Building the Elusive Wraith List

Fully Updated for 9th Edition!

I see a lot of new Craftworlds players online posting about their enthusiasm for a wraith-centered list, and who can blame them? Wraith models look great on the table, are easy to paint, and “ghost army” is an immediately understandable concept to anchor a new player’s entry into one of the most diverse and nuanced factions in the game.  

Also, as a newbie autarch looking at the stats for Wraithguard and Wraithblades, it is tempting to think that they must be easy to play well. Wraiths are the toughest infantry available to Craftworld players and all of their weapons loadouts look like they hit really hard. How could you possibly go wrong with these elegantly brutal ghost robots? The answer, unfortunately, is very very easily.

Although wraith units are much more effective in 9th edition than they were in 8th, a wraith army still needs to be supported with a significant contingent of non-wraith units to be effective. This is because although wraith units do certain jobs very well, they have some significant liabilities that need to be balanced with living aledari warriors. (From a lore perspective this makes sense, as the original codex that introduced Wraithguard suggested that without living eldar on the field, wraiths become listless, disconnected from the material world and unable to fight.)

For the purposes of this post, I am going to focus on how to build an effective 2000 point list that is mostly composed of wraith units and includes at least one Wraithknight. I will give you a rundown of the challenges associated with building a wraith list, an analysis of each available wraith unit, and then two sample army lists followed by suggestions for  how you can incorporate just the units from a couple of Start Collecting boxes into a more conventional eldar army to create more competitive list with a strong wraith flavor. 

What makes a Wraith list so challenging? 
1) Limited Mobility and Range: With their movement value of 5, Wraithguard and Wraithblades are the slow given the limited range of their weapons, so bringing their force to bear on high threat-enemies can be difficult, especially in the first 2 turns when it is most important to eliminate those threats.

The ponderous movement of your ghost warriors can be mitigated with the psychic power QUICKEN, or by mounting Wraiths in Wave Serpents, or deepstriking them. Alternatively, you might want to use your ghost units primarily for controlling the midfield, where they can make havoc by turn 2 without the resource expenditure necessary to mount them in transports or put them in deep-strike.

2) High Cost Relative to Damage Output: Wraiths hit hard, but they are also really expensive. This is because you are buying both good damage output AND considerable durability. As a result, eldar have many units available that hit as hard or harder for fewer points, so if you are assigning Wraiths to fill roles that would normally filled by glass-cannons, you might find their damage output- especially at long range- very costly for what you get.

3) No Troop Units: Wraiths don’t have access to “Objective Secured” and cannot be organized into a patrol or a battalion without fighting alongside non-wraith units. This is the easiest obstacle to overcome; it just means that the all-wraith-jamboree you may have been fantasizing about is only going to happen as a fluff army. 

4) Limited Tool Set Relative to Potential Threats: Wraiths are short on the long range heavy support fire power that can eliminate a high threat enemy on turn one. As a result, there are certain kind of enemy units and army builds that Wraiths struggle to answer.

Unit Analysis
Here is a rundown of all of the Wraith units, their best uses in a wraith list, liabilities, and how to compensate for those liabilities.

HQs

The Spiritseer: Okay, so she isn’t technically a wraith unit, but the Spiritseer is highly thematic for a wraithlist. In the lore, Spritseers are psykers who have devoted themselves to communing with the souls of the dead housed in their Craftworld’s Infinity Circuit. Like that kid in that movie, the Spiritseer excels at talking to dead people.

Uses:
Spiritseers fill HQ slots and provide essential buffs that make your wraith units far more effective. Your slow-ass ghost infantry will benefit significantly from QUICKEN, especially on turn 1, while PROTECT will help them survive the long slow march up the field or to hold objectives against brutal melee opposition. In addition, if you have a unit of Wraithblades with a Spiritseer in the middle of their ranks, the “spiritmark” ability will allow them to reroll 1s to hit in combat (as long as the Spiritseer is also 6″ of the target,) or all failed to hit-roles if you have access to the Iyaden strategem “Guided Wraithsight.” Both “Spiritmark” and “Guided Wraith Sight” create brutal synergy with the relic “Pystonome of Iyaden,” which doubles a unit’s attack characteristic for a single turn. (That said, Iyaden offer a less competitive bonus than several of the Custom Craftworld combos available.)

Lastly, unlike Warlocks, Spiritseers can cast full SMITE, which is especially useful for blasting whatever enemy unit is currently engaged with the unit of Wraithblades they are leading.

Liabilities: Spiritseers cannot ride jetbikes like Warlocks can, which limits the range of their psychic powers. They also might struggle to keep up with Wraithblades benefitting from QUICKEN. The only other Drawback is that Spiritseers cannot benefit from the “Seer Council” stratagem, making their casting powers slightly less reliable than those of your other psykers.

