Kirb your enthusiasm!


"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Eldar Codex Review - Part 23: Shining Spears


Cavalry on jet bikes with laser lances - what's not to love?

The Review -

Shining Spears can hit hard on the turn they charge. That's really the list of good things for them... They are an improved Eldar statline thanks to the Jetbike they ride - T3(4)/3+ makes them as durable as a Marine and with the usual Aspect offensive statline of WS/BS4 and Initiative 5, they can hit what they want and often before the opponent. The Jetbike gives them excellent mobility and the with their charging potential and Jetbikes, they can play around with JSJ and shooting or to get into combat and away again. The issue is here, well when you win combat you're left out high and dry to be shot but when Shining Spears get engaged in protracted combats, they are just plain bad and at 35 points each, they are pretty expensive to be improved Jetbikes with combat ability.

The Exarch comes in and helps these issues with two Exarch powers - Skilled Rider for squad (so you're not afraid to go into terrain, a must for many units) and Withdraw (Hit & Run). Hit & Run allows Shining Spears to pull punches or deliberately bite off more than they can chew in an effort to stay in combat and Hit & Run in the next combat phase. It's not fool-proof, even with I5 and it does leave them open to getting smack back in combat but it stops them from being shot off the board. The Exarch can also take some improved combat options though only the Star Lance is ever worth it to bring more anti-tank to the table.

So...the actual spear itself. Mass S6 power weapons at I5 on the charge is pretty impressive but the squad doesn't get that many attacks (two each, max squad of five) and with only WS4, tougher targets can shrug off more of the damage Spears are supposed to inflict. The spear does have a ranged attack, again useful for extra utility whilst not in combat but with poor range, even JSJ is going to make it hard to use these effectively and stay out of combat the next turn.

All in all, an expensive unit which is mobile and hits hard the turn it charges. Whoopee!

Potential Uses -

With Wave Serpent hulls around, Jetbikes have a lot of movement options available thanks to their 6" assault move and 12" ignore intervening models move - they can keep up with the army and hide amongst the hulls. Spears can be used in a supporting (but short-ranged) fire unit and counter-charge option and this is probably where you'll get the most mileage out of them. Offensively, they are deficient because of their glass cannon nature - they'll most likely kill whatever they aim at and then die. This certainly has uses but it's an expensive use. This option as a counter-charge unit though, well it can clear the Eldar lines quite nicely. The question is - do mech lists need this? Not really and foot lists have better options here (Harlequins).

Beyond this, if you can pull the punch of the Spears unit when they assault so they stick around in combat (against a unit which isn't going to maul them over the next phase), they can start to wreck havoc as they use Hit & Run to pinball around an enemy's backline. If you can throw enough targets at your opponent so dedicating the firepower to take out those Spears after they've engaged the enemy, they can do a nice job of backfield harassment.

Potential Changes -

Decrease in price - hey, familiar!? An added ability similar to what the Dark Eldar Reavers have as well - the ability to fly over a unit and do the traditional cavalry charge sort of thing, but from a Jetbike and with a huge futuristic shock lance thing. Increased range for both the Lances and Catapults (as discussed in Guardian Defender post) would also see them actually be the Aspects of Jetbikes and be capable of both JSJ shooting and assault roles.

Some sort of sustained combat buff wouldn't go amiss either but you don't want them being able to charge into combat, smash face, stay in combat and continue smashing face - they should be acting as a Hit & Run bouncing ball so perhaps just an invulnerable save when in combat? Some sort of Jink rule or something.

If Warlocks are capable of being added to Aspect squads this would be a nice buff as well otherwise making each Aspect have an improved WS/BS based upon their role (i.e. shooting gets BS5, combat gets WS5) who help them in their specialised roles. With Shining Spears it would create the extra mathematical buffer against other WS4 units to ensure their hits are landing and aren't being beaten around by bog-standard Marines.

Conclusion -

In the end, Shining Spears are a huge, one hit wonder glass cannon. They're very expensive for what they do and although they can hit like a ton of bricks, this often leads them to being shot down miserably. They may be tougher than normal Eldar but they are still only T4/3+ at best. Farseers can obviously improve this with Fortune but, well there are better places for that right? They can do the pinball tricks with hit & run but it requires the unit to pick their combats so they aren't overrunning their opponent then and there which can leave them vulnerable to being punched back.

Also - Pheonix Lord please.

Follow us on Facebook!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...