Thursday, December 2, 2010

Born To Run - A Hormagaunt Review

Well, before I can play a game, or even assemble and paint an army, I need to figure out what I'm going to field. So I guess I'll start examining the units one by one and asking:

 - Do I like the unit? That is to say, do I like the aesthetics, background, etc?

 - Do I think it's worth putting into a game, for its point cost?

This installment: The oft-maligned Hormagaunt.

"We so Hormy!"  I crack me up.

Are they cool?

Of course!  Hormagaunts are the little enthusiastic puppies of the Tyranid army.  Ever been shopping for a puppy at a farm, and you go into the area where the fresh litter is?  And they all swarm you and suddenly you're knocked over by a bunch of 8 to 10 pound critters?  Those are Hormagaunts.

Pictured: A Hormagaunt going to ground for a better cover save

The fluff says:  "Wave after wave of the darting creatures hurl themselves against the enemy lines, an avalanche of teeth and claws."  This just reminds me so much of seeing a pack of beagles on a fox hunt. Fantastic.

Right down to the models, with their little happy grinning faces, and their dynamic leaping poses that make us weight their bases to keep them upright.  Hormagaunts are just bubbling happy energy that you throw at the opponent in waves, and watch them get cut down in droves.

Plus the fact that the weight of numbers on their side means that (with poisoned attacks) they can overwhelm demon princes, avatars, wraithlords, bloodthirsters... I find it impossible not to like them.

Overall:  Just so adorable and plucky, you can't help but like them.  Forrest Gump on a scale of one to ten.

Are They Useful?

I can't help but think that they can be one of the more useful things in the codex.

They really need poison sacs.  That, plus the sheer weight of dice, will pretty much insure that they can kill anything except maybe Terminators.  Even then:

200 points worth of termies (minimum) = 5 termies
200 points worth of Toxigaunts = 33 Gaunts

Again I haven't played yet and I have a loose grasp of the rules, but I would assume that given the 17-18" probably threat range of the hormies, you can probably surround the terminators and (I'm guessing) get 20 models at least within the 2" supporting attack bubble.

Individually, Paddy O'Lantern the Irish-Dancing Hormagaunt is not scary.  Once he calls his friends, however...

So: 60 attacks, hitting on 4 = 30 hits
Reroll 1's, 10 rerolls, 5 more hits
35 hits wounding on 4 = 17.5 wounds
saving on 2+ = 3 wounds.  2 terms hit back with all their shenanigans, I'm betting on a drawn combat, termies wiped on 2nd round.

If you can get a USR on them due to a Tyrant or the Swarmlord, or you can get Paroxysm on the target unit (giggles), you can probably wipe the unit.  Even if you can't, I really feel like those termies last 2 rounds tops.

What a fantastic thing to happen to that unit after your Hive Guard or Zoanthropess pop their transport.

Hormagaunts really give you something cheap and dispensable, like Termagants, except that they can kill things.  Unlike Termagants.  They also provide cover just as well as Termagants if the Tervigon slaps catalyst on them instead, but really I think I'd rather save them for the opportunity to wipe stuff.

Overall: Takes a few to get the point across, but the more of them you have, the better they are, and they're poisonous.  Coors Light out of seven.

Conclusion: Will I use them?

Yep.  Again, not a net-list optimized unit, but I really like them.  And I firmly believe that they can be incredibly killy if they make it across the field.  I've had confirmation of that based on other battle reports that I've read.

Another thing that I like about them is that your opponent has to deal with them.  They're enough of a threat that your opponent can't let them make it across the field, which they can do incredibly quickly.  I really think -- again from an outsider's perspective -- that Tyranids really only have a shot at winning games if your opponent lets you cross the field, or you give them too many options that have to be dealt with.  If you can screw up their target priority and make them shoot at the targets you want, I think you stand a great chance at winning some games.

Plus how can I not field Paddy? He's my drinking buddy.  And if he's not fightin', he's drinkin'.  And then he gets mean.

What are you looking at, boy?  I will break this bottle and cut you.


What's a Bloodthirster doing on this blog?


I try to convince my family and friends that I'm dead so that I can spend the money for their Christmas gifts on miniatures instead!


  1. I'm still trying to grasp your rating scale, which swings wildly between alcohol and pop culture icons.

    And to give in to your nostalgia, do you still have that demon model from Mordheim? Now THAT guy is scary all by himself.

  2. The rating scale involves picking a metaphor that matches my conclusion on the unit, and making it out of a random number.

    For instance if the conclusion were:

    "... is not perfect, but bizarrely appealing nonetheless."

    The rating system would be:

    "Lily Allen out of six."

    And yes, I've still got that old Mordheim Possessed conversion. I'll see if I can track it down and maybe do a post on Mordheim.