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Submitted By: Date: September 4, 2006, 01:05:55 PM Views: 2350
Summary: This fast attack choice appears very similar to gaunts in quite a few ways, physical appearance notwithstanding. They have similar stats, weapons, and brood size, however gargoyles are best used for a very different purpose. Gargoyles have several factors which influence this role; I will describe each in detail and then describe the role that best uses these advantages to their fullest.

Gargoyles are the fastest tyranids, and given the speed of most tyranid armies this is saying something.  This makes them adept at responding to new threats quickly, as well as capturing table quarters last-minute.

Second, they have a high leadership score.  This allows them to operate more effectively away from the presence of a synapse creature, making them the primary means for the tyranid swarm to take action away from the warriors, hive tyrants, and broodlords.

Third, they have a bioplasma attack.  With the typically large number of models in a gargoyle brood and the high initiative of the bioplasma, this allows them to engage otherwise dangerous units in close combat.  This includes high initiative units like aspect warriors and genestealers, as well as hard-to-hit units like wyches (these are possibly the most dangerous unit for a tyranid army to engage).  Bioplasma also allows the gargoyles to damage the rear armor on most vehicles.

Combined, gargoyles are exceptionally talented at flanking enemy forces, chasing skimmers, threatening all vehicles, and engaging dangerous enemies on your terms.  Start by assessing your opponent’s army (after he deploys).  Pick two or three units per brood that the gargoyles excel at defeating.  Most importantly are light skimmers/vehicles (raiders, wartrukks, warwalkers, etc), followed by light infiltrating units (rangers, kommandos, some genestealers), then any vehicle with AV 10 rear armor (you know who you are), and finally high-initiative close combat units.

Light Vehicles:

You’ll need a mid-sized brood for this, around 15 models or so.  Pick a vehicle with limited anti-infantry weapons (a warwalker with bright lances is good. A warwalker with two scatter lasers is bad).  Try to get within charge range if possible; both the fleshborers and bioplasma attacks are useful for damaging vehicles.  Pester the heck out of it.  15 gargoyles will cause 1.25 damaging hits per fleshborer volley against AV 10, and bioplasma will do the same.  Not enough to destroy it in one go, but definitely enough to force your opponent to take notice.  As long as the remainder of your army keeps your opponent busy, they should be able to pursue this career in peace.  Don’t worry about staying in synapse range; the gargoyle’s high Ld should keep them from breaking most of the time, and even when they do break, they’ll most likely fall back into synapse range quickly due to their fast fall back speed.


Use a mid sized brood for this.  Almost anything that infiltrates is fair game for this (Try not to go for striking scorpions unless you’re desperate, however).  Pick an infiltrating squad and go for it.  Use your fast movement to your every advantage; deny your opposing squad the benefits of rapid firing their weapons, keep them clinging to whatever cover they can.  Charge them even if they’re in cover, the benefits of striking at initiative order aren’t worth getting shot at more often than necessary, or the risk of getting charged yourself.  A combination of fleshborers, bioplasma, and superior numbers will win against a majority of infiltrating squads.

Rear Vehicle Armor:

Almost every vehicle you’ll come across has AV 10 on its rear armor, and the mobility of gargoyles is just asking to be used for this purpose.  Choose vehicles not suited for infantry killing (a predator annihilator is a good bet).  Zip around the back and let fly.  You don’t need many gargoyles for this, because any attempt to destroy a heavy tank with gargoyles will probably divert a large amount of attention from your opponent’s army.  If he does, the rest of your army suffers proportionately less fire that turn (the gargoyles are probably dead in one turn, don’t get too attached to them).  If he doesn’t, you’ll have a decent chance of damaging an important tank.  Because so few gargoyles are needed for this role, it’s a decent plan to take a brood of gargoyles already depleted by another use (skimmer hunting, for instance) and harass a heavy tank with them.  The more goals you can achieve with a single brood, the better.

High-Initiative Units/Hard to Hit Units:

As a final way to use gargoyles, intercept your opponent’s quick and dangerous close combat units with a largish brood.  A large dose of bioplasma will hopefully be enough to reduce the damage potential of the enemy squad by a decent amount before they can make a single attack.  Gargoyle bioplasma is quick enough to strike before everything but Howling Banshees, Archites, Broodlords, and units in cover. 20 gargoyles cause 12.5  wounds (before saves) against toughness 4 opponents, and 15.55 wounds against T3 opponents with a combination of fleshborer and bioplasma attacks, which is quite a considerable number of wounds before any counterattack can be mounted.  Units that are hard to hit (Dark Eldar Wyches are the main threat here) are also effectively combated by gargoyles because of the unmodifiable (I realize this is not a word) chance to hit with bioplasma.

I will stress again that with Ld 10, try not to stress too much about using gargoyles outside of synapse range.  They still won’t break very often; lots of armies would kill for Ld 10 troops, so there’s no whining allowed.  Even if they do break, they’ll fall back quickly towards synapse creatures and reform.

Finally, if you have the remnants of a gargoyle brood above half strength but with no obvious use in the battle, use it to claim objectives or capture table quarters.  You can easily flee from virtually all enemy troops as you race around table quarters, so do it as a last resort.

Deep Striking

When suiting up your gargoyles for dive-bombing the battlefield, there are a few things to consider.  First, less is more.  Because all deep striking units enter in base contact with each other, large broods of gargoyles are very dangerous to deep strike if your opponent has any template weapons at all.  That said, here’s an interesting tip:

If you’re not in range to shoot at anything, remember you can still use fleet to reposition your gargoyles in a less dense formation, or move them slightly farther away from enemy units.  This is a brilliant advantage; never forget it.

Now, deep striking your gargoyles gives you a few options.  You’ll probably have a small to mid sized brood, so they’ll be most effective at hustling tanks of any kind and jumping infiltrators.  Try to deep strike within 12” of a skimmer, so you get an attack off before they start to run away.  Against slower tanks and infiltrators, try to be more than 12” away, and behind them, so that they have to move away from the battle and closer to the gargoyles to best use any rapid fire weapons they might possess.

To summarize, gargoyles are best used when their mobility and independence are used to every possible advantage.  Fight vulnerable enemy units far outside synapse range with little fear of failing a psychological test.  Always use the reliability and high initiative of bioplasma to attack hard-to-hit units, including vehicles, and high initiative units in close combat.  Finally, when all else fails, use their high speed to keep scoring gargoyle broods one step ahead of your opponent.

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