Compensating: Just move the Spiritseer around with the unit she is going to buff with psychic powers and range won’t be an issue; I usually pair mine with Wraithblades. If you plan to cast QUICKEN on the Wraithblades, just make an advance move with the Spiritseer first. As for the less reliable casts,  make sure you have a command point ready for a reroll and/or consider giving any really essential casting responsibilities to the Warlock who follows your Farseer around to enable the “Seer Council” stratagem. 

Elites:
Wraithguard and Wraithblades
These units are the aesthetic heart of any wraith list. If you don’t have at least 10 ghost-bots on the field with their distinctive teardrop heads, it just doesn’t feel like a wraith army, (even if you have 1000 points of other units with “wraith” in the name somewhere.) Wraithblades with axes and shields are usually the most competitive option, but all the wraith models can be effective if played well.



Wraithguard w/Canons:Anti-Tank and Anti-Monster

Uses: at Strength 10, a Wraithcannon hits even harder than a Brightlance, so five or more Wraithguard with these weapons have the potential to do real damage to enemy tanks, knights, or large monsters. In theory these weapons are among a wraith list’s best answers to heavy armor. In practice Wraithcannons need a little extra help to earn their points. 

Liabilities: The 12” range of the Wraithcannon makes it useless first turn and difficult to get into range of high value targets on subsequent turns, especially if your opponent is smart about “bubble wrapping” key heavy targets with disposable hordes of infantry. Also, if your Wraithguard are in range of a target, they are generally also in range of enemy close combat units that can be used to tie up your guard if the enemy can fully wrap them.

The second major liability of the Wraithcannon is that without any buffs, the actual damage output is not so high as you might expect. Assuming you are hitting on 3s, wounding on 3s, and ignoring your opponent’s armor (which is not a given as many high value targets have invulns,) five of these weapons will do about 7 damage with no buffs. 7 damage isn’t bad, but they aren’t going to destroy anything on their own unless you get very lucky. Against something with a 4++ invuln save, 5 wraithguard average only 3.5 damage, which is just plain bad.

Compensating: In theory you could overcome the range limitation by casting QUICKEN on turn 1, and although this might put them in range of something, the target is likely to be a screening unit, so this tactic is fairly weak. Realistically, there are two options for dealing with the limited range on the cannon: mounting your wraiths in a Wave Serpent or deepstriking them with “Webway Strike.”.

If you use the Wave Serpent and advance with it turn 1,  the Wraiths can pop out turn 2 or 3 and hose something important; you might even be able to use the first turn move to also grab and objective. That said, at 150 points, the addition of the Wave Serpent puts a serious tax to the already-expensive-Wraiths, and they may still struggle to reach the most desirable backfield targets turn 2.

Your second and probably best option is to start your Wraithguard in the webway, and bring them in turn 2 or 3 to deliver a hammer blow to a key enemy support unit, monster, or character. This may require you to plan ahead if positioning the Wraithguard effectively means you need to destroy some screening units first.

As for the less-than-expected damage output, this is best mitigated with the “Expert Crafters” custom Craftworld ability, which will raise your likely damage output from 7/3.5 to about 11/5.5 or by adding at least one more model to the unit, (I find 7 to be the right number for reliable damage output.) Ideally you want to be able to do enough damage to reliably destroy a light tank or wipe out a squad of primaris marines. The psychic power GUIDE can also be a valuable damage multiplier for this unit if you are running more than 5 models.

Wraithguard w/D-Scythe: Anti-Heavy Infantry and Light Tank

Uses: because they hit automatically, wound almost all infantry on a 2+, and usually go straight through armor, five or six D-Scythes can do some real damage. D-Scythes are also good for putting the hurt on medium monsters like carnifexes or crippling light tanks. In addition, these weapons are robust against enemy melee units, as they hit automatically on overwatch, so these wraiths good screens against assault marines, genestealers, daemons, etc.

Liabilities: They have an 8” range. Also, against multi-wound infantry with invuln or feel-no-pain saves, their performance tends to be more middling. As for screening against melee units, in a more conventional eldar list this might be valuable, but wraith units tend to like melee. Honestly, now that all marines have gone to two wounds and are a dominant force in the competitive meta, your D-scythes are probably only going to make the grade in very casual play.

Compensating: If you are using D-Scythes you have to mount them in a Wave Serpent, or advance them with QUICKEN to hose enemies as they move onto midfield objectives. The webway is not an option for Scythes they cannot arrive within range of an enemy, and walking up the board is just too damn slow for an 8” weapon to get your points worth. (Rumor has it that the 9th ed codex will change this.) Mounted in a Wave Serpent, D-scythes are a threat that your opponent must take seriously, and they require less finesse to get results than most of the other wraith units, so they can be a good option for new players in casual games.

