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5th Edition Tyranid Tactica - Troops

Tyranid Troop Tactica 5th Edition


With the new Tyranid Codex out, its has come time to have an in-depth look and a review of the new multitude of rules, weapons and units available to the Tyranid commander and help sort of what is helpful and how to use the troop choices that are listed. With 5 standard troops choices, a transport spore and the ability to have a HQ as a troop, the new Tyranid codex has opened the doors on new competitive army lists and new tactics, so lets have a look.

Tyranid Warrior Brood

In the previous codex, warriors were HQ or elites, it good to see these multi-role Tyranids become a main stream choice for a Tyranid commander.

Tyranid Warrior by ChaosDave
Tyranid Warrior by ChaosDave


With a choice of 9 weapons and coming standard with scything talons, devourer, hardened carapace, shadow in the warp and synapse creature, for only 30pts is a steal.

Exchanging a pair of Scything Talons

As everything here costs, its becomes pricey when you have to apply this to the whole brood, if you are not looking to specialise in close combat for your warriors, then dont waste the points on these weapons.

  • Rending Claws: Replacing your ability to re-roll 1's for the ability to have rending is a fair trade off, but for 5 points a model, it can be pricey, this a moderate weapon swap.
  • A Pair of Boneswords: a pair of boneswords come at a cheap cost, for a mere 10 points you have the ability to ignore armour saves and force your opponent to 3D6 for their Ld test, you are going to get the instant kill most of the time, this weapon swap is a good trade, if you want a close combat based warrior brood.
  • Lash-whip and bonesword: If you are aiming for a great all round close combat unit, lash-whips and boneswords, allowing you to strike first in 99% of cases and to ignore saves, for 15 points it comes at a premium. This weapon is pricey but good trade off.

Special Weapon

Only one warrior in the brood may choice one of these special weapons, exchanging the devourer, lets have a look

  • Venom Cannon: for 15 points to have a S6 small blast, this weapon is best for large hordes and shooty warriors, but it really gets in the way and lacks the punch the old venom cannon totting warriors had, for 5pts cheaper, you can get the barbed strangler, a large blast at the same range, a much better weapon for shooty warriors. The venom cannon on warriors is a bad weapon, its doesnt have the same punch, is small and prove to scattering, the venom and heavy venom cannon are best suited for larger models with similarly ranged weapons.
  • Barber Strangler: cheaper than the venom cannon competing for this spot, same range, larger blast, this weapon is just better for this all rounder unit if you are aiming for shooty warriors, but it does add cost to your warriors and the other weapons available lack the range, this weapon is a moderate choice for shooty warriors.

Exchanging Devourers

With some weapon swaps that are free here, the 30 points does pay off with free swaps

  • Rendering Claws: Swaping out your devourer for a free set of rendering claws is only good for close combat warriors, other wise leave this at home. A moderate choice.
  • Spinefists: If you are looking at having close combat warriors with a small bit of reliable dakka, these twin-linked S3 assault3, its an ok trade off, with only 12" range. This is a moderate weapon.
  • Deathspitter: For only 5 points, you can use a devourer having the same range but with increased strength and an AP value to take out orks and GEQ troops. This weapon is a good choice for shooty warriors.
  • Set of Scything Talons: Cost you nothing and coupled with the first set of scything talons, these 2 pairs allow you to re-roll all misses, this is a steal for close combat warriors. A good weapon choice.


  • Toxin Sacs: Toxin sacs are only really needed if you intend on taking on high toughness armies (i.e. deathguard) but otherwise save the points. This is a moderate choice.
  • Adrenal Glands: Even when taking the fight to the enemy, these are best left at home to save point, if you have to take something, take the toxin sacs. This is a moderate choice.

Warrior Builds

Close Combat

The best build I have found the codex is: Warrior -Scything Talons -Scything Talons -Toxin Sacs -Hardened Carapce

Coming in at 35 points a model, this build allows you to re-roll all misses to hit in close combat and gives you the poison USR.

