Ravener (Warhammer 40,000)

Warrior Genus (Warhammer 40,000)

In the fictional Warhammer 40,000 setting, the Tyranids are a nomadic alien race comprising many genetically engineered forms. The Warrior Genus, or Tyranicus Tyranicii, is one biological subgroup of the Tyranids.

In 4th Edition of the game, there are four subgroups of the Warrior Genus: the Tyranid Warrior, the Ravener, the Lictor, and the Carnifex.

Tyranid Warriors

Tyranid Warriors, or Tyranicus Gladius, are a synapse creature. As Tyranids are constantly evolving their forces to adapt to their enemies, Tyranid Warriors are often seen in many subtypes. They first appeared in the Second Edition of Warhammer as one of the initial units for the Tyranid Army.

According to Imperial research, over 212 different variants of Warrior have been observed. This has caused the researcher, Magos Biologis Locard, to claim that the Warrior is the most adaptable of any alien yet encountered.

The Tyranid Warrior is often a common trooper found in Tyranid armies. They have the ability to carry a wide variety of deadly weaponry and other upgrades, making them suitable to take on many roles in battle. They are easily able to bring valuable long range firepower or high volume, short-ranged support to their Tyranid brethren. In addition, they can even be seen wielding close combat "biomorphs" (intentionally evolved mutations), such as scythe-like talons or shorter, incredibly sharp claws, which make them fearsome close combat fighters. Less commonly, they are seen in battle bearing great wings, which allow them to swoop onto the battlefield and act as fast-moving assault troops. That variant is the Winged Warrior, or Tyranicus Gladius Avius.


Ravener, or Tyranicus Ophidius Subterra, made its first appearance in the Third Edition, with a model released at the same time as the book. Like most other Tyranids, Raveners have six limbs. One pair of these are large scythe-like claws which they use for tunneling, a second pair will be similar scythe claws or smaller claws useful for tearing apart armored foes. The last pair of limbs are sometimes used to carry ranged weapons such as devourers though otherwise have no special function (The newer models have the last pair of legs as more claws, stating that the ranged weapon is mounted in the creature's thorax, although older models still have them held in hands). Rather than move on legs, as most other Tyranids do, the Raveners rely on their long, snakelike tail to move at high speed across the battlefield.

Some Raveners are seen wielding the typical bio-weaponry of the Tyranids. Rather than carry these in their claws, as other Tyranids normally do, Raveners have evolved the ability to carry their weapons in their thorax, keeping their claws free for digging or killing. Utilizing their ability to tunnel underground, the Ravener can burst from the ground underneath their foes, launching frightening surprise assaults. They can also use their great speed to quickly move across the battlefield, engaging their foes in close combat, where they excel.

The Red Terror

The Red Terror was a larger, unique variant of Ravener once encountered by the Imperium. It was particularly feared for its ability to swallow people whole. It first appeared in the mines of the planet Devlan. It tore its way through to the command centre. The brave Lieutenant Borales and Captain Lowe made a couragous defence, but the Red Terror could not be stopped. Without warning, the Red Terror shoved the two gallant heroes into its great maw, devouring them whole. It then turned its sights on the civilians of Devlan. The people of Devlan eventually drove it away, but at great cost. More than twenty men were killed during the assault, including the late lieutenant and captain. Though this was the first and last time the Red Terror was ever recorded to have been seen, it is entirely possible that all other encounters with the creature simply yielded no survivors.

The Red Terror was given a special model and rules in the Third Edition Codex.


Lictor, or Tyranicus Chameleo, is an elite attacker that is able to ambush and deep strike. They first appeared in the Second Edition of Warhammer.

They operate as scouts and they produce a pheromone that attracts other Tyranids to follow behind them. They also operate as loners, which, when combined with their stealth, represents their assassin like nature.

Death Leaper

First appearing in the Third Edition of Warhammer 40,000, Death Leaper is a particularly vicious Lictor introduced during the Cadian Rise of the Swarm campaign. It was originally encountered by a Space Marine named Brother Erasmus. The two fought and both were wounded, Brother Erasmus losing an eye and an arm. As a result of the damage sustained in this battle, Death Leaper's chitinous exoskeleton provides it with less protection than most Lictors, but Death Leaper's stealth is unsurpassed, and it is able to conceal itself in places where normal Lictors would be unable to hide.

