WARNING. This article was originally written for the old 4th edition codex and no longer applies to the current codex.
EQUIPPING YOUR CARNIFEX
by Jon "yakface" Regul
This article is intended to help you narrow down what weapon and biomorph combinations to give your Carnifexes using the 4th edition codex. In general, I'm not going to talk so much about how to use your Carnifexes in the game (although I will dabble into that subject from time to time when appropriate), but rather which combinations are effective or ineffective given the likely role a Carnifex plays in your army.
Before we get into combinations of weapons and biomorphs, I'd like to establish some basic principles I believe about the Carnifex. Please remember that these are just my personal opinions and I am not trying to claim that anything I say is absolute.
Throughout this article, I will be speaking in generalities. Of course there will always be situations where the opposite of what I am saying is true. Ogryns, for example, are a small pricey unit that a single Barbed Strangler round can wipe out. Plague Marines without a Powerfist are a small pricey unit that the Carnifex would love to get into close combat against. However, in general, the Carnifex will not see such wonderful matchups in the majority of games you play. Which is exactly why I will be dealing with the general; I am looking for situations you can expect to occur in the majority of your games.
PRINCIPLES OF THE CARNIFEX
The easiest way for a Carnifex to make his points back is to destroy an enemy vehicle
This is a very important principle to remember when equipping your Carnifex.
In general, destroying a vehicle is much easier than destroying a unit. Enemy units that are small enough to be wiped out by a single round of shooting tend to be tough enough to withstand the type of firepower the Carnifex is carrying (MEQs). Units that are weak enough to be damaged by a Carnifex's shooting tend to be large and cheap in points; meaning you probably won't kill them in a single round, and if you do, they likely aren't worth that many points (IG, Orks).
Vehicles on the other hand, no matter how big and tough, can always be destroyed by a single shot; that potential is always there.
It is easier for a Carnifex to shoot a vehicle than it is destroy a vehicle in close combat
Nearly all (non-walker) vehicles move faster than the Carnifex. That means an opponent who really doesn't want a particular vehicle to be in combat with your Carnifex will probably make sure your Carnifex never reaches it. In addition, it will invariably take multiple turns to reach said vehicle and once in combat (if the vehicle is a skimmer or moved more than 6" in its previous movement phase) the vehicle will only be hit on rolls of 6+; meaning the Carnifex will need to be pretty lucky to destroy it.
On the other hand the Carnifex's ranged weaponry, although not the very best in the game at destroying vehicles, can certainly each hold their own; especially the Venom Cannon, despite only ever causing glancing hits.
Close combat with non-vehicle units can present many challenges for the Carnifex
Unless a Carnifex is uber-tooled for close combat, it is going to be lucky to cause 4 wounds a round in close combat. Units weak in close combat tend to be large enough to tie the Carnifex up for several rounds (Grots), while those that are small and pricey tend to have invulnerable saves or powerful weapons that can easily dispatch the Carnifex in close combat (Terminators, Grey Knights). In addition, the invisible Powerfist found in many, many 4th edition units is a real danger to the Carnifex.
Carnifexes get by with a little help from their friends. Or do they?
Carnifexes in a close combat alone face many dangers. Many of those dangers can be lessened if it gets into combat along with another Tyranid unit. Especially if that unit has more models then the enemy unit they're fighting (thereby keeping hidden Powerfists locked in place away from the Carnifex).
A Carnifex alone in combat can spend several turns, if not the rest of the game, locked in combat with the same unit (and often will end up being killed by the hidden Powerfists). A Gaunt unit locked in close combat alone will also usually spend several turns locked in combat with the same unit only to eventually be grinded to death.
However, a Carnifex in the same combat with a unit of Gaunts can create a winning situation where the enemy unit is destroyed or run down leaving both Tyranid units free to attack something else. In short, a Carnifex can be a very complimentary unit to have in close combat along with another Tyranid unit.
With that said, the Carnifex is not a hidden weapon. Your opponent can (and probably will) remove casualties caused by other Tyranid units from those model(s) in base contact with your Carnifex, thereby denying it the chance to strike. It is possible to lessen this effect by careful placement of your Carnifex in combat, but the Carnifex's slow speed and the large size of other Tyranid units often means that the Carnifex has little choice about which enemy model(s) to engage.
So despite its strengths, the Carnifex has many weaknesses in close combat. It is liable to get swarmed (and possibly killed) alone in combat, but as its Initiative is lower than nearly every other Tyranid creature, fighting alongside allies can often leave it unable to strike.
Carnifexes need to know their role
Many creatures in 40K make you pay a penalty if you use them against the role their statistics were built for. Orks, for example, pay 6 points for a statline that includes 2 Attacks. In the case of Shoota Boys, the Ork player is effectively paying for an extra Attack that is unlikely to be of use the whole game. If given the option to remove the extra attack off that Shoota Boy for 1 point a model, the majority of smart gamers would jump at the chance.
The Tyranid army suffers from the same issue. If you tool up your Hive Tyrant to be a shooting monster, you are still stuck paying the points for a high Weapon Skill, Initiative, and three Attacks that are unlikely to be used. Tyranid Warriors also suffer this curse.
I would argue that Carnifexes are unique in that the majority of their points are assigned because of the fact that they have a Toughness of 6, 4 Wounds, a 3+ armor save, and a Strength of 9. Luckily, all of those attributes are useful for either a shooting or close combat role.
This means that any further points you put into the Carnifex will be spent shaping it into the creature you want it to be, without the chunk of useless abilities and points that many creatures in 40K are saddled with.
To but it bluntly: If you are going to take 2 ranged weapons on your Carnifex, resist the urge to give it close combat oriented biomorphs. You have paid the points to make this creature into a shooting beast, and the easiest way for a Carnifex to achieve Victory Points is to shoot at vehicles; so let it do so!
Giving a double-ranged weapon Carnifex close combat oriented biomorphs only means that you may be tempted so send this Carnifex into close combat. To be frank, this is not something that this type of Carnifex will do particularly well, no matter what biomorphs you give it. You cannot escape the fact that it only has 2 base Attacks.
I am not trying to say that a shooty Carnifex should never charge into close combat. There will obviously be desperate times in a game where an extra couple of S9 attacks may well turn the tide (especially in a 'Godzilla' type army list, but more on that later). However, if you payed the points to make a shooty beast, it should remain shooting if at all possible.
I am also not implying that Carnifexes with a mix of close combat and ranged weaponry are a poor idea; Far from it. It's just that if you want a close combat Carnifex, then by all means do not take two ranged weapons. Instead, take a separate beast for each role.
Always consider the Golden Rule: the easiest way for a Carnifex to accumulate Victory Points is to destroy a vehicle by shooting it.
