Friday, June 19, 2009

Shining Spears Are Awesome

I hear a lot of negativity about the Spears, and while I too have not had a ton of success with them last night everything changed. I took a squad of 5 plus an Autarch for a friendly game and they dominated. To start, I held them in reserve and got a good roll for them to come in the second turn (Autarch helps with that). My opponent had a Dreadnought and scout squad in my deployment zone (we were playing capture and control). The spears flew in and since they are a big unit (big base sizes) I managed to charge both the Dreadnought and scouts together.

while I didn't destroy the dreadnought I did manage to destroy two weapons. Meanwhile, I wiped out the scouts. I survived the return attacks and while I couldn't hurt it in his assault phase since my haywire grenade failed, I simply used Withdraw and got them all out of there.

Next they assaulted a combat squad in his deployment zone and wiped them out. They got assaulted once and actually lost a guy in that but managed to withdraw and charge back. They took some shooting casualties and lost a guy charging into difficult terrain but the Autarch and Exarch survived to the end of turn 7. Their final body count was 5 scouts and 20 tactical marines.

A jetbike Autarch is a beast. He can get 6 S6 power weapon attacks on the charge. He can carry a fusion gun or a reaper launcher (either one results in dead marines). Supported by a squad of spears there is not much that can resist.

However, I don't think my experience is typical. Most of the time you will charge into a squad, devastate them and then get shot to pieces. This didn't happen too badly to me because I exploited some deployment mistakes. He wasn't able to bring all his heavy weapons to bear because I put a lot of terrain between us.

Anyway, Shining Spears are a scalpel among scalpels and really aren't for every battle. They're a hard-hitting "fun" choice. They're fast and deadly but can be very vulnerable in the shooting phase. I'm going to use them a bit more and see if I can still get some good mileage out of them.

Next game I think I am going to take Swooping Hawks, even though they suck. I used to love them back in the crazy days of 2nd edition and I want to love them again. I'll have to build a list around them.


  1. I think it's also a matter of larger games involving Spears hitting, nuking something, then dying. That way there's more for them to worry about, and a full 5-man squad (including Star Lance/Withdraw Exarch) costs you 237 points.

    I'd rather cave and get me a Seer Council for the price, since they'll always wound on 2+, are more effective at killing armor (with S9 hits...) and all that for about a hundred more points. Plus, they can get Fortune and have invulnerable saves.

    But, that's in larger games, and that's me.

    I think you'll find Swooping Hawks similar. If they beefed up haywire grenades (like, pen on 5-6, glance on 3-4 to compensate) and had S4 guns, I'd probably think about using them. As-is? Eh. Massed S3 gunfire just doesn't appeal that much to me.

  2. I really need to give a seer council a try. Perhaps I'll proxy my Spears as seers.

  3. I have used Spears since my first game with the 4ed Codex, and they have rocked the house in EVERY SINGLE GAME. They are easily my favorite unit. That being said, what you have said about them getting shot to pieces is quite true, particularly now in 5ed with the no-consolidate-into-combat rule. I have a BikeSeer that follows them around Fortune-ing them, which dramatically adds to their survivability in both shooting and the second CC phase where they lose the PW bonus.

  4. Well, I've already blogged my opinion of them, but I'm glad to hear you describe them as a fun choice - they really don't stand up to serious scrutiny in a tourny environment, though they will almost always win every combat they're in (TH/SS Termies being the obvious exception)

    Jetbike Autarchs are simply awesome though. :)

  5. Withdraw cannot be use with the autarch as he doesn't have the hit and run special ability. hit and run cannot be used if the autarch is attached to the unit, see universal special rules asterisks.

  6. Steven, you would normally be right but the Eldar book is very clear that Exarch powers apply to both the unit and an Autarch. You can find it on page 21 of the Eldar codex.


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