast rules. In general however, the Biovore works best in "gunline" or Warrior Horde armies where the Tyranid player can bring enough ranged anti-tank for the Biovore to fully take advantage of its ability to blast opponents into gooey biomass. The biovore is a moderate choice.

Trygon by Menelker
Trygon by Menelker


One of the hardest hitting units in the codex and also one of the new comers. Does the novelty of this new unit translate into a superior close combat unit compared to its relative the carnifex or is it just big and pointless?


It's notable to say that the Trygon comes with no weapon upgrades from the standard 2 sets of scything talons and the cool-sounding bio-electric pulse.

  • Toxin Sacs: I've said it before: on the big bugs with S6+, there is little point of taking these save the points. This is a bad choice.
  • Adrenal Glands: Again, same as above, save the points, its big and costly already. This is a bad choice.
  • Regeneration: Now for 25 points you get the ability to regain wounds. This is available to the carnifex, but with only 4 wounds is really wasted, but the Trygon has 6 wounds and the likelihood of regaining a wound is higher and your survival rate is increased. This is an almost mandatory upgrade for bugs with 6 wounds. This is a good choice.
  • Trygon Prime: For an extra 40 points your Trygon gets a lot of goodies. First off you get the abilities Synapse Creature, Shadow in the Warp and Containment spines, you also lose the instinctive behaviour - a real bonus. For your 40 points you also get a S5 AP5 Assault 12 shooting attack. When coming out of reserves with deepstrike, these 2 attacks can really put the hurt on the enemy before you even get into assault. This is a good choice.

Codex states that "A Trygon Prime uses the following profile when firing it's bio-electric pulse" so it's replaced; you can't fire two of them.

Mawloc by menelker
Mawloc by menelker


With cool abilities like "Terror from the Deep" and burrow, the Mawloc, takes after is stronger brother the Trygon.


It is notable to mention that there is no weapon upgrades or even weapons on the Mawloc, managing to only bring WS3 and A3 compared to its more close combat orientated brother. But the blast marker attack on deepstriking with AP2 is a fearsome weapon when used right.

  • Adrenal Glands: As stated in the Trygon entry, leave behind. This is a bad choice.
  • Toxin Sacs: As stated in the Trygon entry, leave behind. This is a bad choice.
  • Regeneration: As stated in the Trygon entry, regeneration is almost amust for a bug with 6 wounds. This is a good choice.


A living landraider with weapons and cost match, this is the biggest and most heaviest hitting of all the Tyranid bugs, people will learn to fear this one above all others.


Costing a Landraider, this beast comes with acid spray, armoured shell, stinger salvo and a thorax swarm, its a walking gun platform with a bad attitude.

  • Acid spray: Coming with a free S6 AP4 hellhound flammer, this is a good troop remover, but this big bug is descended for greater things. This is a moderate choice.
  • Fleshborer Hive: Coming in at 10 points, you get a short 12" massacre gun. With 20 S4 AP5 shots, this will wipe a mob of ork boys off the table. This is a good
  • Rupture Cannon: For a mere 15 points (i mean you just spent 250 buying this guy), you get the best long range tank popper available, with 2 S10 AP4 shots, nobody is safe!! This is a good choice.
  • Stinger Salvo: For free you get a better deathspitter, nbot a bad dealt. With 4 S5 SP4 shots, this is a great weapon and its free! This is a good choice.
  • Cluster spines: If you need to clear out some mobs of troops from ma place, this is the weapon. A free S5 large blast at 18". This is a good weapon.
  • Thorax swarm electroshock grubs: The electroshock grubs are just a standard flamer, S5 SP5 template, nothing special and compared to it rivals for this spot doesnt really shine. This is a moderate choice.
  • Thorax swarm desiccator larvae: The desiccator larvae are hungry for flesh, and wound on 2+ regardless of strength, only having S1 mean tanks are out of the question, but hell, if your that close to a tank you can template it, an assault is in order and with S6 and the Monstrous Creature rule, it will suffer. This is a good choice.
  • Thorax swarm shreddershard beetles: Coming with S3 and no AP, but what you get with these beetles is rendering, on the whole of it, its thunder is stolen by the dessiccator larvae with wounding on 2+. This is a moderate choice.


Comes with the standard 3, and only 1 worth taking.

  • Adrenal Glands: As stated in the Trygon entry, leave behind. This is a bad choice.
  • Toxin Sacs: As stated in the Trygon entry, leave behind. This is a bad choice.
  • Regeneration: As stated in the Trygon entry, regeneration is almost amust for a bug with 6 wounds. This is a good choice.


Horde killing

Tyrannofex -Fleshborer Hive -Cluster spines -Desiccator larvae -Regeneration -Armoured shell

Pump out 20 shots at S4 plus a large blast template and being able to regenerate any of its 6 wounds, this will crush all but the hardest of infantry from a range, the rest you can kill in close combat.

Tank hunting

Tyrannofex -Rupture cannon -Stinger salvo -Desiccator larvae -Regeneration

With a S10 range 48" cannon, everyone has to feel the pinch this guy can put on an army.

That's Squig_herder's take on the 5th edition Tyranid heavies.

SnaleKing's 2 bits: I was moderately confused by Squig_herder's dislike of adrenal glands on carnifexes, trygons, and mawlocs: what is there not to like about S10 or S7 when assaulting a vehicle? I then remembered that these guys are already rolling 2d6 armor pen, so the difference between needing 5's and 4's to pen on 2d6 isn't worth the points. I put this here to anyone who had a similar opinion on adrenal glands.


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