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5th Edition Tyranid Tactica - Fast Attack

5th Edition Tactica Fast Attack


For a long time, the fast attack slots in a Tyranid army were for the most of it vacant, due to costly and fragile units that lacked the punch, protection or versatility of other units outside of the fast attack slot. This has all been put on its head with the latest codex for Tyranids, this the introduct of a new unit and a complete revision of previous unit makes the fast attack slot appealing to any Tyranid army.

Tyranid Shrike Brood

Shrike by Iechine
Shrike by Iechine

In the latest codex, both the winged Tyranid warriors and winged rippers has come with a complete separate entry in the fast attack section, removing confusion and filling out the fast attack choices to 6. Winged Tyranid warriors come with a set of scything talons, a devourer, wings and reinforced chitin as standard, but there is a whole host of option available to these guys, lets take a look.


Replacing the Devourer

  • Spinefists: A short range x attacks weapon, giving you 3 twin-linked S3 shots, although this comes free, its a set back on distance and strength. This is a poor choice.
  • Deathspitter: For an extra 5 points you get the benefit of AP5 and increased strength from S4 to S5 from the devourer, but you have to arm the whole unit and can get expansive. This is a moderate choice.
  • Pair of Boneswords: For a pair of power weapons that can cause instant death on a leadership test 3D6, for only 10 points, if your looking for a good close combat warrior add these.
  • Bonesword and lash-whip: While being a great set of close combat weapons, making your enemy strike at initiative 1 and giving you a power weapon, they cost 15 points and are weakly armed. Adding to many points to these fragile troops can end in tears. This is a moderate choice.
  • Second set of Scything Talons: It's free and increase there close combat effectiveness heaps. This is a good choice.

Replacing the Scything Talons

With only one option here, is it worth the swap?

  • rendering claws: Adding rendering to your close combat attacks is good, but re-roll misses is better, but if you have the spare 5 points for it and feel you need it against MEQ, then take it. This is a moderate choice.

Special Weapons

Replacing the devourer, eith one of these special weapons comes at a cost, is it too high?

  • Barbed Strangler: Cheap at 10 points for a flying around large blast at S4 AP5. When facing a horde, this is a great weapon. This is a good choice.
  • Venom Cannon: Coming in at 50 points for a warrior with on of these things alone is rather expensive and being a blast is prone to scattering, not the best weapon for a fragile fast attack unit. This is a bad choice.


Coming with the 2 standard upgrades, are they worth it?

  • Toxin Sacs: Probably not on the needs list, this is an extra but a very costly one. This is a bad choice.
  • Adrenal Glands: If you are looking at using your brood of winged warriors to be your shock force, I would recommend finding the points for these, they are too fragile to take the chance with. This is a moderate choice.



Tyranid Strike -Scything Talons -Deathspitter -Adrenal Glands -Barbed strangler (special weapon) -Reinforced chitin -Wings

Costing a heafty 45 points each, they can take on most mid-level units.

Close Combat

Tyranid Strike -Scything Talons -Scything Talons -Adrenal Glands -Reinforced chitin -Wings

Costing a 40 points, this guy re-rolls all misses and gets a strength and initiative boost on the charge.

Shooty Winged Warriors

Tyranid Strike -Scything Talons -Deathspitter -Barbed Strangler (special weapon) -Reinforced chitin -Wings

Again Costing 40 points, there is little change to this build and is basicly a multi-role warrior, you cant real shooty with these guys.

Ravener Brood

The long neglected ravener has been given not only a facelift but also a touch up, now coming with 3 wounds and 4 attacks standard, this plus coming with 2 sets of scything talons, makes this unit a hole lot sweeter and gives it a new lease the battlefield.


Replacing 1 set of Scything Talons

Only 1 option here, rendering claws, but are they worth having?

  • Rendering Claws: The trade off between re-roll all misses and rendering is a hard with to decided, but unless you know you are facing MEQ, save the points and keep the re-rolls of all misses. This is a moderate choice.

Ranged Weapons

Having a selection of 3 and not having to sacrifice a set of scything talons, this unit can now be multi-roled and not cost you the hive.

  • Spinefists: For 4 shots at S3, twin-linked a safe assault weapon. This is a moderate choice.
  • Devourer: For the same cost as the spinefists you get one less attack at S4 but you also get an extra 6" to the range, this is handy when coming out of the ground and find yourself too far from an enemy unit. This is a good choice.
  • Deathspitter: For 10 points, making a ravener costing 40 points, you get an AP and +1 strength to the devourer, but this is rather pricey. This is a bad choice.

Sky-slasher Swarm Brood

The new name for winged rippers, but does a new name translate to better unit, for 15 + upgrades, maybe not.

Upgrades & Weapons

  • Spinefists:
  • Toxin Sacs:
  • Adrenal Glands:

Gargoyle Brood

These bats got news models and some new rules, they are now cheaper and more lethal than ever.


  • Toxin Sacs: Only being S3 and likely to either be assaulted as some stage, toxin sacs help make assaults more favourable in the bats way, though not needed for only 1 point, these are a sound investment. This is a moderate choice.
  • Adrenal Glands: Again, though not combat weary, the addition of glands will help when you need to make that assault, and only 1 point its ok. This is a moderate choice.


Harpy by T3H_ARCH1TECT
Harpy by T3H_ARCH1TECT

This new, big bat, has the goods to take down most units from afar and finish the rest in close combat.


Having access to some devastating weapons, the Harpy is a flying terror to all.

  • Twin-linked Strangthorn Cannon: a twin-linked S6 AP5 large blast is just mad, this is the best weapon available to the Tyranids for killing blobs of infantry and it comes free to boot.. This is a good choice.
  • Stinger Salvo: Even though its a dangerous S5 AP4 Assault 4, compare to its competition the cluster spines, it cant really shine. This is a moderate choice.
  • Twin-linked Heavy Venom Cannon: For 10 points you get a small S9 AP4 small blast that you can re-roll scatter, this is a scary weapon that even landraider will have to watch out for. This is a good choice.
  • Cluster spines: A strength 5 large blast, this helps compliment a pair of stranglethorn cannon and free to upgrade from the stinger salvo. This is a good choice.


  • Toxin Sacs: Its a monstrous creature and comes with S5, but its main role is to shoot and it has some high powered weapons. save the points. This is a bad choice.
  • Adrenal Glands: With S5 I5, the s no real reason to take this for 10 points, leave it a ho. This is a bad choice.

Edit by Deadshot: Although, with these, when the Harpy charges, it will deliver Str 6, Int 6, which due to the Sonic Screech, will strike before everything without Intiative boosting gear.

  • Regeneration: I have said that its only for models with 6 wounds, but for only 15 points you can safe guard this super-gun platform. This is a good choice.

Spore Mine Cluster

The new spore mines have been altered to only have one profile S4 SP4 large blast. Still not the most effective unit, but with the ability to sprinkle mines all over the battle field giving you multiple large blast mines, these could be used to slow the enemy. This is a moderate choice.

And thats Squig_herder's take on the new 5th edition Tyranids Fast Attack.


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