A fodder-bane fodder piece? Is this possible? It would seem to be an almost-appropriate description for the Deathjump Spider, a low-level skirmisher that combines the attack bonuses of a low-level hitter with a reasonable cost of 11 points. We say almost, because at 11 points, we have essentially crossed the line from fodder pieces into mid-range pieces. Still, the Deathjump remains a lean, mean, poison machine.
Admittedly, aside from the ability to ignore one opportunity attack, the Deathjump's defensive capabilities are a bit lacking with just 18 AC and 16 Defense. In fact, even the primary attack is really a bit of a red herring. The real deal with this figure is its second melee attack, Death From Above. That's its weapon of choice for several reasons.
First, it has a higher attack bonus than the basic melee attack, and it confers an ongoing poison damage (which has been clarified to be Save Ends). This means that a single bite will destroy creatures with 30 hp about half the time and creatures with 20 hp all the time (at least, all the time it connects with +11 vs. AC). More importantly, it confers amazing mobility to the Deathjump Spider, allowing it to move 12 squares and attack via a move action + Death From Above. There's no need for Deathjump to ever perform a standard charge, because a charge has a lower probability of hitting than a Death From Above attack, lacks the ongoing poison effect, and does not confer the flight ability.
Yes, that 's right. Since Death From Above allows the spider to move up to six squares, as if with flight, this spider is actually more mobile when she attacks. This is a clever game mechanic. It models a creature that alternates between running and airborne movement, and gives the spider a limited ability to detect unseen targets within six squares (almost like a tremor-sense). Unlike a charge, where you require line of sight to the target, the Deathjump Spider can declare the Death From Above attack, perform the move part of the attack action, and then target an enemy following movement. This is a huge tactical advantage to the spider, and makes the Deathjump spider right at home on maps with forest, her favorite hunting grounds.
Moreover, Death From Above allows moving 6 squares independent of the spider's current speed. A slowed spider may only be able to move 2, but can still use Death From Above to travel up to 6 squares, providing she attacks a target at the end of the move. It can't overcome an immobilized status, which prevents any movement, but Death From Above can be used while immobilized. After all, the attack says that the Deathjump spider can move up to 6 squares -- including as few as 1, or even 0 squares. Of course, the Deathjump spider may choose to moves 0 squares even if it's not actually immobilized, since this permits her to make the Death From Above attack while avoiding opportunity attacks from adjacent enemies.Synergies
The Deathjump Spider synergizes with Drow Champions, such as the Blademaster, thanks to spider-loving effects such as Lolth's Favor. These synergies are worth considering for 100 or 50 point play. In 200 point play, those combinations don't hit hard enough -- at least not yet. In that environment, the spider is limited to pre-poisoning pieces to leave them vulnerable to hitters like the Astral Stalker, or teaming with a Hierophant of the Seven Winds for boosted attack (+15) and damage (30 with the Champion power). She will otherwise spend much of her time hunting and killing your enemy's cheap pieces. Even there, be careful. She can't stand up to soldiers at the high end of the mid-cost scale, such as the Human Sellsword.500 point play
This creature doesn't fit well in 500 point play. Her 35 hp and low defense and AC mean that she can't contribute significantly to the main battle and will be relegated to the sidelines, first hiding and then hunting the very lowest-level pieces fielded by your opponent.