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Themed Army Ideas
Kenton's Kurindans
Part 1 <> Part 2 <> Part 3 <> Part 4

The Kurindans, Part 2: Fleshing Out the Army (07/2005)
I’m in the process of building a Tyranid army using Lizardman figures from the Warhammer Fantasy range. Why use Lizardmen figures? Because I really like the look of them and they offer me the opportunity to create a race of “primitive” warriors (like the Gungans from Star Wars, Episode I) for 40K. That, and I’m not a big fan of the Tyranid figures or their background story. Why use the Tyranid rules, then? Because I wanted a large, low-tech close-combat oriented army. I could have used the Ork rules, but my best friend and usual opponent already has two Ork armies: another one wouldn’t be that interesting for either of us.

In the previous installment of this series, I said that I had purchased two boxes each of Lizardmen Skinks and Sauruses. I had also purchased a Kroxigor figure and had been given a Carnosaur. I mentioned some tentative plans for fleshing out the army, but held off until the new, revised Tyranid codex was released. After months of waiting, the new rules are out, and I’ve finalized my plans.

Upping the Ante
I would like to say that I took a calm, rational approach to finishing the army, but that would be a fornicating lie. What I actually did was flip madly through Codex: Tyranids like an eight-year old with a Toys-R-Us catalog and exclaim, “I want one of those! And two of those! And six of those! And some of these!” 

After scribbling down what unit types I liked, I went to the Lizardman section of the Complete Games Workshop Catalog and Hobby Reference, 2004-2005 Edition and picked out models that could represent those units. While I was doing that, I spotted certain Lizardman figures that I liked very much, so I went back to the Tyranid book and picked out units that I could apply those models to. A very circular process, the final result of which was that I had way more units (and models) than I could squeeze into the 2000 point limit I had set for myself.

I angsted about that for a while and tried to cut out elements. At one stage, I compromised at 2500 points, but that didn’t satisfy me for long. So, like many of my other armies, this one grew larger than I had planned, and I had only just started on it. Embarrassing, but there it is. I felt a micro-moment of shame as I was ordering the figures. Then I cackled with evil glee and hit the “Enter” button on my computer to complete the online transaction. Screw the budget! You only live once. 

The What…
Here’s an initial list I came up with:

  • Hive Tyrant w/ adrenal glands (+1 WS), toxin sacs, scything talons, barbed strangler, Warp Field (154 pts)
  • Broodlord w/ feeder tendrils, flesh hooks (77 points); retinue of 10 Genestealers w/ extended carapace (200 pts)
  • One Lictor (80 pts)
  • Eight Warriors, each w/ enhanced senses, extended carapace, rending claws, and deathspitter (33 pts each)
  • Brood of 24 Hormagaunts w/ toxin sacs (288 pts)
  • Brood of 24 Hormagaunts w/ toxin sacs (288 pts)
  • Brood of 12 Genestealers w/ extended carapace (240 pts)
  • Brood of 12 Genestealers w/ extended carapace (240 pts)
  • Brood of 12 Genestealers w/ extended carapace (240 pts)
  • Brood of 12 Genestealers w/ extended carapace (240 pts)
  • Five Raveners, each w/ scything talons, rending claws, and deathspitter (46 pts each)
  • Two Zoanthropes, each w/ Warp Blast (55 pts each)
  • Two Carnifexes, each w/ enhanced senses, extended carapace, venom cannon, and barbed strangler (173 pts each) 
Total: 2997 points

…and the Why
I built this army from the bottom up, developing my Troop choices first and then spending leftover points on other categories. As I mentioned before, I planned on using Lizardman Skink figures and Lizardman Saurus. I bought several boxes of both types; when I was done gluing models together, I had 48 Skinks and 48 Sauruses.

Once I got my sticky hands on the new-and-improved codex, I found a lot of tempting options for what to do with those figures. Some ideas I contemplated:

Option #1: Consider the Skinks as Spinegaunts (a mere 5 points each!) to serve as cannon fodder. In addition, buy 32 more Sauruses (two boxes) and treat them as Hormagaunts, dividing them into four squads of 20 each. 