Wraithblades w/Ghost Swords: Anti-Infantry (and potentially Anti-everything)

Uses: Because they have 4 attacks on the charge, 6 Strength and -3 AP, Seven Wraithblades with swords can wipe out most enemies in a single round, especially if you use the “Supreme Disdain” stratagem to generate some extra hits and buff them with an Autarch or Spiritseer.

If you are playing Iyaden, you can use the relic “Pystronome of Iyaden” to give them 8 attacks for one turn. If they are also part of a detachment with the “Wraith Host” key word, you can increase that characteristic to 10 attacks by spending a CP on “wrath of the dead.” With 10 models in the squad, that’s 100 S6 attacks at -3 AP. Not bad if you can set it up. If you were to also cast EMPOWER on them, this squad should kill just about anything in the game in one round. NOTE: Specialist detachments like the “Wraith Host,” while still technically legal for matched play, are forbidden in the 2020 Grand Tournament Rules, so it is probably best not to rely on such a build in your competitive list.

Alternatively, Wraithblades benefit hugely from the Custom Craftworld Traits “Hunters of Ancient Relics,” “Savage Blades,” and “Wrath of the Dead.” The first of these provides an extra attack to each model in a wraith unit within 3″ of an objective, while the second allows you to reroll 1s to hit, (but this benefit is also provided by the Spiritseer.) “Wrath of the Dead” allows wraith constructs to reroll wound rolls of 1. There is no doubt that “Hunters of Ancient Relics” is the best in a list that relies on melee oriented wraith units to hold objectives, while the other two are quite powerful in lists with large enough melee units that the math works out better than it would for “Expert Crafters.”

Liabilities: Wraithblades are slow. Your opponent will probably have at least one round to thin their numbers before they can engage anything unless you are clever. 

Compensating: A large unit of Wraithblades can be accelerated up the board on turn 1 with QUICKEN, (and/or the Matchless Agility” stratagem,) and kept alive with PROTECT. (In non-tournament play, you can also have a Spiritseer give them his 4++ for a turn, by making their detachment a “wraith host” and spending 2CP on “Spirit shield.”) Even if all they do is wipe out all your opponent’s screening units without needing to burn any CP on big combos, they will have performed an important function as all other wraith units struggle to deal with hordes of infantry.

Another option is to bring them in with webway strike. If you plan to do this though, it would be advisable to cast GHOSTWALK on them in the psychic phase to make it probably that they will succeed on the charge, (see Runes of Fortune.) Also consider taking the custom craftworld trait “Headstrong,” (if you are not playing Iyaden,) which will give +1 to all charges. In addition, be sure to have a command point ready for a re-roll.

Your last option is to mount six Wraith Blades in a wave serpent, or five with a Spiritseer or two, and get them into position that way.

Wraithblades with GHOSTAXES and SHIELDS: Robust Objective Holders 
Uses: All wraith infantry are tough, but these guys have a 4++ invuln that can be made 3++ with PROTECT. As such, they are your best candidate for grabbing a midfield objective and holding it against all comers by fanning out in a “V formation” 2.5 inches in front of the objective to make it difficult for your opponent’s models to get into range. They are hard to get rid of and those axes and do moderate damage to tanks, monsters, and multi-wound infantry, or significant damage if the unit is maxed out and buffed. In 9th edition, Ghostaxes are your most robust unit for primary objective control. 

Liabilities
: There are three: mobility, damage output, and a lack of “Objective Secured.” Like all wraiths, Ghostaxes are slow. Also, they may do D3 wounds, but they only have 3 attacks on the charge instead of 4 like the Ghostswords, and they hit on 4s rather than 3s. This is a particular problem against light infantry who rely on numbers rather than extra wounds and hard armor.

More importantly, Wraithblades do not have “Objective Secured,” which means those horde units of obsec. troops are not only hard for axes to kill, but can take the objective away from your ghosts warriors as if they can consolidate around the wraiths’ flanks. 

COMPENSATING: The mobility solutions are exactly the same as for the Wraithblades with swords. As for the problems posed by light infantry, you can greatly improve the damage output of your Ghostaxes on an objective by taking the Custom Craftworld Traits, “Hunters of Ancient Relics” and “Expert Crafters” to increase their attacks and add rerolls; sending a Spiritseer along to let them reroll 1s to hit; and using the “Supreme Disdain” stratagem if you really get mobbed. I also find that they work best in squads of 7 rather than 5.

