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40k: X vs Y – Eldar Vyper vs Warp Spiders

6 Minute Read
Aug 29 2013
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I’m looking for some fast, hard hitting and flexible firepower that wont cost my Craftworld army a ton of points.  It’s time for an X vs Y!

Before moving on, standard cheeky pimpage, an article brought to you by Imperius Dominatus

Currently in my Eldar list I am running two Vypers kitted out with dual shuri cannons. They offer 6 x S6 shots at a threat range of 32″. The Vypers are fast little buggers and can easily get into side and rear armour. On paper they sound good, but I am finding them a little meh. Plus mine seem to hit less than they should 🙁

I have been looking at replacement units for the Vypers and one unit which has cropped up are the Warp Spiders. The Spiders can offer more or less the same thing as the Vyper with some additional goodies.

Vyper

The Vyper is a cheapo mini Eldar skimmer costing a small 50 points. It is basically the Eldar’s Land Speeder.

You can add the usual assortment of weaponry onto the Vyper such as scatter laser, bright lance, starcannon and eldar missile launcher. You can add a second weapon, though that only comes in the form of a second shuriken cannon (replaces the shuriken catapult).

Naturally the Vyper can take vehicle wargear, which the holo-field offers the most benefit.

For half way between 70 and 80 points you can make a Vyper death dealer with 6 x S6 shots (dual shuri cannons) and it can be damn survivable thanks to the holo-fields.

The Vyper’s strength is it’s speed (like all Eldar vehicles), the holo-field will give the Vyper a 4+ cover normally and if behind a ruin a 3+ – this is a massive survival boost and a big game changer as there isn’t a huge amount of high strength weapons out there which have ignores cover.

Another strength of the Vyper is the threat range it offers – 36″ if using shuri cannon(s) even more if using scatter laser or bright lance. Speed combined with range allows the Vyper to quickly get into range and will force the opponent to react to you, not the other way around.

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The Vyper is effective by targeting weak small units i.e 5 man Space Marine units, minimum Fire Warriors, basically something it can easily tackle. The speed of the Vyper also allows it to easily get into the side and rear armour of enemy vehicles, however the S6 shots means it would have a tough time bringing down a mediocre Rhino as on average it would hit with 4 shots and damage 1.3. Now that I mention it I think the most my Vypers have ever done is taken out a Manticore – bad luck or just the way it goes?

Over all I have found the Vyper to be a cheap and reasonable bit of kit. It doesn’t do anything amazing however and lacks punch.

Here is a Vyper Tactica article I did earlier (Blue Peter!)

Warp Spiders

Warp Spiders are the Eldar’s jump troops. They come at you seriously quick thanks to their magic jet packs and can really put the hurt on, especially against low initiative models or vehicles.

The Spiders are your typical Eldar profile wise, so nothing special, but they do have a 3+ armour save. It’s their wargear what really makes them shine:

Spiders are jet pack infantry come with a warp generator, the generator allows models to move 6″+2D6″ which ignores intervening models and terrain (ignores dangerous terrain). They have a possible movement of 18″ if you manage to roll double 6. Like the holo-field, this ability is another game changer, as it allows the Warp Spiders to bypass terrain or models which block line of sight and get to the real target – think you are safe? Their is a risk to using the jump generators, roll a double and one Spider goes bye bye and is removed as a casualty.

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Before moving onto the other wargear I thought I would sneak this in seems we’re talking about speed; like all Eldar the Warp Spiders have fleet. When the Spiders have done their super movement they can run and thanks to fleet re-roll if it is a poor roll. On average the roll should give an extra 4″ of movement. On average the total movement of a unit of War Spiders should be 17″, though maximum the Spiders could move is 24″!

Don’t forget that Warp Spiders are jet pack infantry and can move 2d6″ in the assault phase. It gives them a sort of hit and run ability and can provide a huge survival boost as they can move into cover or even out of line of sight.

The other cool bit of wargear Warp Spiders have is the death spinner. This is a small ranged weapon (12″), though packs a hefty S6 assault 2 shots. The sweetness of the death spinner is the monofilament rule; if the enemy model is initiative 3 or under or has no initiative then the death spinner gets +1 strength. In addition if a 6+ is rolled to wound then it auto wounds and is resolved at ap1.

When you combine the warp jump generator and the death spinner with fleet and battle focus you have an extremely potent tank hunting mobile unit. If you take the maximum movement of 24″, consider that you have deployed 12″ from the table edge and throw in the death spinner range of 12″ that is a possible threat range of 48″! Depending on deployment the Warp Spiders may be able to destroy an enemy vehicle before it even fires or moves.

A quick mathshammer against a Rhino says a minimum unit of Warp Spiders would hit 6.6 shots which 3.3 would do some damage. Providing the Rhino wasn’t in cover then it would be brown bread.

Vehicles are not only the ideal target for War Spiders; monstrous are excellent choice, especially if the unit has been effected by doom (re-roll and get more 6+). Multi wound T3 models are up on the hunt as well, though the bog standard strength of the death spinner would deal with these targets fine.

The Warp Spiders are a fast and deadly unit which are an asset to any Eldar force. Their only weakness is the low toughness, but that is the nature of the beast with Eldar. At least they do have a 3+ armour save to protect themselves.

Summary

When comparing vehicles and infantry it is like comparing apples and oranges, both are shooting but still very different. When looking at units of these nature you need to look at what job you want them to do and what they can offer.

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The Vyper is a cheap vehicle, you can get two bog standard Vypers for almost the same cost as a unit of five Warp Spiders. It also offers the usual cons and pros vs infantry such as only S4 or above weaponry can damage it and more often than not it will be dedicated anti tank required to take it down. Like any other vehicle it can have the movement locked by immobilised and stunned results and weaponry can be destroyed. It isn’t also the most durable vehicle out there (av10, 2 hull points, open topped), though holo-field can allow the Vyper to absorb punishment if positioned correctly.

Warp Spiders are a lot easier to deal with than Vypers as small arms fire can bring them down and any model in the game such as a lowly Grot can hurt them, however that is really the only down side I can see to Warp Spiders. After all it is not like they go down in a light breeze, they do have a 3+ armour save. I think the Warp Spiders offer way more positives than the negatives and those positives are extremely strong and outshine the abilities the Vyper can offer.

Based upon many games using the Vyper and upon my experiences using it I am going to throw this one to the Warp Spiders. The Spiders maybe more costly and easier to deal with, but they offer so much more positives than the Vyper and they cannot be described as anything less than ‘awesome’ while the Vyper is ‘oh, that’s ok’

So then campers, what do you prefer, the fast, nimble but fragile Vyper or the super fast, dakka dakka and fragile War Spiders?

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