Tabletop Hobbyblog

Review: Tyrannocyte, Sporocyst and Mucolid Spore Cluster

The new Tyranid drop pod kit will contain one miniature, which can be assembled to either a Tyrannocyte or a Sporocyst. In addition, the set will contain 6 spore mines. Just what kind of Spore Mines will these be? The Tyrannocyte is based on a new large round base whereas the Mucolid Spore Mines are based on medium sized round bases (40 mm). If one where just to build the Mucolid Spore Mines the vast majority of the kit box would be left unused. Therefore, I suppose that at least 3 of these 6 Spore Mines are Mucolid Spores. The Sporocyst can shoot normal Spore Mines as well, so the set might just contain 6 little Spore Mines. But for once I am hopeful that GW might just provide all a Tyranid player needs to play in just one set for 49 Euro. (Edit: In the mean time we know you can either built a Tyrannocyte or a Sporocyst and one Mucolid Spore with the set) Onto the models and rules themselves.

  1. Tyrannocyte

The drop pod for Tyranids is back. It is now called Tyrannocyte. The Tyrannocyte costs as much as an Imperial Bastion. It does not take up any force organization slot, but it counts as heavy support, making it highly unattractive in Big-Guns-never-tire-Missions. A Tyrannocyte has 5 deathspitters, these can be upgraded to either 5 barbed stranglers or 5 venom cannons. This would take the cost of the pod to be the equivalent of 20 Hormagaunts. This becomes quite pricy but does increase the fire power since the spore is not as reliant on its ballistic skill.

The Tyrannocyte does have some stat increases that justify the cost increase. It now has Strength 5, Toughness 5, 6 Wounds, Initiative 3, and Leadership 8. The rest of the states are the same as with the last incarnation. A Tyrannocyte possesses the following special rules: Deep Strike, Fearless, Instinctive Fire and Drifting Death. Due to Drifting Death a Tyrannocyte cannot run or charge. With Instinctive Fire each weapons automatically fires at the nearest enemy unit in range and line of sight. Therefore the rule is meant to enable the pod to target up to 5 separate targets, at least this is how the rule is intended and described in the White Dwarf. The Tyrannocyte comes with a transport capacity of up to 20 models or 1 monstrous creature, which must disembark up to 6” away from the pod upon arrival. The pod must always deep strike but still reduces its scattering distance if it lands on any models or impassable terrain.

Possible occupants of the pod could be: a Hive Tyrant, Swarmlord, a Tervigon, a Warrior Prime with Warriors, Termagants, Hormagaunts, a Haruspex, Zoantrophes, Pyrovores, Hive Guard, a Carnifex, an Exocrine, a Tyrannofex as well as a Toxicrene or a Maleceptor. The pod can either deliver deadly shooting or it can give the otherwise slow moving close combat units of the codex an actual chance of getting there.

The biggest plus of the Tyrannocyte is that it remains mobile like any other infantry model. This means the Tyrannocyte is harder to ignore for the enemy, especially because it is a scoring unit. Together with its Toughness of 5 and 6 Wounds the opponent must invest considerably more fire power to destroy a Tyrannocyte than before. Tyrannocytes can create target saturation as they must be taken out with the same weapon types as other monstrous creatures. Any enemy wanting to get rid of a pod in close combat must get passed its AP 2 attacks, which the Tyrannocyte possesses as a monstrous creature, first.

All in all, the Tyrannocyte re-introduces the aggressiveness and competiveness into Tyranids builds other than the Skyblight Swarm. All Tyranid units now have access to infiltration, deep strike, the pod or are flying monstrous creature to begin with. In addition, the Tyrannocyte will have a totally different field presence than its previous incarnation. This gives Tyranid players much needed flexibility.

