So as we all know, the bundle of joy that is Shadow War: Armageddon contains rather awesome rules for Tyranid Warrior kill-teams. They also seem to be pretty good, with decent ranged weapons, obscenely murderous melee potential and some of the toughest units in the game. So, this here is a thread to talk about the Great Devourer in SW:A, be it modelling ideas, tactics, fluff inspiration or whatever else comes to mind.
To start the ball rolling, I've written up a roster of Warriors for my Hive Fleet- this awesome foursome being named the Death Roaches. First, here's the basic list, complete with a veritable mountain of fluff...
The four Tyranid Warriors known as the “Death Roaches” have caused countless deaths and engineered the fall of unnumbered worlds. The four specimens seem to have autonomy far beyond the usual capacity of the Tyranid race, and are bio-engineered specifically to work behind enemy lines, assassinating important targets, destroying essential defence mechanisms and sowing terror and despair amongst the enemy. Heavily mutated and highly individualized compared to other Tyranid Warriors, they appear to be a completely divergent evolution of the Warrior genus. They are occasionally accompanied by a variety of specialized bio-forms for particular missions requiring unique evolutions. Having appeared relatively recently, they have nonetheless earned a dire reputation- they are responsible for the fall of the shrine world of Shallannah, the death of the Cosmic Wraiths' chapter master Tulleus Triech during the consumption of their homeworld of Shadehaven, the routing of the Waaagh! of Gitfista Da Glutton, and the destruction of the Eldar Craftworld of Murendon.
Tyranid Alpha “King Crimson”
The Alpha Warrior known as King Crimson is an unholy terror of a creature, Heavily mutated such that it barely even resembles a Tyranid Warrior, the creature is of exceptional size, covered in spined protrusions, and is armed with two monstrously strong yet incredibly dexterous claws and a pair of raking talons. It shows incredible cunning and intelligence on par with a Hive Tyrant, and seems to develop a recognition of prominent enemy individuals that the Tyranids were previously thought to be incapable of.
Tyranid Alpha with Scything Talons, Rending Claws and Extended Chitin Carapace: 290 points.
Tyranid Warrior “Dreadlocks”
This beast is believed to be the “second in command” to King Crimson. Like all Tyranid Warriors it is an utterly ferocious creature, and it bears a pair of weapon-symbiotes which seem to be derived from the spinefist. Its head is wreathed by hideous sensory tentacles which writhe with a life of their own, and its back is encrusted in barnacle-like symbiotes that function as ablative armour.
Tyranid Warrior with Scything Talons, Spinefists and Extended Chitin Carapace: 240 points.
Tyranid New-Spawn “Yellow Jester”
Freshly birthed,and still bearing the yellow spawning marks of Hive Fleet Goliath's younglings, Yellow Jester is nonetheless a veritable monster. Whilst this particular monster has not amassed quite as much knowledge and information as its fellow Death Roaches, it is nonetheless hugely intelligent and a frighteningly fast learner. To compensate for its reduced combat skill, it has grown its upper limbs into a foursome of long, disembowelling talons, confusing and overwhelming the foe with a dizzying flurry of deadly strikes. Whilst its carapace has not grown as strong as its brood brothers, it is smart enough to keep itself out of the line of fire and close in on the enemy from the shadows.
Tyranid New-Spawn with two sets of Scything Talons: 185 points.
Tyranid Gun-Beast “Needles”
This creature's carapace is coated with razor-sharp crystalline quills, making it very difficult to assault. Armed with a powerful weapon-symbiote which expels acidic, maggot-like projectiles, and with exceptionally keen senses, it is a terrifying foe from afar. Whilst it is less suited to close-quarters combat than other Warriors, only a fool would underestimate its savagery in melee.
Tyranid Gun-Beast with Scything Talons, Deathspitter and Extended Chitin Carapace: 285 points.
The following beasts have been occasionally sighted alongside the Death Roaches, though infrequently enough to be considered distinct from the Death Roaches themselves.
Tyranid Prime “Scarlet Slattern”
A unique and horrendously overgrown specimen of Tyranid Prime, Scarlet Slattern is believed to be closely related to King Crimson itself. It seems to have a greater connection to the Hive Mind than the Alpha, and Tyranids in close proximity to the beast fight with greatly enhanced ferocity. It is believed that Scarlet Slattern and King Crimson are a “mating pair” from which the other Death Roaches are descended, with the female Prime acting as a psychic “mission control” and only joining battle when absolutely necessary. Strangely, Scarlet Slattern's armament appears to change regularly, never appearing with the same weapon-symbiotes twice. Some have speculated Scarlet Slattern to be related to the Dominatrix in some way, though this is mere conjecture.
A mutated Ravener, this beast has a worrying resemblance to the Catachan Devil, a creature that evolved entirely separately from the Hive Fleets and by all rights should not be appearing amongst them. Unlike the more common, serpentine Raveners, it has a long, armoured tail section with many “prolegs” which allow it to move with terrifying speed and utterly incomprehensible agility. It is most commonly sighted with three sets of flensing talons and an internal weapon-symbiote that spews flesh-eating brainleech worms, though other armaments have been encountered. Its main weakness is its lack of intelligence- outside of the controlling aura of the Hive Mind it reverts to animalistic fury. Strangely, there have been unconfirmed reports of multiple Centipedes being present at the same time, though the lack of survivors from such attacks have made actual confirmation difficult.
