Necron Tactics: Canoptek Spyders

Good day to all! Fritz here with an updated analysis of Necron canoptek spyders and how I have been using them on the tabletop.

Are Necrons overpowered? A debate for another time, but it is very hard to argue that scarabs and wraiths are not excellent units. Each codex edition has its auto-include units, and for this incarnation of Necrons these two are it among a few others…crypteks anybody…

So where does that leave the humble and very busy canoptek spyder?

Depends on your list of course.

Scarabs- to be or not to be.

First question is how many scarabs do you have in your list and based on the other units you have what is the focus of them?

Have you taken a single unit as a distraction or are you planning on a swarm?

Certainly if you are planning to go on the offensive with your scarab swarms you want that spyder farm- two or three dedicated spyders per swarm, pumping out 2-3 bases per turn as fast as you can roll those dice. Hopefully you have taken that into consideration and adjusted your list for the use of the heavy support slots taken up by your spyders.

The internet seems to be in love with this right now, but what about a scaled back defensive use for them?

If you are using your scarabs in a more passive manner- to block off sections of table- threat bubbles to direct the movement of your opponent to allow the rest of your army to accomplish the mission goals then do you really need all those spyders?

In cover and with less direct losses one spyder might be all you need and could prevent and interesting choice- on par with results if you had the farm of 6-9 of them.

I promise this isn’t turning into a scarab article, but the two are linked!

Scarabs remind me of harlequins- they do what they do great if you can pull it off, but one mistake and they disappear in a puff of figurative smoke. Spyders are there not so much to grow the swarm, but to keep pace with your losses from mistakes and your opponent’s interaction so you have the amount of scarabs needed to do what they are intended for.

Going out and actively munching on things means you are a bit more exposed- hence the need for more spyders to keep the scarab level up.

A bit more passive and careful means less spyders.

Second tier roles…

Sometimes if you have to many spyders they are a major threat that needs to be eliminated, but could be hard to kill due to expending to many resources in the shooting phase. Don’t waste time shooting nine spyders- just kill all the scarabs and then there is no base pool to spawn. Your opponent might not have any other choice. But, being a bit more passive with one or two, why bother shooting at the scarabs as they won’t be spawning at a critical rate.

When your spyders are alone…

Spyders also have a role as mid field blockers or a speed bump on the way in to your objectives and other units. Not the best in the assault, but hardly the worst vs. non-dedicated assault units, when those scarabs are gone, the spyders get reprogrammed to suicide run into other units, tanks, and anything else they can get their hands on.

Watch your points…

You want to experiment for yourself with shooting spyders- the thinking that more shots are better and they might as well be doing something other than building mechanical bugs. 25 points per spyder is a bit hefty for one shot even if you are running only a few, but when bulking up a farm of them (6-9) the cost is unrealistic.


The final talking point, but highly situation and dependant on the opponents you regularly or plan to face- extremely hit or miss. If all your other buddies play Eldar and Grey Knights then by all means, but a regular diet of Tyranids, rival Necron dynasties and Space Marines will have less utility.

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