Warp Spiders. I wasn't going to actually use any in my army, but my feelings have changed. Interestingly enough, my feelings changed because people spent a lot of time telling me how crummy they are. There's this weird thing going on where everyone talks about how Warp Spiders were castrated in 3rd ed, or castrated in 4th ed, or were never any good or... not really sure. What I found is that people are always talking about why Warp Spiders stink, but I can't get a decent bead on why people think they stink. The more people talked about it, the more I tried to determine what was really wrong with them. So I started itemizing:
- WS4 and BS4. Nothing wrong with that.
- Initiative 5, 6 on the Exarch, Ld 9 and a very respectable 3+ save.
- Can move 12 inches in the movement phase, ignoring terrain and another 2D6 in the assault phase.
- Death Spinner is S6 and can rapid fire. That's nothing to laugh at.
- The Exarch can be tooled up with Power Blades, an extra Death Spinner, Withdraw (which allows the unit to leave assault) and Surprise Assault (which gives the unit +2 on the charge instead of +1).
The down side is that they're kind of expensive. 22 points apiece. More for the Exarch.
For an incredibly tough hit-and-run unit that can bring both mad assault and mad shooting abilities to the game, you can't beat them. I keep looking for these "down sides" people keep talking about and I'm having a lot of trouble finding them.
You can hose down a squad of ten marines with S6 weapons by hitting on 3, wounding on 2, a squad of 10 getting 20 rapid-fire shots; statisticians will say that roughly 14 shots will land, about 11 will wound and 4 marines will likely die. That's nothing to laugh at when you consider that return fire of 6 bolters is 12 shots, of which 8 will hit, 5 will wound and maybe one Warp Spider will fail his armor save. Or maybe they'll just decide to warp out of firing range.
They can pop Land Speeders with relatively little trouble. They can pop Rhinos with little trouble. They can easily warp behind a lot of the heavier tanks and shoot the rear with little trouble. For light to medium vehicle killing, these guys have the ability to get some work done.
My personal favorite is the assaulting: A squad of 10 warp spiders gets one attack each (two for the exarch), plus 2 for charging if Surprise Assault is used. That's 31 attacks on the charge, four of which are power weapons. Want to compare to Marines again? They'll easily win initiative, and the basic spiders will hit roughly 14 times, wound roughly seven and two armor saves will likely be lost. The Exarch, however, will likely hit three times and probably kill two Marines without them getting an armor save. The return attack will see six attacks, three of which will hit, two of which will wound and both will probably save. The Warp Spiders can elect to withdraw from that assault at that point if they wanted to, or wait till the end of the Marine's turn to withdraw, shoot, and warp out. Lots of options there.
Sure, in 2nd ed they apparently could leap all over Hell's Half Acre and blast templates all over the place, but the game was quite different then; they're far from the only unit that got dialed down. What's more, it's time for the older players to face a sad truth: That was, like, seven years ago. It's time to move on.
Besides, if you wanna complain about a unit that got neutered, I got two words for you: Swooping Hawks.
I have a unit of Warp Spiders that's gathering dust. I think I'll paint 'em up and start springing some surprises on my enemies.
If it wasn't for the fact that all my enemies seem to read this blog, it'd be the perfect plan.