Option #2: Consider the Skinks as Hormagaunts and each Saurus figure as a Tyranid Warrior with scything talons and rending claws. By filling all my HQ and Elite slots, I could use 45 of the 48 Saurus figures—the other three could be spares. 

Option #3: Keep the Skinks as Hormagaunts and give them toxin sacs (+2 points per model). Consider the Saurus models as Genestealers with extended carapace (to save them from bolters and other nasty, AP 5 firearms).

I seriously considered Option #1, but realized that in addition to buying still more Saurus models, I would also need a lot of Warriors (or other Synapse critters) to keep all those guys under control. More Warriors = more models to buy and more points to spend. It also occurred to me that if I were my opponent, I’d disregard the Spinegaunts and concentrate my fire on the Hormagaunts. After I killed them, I’d mop up the little guys. I know my Marines wouldn’t sweat Spinegaunts in hand-to-hand combat….

Option #2 would produce an army that would be unbreakable as far as Synapse goes and would be tougher than the Pittsburgh Steelers defensive line: 90 Wounds worth of Warriors that can’t be insta-killed, baby—suck on that! But it would be slow—opponents would invariably concentrate fire on the Hormagaunts first—and it would be dull, dull, DULL to play. 

Option #3 would require buying a few Warriors (which I wanted anyway) to keep the Hormies under control, and would be devastating in close-combat. However, it would be expensive points-wise, and every time a Hormagaunt or Genestealer died to shooting, I would silently kick myself for spending so many points on such vulnerable models. On the other hand, the opponent would be presented with a LOT of “high-priority” targets, units they couldn’t afford to ignore—so many, perhaps, that they wouldn’t know what to go after first. 

In the end, I went with Option #3. To make that option more viable, I decided to add more  “high-priority” units to the army: it’s a strategy I call “Pick How You Want to Die.” Sure, the enemy can devote the majority his firepower to the Hormagaunts—but then the fast-moving Genestealers will get him. If he devotes the majority of his firepower to the ‘Stealers, the ‘Gaunts get him. Given the numbers, resilience, and speed of my Troops, the enemy should not have sufficient firepower to defeat them all. That’s the strategy, anyway.

So what else did I take?

HQ
When my friend Pat gave me the Carnosaur figure (below), it was a no-brainer to see it as a perfect stand-in for a Hive Tyrant. The Hive Tyrant is large and in charge. Like any proper Tyranid, it slices and dices opponents in the Assault Phase and, if armed with a venom cannon or barbed strangler, can put out some serious firepower as it waddles into battle. It can have an array of psychic powers and serves as a Synapse creature, its will holding the army together. 

Hive Tyrant
Above: Saurus Lord on Carnosaur, a perfect model for a Hive Tyrant

Much as I wanted a Tyrant, however, I was faced with what I see as the big guy’s serious drawback: being so big and bad, it attracts a lot of unwanted enemy attention, usually in the form of missile launchers and lascannons. Ordinarily, I think the Tyrant either needs wings (to quickly get into combat) or be accompanied by Tyrant Guard. I didn’t want to attempt to add wings to my model (I didn’t think it would look right), but, on the other hand, I wasn’t looking forward to paying points for Guards. 

I chose to mitigate this problem by giving my Tyrant the Warp Field, which will hopefully enable it to take a pounding from most enemy fire. I also added another, very distracting HQ unit: the Broodlord. 

The Broodlord infiltrates, is a bad mofo in close-combat, is a Synapse creature, and comes standard with a Genestealer retinue—hey, I was gonna spend points on ‘Stealers anyway! I chose to assign him ten Genestealers, each with extended carapace; I figure that any opponent with an IQ over 15 will try to kill him and his merry little band before they get into close combat, so the beefed-up armor is well worth the investment. 

Broodlord
Above: I had originally planned to use this Kroxigor figure 
as a Tyranid Warrior, but he makes a great Broodlord

With his awesome physical stats and weaponry, the Broodlord doesn’t need  much upgrading for himself, but feeder tendrils will allow his accompanying retinue to hit on 3+ and the flesh hooks will deal with targets quivering behind cover. 