Notably, whereas Old One Eye and The Red Terror were considered "Tyranid Monstrous Creatures" and could be fielded without the opponent's permission, Death Leaper is unique in that its online stats specifically refer to it as a "special character," and state that an opponent's permission must be sought in order to use it (as is the case with special characters of other races). However, this rule is now invalid, as you do not need permission to use special characters anymore.

A fourth edition "Death Leaper" was also heavily involved in the summer 2006 campaign, Medusa V, introduced as an entirely new species of the Lictor genus, and its reclamation was the central objective for the Tyranid forces involved in the campaign. However, the "aftermath" information states that only one of them survived the planet's fall, escaping in a captured human vessel. This Death Leaper, however; is identical to the Rise of the Swarm Death Leaper in name only, and acts simply as a "special edition" version of the lictor model if the supplemental rules for it are not used.


Carnifex, or Carnifex Primus (literally "flesh-maker", Latin for "butcher" or "executioner), is a monstrous creature that acts like a living tank. They first appeared in Rogue Trader and in their current form for Second Edition of Warhammer.

As Tyranids are constantly evolving their forces, many different variants of the Carnifex exist. However, all Carnifexes share some common characteristics: they are very large creatures, standing significantly larger than a man; they have thick carapaces, which provide excellent protection from damage, and they frequently use some of the bio-weaponry utilized by the Tyranids. They are comparable to the Space Marine and Ork Dreadnoughts in purpose.

There are four major variations of close combat Carnifexes: the Carnifex Vorantii, the Carnifex Ululare, the Carnifex Bilius, and the Carnifex Arbylis. These are more commonly known as:

  • Thornback: bears enhancements that resemble large spikes or thorns and are used to push through an enemy's lines.
  • Screamer-Killer: the first type of Carnifex encountered by the Imperium. It is known for emitting a piercing shriek before crashing into its foes.
  • Bile-beast: spews acidic fluids onto its foes before attacking in close combat using its huge crab-like claws.
  • Stone-crusher: siege variant Canifex that was originally introduced for Cities of Death, and then modelled and released by Forge world. It is armed with huge wrecking claws, capable of tearing down the thickest of fortifications, a heavier version of a scything tail, and battering rams; used for crashing into enemy ranks, and fortresses. Other sightings of this creature have been seen with a large wrecking-ball looking symbiotes.

There are also several different ranged "Gun-fexes" who are altogether more useful then their close combat brethren, due to the fact that carnifexes are rather slow compared to other assault troops.

The popular options for the Gun-fex usually are

  • Sniperfex: a Carnifex that is loaded with barbed strangler and venom canon or just 2 venom cannons, capable of "sniping" opponents from far away.
  • Dakkafex/Devilfex: a Carnifex that is loaded with 2 twin-linked Devourer, giving them a lot of closer range shots that are high-strength that is capable of demolishing infantry and light vehicles. Dakka refers to the Ork chant Dakkadakka which is used to describe a volley of gunfire or really just any ammunition at all.

Old One-Eye

Old One-Eye was a monstrous Carnifex mutation with gigantic pincers and a missing eye. The creature was found on Macragge centuries after Hive Fleet Behemoth was destroyed. Originally presumed dead, Old One Eye tore apart the ship transporting its body. Later the Tyranids persistently raided the system where it was left, suggesting it "called" the forces to it. Notoriously hard to kill, it had the ability to rapidly regenerate even apparently fatal wounds, which led some to speculate that it was a genetic experiment of the Hive Mind. Something of interest to note is that it failed to regenerate the aforementioned lost eye, the scar burned down to the bone. This could suggest some vulnerability to the thermally energetic, electrically charged combination natures of plasma weapons, the same weapons that caused the scar.

Some of its features now appear on the carnifex, suggesting its traits were later deemed useful, notably the giant crab-claws and regenerative abilities, although the "prototype" versions work differently than those of its "parent."

Old One-Eye was given a special model and rules in the Third Edition Codex.

Speculative Connections

Please see the Tyranid Genetics page for speculative connections involving Warrior Genus DNA.


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