That doesn't mean that you should only take Carnifexes in order to shoot vehicles. In fact many scenario variants don't even use Victory Points (Alpha level games, for example), and accomplishing a mission objective (like sitting in a table quarter or ending the game in the middle of the battlefield) may be worth far more towards victory than any damage the Carnifex could possibly inflict during the game.
Still, the golden rule is an important concept that you should always keep it in the back of your mind as we discuss further.
THE ELITE CARNIFEX
For discussion of the Elite Carnifex, I'm going to organize different battlefield roles into separate categories in order to examine them more efficiently.
Pure CC Carnifex
I do not recommend taking a pure close combat Carnifex (and that includes Heavy Support Carnifexes too). A good pure CC Carnifex is going to run you anywhere from 113 to 225+ pts. Every 1/3 of the games, you're going to play with Escalation. And unless your opponent is an idiot (or the game lasts more than 8 turns), that means the Carnifex will not be killing anything the whole game.
Is a pure CC Carnifex worth the loss of around 200 points (or more if you take more than one CC Carnifex) in 1/3 of your games? Not in my opinion.
However, that said, if you are absolutely 100% convinced that you need a close combat Carnfiex (or two), then I would strongly suggest you stick with a very cheap variation. That way if you do play Escalation, you are not stuck with too many "dead" points. Besides, a stripped down CC Carnifex with no biomorphs will hold a table quarter just as well as a Carnifex with Crushing Claws and 100 points of biomorphs will.
In this case, our goal is to get the most effective close combat killer while keeping the cost to a minimum. Meaning: if you're going to take a close combat Carnifex, make it an Elite.
Elite CC Carnifex weapon choices
The weapon choices available to a CC Elite Carnifex are pretty simple. Although it is possible to take Crushing Claws, in order to make the points cap, you'd have to take Rending Claws as your second weapon and no (useful) biomorphs. That would leave our Carnifex with D6 Attacks (or D6+1 on the charge) each round of combat.
If you consider the fact that for less points two sets of Scything Talons means the Carnifex will have consistent 4 Attacks (or 5 on the charge), plus some points to spend on biomorphs, the choice should be obvious. Crushing Claws here are more of a detriment than a boon.
A Lash Whip/Scything Talons combo can be a bit tempting to create a really defensive Carnifex who can hold up a unit on his own for several turns. However, as the Whip affects only models in base contact, it is far too easy for an enemy player to surround the Carnifex with regular troops while keeping the models with more than one attack (read Vet Sgt with Powerfist) in a supporting position. This essentially means the Lash Whip will have no effect at all (except for robbing you of a slot to get an additional Attack).
By a process of elimination we've determined that a close combat Elite Carnifex should always have 2 Scything Talons.
Elite CC Carnifex Poor Biomorph Choices
After taking the Scything Talons, we are left with 13 points to spend on biomorphs. There are a number of Biomorphs that we can immediately cross off our list. This is because they are either entirely ineffective, or are only useful in combination with other biomorphs that we cannot afford on our Elite Carnifex budget. Those biomorphs are:
- Acid Maw. I would never, ever recommend taking Acid Maw on a Carnifex. Ever. Even left at a Strength of 9 a Carnifex will rarely ever face off against opponents where it doesn't need a 2+ roll to wound. Paying 6 points to essentially re-roll '1's (and only in the first round of combat) is not an effective way to spend points in your army. I will not be discussing Acid Maw further in this article.
- Bio-Plasma. This is a gimmick attack that is made useless by the fact that it strikes at a higher Initiative then the rest of the Carnifex's Attacks (and does not ignore armor saves). If successful, your opponent will (if conveinent to them) pull the one model in base contact (if the Carnifex is charging) thus not allowing you to make the rest of your attacks. Do not take this biomorph on a Carnifex ever. I will not be discussing Bio-Plasma further in this article.
- Spore Cysts. I honestly do not know who would take this biomorph. It has the potential to wound the Carnifex every time you use it (which is not something that is normally easy to do). In addition, the Spore Mine is produced in the shooting phase, and is placed in base contact with the Carnifex. That means when the opponent's shooting phase rolls around, if the enemy unit is armed with low strength weapons, they now have a target (spore mines) to shoot at that, if detonated, wounds the Carnifex on a '4+' (they are 'Toxic' Spore Mines). I honestly cannot see a positive benefit of taking this biomorph. I will not be discussing Spore Cysts further in this article.
- Tail-Weapon: Scythe. A Tail Scythe gains value when coupled with the Toxin Sacs biomorph (which we can't afford on our Elite Carnifex). It also costs twice as many points as a Tail Mace (5 vs 10). Against any opponent above Toughness 2, a Strength 4 Tail Scythe does not statistically offer twice the number of wounds that a Tail Mace does. That makes the Tail Scythe a marginal, at best, choice for an Elite Carnifex. Instead we are much better off taking a Tail Mace for 5 points less.
- Toxin Sacs (+1 Strength). If we were to take Toxin Sacs on our Elite Carnifex that would preclude us from taking any other biomorphs of value. About the only thing our Elite Carnifex would gain is a better chance of taking down a Monolith. Versus any other vehicle, a 9+2D6 penetration roll should be more than sufficient to destroy it. As such, Toxin Sacs really aren't worth considering as an option for an Elite Carnifex.
- Tusked. This biomorph is only worth its points when taken in combination with Adrenal Glands (WS) and the Toxic Miasma biomorphs. These biomorphs improve the Carnifex's chance to maximize the one-round extra attack. Since we, yet again, cannot afford these combinations, we will pass on Tusked.
- A quick note on Flesh Hooks. Even at one point, Flesh Hooks are only a marginal choice for an Elite Carnifex. The point of Frag grenades/Flesh Hooks for a charging model is to give them a chance to strike before getting killed. A charging Carnifex will generally only be facing a few enemy models (the one he is in base contact with plus whoever is within 2" of that model). The only enemy he really fears is the one with a Power fist; who is going to get to strike anyway unless the Carnifex gets extremely lucky and kills all the models in his kill zone (or the opponent is forced to remove the model in base contact before the Powerfist gets to swing).
On the other hand, they are only 1 point. If you are taking an Elite CC Carnifex you should be attempting maximize the situations you actually do get into combat, so paying the 1 point for Flesh Hooks would be a nearly mandatory choice in that case. The general rule of thumb for taking Flesh Hooks should be: the more Attacks the Carnifex can make, the more chance it will have of killing all enemies within its kill zone, and the more worthwhile it is to take Flesh Hooks.
- A quick note on Symbiote Rippers. Symbiote Rippers are a poor choice for any Carnifex. The Carnifex already counts as 10 models (being a Monstrous Creature) in combat. The times when having a single additional model for outnumbering will matter in a combat when a Carnifex is involved are so rare that even for 2 points I think your points are better spent elsewhere.
