Craftworlds Codex Review: Heavy Support: Night Spinner

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.

Overview

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.

Uses

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.

Countering

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

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About abusepuppy

AbusePuppy is the one who has been ruining 40K for everyone this whole time. He is also searching for the six-fingered man and is one of the three people who know the secret recipe for coke (not the soda, the illegal drug.)

19 Responses to “Craftworlds Codex Review: Heavy Support: Night Spinner”

  1. Anggul August 22, 2018 12:31 am #

    From 7th to 8th, all monofilament weapons went from hero to zero for various reasons. Shame really.

    Maybe they should have native AP-1 or even -2? I don’t know, but they need something. They can’t rely on lots of hits and wounding most things on 2+ any more.

    #removerandomshots

    • NinetyNineNo August 22, 2018 8:38 am #

      I think AP0 with AP-4 on 6s is a bad idea for a dedicated weapon. It’s decent on infantry or cheap extra vehicle weapons, since you’ll be shooting at whatever you can get, but a vehicle dedicated to it causes a weird conundrum — the bonus AP procs are pretty much wasted against light armor, but if you shoot at strong saves you’re banking on those lucky 6s else you’ll be pretty much useless.

    • WestRider August 22, 2018 1:28 pm #

      As I was reading through the article, I was thinking that maybe a +1 to Wound vs anything without the Vehicle Keyword might help get that niche back for the Monofilament Weapons. That would take them back to Wounding most things on 2+ again.

      For the Night Spinner in particular, it probably should have the same double fire buff that the Fire Prism got.

      • Anggul August 23, 2018 12:58 am #

        All of the ‘shoot twice’ rules on tanks are just an attempt to combat the obvious fact that rolling D6 for shots with a single main weapon is rubbish and makes no sense but they refuse to admit it and FAQ them all to have a set number of shots.

        It works okay when you have a lot of that weapon (like squads of skyweavers with haywire cannons) because it generally averages out, but when you only have one or two it isn’t nearly as likely to do so. It’s also why Catachan is so much better for such weapons, it’s a patch on a severely flawed rule.

        Leman Russ and Fire Prisms wouldn’t need to be able to fire twice if they just fired a set, good number of ‘shots’ in the first place, and the same applies here.

        It doesn’t even make sense in a narrative sense either. Rolling scatter was replaced with normal rolling to hit. Rolling for number of shots *on top of that* means that the size of the blast is random too. Imagine if in previous editions you had to roll D6 for the size of the blast whenever you fired instead of having a set large blast template!

        #removerandomshots

        • abusepuppy August 23, 2018 7:00 am #

          If the Night Spinner had a fixed seven shots (instead of 2d6), it would still be a bad unit. Ditto if the Leman Russ had a fixed four shots on its main gun. The randomness can certainly be a factor in things, but it is typically not what makes a given unit good or bad.

          • Anggul August 24, 2018 12:02 am
            #

            Oh I agree, I don’t think giving the average of D6 is good enough either. Just as templates used to start covering a lot of models but usually scatter off and not hit as many, you should start rolling a lot more dice and then ballistic skill determines how many end up hitting.

            Make it six shots instead of D6. Some things will have to be tweaked certainly, haywire cannons always firing six shots would be nuts, but then they were only increased from D3 to D6 because the randomness sucked so much and they wanted to up the average. Just make them a set 3 shots or something. Consider it for the aforementioned things though.

            Obviously even with 12 shots Night Spinners would still need some native AP to inflict decent damage against most things, but it would be a big step in the right direction. The same for all of the D6 shot weapons that just don’t put out.

          • Anggul August 24, 2018 12:05 am
            #

            Not for all of them, rapid fire battle cannons for example would need to be less than 6 per D6 or they would just be superior to gatling cannons, but it makes sense that they would fire slightly smaller shells at a higher rate. Maybe 4 shots per D6 in that case, so eight shots.

  2. Majere August 22, 2018 1:26 am #

    What’s the preferred target for the Nightspinner? Daemons. Again.

    Just like most Deathwatch anti-Xenos weaponry is actually better against Daemons, the Night Spinner and weapons like it utterly crucify them. They have lots of 2W units (or 4W, in the case of Plague Drones etc) with no armour and only a 5++, so the lack of AP is no problem. A Keeper of Secrets has T7, 12 Wounds and a 5++ which the Night Spinner is more than capable of doing in a turn.

    Not that I’m saying I’d take a Night Spinner just for that, but yeah, as a Daemons player it’s pretty depressing 😛

    • Anggul August 22, 2018 3:16 am #

      I guess at least them being useless against everyone else means you’ll rarely have to face them? 😉

      • abusepuppy August 22, 2018 7:48 am #

        Let’s remember, though, even against the Keeper of Secrets- that is to say, against the worst garbage trash daemon that no one will ever use- it’s getting 7 shots, 5 hits, 3 wounds, 2 failed saves, for a total of four damage pushed through. At that rate, it takes _half the game_ to kill the worst daemon you’ll never see on the table.

        The chances of a Night Spinner killing a KoS in a single turn are abysmal. Even with both Doom and Jinx up, your odds are quite shabby.

        • Ujayim August 22, 2018 10:42 am #

          RIP Greater Daemons.

          • abusepuppy August 22, 2018 4:26 pm
            #

            Eh. Bloodthirsters hit really hard, GUOs are actually fairly tough, LoCs can stack a crazy number of defensive buffs up; we’ve seen GT-winning lists using several of them and I don’t think they’re nearly so bad as people claim.

            But the KoS just has no reason to exist at all. It’s got a bad statline and isn’t even particularly cheap.

        • WestRider August 23, 2018 9:27 am #

          I’m running a KoS this weekend anyhow, just because I’m too pleased with my conversion to let her sit on the shelf 😛

        • Paul Winters February 11, 2019 6:14 pm #

          How dare you say something so correct. I am outraged.

  3. Brainy August 22, 2018 10:44 am #

    It’s a shame it lost its (torrent) flamer ability. That was pretty cool to have and made the Night Spinner way more interesting and versatile.

    • abusepuppy August 22, 2018 4:25 pm #

      Yeah if it still had a 12″ range d6 or 2d6 autohits mode, it would be a much more interesting unit- you’d have your long-range fire support gun, but when the enemy got in close (as they tend to try and go against gunlines) you could pounce on things and really unleash some firepower. Alas, they decided to remove it because… reasons?

  4. Weidekuh February 11, 2019 9:08 pm #

    When doing those Re-reviews of units or tactics. Can you mark the new passages with a color? (blue or green). I like your articles, but reading them a second time I always wonder what is now new…

    • abusepuppy February 12, 2019 6:57 am #

      It’s a little bit tricky because it varies significantly article to article- in some of them, large sections were rewritten, whereas on others it was fairly limited changes. I’ll see if I can try and find a better way to delineate the updated sections, though. A wholly separate text colors feels a little… garish, but might end up being the best solution- though I’m certainly open to other ideas.

  5. NinetyNineNo February 13, 2019 5:19 am #

    Heads up, the Windriders article is borked. I was looking it up (since they made a comeback and all), but it’s not in the archives and the direct link from the CWE review index is broken.

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