But what am I doing with the other Elite slots? Well, look behind you! I love Lictors. The model with possible the biggest list of special rules in the main game, these guys are ridiculous and generally have a fantastic feel to them. Cthulhu-esque faces, oversized claws and hyper-mental stealth predators. Excellent for tying up non-assault units, messing up vehicles and with S6 Rending attacks, can even cripple a land raider. There are a couple of reasons beyond the aesthetics and atmosphere I’m using them though. They can really help to put the pressure on an opponent early, being fast, resilient (when in cover) and still able to pack a good punch in assault. Also, very unlikely to succumb to Instinctive behaviour, meaning I can be bolder about placing them in Infiltrate. If they are outside of Synapse, they are not very likely to go all animalistic and if I position them in area terrain, I can have them go to ground for a 2+ cover, which will hopefully mean a lot of wasted shots! Early game, I don’t even need them to do anything other than ‘not die’. If they can absorb some fire while accomplishing this, the so much the better. This is because they act as homing beacons for Tyranid Deep Strikers, and I plan on having a lot of those. Also, having played a couple of games, they are very useful as late game objective deniers, and not just because they can get my guys landing dead centre on them.
Speaking of Deep Striking, I’ve got a little bit of that in this list, just to sow a bit of panic and discord. I’ve got a Trygon Prime set up and ready to go. I love this guy. I’ve had three games with the Tyranids (two more than when I started writing this article), and in each game, the Prime has been well worth the points outlay. They’re not cheap at a (nearly) Land Raider price tag, but have a nice bit of flak to them and can really lay the smackdown in melee. I realise that for a 40 point saving, I could go for a regular Trygon; after all, the stats are practically the same. However, for that addition outlay, you really get a lot more out of it. Additional Synapse is exceptionally useful (especially as I’m only packing 2 other Synapse sources so far), Shadow in the Warp on a deep striking guy can really mess up a Psyker for a turn or so and the gun upgrade you receive for the Prime is an immense improvement, getting twice the shot at 150% of the range. The base model is pretty good as it is as well, with a load of attacks that don’t even suffer too much for going into Smash mode. Also tie in the fact that it has solid Initiative and you have a very punchy unit that also functions as a mobile firebase.
His DS backup is a squad of Raveners, a unit that I never saw much of in the old rules (apart from one of my friends), but always looked like they could be worth something in game. Plus the models themselves were very nice, which helps. As Beasts, they have a great deal of manoeuvrability and the Move Through Cover this conveys means I can drop them into area terrain for some added protection without worrying about dangerous terrain tests. I’ve gone for the expensive versions though, implanting Deathspitters into their chests and kitting them out with Rending Claws to boot. The Claws are really not a choice I had to think about much. It simply broadens their scope greatly and allows them to deal with a very wide variety of threats. The Deathspitters are possibly a case of false economy or me getting greedy. That you can give them ranged weapons without losing any close combat punch is enough for me to edge them into the expensive bracket. It also gives them the option to be aggressive from the very start. It would just feel like wasted potential for them to turn up and just run. Make no mistake, that will probably happen anyway, especially if the opponent is packing blasts or templates nearby or there is no-one close to victimise. The main downside for these guys though is the poor Ld, making them very dependent on nearby Synapse to function effectively. I’ve been using them haphazardly in my recent games, and it’s something I definitely need to be more aware of in future games.
Additional troops come in the flavour of a squad of Warriors, a (usually) resilient pick, and very nice sculpts as well. They acts as fearless scorers (always handy) and are very much my backup Synapse before the Trygon turns up. I’ve kitted them out a little as well. Deathspitters for light vehicle suppression and decent anti-Infantry flak (quite accurate if the Prime is in there as well) and after a couple of games, I’ve decided to weigh in a couple more points into the unit to give a few of them Rending Claws. Against certain units, Rending really is a lifesaver (or taker depending on your perspective). Apart from that, they’re nothing special, just fairly good (albeit slightly expensive) all round workhorses for the army. They can shoot fairly well, punch fairly hard and take hits fairly solidly. I don’t know how I feel about adding the Prime to the unit though. He definitely brings some advantages, upping their BS and WS and with the Maw Claws I’m thinking of giving him, they could really punch above their weight. However, it does force my army to clump up a bit until the Trygon turns up. That said, the venomthrope does the same to my army set up, so it might not be as bad an effect as I’m imagining. I suspect that call will be very much situational. I’ll just have to figure that one out on the fly.
And that’s that. One more squad of cheap-as Fleshborer gaunts as an additional scorer and you have my list. Time will tell if it works, but I think I’ve got a decent amount of bases covered. On to the Throne!