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5th Edition Tyranid Tactica - HQ

Tyranids by T3H_ARCH1TECT
Tyranids by T3H_ARCH1TECT

5th Edition HQ


With a new codex, the Tyranids have a new HQ section with some revisions and new units, like the Tyranid Prime and Tervigon and the introduction of some special characters like The Swarmlord and The Parasite of Mortrex. Lets have a look.

Hive Tyrant

The king of ground control and battlefield tactics in the Tyranids' arsenal, not coming as many options as before but not to say he isn't as good, and coming with a whole new set of goodies for purchase, the Hive Tyrant is still king of the bugs.


Coming standard with a set of scything talons and a bonesword and lash-whip. This are up for mutation but really, if your looking for assault power, why change them?

Replacing Lash-whip and bonesword

  • Scything Talons: Although these come free to replace your bonesword and lash-whip, why bother? If you want a great close combat tyrant, keep the power sword and the whip, they are simply the best weapons for it. This is a bad choice.

Replacing Scything Talons

Even though you only have one set to start with, you can trade the sword and whip for a set of talons to swap again for a shooty weapon, and here they are.

  • Twin-linked Deathspitter: Even with the improvment since the last codex, compared to other weapons competing for this slot, the humble deathspitter will be out performed on all levels, dont waste the 15 points, when you can buy a twin-linked devourer with worms for the same. This is a bad choice.
  • Twin-linked Devourers with Brainleech worms: For 15 points you get 6 S6 shots and its twin-linked, what's not to love? This is a good choice.
  • Stranglethorn Cannon: For a pie plate this is a rather good weapon, S6 large blast but for a tyrant it seems wasted, the tyrant is a large tank/troop/hero killing machine, although its a good weapon, leave this behind if you can, the tyrant should have real heavy weapons designed for long range tank hunting or termi killing not pie plating close troops, after all it can scatter onto your own troops. People will be coming to try and tackle this guy, and they are the eilte type, the pie plate wont be much help against them. This is a moderate choice.
  • Heavy Venom Cannon: Coming in at 5 points more than the Stranglethorn cannnon, it is a much more suited weapon to the tyrant, capable to smashing tanks and terminators alike, being a small plate means less accidental scatters onto friendlies. S9 AP4 blast, this is devastating. This is a good choice.


These are a new section for the hive tyrant and by no means useless, they are one of the most important part of building and using a tyrant effectively and your whole army for that matter.

  • Hive Commander: The tyrant gives +1 to a unit coming in from reserves, this is sometimes vital to who wins a battle or not. If you're planing to have troops in reserves, then for 25 points, is defiantly worth taking. As an added bonus, you get to have a unit of troops outflank! This is a great choice!
  • Indescribable Horror: Forcing units to take a leadership test to charge the tyrant is a clever tactic, but one only good against GEQ, for that reason alone, this is a moderate choice.
  • Old Adversary: Due to prefered enemy changing it's ruling, this is actually a moderate to poor choice. Given that most of your army will already be getting rerolls to hit, this is not a must-have. It would be good in some army lists, mainly Gaunt and Stealer heavy lists who do not wish to pay the extra for Scything talons. It's a Moderate choice.


  • Adrenal Glands: The hive tyrant is a monstrous creature, and a beast already, leave these at home as the 10 points. This is a bad choice.
  • Toxin Sacs: Ive said it before, there is no need for toxin sacs on a monstrous creature. This is a bad choice.
  • Regeneration: even though its a pricey 20 points, with the abilities and psychic powers alone warrant the purchase of this upgrade to safeguard this powerhouse leader. This is a good choice.
  • Acid Blood: For 15 points to possibly hurt someone by losing wounds, it's rather a steep price, unless you intend on throwing your tyrant where he shouldn't be, it's not worth the points. This is a bad choice.
  • Implant Attack: Again for 15 points, your bonesword does this for free, on condition of a leadership test, the only reason to take this is for 2 sets of scything talons but then you lose the lash-whip. So in the end its not worth it. This is a bad choice.
  • Toxic Maisma: This is an interesting choice and a smart choice for when you get bogged in combat without winning or losing. Though its not a must take, if you can spare the points and intend in through him in combat this is a good thing to have. This is a moderate choice.
  • Thorax Swarm: Coming in all three flavours, the thorax swarm adds a flamer of one type to the tyrant, while this sounds exciting, it comes at a hefty price of 25, if you intend on running this guy infront of the other bugs or sending him solo to meet enemies, this is an ok weapon. This is a moderate choice.
  • Armoured Shell: Weighing in at 40pts, the 2+ armour save is crucial if he's running alone, with no more invulnerable save, making the 2+ save all that more important, but if you have guards then the wounds can be shared, saving your tyrant a lot of pain. This is a moderate choice.
  • Wings: The Hive Tyrant's 3+ armor will do him good for a while, but with no invulnerable saves anymore he will fall prey to heavy MEQ killing guns while he flies headfirst into the opponent. At a taxing 60 points this might be a hinderance than a help. For the same cost you can buy a Tyrant Guard, which might prove better at escorting your tyrant to where ever he needs to be rather than flying there. It is good, however, if your entire army is flying, thus giving the Tyrant a bit of cover.

