I wanted Warp Spiders for SOOOOO long (skipped 5th and didn't have any before I stopped playing in 4th), but didn't want Failcast. So I held out (even offered to buy a guy's unpainted, clearly underappreciated, spiders in the middle of a tournament game once--well, offered to by them after the tournament was over) until I could get metal, sweet, sweet metal. And now my Warp Spiders are all chipped up but very much loved. In my first games with them, I don't think they killed a thing. I mis-happed them more often than not, or dropped them in against targets they couldn't actually finish off. With time, and practice, I got to where I can't wait for turn two when my spiders come on and do their thing.What have they lost?
Monofilament no longer goes to S7 versus low/no Initiative models. Monofilament is no longer AP1 (not that it ever mattered that I can tell; it was only AP1 versus models with a toughness value). That's pretty much it.What have they gained?
Warp Spiders lose a man to the warp only on Snake Eyes. So jump 18 guilt-free inches, my friends, because you didn't kill anyone to get it done.
Monofilament now rolls to wound versus a model's Initiative (is S6 versus vehicles). This is hard to categorize as a gain or a loss. I guess it's just a change, a change that profoundly affects their utility, effectively removing them from the role of anti-AV12 (preventing them from engaging AV13 entirely) but making them absolutely punishing when used on multi-wound, low-initiative models (read: 'Nid gribblies, Riptides, Tomb Spyders, etc.). The change also introduces some radical inconsistencies compared to their previous incarnation. For example: 6th ed. Warp Spiders wounded Wraith Knights on 6s. 7th ed. Warp Spiders wound Wraith Knights on 3s--THREES! 6th ed. Warp Spiders wounded Daemon Princes (unbuffed) on 3s. 7th ed. Warp Spiders wound Daemon Princes on 6s--SIXES! They can't even touch an I10 model. We got better at killing our own stuff. Good job!
They also gained a 2-wound Exarch with the Eldar version of, 'And They Shall Know No Rules'. And, to put a cherry on this Warp Spider Sundae, they gained Flickerjump. We'll discuss that one later. Should I take an Exarch? And should I spend the points on Power Blades? What about the Spinneret Rifle?
A Warp Spider Exarch is no longer an afterthought. It brings incredible perks to the unit for a mere 10 points. If you don't take one, you'd better have a good reason, or you'll be the rightful subject of ridicule and scorn (or scorn and ridicule, the order doesn't matter). The 10 points gets you: 1. An extra wound; that puts it on par with Librarians, Chaos Sorcerers and other 2-wound HQ models! This, in itself, is remarkable. 2. BS5 WS5 I6 and 2 attacks base; nothing to see here. 3. The 'Iron Resolve' special rule, which allows the unit to AUTOMATICALLY pass Pinning, Fear, Regroup and Morale checks (so long as the Exarch is alive, of course). This means that, unless you're worried about getting COMPLETELY obliterated in assault, you can go in (keep your Exarch 'safe' if need be, you know what I mean) and be confident of getting to Hit and Run when you need/want to.
As for the Power Blades, I think they're a wargear option worth considering now, for two main reasons: First, the Exarch is a 2-wound character that will get 4 attacks on the charge, at WS5, when equipped with Power Blades. Second, I think the Warp Spiders' battle-field role has changed to Skirmisher, which means they'll see an assault at least once a game. And if they're going to be in assault, they should bring something to the party that has to be accounted for (if not respected).Spinneret Rifle Opinion, UPDATED and REVISED August 11, 2015
The Spinneret Rifle, which is Rapid Fire, S6, Monofilament AND AP1, is only 'really' effective at 9" or less. That's a bit close if you're not planning to end up in assault. It IS possible to Rapid Fire and still assault, since the spiders are Relentless
. I'm not sure I will be using them myself, because I either want to be in assault, or be really hard to assault, not somewhere in between. Many thanks to UnorthodoxSoul for pointing out that Jet Pack Infantry have Relentless.What's the optimal size?
Your mileage will vary. In 6th ed., my personal choice was a unit of 7 or 8. With the perks brought by the Exarch, they will stay on the board until he's gone, so you might be able to make 5 work. However, 10 shots is a bit meh compared to 14 (or 16!). I prefer for them to be able to remove a target by themselves, since they often operate on their own, without direct support from my other units, so I'll stay with 7 or 8.How should they be used?
