Codex: Tyranids Clarifications

Warpshadow's humble (and unofficial) attempts at lucidity. These are questions and answers gleaned from discussions on the forum, although other sources may have contributed; such is the nature of the chaos of the Warp.

These are best guesses based upon group discussion. They are NOT official in any way, but we do strive to be fair and reasonable in our deliberations.

Standard Conventions

  • Section titles will have the format <section name> [page number in codex], eg. Synapse [28]
  • Book references will be of the form of "[<book><page>]", e.g. [CT28]
  • BGB - the main ver. 4 Warhammer 40,000© rulebook.
  • CT - the ver. 4 Warhammer 40,000© Codex: Tyranids.
  • WA ("Warpshadow Answer") – as debated on Warpshadow.Com. Disclaimer: while certainly not GW official, these responses are fairly logical interpretations. For those questions where some debate remains, a multiple choice of the most passionately defended point of views is presented.

Tyranid Army Special Rules [28-29]

Synapse [28]

Highlight: Realize that under Synapse effects, Tyranids "are assumed to automatically pass any Leadership-based test...other than psychic tests and selection. "Morale checks are a very specific kind of Leadership test."[BGB47] Therefore, Synapse benefits extend to Morale checks as well. Oh, and your Gaunts are probably going to shoot the nearest target. ;)

Instinctive Behaviour: [28]

Q: Why do people say that there is a 1 in 12 chance of failing a Ld 10 test?
A: Given two dice with six sides, you get six times six, or 36, permutations. There are three ways to roll a number greater than 10 (5+6, 6+5, 6+6). So, the chance of rolling over 10 is equal to 3/36, or 1 in 12.

Q: Given that IB would apply to a Carnifex and Lictor as written, was there a mistake; should IB have been based upon a Morale test?
WA: Maybe, but it is not crippling as written. See the next Q & A below. If you're still not convinced, then consider the Ripper Swarm entry for Mindless, which specifically confers Fearless and immunity to IB; this strongly implies that Fearless does not obviate IB and thus the rule as written is likely what was intended.

Q: Assuming that IB is written correctly, how would a Carnifex and Lictor behave?
NOTE: GW Has addressed this in their online Tyranids FAQ. For the record, our collective pre-FAQ guess was right.

Q: Can a brood in Synapse range choose to Lurk?
WA: No, as the Lurk option is only possible for units outside of Synapse range.

Q: Do Spore Mines suffer from Instinctive Behavior and, if so, how does it affect them?
WA: Because Spore Mine movement is mandatory and handled by a separate mechanic, the question becomes moot, as they will never have the opportunity to choose either IB option.

Living Ammunition [28]

Q: Is it correct to say that spore mine clusters are always in base to base contact with each other and they are not allowed to leave base to base contact with the first spore mine of origin?
WA: Yes, of course. The additional mines are placed in base contact with the original marker when the Biovore brood initially fires them, then the cluster moves automatically and identically. So, there is no opportunity for the mines to leave base contact.

Q: When Spore Mines Deep Strike, is The entire spore mine cluster is lost if they land too close to an enemy model?
NOTE: GW Has addressed this in their online Tyranids FAQ. For the record, our collective pre-FAQ guess was right. GW has also addressed the question of what happens when they land in impassable terrain.

Tyranid Weapon-Symbiotes [30-31]

Ranged Symbiotes [30]

“A creature with two or more ranged bio-weapons may only choose to fire one of them per Shooting phase unless it is a Monstrous Creature, in which case two weapons may be fired. A Tyranid that carries two of the same ranged weapon symbiotes counts them as twin-linked.” [CT30]

Q: Given the above, how does a TMC armed with 2 Venom Cannon, (which cost twice as much as the full cost of one Venom Cannon which fires at assault X) fire?
WA: The simplest and most conservative answer is - a twin-linked Venom Cannon with assault X shots.
Alternate answers: A) Fire each Venom Cannon once at assault X; B) Fire both Venom Cannons counting them both as twin-linked assault X C) something else

Q: Given the above, how does a TMC armed with two twin-linked Devourers* (total of 4 Devourers modeled) fire? Double twin-linking? Does the second pair have no effect?
NOTE: GW Has addressed this in their online Tyranids FAQ. For the record, our collective pre-FAQ guess was right.