Tyrant Guard Brood

The old faithful guard dogs of the tyrant are still worth taking when walking around the battlefield, taking wounds and crushing enemies is just part of the job for these guys and they do it well. These are a good choice.

Replacing Scything Talons

Coming with a set of rending claws and scything talons, you can only get on of these 2 weapons which is strange compared to every other entry of these weapons, but we can live with that. However they no-longer have to be with the tyrant (much like warlocks and farseers)

  • Lash-whip: For a humble 5 points, you get to always strike first, allowing you to maximise the use of the rending claws. This is a good choice.
  • Bonesword: Weighing in at 75 points for the guard and the bonesword, this is just too expensive for the model. This is a bad choice.


Hero Hammer

Making the hive tyrant god is possible but costly, just for fun: Hive Tyrant -Wings -Armoured Shell -Heavy Venom Cannon -Bonewsord and lash-whip -Hive commander -Old adversary -Leech Essence -Paroxysm -Toxic Miasma -Regeneration

Scything Talons:Codex states that you may only select either Wings or Armoured Shell, not both.

Coming with most of the bells and whistles, this guy cost you 380, and if you want guards, thats another 60+,but theres nothg cant deal with

Edit by Deadshot-There is a problem here as it can't take Wings and an Armoured Shell. It gets to choose between a Thorax Swarm, an Armoured Shell, Wings, or none at all!

Close Combat

Hive Tyrant -Bonesword and lash-whip -Scything talons -Old Adversary -Toxic Miasma -Leech essence -Paroxysm -2 tyrant guards

Coming to 230 without guards and 350 with them, this mean guy will be hitting on 3's regardless of any wargear or psychic power plus helping all nearby tyranids.


Hive Tyrant -Twin-linked devourers with Brainleech worms -Twin-linked devourers with Brainleech worms -Indescribable Horror -Leech essence -Paroxysm -Wings

Although ending up being 285 points, he has the ability to move 12" and shoot 18" giving him a 30" threat range. Also having "Indescribable Horror" can also stop some unwanted assaults from happening.

Swarmlord by Darkjim
Swarmlord by Darkjim

The Swarmlord

This guy is reasonably priced compared to other builds, coming with all 4 powers, 2 pairs of bonesabres that instant kill (and make the enemy re-roll succesfull invulnerable saves) and an invulnerable save in close combat plus all the special rules makes this guy invaluable. The only thing that has cause for concern with this guy is running up the ulfield, luckily you can buy tyrant guards and they are a wise investment. This is a good choice.


The quite literal mother of Tyranid ground forces [she is a walking brood pool], not only that but a solid synapse creature and can hold her own in shooting and close combat.


  • Stinger Salvo: For a mother that's birthing most of the time, a blast that can scatter and hits its own troops is a dangerous if not devastating, so this gun, coming free is better that its brother the cluster spine. This is a good choice.
  • Cluster spines: As mentioned, being a birthing point for lesser bugs, a scattering large blast on top of newly spawned bugs is bad, take the stinger salvo over his always. This is a bad choice.
  • Scything Talons: Comes free and re-rolls 1's to hit, for 5 points is a sound choice. This is a good choice.
  • Crushing Claws: If you are not looking at putting adrenal glands on then these are an ok choice adding D3 attacks. This is a moderate choice.


