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Submitted By: Date: June 15, 2006, 05:52:48 AM Views: 3907
Summary: Although superficially similar to gaunts, hormagaunts fulfill an entirely different role on the battlefield, and as such different tactics are required. First of all, it is recommended that hormagaunts are taken in larger broods than you would take standard gaunts. This is because hormagaunts are only useful in close combat and as such, it is your responsibility to see that at least some get there. Also, there’s very rarely such a thing as ‘too many hormagaunts’ in an assault, virtually every hormagaunt that makes it into close combat will be able to attack thanks to their Leaping biomorph. Finally, the largest broods of hormagaunts are capable of charging multiple enemy units at a time (especially with the extended charge range), thus rendering those enemy units incapable of shooting while the Genestealers, Carnifexes (Carnifeces?) and such advance with impunity.

   The second method to keeping those hormagaunts behind is to position them behind your gaunts if you have them (you HAVE taken gaunts, right?).  This serves two purposes.  First, it allows as many gaunts as possible to get into shooting range, because they will be at the front of your advance.  Second, it makes your opponent’s firing decisions much harder, and even if he does decide (wisely) to shoot at the hormagaunts, he’ll have to make a few target priority tests, which are always a pain to fail.  So.  Ensure that even with fleet-of-claw movements, your hormagaunts stay behind your gaunts until the turn in which the gaunts shoot.  In that turn, fleet past them if your roll allows.  Now, if you’ve armed your gaunts with short-ranged weapons, your hormagaunts should be in range to charge.  If the gaunts have devourers instead, then you simply have to wait until your next turn, whereupon your devourer-armed gaunts fire yet again, and the hormagaunts charge into the (hopefully) fairly depleted enemy squads.  Expect casualties in all cases, but you should still end up with a satisfying hormagaunt charge.

The key reason to take hormagaunts is for the Leaping ability and low cost/wound.  This is what they do.  Combining these two factors allows the hormagaunts to fulfill their roles.  If you don't expect to use the 12" charge distance much, carefully consider using genestealers, as they are much more efficient in direct combat, although they are pricier, and succumb to attrition much more quickly.

   Now, hormagaunts are indeed designed for only close combat, however that does not mean that you can or should charge them into close combat with any enemy unit within 12”.  Hormagaunts have 3 main roles, and should be used only in one of these three ways (on the first charge at least).


Role 1 – Shock Troops:

This role describes charging units that hormagaunts can defeat in close combat all on their own.  Fire warriors, guardsmen, gretchin, and most heavy weapons squads fit this description.  Use small to mid sized hormagaunt squads to engage these squads in melee so your heavy hitters can get to where they’re needed.

Role 2 – Combat Shield:

This is the role in which hormagaunts engage heavy shooting units in close combat to prevent them from firing for one or more turns.  Obliterators, Crisis and Broadside battlesuits, and even Eldar Warwalkers can be charged by hormagaunts for this purpose.  For this role the hormagaunts are not required to win the combat, simply hold the enemy in close combat for several turns until the majority of the Tyranid Swarm is in close combat as well.  This can also mean starting close combats in front of shooting squads, remember: close combats block line of sight.  A close combat between hormagaunts and marines blocks line of sight to size 2 models behind it.  That includes Tyranid Warriors, Raveners, Zoanthropes as well as gaunts.

Role 3 – Undergrowth:

Similar to role 2, this is where the hormagaunts charge a superior close combat enemy (striking scorpions, wyches, etc…) or a fast enemy unit (jump infantry, bikes, etc…) to allow the more powerful Tyranid creatures a stationary enemy to assault. Again, the hormagaunts do not need to prevail in the combat, they simply need to hold the enemy unit in position until a charge can be arranged from the warriors/raveners/carnifex that lie only a turn or two away.

With proper synapse support (any synapse support, really) hormagaunts can stay in combat down to the last bug, so don't be afraid to throw them into a hopeless combat (vs a wraithlord, talos, etc) as long as they have synapse backup.  Your raveners and warriors will thank you.

It is worth mentioning that hormagaunts should not be used as simple disposable speed-bumps.  That role can be performed equally well by (generally) far cheaper gaunts.  In all cases make sure to maximize the benefits of a hormagaunt’s speed; if you don’t, two spinegaunts would perform better for you.


Hormagaunt Biomorphs

More useful by far than gaunt biomorphs, each one deserves individual mention.  The biomorphs do not change a hormagaunts roles, however, each one makes the hormagaunt slightly better at the roles it is designed for.

Adrenal Glands (WS):

This biomorph applies in 2 instances, against enemies with WS2, enemies with WS4, enemies with WS5, and enemies with WS 7.  The latter is mercifully rare and not worth considering, and enemies with WS2 are so poor in combat that any benefit gained is simply overkill.  Against WS4 and WS5 enemies, the benefits are tangible, but not very.  The advantages gained in either extra hits or decreased hits from the enemy result in less than a 5% difference in casualties.  Overall, this biomorph is not worth taking, however, when combined with Adrenal Glands (I), they can make quite an impact.

Adrenal Glands (I):

Mathematically, this biomorph is as effective as its WS-enhancing cousin.  There are many I4 and I5 enemy troops that hormagaunts are destined to assault, and generally the improved initiative value can decrease the overall kills inflicted on the hormagaunts by roughly 5%.  But, when combined, the two Adrenal Gland biomorphs can dramatically improve the hormagaunt’s effectiveness in close combat.  Against marines, where both biomorphs affect the combat, the hormagaunts inflict 25% more casualties and suffer 8% less overall, for a cost increase of 20%.

Toxin Sacs:

The performance of this biomorph is much simpler to track statistically; the overall performance of hormagaunts with toxin sacs increases slightly, with the number of wounds caused increasing by 1/6 (1 wound from 6 hits would become 2 wounds from 6 hits, and so on).  You also gain the added advantage of being able to damage armor 10 vehicles, sometimes a benefit.

Extended Carapace:

As with toxin sacs, the only real decision here is whether to pay more for statistically better gaunts.  I would hazard to say, however, that extended carapace is a steal for its cost, because it grants the hormagaunt an advantage (however slight) outside of combat, in addition to the bonuses it grants within combat.  Some care is needed to avoid charging these hormagaunts into squads of power weapons, but beyond that they are quite resilient.  It's worth noting that AP 5 weapons will kill your hormagaunts no matter what biomorph you give them, however against weapons that do not, extended carapace provides a greater benefit than most biomorphs, and at a lower cost.

Flesh Hooks:

What can I say.  Fighting on a jungle world, take them.  Otherwise… probably a waste.

Close Combat Stats (Hormagaunts vs equal points of Marines)
Presented in a ratio of pts killed

(IE for every 1.35 pts of marines killed, 1 pt of hormagaunts were also killed
Hormagaunts vs marines


Now, this illustrates the effectiveness of several kinds of hormagaunts versus an equivalent points cost of marines.  It doesn't necessarily represent the effectiveness of all biomorphs against all opponents, but it does give you a fairly good idea of how they all pan out.

Thanks to Arcas for pointing this out; the value of these biomorphs do increase as the hormagaunts outnumber their opponents, especially the Adrenal Gland (I) biomorph.  The reason for this is fairly obvious; the more hormagaunts that kill enemy models, the less enemies get to strike back at lower initiative counts.  If you've got lots of hormagaunts and fight a lot of I4 enemies, this will be the best biomorph you may ever invest in

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