Close Combat Biomorphs [31]

Q: If my TMC has Crushing Claws and a Ranged Bio-Weapon, how many shots does it fire?
A: That is covered in the Crushing Claws entry [CT31].

Q: Do Rending Claws affect Bio-Plasma?
A: The fact is, as written, one can make the argument that RC affects BP - "Tyranids with Rending Claws gain the Rending ability for all their close combat attacks" and BP allows one to "make a single extra close combat attack"[CT31]. However, BP is specifically a big blob of spit that occurs out of sequence with the other attacks, as opposed to just another variety of tooth and claw attack[CT31]. The Codex does point out that Monstrous Creature and Implant Attack do not affect BP, further reinforcing the notion of a separate, special type of attack unto itself. For now, we are going to assume that RC does not affect BP, although we admit that it is more of a "common sense" argument and we wish we had stronger rules wording to back it up.

Q: With the current wording of Lash Whip, are the effects of multiple Lash Whips on a single model cumulative?
NOTE: GW Has addressed a related question in their online Tyranids FAQ that indirectly answers this. For the record, our collective pre-FAQ guess was right.

Q: Does the Lash Whip & Bonesword combo grant an extra attack in close combat for a second weapon?
WA: No. "[Scything Talons] is the only way that Tyranids gain extra attacks in close combat for multiple weapons" [CT31, last sentence under Scything Talons].

Hive Mind Powers [pg. 31]

Q: How does The Shadow in The Warp interact with the Eldar Runes of Witnessing?
WA: Our favorite answer is that they cancel each other out, roll as normal.
Alternate answer #1: Roll 4d6, drop highest and lowest, but no Perils of the Warp attacks possible.
Alternate answer #2: Roll 1d6, on 1-3 TSitW works, 4-6RoW work.

The Adepta Sororitas have a special ability, called Shield of Faith. It has multiple effects, but this one affects Tyranids: "Psychic Powers targeted against any unit or character with the Adepta Sororitas special rule, or including them in its area of effect, are nullified and will not work on a d6 roll of 5+ (roll once for each power, even if it affects several Adepta Sororitas units)." [CW18]

Note: Before we can discuss this, you have to understand that this is neither an enemy wargear nor Psyker, so without further amendment, the Tyranid Codex exception "Only those powers which require a Psychic test to use may be canceled by enemy psykers and wargear" [CT31] does not appear to apply. This appears to be a protective/defensive ability akin to a magic resistance (for you D&D fans). So, if the Hive Mind Power has a direct effect on Sororitas units, the power kicks in. If the effect is indirect, it does not.

Q: Would this affect / nullify Catalyst?
WA: No, as the Mind Power is not targeted against nor does it directly affect the Sororitas unit.
Q: Would this affect / nullify The Horror?
WA: Yes, this Mind Power effectively targets the assaulting unit.
Q: Would this affect / nullify Psychic Scream?
WA: Yes, when this power includes the Sororitas unit in the area of effect.
Q: Would this affect / nullify The Shadow in the Warp?
WA: No, because none of the Adeptus Sororitas are Psykers. Of course, this means that TSitW has no effect on them.
Q: Would this affect / nullify Synapse?
WA: No, as the power is not targeted against nor does it directly affect the Sororitas unit
Q: Would this affect / nullify Warp Blast?
WA: Yes, as the Power directly targets the Sororitas unit.
Q: Would this affect / nullify Warp Field?
WA: No, as the Mind Power is not targeted against nor does it directly affect the Sororitas unit.

Q: Can a creature with Enhanced Senses choose not to use them so as to use a focused Warp Blast?
A: No, the Enhanced Senses cannot be temporarily removed like a hat, and the rules state clearly "A Tyranid with Enhanced Senses may not use this high powered bolt..." [CT31]

Q: Do you still have to roll to hit with a focused Warp Blast?
A: Yes, you roll a Psychic Test and then you roll to hit. There is nothing in Warp Blast that obviates the need to roll to hit with a focused bolt.