Another Combat Warrior Build: Warrior -Scything Talons -Rending Claws -Toxin Sacs -Hardened Carapace

Also just 35 points per models, you can re-roll all 1's and you also have the Rending+Poison USR, also making warriors viable against vehicles and heavy armed troops such as terminators.

Shooty Warrior

The best build I have found the codex is: Warrior -Scything Talons -Deathspitter -1 Barbed strangler (in the brood)

At 35 points again (40 for the barbed strangler instead of deathspitter), it provides a strong shooting base with some average close combat ability.

Genestealer Brood

These guys were the backbone of most Tyranid armies, now that the new codex is out, is it still the close combat workhorse it used to be?.. lets look.


Broodlord Upgrade

Coming in at 60 points for the cost of the genestealer and the 46 point upgrade, is it worth its points?

Broodlord Weapons
  • Scything Talons: For only 2 points and the ability to re-roll 1's in close combat, this is a steal. This is a good weapon choice.
  • Implant Attacks:Adding instant death to the Broodlord attacks may sound great, however the Broodlord is already kicked up stats wise and comes with rendering claws, implant attacks again are a point stink and overkill, after all, he cant be everywhere at once. This is a bad weapon choice for the Broodlord.
  • Acid Blood: For 15 points and only 3 wounds, unless your intent is to throw the Broodlord away in a suicide assault, you really dont want this ungrade, its just a point stink. This is a bad choice for the broodlord.
Broodlord Psychic Powers

The Broodlord comes with 2 psychic powers uniquie to him and help magnify his close combat prowess.

  • Aura of Despair: After a successful psychic test, all units in 12" -1 to leadership
  • Hypnotic Gaze: The Tyranid player selects 1 model in bases to bases contact, both players doll a D6 and add their Leadership, if the Tyranid player's score is equal to or greater than the opponent, that model may not attack for that assault phase.

Both psychic powers are great for a close combat monster, and you certainly get your 60 points worth, the Broodlord is a good choice for a genestealer brood.

Genestealer Upgrades

Having only 3 upgrades possible, are they worth the few extra points?

  • Scything Talons: In the new edition the genestealers have the same profile but 2 points cheaper, and for only 2 points you can add scything talons to rendering claws, however the re-roll really isnt a must, having a WS6 you'll be hitting on 3's mostly. This is a moderate choice.
  • Adrenal Glands: For 3 points per model, adrenal glands dont add much close combat punch to your genestealers and coming at a pricey, its best left at home. This is a bad choice.
  • Toxin Sacs: For 3 points, toxin sacs are ok, but are a little pricey to put on a full brood. Genestealers are very capable in close combat with this bio-morph. This is moderate choice.

Comment by another user: In my opinion toxic sacs are a good choice, because against most units you will be able to re-roll to wound rolls, thereby increasing your chance of inflicting a wound to 50% instead of 33,3%, which is at least 1 more unsaved wound. In combination with scything talons you can even increase this probability to 58,3%.



Genestealer -Rendering claws -Reinforced chitin

Th basic model is really the best, the only thing I would add is scything talons if I can find the points, but this beast was bread for close combat, even without the bells and whistles it is still a monster to be feared.

Broodlord by RAFF
Broodlord by RAFF


Broodlord -Rendering claws -Reinforced carapace -Aura of despair -Hypnotic gaze

Again, this is the basic model, no upgrades. He is more than worth his points, dont waste points on him, hes capable of tangling with the best of the best and winning.

Termagant Brood

In the previous edition, spinegants were the cheapest and most reliable of the gants, all this has changed with the new codex, lets look.


With the new codex, there has been the introduction of new weapons (from the good old days), opening up new variations of termagants.

