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Zoantrophes

Submitted By: Date: June 13, 2006, 12:35:32 PM Views: 2749


Among the most mispronounced- I mean, misunderstood Tyranid unit, Zoanthropes are for the most part not, as the Codex will have you believe, the Tyranids’ answer to artillery. In fact, Zoanthropes have several roles, many of which can be fulfilled simultaneously and to great effect. Zoanthropes are an excellent unit to take in virtually any Tyranid army. They are that most unusual of creatures, a Tyranid whose job is solely and completely to shoot things. While even gaunts can and are often used to fire a round or two off and then charge or get charged, if your Zoanthrope is in combat, something has gone wrong. The first psychic power you buy for Zoanthropes should always, always, ALWAYS be Warp Blast. It’s the most expensive, but it’s the one that makes the most sense. You can do without all the other powers, but without warp blast there is practically no point taking a ‘Thrope. This weapon compensates for the Tyranids’ serious weakness, a lack of ranged anti-tank equipment. Biovores can sometimes prove helpful, but Zoanthropes are far more effective against vehicles, since their BS is the same as the Biovore’s, while the high-powered Blast is much stronger than the Bio Acid Spore Mine. Of course, the low-powered attack is less useful, but can still be very nice against MEQs (especially Necrons, who won’t be getting back up any time soon in the grand scheme of things)


The other role all Zoanthropes can and should play is that of a simple fire magnet. First of all, even with the most expensive psychic powers, a Zoanthrope is a pretty cheap unit, so losing one is no great loss. Second, they are astonishingly resilient. Toughness 4 may not sound like much, considering the size of the weapons that are likely to be flung at the floaty one, but weapons have to hit and wound, which can often remove a few shots that might otherwise kill you. And of course, they have Warp Field, which means that they have a 2+ save and a 6+ invulnerable. On a unit that cheap and that flimsy, this is sheer gold. As a result, if you deploy your ‘thrope/s near the head of your army, they will: be able to shoot more things, which is after all what you have them for really; take a lot of enemy fire, since they are such tempting targets and irritating enemies; take a long time to kill because of their princely saves, and; not be much of a loss once they’re gone, because they are so cheap and are never scoring units. Bargain.


Configurations



Combat Booster (Warp Blast + Catalyst)


This is a nice little combination for armies with a reasonable amount of close combat units, and is especially good with Genestealer heavy armies who aren’t going to be bothered with synapse too much (although conversely such armies are less likely to require the use of the power. I think it’s most helpful against Eldar and Dark Eldar armies as insurance against Wyches or Howling Banshees). Catalyst is an excellent psychic power, acting as insurance to be certain that the points you spent on your close combat units won’t be wasted if they hit last. And of course, you can also threaten any armour you come across. Finally, it’s one of the cheaper varieties.



Psyche! (Warp Blast + Psychic Scream)


This works especially nicely if you’ve got three Zoanthropes and a Hive Tyrant all armed with it, as their leadership value takes a nosedive. Good against relatively low leadership armies, especially for messing up their target priority tests, this works wonders against Space Marines who suddenly find themselves running away because you’ve forced a morale test on them through your firepower. Also handy against low leadership armies like Orks, Guard and Tau who are unlikely to pass many leadership checks for anything you care to name.



Synapse Support (Warp Blast + Synapse Creature)


This is among the most useful of all combinations, as you are getting even more synapse to turn your hordes of beasties into really irritating opponents. Not much to say here except that it is a little costly, but well worth the purchase. If you have a model heavy army this is always a welcome variety to bring in.



Untouchable (Warp Blast + The Horror)


This is perhaps one of the least useful varieties of Zoanthrope. Since you’re not an idiot you’re not going to sacrifice Warp Blast to combine The Horror with Psychic Scream, it’s fairly unlikely that your enemy will fail the leadership test, but if they do your ‘thrope gets to live a little longer, and more importantly shoot things for more turns. It’s pretty cheap, so I won’t be too disparaging, but there are other combos that prove more effective.



Cheap and Cheerful (Warp Blast)


In many ways the best kind of Zoanthrope, this is also, naturally, the cheapest. In the case of The Horror or Catalyst you aren’t gaining that many points, but they might make the difference between a legal list and an illegal one, in which case this option should be considered. It still does the two main things you want your Zoanthrope to do, which is shoot things and take fire from units that might otherwise damage more expensive and more useful units.

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