I’m… I’m afraid I have bad news about your grav tank, ma’am. He’s been diagnosed as boring, probably terminally so. He won’t die because no one will ever care about him enough to shoot at him; I’m afraid there’s nothing we can do. Click to read the updated article, or check out the Tactics Corner for more reviews and strategies.
The Night Spinner is a modification of the Falcon chassis, not the Fire Prism as one might expect- in fact, both those vehicles are descended from the Falcon, as are a variety of other specialized Craftworld vehicles. It is the ultimate expression of Eldar monofilament weaponry (barring such relics as the Void Weaver), able to fling nets of molecule-thin wire a mile or more across the battlefield to unfold as it rains down on the enemy, severing limbs and shearing through armor with contemptuous ease.
Gamewise, the Night Spinner has a fairly basic profile for a Craftworlds vehicle, with very few surprises. Movement 16″ is pretty standard, as is toughness seven and twelve wounds as well as a 3+ armor save. Its close combat stats are all garbage to the point of being irrelevant, with the only other important value on its profile being ballistic skill 3+. As with all vehicles ten wounds or over it degrades as it is damaged, though hopefully you can shield it such that the degradation won’t ever come into effect, as it’s not a particularly tough unit all things considered. At 112pts for the basic chassis, it’s a fair bit cheaper than most of the other tanks, although not by so much that I think really impresses.
Wargear and Special Rules
Being a vehicle, the Night Spinner lacks most of the special rules that other Craftworlds models have as standard- and lacking any unique special rules of its own, it is a fairly bland entry here overall. As with almost every vehicle it has the Explodes rule, but apart from that it’s basically a blank slate.
The Doomweaver that is the vehicle’s main armament is its only real feature. With 48″ range, S7 AP0 and Dmg2 it’s pretty reasonable-looking; Heavy 2d6 means that it gets a decent number of shots, though unreliably so. Like all monofilament weapons 6s to wound with it are AP-4, making it potentially very dangerous, and as an artillery piece it can fire at units out of line of sight freely, which is a very strong ability.
The Night Spinner also comes armed with the standard underslung weapon for the chassis- a Twin Shuriken Catapult (12″ S4 Assault 4 rending) in the basic loadout, which can be upgraded to a Shuriken Cannon (24″ S6 Assault 3 rending) for 8pts. Although the cost is fairly trivial, it will probably be a very rare thing for you to even get to shoot your underslung weapon at all, so it seems iffy to invest any points into it. However, it’s not a terrible option, so if you modeled yours that way you don’t need to feel too bad about it.
The Night Spinner is a little bit of an awkward vehicle because unlike its cousin, the Fire Prism, it didn’t get any real upgrades between the index and codex versions. Whereas the Fire Prism doubled in its number of shots most turns, the Night Spinner… is still the Night Spinner. Yep. So while it is a bit cheaper than the Prism is (by ~20pts or so), the Prism’s guns completely outshines it- they get the same number of shots, but the Prism is S6 AP-3 Dmg1 whereas the Spinner is S7 AP0 Dmg2. It’s not hard to make a decision between those two profiles because even against a multiwound or T7 target, the Prism actually comes out better (and that’s not to even mention the other fire modes it can use, which bring a lot of additional utility.)
The real problem here is that the Doomweaver is just a very strange and confused weapon profile. Take a moment to think about it- what do you want to be shooting it at, in an ideal situation? What is the preferred target? I’m honestly not sure. It’s not vehicles- the two damage is nice, but with AP0 you’re unlikely to punch through very often. It’s not heavy infantry- again, that AP0 is a big issue, even with the “rending” effect on it, and with only S7 you still wound them on 3s (meaning you can expect ~3 wounds or ~1 kill per volley.) It’s not light infantry- you don’t get really all that many shots, and Dmg2 is completely wasted on them. Light vehicles such as Piranhas or Land Speeders, I guess? But even there the Night Spinner is a bit lackluster, coming in behind weapons such as Starcannons and the like.
And that’s the issue. The Night Spinner isn’t particularly good against any target, nor is it enough of a generalist to really warrant its inclusion otherwise. It isn’t an awful vehicle, but with access to so many more interesting and effective tools in their arsenal, you’re hard-pressed to find a Craftworlds player that has any real incentive to use it. It can fire indirectly, but that is actually a surprisingly common ability in the codex- heck, there are two other units with the same ability in the same slot, not to mention all of the extremely-mobile units from other slots that can do a similar job.
The comparison to other units in the same slot is particularly damning for the Night Spinner; you have, for one, the Support Battery with the Shadow Weaver option. For about the same price as a Night Spinner, you can get three Shadow Weavers, which have a very similar statline (S6 AP0 d6 shots each) and are much smaller (and thus easier to hide out of sight) while putting down half again as much firepower against most targets. And the Support Battery isn’t even considered a particularly good unit in the context of the codex- for it to so completely outclass the Night Spinner is a very bad sign indeed.
I generally try to give units their fair shake when doing these reviews, but unfortunately there’s not a lot exciting to be said about the Night Spinner. While it is thematically and visually quite cool, there is very little reason to end up using one. If you pair it up with Doom it can be fairly scary to various sorts of multiwound targets… but then, so are a lot of units in the Craftworlds codex and the Aeldari metafaction in general, so that hardly gives it any kind of special role. And needing the support of one of the most powerful debuff spells in the game in order to be functional is not a great sign, especially in a codex as powerful as the Craftworlds book.
There are simply too many units that compete with the Night Spinner’s role to really ever make it a serious consideration; the Fire Prism is a better direct-fire tank with a great stratagem, the Shadow Weaver is a better artillery unit for hiding in the back, the Warp Hunter is a better multirole artillery tank (especially since it didn’t lose its flamer mode), Dark Reapers are a better glass cannon, etc. Especially since many codices use indirect fire units to compensate for lack of mobility- a problem that Eldar don’t suffer from in the slightest- there just isn’t really much of a reason to take the Night Spinner, even at its improved price.
You’re probably never going to see a Night Spinner on the table, and if you do you’re probably not going to have any particular problems with it. It’s a bad version of the other Craftworlds tanks, so as long as you don’t just let it hide out of line of sight for the whole game, pounding away at your units, you should be pretty much fine. Have you ever killed a Basilisk or Wyvern before? Great, then you already know more than enough about how to deal with a Night Spinner; end of story.
I’d like to be able to say better stuff about the Night Spinner; in previous editions, the combination of a large blast weapon that had the barrage and monofilament rules was actually surprisingly decent, especially when you could link several of them together for improved accuracy. But it’s pretty hard to praise them anymore when there’s such strong competition from other units in the same role and the same slot; while it might be objectively a more useful unit than it was before, the competition for space is a lot fiercer now, I think, so it’s hard to give the Spinner the nod in anything but the most casual lists. You can certainly use it if you want to and it won’t make you cry tears of shame and regret, but it’s probably never going to impress you very much, either.
As always, remember that you can get your wargaming supplies at a great discount every day from the Frontline Gaming store, whether you’re looking to start a new army or expand an existing one.