Monday, 9 August 2010

Tyranid Project – Can Termagants actually kill things…

Editors Note – This article is quite long by my usual standards so you might want to make yourself a cup of tea before you start reading…

Termagants are the cheap and cheerful troop choice for Tyranids and essential in any army that wants their Tervigons to be scoring.

Though are they actually good for anything other than being scoring?

Lets let Mathshammer do some of the decision making for us ;-)

We’ll start with the worst-case scenario and gradually give the Termagants some advantages as we go.

For those of you who don’t know the Termagants stats are,

WS 3, BS 3, S 3, T 3, W 1, I 4, A 1 Ld. 6, Save. 6+

With the average roll of a die being 3 or a 4, we’ll end up spawning between 9 and 12 Termagants most of the time and as we need a basic unit of 10 to make our Tervigons scoring to start off with we’ll take 10 as our nice round unit number for testing purposes.

As I’m sure (like me) you end up playing against Marines 4 out of 5 games we’ll use them as our ‘Control’ enemy. We’ll use a squad of 10, as full Marine Squads are still common even with the current trend for Razorbacks units. We won’t bother giving them any fancy weapon options or extra abilities and just to keep it relatively simple we’ll keep them as ‘ordinary’ tactical Marines.

I’m also not going to include the chance of Termagants shooting before charging into the final calculations but for those of you who care about such things,

10 shots, 5 Hit, 2.5 Wound, 0.83 Marines dead after armour saves. Great bugger all happened...

So then, onto the Maths.

Worst case for the Termagants is no upgrades and being charged. This also means were going at the same time as the Marines so no matter how many we kill they’ll all still get all their attacks back.

Termagants (Charged),
10 Attacks, 5 Hit, 1.67 Wound, 0.56 Dead Marines after their 3+ Armour Saves.
Marines (Charging),
21 Attacks, 14 Hit, 9.33 Wounds, 7.83 Dead Termagants after their 6+ Saves.

The Termagants will either be run down, chased off the board or (if their in synapse range) die to ‘fearless’ wounds.
Hang on a bit though…they might have ‘Feel no Pain’ from ‘Catalyst’. So only 3.92 of our Termagants may have died.

So let’s presume they did have ‘Feel no Pain’ and amazingly make the 3 Fearless wounds they’re forced to take and try out round 2 (after rounding our dead guys to the nearest whole model).

6 Attacks, 3 Hit, 1 Wound, 0.33 dead Marines after their 3+ Armour Saves.
10 Attacks, 6.67 Hit, 4.45 Wound, 1.85 dead Termagants after 6+ Armour and Feel no Pain is taken into account.

Well we could go on but I’m sure we can see how it’s going. An un-upgraded unit of Termagants dies if charged and if it has ‘Feel no Pain’ can maybe survive a 2nd Game turn of combat if their lucky after taking a grand total of 2 (rounding up) or 0 (rounding down) Marines with them.

Lets give the Termagants the charge this time. We’ll also give them Feel no Pain again as we’ve already worked out that they die horribly without it.
I’m also going to stop repeating myself a bit as I’m sure you all know what a Marines armour save is by now.

Round 1.

Termagants (Charging),
20 Attacks, 10 Hit, 3.34 Wound, 1.13 Marines dead.
Marines (Charged),
11 Attacks, 7.33 Hit, 4.9 Wound, 2.04 Termagants dead.

Round 2.

8 Attacks, 4 Hit, 1.34 Wound. 0.89 Marines dead
10 Attacks, 6.67 Hit, 4.45 Wound, Termagants 1.85 dead.

So we’ve successfully ‘Tar-pitted’ the Marine unit for as long as we can keep Feel no Pain in place. But that’s about it till they finally kill each other 6 or so rounds of combat later.
If the Sergeant had a Power weapon or Power Fist however we’ll be lucky to tie them up for even 4 rounds.

I think it’s time to stop playing fair don’t you?

If were playing a ‘swarm’ list then we’ve most likely given Adrenal Glands (Furious Charge) and Toxin Sacs (Poison) to all our units. If were using them in conjunction with Tervigons then we’ve most likely given the Tervigon those same upgrades so that Termagants within 6” get the benefit of them.

