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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Scrying the Future of the Eldar: Warp Spiders

Truth be told, Warp Spiders are one of the reasons I began playing Eldar at all. They're the first thing I remember ever learning about Eldar in 2nd edition when I was playing Tyranids and they were my favorite unit in Dawn of War. Heck, even the name is incredibly cool.They were the second Eldar unit I painted and have won themselves a spot in almost every list I write. It's very much so an understatement to say that I'm interested in where they are going to end up come June.

In terms of power on the table, I'm actually a little worried simply because they're good. Very good, actually. They are second only to Scatter Walkers in terms of S6 hit:point cost efficiency. They're very fast, fairly tough, tricky and have good deployment options. They are perfectly ripe to be nerfed. Especially since everyone has them already. Luckily the models are old, so if they get redone it could give GW a profitable reason to keep them powerful.

Thematically, I think they're in an awkward position because of three other units: Eldar Jetbikes, Grey Knight Interceptor Strikes and Necrons with the Veil of Darkness. Their fluff translates into gameplay by allowing them to jump 2d6" in the assault phase, regardless of whether they assault or not. Now that Eldar Jetbikes have that exact ability along with a Jink save and 36" turbo boost, there is no reason (forgetting the cost) to take a Warp Jump Generator for an Autarch. It's functionally worse in every way and could instantly kill him if he uses it on his own. And it casts this whole unit in the shadow of something much better just a few pages over.

What I'm saying here is that there is a lot of precedent for the most fun elements of Warp Spiders to get even more interesting. We have one unit that teleports far once per game, one that deep strikes each turn and one that has the same exact ability as Warp Spiders but without the dangers or direction restrictions.

I want Warp Spiders who bounce around. Their teleports seem like they ought to be short-ranged, erratic and confusing to the enemy. Their current rules fit those criteria, but other units like the EJB invalidate the uniqueness of the WJG. The EJB having it's movement profile in the BYB means it isn't going to change, so where does that leave those brave enough to risk  the hazards of the warp?