Welcome to Librarium Online!
I'm building my first army based around 2 Wraithlord + Avatar with supporting Dire Avengers and Scorpions in a Serpants with a fire prism for long-range fire support.
However, I know Eldar really can't go head to head with other factions in heavy combat and need to be able to win by finesse over brute force. I don't exactly know how to use some of the fast fragile units. The units in question are:
-Shining Spears (these guys look cooler than Jetbikes) Do I use them like real knights charging into the heart of the enemy hope they'll ride down everything? Somehow I don't this is the way to use them. :lol:Are jetbikes better?
-Rangers, fast and I heard they can support Striking Scorpions very well. Is having them as scouts to move and fire on the 1st turn a good idea? Why should I get them over Warwalkers?
-Warp spiders, I don't really know how these work really even after reading the codex. But I heard they're the quitiessential Eldar fast attack unit.
I'd appreciate any recommendations! thanks
I proxied my jetbikes as spears a lot of 4th edition and had great success. I haven't really done that in 5th, but that's at least in part due to moving to a new place and not wanting to proxy until guys know me.
Anyway the deal with spears is that a core tactic of, well most armies but definitly Eldar, is to hit a portion of their army with a larger portion of yours while tying to leave some of theirs high and dry with nothing to do (until it's their turn to die).
Spears help with this by being so mobile.
Let me elaborate. Lets say you charged a large assault marine squad with some scorpeons. Well that could go well, but it could also go badly for the scorps. If instead you also attack with spears you can clear out the whole squad that turn. And then you're ready to kill some more.
There is a big problem in fifth though. Instead of being able to use the massacre unit to get into CC with more models in the area you just sit there and get shot up. Also since vehicles are no longer coffins on tracks there are a lot more of them. Meaning something has to pop them before an effective charge.
Spears were also great with target priority rules. Fortune them, turbo them. and enemies have to try and penetrate a 3+ invulnerable save with a re-roll on T4 models. Also because they're scarry opponents would deliberatly shoot at them like that. That aspect has also at least partially be removed.
One other thing they could do was bounce around with armies like Tau. So long as they had a fortuning seer they can charge right into the heart of the enemy without fear of power weapons. Ideally the enemy would hold, but kill no spears. Then you use hit and run then on your next turn you charge even deeper in.
However the seer can't hit and run. So initially they stay out of combat. That used to work since they couldn't be targeted if spears were in front. That doesn't work anymore.
I dunno if spears really work in 5th
Spears are nice in 5th Ed but you have to be really careful with them if you want to get your points back. Unsupported they are capable to cutting down a combat squad on the charge, or in a pinch crushing a vehicle but against larger squads they are going to find their low number of attacks get lost in the swarm.
As such they need something to back them up either in combat or support fire.
Including an Autarch is a popular choice as he add's a good number of usually hitting on 3+ attacks that can really up the bite of the squad.
Their main problem is a lack of versitility, MEQ's and some MC's are about your only viable target, or at a push terminators without Storm shields. Killing Orks/gaunts/guard outside of Mega-armour is going to see your attacks as a drop in the ocean while some of the bigger tougher MC's like those with decent invulnerable saves are probably going to beat you unsupported as well.
Where they used to shine for me was paired with Storm Guard as they could add to the break test by helping outnumber while the Spears did the killing but now it's purely about kills thats not as effective.
As a result our "Shining Knights" are more like the jackals of the battlefield, picking on isolated tanks and small elite squads, a task they are good at, but one that justifying their not insignificant cost for can be difficult.
"ask not the Eldar a question, for he will give you three answers, all of which are true and terrifying to know"
Spears are best used for smashing small expensive squads on the edges of the enemy army, but they need to avoid return fire as much as possible.
Rangers are troop choices. They should be stuck on a building/in a wood near an objective and snipe through the game (infiltrate helps here)
Swooping hawks are the other fast attack choice. deepstrike them for a large blast, they have great mobility, but low firepower.
Warp spiders are hit-and-run units that will annoy your enemy no end. They also put out a good number of high strength shots.
I like to support my spears with a seer council on bikes with abilities like fortune, guide & Doom makes it very useful you can quite easily destroy most units and i'll aim for 1 flank and keep going from unit to unit, hiding behind terrain as much as i can.
Rangers i simply infiltrate and aim for something like a devastator squad. I have used Striking scorpians with them once i had a small unit os scorpians protecting 2 large units of Pathfinders.
I have used Warp Spiders loads of times and it's quite easy to use them i mainly go for large weak units with them (eg Guard, Fire Warriors, Gretchin) or small strong units (Terminators, Crisis Suits) but i suppose there best use is to deal with enemy infiltrators. Quite easy to use, just use them like basic jump infantry lining them up in good positions behind cover until your ready to strike, teleport them within assault range of an enemy shoot them like mad, assault then teleport out (always make sure you have hit and run)
Suffer not a Mon'Keigh to live
Suffer not the works of the C'Tan
I love my shining spears, but they have a couple drawbacks you need to be aware of. The first one is that they are very vulnerable in turn one, if your opponent goes first. I've lost 3 of my 5 to a basilisk blast before they could move to get their 3+ cover save. However, in that game the remaining two took out the basilisk, a two leman Russ's and should have finished off a carnifex, but I rolled snake-eyes on the to wound .
