I went back to 1.73 and things with the Tyranids have become unclear again. I’m back to a sort of temporary mediocrity and misuse of the army altogether. I never have enough Reclamation Pools to get much Hivemind abilities out. I get mired in tier 2 and can’t win there consistently. The Hormagaunt and Genestealer swarm that worked in the fan patch does not work here at all. It is countered, FAST, before any real damage is done. I’ve been able to use that swarm to kill off all the infantry, and then lose the swarm to fixed defenses. Especially rockets. This might just be a universal truth. When it comes to the Tyranids, explosions are effective against bare flesh. Makes sense to me.
Phase 1 – Establish The Colony (0:00 – 2:00)
Builder set to reenforce to full squad size, and build either barracks (it reenforces for free, so why not?)
HQ: recruit another builder to build whichever barracks didn’t get built in the previous step
Hivemind: 2x Genestealers, each set to cap 1/2 the forward portion of the map, nearest first
Once the builders get done doing their thing, you will have some dead-time here where your Rippers are waiting for the Genestealers to cap the points so they can build Spore Chimneys on them. Do this until you have 5 or so points captured and SC’s built
HQ: research tier 1 as soon as either Brood Hive or Gaunt Hive are built
Phase 2 – Preparing The Swarm (2:30 – 4:00)
I will typically be capping and building Spore Chimneys into this phase. Once tier 1 is done, you can go find a slag pit if you have one, and harvest the huge requisition bonus they give. I make these a priority if they happen to be around. If not, start into upgrading every Chimney one time
Once all the upgrades are done, recruit both command units, and build 2x Warrior squads, fully reenforce, buy claws for all
Buy the first increased economic intake technology
Build Carnifex barracks
Upgrade Gaunts and Genestealers as much as can be done at this tier. Don’t bother with the Litcors.
Build all 6 Reclamation Pools.
Upgrade to tier 2 (680 Requisition)
As a note: by the time this is happening, you can hit 680R in a few seconds because you’re intake will be pretty insane. Like over +200 by the time you’re headed to tier 2. That might be less if you didn’t get a slag pit on your map.
Phase 3 – Control The Middle (5:00 – 11:00)
Here is where it gets murky. Basing armies of Hormagaunts is a mistake, because they are obliterated by any form of stationary defense. They have HUGE 20 unit squads, and you’d be surprised how fast they go. They are good at handling early infantry, but don’t ever get Hormagaunts in a base until all the defenses are down. You can use the Hivemind to drop them in as needed. Base your armies on Warriors, in full reenforced state, can be devastating. They do well with most anything, but don’t have a lot of resilience, and will, again, go bye bye to the fixed defenses or ranged units. I don’t really have a ranged angle with Tyranids right now. I’m trying to win in tier 2, and not have to go any farther, because I will die if we go deep into games. My best stuff can’t hold up against tier 3. No way, and I’ve seen them die. Chaos out teched me, and overloaded my base with tier 3 stuff I couldn’t kill. I was attempting to get my economy rolling, and start cranking on Screamer-Killers and get the command units up to level 8. But it seems you have to choose one or the other. My best economy can’t handle both of those things. The primary goal here is that you stay alive, and keep your (few) structures and Spore Chimneys from being destroyed. If your economy stabilizes after leveling the command units, you can get researching tier 3.
Phase 4 – Push Them Back (11:00 – 25:00)
To have control of the middle is key to establishing a fighting-front of your army. I typically meatshield Spinegaunts and Hormagaunts, and back them up with command units, Zoeanthropes and Biovores. These “heavy weapons” can turn the tides of the engagement. Biovores are SUPER inaccurate, but with 4 -5 squads of 3, they pepper the land with artillery shot and pulverize infantry. The Zoeanthropes will help you cut down on things eating your Biovores and preventing your forward advance. The heavy units will win you the engagement, and keep the battlefield soundly within your ownership. Push them back to their base, and make your priority anything that fires an explosive projectile. Kill those fast.
I leave this area up to your experimentation, and would be only to happy to take a suggestion on how to run the Tyranids for longer. I’m doomed by this time, or, I won. It’s never a gray area. I live or die by the knife-edge of chance. Not a very compelling build order, I know. But it’s what I’ve got since returning to nerfed 1.73 Tyranids. Whatever they did in the fan patch is fucked. They ruined Tyranids for me. Just not the same…