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How do you guys decide what to put in your lists? I'm relatively new to Tyranids, but the more I read through the codex the more I want to buy. Every unit I'm like "Oh that's cool, I could use that in this way", for every unit! I don't have games as often as I'd like, and prior to every game I consider swapping out half the army and using a different strategy with different units! What is a boy to do?
When you make a list you have 3 things to think about:
anti-characters and monstruous creatures
With this in mind you have to make a reliable list against this 3 types of units. For example: hormagaunts are very good as anti-infantry but fails in th other 2 tasks, now if you upgrade them with toxin sacs they will be very reliable against infantry and characters/monstruos creatures. A space marines unit is better than us doing this because they can be good at all just buying diferent weapons so we need to take different units to work alltogether to reach the victory.
BEST ARMY APPEARANCE AND OVERALL WINNER OF A LOCAL GW RTT (29-7-06) GODZILLA/CHOIR 2K ARMY LIST
Most of the time my choice is based upon what army my opponent is using. Sometimes I pick units depending on what I feel like using e.g. today I feel like fielding a swarm, winged units or something along those lines. Also, I always try including a balanced number of anti tank and anti infantry units, keeping in mind a role for each specific model e.g. during this turn I'll attempt doing this, this unit will do that and so on. If you think about what you want certain things to do, based on what they're capable of you should finally be able to make a reasonable choice.
Hope that helps a bit
Kind of what mente enjambre said. You need to build a list that is capable of handling anything an enemy might put on the table.
* Monstrous creatures
* Heavily armoured mainline battle tanks
* Infantry hordes
* "Deathstar" assault units
* Massive enemy firepower
"Handling" these types of situation will mean different things depending on how you choose to "handle" them. For example, your "handling" of deathstars might mean bringing your own power assault units to the table. Or it may mean you simply have enough "tar pit" units on hand to feed such deathstars and keep them bogged down and occupied for most of the game giving the rest of your list a free pass.
Maybe you're going to rely on MCs assaulting tanks and transports to open them up. Maybe you'll want hive guard for transports and tyrannofexes for heavy tanks. Maybe you'll want zoanthropes to do either and a few Lictors to scare infantry firebases.
So think about the tactical approaches you want to take addressing enemy problems, and that will lead you to the units you'll require to accomplish your goals. A simple "grab bag" of your favorite units is, sadly, very unlikely to be very good on the tabletop. You'll have to focus how the army works together. How it crosses the battlefield, how it handles losses inflicted by the enemy, and so on.
Be sure your army is redundant so that it can absorb heavy losses and still function in all phases of the game against all types of enemy situations.
ninjabackhand: point and click, again, really? even after i give you an military term "shock tactic" you still call it point and click.
RIP Warhammer 40,000: 21 Sep 1998 - 24 May 2014
Yeah, thanks for the responses, guys! But I wasn't really thinking about tactically at the moment, I've got one list that should be good go to (redundancies etc), but because I'm new I'm like "Oh, hang on, I could get rid of the broodlords and have an entirely different list!" I guess it's more like there's so much choice with the Tyranid army, I don't know where to start!
In that case, play-testing is really the only way you can get a handle on things. Proxy models/units to figure out how each handles on the board and if you like it or not.
Nids, more than most 40k armies, really require to be thought of as a whole. One unit will never win the game for you. If you've never played 40k before, expect to get stomped while you figure out nid synergy. That's ok though, it makes for a better general!
No bug is an island! It is best to consider how the various Tyranid creatures will work together. Often you can get much more out of them that way.
A Hive Tyrant with Hive commander can allow one troop unit to outflank. Use the scuttling swarm rule of the Termagants to allow a Tervigon to be a troops choice, then outflank it. Enemies will not expect a monstrous creature to deploy that way. It also makes the Tervigon able to claim objectives along with the broods it spawns showing up from an unexpected quarter.
Venomthropes can use their spores to cover Tyranid Warriors with deathspitters. While a Tyranid Prime improves the BS of the Warriors to up their shooting. Better BS and a cover save makes a nasty unit much nastier.
Those are a few examples. Tyranids are a hive and work best like that. Think that way when selecting your swarm so you can eat the most prey.