Elite CC Carnifex Biomorph Quality Choices
Now that we've whittled down our list, that leaves the following close combat themed biomorphs available to for us (to make a combination of 13 points or less):
- Adrenal Glands(I) (6 points), Adrenal Glands(WS) (4 points), Tail Weapon: Mace (5 points) and Toxic Miasma (8 points).
Although there are several decent combinations that boost the Carnifex's close combat ability a little, there are two combinations that work really, really well together:
- Adrenal Glands(WS) & Adrenal Glands(I). This is the all-around CC Carnifex. With five Attacks on the charge (along with Flesh Hooks) that strike before any Powerfists, this configuration stands a chance to kill the Powerfist model if you can get 3 or less enemy models (including the Powerfist model) in the kill zone. At the very least, the opposing player may be forced to remove the one model in base contact, which would mean the Powerfist doesn't get to swing.
However, since the Carnifex is rather slow, getting it into that perfect position to 'snipe' a Powerfist model may prove highly difficult. That is why I recommend the following configuration instead:
- Adrenal Glands(WS) & Toxic Miasma. If I were to take a CC Carnifex, this is the configuration I would choose every time.
This combination will get you more average hits than the previous configuration versus WS4 (or less) models. Since the majority of standard infantry models in the game are WS4 or less, this combination gives the Carnifex a distinct boost in CC prowess. It is also makes it more resilient against attacks from WS5 enemies (such as Characters).
Also, if equipped with Flesh Hooks, when this Carnifex charges a unit in cover it will strike before Powerfists. If that enemy unit is WS4 or less, the Carnifex stands a better chance of 'sniping' the Powerfist model then did the previous configuration.
Elite CC Carnifex Conclusion
So, if you decide to go against my advice and take a CC Carnifex, your only two choices are:
- 2 sets of Scything Talons, Adrenal Glands (WS), Adrenal Glands (I), Flesh Hooks (112 points).
- 2 sets of Scything Talons, Adrenal Glands (WS), Toxic Miasma, Flesh Hooks (114 points).
Elite Gun Carnifex (or "Dakkafex")
If you followed my advice, we've ruled out the pure CC Carnifex, and we know that we're giving all of our Carnifexes at least one gun.
Dakkafex Poor Weapon Choices
Keep in mind that the Carnifex comes base with a BS of 2, and it is 8 points to give him Enhanced Senses (BS3). Because of the points cap, we can't take a Venom Cannon at all, and if we take a Barbed Strangler, we're stuck with the paltry BS2. Now, a BS2 can work provided that: A) the weapon is twin-linked or B) fires a ton of shots. The Barbed Strangler does neither. Taking a unit that is going to spend the majority of most games doing nothing (missing in the shooting phase), is not the kind of unit you want to include in your army. So, the Barbed Strangler is out on Elite Carnifexes.
That leaves us with the twin-linked Devourer and the twin-linked Deathspitter as our choice of ranged weapons. The Deathspitter sucks for many reasons. It costs 5 more points than the Devourer, is an all or nothing proposition (single shot) and suffers from the terrible new blast rules (you must place the center hole over an enemy model). That leaves us with a clear winner: All Elite Carnifexes we want to shoot will be equipped with a twin-linked Devourer.
Dakkafex Quality Weapon Choices
The Devourer is actually a pretty darn good choice for the Carnifex. It is a 18" Assault weapon which translates into 24" of potential range each turn. It kicks out 4 S6 twin-linked shots; Good enough to obliterate light vehicles like Land Speeders, Ork Trukks and DE Raiders; it has the potential to hurt AV11-12 vehicles and can cause a fair amount of wounds on troop units (especially with the living ammo rule). The fact that it is twin-linked means that it compensates somewhat for the Carnifexes BS2 (he becomes effectively a little better than BS3), so we don't have to take Enhanced Senses if we don't want to.
By eliminating poor choices, we've made our decision easy. for a pure shooty Elite Carnifex, there is only one set of options:
- Dakkafex: 2 Twin-linked Devourers & Enhanced Senses (113 points).
This gives you 8 S6 shots at 18", of which 6 will most likely hit (with a twin-linked BS3). All 6 hits will most likely wound anything with a T4 or less (with the Living Ammo 'to wound' re-roll). That's nothing to sneeze at.
This Carnifex obviously wants to hover out of enemy charge range pouring fire into vulnerable units. You wouldn't want to get him into close combat unless you were charging with several units (as he only has WS3, I1, and A2).
Because of its shooting prowess, the Dakkafex configuration is the gold standard of Elite Carnifexes and is almost always the type of Elite Carnifex you will find in competitive Tyranid Godzilla armies.
The Mixed Elite Carnifex w/Shooty emphasis
For our mixed shooting/CC Carnifex, we're going to take one ranged weapon and one close combat symbiote. As we discussed above, the only quality choice for a ranged weapon is the twin-linked Devourer.
Mixed Shooty Elite Carnifex Weapon Choices
For a CC symbiote our choices are pretty limited. Crushing Claws is automatically out due to points and Rending Claws offer too little benefit for the valuable space they fill for us to even to consider them. That leaves us with Scything Talons or a Lash Whip. As the Lash Whip (as discussed above) really isn't a great choice for a Carnifex, our choice is made for us: all of our Elite Carnifexes that aren't purely shooty will have Scything Talons as their CC symbiote.
With just our weapon choices made, our Elite Carnifex is already 103 points. That leaves us with a mere 11 points to play with. The next question is: do we want our mixed Carnifex to lean more towards shooting or CC? How we spend our last 11 points will decide this factor.
Mixed Shooty Elite Carnifex Biomorph Choices
For a shooting slant, our only two considerations are Enhanced Senses (BS3) or Spine Banks (a bonus Spinefist). Enhanced Senses may seem like the better bet (to maximize your 4 Devourer shots at 18"), but it costs 8 points, leaving only 3 to spare. That's not enough to purchase anything else worthwhile.
On the other hand, taking Spine Banks give us another 2 twin-linked S6 shots at 12", and while all those shots will now be at BS2, the twin-linked nature of all the shooting means that we won't be losing too many hits (within 12" you'll be averaging about the same amount of S6 hits: namely about 3 hits). More Importantly, since Spinebanks are only 5 points, that leaves us with 6 points to spend on CC biomorphs. Our quality choices are any one of the following: Adrenal Glands (I) (6 points), Adrenal Glands (WS) (4 points) or Tail Weapon: Mace (5 points).
I think all of those choices have some merit depending on what role you want the Carnifex to perform. Let's explore them a little:
- Adrenal Glands (+1 I). With only 3 attacks (4 on the charge) and a WS of 3, this Carnifex is probably not going to be taking on enemy units on his own. The only positive of striking at I2 is that it is before the dreaded Powerfist strikes. On his own, the Carnifex is generally not going to cause enough wounds to remove that PFist. However, if assaulting with multiple units, its I2 attacks might be just enough to kill the PFist guy before he swings. In addition, if the bugs do win combat, that I2 gives him a slightly better chance to run a unit down in a sweeping advance (although I wouldn't hold my breath).
