Eldar Review: Fast Attack: Shining Spears

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What’s good fellow gamers?  Mr.MoreTanks to talk about those other Jetbikes in the Eldar Codex, no not the Jetseer Council, those aren’t even actual Jetbikes, I mean the legendary Shining Spears.  When the Eldar’s highly controversial “Dull Swords” Aspect Temple folded up, the Shining Spears swept in to skewer the enemy’s of Khaine!  Be sure to check out the Tactics Corner for more great articles and bad jokes.

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Overview: 

The ever forgotten Aspect Temple, Shining Spears weigh in at a hefty 75 points for 3 Spears.  Other than the higher Toughness from being on the bike, these war fighters roll with the standard Aspect Warrior stat line.  These guys come with the classic well known Eldar speed.  Anyone who’s played a game against Eldar knows the insane flexibility and maneuverability of Eldar Jetbikes, and how perfect they can be for securing late game Objectives.  Moving dozens of inches in a single turn while retaining the ability to score an Objective is an invaluable trait, particularly in the ITC.

Wargear:

  • Heavy Aspect Armor, this and the Jetbike give us out 3+ Armor Save.
  • Laser Lance, serves as an extremely short ranged ranged weapon as well as a melee weapon.  Strength 6 AP 3 Assault 1 Lance at a 6 inch range isn’t anything super stellar, but that’s more of a problem of the fragility of the Spears.  In combat, it Strength +3 on the charge, and always AP 3 while still retaining Lance.  Not too shabby.
  • Jetbike, of the Eldar variety, the best kind to be.

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Special Rules:

  • Ancient Doom, still Hatred against Slaanesh units, and still not good to take Fear tests against Slaanesh units.
  • Battle Focus, yup, these guys still got it too.
  • Outflank, deployment options are always useful, but less so now that you can’t assault out of Reserves.
  • Skilled Rider, what’s terrain?
  • Aerobatic Grace, as long as the model doesn’t remain stationary, the unit gains a 4+ Cover Save. Not having to ever Jink is pretty nice.
  • Expert Hunter (Exarch), lets you re-roll to Wound MCs and re-roll non-penetrating armor penetration rolls.

Options:

  • Add up to 6 more Shining Spears for 25 points each.
  • You can upgrade one Spear to an Exarch for 10 points.
  • The Exarch can then exchange his lance for a either a power sword for free or a star lance for 10 points.

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Tactics:

Well there’s something that we have to acknowledge right off the bat, and that’s that this unit does not have the tools nor the teeth to fill its intended roll within the codex.  Which is a shame, because the idea of an assault unit on Jetbikes seems awesome, ah well, a good tactician doesn’t lament his lack of tools, he adapts and overcomes.  The issue is that these Shining Spears don’t have grenades, which severely limits our options for targets.  Assaulting units in cover really isn’t an option, and the units we want to be attacking have the potential to crush these guys if they are swinging before the Spears.

Now that the concerns and things to watch out for are out of the way, let’s focus on what to do with these riders.  Our guns are either weak or short ranged, so we shouldn’t be afraid to Jink to keep our Shining Spears alive.  So what are we hunting for?  MEQ (Marine Equivalent) or weaker MSU (Multiple Small Units) for sure are the way to go, though vulnerable or low wound Monstrous Creatures are very viable units as well.  Think Carnifexes, Trygons (preferable wounded), Demon Princes, Ghostkeels, and the like.  These targets aren’t a pushover, especially only having 3 bikers, and let’s be honest, you’ll probably only have 3 bikers if not less, go in carefully.

Getting to these units can be an issue, Outflanking is an option, but not one you really want to consider unless you’re opponent is bringing in Drop Pods.  Starting on the board makes us a little more vulnerable, but honestly, the rest of your army is more than likely going to be a WAY higher priority for your opponent than these bikes.  Using your speed and hugging the edge of the board will be key to your survival, additionally, Skilled Rider will be your friend, so use it.  Tucking into ruins and out of line of sight is always a solid course of option.  The Outflanking can be useful when you need to access an isolated and out of the way Objective, especially from units like Scouts, another enemy Windrider Jetbike unit, something along those lines.  Obviously you can’t assault out of Reserves, but hoping out right next to the unit and hiding near them to charge them next turn is a good option.

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Keeping away from durable and dedicated assault units is a must, they will absolutely crush you.  Big blobs and units that don’t succumb to Morale are also poor targets as well since the Spears lack the hitting power to clear out these units and since they don’t have Hit and Run you will lose the war of attrition.

The synergy of the Shining Spears with other units from the Craftworlds book just might be the strongest aspect of their codex.  The Spears pair well with Warp Spiders, Swooping Hawks, or other units that play aggressively and force the opponent to react to them.  Really there aren’t any bad units, just some that are far more useful than others.  The whole goal is to make the Shining Spears a low priority target for your opponent while still putting the Spears into a position where they can be significant to the outcome of the game. Like the others though, these guys perform well in the Aspect Host detachment, which is an auxiliary detachment in the Warhost. The boost to BS or WS and the rerolls to leadership tests the formation offers is a big boost to these speed daemons.

