Necron Unit Tactica: Tomb Spyders

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Tomb Spyders are probably one of the least used units in the Necron arsenal, coming only close the Pariah in terms of usage and prevalence. However, that does not mean that they are useless. Tomb Spyders serve several important functions in the army, and in 4th edition have quite a useful meaning to the word "mission" let alone "support." That is exactly what Tomb Spyders are, support, and using them in a supporting role is how you can employ these cheap and gentle giants.

~ Why take a Tomb Spyder? ~

Tomb Spyders don't jump out immediately as one of those super units that you can't wait to fit into your army list, even a few times. But, the Spyder has some subtle hints towards being useful, if you look at them from a point of view that is for a mission. The Tomb Spyder for a match where you are planning merely to kill your opponent, is going to be less useful-which is why you will probably see less Spyders out there being used.


  • Heavy Slot on the Chart-This is great because Necrons actually rarely use more than one heavy support.
  • Tiny Squad Size-We can get 1 to 3 of them, and that's for one heavy slot.
  • Stat-wise, they're built for close combat and resilience.
  • Monstrous Creature-meaning, ignores armor saves, etc, but also blocks line of sight!
  • Artificer-It can create scarabs which are good for buffing assault abilities.
  • "We'll Be Back!" is affected by Tomb Spyders.
  • Great scoring unit! It has to be destroyed to be non-scoring pratically.
In summation, the Tomb Spyder is a big nasty combat beast, who probably will never see combat. But that's not the point. The point is, he's tough, he's cheap, he supports things in combat who are trapped by joining in on the fun and he supports the "We'll Be Back" part of your army by extending his helping hand 12 inches around him, for those times that you may not have an Orb or a lonely Necron all by themselves who need some help. The Spyder is a size 3 category target. This means, anything behind it's base, areblocked from line of sight. This is huge because it means you can safely deploy a Destroyer or Wraith behind one, in order to hide them against first turn death when you're low on terrain. It also gives your Necron Lord a place to hide, in deployment as well. Think of it like mobile size 3 terrain, that you have control over, that is not going to be instakilled any time soon. Add to this that it's a scoring unit and that very rarely someone will bother attacking it and you have a great and resilient unit who will probably survive to see the end of the game so long as you have other Necrons bouncing around.


  • Limited Shooting abilities and low Ballistic Skill make for a combat-only type unit.
  • Spyders are not Necrons, and therefore do not count towards Phase Out.
  • Spyders are slow. They hover, but move no faster than normal infantry.
  • Artificier-While it's neat, it's also a way to hurt yourself and effect Majority Toughness.
In summation, the Spyder isn't very offensive. He simply moves around slowly, and lends support. He can upgrade to have a potent shooting attack, but this lowers your attacks and is only being fired at ballistic skill 2-which means a 5+. That's not very useful coupled with slow movement and low maximum range. Because they're not Necrons, they will not count towards phase out, which means the more you take, the less points and bodies you have towards phase out-so in essence, too many is too much.
All in all though, the Tomb Spyder is a great Mission unit.

~ Use of Tomb Spyders ~

The heavy support of the Necrons is pretty limited. It's either ultimately expensive (the Monolith), or it's Heavy Destroyers floating around. Heavy Destroyers are instant targets for the enemy due to their weapon. They will be destroyed quickly and cost a lot of points. Monoliths are monoliths-so they come and go; but are very expensive. That leaves the Tomb Spyder. What on Earth do we do with these things? It's not very apparent aside from the "We'll Be Back!" feature, but there's more to it than that.
Unit Examples:
Heavy Support Selection I: 55 points (up to 165).
Tomb Spyder x 1 (up to 3)
This is a small price to pay, for a very tough scoring unit. We can take up to three of them just like this and they don't even have to hang out together. They move independently and thus spread out very nicely. Adding 3 scoring units, that are very difficult to destroy, for only 165 points total. This is an amazing boost in your count of scoring units, for a very cheap price. If you're into playing missions, this is something to consider. Now consider that they are monstrous creatures who only take up a single heavy slot and the support they bring to the board, and that you still have heavy slots available for a nice treat. Remember, they operate independently of each other, just like Imperial Guard Platoon Squads do, but only occupy a single force organizational chart.