Q: How does Extended Carapace affect Warp Field, if at all?
NOTE: GW Has addressed this in their online Tyranids FAQ. For the record, our collective pre-FAQ guess was right.

BioMorph Enhancements [pg. 32-33]

Q: The Acid Maw (AM) biomorph may be used "in the first round of a close combat". If the creature with AM is stuck in a combat that has lasted several rounds, but is then charged by a fresh enemy unit, does that now count as a "first round" of close combat?
WA: We think that you need to wait until the creature with AM breaks close combat and jumps into a new one, i.e., a "new" combat from the perspective of the creature with AM, not its food.

Q: Can you buy adrenal glands for +1 Init and +1 WS on the same model? Do they both work?
WA: Yes and yes. The recent battle report lists an example of a creature with two adrenal glands [USWD 305, pg. 111, both Carnifex broods]. They are also listed as different types with different costs. We can't help it if we don't have flowery Latin names attached to every permutation of our stuff. The biomorphs result in a fundamental modification of the base statline, period; they are not activated or selected in any way, so if you buy one of each type, you get a bonus of each type.

Q: Can a Tyranid with a Mace/Scythe Tail swing the tail when engaged with a single Dreadnought/Sentinel since it counts as ten/five models in CC?
WA: No. The rule you are referring to, under "Losing an Assault"[BGB48], is specific to Morale tests and determining if one side is outnumbered. The tail sweep is based upon the number of models in base contact, not how scary the model is. This is supposed to reflect a situation where the Tyranid is mostly or completely surrounded.

Q: Do Tail Attacks benefit from any other Biomorphs (Implant Attacks, Acid Maw etc) and/or monstrous Creature status (ignore armour saves)?
WA: Yes. Given the wording of Mace/Scythe Tail, especially the lack of exemptions (as given for Bio-Plasma) we believe the tail attacks fall into the category of regular tooth & claw attacks, and thus benefit from enhancements that would affect those.

Q: Does Toxic Miasma (TM) penalize the WS of models for attacks by other Tyranid models that are also assaulting the target of the TM?
WA: Here's two choices that we like:
1) Occam's razor - TM only affects the resolution of attacks upon the food models by the Tyranid with TM and attacks by the food models upon the Tyranid with TM. Outside of those attacks, it has no effect.
Note: We recommend this as it is so much easier.
2) Persistent cough - Yes, the models affected by TM still have a -1 WS when CC attacks are resolved with other units in the same assault, but you have to consider how many models that is and use the majority rule for WS, as appropriate.
Note: #2 brings up other complications when Initiative points come into play.

Hive Tyrant [pg. 35]

Q: Is a Hive Tyrant an IC?
NOTE: GW Has addressed this in their online Tyranids FAQ. For the record, our collective pre-FAQ guess was right.

Q: I have heard that you can no longer have a 2+ Sv, Warp Blasting, Winged, close combat death machine Hive Tyrant. Why?
WA: First, Winged cannot be taken with Extended Carapace[CT33]. Second, A Hive Tyrant can only take one Hive Mind Power beyond the ones it is granted (The Horror and Synapse), so it could not have both Warp Field and Warp Blast. Therefore, a Winged HT can have either a 2+/6+ Sv or Warp Blast.

Hive Tyrant Guard - Retinue [36]

Q: Given the wording about Hive Tyrants and Tyrant Guard in "Shooting at Characters"[BGB51], are Hive Tyrants with Tyrant Guard able to be separately targeted in close combat like other Characters?
WA: Maybe. There are reasonable arguments for "Yes" and "No". However, Thanatos tells us that Phil Kelly explicitly said that Tyrant Guard only protect a Hive Tyrant from Shooting; this is conceptually consistent with the retinue wording and it's mention of "Shooting at Characters"[BGB51]. Of course, good positioning of your Tyrant Guard can dramatically mitigate the threat to a Hive Tyrant in close combat.