Elites
The more I read the description for the Lictor, the more convinced I became that I had to have at least one. Who can pass up something that can assault on the same turn as it Deep Strikes? Not me—I’d gnaw my arm off to give that ability to my Assault Terminators. What I love about the Lictor is its ability to tie up units that would ordinarily be shooting at Nids crossing the battlefield, those hoopy feeder tendrils that come standard, and the psychological effect it has on your opponent. Unless you’re a veteran with nerves of steel, you can’t help but be distracted by the thought that at any moment, a Lictor might pop up behind your lines and begin eating your troops. 

Any Nid army (or proxied Nid army, in my case) has two issues it needs to address: Synapse control and a paucity of shooting attacks. Both can be neatly taken care of with Tyranid Warriors. To maintain Synapse control, I brought eight of them, all with extended carapace to help them survive. To boost my army’s prowess in the Shooting Phase, I gave them enhanced senses and deathspitters, my second-favorite Nid weapon, after venom cannons. Though I designed my Warriors for a support role rather than front-line action, I nevertheless gave them rending claws just in case they get the chance to tear into troops or vehicles. 

Fast Attack
I’ve never been particularly fond of Raveners, and my opinion didn’t improve upon first reading the new Bug Book. A T 4, Sv 5+ critter that comes in numbers of 1-6 wasn’t, in my opinion, going to make it across the battlefield. Deep Strike without the Lictor’s ability to charge on the same turn? Pfft. Any firing the Deep Striking Raveners did would be nothing compared to what they would receive from Marines, Imperial Guard, Eldar, or Tau in rapid-fire range. And at a base cost of 30 points each, they’re too expensive to be cannon fodder.

But once I considered my army as a whole, I saw them as supplementing the Hormagaunts and Genestealers: here was ANOTHER very fast unit that was ferocious in hand-to-hand combat. The enemy could ignore them at their peril. Once I gave them deathspitters, the Raveners could supplement the Warriors in the Shooting Phase—Nids need all the help they can get on that subject. Plus, I found some cool Lizardman models to use for them—more about that in the next installment of this series.

Heavy Support
I had known for quite some time that I wanted at least two Carnifexes in the army. It’s been my experience that Carnifexes almost never reach close combat, so I equipped them to engage in and survive shooting exchanges with the enemy. I was drooling like Cujo at the thought of each Carni packing two venom cannons (firing them both each turn, as Carnies are Monstrous Creatures!) until I read this blurb on page 30 of Codex: Cucaracha….

A Tyranid that carries two of the same ranged weapon symbiote counts them as twin-linked.
Well, I’d rather be dipped in camel [excrement] than pay 70 points for a twin-linked venom cannon, thank you very much. So instead, I gave each Carni a vc and a barbed strangler. The strangler is not quite as hoopy as the vc, but I chose it because, for a Nid gun, it has excellent range, good Strength (when used by a Carnie) and a great area of effect. I  prefer the multiple shots that the vc offers, especially when you consider the mediocre BS of even a senses-enhanced Carnie, but what can you do? Who knows—maybe that pinning ability will actually be a factor in a game one of these days….

Carnifex
Above: One of the two Carnifexes in my army, modeled using the Hydra figure 
from the Warhammer Fantasy Dark Elf range

I could easily have taken another Carnifex as my third Heavy choice, but having been on the receiving end of Zoanthrope Warp Blasts, I wanted to include at least one Zoat in the army. Turns out I had points for more, and I have a cool idea for figures and “fluff” for them. More about that next time….

Kenton's Kurindans
Part 1 <> Part 2 <> Part 3 <> Part 4

Related Pages
Kurindans Themed Army Idea (Ork rules)
Kurindans Themed Army Idea (Tyranid rules)

Posted July 2005
 

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Fighting Tigers:
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Other Pages:
Main <> What's New <> Site Index <> The Tiger Roars <> Themed Army Ideas
Events and Battle Reports <> Campaigns <> Terrain <> FAQ <> Beyond the Jungle