- Adrenal Glands (+1 WS). This biomorph would be most useful for a Carnifex that will get stuck in close combat by himself. A WS of 4 doesn't tend to help him to hit any better (unless he's fighting WS3 or lesser opponents), but it can make him much more survivable against WS4 troops (especially against those WS4 Pfists). If you plan on having your Carnifex hold up a shooty unit of troops by himself for several turns, this would be the biomorph for you.
- Tail Weapon: Mace. Again, this is a biomorph for a Carnifex who likes to get stuck in combat on his own. This is a much more offensive (defensive) ability than Adrenal Glands (WS), as it gives the Carnifex an extra full strength (S9) attack if he starts the combat phase in base contact with 4 or more combatants. That gives the Carnifex a fairly potent 4 attacks every round of combat after the first (provided he's surrounded).
Of the above biomorph choices, the one I gravitate towards is the Tail Mace. I imagine our Carnifex with twin-linked Devourer and Spine banks getting charged fairly often by a bunch of enemy infantry (as he tends to get within 12" to fire), so I'm going to go out on a limb and choose the Tail Mace as our clear winner.
Mixed Shooty Elite Carnifex Conclusion
That means our Mixed Elite Carnifex w/ Shooty emphasis is one of the following two (depending on your preference) variations:
- twin-linked Devourer, Scything Talons & Enhanced Senses (111 points).
- twin-linked Devourer, Scything Talons, Spine Banks & Tail Weapon: Mace (113 points).
The Mixed Elite Carnifex w/Close Combat emphasis
As we discussed before, we're giving our mixed Elite Carnifex a Devourer and Scything Talons; that's a given. However here, we're going for a CC slant, so we're not going to take Enhanced Senses or Spine Banks, which leaves us with the full 11 points of biomorphs to work with.
Mixed CC Elite Carnifex Biomorph Choices
Those extra points open up a couple expensive CC themed biomorphs. We have so few points left they'd have to be taken as the sole biomoprh on the Carnifex:
- Implant Attack. This is generally only good against characters (and the rare multi-wound unit). As we don't expect our Elite Carnifex to stand up well to a character, we're not going to spend our precious points on this biomorph.
- Toxic Miasma. On a Carnifex, this biomorph is only really helpful if you've already taken Adrenal Glands (WS). Since we can't afford to take both, we're going to pass on this biomorph.
Instead of taking a lone ineffective biomorph, I believe we get much better results with a combination of two cheaper ones. The following Biomorphs (not counting Symbiote Rippers and Flesh Hooks) can be combined for 11 points or under:
- Adrenal Glands (I) (6 pts), Adrenal Glands (WS) (4 pts), Tail Weapon: Mace (5 pts).
One huge negative combo would be Tail Mace with Adrendal Glands (I). This would have the Carnifex striking at different Initiative steps (as the Tail always strikes at I1) which, like with Bio-Plasma, is a bad thing.
That leaves us the following two combinations:
- Adrenal Glands (WS) and Adrenal Glands (I). Exactly like the pure CC equivalent (scroll back up for more info), this configuration is just a generally better CC fighter. However, with one less Attack than the pure CC version, this Carnifex has a much smaller chance of 'sniping' the Powerfist before it can swing.
- Adrenal Glands (WS) and Tail Weapon: Mace. I prefer this choice. The increase in WS (as already discussed) means he can sit in combat with WS4 troops and suffer less damage. The Tail Mace means that while sitting in that combat he's making 4 S9 attacks. These two biomporhs compliment each other very nicely.
Mixed CC Elite Carnifex Conclusion
So our Mixed Elite Carnifex w/ CC emphasis is one of the following two (depending on your preference) variations:
- twin-linked Devourer, Scything Talons, Adrenal Glands (WS) & Adrenal Glands (I) (113 points).
- twin-linked Devourer, Scything Talons, Adrenal Glands (WS) & Tail Weapon: Mace (112 points).
THE HEAVY SUPPORT CARNIFEX
Important Points About the Heavy Support Carnifex
The Carnifex fills an important role in the Tyranid army
It is important to note that the Heavy Support Carnifex can fill a role in the Tyranid army that no other unit can; that is: long-range high Strength shooting.
Zoanthropes have half the range on their S10 shot and a Hive Tyrant can only achieve a S8 Venom Cannon.
Therefore, if you don't take any Heavy Support Carnifexes (or if you don't equip those you take with at least one Venom Cannon) your army will lack versatility. You will have to depend on close combat attacks (or short ranged Zoanthrope blasts) to take out heavy vehicles.
Since it is far easier to destroy a vehicle through shooting than it is through close combat, it is a huge mistake to go to war without taking Heavy Support Carnifexes with Venom Cannons.
A comparable concept would be an army that had nearly no CC ability (like the Tau). Say that army had a single unit type that could be equipped either to fight in close combat well, or shoot at the expense of its close combat ability. If you choose to equip that unit to shoot, you've chosen to make your army one-dimensional; in other words: a gimmick army.
Gimmick armies have their place in the game of 40K, but they always meet their match when the opponent has several units that can counter your gimmick.
In the Tyranid Army List you have other units that fight well in close combat; you have other units that can shoot infantry; you have other units that can engage vehicles in close combat and destroy them.
But you do not have any other unit that can shoot a very high Strength shot at long range. If you pass on Heavy Support Carnifexes with Venom Cannons, you have already begun to paint yourself into the corner.
With that in mind, I am recommending we always give our Heavy Support Carnifexes a Venom Cannon. Although a Barbed Strangler has some uses, the fact that it is only a single shot means that it will be missing half of the game. Besides that, it is only Strength 8. Although this is great for shooting infantry, it is not so great against heavier vehicles (AV 13-14). Since the Carnifex is the only unit which can get that useful 36" S10 shooting, we should covet THAT shooting.
Beware your spending habits
Many players will find the Myriad of biomorph choices for a Heavy Support Carnifex highly addictive. They will keep adding and adding, and before you know it, this single unit costs more than 250 points.
At that cost, it is highly unlikely the Carnifex will ever kill enough enemy models to pay for himself. However the chance that the enemy, given the right circumstances, can kill that Carnifex (and claim that hefty cost) will always be there.
No matter what the role of our Heavy Support Carnifexes, we want to get the maximum amount of effectiveness for the minimum number of points. We should always keep that concept in mind when building our Heavy Support Carnifexes. It also means we can add a couple of items to our list of things that we are never, ever going to take (along with Acid Maw and Bio-Plasma):
- Regenerate. For 30 points this is just way over-the-top too expensive for an ability that may very well never get any use in a game. This biomorph is like taking insurance in blackjack: it exists only for suckers. If you are going to pay a ton of points for an ability, always make sure you can use it!
