Rules Rant: Lictor Lulz

Hello again!

It's Monday which means it's time to snatch a GW rules-failure from the deep (DEEP) barrel of poor game design decisions and go to town. Tonight I'm playing the game on "Easy" and picking something from the Tyranid codex.

If I had to describe the Tyranid codex to someone who knew nothing about the game I might say it's like two trains, one full of kittens, puppies and adorable piglets and one full of tiny orphans collided head-on at full speed, as viewed in agonizingly slow motion. Okay maybe that's the current Sisters of Battle "codex" but the bugs from outer space aren't much prettier.

So let's look at the Lictor entry shall we?

If one's not careful it's easy to be accidentally impressed by the Lictor's stats. WS 6 you say! As well as S and I 6? Fantastic let's just see how many points tha- Oh. Oh, not so great then. The Lictor is gutted almost straight out of the gate due to an inexplicably high cost in comparison to other far more useful Elites choices.

However, you might be attached to the model and determined to used the Lictor and any cost and so you ask yourself "What does the Lictor do?"

Hmmm, well Flesh Hooks are a Str 6 ranged weapon now for some reason so maybe the Lictor is meant to shoot vehicles in their rear armor upon its sneaky arrival. Sadly, BS3 and too few shots will defenestrate that theory rather quickly. Not only does the Lictor suck monkey testicles when it comes to effective shooting with his low BS and  fickle timing he disallows you from taking the absolutely critical shooty elements that are found almost exclusively in the Elites section.

Perhaps the Lictor is more of a support unit! You know, kind of like a Tervigon. In the novel "Warriors of Ultramar" a Tyranid Lictor is presented as the scout element - sniffing out bio-mass-rich worlds for the rest of the Hive Fleet to descend upon with accuracy and the element of surprise still firmly in their grasp. To represent this Mr. Cruddace requisitioned for his Lictor friend a Teleport Homer of sorts to carry around in his chitin and give friendly deepstrikers a hand. However, our friend Robin failed to have this special rule make sense in any way that might have been useful to the player desperate (and you must be desperate) enough to use one.

Supposedly the Lictor has been in hiding all along awaiting his chance to strike at an isolated or weakened target whilst his pheromones and psychic summons bring his kin ever close to the planet-shaped dinner table. Except on the table top his pheromones only start to help the turn after the one he showed up in - as if he'd just arrived himself instead of being there all along. Thanks Lictor! You're a true friend! There's only one way this reserve rolling could play out: Turn 2, roll for reserves and… everyone's in except the Lictor because GW hates Tyranid players.

The Lictor can't assault when he comes out of hiding (you know, it's not like he was waiting in ambush all along etc etc.) so your Teleport Homie is going to be kind of vulnerable in the time it takes for him to do his job and help others on the table. You know what you could do to mitigate this though? You could take 3 Lictors in the same Elites slot! Yes, just 63 euros (plus shipping) is enough for you to field three Lictors (for which you will receive exactly zero extra bonuses beside a lighter wallet) in one awesome unit which will appear whenever it feels like and will likely fail to kill anything before it dies to the quiet tears of its owner.

Man does GW know how to design a support unit or what?



The Antipope said…
Worst thing about the Lictor is that he eats a slot reserved for Hive Guards. If you need CC monsters you got them in the HS, FA even the Troops section. You want something to help with your reserves get a Hive Tyrant with Hive Commander. But only in the Elite section you can find (fairly) cheap and reliable anti light tank shooting (Hive Guard) and there is no way you can afford to miss that.
Master_Bryss said…
Yeah, well at least he can't be reliably killed by bolte...oh, yeah, wait, this is going to happen to you. A lot. For the love of fuzzbuzzles, you are competing with things that are cheaper and survive better!

And then there's Cousin Deathleaper. 140 points of naff-all, unless you hide him all game. Why not just pay 140 points for the Ld reduction power that serves as the only Tyranid psy-defence? Apart from how stupid that suggestion would be.
Atrotos said…
The complete failure of his reserves support rule has to be the most tragic nonsense in 40k.