In fact, I cannot stress this enough: if you are relying on multiple units of ghost axes to hold midfield objectives, “Hunter of Ancient Relics” is almost essential. This will significantly offset the penalty the axes take to hit, especially if you are also using “Expert Crafters.” When used in this way, Ghostaxes are probably the most valuable wraith unit in competitive play. 

HEAVY SUPPORT:

The Wraithseer: The Wraithseer is a Forgeworld unit that is basically a souped-up psyker-mech that fills a heavy support slot, has warlock psychic powers, and can take a shoulder mounted D-Cannon. Best of all,  the Wraithseer has access to the hardest hitting melee attacks of any model available to eldar in 2000pt play. Here is a brief excerpt from a blog post in which I explain how this works:

“In Melee, the Wraithseer is a terror. His ghostspear hits like a gene-enhanced carnifex on amphetamines at S10, -3AP, D3+3 damage. But here is the trick: if you trade out SMITE for the Runes of Fortune power “Witch Strike,” the Ghost Spear becomes obscene at D3+5. If you’re running “Expert Crafters,” the Witch-Strike Seer can kill any model without an invulnerable save in a single round. Even Magnus the Red and Space Marine smash-Captains shudder before this majestic murder-wraith.”

Uses: The best way to use a single Wraithseer is as a midfield menace that can use his D-Cannon to put indirect fire on units moving to threaten objectives, keeping his Ghost Spear in reserve to deter or countercharge powerful enemy melee monsters. He can also provide psychic support. In lists without a lot a lot of forward melee pressure to keep your opponent’s close combat units occupied, the Wraithseer adds important depth, as he can pop out of cover to engage a dangerous assault unit bearing down on your backfield.

Liabilities: The Wraith Seer is expensive given that he only has 9 wounds and that the D-Cannon has unpredictable fire output at HeavyD3; he isn’t a bad deal for the points, but a motivated opponent can almost certainly destroy him before he has inflicted damage equivalent to his own point cost. 

As good as that souped up melee attack is, you are only likely to use it against enemy units that rush the midfield. If you send a Wraith Seer charging with his Ghostspear at your opponent’s backline, there is a 100% chance he will be gloriously blown to pieces or swamped with chaff before he gets anywhere near a juicy target. 

Compensating: The best way to offset your Wraithseer’s destroyablilty is with by keeping him out of sight, or with target saturation: give your opponent LOTS of targets for her heavy tank-busting weapons, and the Wraithseer may live long enough to do some real damage.

Another option is clever use of “Phantasm.” Deploy your Wraithseer in some back corner of the board to tempt your opponent to position his forward units with the idea that you have committed to that deployment, then move the Wraithseer somewhere such that his D-Cannon is a first turn threat. This costs 2Cp, so it’s only worth doing if you also need to reposition other units and your opponent is otherwise unlikely to present viable targets. Keep in mind that if your opponent is running an aggressive list, like tyranids, his characters will advance into range turn 1 anyway.

Careful use of line-of-sight is essential. 9th edition cover rules make it pretty easy to keep the Wraithseer out of Line-of-Sight, just be careful how and when you expose it to enemy fire. Keep in mind though that you could just get a D-Cannon on a platform for less than half the points, so you need to be a little aggressive to make the substantial point cost worthwhile, (but if your Wraithseer gets blasted off the board turn 1, it is unlikely to provide an adequate return on your investment.)


Wraithlords: 



Uses:
Wraithlords bring some much needed long-range heavy fire support to a wraith-heavy list as well as additional close combat brutality. These undead champions can blast away with their heavy weapons on turn 1 to soften up enemy tanks or heavy infantry, and then provide primary objective defense on later turns by either moving up to support your Wraithblades, or by defending your backfield objective from enemy deepstrikers and flying monsters. 

If you are playing in a meta with Blood Thirsters of Khorne, Magnus the Red, Winged Hive Tyrants, or other highly aggressive heavy units, the Ghostglaive is a great investment. Otherwise you can get good milage out of your ghost bots just with shoulder mounted heavy weapons and wraithbone fists. 

If you are intent on including as much undead badassery as possible, you might consider filling all three heavy support slots in a battalion with a combination of Wraithseers and Wraithlords. If you do, give them Starcannons and maybe a couple of Brightlances but stay away from the AML because Wraithlords want heavy weapons they can use in melee if necessary. For more about heavy weapons loadouts, click here.

If you are running Wraithlords, you should probably be using “Expert Crafters” and perhaps even “Wrath of the Dead.”

LIABILITIES: As heavy weapons chassis, Wraithlords are more expensive than other non-wraith options. War Walkers can carry and equal compliment of weapons and are much cheaper, (if  more fragile.) Also, with no invulnerable save and a degrading profile, Wraithlords might either be short lived or struggle to be effective after turn one.

