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So I'm going to include a unit of Shining Spears in my Eldar army. I have no experience with them, so I'm hoping to get some experienced players' advice on the subject. What are they good for? What are their strengths/weaknessess? How would you deploy them and apply their power in a battle?
Here's what I've come up with through reading the codex and theorizing about tactics:
Spears are really good at taking out enemy support squads and artillery that likes to stay hang around in the backfield. They can zip in, deliver a devastating charge that will cripple/destroy most heavy weapons units, and fly back out again. This tactic also works for vehicles that are left unsupported (the lone Basilisk in the corner, for example).
I think they'd be even more fun if they were to be used as a mobile reserve for your line units. A well-placed Shining Spear charge could rip out the heart of an enemy's army (taking out those big Tyranid monsters, for example), or deliver the crucial charge to tip a combat in favor of the Eldar.
Shining Spears are sort of like the heavy cavalry of the Eldar army. I'm excited to start using them; does anyone have any advice on tactics that I may have missed? I'm wondering how resilient they are, and how they should be maneuvered around the battlefield.
Their best use is counter assault and flank attacks from what I have seen. Charging up the middle or into a well prepared group is a great way to get those expensive models killed. Their speed allows for quick reaction and their jetbike inval save gives them some survivability but ultimatley your looking at a one wound T3(4) that costs a butt load. Their job on the battlefield therefore is scalpal not broadsword. Depending on what kind of eldar army you play, they can be used to support units like infiltrating scorpions or help DA squads recive an otherwise crippling assault. Their hit and run abilities also make them dangerous to rear units like devastator squads or artillery where they can wipe out a few models than flee before more help arrives.
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Remember with hit and run: Charge, stay in combat for your opponents turn. Then jump out of combat. This keeps them from getting shot up and allows you to charge/shoot again the next turn.
I find shining spears good for taking out enemy deepstrikers. Deepstrikers aren't usaully very resilient so the spears should make short work of them before they screw up your plans.
Watch Terminators. They can receive the charge without getting wiped out and get back at smashing your Spears down.I find shining spears good for taking out enemy deepstrikers. Deepstrikers aren't usaully very resilient so the spears should make short work of them before they screw up your plans.
I agree with thedrifter777. Spears aren't good at solo missions against some big unit. Support, that's what they give. Support that tips the whole combat.
Then they can zip off to support to help another unit or destroy some lurking units behind the hill that's sending barrages at you eg. mortars.
They can also be used effectivly against enemy HQ units and squads, just don't aim to high, deamon prince for example. What ever you use them for though, make sure they are being used in conjunction and carefull planning with the rest of the army.
Ok a couple tactics I have found work wonders with spears.
First get a farseer on a jetbike with fortune. You cast fortune on the spears and then have them turbo boost. You now have a unit with a 3+ invulnerable saving throw with a re-roll. This makes them extremely hard to take down. If you can avoid power weapons keeping fortune on them in combat can let them survive extremely well in combats where they are horribly outnumbered.
The other technique is attacking with them to inflict casualties on the enemy while attacking with another unit to soak up the enemies power attacks. For example lets say you're facing down a unit of assault marines with a sergent with a powerfist and maybe some other gear/honors. If you charged in the spears alone the sergent would squich a couple on the turn they charged, pass the ld test and then on your next turn he'll squish a couple more and you'll probably lose the squad.
However if you get a unit of dire avengers or storm guardians or whatever in base to base with that sergent he HAS to attack that unit and ignore the spears. Who, especially if fortuned, will probably survive to charge again with few casualties.
By the way always give the exarc the star lance. The instant death potential is just too awsome against indipendent characters.
Finally your weakness is being charged. You suddenly don't have control of the situation and may take horrible casualties. Unless the enemy isn't that good in CC and lacks power weapons and you have fortune active.
On that note I'm looking forward to playing some Tau.
Oh and don't overlook skilled rider. The juiciest targets for spears are things like devestator squads and those tend to be in woods.
Shining Spears have excellent movement and hitting power, unfortunately their attacks are rather limited and their numbers few. This combination enables them to do a few things but they are generally good against heavy infantry (Space Marines, Terminators, Tau Battlesuits, tyrannid warriors etc). Small squads of heavy infantry will find themselves often completely wiped out if a squad of shining spears assaulted, however when dealing with larger squads you should be careful. Their incredible speed enables them to fulfull a number of roles. They can be foward shock troopers, complimented by units such as striking scorpions and warp spiders they can deal high amounts of damage while remaining alive while the rest of your army advances. Shining spears can also be a quick reaction squad where they can respond to unexpect threats such as deep strikers, infiltrators and hidden deployment squads. Lastly this squad offers deterrant against vehicals, their weapons count as lances so they will function much like a brightlance but at a shorter range and lower strength, given an exarch with a starlance their chances of beating a tank is quite easily done. :yes:
Shining spears have a limited number of troops per squad so any return attacks that ignor their armour saves will prove deadly to them. So you should evaulate different squads before attacking them, for example, Power fist Sergants in space marine squads will turn a close combat fight to his favour quite easily. As such you should avoid units with these in.
Terminators and such variants are tough and powerful, but given the amount of attacks compared to squad numbers you can assurtain weather shining spears have a good chance of killing them before they get to strike back, for example a squad of five terminators against three shining spears, the shining spears have a relatively decent chance of kiling them all but when facing tougher numbers they should be avoided.
In any case it is just a matter of analysing weather shining spears have an advantage over the target you want to assault, war isn't fair to don't play as such.
When in deployment make sure you don't expose them to too much firepower, as mentioned above they are quite fragile to taking any form of casulties, the trick is to be reserve with them. Hide them until they are within charge range since casulties taken will ultimately mean they deal less damage.
Everything I have told you, even this, is a lie.
I'm guessing hieromo meant 5 spears on three termies. Which is much more reasonable.
However I disagree on hiding them. If you can fortune them, even just once from a footslogging farseer at the beginning of the fight, you can move them into postion for a turn 2 charge. Be carefull not to get counter charged of course, at least not by power weapon squads. You opponent is likely to expend far more of their shooting at the spears than they should considering the rest of your army should be moving into position. They may also move assault units into positions to intercept the spears.
On your turn have the spears assault a juicy target that isn't near the assault units they moved up. Instead shoot those assault units with the rest of your army.