Hi Guys, I’ve been using the new Tyranids and they are Mega strong, one unit in particular has surprised me more then i thought it would it terms of its power and that is the Maleceptor. So let’s take a look at how it works and see if it’s pointed fairly.
Now before we look into its abilities and how it operates let’s take a quick look at its base stat line. Since it doesn’t rely on melee or ranged attacks to perform efficiently the main thing we look at is its survivability, it has a Toughness characteristic of 8 and 15 wounds. That paired with the fact it also has a 3+ Save characteristic makes it incredibly hard to shift. It is pointed at 170 points which I think is awesome value for that stat line as a Nid player but if we compare it to similar units it shows just how much of a bargain it really is. A Tank Commander is roughly 180 points with a similar defensive profile but that’s before you pay points for the weapons in order for it to function properly whereas the Maleceptor pays no additional points. Now if you look at that and add in the fact that the Maleceptor also has the Psychic Barrier ability, granting it a 4++ invulnerable save we start to see that it may actually be undercosted. So that should give us an idea of how tough exactly this beast is to take down, I doubt a 170 point unit could take it down, but this guy could easily wipe out 170 points of the enemy force almost every turn. Let’s take a look how.
Now it’s important to note that the bulk of damage dealt by the Maleceptor is in the form of mortal wounds, that in itself makes him incredibly hard to deal with because most armies in the game don’t have a reliable way of managing mortal wound damage. Especially when mortals are being dealt in such volume too, which is quiet rare in the current meta meaning not many people would be teching into it either, unless they are preparing to take on Tyranids. A Maleceptor has the ability to cast 2 psychic powers in the controlling players turn, it knows smite and 2 other powers. If you give him Smite, Psychic Scream and then any 3rd power of your choice that is the optimal set up. The reason for this is that there is a stratagem for Nids that allows 1 psyker in your army to cast an additional power meaning this guy would then cast all 3 powers it knows. Why do we want to cast all 3 of his powers, well that’s because he has an ability called Psychic Overload which basically states that if he successfully manifests any psychic power or psychic action with a test result of 7 or more then the nearest enemy unit within 12″ suffers a number of mortal wounds depending on how many wounds our Maleceptor has remaining. If it has 8+ wounds it deals 3 Mortals, if it has 5-7 wounds it deals 2 Mortals and any lower then that it only deals 1. The most obnoxious thing about this ability is that the unit does not have to be visible so it can deal these mortals to units that are not visible to itself.
So that means our Maleceptor is now casting 3 powers and each psychic test result of a 7+ is also dealing out 3 Mortal wounds, this doesn’t seem to scary because only 1 or 2 of his powers should go off with a result of 7 or more but we can make it more reliable. Now for this all we need is 1 Neurothrope, this is also one of the things that I found very powerful while using this combo, usually to have 1 unit deal masses of damage in this way there are a lot of moving parts and you often need multiple characters with buffs and fellow units to assist the combo, but in this case we need 1 Neurothrope and a Maleceptor and that is it. The Neurothrope has 2 key roles to play, the first being it’s ability Warp Siphon which allows you to choose a friendly Hive Fleet Psyker unit within Synaptic Link range of the Neurothrope in the command phase, in this case that would be our Maleceptor. It then allows the Maleceptor to roll an additional D6 when attempting to manifest any psychic powers and discard one of the dice until our next command phase. So now the Maleceptor is rolling 3D6 for each psychic test and discarding the lowest result meaning our chances of manifesting powers on a 7+ are increased dramatically. This now means if he casts Smite, Psychic Scream and a 3rd power of our choice then he could potentially be dealing out 9+2D3 mortal wounds for an average of 13 mortal wounds, pretty insane for a single model in your army.
Now it doesn’t stop there either, remember I said our Neurothrope has 2 roles, well the second is to be the unit which casts the Leviathan specific psychic power each turn which is Hive Nexus. This power allows us to select the Maleceptors Synaptic Imperative ability to be affecting the Maleceptor every turn and it is very good, its Imperative is Psychic Oversight which would allow the Maleceptor to perform a psychic action each turn and still have the ability to cast any additional powers it would normally not be able to cast. This not only means we can now use the action on his datasheet that would reduce the strength of all ranged attacks targeting any hive fleet units within 6″ of him by 1 being a great force multiplier, but it also means we now deal an additional 3 mortal wounds taking us up to an average of 16 Mortal wounds from a single psyker in 1 phase. If that wasn’t enough in the way of Mortal wounds to kill what we wanted, the fact he has the Horned Chitin keyword means when he charges we can use the Trampling Charge stratagem to deal an additional 3 Mortal wounds on a 2+ or 3+D3 Mortal wounds on a 5+. This now means our Maleceptor is dealing a whopping 19 Mortal Wounds in a single turn averagely, with the potential to cause up to 24. Now after using this unit myself I believe it is way too powerful for its points cost, the fact it is so tough to take down, plus the amount of damage it can do, plus the buffing aura it has for units in 6″ of itself just make it an auto include in every single Tyranid army for just 170 points. I know I’ll be using 1 until something is done about it.
Now to answer the question of “Is it just too damn Good?”, well Yes it is, its criminally undercosted for what it does and I Believe it is not healthy for the current meta, and this is coming from a Tyranid player. So as someone who loves Tyranids, I was thinking about how GW could fix the Maleceptor in a way which wouldn’t nerf it through the ground, just tone it down a bit but still keep it as an attractive option to take in the codex. Now I think if GW implements 2 small changes then that could accomplished, the first being that it’s Psychic Overload only dealing mortal wounds to the closest unit within 9″, the 3″ cut back would make a huge difference coupled with the second change. The second change being that its Psychic Overload ability should only deal mortal wounds to the nearest VISIBLE enemy unit because the thing that is making it currently so obnoxious is that it’s destroying units it can’t even see. Now I like these changes because it means now you can still deal the same amount of Mortal wound damage as before but now you have to be within 9″ of, and visible to the target so you can get hit back and your opponent will have a chance to interact with the Maleceptor now. Also a small points increase of 20 points would not be too bad at all. I know I would still run a Maleceptor in my competitive Tyranid army if it was 190 points and had those new rules implemented on it. Let me know your thoughts on the topic in the comments below guys, I am interested to know what you all think about the Maleceptor, Peace Out, Mani!!