Monday, February 7, 2011

Mental Exercise: Shining Spears Battle Report

This post covers a sort of  "mental exercise" with me using units I have not used very often in an army list that might not be that great for the purposes of a fun and hopefully educational battle report.

My list:

HQ: 280
Autarch, Jetbike, Fusion Gun, Mandiblaster, Laser Lance=140
Autarch, Jetbike, Fusion Gun, Mandiblaster, Laser Lance=140


Guardian Jetbikes: 6 Jetbikes, 2 Shiruken Cannons, Warlock, Singing Spear, Embolden=205
Guardian Jetbikes: 6 Jetbikes, 2 Shiruken Cannons, Warlock, Singing Spear, Embolden=205

Fast Attack:732

Shining Spears: 5 Shining Spears, Exarch, Star Lance, Shiruken Cannon, Withdraw (hit and run), Skilled Rider=252
Shining Spears: 5 Shining Spears, Exarch, Star Lance, Shiruken Cannon, Withdraw (hit and run), Skilled Rider=252
Warp Spiders: 8 Spiders, Exarch, extra Spinner, Powerblades, Withdraw=228

Heavy Support:

War Walker: 2 Scatter Lasers=60


The focus on this list is the use of a fast moving Jet Bike units with the emphasis on Shining Spears for close combat support. The Warp Spiders are there to add an extra shooting/close combat punch should the enemy get in range and as a speed bump should anything threaten my scoring GJB squads. The War Walker was thrown in there as filler and who doesn't love a lone War Walker coming on and wrecking havoc, right?

Opponent's list:

4X Greyhunters, Wulfen, Banner, 2 Meltas, P-fist, Combi-Melta (3 in Rhinos)
Land Raider Crusader

Since my friend is a Ragnar fan-boy, I insisted he take Ragnar for free this game (since our previous fun game vs my nids, Ragnar made 9 invul saves from dual boneswords and I wanted revenge). This is a pretty solid brick of an army so it was a good test to see how Shining Spears would perform.


We decided to just do Annihilation with Pitched Battle deployment, so above is our deployment and what the table pretty much looked like. My friend went first.

Turn 1:

I decided to keep my army on the table to get some extra shooting off and kill some rhinos since his longest range was 24". My friend moved everything up to the ruins in the middle and popped smoke. My army moved up to take pot shots at some Rhinos and all the cover saves were passed except for one weapon destroyed result we forgot to apply for the rest of the game. I used my Jetbike assault moves and Warp Spider second jump to get me as far back as possible from his army.

Turn 2:

In a bold move, he sent his Rhinos up as far as they could go, disembarked and rapid fired into my face to great effect dropping 4 Warp Spiders and wiping out a Shining Spear squad with my Autarch and all; mainly due to poor armor saves on my part.

I move up a bit and shoot up the closest Grey Hunter squad with my GJB units and whittle him down to just 3 guys who break and fall back, with my other shooting I bring another Grey Hunter squad down to almost nothing and seeing as how the Land Raider with it's load was in charge range of all his Grey Hunter squads, I opted to only charge in with my Warp Spiders (who killed 2 more in the combat) and use my Jetbike move to bring my Shining Spears back out of charge range of everything for a hopeful charge next turn. My War Walker also came on this turn and did nothing.

Turn 3:

At this point, he moves his Land Raider up, getting a better position on my Shining Spears, his 3 man Grey Hunter squad that was falling back regroups and charges my Warp Spiders wiping them out while the Spider Exarch takes down another Grey Hunter. His full Grey Hunter squad with the Land Raider brings my Shinig Spear squad down to the Exarch, 1 regular Shining spear dude and my Autarch.

At this point, my Autarch and Shining Spear squad maneuver around the full Grey Hunter squad shoot it up a bit (with the help of the rest of my army) then charge it wiping it out to the man. My War Walker takes out the  2 man squad previously mangled by my Warp Spiders.

Turn 4, 5:

The game is now 3 KP for the SW players to 2 KP for the Eldar and in an effort to ensure victory, my opponent starts tank shocking me with all of his tanks all the while continuing to move his Land Raider up to keep the pressure on me. His tank shock on my Shining Spear squad with one of the Rhinos kills my Autarch as I hit, pen and roll a 2 on the pen table bringing it up to a 3 with the AP-1 rule-the ONLY result that would kill him (since every other result would have stopped the tank). He tank shocks my GJB squads and in a failed death or Glory one Warlock dies (rolled a 1 to pen) and my other GBJ squad stuns the Rhino with their Death or Glory. His depleted Grey Hunter squad got into the Rhino that tank shocked my Shining Spears.

Well, after so much Tank Shock fail, I manage to kill the Rhino that killed my Autarch, finish off the remaining Grey Hunters while the rest of my shooting does nothing to the rest of his Rhinos. In a fit of desperation, my Shining Spears move up to try and take out that Land Raider rolling horribly (despite the Exarch having a S8 lance shot and s8 CC attacks). Oh well, lesson learned!

The game ends with Ragnar getting out of the Land Raider and tearing up my Shining Spears, the Land Raider killing my War Walker and the Rhinos eventually dying to my shooting. The game ends on turn 5, 5 KP to 5 KP.


So some valuable lessons with the use of Shining Spears with an Autarch, do not take armor saves. If someone tells you to take armor saves on your Shining Spears, it's a trap, you will fail them =).  In all seriousness, though, they epitomize the glass hammer. Their shooting is pretty potent before they charge and when they do charge, they will most likely wipe the unit they charge or come very close to it. They need to be protected and kept from enemy fire as best as possible as in this game, I think I aptly demonstrated how even rapid firing bolters can take them out. I should have kept the Shining Spears back more in this game and set out some other units for bolter bait, losing that one Shining Spear unit early on hurt a lot!

-Shining Spears are FRAGILE.
-Shining Spears can offer good fire support to the rest of your army so keeping them back isn't always a bad idea.
-Shining Spears are very potent on the charge, they should be used for punishing your enemy's poor choices like charging easy targets the enemy puts out there but also beware not to get baited into a bad charge.
-Avoid getting near Land Raiders with units inside, you might just fail to kill it in a horrible way only to get charged from whatever is inside in a worse way.  If you have a squad of Fire Dragons nearby to kill the Land Raider, then charging the contents is more likely but 2 fusion guns and a S8 Lance is no guarantee by any means.

Warp Spiders are not bad! The are good shooting at close range and can even put some hurt on in combat. Their main weakness is still being T3 and needing to get so close to be effective so all it takes is one shooting phase to severely limit the unit's effectiveness.

Warlocks in Jetbike squads are amazing. They add a huge element of survivability in that the unit can re-roll failed tests (losing a squad to tank shock sucks for example) and the Singing Spear/Wych blade gives the squad a very powerful anti-tank presence.

Well, that was my experimental game, I learned some things and I hope anyone reading enjoyed this post, feel free to post any comments or thoughts you may have.


  1. Just found your blog via Hero's Blog. Great to see quality articles on the Eldar.

  2. Cool, thanks for your feedback, I plan on adding a lot more content in a bit so stay tuned! =)