Warp Spiders are now firmly cast in the role of Skirmisher. Now that their role is more clearly defined (what COULDN'T they do in 6th ed.?), I can say that they are the best, bar none, skirmishing unit in the game. They not only retained their mobility, they expanded the ways in which they can use their mobility to shape and react to changes on the battlefield. Being a very high priority target, they should default to being kept in Deep Strike reserves. Oh, and you should know this, but if you don't: Be conservative when choosing your Deep Strike location. Warp Spiders have 12" guns, Battle Focus, and Fleet--you don't have to necessarily drop them Danger Close.
Their primary targets should be high-toughness, low-initiative models. I recently put 14 wounds (from 16 shots at BS5/6) on a Riptide, stripping three wounds off of it. Since Warp Spiders wound the vast majority of models on 2s, they should be matched up with units that they can either bring down with VoF (because of how well it translates into wounds) or that they can finish off with a quick assault. I don't recommend assaulting the high-toughness targets.
They certainly don't have to be dropped off into a corner somewhere either. Putting them near a heavy transport you plan to crack with a different unit is Warp Spider 101, as is dropping them where they can assist with 'guaranteeing' that a specific unit be removed.
When moving them, they should be kept near ruins or other thin, LoS blocking pieces of terrain that they can reliably Jet Pack over (or Flickerjump to the other side of). The risk of losing models to Dangerous Terrain is off-set by keeping them safe from enemy shooting. And, they won't break (unless the Exarch breaks his ankle, amirite?).
Also: Warp Spiders should be part of an Aspect Host whenever possible. The only reason not to is if your list doesn't have enough Aspect Warriors to fill out the 3-unit requirement.How about that Flickerjump?
DISCLAIMER: Flickerjump, when I first looked at it, appeared to offer INFINITE jumps (and infinite opportunities to lose even more friends than merely holding the new codex has already cost me). I have since looked more closely at it, and am confident that Flickerjump can only be performed ONCE during a turn. I will present my reasoning, but will not debate it here. I will gladly debate it in a different thread in the appropriate forum.How Flickerjump Works (all on p188 of my interactive Ipad version)
: 1. Flickerjump is 'activated' (becomes an option) whenever the unit of Warp Spiders (we'll use a specific unit, rather than a generic unit) is chosen as the target of a shooting attack. 2. Having been targeted, the unit "can immediately make a Warp Jump" [my capitalization on 'Jump', sorry--expressive writer here], except that it only goes 2D6" instead of 2D6+6".
If we stop now, Warp Spiders can jump from here to infinity...and beyond. However, we ask, 'How does Warp Jump work?' (because Flickerjump IS a Warp Jump) which leads us to: 3. "If making a Warp Jump, the model immediately moves up to 2D6+6" in any direction (roll once per unit each turn)...". The key here is the limitation, 'roll once per unit each turn'. 'Turn', as we know, always means Player Turn. So, we can roll once for Warp Jump (2D6+6") in our Player Turn. Flickerjump allows us to make a limited Warp Jump (2D6") but is NOT limited to our opponent's Player Turn, it is limited by whether or not we have already performed a Warp Jump in that turn. We do not have permission to roll the dice more than once, and without rolling dice...we go nowhere. So, the 'Infinite Flickerjump' gets stuck on #2 and is therefore unable to complete the action.How to use Flickerjump
: Step One--Paint tiny Trollface memes on your Warp Spiders. Step Two--Provided you did NOT Warp Jump during your turn, declare an assault against a Tau Gunline and then Flickerjump around a corner when they decide to Overwatch. Step Three--Profit. Or, and this is really the most obvious one: If you get a poor Jet Pack roll, use Flickerjump to get out of LoS (or into cover). You are still Jet Pack infantry, so you can either walk or use the pack in the following turn--better to be hobbled for a turn than shot off the table. Finally (Trollfaces already on), Flickerjump away from Psychic Shriek (or any other Witchfire) during your opponent's Psychic Phase. Boom! Denied without using deny dice! Bwahahahaha! (Yeah, I did that--but then I let the guy take it back since it was just too much.)
Attached: Pic of my Warptrolls/Trollspiders