The Tyranid Tyrannocyte

The reintroduction on the Tyranid equivalent of a Space Marine Drop Pod made quite a splash when it was released, as it opens up for new lists and strategies. I’m not a great fan of the Tyrannocyte model but I got it quite cheap off EBay, so what can you do … Normally I try to shy away from models that I don’t like aesthetically but the possibility to drop an otherwise slow and lumbering threat straight into the heart of enemy won out this time.

I did a slight conversion on this model, changing the tentacle claw arms to Scything Talons from the Carnifex kit. I think it makes the model more intimidating.

The Tyranid Tyrannocyte is a massive model. It’s easily over 20 cm from top to bottom as it stands on its big 100 mm round base. Like I said, I’m not a fan. I feel that the model is surprisingly uninspired and bland. Putting it together was no fun at all and I started build it only to quit and leaving it half done for almost two months. It stood there like a guilty conscience. Just like the Drop Pod it’s basically five sides to it, each side exactly the same.

It’s freaking huge. A Drop Pod is big but the Tyrannocyte dwarfs it. The Drop Pod is from my now abandoned Space Marines army.

With a vehicle the repetitious and symmetrical design is understandable, it looks smart. But on an organic monstrosity like the Tyrannocyte it just looks and feels wrong. It too stale and fabricated. I mean, just look at the tentacle claw arms – there is five of them, one on each side and they all look exactly the same. That’s just lazy design. Trust me, I’m not the one to criticize Games Workshop a lot, most of the kits that they’ve been turning out the last years have been nothing short of amazing. So please understand my disappointment with this kit.

It wouldn’t have been to ask for too much to ask for some variety. Three sprues in the kit, two identical ones (with two tentacles on each) and one unique. At the very least they could have made three different shapes.

I would have preferred a more organic and asymmetric design. And some thicker tentacles for legs. Oh well, at least the in-game functionality of the Tyrannocyte is good. Lets take a look at that too.

With thin legs like these, what could possibly go wrong?

The Tyrannocyte is a T5/W5/Sv4+ Monstrous Creature that can carry up to 20 models or one MC. It has some Deep Strike guiding help making it quite easy to land but dropping it close to a Lictor is helpful as it is a model with a big foot print. The full rules are available on Games Workshop’s website.

So the Tyrannocyte is durable but by no means unkillable. It will die to concentrated fire. But the purpose of it isn’t survival. In it self it’s a disruption. It scores, it can handle itself in close combat being a MC and it dishes out alot of fire power. It has a special rule allowing it to fire all five weapons each turn, so that’s 15 s5 shot or five s6 blasts or five s4 pinning large blasts. Only problem is that it must fire at the closest enemy, each weapon fires at its closest enemy. Weird rule but it is what it is. At most times all guns will fire at the same unit (remember each gun can fire 360 degrees, it’s still a MC not a vehicle), but at times the fire power will be split.

The other reason that I changed the tentacles is that I need them when I build Mucolid Spore Mines.

But lets be frank, the Tyrannocyte is all about what’s inside. So, what do you put in it?

1. Carnifex with two twin-linked brainleach devourers
12 s6 shots on a T6/W4/Sv3+ monster, what’s not to like? A close combat Carnifex is good too (and 30 pts cheaper), but the direct impact of the Dakkafex is brutal.

2. 20 Termagants with Devourers
With 60 s4 shots you are bound to make an impression on the enemy. Rather cheap and probably objective secure.

3. Tyrannofex with Acid Spray and Electroshock Grubs
You drop two devestating templates right were they are needed, and you bring in the super durable T6/W6/Sv2+ Tyrannofex to the enemy’s lines. But the T-fex got a big footprint and it might be a problematic to place it fully within 6″ of Tyrannocyte (if you can’t it’s gone).

There are other builds of course  but these are the ones that I think are among the best.

4 thoughts on “The Tyranid Tyrannocyte

  1. Ah the scythes are a really good idea. It looks heaps better with them. The 6inch thing needs to be rewritten. As they increase base size for some units it makes it harder to do that, and the TFex is one on the list of many, another that comes to mind is the Bloodthirster and Summoning him in.

    Devilgaunts in one, now there is an idea I like. Will have to give that a go instead of the usual.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The 6″ rule is understandable as most units move 6″ in the movement phase, but, as you said, base sizes are increasing and that makes it harder to use the Tyrannocyte. The risk of putting a big monster in it is often greater than the reward. At least if you play on terrain dense boards (which I usually do). It a shame.


  2. The cost is keeping me away from this model. One thing I do not understand is why GW is making these massive models that are balancing on very little plastic (I’m looking at you Bloodthirster and Nagash). The Tyrannocyte falls into that category as well. I have three plasma hatchers that I use to pod in. Far cheaper alternative that works for home games.


    1. If I hadn’t gotten it “cheap” (there is no such thing as cheap regarding this hobby), I wouldn’t use one. It’s strangly prized.

      And the legs … yeah, they should have used something thicker, like the tendril arms from the toxicrene. I agree on your observation regarding the design trend.


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