Monday, May 31, 2010



Sporriors – Mycetic Spore Pod-deployed Tyranid Warriors. Did I just coin a term? I googled 'Tyranid Sporriors' and it came back with 0 results so it's mine now. I suppose it’s not surprising given that very few people talk about putting warriors in a spore pod. I have posted about this combo on one or two occasions on The Hive (name is kaiserstole20) but I haven’t noticed anyone else advocating it much less coming up with a silly concatenation of the names of the component units.

Why do I think this is a great idea? I’ll be annoying and answer a question with other questions. What if you could basically guarantee that an objective will be yours no matter where it is on the board? What is that worth to you?

The tactic I use with Sporriors as old as tabletop wargaming itself – suddenly deliver an overwhelming force to a particular spot and watch your opponent cry as you take that objective or eliminate an entire unit in a single round of nerdy pretend violence.

The reason Sporriors are a perfect combo for this tactic is that the two units have great synergy. First, Warriors are great all-around infantry. Good at CC, tough as nails, and with Deathspitters quite shooty. Attach a Prime and you've got a heck of a generalist unit - cheaper, more shooty, and more durable than tactical terminators. Depending on how you configure them, they can slaughter just about any type of infantry in the game. On top of that they provide Synapse, Shadow in the Warp, and are a Troop choice in the Force Org chart. Tyranid Warriors may be the most badass and useful Troop choice in the game.

Second, Mycetic Spore Pods are an excellent delivery mechanism for Tyranids because they save them from the long run across the board. Just like drop pods it’s hard to screw up too badly because if you scatter on top of a unit or impassable terrain they will simply move to the closest ‘safe’ spot. Unlike drop pods they don't come in automatically on turn 1 - but that's a good thing. The later in the game your spore pod arrives the better for you because your opponent will have less time to react.

Unit Composition Details

What does the Warrior squad look like? Most importantly it is as close 10 models (9 warriors and a prime) as you can get it. The point is to hit a spot with overwhelming force and then have enough wounds to keep the objective for several turns if needed. 9 Warriors with a Prime is 30 wounds, 27 S5 shots, and 1 pinning large blast template (from a Barbed Strangler) appearing suddenly right next to an objective. Good luck fending them off or getting rid of them.

The Prime is a must-have. A squad of Warriors with an attached Tyranid Prime is just vicious. WS6 and BS4 with a T5 model to take the krak missile wounds... need I say more?

So with that in mind this is what I play with:

6-9 Warriors with Scything Talons and Deathspitters

0-1 Warrior with Scything Talons and Barbed Strangler

1 Tyranid Prime with 2x Boneswords and a Deathspitter

For Warriors I prefer Deathspitters and Scything Talons vs. all other configurations for a couple of reasons. First, Deathspitters are jack-of-all-trade guns. S5 lets you lay into rear armor with surprising effectiveness. Against a squadron of vehicles you will get 3 penetrating and 3 glancing hits on average. That’s enough to do serious damage if not wipe out the squadron. It also lets you wound T4 better than ½ the time which is important vs. power armor since they will get a save. Scything Talons are just cheap. Free in fact. Against lightly armored or non-cc dedicated troops scything talons are enough. The only thing I might take here is rending claws for a few points more. For me though with 9 warriors to outfit I skip the rending claws.

For the Prime I like 2 Boneswords and a Deathspitter. The Deathspitter gives him something to do when he lands and the 2x Boneswords are multi-wound model killers. Others advocate the Bonesword/Lashwhip combo. Between the two it's a matter of personal preference.

You have probably already started thinking about what a point-sink that unit must be. It's about the same as a full squad of Sternguard and Pedro.

How to Deploy

You’ll do well against just about any troop choice in the game if you drop right next to them, shoot at them, then either take the charge or charge yourself the next turn. However if you’d like to talk strategery there’s some other options you have.

Here’s one example v.s. Sternguard. Since you cannot assault straight from the spore pod, drop your warriors between 13" and 18" away. At this distance 1) they can't charge you; 2) they get 1 shot; 3) you get 3 shots! Trust me, even against Sternguard with their fancy ammunition and 2 heavy weapons you want a firefight.

If the Marine player is smart his Sternguard/Devastators are sitting in cover. Since you don't have frag grenades he's feeling pretty confident. But the math doesn't lie - you win the firefight. Heck, you'll take out 4-5 of them before they can fire back. That could be an entire squad.

Even Sternguard bolters and special ammunition just can't get much done against Tyranid Warriors with T4, 4+ save, and 3 wounds. Remember that the Prime can take the lascannons to the face and uh oh... You will wipe out his squad in about 2 rounds while having plenty of wounds to camp on that objective.

As stated earlier though - the most straightforward deployment style will work great against most opponents.


  1. I certainly won't argue with the specifics, not owning the 'Nid codex. But how do you stop your opponent from turning the tables and overwhelming the nids?

    My track record for dropping behind enemy lines is spotty at best. In my experience, if the Reserve/DS unit isn't well-supported by other units, the opposing forces spin on their heels and blow me off the table. And thanks to the variability of reserves, it's awfully hard to coordinate your pod attack with other units. I've had this problem with Snikrot and his Kommandoes, coming in off any table edge from reserves.

  2. Part of the answer is that your pod warriors shouldn't need to be supported too heavily. 30 T4 (T5 on Prime) 4+ save wounds is a lot for anyone to handle when you get to pick your spot. Pods are a lot less variable than other reserve deployment because you get to select the general vicinity of where you'd like to be. With the 18" range of the deathspitters and 36" range of the barbed strangler you shouldn't scatter to the point where your troops are ineffective the first turn they are on the board.

    The firepower you bring to the table should be able to clear a nice swath of enemy from immediate reach of your warriors if that's what you choose.

    You might WANT your opponent to try to overwhelm you though. If my math is correct - it takes 36 normal ork CC attacks to take down a single warrior but less 4 warrior attacks to take down a normal ork.

    But the point is good though - what else goes with the unit? Tyranids are supposed to be a horde army so I run tervigon(s) to help with body count. At 1500 points I can still get to 60+ models with more on the way from the tervigon. Depending on how I'm rolling the eventual model count will likely be between 75 and 90.

    If you support your tervigons/termagants with a venomthrope or two the entire block is very resilient.

    Maybe we'll get a chance to test this out in July?

  3. I was going to get all math-y but the analysis missed the bottom line: This could be a real problem for SMs, Eldar, etc. But Orks love Deep Striking enemy units because it solves our two biggest problems:

    1. How will I reach the enemy without getting shot up?

    2. How will I make sure my boyz get to charge?

    You could use this to tie down important Ork units by popping wagons (like Chris did to Gahzghull in our most recent game with his teleported Immortals), but you're talking about crashing down on objectives. And you still have to get on the board out of reserves. By turn 2 I'm on the WAAAGH and after that your Sporrior guns won't find many targets.

    Maybe you could wade into an existing CC and turn the tide in your favor, but you don't need a Pod for that.

  4. Regarding points 1 and 2. 1 - one reason I am advocating a spore pod deployment is that you can shoot at your opponent before they can shoot/charge you. If you are out of a transport I will shoot you up before you can reach me. 2 - with reasonable rolling I've done enough damage with my shooting that I'll welcome a charge as it will *hopefully* free me up to shoot at a different unit on my next turn.

  5. Well this is now dead. Thanks, GW FAQ. Why would a Tyranid Prime ever want to deploy with the warriors it is supposed to buff? :rolleyes

    It's still a decent idea without a Prime but definitely not as effective.

  6. That'll teach us to post good ideas online. GW staff clearly reads us. :D