Sunday, 2 March 2014


Arachnawesomebia – The completely justified fear of a totally awesome badman spider.

The release of the Tarantula was widely seen as a blessing to us Shaltari players; finally, we would be able to bust some armour instead of simply shinning elaborate gaus torches at it! Sometimes when models and rules are released it can end up turning out that what reads well doesn't actually play well, and even sometimes what reads badly plays well (like the unloved Yari). From the couple of games I have been using this adorable model I am happy to say that it is ticking both boxes! Not only does it read well but it seems to be getting it done on the business end of things too.

This post is focussing on the Tarantula and my thoughts on the model so far. In my current 1500 point list I am using 4 Tarantulas and ideas are based on this number.

Taking and receiving firepower

This was always going to be the main talking point for this model, and so far it hasn't disappointed. I played Skullsword earlier in the week and although I narrowly lost 4-3 (I could rant for hours about not being able to switch my excellent Passive save roles with some god awful objective rolls but this isn't the time or place...) the spideys really kicked out the grav goodness and destroyed 3 Phobos and an Odin! This is a feat I could never have even dreamed about when using Tomahawks. Doubling up against A10 2Dp units on a 5+ is incredible, and although I will admit I had some good damage rolls you can pretty much assume if you focus 2/3 at one model you will remove it.

As with everything in the wonderfully balanced world of DzC there is a drawback, and this is the extreme vulnerability of the unit. If you are shot back then your precious arachnids will explode like piƱatas. A 8 is very light and although you have 2DP's E10 weaponry will still remove a model on a 5+. As it happened, and as mentioned, I got a little spawny with my passive saves which saved me against 2 Hyperions and 2 weapons hacks (yes, 2!) but without that I could have been blown away comfortably.

One small bonus that has sprung to mind though is that I won't be freaked out so much by Longbow templates any more!


When writing an army list getting a good balance and synergy within a battlegroup can be key to winning games, or at least giving you a level of tactical superiority. I have noticed that the Tarantulas are a very individual unit, almost a lone wolf unit if you like, and because of this they are not sitting well with any other squads I am trying them with. This in it's own right isn't a huge deal but it is a little frustrating.

I can sense a lot of people screaming the words 'DREAMSNARE YOU IDIOT!!' at me but I just don't think the unit is fast enough to run with the Spideys. They have a 6” MF value which is quick and great for out flanking. The Dreamsnare is sluggish at 4” and to get anything out of the unit you have to be within 6” centre to centre. This is an issue as due to the bodies of both walkers being fairly wide you lose 1½ “ - 2” straight away and this vastly limits the speed of the unit.

On a side note I used the Raise Shields card on the unit on the turn I decided to bring them into the open and it worked very well. Having a 3+ passive save on such a delicate unit that is bound to (and did) attract a lot of fire was very handy!


When I use Tomahawks I will drive them onto the board on the first turn and blow a few chunks out of a building. This would negate the need for gate use as they were quick enough to get where I needed by turn 3, so as such deployment was never an issue. As the Tarantulas main gun only has an 18” range and as they don't have the option to move 9” it means I have to gate them to the important part of the battle, which has proved to be a little awkward. I still strongly feel that 2 / 3 Eden's are enough for any 1500 point list and that this number is enough to make 4 Spideys work.

In my first game I removed my Firedrake and tried using a Gaia and Dreamsnare in it's stead (with 2 Edens). The snare was in the Tarantulas battlegroup and they both used the Gaia to get on the battlefield turn 2, as the gate is to slow to drop them anywhere of use turn 1. This proved to be clunky and I got very little done with the spideys due to the Dreamsnare.

In game 2 I quickly returned the Gaia and snare back to the subs bench and recalled the Firedrake. Although I made mistakes in regards to deployment of my troops (which realistically lost me the game) this worked much better. On turn 1 I used the Eden's to drop my two Jag's, and then on turn 2 the Tarantulas. This was better as the Eden's are faster and I was able to get where I wanted, even while dropping another unit through.

All in all a turn 2 drop seems to be key for me. It keeps the unit out of the line of fire at the beginning of the turn and allows them to be exactly where you need them. You will have a feeling when doing this that you are losing a turn of shooting but remember that their guns are only 18”, and that chances are you weren't going to be shooting anyway.


Would I say that these are my new standard choice? So far yes. They have always killed something and I see them becoming a real thorn in an enemies side. Even if they do under perform your opponent must target them for their potential to be devastating is so good!

In regards to the climber special rule I don't really ever see myself using it. It just seems stupid to jump on a building to target 2/3 models and be shot back by the opponents entire army. Maybe one day it will be useful, maybe not. All I know is that it doesn't subtract from the overall worth the unit.

All in all the Tarantula is a strong unit, perhaps the 2nd best standard choice out there (frankly the Katana is just the dog bollocks and will take some beating), and I am looking forward to squashing more and more bad guys, grav style!



  1. I still need to try mine on the table cant wait nice report

  2. similarly I'm in the middle of painting mine but still haven't given them a test run.