- Two Venom Cannons (twin-linked). Although we really need those S10 shots the Venom Cannon provides, paying the full cost twice for the twin-linked ability is just too many points for too little of an advantage. Although I would really love to recommend this option, the points cost is just too high.
For discussion of the Heavy Support Carnifex, I'm going to organize different battlefield roles into separate categories in order to examine them more efficiently.
Heavy Support Gun Carnifex (or "Gunfex")
Gunfex Weapon Choices
In the case of a Gunfex, we are taking two sets of ranged weapons, similar to the Elite "Dakkafex" configuration. One of those weapons is obviously going to be a Venom Cannon based on the discussion above.
For our secondary weapon, we can quickly dismiss the twin-linked Devourer for one simple reason: range. As discussed at the very beginning of this article, if we take a shooty Carnifex, we want it to shoot. By taking a shorter ranged weapon, we are forced to move our Carnifex closer to the enemy in order to maximize our shooting. That increases our chances of a smart opponent charging our Gunfexes in an attempt to silence our shooting. This is something we do not want to happen.
By giving our Gunfexes a 36" range (by giving them both a Venom Cannon and Barbed Strangler), we can ensure that they can safely stay far away from the enemy while pouring fire into vehicles and infantry. Besides, we almost always need some units to sit back and hold table quarters while the rest of the swarm rushes towards the enemy. A Gunfex is the perfect candidate for this job.
The Barbed Strangler also provides two other important contributions: It gives the Gunfex a chance to cause penetrating hits on closed-topped enemy vehicles with an armor of 13 or less (something the Venom Cannon does not) and it helps to convince the enemy player to keep his models spread out in his units to avoid taking additional casualties should the Gunfex shoot at them.
In general, enemy units in spread out formations are better for the Tyranid player because it makes it harder for the opponent to pack all his units into the corner of the battlefield ("castle up"), it means that Tyranid units will likely be facing less defending enemy attacks on the charge (as a spread formation means there will be less models within 2" of each other) and it tends to decrease the distance between each enemy unit on the table increasing the chance that Tyranid units will be able to consolidate out of a victorious combat directly into another one.
Gunfex Biomorph Choices
So we have decided (through default) that all of our Gunfexes will have a Venom Cannon and Barbed Strangler. With our weapon choice sorted, we can move onto biomorphs.
First the easy one: we must take Enhanced Senses for this type of Carnifex. Beyond that is where the restraint is needed.
As I've said numerous times, we want our Gunfexes to shoot. That is why we bought them. To waste points on any CC oriented biomorphs might only tempt us to engage the enemy when we should be shooting instead. If we exclude all the close combat biomorphs we are left with choices that make the Carnifex tougher to kill.
When making our analysis on these biomorphs we should keep in mind that we don't expect our Gunfex to regularly get into close combat or even get very close to the enemy. In fact, if the enemy gets within 12" of our Gunfexes, that means the enemy has already killed the majority of our army and/or has been able to seriously outflank us. Either way means our army is in bad shape long before those short-ranged enemy weapons start shooting our Gunfex.
The point is, we are mainly concerned with how longer ranged weapons will be affected by these biomorphs, especially those with a range beyond 36". Those weapons will be able to shoot our Gunfex without being hit by return fire.
- Reinforced Chitin (+1 Wound). This is the one biomorph I would give to every single Heavy Support Carnifex. Compared to the other resiliency biomorphs, it is cheap (15 points). More important, an extra wound is always of use no matter what Strength the attack or its AP. A better question would be: Why would you not take this biomorph? I can't think of a good answer to that question.
- Toxin Sacs (+1 Strength). Toxin Sacs give our Gunfex no benefit, and in fact cause the Barbed Strangler to cost 5 points more. We will not be giving our Gunfex Toxin Sacs.
- Bonded Exoskeleton (+1 Toughness)/Extended Carapace (2+ Save). I am going to discuss these two biomorphs together because they address the same issue in slightly different ways. Whether to take either or both is an interesting dilemma. There is no question that both these upgrades make the Gunfex more resilient. The question is whether the increase is worth the 20 and 25 point price tag.
The biggest negative against taking either upgrade is that neither does anything against those weapons which are biggest threat. When you factor all types of Space Marine, Chaos Space Marine, Imperial Guard and Tau armies that are regularly played, you are probably approaching nearly 60-70% of the armies you will face during a random tournament draw.
All of those armies feature a S9, AP2 or better long ranged weapon as their primary Anti-tank (and therefore anti-Carnifex) weapon. We are, of course, speaking of the Lascannon (and Railgun for the Tau).
Neither upgrade will affect hits caused by these weapons, and as these are the generally the main shooting threat your Gunfexes will face, both upgrades are, at best, suspect.
Of course, there are other races. Both regular and Dark Eldar carry S8 AP2 lances, Orks have their S8 AP3 Rokkits, Sisters of Battle have the S8 AP1 Excorcist launcher, and nearly all Imperial/Chaos armies have the ubiquitous (but less popular than the Lascannon) S8 AP3 Krak missile.
In addition, we have the mid-Strength weapons (S5-7) to worry about. Most particularly the 'Plasma' variety which tend to have a deadly AP of 2.
Also, we would be remiss to ignore the new boon of 'Rending' weapons in the game which further reduce the effectiveness of both a high Toughness and a better Save.
All of these factors combined leads us to the conclusion that for a Gunfex, our best option is to forgo either upgrade. Instead, keep the beast cheap and in some cover for the whole game if at all possible.
Extended Carapace vs. Bonded Exoskeleton
However, if you really, really wanted to take one upgrade, which one is better than the other? Let's examine the Strengths each selection has over the other.
Extended Carapace: gives near invulnerability against all attacks that have an AP3 or higher; this is statistically better protection than +1T offers against those same weapons. In fact, the higher the Strength of the attack, the better that protection is, versus what Bonded Exoskeleton offers.
The problem is, the higher the Strength of the weapon, the greater the chance it is AP2 or better; thus rendering the 2+ save completely useless.
One other fact to consider is that a 2+ save offers increased protection against S4 attacks, something that Bonded Exoskeleton does not (changing T6 to T7 has no effect on S4 attacks).
Of course, the golden moment in the sun for Extended Carapace is versus AP3 weapons, where a 2+ save offers vastly more protection than +1 Toughness. However, there are very few of these weapons in the game compared to those that are AP2 or better. We are really only talking about Krak missiles, Ork Rokkits (not long-ranged), Eldar Reaper Launchers and Tau Ion Cannons.
Bonded Exoskeleton: has the huge advantage of reducing the effect of every weapon S5 through S8, regardless of AP. This is especially important because quite a few weapons in this range do indeed have an AP of 2. Starcannons, Dark/Bright Lances, Plasma guns/cannons, Meltaguns, Fusion guns, and Excorcist missiles (to name the main threats).