  • Fleshborer: The fleshborer has not changed at all, except for the reduction of cost and becoming the standard gaunt weapon, it comes with the gaunt and comes free, a solid choice.
  • Spinefists: now being the more expensive brother of the fleshborer by 1 point, but being S3 (1 less) and twin-linked, the spinefists are a good choice for GEQ but will start to struggle against armies like the marines. This weapon is a moderate choice and should be free.
  • Spikerifle: The weapon, the spikerifle, is an interesting addition, being ranged 18" but only being strength 3 and no AP, this should come free. This is a moderate choice.
  • Devourer: Coming in at 10 points per model, it becomes a price gun, however you get your points worth with the standard 18" range and strength 4, however you now get 3 shoots per model, with the improved stats of the gun, this is a good choice, however pricey it is.


Coming with the choice of 2 upgrades, they really dont help the termagant at all.

  • Adrenal Glands: Although the glands only come in at 1 point, they are designed for close combat units, termagants arnt them. This is a poor choice.
  • Toxin sacs: Same as above, leave these at home. This is a bad choice.

Termagants Builds


Termagant -Fleshborer

For a horde or swarm army the stock standard termagant packs a S4 punch that can deal with most low to middle range of troops.

If your a big horde player and you have a Tervigon you can field your free termagants. Once fielded about 40 of these guys in a small 750 point game). They are also great for objective holding and whipeing out those annoying infiltrating squads...


Termagant -Devourer

Being relatively cheap and each model shooting 3 S4 shots out at 18, they are well worth the points for the range and extra shots.

Hormagaunt Brood

For a long time the hormagaunt had been left and forgot, as the price of them was just not competitive, but now they are back and they are very competitive. Coming with a set of scything talons standard and bounding leap, for only 6pts, hormagaunts are back and with a vengeance.


The new hormagaunts only come with 2 choices, keeps things simple and cheap.

  • Toxin Sacs: For only 2 points and allowing the hormagaunts to pose a threat to all infantry on the board, this is almost a must have and its cheap!. This is a good choice.
  • Adrenal Glands: Not as affective as toxin sacs and the same cost, these are to be left behind in favour of the toxin sacs. This is a bad choice.


Close combat

Seriously, you take these for close combat. And realisticly there is only 1 way to make them work for you. Hormagaunt -Toxin sacs

Costing only 8 points and threating anything, this unit is competitive and deadly

sorry but i like 30 gaunts surrounding a transport glancing it to death with 90 attks + re rolling 1s and killing everyone inside because they cant get out! go adrenalin glands! Seriously 90 i6 s4 attks with re roll 1s... just point and kill- anything(almost)

Ripper Swarms

Rippers are always been there, maybe not in number on the table but always an option, this the codex, nothing has made them an exceptional unit nor a terrible unit, however they are treated to some new upgrades to help them survive and pack a punch.


  • Spinefists: A long over looked upgrade, coming in at 15 points for it and the ripper swarm, it does give you a decent amount of fire-power. Spinefists may be short in range but with a ripper swarm you get 4 S3 twin-linked shots, and thats not something to laugh at when you times that by 4 or 10. This is a moderate choice.
  • Adrenal Glands: I have said it before, waste of points, just not competitive compared to toxin sacs. This is a bad choice.
  • Toxin Sacs: It may be pricey at 4 points but with 4 base attacks and with the poison USR, ripper will be threatening to anyone. This is a good choice.
  • Tunnel swarm: For 2 points, you can allow your rippers to deep strike, while this may get them closer to enemy, you do leave them to the mercy of not being able to assault when you arrive and its be as late as turn 4 or 5. This is a moderate choice.

Ripper Builds

Close Combat

Ripper -Toxin Sacs

Coming in at 14 points, its threats all with 4 S4 poison attacks

Shooty Rippers

Rippers -Spinefists

Weighing in at 15 points a base, it packs 4 S3 twin-linked Attacks.

And that is Squig_herder's take on the new 5th Edition Tyranid, hope it helped


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