Codex: Tyranids 10th Edition review - "The wargame takes shape with terrifying Tyranid Detachments"

The Tyranid Codex on a wooden table
(Image: © Will Sawyer)

GamesRadar+ Verdict

Codex: Tyranids 10th Edition is a great army book for the Hive Mind's horrifying swarms, and it caters to wargamers of all levels. The new Detachments are exciting and varied, allowing for plenty of experimentation. It’s also a reassuring look at the future of Warhammer 40K 10th Edition, but the rulebook is hampered by its price and limited lifespan.


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    Highlights strengths of Warhammer 40K 10th Ed.

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    Interesting and varied Tyranid Detachments

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    Useful for players of all levels

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    Unlocks Codex rules in app for free


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    Expensive, especially on top of armies

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    Online rules balancing will supersede printed rules

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The Tyranid Hive Mind has been hard at work cooking up new army detachments, datasheets, and more to fill the first army rulebook of Warhammer 40K's latest version, Codex: Tyranids 10th Edition. This is an all-in-one book detailing the lore and rules of the vicious alien scourge that plagues the galaxy across 120 beautifully-designed pages.

Of course, the main draws of this new Tyranids Codex are those revitalized unit rules and five new army Detachments to join the current Invasion Fleet, all in book form. Games Workshop’s nebulous Warhammer Design Studio (there are still no named contributors to be seen) have created a great tome that really shows Warhammer 40K 10th Edition in full force. Backing this up is a beginner-friendly Combat Patrol rules section and the usual array of stunning miniature photography and grisly lore, including new sections detailing Hive Fleet Leviathan’s warpath and the Fourth Tyrannic War, which serves as the narrative backdrop for this version of the game. Basically, Codex: Tyranids 10th Edition is stuffed.

As a big fan of the horrifyingly hungry critters, getting the first 10th Edition Codex with all its expanded rules has been a real treat to test. But with a hefty price tag, the precedent of free online rules and updates for 10th Edition, and a limited lifespan, I’m questioning the place of the classic Codex in modern Warhammer 40K. 

The greatest devourer

An open Tyranid Codex on a wooden table

(Image credit: Will Sawyer)

From the stealthy Vanguard Onslaught and nimble Unending Swarm to the brainy horrors of the Synaptic Nexus and the regenerating Assimilation Swarm, all the new Tyranid Detachments in this Codex have something fresh to offer. Each comes with its own specific rule(s), Stratagems, and character Enhancements, adding abilities to suit different ‘Nids. For example, the Crusher Stampede grants Tyranid Monsters improved Hit and Wound rolls the more damage they take. Meanwhile, Vanguard Onslaught gets two rules; one that allows Vanguard Invader units to advance and charge in a single turn, and another that allows the Deathleaper character to become your Warlord.

Essential info

The Tyranid Codex on a wooden table

(Image credit: Will Sawyer)

- Price: $60
- Works with: Warhammer 40,000 (10th Edition)
- What’s new: Five new and exclusive Tyranid Detachments, updated unit datasheets, up-to-date lore, expanded Combat Patrol guide, 10th Edition Crusade rules

This Detachment system initially sounded like it would diminish a lot of the fun and flavor of armies – in previous editions of Warhammer 40K, Tyranids had rules pertaining to the stylings of the main Hive Fleets from the lore, such as Behemoth’s unrelenting aggression, or Jormungandr’s tunneling capabilities – and while it does force players to do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to flavor, these Detachments offer varied playstyles that really lean into specific aspects of the Tyranid forces. Altogether, I’ve found it offers plenty of flexibility while still feeling distinctly Tyranid. My beloved Haruspex serves as a resilient biomass “Harvester” in my Assimilation Swarm but can also succeed in a monstrous Crusher Stampede if I want to run that Detachment instead.

Unlike the lore-based rules of previous editions, these Tyranid Detachments epitomize the “simplified, not simple” philosophy of 10th Edition. Compared to 9th Edition, I’ve got only a handful of rules to wrap my head around, and my army lists come together quickly. During matches, I need to make tactical decisions that suit my Detachment and make good use of those specialized Stratagems rather than focusing on bringing the biggest and best guns (or claws) to bear. Seeing an expanded Detachment selection for a single army has really sold me on the system, letting me build unique battle forces depending on what my ‘Nids are up against or just what I feel like playing. 