One other benefit is that a Toughness of 7 means complete invulnerability against S3 attacks.
If you knew that you were going to be playing against Orks, Dark Reaper heavy Eldar or Chaos/Imperial armies featuring a preponderance of Missile Launchers then you'd clearly want to take Extended Carapace.
Otherwise, the much more versatile choice (especially for 5 points less) is Bonded Exoskeleton. You know that it will make your Gunfex tougher versus any mid-strength weapon, regardless of what enemy army you face. In particular, it works better with the Gunfex concept of sitting inside terrain and using the cover save. Although it doesn't offer the kind of protection a 2+ save does against AP3 or better weapons, it does work against every S5-8 (non-Rending) shot from an Autocannon to a Plasma gun; something that cannot be said about Extended Carapace.
I do want to re-iterate that I don't recommend taking either upgrade for a Gunfex because neither address the Gunfex's biggest threat (long ranged S9-10 AP2 or better shooting).
Regarding those 'mid-strength' weapons, an important thing to remember about the game of Warhammer 40K is that when choosing targets, shooting the right target with the proper weapons is paramount. If we don't upgrade our Gunfex with either Bonded Exoskeleton or Extended Carapace and our opponent is shooting it with an Autocannon, we should be happy to take those wounds because they are firing inefficiently.
For example, with a standard Carnifex, it will take an Imperial Guard player 9 (BS 3) Autocannon shots to statistically cause an average of one wound. A Space Marine player will need 14 (BS 4) Heavy Bolter shots to do the same. Those are a lot of shots that would be much more efficient fired at Tyranid warriors or Genestealers, for example.
If an enemy player is resorting to firing these types of weapons at you, then you're probably well on your way to winning the game regardless of whether your Gunfex is subsequently killed.
On a similar train of thought I've completely ignored blast weapons in this Bonded Exoskeleton/Extended Carapace analysis. Any enemy who wastes a blast weapon shot on a single Carnifex regardless of what Strength or AP is doing you a huge favor by not firing at something else in your army.
If you're still following me along this winding path you now know that all of the Gunfexes we will take in our army will be equipped as follows:
*Venom Cannon, Barbed Strangler, Enhanced Senses, Reinforced Chitin (163 points).
Even more than the Dakkafex in the Elite section, the Gunfex represents the mainstay of the Tyranid heavy support because it best fills that void the Tyranid army desperately needs: long-ranged, high-strength, anti-vehicle firepower.
Because of that fact, a Gunfex is the most common Carnifex found in competitive Tyranid armies of all sizes and shapes.
Mixed Heavy Support Carnifex (or "Uberfex")
The "Uberfex" is a term I give to any Heavy Support Carnifex with a shooting weapon, but that doesn't carry both a Barbed Strangler and a Venom Cannon (aka "Gunfex").
If you've come with me this far then you probably already know some of the things I'm going to say about this configuration.
It should be obvious that we're not going to give an Uberfex two ranged symbiotes (that would be the Gunfex) and we're not going to give it two close combat symbiotes either; we're going to take a mix of each.
Common Uberfex Mistakes
I can already hear some people crying: "I want to take a Barbed Strangler and a twin-linked Devourer!"
Resist the urge people. If you want a shooting Carnifex, take a Gunfex and keep it far away from any enemies who might want to charge it.
Besides, those two 36" S10 shots are far too valuable to pass up. EVERY Heavy Support Carnifex in you army should have one. Every. Single. One.
Others are now crying: "But what if I play against an army that has no vehicles?"
Those games certainly will occur, and it is why your Gunfexes also have a Barbed Strangler. Yes, I understand that there are times where your Uberfex, armed with a Venom Cannon will have no vehicles to shoot at. However, those are the risks you need to take.
Remember! You have plenty of other troops who can kill stuff in close combat pretty darn well. You can equip other units in your army to shoot enemy infantry and light vehicles. What you DON'T HAVE is any other way to destroy heavy vehicles at long range; Don't ever forget that.
Finally a few of you are still bawling: "But I want to make a super-duper close combat god out of my Carnifex."
Just say no. If you absolutely must have a close combat Carnifex, make it Elite. I know that you can't make the same kind of mind-blowing close combat monster with a 115 point cap, but remember that there is a 1/3 chance every game that your Carnifex will have to come from Reserves. You don't want to be pouring 200+ points into something that may or may not have any impact on the game. You want your premium units to contribute as much as possible.
Besides, the Uberfex we are going to create below is a pretty formidable close combat opponent. While it will never match the close combat power you could build with a pure Heavy Support close combat Carnifex, the Uberfex's Venom Cannon means that it stands a much better chance of consistently making back Victory Points every game.
Uberfex Weapon Choices
Let's get back to equipping our Uberfex:
When it comes to weapon selection it should be obvious by now that we are going to be taking a Venom Cannon as our one ranged symbiote.
As for our close combat symbiote, we have one choice we really haven't had to deal with so far. That is: Crushing Claws.
- Crushing Claws (25 points) take up a spot that Scything Talons (8 points) would normally take. They also erase the Carnifex's basic 2 attacks. That means for 17 points more than Scything Talons you are left with only a 50% chance each Assault phase your Carnifex will have more Attacks than if you had just stuck with (the much cheaper) Scything Talons. You also get a 33% chance of having less Attacks each Assault phase than you would have had with Scything Talons.
If you like that kind of random risk vs. reward you should really be playing Orks. : )
I, however, prefer to know as much as I can going into an Assault how my units will perform. Of course, Crushing Claws on a pure close combat Carnifex would be much more attractive. With Tusks, a Carnifex like that would have 3+D6 attacks on the charge; not bad at all! However since we are not going to take a pure close combat Carnifex, taking Crushing Claws on our Uberfex is just too big a risk for the amount of points it costs.
That means our Uberfex will always have a Venom Cannon and a set of Scything Talons as its weapons.
Mandatory Uberfex Biomoprh Choices
Onto biomorphs! This is going to be fun. We no longer have an Elite points restriction, and the goal is to make a close combat monster while not going overboard spending points. We'd like our Carnifex to be able to take on nearly any opponent in close combat but we don't want to get to the point that it completely loses the ability to kill the equivalent amount of enemy models with its shooting and close combat combined.
From our previous configurations, we have already ruled out the following biomorphs: Acid Maw, Bio-Plasma, Regenerate and Spore Cysts.
Since we're spending the 35 points to take a Venom Cannon we are compelled to spend the extra 8 to get Enhanced Senses. Also, as discussed with a Gunfex, Reinforced Chitin is a must on all Heavy Support Carnifexes. So far we're up to 151 points.
The following biomorphs are crucial for maximizing the close combat ability of the Uberfex:
Adrenal Glands (WS), Adrenal Glands (I), Toxic Miasma and Tusked.
