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The Zoanthrope is a tall, slender creature with an oversized cranium that makes up more than half its mass and about half its body length. The Zoanthrope's head is far too large for its body: if it were a natural creature its would snap under the weight of the noggin. But the Tyranids do not obey the laws of nature: the massive brain housed by the head serves as a relay for the massive psychic power of the [[Hive Mind]], giving the Zoanthrope awesome psychic powers. What powers you ask? How about the power of flight? That do anything for ya? That's levitation, Holmes. How about the power to kill a yak, from 200 yards away... with mind bullets! That's telekinesis, Kyle. How about the power... to move you?
Sorry for that. But Tenacious D did all but perfectly describe the Zoanthrope's abilities in their song Wonderboy. With their powers they can float (but not that high off of the ground), they can shoot holes the size of a [[Predator Tank]] in a Predator Tank (or melt small groups of [[MEQ]]s), and have the power to move you. With "you" meaning "your creatures that have Instinctive Behavior" because the Zoanthrope is a Synapse Creature. It also has a strong forcefield surrounding it, meaning that it has a good chance to shrug off otherwise lethal shots. And in older editions there were almost as good as [[Warriors]] at fighting. Like any Psyker, the Zoanthrope is vulnerable to brain overload and subsequent exploding craniums (or as [[Orks]] call it; 'eadbanging). If this happens the creature's brains burn out and it falls to the ground like a grotesque deflating balloon.
<s>One Zoanthrope called "The Doom of Malan'tai" evolved to feed off of psychic energy. It got the name after singlehandedly destroying Craftworld Malan'tai when it drained the Infinity Circuit.</s> Not anymore, this is just some completely nondescript Tyranid that is in no way a Zoanthrope and has never been because that would imply that someone can make a model for him and not have to buy from [[Games Workshop|What is 'doom of malantai you speak of?GW]].
==On the tabletop==
Zoanthropes are used best against either vehicles or big monsters. As a Brotherhood of Psykers at Psychic Level 2 they have access to two powers: the tank-wrecking Warp Blast/Lance and one power that you roll for. The downside to this is that your psychic shooting attack is Mastery Level 2, which means if you use one of your powers you cannot use the other. And their Brotherhood of Psykers rules means that you only need one test (and your opponent gets one Deny the Witch roll) to use your powers: Warp Blast/Lance is improved by 1 for each Zoanthrope in the brood, so with three of them your shots become Assault 3. This is good because it speeds up rolling for your shots, but one lucky roll from your opponent wastes an entire turn (and maybe your unit as well, if you're unlucky).
Because of the short range of their powers they have to come dangerously close to both their target. This is why you should either keep them close to [[Venomthrope]]s or provide enough [[DISTRACTION CARNIFEX|distractions]] so they are not shot to death in one turn. It used to be that you could put them in [[mycetic spores]] and [[Deep Strike]] them behind whatever you wanted gone, but the [[6th edition (Warhammer 40,000)|6th edition]] codex lacks mycetic spores entirely. And while they have a 3+ invulnerable save they still have a 1/3 chance to die to a single [[Missile Launcher|Krak Missile]]. Neither should you forget that they can be tied up in combat if they get charged: they are not very good at fighting and will stick in combat longer than you'd like. As they are Synapse Creatures, they will keep your Gaunts controlablecontrollable, which is always nice but again remember the range on their weapons and that they are not as fast as [[Hormagaunt]]s. And while a single shot is likely to deal great damage to a target is is not guaranteed it will be destroyed: as such it is smart to take several of these in a single brood.
==In Last Stand==
In [[Last Stand]], these things are assholes: Giant, flaming assholes. They do enormous damage, have immense knockback, a huge area-of-effect, and are remarkably durable for a floating snake-brain thingthanks to a Warp Field that acts like an Iron Halo. They are the bane of every [[Last Stand - Lord General|Lord General]], since they can effectively one-shot the entire minion squad a General may have with him. They are, thankfully, easy prey for Sniper Rifle rounds and Shotgun solid slugs, and are a perfect target for a Chaos Sorcerer who is has the Improved Summoning wargear to clone.