COMPENSATING: Target saturation: three wraithlords will can absorb lots of enemy fire and will make a solid addition to your all-wraith-jamboree.

FLYERS:
Hemlock Wraithfighter:
Because it isn’t a robot with a tear-drop shaped head, people tend to forget that the Hemlock is a wraith unit. (If you have ever put one together though, you will have noticed that the pilot is a spiritseer.) Hemlocks are a great addition to a wraithlist even though they don’t have the distinctive wraith look. For an in-depth analysis of the how to use the Hemlock, read my article: our best units and how to use them. All I am going to do here is make a couple of specific points about how they function in a wraith list.

USES: A Hemlock Wraithfighter is a credible turn 1 threat. It can rocket up the board, cast smite on a high value enemy unit, then blast it with a pair of heavy D-Scythes that auto-hit, wound just about anything on a 2, and pretty much ignore conventional armor. Because those D-Scythes do a flat 2 damage, they are especially good for eliminating marines, but they can also chip away effectively at tanks and monsters. New players can quickly see results with a Hemlock because it doesn’t require synergies with psychic powers, stratagems, or other units to put the hurt on a target.

LIABILITIES: Like almost all wraith units, the Hemlock is expensive relative to its damage output. In addition, a highly motivated enemy can probably destroy the Hemlock on turn 1.

Compensating: You can’t do anything about the cost, but there are things you can do to keep a Hemlock alive longer, like try and position it out of Line-of-Sight of your opponent’s heavy support units and cast FORTUNE on it. Target saturation is also key. If you are running multiple Wraithlords or a Wraithknight, opponent’s will have to make hard choices about whether to target your flyer.

SUPER HEAVIES
Wraithknights:
These savagely elegant titans have been much maligned on just about every website I know of that provides unit reviews or tactical advice about playing eldar. I wish that I could tell you that the criticisms were unfair, or that they had overlooked certain crucial combos, or that they are outdated, but it isn’t true. In order for wraithknights to be the equal of titanic units available to other factions, they need to be buffed with multiple stratagems and psychic powers every turn. Everything wraithknights can do, can be done better by something else for fewer points.

None of that matters. You are here because you want to build a Wraith list, and you obviously cannot build a wraith list without at least one towering, cloven-footed, death-bot striding over the wreckage a battlefield in the 41st millennia. 

Even though Wraithknights might not be part of the most competitively efficient toolbox available to eldar player, they are still a terror on the battlefield and can play a crucial role in an effective list.

USES: There are three possible ways to kit-out a wraithknight: twin Heavy Wraithcannons, sword and shield, or Suncannon and shield. Until recently the third of these was regarded as not worth considering, but now that all marines have two wounds it might not be totally absurd as an option. That said, if you are not magnetizing and have to commit to a single build, don’t make it the Suncannon. (If you only magnetize one model in your army, make it your wraithknight.)

THE KNIGHT WITH HEAVY CANNONS:.The Wraithknight with the 2 Heavy Wraithcannons can fire 4 shots per turn that hit on 3s, wound just about anything on 2s, and pretty much ignore any armor that isn’t an invuln. (You can also mount a Starcannon on each of his shoulders and you should.) If you have “Expert Crafters,” you can probably count on the Knight dealing about 9 damage to something with no invulnerable save or feel-no-pain; 11-12 damage if you have Starcannons on the shoulders and cast GUIDE, (which I recommend.) Combined with the ranged fire from your Wraithseer’s D-cannon, a Wraithfighter’s heavy D-Scythes, and/or those three Wraithlords you took with heavy weapons, you should be able to destroy one high-value target on the first turn, maybe two targets if your dice are hot. This build enables you to overcome one of the greatest obstacles for wraith list: sub-optimal target elimination on turn 1. What’s more, because the Wraithcannons are an assault weapon, and because those titanic feet are a bad-ass melee weapon in their own right, you can blast way while strolling up the field and stepping on opposing infantry.

THE SWORD AND SHIELD KNIGHT: The sword-and-shield knight is cheaper and potentially more deadly than the cannons, (but it may have to endure 2 rounds of an enemy fire before having a chance to engage if you don’t get first turn.) This build sacrifices turn 1 target elimination for better durability, (a 5+ invuln,) and a weapon that always does 6 damage. On turn 2, your this titan should be wading into your opponent’s forces, crushing infantry under his feet, and terrifying the tanks or monsters for which his S16, AP -4 glaive hungers. 

THE SUN CANNON AND SHIELD: The Sunannon and shield has the durability of the melee knight and a weapon that will average 7 shots per turn, each of which can kill a primaris marine in a single hit. In order to make this effective, you probably need to cast GUIDE, otherwise missing with 1/3 of those shots is a dealbreaker. DOOM will make this weapon viable against harder targets. If you run this build, shoulder mounted Starcannons are a good idea too. 

