Alright: First and foremost, I did NOT choose the title of this segment. That’d be Tasty. I’m far less flagrantly confrontational as that title would imagine (I probably would’ve gone with “Think of it this way…” or something; but then again, Tasty gets the hits…).

Anyway, that aside, Tasty broached the idea of me writing up a column that deals with how I disagree with the internet consensus on certain things. Obviously, we’ve gone over in detail how I think the consensus reached by most of the “competitive” crowd in regards to Orks is wrong; but what about other things? This whole idea for a column was sparked when Tasty heard me talking to my Eldar opponent at TSHFT how I was convinced that Nightspinners are superior to Fire Prisms.

Now, before I hear a whole bevy of absurd crap about how they are only good at killing infantry and this is a game of killing vehicles; let me explain that the Night Spinner is statistically better at take out transports. The reason? Almost entirely due to its special rule that ’causes the vehicle to take a dangerous terrain test if it moves after being hit by the Night Spinner. Immediately, you have a 16.6% chance of immobilizing that vehicle. IMO, an immobile vehicle is a nearly useless vehicle (unless its already where it needed to be).

If you don’t factor in their special weapon rule, Nightspinners only have just under a 2% chance of immobilizing or destroying a Land Raider, but if the LR moves, that chance jumps to 18.4%!!! Against AV 10-12 you have a 5.5% chance of im/des a vehicle with just the shot, and then the added 16.5% means you get a ~22% chance! Compare those stats to the Fire Prism, which is shooting at front arcs as often as not, vs usually side armor, and they aren’t too bad, especially considering the Nightspinner has a chance to pen even if it doesn’t get a direct hit the target and its AV11… (3+6+D3)!!! Combo that with twin-linked and indirect fire reducing cover saves…

Here’s the thing that makes them so good against transports specifically. If the vehicle is likely to move next turn; the Nightspinner is the best choice against high AV vehicles (especially since cover doesn’t factor in at ALL for the dangerous test next turn)

(Also, I’ve heard people say that if you roll a rend when going against a vehicle it becomes AP2, therefore losing the -1 on the damage chart; this is wrong as the AP2 thing is only on to wound rolls.)

Fire Prism hit chance of getting Imm/Des against:

AV14: 11%

AV13: 19.2%

AV12: 27.7%

AV11: 35.7%

AV10: 44.5%

vs Nightspinner hit chance of getting Imm/Es against:

AV14: 1.8% + 16.6% = 18.4%

AV13: 3.6% + 16.6% = 20.2%

AV12: 5.5% + 16.6% = 22.1%

AV11: 5.5% + 16.6% = 22.1%

AV10: 11.1% + 16.6% = 27.5%

So, weirdly, its the Nightspinner that’s best left to going after Land Raiders and the Fire Prism is good at taking out Chimera parking lots (although a Night Spinner Partial has a 16.6% chance to glance or pen a chimera and a fire prism has a 0% chance if the Chimera is the front arc and the same 16.6% chance if on the side arc, but can only glance while a Night Spinner partial can actually pen ~11% of the time!!!).

Against Rhino-rushing spam lists, Nightspinner rules out because smoke is irrelevant for the majority of the damage potential (because if they move, they take the test, which bypasses the cover save) and it can effect multiple units in one shot.

Here’s the kicker though, not only does the Nightspinner have good odds at taking down vehicles in comparison, it HITS more often. A Nightspinner has a 68.5% chance to hit (a vehicle roughly Rhino sized, meaning I assume a 1″ scatter will still hit) with the re-roll and BS3 (if LOS to target: if with no LOS, its 54.8%). The Fire Prism is 51.6%. I’m not math savvy enough to run all the stats on the various probabilities of hitting rectangular shapes with a scatter and such; but suffice to say that the Night Spinner hits what you want to hit more often, although the fact that partials still can PEN AV11 and the template is bigger (and more likely to hit), means you can up its chances to still be useful against targets when scattering compared to the Fire Prism (and you can go after more than one vehicle at a time with a reasonable chance at success).

So, even with that fuzzy math and taking in a guesstimate for partials on rhinos having a chance to pen/glance for both weapon platforms; it turns out if the Rhino is planning on moving and doesn’t have dozer blades, the Nightspinner wins pretty convincingly shot for shot on odds of imm/des the Rhino; but if its not going to move, odds are heavily in favor of the Fire Prism.

Here’s the best thing about the Nightspinner vs the Fire Prism: Its more survivable and can effect more things. The main thing is that you can stay out of LoS and still do damage to the enemy. And even if they are hiding, they can’t hide from you. If you play on boards with lots of LoS blocking terrain, the Nightspinner is WAY more useful, but even on a sparse board, it can still come equipped with all the same things as the Fire Prism, and is therefore still really hard to take down. The thing that always sucks about the Fire Prism with holofields is that it just needs a single glance/pen to keep it from firing. If you keep your Nightspinner our of LoS, the numbers of shots against it go down.

Finally, and, while I said this was most to help us consider the Nightspinner as a legitimate anti-vehicle threat (which it is, if your opponent is planning on moving); what makes it, IMO, better than the Fire Prism is that it is more useful against Infantry as well. Sure you don’t get any AP, but you get rending, which helps out, and if your opponent is in cover, AP is less important.  Add on the larger template and that it wounds most infantry on 2s just like the Fire Prism and you are getting more wounds in most likely. The best part is that its barrage though; so you are forcing pinning checks.  The fire prism isn’t barrage, so causes no pinning. Pinning is good.

Essentially, I think the Nightspinner is more versatile and more survivable and causes more problems for your foe and is therefore a better option than the Fire Prism.