~ Mobile Terrain ~

Your Spyder is a size 3 category target. You can take several of them. Now, consider that if you place them in base to base contact, three in a row, you have a huge surface area that spans quite a few inches that totally block line of sight to things behind them. This is a mobile piece of terrain for you. During deployment, this means you can more comfortably deploy certain units without the reliance of terrain. It also means you can hide specific assault units or counter units behind them, safely to come out when ready. The Spyders themselves are support units on top of that, so think of them as a mountain that blocks line of sight, absorbs assaults very well and are pretty resilient to the shooting phase all in one go.
Tomb Spyders easily hide Destroyer Body Necron Lords, Wraiths, Destroyers, Pariah.

Combat Support / Counter Assault ~

Tomb Spyders aren't fast, but other units may be locked up in assault by fast moving enemy assault units trying to stop you from shooting. That's where Tomb Spyders come in greatly as they lumber forward and join the brawl-adding in some far more serious combat punch. Spyders are something your opponent will avoid in combat, due to their high toughess and great armor save, and their ability to cause unsavable damage. Spyders have a low weapon skill, which means they're easier to hit in combat, but it's nothing to worry about in terms of your own attacks. You will in general be hitting everything on a 4+ regardless, except for exceptionally powerful characters. So for generally use, you're looking at normal odds to hit, but awesome odds to wound and cause casualties.

~ "We'll Be Back!" Support ~

This one is probably obvious, but it's worth mentioning because the Tomb Spyder augment how "We'll Be Back!" works, by extending the range. The Spyder allows you to help autorepair Necrons who have fallen but are too far away to normally get back up. The Spyder has a great range for this at 12 inches, which is twice the normal distance of WBB, and you then join the unit type anywhere on the board.

~ Missions ~

Missions are where the Tomb Spyders become more attractive, due to support also being a winning unit for us.
Cleanse: We're attempting to control table quarters. They are split into 4 quarters and we need to have a scoring unit in each to hold them, and no enemy scoring units. This is where Tomb Spyders come in. Because Spyders are rarely a big target, that leaves our other units to be damage dealers and move quickly while the Spyder lumbers towards the mission objective which is the different quarters. Deploying them as close as possible to each of their respective goals would be ideal. Typical quarters are 36x24 inches, so from your deployment zone, you should be able to easily take two quarters right away, and easily pick up a 3rd and 4th even, through normal movement, as a Tomb Spyder would only take 4 turns maximum to cover the distance required to get into all quarters (though this greatly depends on terrain and travel path). But you should be able to travel the distances by turn 5 at the worst.
Secure & Control: We're looking to grab all the Loot Counters. The basic idea is to use your Sypders as blockers. If you have loot counters near your other units, take them, and then block line of sight to them via your Tomb Spyders. They are size 3 and block sight, allowing you to preserve your loot counter unit and provide counter support for something that comes towards you. Otherwise, we're simply looking to preserve victory points in Gamma & Omega levels, which Spyders do nicely.
Seek & Destroy: This mission is simple-more scoring units wins. And we have victory points for the higher game levels. Spyders are excellent for this, as we have more scoring units for cheap, and they're tough. They're also not very attractive targets, so they're going to be a gamble between your opponent attempting to destroy them or try to phase you out. Either way it works in your favor as it will take quite a beating to remove even three Spyders from the board.
Recon: In this mission, we're not going to be expecting our Spyders to make it to the opposite side of the board very easily. That's a long walk, but it's still possible, considering it's 15 inches for deployment. That means if you deploy as far forward as possible with your Spyders, you can block line of sight to units behind you, but also, it means you only have to travel 18 inches in order to reach your enemy's deployment zone (3 full turns of movement). That's a pretty good deal when you think about it. We can also use Spyders as interception units, as they are formidable and units scrambling to get to your deployment zone would have to deal with the Spyder in order to saftely occupy an area in your zone.
Take & Hold: You're looking to hold the center of the table with more scoring units. And you may use victory points in the higher levels. Because it's the center of the table and your deployment reaches forward, you can have several Spyders holding that center table, along with other Necrons, easily by turn 3 or 4, using full movement and moving forward non-stop. The Spyders are great for that, blocking line of sight to those behind them, for preserving as much as you can before the main brawl commences. In the end, not much will be wasting efforts on monstrous Spyders while you have Necrons blazing their guns.

~ "Hovering" ~

I hope this gives you some ideas for using your Tomb Spyders. Even if they don't work out in several ways for you, they're still highly useful simply because they block line of sight while a Monolithdoes not! That's a huge deal against several shooting armies. And we're talking about a mobile wall of terrain that is not easy to shoot down.

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