Monday, 6 February 2012

Termagants and their uses

As I'm spending so many hours painting them I thought I'd indulge in a post about the uses of the humble Termagant.  That said this isn't a codex review or full review of the unit and their options (there are many fine ones about such as here) but rather a discussion piece on how I use them and their role in my force.

Termagants are cheap, at 5 points a model a sizeable unit can weigh in at around 100pts.  That said they are also one of the worst units in the game (in their basic form).  No real armour, a stat line that defines the average (in an imperial guard barracks anyway) and a bolt pistol.  Thrown in their lacklustre leadership and special rule that means they'll sit and drool unless watched over by a synapse and they really aren't anything to write home about.

The key there though is 'watched over by a synapse'.  Once within 12" they gain fearless and their main role in my force comes out.  They are an excellent charge blocker, able to soak up a good 8 wounds before having to worry and sure they aren't likely to cause much damage back (more on this later) but they'll stick around and hold the opponent in close combat for a devastating counter charge.  As units locked in close combat don't gain benefits of cover when subsequently assaulted this can be a useful way of shielding a valuable unit and then 'revealing it' as the termagants start to die ready for a counter charge.

But who says termagants can't cause damage?  The real strength of the termagants is their ability to allow a tervigon to slip into the troop choice.  Suddenly all of a termagants drawbacks melt away whilst this MC sits within 6".  With counterattack and toxin sacs the termagant can suddenly hope to not only tar pit but cause some damage to an assaulting unit, just make sure its within 6" AFTER combat moves.

To guarantee this deploy the termagant blob (about 12-15 models) where you want them.  Then form a conga coherency line back and even behind the tervigon.  If the unit is assaulted and pulled forward 6" then the rear elements of the line should still be within the crucial 6" to confer the goodies to the tervigon.  Looks like the tervigon might go down this shooting phase?  If possible remove the conga line and cut the 6" link to save some models for when it finally bites it.

Able to generate troops choices and sit happily outside of combat feeding I5, Str4 poisoned termagants into an ongoing fight makes the termagant/tervigon relationship one of the standout features of the current Nids dex.  It won't suit every force and due to the points cost will define a great deal about how the army will function but for the commander after a scuttling swarm Nids army, its perfect. 

That said a danger is relying too heavily on the trick.  Termagants and tervigons are ways of turning a poor unit into a mediocre unit but one highly dependent on a model that can be brought down in a single turn of focused fire.  More of a good thing is not necessarily better.  100 rubbish troops on the field isn't going to get you much further than 60 rubbish troops and their role as a delay and block doesn't work if you have nothing hard hitting to take advantage of the gap.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Termagants - the never ending

Haven't posted in a while so going to ease back in gently with a vague update of what I'm up to at the moment.  It can pretty much be summed up in one word, Termagants.  Anyone who has ever collected (and actually tried to paint) a swarm force will recognise the sense of for boding and weary inevitability the idea of painting core troops brings. 

I've always loved the idea of a scuttling swarm taking up most of the tabletop, with individual units outnumbering some armies.  Without Number in the previous edition didn't quite cut it as the swarm generally arrived in dribs and drabs and only when some other element of the swarm had been wholly eliminated.  With tervigons (but still no tervigon models GW) the Tyranid player can finally get the feeling of unleashing an endless tide onto the opponent (until they role a double at least). 

the problem with unleashing the endless tide though means you first have to unleash it onto your painting table and that means many long hours painting virtually identical models. 

Progress has been good as you can see from the picture.  I'm aiming for 80ish termagants (40 taken as troops the rest possible tervigon reinforcements) and have lined them up in rows of 8 so you get a better idea of percentage progress.

Tricks and tips for painting massed termagants?  I've found a production line approach is a bit dissatisfying.  you get the payoff of completing 12 termagants in one go but have to wait a few days to reach that point.  and when you paint the same feature (a tongue say) for the 12th time its inevitably going to be sloppy.  I've found basing, washing and doing the block colours in batches of 10, then block highlights in batches of 5 before doing all the fine details and highlights on just one until its finished much better.  you get the instant payoff as you finish a full model and don't get bored of painting the same thing 12 times in a row.

Beyond that there isn't much else to it.  BBC iplayer (especially the radio plays) are amazing and can be found here if you can access them

At about 40% of the way through I think it'll be late Feb before the termagants are ready for the tabletop but that at least gives plenty of time for ToS.  Lists and thoughts to follow in next few days (whenever I'm sick off the sight of termagants!)