Monday, August 2, 2010

40K Tactics 101: How to Get a Hive Tyrant a Cover Save

So, the question came up on the podcast Life After the Cover Save ( on "how to give a Hive Tyrant a cover save". One of the guys over there was having an issue keeping his Flying Hive Tyrant alive because it is so hard to give it a cover save. And with the codex deciding to nerf this unit by not giving it an invulnerable save, the crucial Tyrant and the advantages he brings with him in Hive Commander or Old Adversary are dying before you ever get to use them.

In my years of playing Tyranids within the 5th Edition rule set I have found quite a few clever ways to get your Hive Tyrant that life saving cover save:

Method 1: Large Area Terrain (Flying or Walking)

I know that this is the most obvious way to do it, but do not be afraid to start of your Monstrous Creatures in cover, forests work just fine for me because pine trees come up to the guys chin, if you are afraid of that Alpha strike. Or, better yet, hide the big guy being a building and completely obscure him, and make it hard to even see this guy at all.

Method 2: the Tier system:

This one is a bit more complicated, but can easily protect a walking Tyrant. First, look at your army list and pull out the units of medium size, say your warriors, ravaners, hive guard and the like. Bump those models base-to-base together and right in front of your Tyrant. Then, take your smaller units, say the millions of gaunts that you have running around and throw them in front of your mid-range size bugs to give them a cover save as well. Now, you can be a real jerk (and I like being a real jerk) by then making sure that the small units are also 50% or more in area terrain or being cover themselves to provide the whole mess with at least 4+ cover saves all around!

Method 3: The Gargoyle Wall:

This one is a bit harder to pull off and could be considered modeling for advantage, or more correctly picking out the right models for your advantage, as you do not modify the standard GW model for this trick. First, remember that if running a winged Hive Tyrant, no matter how big the wings are, they can not be used for Line of Sight to the models. Read the line of sight rules!

I love the new plastic gargoyles, they are great looking models and a lot of fun to use. In each box of models comes two particular models where the gargoyle is almost completely head over tail with its wings spread out as far as possible. In this same box are two gargoyles who are flying as low as the model will permit them on the flying stand, where the very top of their wings come up tot he bottom of the wings of the previous gargoyle. If you were to line up three or four of the high flying, covering as much of the Hive Tyrants upper body as I can gargoyle right in front of the Hive Tyrant, and run about three or four of the low flying models, you can most certainly pull of a cover save with a large unit of gargoyles in front of the Hive Tyrant.

So guys over at Life After the Cover Save, there is my response, three solid, easy to use tactics to provide a Hive tyrant with a cover save. Sadly though, despite all of these tricks and tips, the Hive Tyrant with only 4 wounds and no invulnerable save it simply to fragile. It is still possible to gun down your Tyrant in one round of shoot from a strong Alpha Strike army like Leafblower IG for example.

I hope this helps, let me know!

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