Q: Question on Shieldwall and Line of Sight issues. Say a level 2 unit is shooting over a level 2 combat to shoot at a Hive Tyrant and his Tyrant Guard. Can wounds still be allocated to the TG?
NOTE: GW Has addressed this in their online Tyranids FAQ. For the record, our collective pre-FAQ guess was right.

Broodlord [36]

Q: The Brood Lord entry has as asterisk next to Acid Maw, Feeder Tendrils, and Implant Attack, but not Flesh Hooks. Given the Genestealer basis of the Broodlord, is this an oversight?
WA: Uncertain. Given the different size and posture of the Broodlord, it is possible that it could have normal Flesh Hooks mounted in its chest.

Warriors [37]

Warriors that choose the winged biomorph become Fast Attack choices.
Q: Does this interact with the Special Rule – Leader-beasts – mean that the winged warriors can be taken as either HQ or Fast Attack choices?
WA: Sure, the note on Wings explicitly states they become Fast Attack choices, therefore they can't be anything else.

Lictors [38]

Q: Can you use Pheromone Trail to re-roll successful Reserve rolls and thus slow the arrival of reserves?
WA: By the book, yes; with the current wording of the rules for re-rolls, there is no requirement that a roll fail to allow a re-roll. However, this seems to fly in the face of the fictional description which says, "Tyranids from all around will close on its position and attack". Which leaves us at the following - you can currently use it to delay reserves.

Genestealer Brood [39]

Q: The entry for Genestealers has an asterisk (indicating that only 1 of the items marked may be taken) next to Acid Maw, Feeder Tendrils, and Flesh Hooks, but not Implant Attack. Is this an error?
WA: Probably, given that there is a specific head for each of the four mouth weapons.

Zoanthrope [44]

Q: Can a Zoanthrope take Psychic Scream twice, as this is the only power that is both cumulative and does not require a psychic test to use?
WA: This question becomes moot, because Psychic Scream is cumulative from multiple creatures, not multiple instances of the power: "If several creatures with the Psychics Scream power are within range of the unit, the modifiers are cumulative"[CT31]. Apparent results from this are 1) a Zoe with PSx2 would get no added benefit , and 2) the implication that a creature would only have the power once.

Biovores [45]

Take note veteran Tyranids players! These things seem to trip up veterans of the army:

  • All Spore Mines use Blast template now
  • Biovores now fire like a regular Barrage weapon
  • Biovores now fire as a group at a single target
  • Biovore broods now get only one type of Spore Mine
  • Biovores now have Brood Telepathy

Q: Can Biovores take more than one type of Spore Mine?
WA: No, the wording in the Biovore entry, titled "Bio-weapons", implies a singular choice, e.g. "type of Spore Mines available" [CT45].

Carnifex [46]

Q: A Carnifex can take Acid Maw and Bio-Plasma, unlike any other model. Is that an oversight? Shouldn't it have to choose a single mouth weapon, like other models?
WA: So far, it looks like you can take both, if you look at the "Death Beetle" variant of the Carnifex in Black Gobbo #44 (2005.07.19), you'll see that it has both. However, in that same article is a Carnifex with 2 Lash Whips, which would seem to be pointless, if we understand the Lash Whip to work the same as it did in 3rd edition. If we're lucky, the Lash Whip is cooler than we think.

Q: In the English version of the Codex, the Barbed Strangler has 2 different points cost based on the Str, but the ranged weapon symbiote is capped at Str8, which occurs on the base Strength of the Carnifex. Also there is a third, completely different cost listed in the "Thornback" Carnifex example. Is this a typo?
WA: Yes, the French version, which was released later, reflects that there is one cost for the Barbed Strangler, and it is the same as the cost for a Carnifex to buy Extended Carapace (Sorry, we are obtuse so as to avoid IP infringement).


Q: Can a Hive Tyrant or Carnifex hold a quarter?
A: Yes, they are only MCs, not ICs.