  • Adrenal Glands: Usually monstrous creatures shouldn't waste the points on these seemingly needless units, however thanks to Tervigon's "Brood Progenitor", gives the benefits of the adrenal glands and also toxin sacs plus gives the bonus of counter charge to little bugs in 6", making this upgrade perfect when spawning little bugs. This is a good choice.
  • Toxin Sacs: As said before, the "brood progenitor" gives the toxin sac benefits the little bugs in 6". This is a good choice.
  • Regeneration: I've said it before, but large bugs with 6 wounds deserve this upgrade regardless of anything else, you are protecting your investment, get it, love it, save the bug. This is a good choice.
  • Acid Blood: Not a must take, but this big bug will be prone to either a bucket load of anti-tank fire or a unit or 2 of elite big bug smashing people, this is good for ruining their day, even if you lose the big bug. This is a moderate choice.
  • Implant Attack: This seems needless no monstrous creatures. This is a bad choice.
  • Toxic Miasma: Not one of the be all, end all, but when bogged in combat this can be handy. This is a moderate choice.

Psychic Powers

  • Domination: Coming free and extending your synapse range to 18", its free and its great. This is a good choice.
  • Catalyst: Having the power to give a friendly in 12" the "Feel No Pain" universal special rule can be pivotal to winning or losing a game or even a unit, and for only 15 worth every point. This is a good choice.
  • Onslaught: Another power at 15 points, this power gives one unit the ability and shoot and run, this is amazing for covering the board and shooting at the enemy, especially those bugs with a stranglethorn cannon or heavy venom cannon. This is a good choice.

Tyranid Prime

One of the new things to come into the new codex, the Tyranid Prime is a slightly better Tyranid warrior, and he comes cheap with a few tricks.


Coming standard with a set of scything talons and a devourer, these can be swaped.

Replacing Scything Talons

  • Rending Claws: For only 5 points, you get a set of rendering claws, this is ok, but only good if you need to shave points, for an extra 5 you can get a pair of boneswords, these no real reason not to take them instead. This is a moderate choice.
  • A pair of Boneswords: For only 10 points, you get the pair of boneswords and is this relativity cheap, for a power weapon that can cause instant death, what's not to love? This is a good choice.
  • Lash-whip and bonesword: For 15 points you get the works, a power weapon with the possibility of instant death and forcing enemies in base contact to strike at initiative 1. This is a good choice.

Replacing the Devourer

  • Rendering Claws: If you are going for a close combat Prime, then leave these at home and pick up the bonesword and a lash-whip or dual boneswords listed above. This is a bad choice.
  • Spinefists: You lose more than you gain by dropping the devourer for a set of spinefists, leave these guys at home. This is a bad choice.
  • Deathspitter: If you really desire your Prime to do a little extra damage in shooting you can use 5 points for the AP and +1S to the weapon. This is a moderate choice.
  • Extra set of Scything Talons: Coming at no cost will enhance any close combat based Prime. This is a good choice.


Coming with the standard 2 and one from the heavy weights.

  • Toxin Sacs: Not really needed at S5, but its not a complete waste of points, if you can fit it in, take it just to help him in the sticky situations. This is a moderate choice.
  • Adrenal Glands: While not compulsory these I feel are slightly better than the toxin sacs on your Prime. This is a moderate choice.
  • Regneration: Although not a big bug and only having 3 wounds, but due to how cheap it is, 10 points, if you can fit it, take it. This is a good choice.


Close Combat

Tyranid Prime -Bonesword and lash-whip -Scything talons -Adrenal Glands -Regeneration

Coming to 115, you get the ability to regenerate, even in combat, ignore saves, re-roll 1's to hit and get the furious charge ability. That's nothing to scoff at.


Tyranid Prime -Scything talons -Deathspitter -Regeneration

Costing as little as 95 points, you get an ok all-rounder.

The Parasite of Mortrex

Coming in at 160, you realy get your points worth when used right. Lets look at what you get for all those points: To start with, rending claws, implant attacks, and a 3+ save. As for the special rules, this is the fun part. He's not only a synapse creature, he also has a 24" radius control for rippers, that's great since you can even score some. Implant parasite and "the sarge is acting strange" cause models wounded by the The Parasite and infantry models outflanking can lose a model and spawn D6 rippers, this is great for just causing anarchy and ruining the day for your enemy. This is a good choice.

And that's Squig_herder's take on the new tyranid HQ section.


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