This particular creature is unusual in that it resembles a less commonly seen variation on the Zoanthrope bioform, thought to have been retired from the Hive Fleets due to its relative physical fragility compared to later spawnings. The reason for this is unknown, but the monster is freakishly intelligent even by the standards of its subspecies. Showing not only incredible cunning and meticulous control over lesser beasts, it appears to have a disturbing degree of autonomy and sentience, showing a recognition and understanding of human behavioural patterns and emotions. It behaves sadistically, acting in ways intended to create maximum psychological distress amongst the foe. Some have even claimed to have communicated with the abomination, though all have been executed shortly afterwards. It is however highly fragile and as such is rarely sighted in direct combat.
Whilst the Idolator is a unique creature amongst Hive Fleet Goliath, Cerebrovores are a recognized submutation of the Zoanthrope species, and simultaneous sightings of multiples of the genus have been confirmed. Believed to be an adaptation of the Zoanthrope species developed specifically for the environments in which the Death Roaches operate, Cerebrovores psychically levitate just like Zoanthropes, but that is where the physical resemblance ends. Bloated, pulsating, deformed creatures with compound eyes on their carapaces, gaping maws on their undersides and feeble, snatching arms, they are more compact than Zoanthropes and thus can pass through smaller spaces. The eyes appear to serve dual purpose as both sensory organs and focusing lenses for the psychic abilities of the creature. The smaller body size of the creature despite having the same brainpower is not without its cost, however, and Cerebrovores have ravenous appetites, which must be sated lest their bodies consume themselves. For this reason they rarely take to the battlefield and usually function as psychic disruptors, detector units or other indirect support roles.
...And my basic modelling ideas for the gribblies:
King Crimson will be based on the Tyranid Prime build in the Warrior boxset, which IMO is not nearly impressive enough to be a Prime, but is suitable for a Warrior Alpha. He'll of course be heavily converted, most notably with some big fancy spines protruding from his back carapace. His Rending Claws will be far more impressive than the stock options, possibly using Scything Talon blades spliced onto the fingers for extra long raking claws. His "unlockable" Bonesword options will be quite heavily converted to look ornate and vicious, almost as if they were "bio-artefacts". Design wise (but not colour wise) he'll be semi inspired by the Kerak from the obscure PC game Space Siege.
(The Kerak is the big blue thing on the right)
Dreadlocks is going to, fairly obviously, have dreadlock-style tentacles spilling out from under his headcrest. These will probably fall down his shoulders ala thie Predator or this Transformer.
His head will be quite heavily scarred, and possibly feature tusks. His Spinefist weapon options (his defaults) will probably only use bits of the stock Spinefists- I'm thinking of making organic versions of the Covenant Needlers from Halo. In addition, bits of his carapace will be coated with OOE-style barnacle symbiotes, acting as ablative armour.
Yellow Jester will be fairly unmodified, largely relying on paint to distinguish him. My Tyranids have red flesh, green sacs and black carapaces with green highlights, so he will have bright yellow "spawning marks" that show him as a recently spawned specimen (ala some animals which have mottling or markings which disappear as they grow). He will, however, use either the bigger talons from the old Warrior kit, or possibly even the more vicious looking metal ones that some 3rd edition 'nids came with (specifically the Raveners and the Lictors IIRC).
Needles will have cut-down flesh hooks forming the rows of sharp quills on his back, or possibly something else in the event I run out of flesh hooks. In addition, he will have various additional sensory organs (notably antennae and extra eyes) on his head, and his gun will be mounted on his upper arms, with his lower pair made into stabilizing talons. All his gun options will be extra flashy/gribbly to differentiate them from the stock weapons- so for example, his Venom Cannon option will probably be detailed with organic crystalline growths.
As for the special operatives...
Scarlet Slattern (the Tyranid Prime) will be made from a 3rd edition Hive Tyrant, as it is halfway in size between a Warrior and a modern Tyrant, and also looks pretty cool, very much like one would expect an overgrown apex form of Warrior to look. Sorry stock Prime, those shoulderpads aren't fooling anyone. It will of course be heavily converted, with many parallels between it and King Crimson (as they are a "mating pair"...*shudder*). Obviously she will be magnetized, and her weapons will be just as ornate and gribbly as King Crimson's (if not more so).
The Centipedes...I have no idea. I don't know if they'll even be based on the Ravener kit. I need to think of how best to do the centipede body. In any event, they will look like big gribbly centipedes, because sweet Emperor centipedes are scary.
Idolator is, straight up, the 4th edition Zoanthrope sculpt I've nearly finished painting. He's also, incidentally, the only member of the Death Roaches who physically exists at present. On that note, here's an image of him so far (still slightly WIP)
(My apologies for craptacular photography...)
The Cerebrovores are a back-up plan in case I want to field more than one Zoanthrope for some bizarre reason. I have no idea how I'll make them but they will look a fair bit like StarCraft Broodlords/Overseers.
Anyway, now all that rubbish is out the way, let the discussion begin!