Also given that the Tervigon can spawn Termagants 6” away and they can still move, shoot and assault as normal the chances of us getting charges are quite good.

So this time the Termagants are charging and have Furious Charge, Poisoned Attacks and Feel no Pain all thanks to either the Tervigon, their own upgrades or some combination of the 2.

Termagants (Charging). Due to the way the poison rule works we also get a re-roll to wound this turn as we would be wounding on 4’s anyway (due to Furious Charge).
20 Attacks, 10 Hit, 5 Wound, 7.5 with the re-roll 2.5 Marines Dead.
Marines (Charged) Minus the 3 guys who died (rounding to the nearest whole number).
7 Attacks, 4.67 Hit, 3.11 Wound, 1.3 termagants Dead

Hey, we won a combat (Just)…go team Tyranid!!!

Round 2 (Furious Charge no longer an issue, Poison still helping though)
9 Attacks, 4.5 Hit, 2.25 Wound (no re-roll this time), 0.75 Marines dead.
7 Attacks, 4.67 Hit, 3.11 Wound, 1.3 termagants Dead.

Bollocks, were back to killing a guy each per turn...

Right now lets pile on every benefit we can possibly crowbar out of the Tyranid Codex and see if we can give these Marines a proper kicking (or biting, or clawing etc.)

First were going to use the Hive Tyrant/Swarmlord’s Paroxysm* on the target unit and give the Termagants ‘Preferred Enemy’ from either the Hive Tyrant’s ‘Old Adversary’ upgrade or via the Swarmlords ‘Swarm Leader’ ability. The were going to also give them every benefit they can get from the Tervigon (Furious Charge, Poison and Feel no Pain).

*It’s a psychic shooting attack that reduces a unit to both WS and BS 1 till the beginning of the Hive Tyrants next turn. This means those pesky Marines will be being hit on 3’s but hitting back on 5’s.

Right lads, you now have all the help we can give you…do us proud ;-)

Round 1.

Termagants (Charging),
20 Attacks, 17.78 Hits (13.33 normal hits and another 4.45 from our ‘Preferred Enemy’ re-roll.
13.34 Wounds (8.89 normal wounds and another 4.45 from our ‘Poison’ re-roll).
After armour saves we’ve killed 4.45 Marines.
Marines (Charged and feeling a bit victimised and also at WS1),
7 Attacks, 2.33 Hit, 0.58 Wounds, 0.24 Termagants dead.

So we’ve easily won this one and taking a morale test at –4 there’s a good chance the Marines will fail. So they either get away and can be escorted off the board or they are caught and another 1.33 Marines die to ‘No Retreat’ rules.

Lets say we catch them.

Round 2**

**Now it gets a bit tricky here as the Swarmlords ‘Preferred Enemy’ ability only lasts for the Tyranid turn but ‘Old Adversary’ is a permanent ‘buff’. As more people use Tyrants than Swarmlords (even though I don’t) we’ll let the Termagants have their Preferred Enemy this turn as well.

10 Attacks, 8.89 Hits (with re-rolls), 4.45 Wounds (no re-rolls this time), 1.48 Dead Marines.
7 Attacks, 2.33 Hit, 0.58 Wounds, 0.24 Termagants dead.

So at the end of round 2 our Termagants are unharmed and the Marine unit has been cut in half. After that it will get a bit messy, but I think we’ve done enough damage to be able to finish them off without much help.

So what have we learned?

Termagants need support…well you’d probably worked that out anyway but it’s worth mentioning. Also, Feel no Pain via ‘Catalyst’ made (by far) the biggest difference to the combats more by saving Termagants than adding to their killing potential.

So to summarise Termagants can kill things but only with a lot of help. They are however quite good at keeping a unit in place ready for your Monstrous Creatures to stroll in and mush the last few guys ;-)
Used appropriately these cheap little critters can easily turn the tide in your favour, hopefully your opponent will be to busy trying to kill Tyrants, Tervigons and the like to bother with these guys until it’s too late ;-)

Of course you may not be fighting against Marines.