Edit 27.09.2015: After almost a year since I have written this article, lets revisit the Tyrannocyte. Has the Tyrannocyte changed the competitive builds of Tyranids? There was certainly a big hype surrounding the release. In retrospect the Tyrannocyte is a fine addition for Tyranids but it has not had a lasting effect on Tyranid builds. Even though the Tyrannocyte has the best Wound per point ratio, it is still very pricy. Building a Tyranid drop pod list is by far more expensive than a Space Marine drop pod army. As a result you have fewer points left for the rest of your army. Unfortunately, Tyrannocytes do not justify their points offensively. As to their defense, they suffer greatly from the abundance of Eldar and Space Marine armies with their high strength shooting or melee attacks respectively. Eldar Wraith guards and knights, Space Marines/Wolves/Dark Angel close combat characters (i.e. biker lists) and also Orcs have no problems with our drop pods. So keep away from Strength 10 and close combat monster; easier said than done. Because of this, Tyranid drop pod lists have been unable to take the place of the Skyblight Swarm. Flying Hive Tyrants and Skyblight Swarm still make for the most competitive Tyranid build. Still, one or two Tyrannocytes might be a good addition if playing Mealstorm missions. These will give you the flexibility to deploy units for scoring anywhere on the board, without having to land any of your flying monstrous creatures.

  1. Sporocyst

I believe the Sporocyst has the same stat line and upgrade options as the Tyrannocyte. Its home is the Heavy Support section. The Sporocyst comes with the following special rules: Fearless, Infiltrate, Instinctive Fire, Immobile Pod, and Psychic Resonator. Psychic Resonator buffs the synapse range of any synapse creature within 6 inches of the Sporocyst. Now to the fun part that I just find cool. The Sporocyst may produce a unit of 3 Spore Mines in addition to all other shooting attacks. These Spore Mines must be placed in coherency within 6 inches of the Sporocyst. Once per game the Sporocyst can produce 1 Mucolid Spore instead of the normal Spore Mine Cluster. Not game beaker but still very cool.

The Sporocyst can be used to deny the enemy infiltration or scouting moves. It can refuse a flank or an objective marker through its presence and the creation of other spores, which harass enemy units. The uses are more limited than those of a Tyrannocyte though. The Sporocyst and the spores it produces can easily be avoided. Therefore a Sporocyst must always be placed where the enemy wants to be, most likely an objective marker.

  1. Mucolid Spore Cluster

A Mucolid Spore possesses Strength 1, Toughness 3, Initiative3, 3 Wounds and Leadership 3. It comes with the special rules: Deep Strike, Shrouded, Fearless, Floating Death, Living Bomb and Skyblast. The unit consists of one Mucolid Spore for the cost of one deep striking Ripper Swarm. The unit may include two additional Spores. Mucolid Spores Mines follow all the rule of regular Spore Mines described in the Tyranid Codex with the exception that their blasts are Strength 8 and have AP 3. Any additional Spore provides the blast with one additional Strength. The special rule Skyblast allows the Mucolid Spores to assault zooming flyers and swooping flying monstrous creatures. The Spores generate one automatic hit against the side armor of the flyer with the rules described above. However, this should rarely ever happen as the spores only move 3 inches a turn.

The fact that Mucolid Spore Clusters come from the Standard section opens up the possibility to use 2 Mucolid Spore Clusters for the core requirement, meaning that for the cost of just 2 deep striking Rippers a Tyranid player has access to a second force organization chart. Luckily not many tournaments allow a double force org. The utility of the Mucolid Spore Cluster decrease rapidly after the first spore, for this reason I would not recommend buying more than one Spore per Unit. The Mucolid Spore is meant for area denial. A Mucolid Spore possesses the special rule Shrouded, which makes it more resistant to shooting, especially in terrain. A Mucolid Spore can deny terrain pieces or objective markers. Almost no enemy unit wants to attack a Mucolid nor waste its shooting on it. Mucolids are the ultimate annoyance unit to harass the opponent with.


The Tyrannocyte and minimal Mucolid Spore Clusters will definitely be used in competitive play. With the help of Tyrannocytes, a Tyranid player can build up pressure fast. In addition, the pod remains active and has the staying power of other monstrous creature for halve the points. It can move, shoot, and score as well as prohibit enemy units from moving freely, if ignored. The Mucolid Spores open up a second force org for minimal points, deny area and kill points. Last but not least, Sporocysts have really nicely conceived rules but they are less useful for competitive builds. Sporocysts are less flexible in what they do. They really shine against army builds based on scout movement. They can deny the enemy a certain area of the table, which is situational because it largely depends on the terrain set-up.

Tyrannocyte, Sporocyst and Mucolid Spore Cluster will definitely excite Tyranid fans and will change how Tyranids are being played.

The complete rules and pictures can be found here:

Tyranids: All new rules available for free!


Mit freundlichen Grüßen

-kleiner gargoyle



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