AoS Tactics: Spiderfang Grots
As I've been slowly expanding my Destruction collection for AoS, I've come across a small, but very interesting Allegiance, the Spiderfang Grots. The whole army consists of only 3 kits, and so is easily ignored by Destruction players, but perhaps they are worth another look. Destruction as a faction tends to have weak means of inflicting mortal wounds, the Spiderfang Grots however have the potential to inflict them on every model.
The primary strengths of Spiderfang Grots are their maneuverability, and their capacity for dishing out mortal wounds. All Spiderfang units move 8" a turn (1" for each leg), and can move across scenery "as if it wasn't there". The mounts of the Spiderfang Grots are characterized by their Spider Venom rule, which causes a mortal wound on a 6 to-hit from their mounts attacks (D3 mortal wounds from the Arachnarok), meaning every single Spiderfang unit has the ability to inflict some horrendous, un-savable damage on the opponent.
Grot Big Boss on Gigantic Spider
The leader of most Spiderfang Grot armies will be your Grot Big Boss on Gigantic Spider, as he is one of only 2 Leaders, and the only one which has a Command Ability. His attributes aren't terribly impressive, 6 wounds with a 4+ re-rollable save and Bravery 6, and in melee he has a handful of attacks (4 from the mount). Really, what you're taking this guy for is his Command Ability, Blessing of the Spider God, which makes the Spider Venom of ALL UNITS within 8' go off on a 5+, instead of a 6+. Combine that with the Bellowing Tyrant Destruction Command Trait, and now you can trigger Spider Venom on a 4+ to hit! That becomes doubly deadly with the Arachnarok, which we'll talk about in a minute.
Grot Spider Riders
Your basic Battleline units of the Allegiance, Grot Spider Riders pack a surprising punch in a diminutive package. Each model is capable of 5 attacks per turn, 2 at ranged, and 3 in melee. At first glance, none of those attacks individually are terribly impressive, their shooting is slightly worse than a Bonesplitterz Arrowboy, though in melee they're not awful, since the primary attacks of their spiders Hit/Wound on 4's, what really makes them scary though is their Spider Venom rule. Each model having 2 attacks means your odds of inflicting mortal wounds is pretty decent, when you combine that with the Grot Big Bosses Command Ability, Bellowing Tyrant, and the Gift of the Spider-God spell from the Arachnarok, your lowly unit of 10 spiders is causing an average of 20 mortal wounds in a single round of combat! BAM!
The third unit in the Spiderfang army is the Arachnarok Spider. There are technically 3 variants, but since they're all the same point cost, there is no reason to bring up the plain spider, instead we'll only focus on the versions with howdah, either armed with a Flinger, a Catchweb Spider Shrine and Spiderfang Grot Shaman. Like all other units in the Spiderfang, the Arachnarok has the Spider Venom rule (on 4 of it's attacks), which inflict D3 mortal wounds, instead of the standard 1. The Flinger is what I'd consider the "standard" variant, and really only would be taken if you're reaching your cap of Leaders, the added Flinger isn't that fantastic of a weapon, with relatively short range, and middling To Hit characteristic, no rend, and only a paltry D3 damage, not exactly intimidating. The Catchweb Spider Shrine however turns the Arachnarok Spider into a Hero and Wizard, which can cast 2 spells per turn, and has the amazing Gift of the Spider-God spell, which doubles the damage caused by a single Spiderfang unit. As mentioned above, this can be outright deadly on even just a unit of 10 Spider Riders. The Arachnarok's enhanced Spider Venom makes it a fantastic candidate for Battle Brew, giving you +1 or even +2 to hit, which again can be combined with your Big Bosses buffs, and it's own spell, potentially giving you 4 attacks that cause D3x2 mortal wounds each, on 2's to hit! I'll just let that sink in.
Spiderfang Venom Mob
The only Battalion for the Spiderfang Grots, and now sadly deprecated (unless your local group/tournament allows it). Consisting of a single
Goblin Grot Big Boss on Gigantic Spider, 3 Arachnarok Spiders, and 3 units of Forest Goblin Grot Spider Riders, this Battalion costs a fairly steep 100 points, but it has some awesome benefits. Other than giving you another relic (Brew on an Arachnarok anyone?), it gives you +1 to wound on any of your Spider's fang attacks, and so long as you're within 8" of an Arachnarok, you're immune to Battleshock. If you could take this, I would suggest it every single time (in 2k+) without exception. The relic itself is massive, and Grots are unsurprisingly weak to Battleshock, this is incredibly helpful to mitigate the poor Bravery of the army.
1000 Point Spiderfang Grots
Leaders Grot Big Boss On Gigantic Spider (100) - General - Trait: Bellowing Tyrant Arachnarok Spider With Grot Shaman (280) - Artefact: Battle Brew
Battleline 10 x Grot Spider Riders (200) 10 x Grot Spider Riders (200) 10 x Grot Spider Riders (200)
A pretty standard set up for 1000 points, this gets you all the standard units to start inflicting massive quantities of Mortal Wounds. There isn't a ton of flexibility in the army, though you could definitely drop some Spider Riders for more Big Bosses, though I prefer to get as many bodies on the board as possible.
2000 Point Spiderfang Grots
Leaders Grot Big Boss On Gigantic Spider (100) - General - Trait: Bellowing Tyrant Grot Big Boss On Gigantic Spider (100) Arachnarok Spider With Grot Shaman (280) - Artefact: Battle Brew Arachnarok Spider With Grot Shaman (280)
Battleline 10 x Grot Spider Riders (200) 10 x Grot Spider Riders (200) 10 x Grot Spider Riders (200) 10 x Grot Spider Riders (200) 10 x Grot Spider Riders (200) 10 x Grot Spider Riders (200)
Much like the previous list, only more of everything. Two of Shaman is enough to get you the ability to cast all 3 spells you have access to, and lets you split where you'd like to use their Blessing. No less than 60 Grot Spider Riders plague the table, giving you 120 shots a turn... Many dice will be rolled, and your board coverage should be very solid. If you're a fan of the big spiders (like I am), you can easily drop 10 Spiderfang Grots and a Big Boss for a third Arachnarok.
25oo Point Spiderfang Grots
Leaders Grot Big Boss On Gigantic Spider (100) - General - Trait: Bellowing Tyrant Grot Big Boss On Gigantic Spider (100) Grot Big Boss On Gigantic Spider (100) Arachnarok Spider With Grot Shaman (280) - Artefact: Battle Brew Arachnarok Spider With Grot Shaman (280)
Battleline 10 x Grot Spider Riders (200) 10 x Grot Spider Riders (200) 10 x Grot Spider Riders (200) 10 x Grot Spider Riders (200) 10 x Grot Spider Riders (200)
Behemoths Arachnarok Spider (280) Arachnarok Spider (280)
It would probably be a bit excessive to go this far with pure Spidefang Grots, but hey, if you do, you can cause some serious arachnophobia...
As it is, the army is incredibly limited, though looking at what they did with Bonesplitterz, there is some potential. In the future, I'd hope that they split the Arachnarok into 3 proper warscrolls, with point values for each. A cheaper version without the howdah would be very fun to run, and as it is, there is little reason to run the Flinger over the Catchweb Shrine... Any sort of update is probably a long ways off, but at least they have a little bit of wiggle room for improvement.