I have already taken a quick look at the other contents in the box, now it is time to takea look at the models, starting with the Hive Mind’s offering. I will not be putting the full datasheets into this article so if you would like to look at them in full for yourself then here is the Link.
Winged Tyranid Prime
The new variant and apparently a replacement for the original ‘Lieuntenant’ of the swarm, the Tyranid Prime. The datasheets for Tyranids that recently dropped appear to mix the original Prime into the Warriors datasheet so no longer a standalone unit.
One key thing to notice here is yes, this is a character but NO it does not appear to have the Lone Operative keyword. This means the Winged Prime can be targetted unless it is leading a unit, which it can do as it has the Leader keyword.
It is also fairly squishy with only 6 wounds, toughness 5 and a 4+ save (no natural invulnerable save). So if you intend to use one of these I suggest mixing it into a unit. I personally will be trying Gargoyles first to retain the movement. The other options are the two Tyranid Warrior squad types but I feel it’s mobility is the Winged Prime’s biggest advantage.
Damage wise, it is making 6 Attacks at Strength 6 and AP of -1 so nothing too special but at damage 2 and combined with the sustained hits it gains when part of a unit I could see big chunks being taken out of infantry squads. If all non gene-enhanced infantry are still toughness 3 then that’s an average of 8 damage before saves (unfortunately only 4 single wound models though). That is 6 damage against your standard issue marine (toughness 4) so 3 dead marines before those annoying save rolls.
Very much a strategic unit who, again, will need to be embedded to stop it being too squishy. Less so than the Winged Prime at toughness 8, 4+ save (with a 4+ invulnerable built-in) and 9 wounds but still not the most survivable.
Damage wise, you are going to be mincing up some squishy brains here. A swingy Psychic Scream doing 2D6 attacks at strength 5 and AP -1 can be good against infantry, especially as it auto-hits. At 2 damage per attack that is an average of 9-10 damage (or 5ish marines) against a toughness 4 opponent before save rolls.
In melee it is almost the same – 6 attacks at strength 5 hitting on 3’s and no AP so less average output than the scream. Basically keep everything at
arm’s tentacle’s length and scream like an angry toddler.
I would suggest surrounding it with some chaff like the neurogaunts to take a few bullets until you use it to buff your Shadow in the Warp ability. Battleshock seems to be the big thing this edition so don’t underestimate it.
Von Ryan’s Leapers
The new boy’s in the box (which I wanted to be Lictors) who come with a weird name – I am sure they will be just called leapers by the community at large. I see these as shock troopers, filling the role that genestealers did in the last edition (and doing it slightly better).
With 6 attacks each, hitting on 3s and strength 5 they are enough to scare most infantry squads. Deploying them deep will act as a deterrent to your opponent from committing anything squishy to objectives early on. The fight first ability will especially work in your favour here if you don’t get first turn.
However at toughness 5 with a 4+ save (6+ invulnerable) they are squishy, even with the addition of Stealth giving them -1 to hit so make sure they are well hidden.
Another option is to use them defensively, using their Pouncing Leap (heroic intervention) and high mobility to intervene on behalf of units that aren’t so good at melee.
I do like me a monster, and this one I particularly like. The Psychophage is perfectly designed to get right into the mix. In fact, as it is only toughness 9, 10 wounds and a base save of 3+ (no invulnerable), you will want to get into combat and away from shooting fairly quick (or be good at hide and seek).
The Psychoclastic Torrent is a psychic flamer, doing D6 attacks at strength 6 and AP of -1. Then, getting into close combat, it’s Talons do D6+1 attacks at strength 6. These do hit on a 3+ but if you can reduce your target below starting strength using the torrent before charging this becomes a 2+. It will also gain +1 to wound if the target is below half strength, this may be an incentive to let another unit hit the target first. The damage output will be swingy but combined with Devastating Wounds on melee the Psychophage should be tearing up some squishy infantry with no issues.
You will also want to keep it mixed into your swarms as every friendly unit within 6″ gains a 6+ Feel No Pain courtesy of the Bio-stimulus aura.
The steadfast cannon fodder of the hive mind. Some use them purely as a shield or objective holder but I have always liked bringing these in decent numbers and buffing them to become a real pain to my opponent.
I personally take the Fleshborers on my termagants for the additional strength. Being strength 5 means typically a 3+ to wound roll against most infantry types and the addition of the assault keyword allows decent mobility and board presence.
They are only 1 wound and toughness 3 so if you do want to use them as more than a meat shield I suggest pairing them with a Tervigon, for the regular respawn, or the Psycophage, for the 6+ Feel No Pain.
Rippers are getting a brand new model. In the past these have been used for holding your own home objective or dropping in late to steal one. I can see them being used for this still however I can see an additional use as an objective denial. They have an Objective Control characteristic of 0 themselves but they have an ability called Chitinous Horrors which halves this in engaged enemies. My thinking is they can deepstrike and charge in to interfere with a contested objective, denying your opponent victory points in their next command phase.
They are not to be relied upon for damage, as they only hit on a 5+ in both melee and shooting, so they are probably just going to be used for objective control or denial.
Another unit similar to Ripper Swarms in that they have a specific purpose but will likely not do any damage to your opponent. I would likely use these as shields for characters, like the Neurotyrant, or as a synapse extender. They could even do both with some clever positioning, just remember to comply with unit coherency.
With no shooting available these guys rely on their single melee attack hitting on a 4+ at strength 3. In large numbers they could do some damage to infantry but they will only be a meat shield for your character against tougher opponents.
As an anti-infantry artillery unit the Barbgaunts can play a key role in maintaining board control. The Bio-cannon is fairly decent against typical infantry but will be swingy as it is D6 shots. Though with hitting on a 4+ and strength 5 any hits that are made should be effective. My suggestion (depending on points value) is to go for 10 of these, or two squads of 5, to maximise shots.
However the best value from these is their Disruption Bombardment ability – giving a reduction of 2″ to movement values, charge rolls and advance rolls. This only takes a single hit to an infantry unit and especially frustrating to your opponent if combined with the Fire Overwatch stratagem to stop that deep striking unit amking a clutch charge.
I love this model and I cannot wait to get my hands on it. As for it’s use on the battlefield this unit will be very good against infantry, with it’s high number of attacks, whilst also being strong enough for the more elite models.
The Bio-plasmic Scream is only strength 8, so less useful against Dreadnaughts (Toughness 10), and slightly swingy with it’s D6+3 attacks but with AP-2 you should do some damage. However the nice thing about this weapon is that a single hit will force a battleshock test. Failing this will cause your opponent to lose buffs and that key Objective Control characteristic, allowing you to steal a contested objective.
Melee will be the most deadly use for the Screamer-Killer. Having 10 attacks, hitting on 3s at strength 10. Add in an AP of -2 you are only looking at a probable 5 damage to something like the Ballistus Dreadnaught. However put him against a squad of Terminators and you are looking at an average of 3 dead in a single round.
That would be my way to use it, send it after the objectives secured by elite or normal infantry and either clear it out or take it by battleshock.
So, in summary, there are a lot of beautiful xenomorphs in this box and each of them with a viable role. I hope this is indicative of the new edition, with more viable competitive list options to give some variety in the opponents you face. But we shall see.
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Where to Buy
GW have announced it will be available for a two-week preorder from Saturday 10th June, I have included GWs times below. I always advocate supporting your local independent stockists, following the idea of Pay where you play, but if you are looking for somewhere, and would like to support Woehammer, we do have a couple of affiliate links:
Not Just Gamin’ will be offering the Leviathan box with a 15% discount!
Element Games will also be offering the Leviathan box at 15% below the RRP