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Hi, i have just bought the Black reach starter set and i have started an orc army (my friend got the space marines)
I have been looking at starting another army, and i really like the tyranids. However are the playstyles of the orcs and tyranids too similar? (both are close combat and not good at shooting)
Should i choose something a bit more different as my second army so that i get a bit of variety? (the other army i think i might like are the eldar)
Thanks for your opinions
Well, I can tell you what I know, since I play nids. IMHO, they are not that similar to orks. And although they are decent in close combat, they are quite good shooters, albeit at a short range, and they are quite fragile too.
There are several approaches to a nid army, and almost every one of them plays decently, so you can choose that which differs the most from your orky army and have a perfectly different army. You can go swarmy, with a lot of small gaunts and synapse creatures to make them hold together, or you can go nidzilla, with a handful of monstruous creatures that pack a punch and can take some beating too. And then you can choose anything in the middle.
One of the most noticeable differences among the nids and other armies is the lack of Sergeants/Nobs/exarchs/whatever. There is no special creature with special equipment (Klaw/Power Fist/Energy weapon, etc) so the job is performed by the unit as a whole, although some specialists (Raveners/lictors/genestealers/melee warriors) can join a gaunt unit in a combat and give them that extra punch they need.
Also, nids lack vehicles (completely!). They are quite fast to compensate (All of their guns are assault, so they can move and shoot just fine, and most of them have fleet, although now that we have the universal run rule it's not so relevant). And their monstruous creatures can perform the heavy shooting that in other armies is performed by vehicles (with a lot of advantages, in fact. They cannot be stunned/shaken nor loose weapons, so they will keep moving and shooting till they die, and they can't be killed by a single shot no matter how strong it is for as long as they are in synapse range).
Finally, nid's have crappy saves (barring MCs, but those will be eating missiles and lascannon for breakfast) and no Tyranid weapon has an AP value worth mentioning. So in order to get saves you will need judicious use of cover, and in order to kill things you will need to cause a lot of wounds, so that they will fail some (luckily, we have the right tools for that: big template weapons and weapons with a high number of shots for the biggies, and many small angry gribblies carrying guns for the units of small ones).
D'oh, I almost forgot, nids have troubles blowing heavily armoured vehicles. Close combat with monstruous creatures can do, but what I (and most nid players I know) do is simply shoot them until they can't shoot next turn, then focus on the next one. (Of what use is a vehicle that is not shooting, after all?).
Hope that helps you to decide nids are a great army with a lot of conversion possibilities. They are not the most different army when compared to orks (Deathwing/Tau/Eldar seem quite more different off the top of my head) but they are quite different indeed, and they are a great and very tactical army to play with.