Horrific Legions

Preview the Power of the Swarmlord in The Great Devourer


“A new Tyrant joined the fray and, in an instant, the whole character of the swarm changed. The ravening berserker-spirit that had driven the Tyranids onto the ridge was gone as if it had never existed. Left in its place was something cannier and infinitely more worrisome. It was then that I knew the battle to be lost.”
–Ultramarines Sergeant Telion

The Tyranid Hive Fleets close in on the Traxis sector, leaving stripped and dead planets in their wake. These terrifying xenos do not fight to take slaves or spread an empire. They only desire to devour biomass until the entire sector is lifeless. If the armies currently battling within the Traxis sector are going to survive, they must find ways to adapt or they too will be consumed.

With The Great Devourer expansion for Warhammer 40,000: Conquest, you can take command of the ravenous hordes of the Tyranids. The Great Devourer offers two new Tyranids warlords, each with a very distinct approach to war. In our last preview, we explored the regenerative prowess of “Old One Eye” and the unique tactics that allow the Tyranids to infest planets. Today, we turn to the single creature that has led the Tyranids to victory time and again: “The Swarmlord.”

The Swarmlord

In Warhammer 40,000: Conquest, "The Swarmlord" (The Great Devourer, 6) undoubtedly lives up to his name. The massive hordes of the Tyranid Hive Fleets are represented by the propagation of Termagant token units, and “The Swarmlord” calls more Termagant tokens to his side every turn. Whenever “The Swarmlord” commits to a planet, you may put a Termagant token into play at each adjacent planet. In this way, whenever “The Swarmlord” enters one battle, he increases the power of Tyranid armies across the sector. 

You can call even more swarming Termagants to your command by choosing the Gravid Tervigon (The Great Devourer, 13) as the synapse unit that accompanies “The Swarmlord” in his conquest of the Traxis sector. The Gravid Tervigon has an ATK of zero, but whenever this unit commits to a planet, you may put a Termagant token unit into play there. Better yet, if the planet is infested, you can put two Termagant tokens into play instead. Between the Gravid Tervigon and “The Swarmlord,” your hordes of Termagants can quickly grow to truly formidable numbers.

There may be hundreds of Termagants at your disposal, but each individual Termagant is no impressive foe. Fortunately, all Tyranids are connected through the synaptic link of the Hive Mind, allowing you to spread new tactics and abilities to your Termagants through units with the Hive Mind specialization. “The Swarmlord” brings four such units in its signature squad. Brood Warriors (The Great Devourer, 7) bear a Hive Mind ability that grants a command icon to each Termagant token that you control at the same planet. You’ll have a much easier time winning command struggles when your pack of Termagants feature command icons as well. What’s more, if you have two or more Brood Warriors at the same planet, all of their Hive Mind abilities take effect, giving more command icons to each Termagant. 

Units that share the Hive Mind specialization form the network that makes your Termagants more dangerous. A cunning opponent will try to dismantle this network by destroying your units with Hive Mind abilities. You can protect your most important Hive Mind units with the Leviathan Hive Ship (The Great Devourer, 8). After a unit with a Hive Mind specialization that costs three or less is destroyed, you can exhaust Leviathan Hive Ship to put that unit into play exhausted at any planet. By giving your Hive Mind units this added resilience, you can keep your Termagant swarms fully enhanced and ready for battle.

If you need even more Termagants than “The Swarmlord” and the Gravid Tervigon can normally provide, you’d do well to equip “The Swarmlord” with Bone Sabres (The Great Devourer, 10). This attachment gives “The Swarmlord” a higher ATK, and whenever it destroys an enemy unit with an attack, you can put a new Termagant token into play at this planet. By carefully choosing the targets of your attacks, you can ensure a steady stream of Termagants to devour the fallen. 

With so many cards to increase the number of Termagants under your command, you’ll want to take advantage of the sheer force of numbers in any way you can. You can do just that with the two copies of Indescribable Horror (The Great Devourer, 9) included in this signature squad. When you play Indescribable Horror, you can rout any army unit whose cost is equal or lower than the number of Tyranids units you control at that planet. When the full strength of the horde is gathered, few armies can stand and fight in the face of Indescribable Horror. 

Call the Horde

Of course, your options for enhancing the Termagants’ power isn’t limited to “The Swarmlord” and his signature squad. Plenty of other Tyranids units possess the Hive Mind specialization, starting with the Strangler Brood (The Great Devourer, 17). This unit increases the attack power of each Termagant token at the same planet. With just one Strangler Brood at a planet, your Termagants are already the equivalent of Dark Eldar Khymerae, and their power increases as more Strangler Broods join the fight. In addition, you can let your Termagants strike before combat even begins with the Termagant Spikers (The Great Devourer, 25). This army unit bears the Ranged keyword and its Hive Mind ability also grants Ranged to each Termagant token at the same planet, turning your Termagants into a force that can do significant damage even before the battle begins.

As we mentioned above, your opponent will be eager to destroy your Termagants and units with the Hive Mind specialization as they become more and more of a threat. You can return your Tyranids from the dead with Leviathan Hive Ship and you can protect these units with the Adamant Hive Guard (The Great Devourer, 28). The Adamant Hive Guard features a hefty five HP, and whenever a unit with the Hive Mind specialization or a Termagant token is assigned damage, you can move all of that damage to the Adamant Hive Guard instead. Essentially, your opponent is forced to batter through the Adamant Hive Guard to get to your other units, which buys your Termagants more than enough time to wreak havoc. 

You’re sure to have hordes of Termagants spread across the Traxis sector, and in some cases, you may get the greatest benefit by sacrificing some of them. You can play Clogged with Corpses (The Great Devourer, 34) and sacrifice some Termagant units to destroy any support with a cost equal to the number of Termagants you sacrifice. For efficient ways to destroy powerful supports like Catachan Outpost (Core Set, 53) or Ragnar's Warcamp (The Howl of Blackmane, 4), Clogged with Corpses is unmatched. You can also take advantage of your superior numbers with a powerful event like Consumption (The Great Devourer, 39). This event forces each player to sacrifice a unit at each planet, if able. When you have so many Termagants across the planets of the Traxis sector, sacrificing a few is no great hardship, and your opponent will likely be forced to sacrifice more powerful units.

Unleash Your Armies

Massive numbers of Tyranids swarm across the stars, eager to scour every other race from the galaxy. They will devour everything in their path, no matter how many armies may oppose them. Prepare for the coming of The Great Devourer, and check back for our next preview, where lead developer Brad Andres explores the synapse units available in this expansion!

Pre-order The Great Devourer at your local retailer today.

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