Chitin and Claw – part 1 Vanguard

One of the most appealing aspects of Tyranids is, in my book, the myriad of ways that you can field them. You can run loads of monsters or nigh infinite numbers of critters and everything in between. The vast number of formations has opened up options for Tyranid players that most other can only dream of having. As a Chaos Space Marine player at heart, I know this all to well.

Tyranids have over 20 formations available to them. That’s a lot, much more than any other faction. Even the newer books aren’t even close. I decided to take a closer look on the formations of the Tyranids. I’ll do it in four parts: Rising Leviathan in three parts and Shield of Baal: Leviathan in the final part.


Rising Leviathan I – Tyranid Vanguard
This book is all about the early stages of an invasion. The vanguard organisms of the approaching swarm infiltrating the target world. Yes, this book is all about Genestealers and Lictors. Let’s dive in.

Lictor Forest Brood
This formation allows you to run a unit of five Lictors (three is normally the maximum). Now Lictors doesn’t really excel in big units, so the formation is kind of counterintuitive. The unit gains the Deadly Fruit rule giving them Shrouded instead of Stealth when in a forest. If they infiltrate in a forest they can set up within 6″ of an enemy. Both is sweet but as you can see this formation requires a board with lots and lots of forests to be worth taking. And even then, I don’t know … could be fun.

Manufactorum Genestealers
Yes, I absolutly love this formation. You bring five units of five Genestealers, you can’t add extra bodies but you can add Broodlords (bring a few at least for the Horror power of nothing else). All units gain Hit and Run and the Unsuspected rule. You can infiltrate the units within 6″ if you set up in ruins or buildings. This is great. The enemy must deal with these units or get charged by one of the better close combat units in the game turn two. Your Genestealers will die in droves, so set up smart.


Deathleaper’s Assassin Brood
You take Deathleaper and five individual Lictors and gain Preferred Enemy (Characters and Independent Characters) and the Paranoia and Ill Discipline rule which lowers Leadership (-1) of enemy units within 12″ on any model in the formation. This formation is really sweet, it disrupts the enemy and gives you both reach and multiple threats. I need to convert more Lictors!


Broodlord’s Hunting Pack
This formation is made up of three units of Genestealers and one Broodlord. You gain two rules – Hidden Beneath the City and Hunting Pack . The first allows you to set up in any ruin or building when coming in from reserves. You only need to be 6″+ away from the enemy. The second allows you to nominate one enemy unit, all models in the formation gain Preferred Enemy (selected unit). Pretty good, disruptive formation. The ability to set up more or less anywhere on the table is great.

Gargoyle Bio-Bombs
This formation simulates Gargoyles dragging clusters of Spore Mines onto the battlefield. You bring three units of Gargoyles and three clusters of Spore Mines. If a Spore Mine Cluster starts its movement within 6″ of a Gargoyle it get to move unhindered like a Infantry unit, thus doubling their threat range. That’s decent, unfortunately there are better ways of fielding both Gargoyles and Spore Mines.


This wraps up the first five formations. I really like the Genestealer ones. Sure you’ll loose Objective Secure (assuming you run a CAD) but the trade off is fair.


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