LIABILITIES: Aside from point cost, there are two big ones: fragility and an inability to overcome invulnerable saves. Wraithknights might seem durable with 24 wounds at T8, but most armies have enough heavy firepower to cripple or kill a Wraithknight on turn 1, (and it isn’t like you can easily hide one out of sight.) Even if the Knight survives, it will almost certainly have a reduced profile that will significantly hamper its effectiveness. The second issue is those invulns. Lots of the targets that you most need to destroy will have a 4++ invuln, which means your ability to deal significant damage with only 4 shots from the cannons or 4 attacks becomes highly uncertain. As for the suncannon, its fire output is too unpredictable. If this weapon were Assault-8, it would be a reasonable alternative to the cannons, but it’s just too easy to wiff a 2D6 roll.

The Sword-and-Shield Knight has less of a problem overcoming invulns because he fights on both players’ turns once he is in melee, but this only matters if he can reach melee with crucial tanks or monsters. If your opponent is running aggressive melee beasts like Magnus the Red or a Blood Thirster of Khorne, then your Sword-and-Board Knight is pretty much guaranteed to be able to charge into a glorious titanic combat that might determine the game in your favor. On the otherhand, if your opponent has no such units, your Knight may struggle to ever engage anything that enables him to maximize his potential.

One last issue with the Wraithknight is that there is a 3CP tax for including a detachment that can take a super heavy unit. This is a pretty substantial drawback considering that there are units available to your CP-free battalion that do all the things the Wraithknights does better for fewer points. We ignore this obvious issue in a wraith list because Wraithknights- objectively speaking- look awesome. 

Compensating:
The problems raised by opponents with invulnerable save can be reduced with the JINX psychic power, while the durability issue can be mitigated but not eliminated.

There are numerous tricks you can use to increase durability. If you are running the Wraithknight with cannons, consider taking the custom craftworld trait “Masters of Concealment” alongside “Expert Crafters.” This will improve your armor save to a 2+. You can also use a Farseer to cast FORTUNE on the knight giving it a 5+++ feel-no-pain save, (but obviously you can’t use this from the outset if your opponent gets first turn.) In addition, you can use “Tears of Isha” to restore D3 wounds, which might be worth doing if you can eliminate a penalty imposed by a degraded profile. More important, however, is how you deploy. Wait to place the Knight until your opponent has already deployed most of her heavies, then position your Knight such that your opponent’s heavy weapons either cannot establish Line-of-Sight, or- more likely- cannot manage the range. Another option is to deploy the Knight first on one side of the field, let your opponent place heavy weapons to answer it, then use “Phantasm” before the game starts to move it out of range. The declining profile can be significantly offset if you have the GUIDE power to let your Wraithknight reroll misses as significant damage makes it increasingly difficult for him to distinguish Real Space from the Spirit Realm. Also: target saturation is your friend. If you are running a knight, be sure to have LOTS of other targets for your opponent’s heavy weapons: Wraithlords, maybe a Wraithseer, one or two Hemlock fighters, or MAYBE even another knight. 

If you are running the sword and shield build, durability is less of an issue because of the 5++ invulnerable save provided by the shield. Still, target saturation is essential- (especially because the necessity of reaching melee turn 2 means that this version of the knight probably can’t deploy out-of-range of opponent’s heavy weapons like the cannon Knight can.) In theory, you could run 2 melee wraithknights and three close-combat wraithlords for about 1200 points and just rush your opponent while your support units grab midfield objectives. This build is well suited to Craftworld Iyaden, which also gives you access to a relic that you can use to double a unit’s attacks for 1 turn, which will probably overwhelm all but the most insane invuln benefit. That said, some of the Custom Craftworld traits offer more competitive bonuses to a close combat Wraith List than does Craftworld Iyaden. 

If you opt for a version of the melee build I just described, you might be tempted to water-it-down because you only own one wraithknight. You might be able to replace one of the knights with 8-10 wraithblades accelerated with “QUICKEN,” but unless you apply overwhelming armored force, this approach will not work. It is built on the assumption that at least one of those Knights will be destroyed before reaching the enemy, so you still need enough hard-hitting melee damage to knock your opponent’s entire army off balance after you have lost 400 points of your assault force.

One final option that 9th edition has made possible is to put your knight into reserve. This protects your Wraithknight if you don’t get first turn, but on the other-hand you then don’t have your Wraithknight on the first turn. The bigger issue, however, is that once you have paid 3CP to include a Wraithknight at all in a Heavy Auxilia Detachment, the additional CP cost of putting it into reserve is probably a deal breaker.

