The Tyranids are a fictional race from the Warhammer 40000 tabletop game and its spin-off media. They are known to the Imperium generally as Tyranids, because Tyran is the first known planet they devoured and where they were first encountered.
They are a nomadic alien race comprising many genetically engineered forms created from harvested bio-mass. They are known as the "Great Devourer" and also "Shadow In The Warp" and pose a severe threat to the Imperium. They seek to consume all in their path, draining all planets of every resource.
Tyranids were first described in Rick Priestley's Rogue Trader, the first edition of the Warhammer 40,000. At that time they were not an emphasized race in the game, instead representing a limited number of occasionally-encountered alien antagonists. In later editions the Tyranids became a major race, popularized by a number of successful board games. Unlike most Warhammer 40,000 races, the Tyranids do not have a Warhammer Fantasy Battle counterpart . They are comparable in terms of their motivation and tactics of the Zerg in the StarCraft series. They are also very similar to the Flood from the video game series Halo.
Tyranids are typically a fast, close-combat army that rely on overwhelming their enemies through superior numbers. They may also be bio-morphed to rely heavily on ranged combat, or field an impressive but small array of monstrous titans rather than a typical swarm. Tyranid armies are therefore able to bring a varied threat to bear on their opponents.
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