Adapt or buy

The Tyranid Codex for 10th Edition beside the 9th Edition equivalent on a wooden table

(Image credit: Will Sawyer)

Aside from some small gripes, there’s little to complain about with this Tyranids Codex. It’s a fun expansion to the army and offers something to all kinds of players. Outside of the rules, I’m a big fan of the expanded Combat Patrol chapter that offers some useful tools for beginners. You’ll find tactical notes and the full Tyranid Combat Patrol rules for your Vardenghast Swarm, but I really like the White Dwarf-style painting guide for a simple but striking Hive Fleet Leviathan look – a nice addition that previous Codexes have lacked!

However, it would be remiss of me to avoid mentioning the eye-watering price of $60/£35 for Codex: Tyranids. It’s a lot of money for a single army rulebook with a shelf life of potentially only a few years, and coupled with copied lore and cut artwork from last edition’s book, I’m not sure its new rules alone justify such a high price.

Those serious about committing to the Hive Mind’s will are definitely going to want to get their rending claws on it

While it seemed to me that Codexes in Warhammer 40K 10th Edition would act as more of an optional, but substantial, expansion to the free online army rules, they entirely replace the free rules instead. It’s an odd rules delivery strategy to have unchangeable physical rules replace editable online rules, though Games Workshop has already laid out plans for regular balance updates that will likely make much of the Codex’s printed rules redundant over time. All in all, it makes charging such a high price for this book, and future Codexes for other armies, seem like a confusing step back.

I enjoy the physicality of the hardback Codex and the convenience of having everything to do with my treasured ‘Nids in one place, but the prospect of adapting to Games Workshop’s pushes towards its online subscription model isn’t sitting well with me for now. If I don’t ruthlessly stick to the Codex as written, I am at least thankful that I’ve got digital rules to fall back on thanks to the code provided in every copy that unlocks the relevant rules in the Warhammer 40K app for free, making that online migration process quite painless – at least until a new Warhammer 40K edition makes it totally useless in a few years…

Should you buy Codex: Tyranids 10th Edition?

An open Tyranid Codex on a wooden table

(Image credit: Will Sawyer)

Overall, the new Tyranids Codex is a solid army rulebook that provides a great array of rules and lore in one place. The new Detachments provide plenty of scope for players to experiment with their space bugs and really help the changes brought in with Warhammer 40K 10th Edition shine.

With that said, its cost makes it difficult to recommend in an already expensive hobby. It’s by no means a must-have rulebook, especially for beginners, as 10th Edition’s free Tyranid Index rules can easily get you started in casual games (which is ideal if you've already got one of the new Warhammer 40K starter sets). But those serious about committing to the Hive Mind’s will are definitely going to want to get their rending claws on it. 

Buy it if...

You’re serious about playing Warhammer 40K in general
If you want to play with your Tyranid forces regularly, maybe even dabbling in tournaments, this book is pretty much essential. The five new Detachments expand the Tyranids’ capabilities and allow you to mess around with all sorts of units, playstyles, and army lists.

You want all your Tyranids information in one place
Codex: Tyranids is a complete book for the Hive Mind’s legions and offers rules for Combat Patrol and Crusades, allowing you to tackle all sorts of matches and game types in one handy book. Each book also contains a code that can be used in the Warhammer 40K app for digital Tyranids Codex rules.

Don't buy it if...

You’re a total Warhammer 40K beginner
While this edition of the Tyranids Codex offers plenty for new Warhammer 40K players, you’d be better off saving your money until you’ve got a few simple matches under your belt. You don’t have to own the Codex, and plenty of rules are available for free via the Warhammer 40K app. 


This copy of Codex: Tyranids 10th Edition was provided by the publisher.

More info

Will Sawyer
Guides Writer

Will Sawyer is a guides writer at GamesRadar+ who works with the rest of the guides team to give readers great information and advice on the best items, how to complete a particular challenge, or where to go in some of the biggest video games. Will joined the GameRadar+ team in August 2021 and has written about service titles, including Fortnite, Destiny 2, and Warzone, as well as some of the biggest releases like Halo Infinite, Elden Ring, and God of War Ragnarok.