Tyranid rule No.1 : keep everything in synapse!
But 6th edition changed the situation. The possibility to gain 2+ cover save behind the Aegis with Go To Ground, new Rage rules and Fearless rules forced me to look again at the tyranid rule No.1.
First of all I’m going to write some quotes from rulebook, codex and faqs wich I’m going to use in my discovery.
Synapse creature – Tyranids codex, p.33
Synapse Creatures and Tyranid units that are within 12” of a Synapse Creature are said to be within synapse range. A unit that is within synapse range is not subject to Instinctive Behavour rule and gains the Fearless rule.
ERRATA – Tyranids FAQ v 1.2, p.1
“If a unit that is falling back is within synapse range before it moves in the Movement phase, it automatically regroups, regardless of any normal restrictions.”
Instinctive Behaviour – Tyranids codex, p.33
ERRATA – Tyranids FAQ v 1.2, p.1
“All unengaged Tyranid units that are not falling back and have not gone to ground, must take a Leadership test at the beginning of their Movement phase:”
If the test is failed the unit will either Lurk or Feed, depending on the type of Instinctive Behaviour listed in its entry.
A unit that lurks may not move in the Movement phase and may not launch an assault in the Assault phase. In the shooting phase, the init must fire at the nearest visible enemy. If there are no enemies in the unit’s line of sight or within range of at least one of its ranged weapons, or if the unit has no ranged weaponry, it must instead run towards the nearest piece of area terrain trying to move into it if possible. If the unit is already in a piece of area terrain it will not move and will stay where it is.
A unit that Feeds is subject to Rage, In addition, the unit may not fire any weapons in the Shooting phase though it may still run.
Rage – Rulebook, p. 41
In a turn in which a model with this special rule charges into combat, it gains +2 Attacks for charging, rather than + 1.
Go to ground – Rulebook p. 18
After the enemy has rolled To Hit and To Wound against any of your units, but before any saves are made or Wounds allocated, you can declare that the unit is going to ground.
A unit that has gone to ground cannot move, Run or charge. It can only fire Snap Shots when it wishes to shoot, and can fire Overwatch.
A unit that decides to Go to Ground behind a defence line gains+ 2 to its cover save rather than +1.
Regroup test – Rulebook p.31
If the unit successfully passes the test, it stops falling back and can immediately move up to 3". This move is unaffected by difficult terrain, but Dangerous Terrain tests must be taken as normal. If the unit is out of coherency when the Regroup test is made, then the 3" move must be used to restore coherency, or as near as possible. Once a unit has regrouped, it cannot otherwise move (so cannot Run in the Shooting phase or charge in the Assault phase). However, it can shoot (including Overwatch), but counts as having moved and can only fire Snap Shots.
Fearless – Rulebook p. 35
Units containing one or more models with the Fearless special rule automatically pass Pinning, Fear and Regroup tests and Morale checks, but cannot Go to Ground.
Rulebook FAQ v1.3, p.4
Q: If a unit has the Fearless special rule applied to them while they have Gone to Ground, are the effects of Go to Ground immediately cancelled (for example, if this were to occur at the start of their turn could those units then move, shoot etc. as normal in the appropriate phases?) (p35)
So, when I combined all this rules for the first time together I saw that tyranids love to Go To Ground! We gain a cover save boost with almost no drawbacks! We can overwatch being prone and against opponents with grenades have no difference for being charged.
The main problem is that we cannot Go To Ground in synapse any more, cause we are fearless and stupid killing machines while in synapse. But… we can get out of synapse! FREEEDOM!!! We can Go To Ground on the opponent turn and then bring synapse back and become “fearless killing machines” again! Cool! We can Move, Shoot and Assault after such a trick! Got it?
Let’s go straight to the examples.
Hive guards behind Aegis. Tervigon hold it’s position 13 inches behind the hiveguards.
In opponents turn we Go-To-Ground as soon as opponent targets our hiveguard unit. So, we have a T6 W2 models with 2+ cover save! Not easy to kill even 1 of them! Six vendettas can strip only 3 wounds on average!
Let’s imagine that we have 3 units of 2 HiveGuards. Opponent shooted at 2 units. We went to ground and lost 1 hiveguard from 1 unit. The unit then failed morale and ran 2d6 inches towards tervigon (they don’t stop when touched the 12 inch synapse range margin, but must move full 2d6 inches).
On the beginning of our turn we have
2 hiveguards stand high and must pass an Instinctive Behavior test. (we can use Dominion to autopass the test if necessary:) If the closest visible enemy is Flyer – we have no need to do this!
The lone hiveguard automatically pass regroup test and move 3 inches. It cannot move any more this turn and can only fire snapshots!
The funny thing is that our prone hiveguard unit have no need in passing Instinctive Behavior test! It continue to lay down! Then Tervigon moves 1 inch toward prone hiveguards and they stand up, being fearless and can move, shoot and assault as normal!!!
In their movement phase, hiveguards may move away from synapse range again, or tervigon may run away from them in shooting phase, granting the ability to Go To Ground to hiveguards again next turn!
So, I hope you’ve got the idea. Going to Ground helps us to ignore Instinctive Behavior Tests and we can get use of Dominion power here. But the main problem here is failed morale test for losses!
Also, if opponent assaults our not fearless units, they may break and be swept. Is it bad? Maybe. But, actually, that is cool if our hiveguards was assaulted and managed to run away – they fall back into synapse and enemy unit will be exposed to our shooting next turn. So, I count it more as advantage not to be fearless in assault in this situation!
If opponent assaults prone genestealer – ha-ha twice!
If opponent assaults gants… errm… Not good if there are large brood of 20+ models and well enough if there are about 10 models I think.
So, next example is devilgaunts in a spore pod!
I often drop gants near Old Adversary Hive Tyrant. But as I run 3 spores usually I also quite often drop one out of synapse and in cover! I like 13-man broods in a sporepod so opponent need to kill 4 gaunts at least to force me make a moral test.
So, I find out a suitable area terrain or ruin and drop my gants there out of synapse!
In the turn they arrive they do not test for Instincts.
In opponents turn we go to ground and receive a 3+ cover save! We must lose 4 gants to make a morale test, so if we were fearless we could lose 8 gants instead of 4 (3+ save is 2 times better then 5+). So, if we’d lost 8 gants – the unit is ruined almost completely. It’s better to have 9 models which failed moral then 5 fearless models:)
If gants passed moral test (or lost 1-3 models) they do not pass Instinctive Behavior test!!! We just need to get them into synapse and they stand up, move, shoot and can even assault!!! PROFIT!
Lictors. Damn, who uses lictors? But… we start in reserve, deploy without scatter and without synapse too! Then we can shoot and….
Go to ground in opponent’s turn! 2+ cover save for a W3 model make them very touch. They are quite able to bring pain in close combat and their high I makes it no difference to be prone or not. Also, they can overwatch as usual.
In our next turn we bring them into synapse, stand up and then move, shoot and assault! PROFIT!
Genestealers! Infiltrate them out of synapse in cover. We did almost the same in 5th edition. Remember that 4+ save and 4+ FnP? Now we can Go To Ground and get 3+ save and 5+ FnP that is better than 4+/4+!
On our next turn we bring synapse closer, genestealers get up and go to kill! They can move and assault as normal!!!
I think, you can generate numerous different examples if you wish. I just want to say – Synapse is not A MUST for every our unit. It’s our strength to toss fearless as we want it with a simple movement, so we have to learn how to use it effectively!