Harwood's Guides: Warhammer 40,000

A gentle shove in the right direction.

The Tyranids

The Tyranids are pretty simple. They're aliens that need to eat. So they eat...everything. And they've gotten really, really good at it.

A little bit of history...

There isn't a terrible amount of Tyranid history. In fact, all of the Tyranid codexes are written from the point of everyone else, patched together reports of brutal battles and usually defeats to the unfathomable hordes of the 'Nids.

Basically, one day, the Tyranids showed up. And absolutely DOMINATED Tyran, you guessed it, their namesake; the first planet we (the humans) saw them on. From there, really, it just got worse. The Tyranids have no vehicles, they have no weapons, they have no ships. They have organisms. Everything in the Tyranid army is alive, from the massive ships they use to traverse space to the ammunition that comes out of their organism gun. Personally, I think that's pretty freakin' cool. Also pretty gross.

Because of that, and the fact that the 'Nids have gotten extremely efficient at their goal (eating), they have an interesting way of killing planets. First, their ride drops them off on a planet. Then, they KILL EVERYTHING. Most of the time, this isn't really a big deal. They've evolved to have every sort of gun, claw, cannon, and even artillery they could ever need, and there are usually a whole lot of all of them. Then, instead of hanging around, and the individual guys eating their fill, they do something else - their ship comes down, unfurls a curly straw, and literally sucks up all life on the planet, including the guys they sent down. The idea is that all Tyranid consciousness is stored in the Hive Mind (surprise, surprise), and the ships just make guys. Really, it's fantastically efficient. And terrifying.

Now, this is pretty awful news for the Imperium. But what is an even cooler, and more terrifying, part of the lore is this: we have barely seen the tip of the Tyranid forces. There are thousands, maybe millions of Hive Fleets in the universe out there crazy strawing planets of their own. If we were to see even two full Hive Fleets attack...well it's safe to say we would all be dead.

In reality...

Tyranids are freakin' awesome. The Tyranid army, unlike some others, have no specific specialty. They can do whatever you want them to do. You can specialize in huge monstrous creatures that have 4+ wounds on them and a toughness of 6, or you can just have as many little Termagaunts as you want running around wreaking havoc. The Tyranids have incredible versatility, and played right, can absolutely wreck a player's day.