Toxic Miasma and Adrenal Glands (WS) mean that our Uberfex is striking on a 3+ against standard MEQs. Adrenal Glands (I) means that its Attacks strike before Powerfists and with five Attacks on the charge (because of Tusked) and a 3+ to hit, our Uberfex stands a decent chance of sniping that PFist if the kill zone is small enough. We are now up to 179 points.
Optional Uberfex Biomoprh Choices
The biomorphs selected so far are those I feel should be taken no matter what, 100% of the time on an Uberfex.
From here on out, a lot of personal preference rules the day. Of course, for a unit that costs 179 points, we probably want to take some more defensive upgrades, especially as the Uberfex tends to advance into enemy fire.
First, lets look at some mediocre biomorphs that I don't recommend taking on your Uberfex: Thornback and Spine Banks.
- Spine Bank: isn't a horrible choice for 5 points, but doesn't match up very well with the Uberfex's Venom Cannon. The range matchup between the two weapons is pretty severe and the Venom Cannon wants to be firing at the hardest vehicles while Spine Banks need to fire at the lightest. In addition, for the amount of points you're spending on an Uberfex, you desperately want him to get into close combat. Unfortunately you may run into situations where a successful Spine Bank shot ends up killing the only enemy model in charge range.
- Thornback: is a pretty expensive upgrade for 15 points. More importantly, you don't have the choice to not use the ability if you don't want to. An Uberfex is most likely to win on the first round of combat (when it has the bonus attack for Tusked). Having an enemy unit run from this first round of combat is the worst thing you could ever hope for. You want your Uberfex locked in combat for at least one more round.
Besides, an Uberfex doesn't stand a very good chance of running any enemies down in a Sweeping Advance (except for Tau and Orks). Yes, it can be a powerful tool when the Uberfex charges in with another unit with high Inititative, but taking it makes the Uberfex less versatile. You'll have to be careful about where and when you charge because you know that if your Uberfex wins the combat it is then likely to be standing in the open during the opponent's following shooting phase. Leave the Thornback at home.
Now that we've gotten the very mediocre biomorphs out of the way, let's look at the rest of 'em. We have left: Bonded Exoskeleton, Extended Carapace, Implant Attack, Tail Weapon: Mace & Scythe and Toxin Sacs.
When it comes to Implant Attack and Toxin Sacs, we will look at those two items together. Both of these biomorphs really help make the Uberfex better against enemy characters and multi-wound creatures (Toxin Sacs does helps against vehicles too; especially the Monolith). Although we generally don't prefer our Uberfex to go up against a character (as we'll need a 4+ to hit instead of a 3+ against opponents with a WS4 or less), when we have to face off with one, Toxin Sacs undeniably gives us the better edge (especially for 2 points less).
This is because there are relatively few characters or multi-wound creatures in 40K that do not suffer instant death from S10 attacks. Since our Uberfex doesn't have that many Attacks to start with (compared to enemy characters), we need to rely on being able to kill with a single successful attack rather than the two successful Attacks we'd likely need with Implant Attack.
Just about the only enemy we're going to regret taking Toxin Sacs over Implant Attacks is when facing a character that is immune to instant death or another Tyranid army (since Synapse creatures are immune as well).
Uberfex Tail Weapons
I do recommend taking a Tail weapon on your Uberfex. This is because with the Venom Cannon, it has only three Attacks when not charging. An Uberfex needs to have staying power. Besides, since it hits WS4 or lesser troops on a 3+, Tail attacks have a better chance of hitting each round and are therefore a better value for the same amount of points.
Remember that our Uberfex is I2 and any Tail Attacks are made at I1, so it does stand a slight risk of losing the chance to make those attacks. However as Tail attacks are only used when in base contact with 4 or more enemies (at the start of the round), and the Uberfex only has 3 Attacks when not charging, the only way this situation is going to occur is if your Uberfex is fighting alongside friendly broods in combat. As such, we aren't going to worry about this happening often enough to keep us from taking the upgrade.
Since we've already decided upon taking Toxin Sacs, you may be thinking that Tail Weapon: Scythe is now easily the most attractive option since the D3 Attacks will be at S5. However, both upgrades still have merit.
Against a WS4 or less opponent, an Uberfex will average the following number of wounds per round of close combat with its Tail Weapon alone:
- T3 opponent--Scythe: 1.11 wounds/Mace: .56 wounds
- T4 opponents--Scythe: .89 wounds/Mace: .56 wounds
- T5 opponents--Scythe: .67 wounds/Mace: .56 wounds
Although the Scythe Tail consistently produces more wounds, the average against MEQs ins't twice as large as the Mace. When you consider that the Scythe costs double the points (5 vs 10), Mace retains much of its charm.
If you also factor in the chance that the Mace Tail may cause an instant death attack every now and then, for 5 points less it is the choice I would go with.
Extended Carapace vs. Bonded Exoskeleton Round 2
Finally back to my favorite subject: Extended Carapace and Bonded Exoskeleton. All of the analysis I provided in the Gunfex section still applies. However, the Uberfex is going to be behaving rather differently than the Gunfex and therefore we must examine some new situations.
First off, we have already spent considerably more points on our Uberfex then we did on our Gunfex. That means it behooves us to spend at least a few more points on making the Uberfex more durable. Consider it an investment on the points you've already spent.
Second, the Uberfex is not going to be sitting in cover and it is going to be getting within short-range of the enemy. This means that Rapid fire weapons (especially Plasma guns) are going to have a much greater impact on the Uberfex then they will on a Gunfex.
Thirdly, we hope that our Uberfex gets into close combat. How do Extended Carapace and Bonded Exoskeleton stack up against close combat attacks? All will be revealed below:
When wading into enemy Rapid Fire range the following is the average number of shots that need to be fired to statistically cause a single wound on the Uberfex:
- (Imperial Guard)BS3/S3. un-upgraded: 36 shots. T7: invulnerable. 2+ Save: 72 shots.
- (MEQ)BS4/S4. un-upgraded: 27 shots. T7: 27 shots. 2+ Save: 54 shots.
- (Ork)BS2/S4. un-upgraded: 54 shots. T7: 54 shots. 2+ Save: 108 shots.
- (Tau)BS3/S5. un-upgraded: 18 shots. T7: 36 shots. 2+ Save: 36 shots.
As you can see, Extended Carapace provides double the protection against the basic weapon of every army. Bonded Exoskeleton will only help against the Imperial Guard and Tau.
However, we cannot forget that when approaching enemy lines, the Uberfex will undoubtedly incur fire from Plasma and Melta weapons; both of which totally ignore the 2+ save provided by Extended Carapace. The +1 Toughness of Bonded Exoskeleton does protect somewhat against these weapons.
Once in combat, the tables turn rather dramatically. Imperial Guard, (non-charging) Orks, Sisters of Battle, and Tau all strike at a S3 or less. +1 Toughness eliminates any damage in close combat from the basic troops of these armies.
