Thursday, January 16, 2014

The 6th Ed. Tyranid Codex - Alladin's Morning Coffee Musings #1

Hey all,

Today I've decided to try a new, hopefully "weekly" feature on my blog: A short(ish) opinion piece on  one thing or another in the hobby world. We'll see how it goes, normally I spend way too much time editing and proofing my articles, which is why I get so little done! Not to mention that I spend way too much time over-explaining things - see previous sentence... :|  Anyway, this week I will throw my 2 cents into the ring on the 6th Ed Codex: Tyranids debate that seems to be taking the internet blogosphere by storm.

<old Simpsons quote>"Shake harder, boy!"</old Simpsons quote>
As usual I will preface my comments with the fact that I am new to the hobby and have no gaming experience. I am mainly a fluff enjoyer/collector at this point, although I do eventually plan on playing.

After spending a lot of time reading about the new codex on the internet (and a little time reading the codex itself, although the pre-release leaks gave me a big head start), I get the general consensus that most people are, to put it lightly, displeased with the effort by GW. And that's putting it extremely lightly. Although I am a non-tournament player, and back my words up with no actual experience, I do see where a lot of people are coming from - it is impossible to rate this codex in a vacuum, since it not only has to compete against all other army codexes, but has to "compete" with its predecessor as well.

With this in mind, it is abundantly clear why people would harbour the opinions that they do. To put it succinctly, the 6th Ed Codex: Tyranids cannot be put on the same level as some of the other 6th Ed codexes released to date (namely Eldar and Tau, but Space Marines and Chaos Daemons fall into the mix as well). The debate as to whether it is stronger or weaker than its 5th Ed counterpart remains to be seen. There have been a lot of nerfs over last edition, but synergy is a glorious thing once discovered and I don't think the community is quite yet able to make this call. A quick look around some of the forums and blogs and you will already see new combos that show promise.

There are definitely a lot of questions surrounding this codex release, but I sometimes wonder if we, as a community, are asking the right questions to begin with.

Since I am relatively new to the hobby and am happy to keep wearing my rose-tinted glasses for as long as possible, I do feel that the codex is not as bad as people say it is. We clearly lost a lot from 5th Edition, but I feel we've gained a fair bit too. Some of the hard-core tournament players would probably like to slap me for my opinion, but Codex: Tyranids scratches a very different itch for me compared to the tournament crowd.

I want to be clear in saying that I don't think that the codex is a "great" codex. I do agree with a lot of the complaints that keep coming up online. I am (sadly) hopeful that some of these errors will be fixed with a FAQ, whilst at the same time not further nerfing other parts of the codex to compensate.

In general my complaints are fairly small:
  • I think Synapse and Instinctive Behavior are very fluffy, but the benefit-to-risk ratio is currently skewed toward the negative side of the ledger. Whether that means adding more benefit to Synapse (we're not getting Eternal Warrior, so let's move on from that) or buffering the downsides of Instinctive Behavior (either by reducing the Feed penalty, or changing the table to a 1-2, 3-4, 5-6 format would both help immensely), I feel something should be done. We are the sole army whose main mechanic is more likely to do harm as opposed to good.
  • Some of the stats don't really make sense. Hive Guard at WS4, Haruspex at WS3. Losing base attacks on a bunch of models is another issue. It is clear what the intention was (and I'll get to the Scything Talons later) but the execution falls short. Two examples out of many. We're not talking drastic re-alignment, but a few changes here and there would go a long way to adding some balance. 
  • Some of the point values don't really make sense. Namely, Tyranid Prime and Broodlord jump out as being significantly over-costed. I won't get into the Tervigon issue, as I am not sitting at home staring at 5 Tervigons, and never planned to get more than 1 anyway.
  • Bring Scything Talons' sexy back (aka re-rolls). It may not have made a huge difference, but everyone seems to be catatonic about it so I don't think it's asking a lot. And finally,
  • Make the flyer's more survivable. Whether it's T6, or making them unable to be grounded, something along these lines will not only put them into the competitive range, but sell more of the shiny new models.

None of these issues utterly "ruin" the codex, but I do feel that they are either glaring omissions or missed opportunities for a fun, fresh approach to Tyranids. I also don't think that rectifying any (or even all) of the points above would turn the codex into a competitive juggernaut, but would go a long way in calming some of the palpable rage emanating from the internet haters.

This article is already taking me longer than anticipated (my coffee mug has been empty for a while now) so I will try and wrap it up, and continue next week. I will leave you with the question I was alluding to above:

(Not factoring some of bonehead issues I mentioned above) Is the main issue with Codex: Tyranids that it is under-powered, or is it that too many other codexes are OVER-powered?

Happy Thursday! Now, off to my FLGS to buy the bulk of Hive Fleet Ceryx.

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