As I can’t be arsed to go through all that Maths again we’ll take the most likely scenario and try a game turn of combat against a few other things.

For all the following combats were going to be presuming we have Feel no Pain, Furious Charge and Poison.

Vs. Orks.
30 Orks on foot are highly unlikely to still be 30 Orks when they reach you. However they may have some kind of Transport that doesn’t fall apart when you throw a sharp rock at it such as a Battlewagon. Either way we’ll call it 19 Orks Boyz and the obligatory ‘Nob’with Power Klaw.

Round 1.
Termagants (Charging),
20 Attacks, 10 Hit, 5 Wound, 7.5 with the re-roll, 6.25 Dead Orks.
Orks (Charged),
39 attacks, 23 Hit, 11.5 Wound, 4.79 dead Termagants
3 Power Klaw attacks, 2 Hit, 1.67 dead, making a grand total of 6.46 dead Termagants.

Round 2.
4 Attacks, 2 Hit, 1 Wound, 0.83 Dead Orks.
39 attacks, 23 Hit, 11.5 Wound, 4.79 dead Termagants
3 Power Klaw attacks, 2 Hit, 1.67 dead, making a grand total of no Termagants left.

Lesson Learned: Don’t get into combat with Orks unless you have at least 30 Termagants or there are only 6 of the Orks left ;-)

Vs. Eldar.
Dire Avengers seem to be the Troop of choice for eldar players locally so we’ll use them for testing purposes.

Round 1
Termagants (Charging),
20 Attacks, 10 Hit, 5 Wound, 7.5 with the re-roll, 3.75 Dire Avengers souls off into the Warp ready for Slaanesh to have as a nice snack.
Dire Avengers (Charged but still getting all their attacks as they are I 5)
10 Attacks, 6.67 Hit, 3.34 Wound, 1.39 dead Termagants.

Termagants win by 3, leaving the Dire Avengers needing a 6 or lower on their morale test to avoid running. An average roll will be a fail, meaning we catch them and they die, or they get away and what happens next will be decided by how far they run and how far the Termagants consolidate. Of course they may pass the test…lets presume they do.

Round 2.
Dire Avengers (going first this time)
6 Attacks, 4 Hit, 2 Wound, 0.84 Termagants dead.
8 Attacks, 4 Hit, 2 Wound, 1 Dire Avenger dead.

Now were in the ‘Tar-Pit’ stage again, oh well…

In Conclusion.
I’m bored now and I’ve a feeling you lot are probably getting that way as well. Neither of those examples really changes my conclusions from the Marine ones at the beginning.

Termagants are cheap, can kill shit if things go their way but don’t stand a chance against anything built for combat.

But what were you expecting for 5 points a model?

Thoughts and Comments are (as usual) most welcome.


  1. Termagants buffed up are insanely good.

  2. YEah but getting that far hurts if the MC dies soon. Also the Dire avengers will always have an exarch who has I6 and will reduce the attacks by 1 termagant

  3. @ Ska_punk_boy - Even losing an extra Termagant I'd still win combat and that Dire Avenger unit costs 3 times what the Termagants did so I'll happily except it being able to do nothing until one of my MC's brutally murders them at my convenience ;-)

    I can also quite easily 'buff' an individual Termagant unit with 'Preferred Enemy' if I really need them to cripple a unit of something.

  4. don't forget the tervigon also gives counter attack to termagaunts in 6"

    have a venomthrope nearby too and it gets crazy with 5+ cover, -1 attack and dangerous terrain tests for those assaulting termagaunts

  5. @ Mark - I had forgot to mention Counter-attack, good point.
    Re: Venomthropes - Unfortunately I need my Elite slots for HIve Guard so I can deal with Mech armies. If I was using a more horde list though, I'd definitely take Venomthropes.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. I always need to use catalyst on the tervigons as my opponents generally prioritise shooting them in preference to all others. So GNP on a termagant brood isn't something I am likely to be getting :(

  8. @ PWillis - I have Tyrannofex's and a Swarm Lord so they tend to take the brunt of my opponents shooting early on, especially as the Tyrannofex is usually standing right in front of the Tervigon ;-)


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