Beyond the obvious, there are some other strengths to these units.  Being extremely fast gives them the ability to reach out and snag secondaries is always something to be looking for when building lists to win.  In the ITC, and really just any game, being able to move vast distances in a single turn to hold or contest an Objective is an invaluable trait.

The biggest issue however is that anything you’d want to do with this unit can be done far more efficiently by cheaper or better units within the codex.  That’s a reality that simply can’t be ignored; honestly, taking Shining Spears isn’t your best use of points nor whatever from of Detachment or Formation.  Still, if you’re going to take these guys, you might as well make the most of them.  Don’t expect them to take on your opponent’s army head on like a large portion of the Eldar codex can, you’ll be disappointed.  Adapt and overcome gamers, and may the dice be ever in your favor.

 

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About Mr.MoreTanks

Team0Comp member, avid nerd, freedom enthusiast, lover of breakfast food and whiskey. TO of TSHFT (The Seattle Heart of Fire Tournament) and Cruisehammer. You wanna roll with this guy.

11 Responses to “Eldar Review: Fast Attack: Shining Spears”

  1. Colinsherlow December 26, 2015 10:14 am
    #

    I love Shining Spears. They are just missing one little thing, but I am not sure what that is? Hit and run? Ws5? 2 attacks?

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 26, 2015 10:26 am
      #

      Yeah, it seems like they’re always falling just a bit short. You can get WS5 in the Aspect Host, though.

      • Ibushi December 26, 2015 11:36 am
        #

        I found the re-rolling morale checks to be more important than WS5, and actually ended up taking BS5 for those outflanking lance shots more often than not. In combat it is really the Exarch who does all the work.

        If they could get Rage for +2 on the charge I think that would be huge, or even just pistols for +1 attack…

        Even so, target the rights units and they don’t need any of that.

        • Reecius
          Reecius December 26, 2015 12:29 pm
          #

          Yeah, good points. They are excellent MSU hunters, too

  2. Ibushi December 26, 2015 11:35 am
    #

    Took these guys for fun at a local event recently (aspect host with hawks, scorpions, and spears), ended up being my tournament MVPs the sneaky gits.

    Used Outflank every game unless it was Night Fighting — bad boys come on in the enemy DZ and immediately put lance shots up the ass of enemy tanks to great success, then jetbike move to hide for one turn, and start smashing those weak backfield units.

    Found that 4 for 120 pts was the magic number, basically an Exarch with 3 extra wounds. Hello Wyverns, Doomsday Arks, Thunderfire Cannons, Exorcists, you name it. These are usually targets that Eldar struggle with, and where the spears can finally shine.

    If there is one change I would make to them, it would be allowing the Exarch power to affect the whole unit, or change it to give a version of Hit & Run, because even though they don’t really need it in this capacity, it still makes lots of sense.

    See you at TSHFT!

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 26, 2015 12:32 pm
      #

      Hey, nice one! Always good to hear some direct experience with them. I can totally see that being a good use for them. Stick an Autarch in there, too, and the unit is pretty damn scary, actually.

      • Ibushi December 26, 2015 12:52 pm
        #

        Yeah I figured at some point you just need to put them on the table and see what happens! Definitely ideal thunderfire cannon and wyvern killers — Eldar hate those things!

        Putting an Autarch in there basically doubles their effectiveness, but it also triples their target priority, so pros and cons.

        The situation I am thinking about right now is a squad of Spears, a squad of Corsair jetbikes with Autarch, and then a second Corsair jetbike squad with attached Prince, so you get three small, hard-hitting, potentially outflanking units for maximum threat overload.

        When is that very highly anticipated Footdar batrep coming?

        • Reecius
          Reecius December 26, 2015 4:16 pm
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          Nice, that sounds like a good combo! We’ll play Footdar soon, just been on the road with the Holidays and such.

  3. adam Fasoldt December 26, 2015 11:37 am
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    I really like the ability for these things to not have to jink for their cover save and their Leadership could be quite a boon. Even though they aren’t as efficient as the Troops, I’d love to see these in action sometime to see whether they work.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 26, 2015 12:30 pm
      #

      Same here. What they do kill though, they REALLY kill!

  4. abusepuppy December 27, 2015 1:02 am
    #

    I’ve run them in units of five with Star Lance Exarch in the past, and had decent success with them. Skilled Rider and Eldar Jetbike type allow them to jet across the battlefield to somewhere reasonably safe, and 3+ Jink and 3+ armor mean they can weather at least a little bit of fire. Since I always put them in an Aspect Host, they benefit from WS5, making their low base Attacks more palatable. They are solid for hunting MEQs, damaging vehicles (although they typically won’t destroy them in a single go, unless you are lucky) or taking down MCs.

    They really need A2 base and/or Hit and Run to make them work. Lances still being AP3 when standing still is less awful, but it is very easy for them to get caught with their pants down and ground to pieces.