Designing a Wraith List

Designing a wraith list is no different from designing any list, except that you are trying to answer the questions associated with list building primarily with wraith units. The unit overviews above should help you do that, and if you have not read the article I just linked titled “How to Design and Eldar Army List,” It would be helpful. In it, I pose some questions that that should guide list construction. Here are some possible wraith-oriented answers:

How will my army seize objectives?

Wraithguard and Wraithblades. They are tough enough to hold an objective against most infantry and can be mounted in serpents or make use of “webway strike” to capture distant points. You can also use troop units like Dire Avengers that you need to fill out your battalions; these are especially good for holding backfield objectives as wraith units want to be close to the enemy.

How will I score secondary objectives? 
It really depends on your build. Have a look at the article linked above for some ideas.

How will my army deal with hordes?
Ghostswords will chew up horde units quite effectively, and Wraithknights can step on midfield infantry while still blasting away with their ranged weapons. That said, you may want to rely on non-wraith components of your army to clear screening units.

-How will my army deal with multi-wound heavy infantry?
Ghostswords, Hemlock fighters, and Starcannons on wraithlords all fill this bill effectively.

How will my army deal with tanks, monsters, and titanic units?
Almost every wraith unit is good at this if they can get engaged, but Wraithknights can shine here.

How will my army deal with gun lines?
Clever use of “phantasm” during deployment to minimize damage on turn 1; Ghostswords in the webway accelerated with GHOSTWALK when they arrive on turn 2; Wraithblades mounted in Wave Serpents that can charge the line turn 2 after which the Wave Serpent charges key units to tie them up in close combat; heavy support combos that can eliminate a key threat on turn 1. Most of all: target saturation and range manipulation.

How will my army deal with obscenely good invulnerable saves?
JINX and large numbers of close combat attacks 

How will my army deal with deepstrikers?

Keep a farseer near a wraith knight and use the “forewarned” stratagem, then counter charge them with Wraithknights and Wraithlords.

Have I considered command points? what happens if I don’t get first turn? and other concerns.
Use “Phantasm” and defensive deployment to offset an opponent getting first turn.

Enhancing Your Wraith Army with a “Wraith Host” Detachment: In non-tournament play, for 1CP you can give an existing detachment the keyword “wraith host.” Doing so gives you access to special stratagems that greatly increase the viability of certain wraith units. For 1 CP, you can give a wraith unit +1 attacks until end of turn, which is exceptional for all Wraithblades. For 2 CP you can use “spirit shield” to have a spiritseer loan its 4++ invuln save to a wraith construct in the detachment. This is a great option for making Ghostswords or units of melee wraithlords more durable. Note that you can also also make a Spiritseer your warlord and give him a trait that will allow free rerolls for “wraith host” “wraith constructs” within 6″ to reroll failed charges, which is not a bad idea if you stick him in a Wave Serpent with 5 wraithblades. The wraith host rules are in the vigilus book, but if you don’t have that, just click here.

However, as I mentioned elsewhere in this article, the “Wraith Host” and other specialist detachments are legal in matched play, but not tournament play. 

Additional Options offered by essential non-wraith units: Because you will need three troop units anyway, you might also assume that you have some of the following:

Rangers: These wayfaring space elves can deepstrike for free in order to help you score secondary objectives like “Scramblers.”

-A guardian blob in the webway. A big squad of guardians deepstriking on turn 2 will not only fill out that battalion you need, but give you a hammer against light infantry units and help you seize objectives.

-5-man units of Dire Avengers to hold backfield objectives and score secondaries like “Scrambers” or “Raise the Banners High”

*A Farseer. Every eldar list benefits from DOOM or GUIDE, and EXECUTIONER can help you clear screening units so your wraiths can reach high-value targets. A Farseer can also give up SMITE for GHOSTWALK if pulling off that power is essential to your plan and you want to be sure you have a free casting reroll.

* A Warlock Skyrunner. This unit if you are planning to deepstrike a big squad of wraithblades accelerated with GHOSTWALK. Giving up SMITE isn’t a big loss for a warlock, as they only have baby SMITE anyway. Also, running both a Warlock and a Farseer gives you access to the “Seer Council” stratagem, which makes both of these psykers more reliable.

LIST SUGGESTIONS

Below you will find two sample lists and then some advice for getting into wraiths for under $200. The first of these lists is utilizes the Wraithknight with cannons along with a balance of shooting and melee wraith units to dominate the midfield and force impossible choices on your opponent. The second of these lists is intended to dominate an opponent with an all-out melee assault lead by a knight wielding a titanic Ghostglaive. 