With MEQs in combat, the fact that they need 4+ to hit (instead of 3+ when shooting) and they don't have as many attacks as when they rapid fire means the Uberfex is much less vulnerable. It statistically takes 36 WS4,S4 MEQ attacks to wound a standard Carnifex in close combat.
Both upgrades have the same effect against S5-6 Attacks in close combat provided those Attacks do not ignore armor saves. And that is where Bonded Exoskeleton pulls away from Extended Carapace. In close combat, the kind of Attacks that tend to wound a Carnifex are both high Strength and ignore armor saves; the two properties usually go hand in hand.
Although Toughness 7 doesn't offer major protections from the ubiquitous S8 Powerfist, it does help somewhat. For example, an Ork Nob charges with 5 Powerklaw Attacks (WS4, S8). Against a Toughness of 6 (with or without a 2+ save) The Nob will average 2.08 wounds. Against a Toughness of 7, that number drops to 1.68. Not a mind-blowing drop, but a significant decrease considering the hidden S8 Powerfist is probably the biggest threat a Carnifex faces in close combat.
The Toughness of 7 also helps against Furious Charging (S5) Power weapons, Frost Blades (S5), Nemesis Force Weapons (S6) and any other mid-range Strength power weapon that ignores armor saves.
In short, although Extended Carapace does offer the Uberfex better protection than Bonded Exoskeleton against the most common Strength Rapid fire weapons in the game (the S4 bolter/Shoota). It doesn't offer any protection against Rapid firing Plasma guns, Meltaguns, and any other short ranged AP2 or less weapons. In addition, once locked in combat, a Toughness of 7 is much more useful than a Save of 2+.
In conclusion, if we are only going to pick one of the two upgrades (which I'd recommend doing to save points), we should clearly take Bonded Exoskeleton on our Uberfex.
So, we're rounding out our Uberfex with: Toxin Sacs, Mace Tail and Bonded Exoskeleton, giving us this big, bad beast:
- Venom Cannon, Scything Talons, Adrenal Glands (I), Adrenal Glands (WS), Bonded Exoskeleton, Enhanced Senses, Flesh Hooks, Reinforced Chitin, Tail Weapon: Mace, Toxin Sacs, Toxic Miasma, Tusked (211 points).
If you wanted a cheaper version that had most of the same potential, the biomorphs I would suggest removing (in the following order) would be:
- Toxin Sacs
- Bonded Exoskeleton
- Adrenal Glands (I)
That would give you the following stripped down version of the Uberfex:
- Venom Cannon, Scything Talons, Adrenal Glands (WS), Enhanced Senses, Flesh Hooks, Reinforced Chitin, Tail Weapon: Mace, Toxic Miasma, Tusked (179 points).
Close Combat Heavy Support Carnifex (or "Godfex")
Last but not least, despite all my warnings to the contrary, some of you will want to run around with this god of close combat, AKA the "Godfex".
The only time I think it might be appropriate to take a Godfex is if you knew that you had no chance of playing Escalation (such as in a Cities of Death game). Even then, I think giving your Heavy Support Carnifexes a Venom Cannon makes them much more fearsome all around threats.
Godfex Weapon Choices
I'm going to make this short and sweet since I've already discussed every single biomorph and weapon symbiote with the previous configurations.
Since we want the absolute king of close combat (without totally breaking the bank), we are going to go ahead and pony up the points for Crushing Claws. We'll still have a guaranteed 4 Attacks on the charge (even if a 'one' is rolled for the Crushing Claws), and a potential maximum of 9(!) Attacks if we roll that lucky six.
Here is my idea for a Godfex pattern Carnifex (with a brief description of why following):
- Crushing Claws, Scything Talons, Adrenal Glands (WS), Adrenal Glands (I), Bonded Exoskeleton, Flesh Hooks, Reinforced Chitin, Tail Weapon: Mace, Toxin Sacs, Toxic Miasma, Tusked (193 points).
We took Toxin Sacs to make him the ultimate instant death monster. We took a Tail Mace to give us an extra attack when we're taking on a horde and we roll poorly for Crushing Claws.
We didn't take Extended Carapace to save points (since we took Bonded Exoskeleton). We didn't take Symbiote Rippers or Thornback because we definitely want to keep the enemy locked in combat with this beast.
Elite Carnifex Cofiguration Recommendations
As a recap, my recommendations on the only five Elite Carnifex configurations even worth considering are (red=recommended choice):
- Dakkafex: 2 Twin-linked Devourers & Enhanced Senses (113 points).
- twin-linked Devourer, Scything Talons & Enhanced Senses (111 points).
- twin-linked Devourer, Scything Talons, Spine Banks & Tail Weapon: Mace (113 points).
- twin-linked Devourer, Scything Talons, Adrenal Glands (WS) & Adrenal Glands (I) (113 points).
- twin-linked Devourer, Scything Talons, Adrenal Glands (WS) & Tail Weapon: Mace (112 points).
- twin-linked Devourer, Scything Talons, Enhanced Senses & Adrenal Glands (WS) (115 points).
Other Elite Carnifex Suggestions
If you are hell bent on taking a pure CC Elite Carnifex, the only two worth considering (with the latter being the better choice IMO) are:
- 2 sets of Scything Talons, Adrenal Glands (WS), Adrenal Glands (I), Flesh Hooks (112 points).
- 2 sets of Scything Talons, Adrenal Glands (WS), Toxic Miasma, Flesh Hooks (114 points).
Heavy Support Carnifex Recommendations
Our Heavy Support Carnifexes will be (red=recommended choice):
- Gunfex: Venom Cannon, Barbed Strangler, Enhanced Senses, Reinforced Chitin (163 points).
- Uberfex: Venom Cannon, Scything Talons, Adrenal Glands (I), Adrenal Glands (WS), Bonded Exoskeleton, Enhanced Senses, Flesh Hooks, Reinforced Chitin, Tail Weapon: Mace, Toxin Sacs, Toxic Miasma, Tusked (211 points).
- (stripped down) Uberfex: Venom Cannon, Scything Talons, Adrenal Glands (WS), Enhanced Senses, Flesh Hooks, Reinforced Chitin, Tail Weapon: Mace, Toxic Miasma, Tusked (179 points).
Other Heavy Support Carnifex Suggestions
Finally, the highly discouraged Heavy Support close combat Carnifex:
- Godfex: Crushing Claws, Scything Talons, Adrenal Glands (WS), Adrenal Glands (I), Bonded Exoskeleton, Flesh Hooks, Reinforced Chitin, Tail Weapon: Mace, Toxin Sacs, Toxic Miasma, Tusked (193 points).
Well, that's it!
For those of you who actually read through the entire piece, I hope you enjoyed it and perhaps learned something that you hadn't thought of before about equipping your Carnifexes.
Any feedback, comments, questions or constructive criticism about this piece is always welcome.
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