Lots of stuff changed in this edition with regards to Psykers. Really the rulebook only has about nine pages on the subject and five of them are the new disciplines, so read them. Here’s an overview.
For starters all units (save buildings/fortifications IMO) have a chance to nullify psychic abilities targeting them with Deny the Witch. Additionally if the unit contains a Psycher then the chance to Deny the Witch is improved. This is a double edged sword for the Hive Mind since while it provides us some psychic defense we didn’t have before (outside of SITW) it also provides that defense for our enemies. Shadow in the Warp has remained unchanged, since they FAQd it to affect units in transports I would expect it to affect units in buildings as well.
HQ, Elite & Troops oh my
Codex Tyranid has the potential to have more Psykers than any other army with Psykers available as HQs, Elites and Troops. Only the Swarmlord is a Psyker level 2 but hey you cannot have everything. Hive Tyrants, Swarmlord, Tervigons, Zoanthopes, Doom of Malan’Tai, and Broodlords are all Psykers. If you want to have a very Psyker heavy army codex Tyranid is the book for you.
The Pre-Game Swap
So this is the biggest change/boost to the game mechanic for Tyranids. Before deployment you have the ability to swap out Codex powers for Rulebook powers (albeit randomly). This give you a lot of options. Spent some points on a Tervigon with three psychic powers well you can keep the book ones or choose to swap them all for ones randomly generated in the rulebook. Now in that instance it might sound kind of silly since Tervigon powers are good and you may really want to keep them. A better example might be, you have three Zoanthropes in a Mycetic Spore and it turns out the army you are facing is an all foot Orc Horde. Just take one Zoanthrope at a time and choose Telepathy, roll the dice, if you don’t like the result you get choose the Primaris Power which would be much better for you in this situation (Terrify could also be useful here). Repeat this for each Zoanthrope you want to swap powers for and they just went from pretty useless in this situation to potentially awesome. What you need to take from this is that the mechanic of swapping powers pre-deployment gives Tyranids flexibility they never had before. Only one unit has some strange interactions with this game mechanic. Broodlords have two psychic powers but if they swap and roll a shooting attack they are BS0 so they cannot shoot due to the Zero Level Characteristic rule so be aware of that.
Rulebook Psychic Disiplines.
There are 5 Psychic disciplines and Biomancy, Telekinesis and Telepathy are available to Tyrandids. Here are the highlights of the disciplines with regards to Tyranids.
Primaris Power, Smite, It’s AP2 and that doesn’t suck for a power you can choose to have.
Iron arm, plus D3 Strenght and Toughness plus Eternal Warrior, yes please, just keep in mind it can only be used on the Psycher. (no casting it onto the Doom of Malan’Tai)
Enfeeble, nice way to make those pesky terminators or any other high toughness model more manageable, be aware of opponents with this since it could make you high toughness multi wound models susceptible to being doubled out.
Endurance, think of this one as FNP plus, relentless does nothing for us but It will not die is great, 24 inch range is better than Catalyst as well.
Life Leech, better version of Leech Essence but you have to roll to hit.
Warp Speed, plus D3 attacks and Initiative for Psyker only. Could make for some nice Jaws of the World Wolf defense and make the Psyker much more powerful in Assaults.
Haemorrhage, if a unit is low toughness or has been hit with Enfeeble this could be useful.
Divination, can’t use it
Pyromancy, can’t use it (just like Pyrovores, well we choose not to use those)
Assail, Not great Primaris power with AP1 but not entirely useless (strikedown too)
Crush, way to variable, to many dice involved to rely on this.
Gate of Infinity, great way to move slow units around, Still hasn’t been FAQd as to using this power to leave combat so check with Tournament Organizer or Opponent beforehand.
Objuration Mechanicum, could be really useful to nerf units that rely on 6s to get stuff done, like rending units or Necrons.
Shockwave, haven’t tried it at all yet seems a bit weak.
Vortex of Doom, Only the Swarmlord can use it but it would give him a nasty shooting attack.
Psychic Shriek, Great Primaris power that’s an Infantry shredder with no cover or armor.
Dominate, great way to annoy an opponent much like Fear the Darkess
Puppet Master, best used against vehicles, Now you can pretend to be a Necron and use one of you opponents units against them.
Terrify, This one has it’s moments, unfortunately does little to units with ATSKNF it’s also one of those powers you want to be aware of being used against you.
Invisibility, Swarmlord only great ability if you run the Swarmlord it’s definitely worth considering.
Hallucination, Swarmlord only, another great one that is worth trying for if you’re using the Swarmlord.
So there are a lot of things to consider with Tyranids and Psykers. Be aware though that if you build a heavy psychic dependent Tyranid force that you may face some very touch matchups from the Armies/allies that have good to great psychic defenses, Namely Eldar Farseers, Space Wolf Runepriests and Grey Knight units with the Aegis.
Next time round I will be posting about missions.