Aspect Exarchs: Worth it or not, part 1

So, in the interest of a continuing series about list-building, I'd like to take a look at Aspect Warrior Exarchs - especially the ones I personally have used in at least a few games.

First! The Warp Spider

The Warp Spider Exarch costs the same as any Exarch upgrade (except the Crimson Hunter, of course), and for it you get:
1. A Character to handle Challenges (although not much good in a fight)
2. Two-shots at BS5
3. Precision Shots

You can pay a paltry 5 pts to twin-link the Exarch's gun, or for 15 pts swap it for an AP1 Spinneret Rifle with a single shot but a little extra range.
There's also the option for +1 Attack and AP3 in combat, which is decent especially against anything Power Armored (but still wounding on 5+ at best). You can also pay to get Precision Shots on a 5+, for a chance to re-roll to wound in combat, or add one extra shot.

Now, the Exarch upgrade itself is a solid argument, BS5 and Precision Shots add a lot to an already ferocious unit. Adding the twin-linked gun is also a decent argument, because it comes in at a paltry 5 pts., guarantees hits at those key moments, and even gives you a little boost to snap-shots against flyers. The other upgrades are also potentially worth it, but the cost adds up quickly.

What could you get instead? Well, for the Exarch upgrade cost, a single underslung Shuriken Cannon on one of your other units (say, a Jetbike or Wave Serpent) - absolutely devastating on any Serpent with a Scatter Laser. Throw in the twin-linking Exarch upgrade and you're only 4 pts short of another Warp Spider. Add on any other upgrade and you're looking at more than 25 points, for a total model cost of at least 44 pts. That's a Terminator, and on a T3, one-wound model with a 3+ save.

My verdict:
Stick with a couple upgrades. The Exarch upgrade by itself is a good buy, as is the twin-linked Deathspinner. Adding Fast Shot (for the one extra shot) is also arguable. If you tend to assault with your Warp Spiders, the Powerblades and Stalker (chance to re-roll to wound) are also worth it - but I would take either Stalker/PB or Twin-linked/Fast Shot, taking both is just too expensive and you can take other things for fewer points.

Next! The Dark Reaper

A Dark Reaper Exarch has the same benefits as the Warp Spider (Precision Shots, Character, BS5), only this time Precision Shots are arguably more of a bonus, and the Character less so (if your Dark Reapers are in CC, they're pretty much dead).

But! Here's where the difference comes in - a Dark Reaper Exarch can become exceptionally expensive very quickly, but in return you get firepower that actually rivals a tank.

There's the Exarch upgrade itself, worth it for BS5 and Precision Shots, and then Fast Shot. Although Fast Shot is twice as expensive for a Dark Reaper than a Warp Spider, it has even more utility (with the much longer range). Then, you get in to the weapon upgrades. A Reaper Exarch can take the usual gun and Starshot missiles (for the S8 punch), or an Eldar Missile Launcher (with Flakk missiles for some AA) or, my favorite, the Tempest Launcher.

The Tempest Launcher is S4 (middling), AP3 (excellent), 36" range, Heavy 2 (or 3 with Fast Shot), Blast, Barrage (!)

That's crazy sauce. Against nearly any army, AP3 blasts will threaten all of those precious troops trying to make it to/hold objectives. Add to that that the Reapers can move and fire heavy weapons, this gun can be fired without Line of Sight, and as a Barrage weapon, causes Pinning.

Now, for the Reaper, Exarch, Tempest Launcher, and Fast Shot, you have a single model that comes in at 70 pts., still only has one wound, T3, and a 3+ save. So you've got to be careful with the guy, but with that gun, if he gets one volley off on an MEQ or any mob, you've made up your points.

What can you get instead? A lot, really, that's a total of 40 pts of upgrades on what was in the first place an already devastating Dark Reaper. However, 40 pts is pocket change for that kind of infantry-chewing power!

My Verdict:
Reapers on the field, with the added ability to fire Starshot Missiles for only 8 pts per model, work best as a cohesive unit. I field them one of two ways:

All Reaper Launchers with Starshot Missiles (including the Exarch with Fast Shot on top)
All Reaper Launchers, Exarch with the Tempest Launcher and Fast Shot.

If you use the Tempest Launcher, the unit should focus on getting the most out of it, and that means hunting Infantry. If you take the missiles as well, it's just too tempting to waste rounds shooting at armor. However, if you don't use the Tempest Launcher, getting those two BS5 Starshot Shots from the Exarch makes the unit a significant threat to light-medium armor (even heavy, if your dice are hot) and lets them switch off between anti-Infantry/anti-Armor.

So that's it! I'll try to be faster at putting blogs out, but I hope this is helpful!


  1. Hey mate,

    great blog. I really enjoy reading it, especially as it is not about min/max lists, but rather casual gaming! :-)

    The Tempest Launcher, in my opinion, is only a mediocre choice. The profile varies so much from the rest of the squad, that it can be difficult to have your target priorities right. The range is less and if he gets to use it without LoS the rest of the squad can't shoot at all. Therefor I rather avoid it.

    And don't rush posting, rather take your time. Wouldn't want you to run out of ideas or have a hiatus. ;-)


    1. Thank you! Always good to hear that it's being read!

      I agree on the Tempest Launcher. If I'm facing armies that have a lot of MEQ or mobs, it makes sense. I sometimes take a unit of Reapers with the Exarch, Fast Shot, Tempest Launcher (but no Starshots) as a dedicated anti-infantry unit. If there's something hiding out of LoS, it's nice to have those three Barrage shots - and if there's a big unit in the open, three AP3 blasts is brutal, in addition to the Reaper's usual Infantry-chewing guns.
      I try not to take Starshots in this build because, as you said, it's just too tempting to shoot missiles if you have them :) and it distracts from their role as anti-infantry.

      Recently I've been fielding the Exarch with the normal Reaper Launcher, Fast Shot, and Starshot Missiles. So far it's treated me very well.

      Holler if there's something you'd like to see an article on!


Post a Comment