They are tough to use properly to get their points back. In the last game I played I used them to take out a Chaos Lord on a khorne juggernaut. They easily took him out... however, he also wiped them out. So point wise I lost by 50 points there. They are very effective at killing tanks MEQ's, TEQ's and MC's with lower initiative, but you'll want to keep them away from hordes and high initiative CC killing machines (Demon Princes, genestealers, etc.). They work really well as something to pop transports allowing the guys inside to be shot at by a different unit (or several), and then charge in to finish off the rest.
One thing I tend to do is shoot the tank first and if it dies then I can use my assault move to fly away from danger, or hide behind the bulk of the tank.
I rarely use Shining Spears. It's not because they are weak. It's not because they are expensive. It's because they are extremely delicate, especially if we consider their considerable point cost.
The problem is: how to make them get into battle. Few things you have to remember is:
1) They are only as tough as Space Marines. Consequences are described later.
2) There are few of them.
3) They fall to almost all incoming fire - Heavy Bolters, Bolters, Multi-Lasers, Assault Cannons, Missile Launchers and Lasguns are weapons that tend to wipe them and as you see Cover due to TB won't help you.
4) To avoid being wiped, you have to hide them. Terrain in this edition is not good idea. Better are your skimming tanks. It is hard, but possible.
5) You have to remember they do not have Grenades, apart from Autarch. That mean charging Cover may be extremely dangerous due to enemy striking first.
6) Without Autarch they may not have enough hitting power to slaughter hordes, kill tough or good Invulnerable-saved enemies. And Autarch is + 120/130 points.
7) For the same reasons the squad should be as numerous as possible, unless you are fighting Tau or such. However, nubmers are also important for anyone to survive till they eventually charge.
If you stay in fight, you are not going to do much. If you are fighting poo-combatr-equipped Veterans or Devastators it may be best situation for you, however, in such cases enemy is preparing counter-attack. This is avoidable situation that should be avoided.
9) Whenever Spears strike, they have to either strike isolated enemies surrounded by tanks not to get shot to pieces after consolidation or take part in general Mech Troops strike. Then, if most of enemy is wiped or enemy has many threats to face (best option: too many, or not enough units to cope with situation) we can say that they are relatively safe or it may be even better for you if they draw fire from other valuable troops, let's say troops: mechanised Avengers (who work really well with them, either via supporting fire or holding enemies with Shimmershield and Defend).
10) Whatever you plan, remember that they are extremely expensive, with Autarch more than 300. Unless you killed more point worth of opponents, or used them in such matter that they had real tactical impact, you know that after this struggle to make use of them you wasted them.
Ok, so Spears suck.
But Jetbikes suck even more right? So do swooping hawks and I just don't like Warp Spiders.
Aren't spears the best of fast attack? Apart from wave serpants of couse.
I wouldn't say that Shining Spears, Guardian Jetbikes, or Swooping Hawks suck at all.
Like most Eldar units you just have to practice and figure out how to use them effectively. Gaurdian Jetbikes are a solid swift moving troops choice that can A. Bust light tanks with their shuriken cannons (and even tougher vehicles with a Warlock.) and B. Capture an objective up to 24" away on the last turn, or at least contest it. In my opinion thats what they are best at and a bit expensive but worth the price.
Hawks may seem pretty bad at first with their low stregth gun but if you couple that with a doom seer in a wave serpant or on a bike it greatly increases their effectivness. They can quickly respond to infantry appraoching your lines and even get up and bust some tanks on the way (which they are very good at.)
My advice would just to read the codex through and experiment with different combos and practice using your units in harmony.
My biggest problem with them is that against guard armies, where they come in very handy, they get targetted by ordnance barrage right off the bat. While this doesn't have a huge chance of hitting, when it does it causes devastation (and while it''s great they aren't shooting the rest of my stuff, I hate to lose them that early). I currently run a unit of 5 with exarch, star lance, withdraw and skilled rider, but I'm wondering if splitting into 2 units of 3 with exarch and star lances would be more effective. It's a few more points, but not that many, and I wouldn't need withdraw, because if they get caught in CC they're going to die anyway, and I've rarely used skilled rider. I would then also get 2 str 8 lance shots for landraiders if I'm desperate, I can pop two tanks a turn with them instead of one, and I can still coordinate their attacks to be effective against MC's and MEQ's and TEQ's. I know this means I have 2 easy kill points now instead of one somewhat easy kill point, but that is a risk you can mitigate. The big advantage for me, I believe, is that it will be tougher to take out all of my shining spears on the first turn, I am fairly likely to have at least one unit left to turbo boost with. Also, as I have other high priority targets in my army, taking pot shots at my bikes might not be as easy a choice as it once was, as they are smaller groups and "not as dangerous."
Sorry if I hijaked this thread. Your thoughts and criticisms are appreciated.