1) With Fire and Sword: The Balanced Approach
Midfield Objective Domination, Target Saturation, and Powerful Shooting

CRAFTWORLD: Custom with “Expert Crafters” and “Masters of Concealment” 
DETATCHMENTS: 1 Battalion, 1 Super-Heavy Auxilia
8 Command Points

Secondary Missions:
1) Scamblers
2) Player’s choice
3) Player’s choice

HQ: –
Farseer Skyrunner with/witchblade, psychic powers: GUIDE and FORTUNE. Warlord Trait: Seer of the Shifting Vector – (135) 
[If you need to find 20 extra points to make minor changes to the list below, instead use a regular Farseer, give him Faolchu’s Wing, and take the Phoenix Gem away from the Warlock.]

Warlock Skyrunner with with witchblade, psychic powers: QUICKEN/RESTRAIN and the artifact The Phoenix Gem  (65) 

Spiritseer with PROTECT/JINX (60)

TROOPS:
5 Rangers (In deepstrike) (75)

5 Dire Avengers with the Exarch Power “Battle Fortune” (65)
(Mounted in a Falcon)

5 Dire Avengers with the Exarch Power “Battle Fortune” (65)

ELITES:
6 Wraithblades with axes and shields (240)
6 Wraithguard with wraithcannons (228)

HEAVY SUPPORT

Wraithlord w/2 Star Cannons (130)

Wraithlord w/ 2 Star Cannons (130)

Falcon with Pulse Laser and Star Canon (130)

FLYER:
Hemlock Wraithfighter with psychic power: PROTECT (230)

HEAVY:
Wraithknight with 2 Heavy Wraithcannons and 2 Star Cannons (445)

Total: 1998 points

HOW TO PLAY THIS LIST:
The Overall Strategy: This list wins games by quickly seizing midfield objectives and eliminating key enemy units in the first two turns. In addition, this roster presents your opponent with such an over-saturation of heavy targets that she will have to decide between letting you continue to beat her on the objective game while wearing down your most dangerous offensive units, or targeting your objective holders while letting those offensive units dismantle her army. Either way, you stand to benefit from her decision.

Before the Game Begins:
-Deploy your wraithknight conservatively as described in his unit analysis above and move him with “Phantasm” if necessary should you not get first turn. Ideally, position him out of range of the majority of your opponent’s heavy weapons. 
-Deploy your wraithblades and Spiritseer such that they can be advanced and QUICKENED onto a midfield objective on turn 1, but out of Line-of-Sight if possible. 
-Deploy your Falcon full of Dire Avengers our of Line-of-Sight, but close enough to a midfield objective that you can seize it turn 1.
-Deploy your Wraithlords far enough back to be out of range of the majority of your opponent’s heavy weapons and out of Line-of-Sight if possible
-Deploy your Hemlock in a back corner of the board, out of range of most of your opponent’s heavy weapons
-Deploy your Dire Avengers on foot and out of Line-of-Sight, but close enough to the rear most objective to grab it on turn 1.
-Put your Scouts in Deepstrike
-Put your Wraithguard in Deepstrike
-Deploy your Warlock and Farseer out of Line-of-Sight and close enough to the Falcon to use it to trigger “Look Out Sir” in case of indirect fire

DON’T FORGET: With “Masters of Concealment,” all your wraith units have a 2+ save when they are at least 12 inches from opponents.

Turn 1
MOVEMENT:
-Advance with your Wraithblades towards the midfield objective most likely to be contested by opposing melee units. Position your Wraithblades such that they can be QUICKENED onto that objective in the psychic phase, finishing the second move in a “V” formation 2.5 inches ahead of the objective such that opposing units engaging them in melee are not within 3″ of the objective marker. If necessary, use the “Matchless Agility” stratagem to guarantee an 11″ initial move. (If your opponent got first turn and is already on the objective, use QUICKEN to position the wraithblades for a charge.)

-Move your Falcon full of Dire Avengers onto another midfield objective, one that provides Line-of-Sight to desirable targets for the Starcannon and Pulse Laser. (Avoid advancing if possible so you can make use of the Starcannon, which does not have an assault profile.)

-Move your Wraithlords into range of potential targets, seizing your rear-most objective.

-Move your Dire Avengers on foot towards your rear-most objective and have them perform the “Scamblers” secondary mission.

-Move your Wraithknight forward so that next turn it can advance onto objectives if necessary.

-Move your Wraithfighter into position to blast and SMITE one of your opponent’s most essential units.

-Advance with your Spiritseer, ideally keeping him just a couple inches behind the objective your wraithblades are going to seize. If this is not possible, have him use the Wraithlords for protection.

-Move your Jetbike Psykers behind your Falcon, Wraithlords, or Wraithknight.

PSYCHIC PHASE:
-Use the Stratagem “Seer Council” to get +1 on your casts for your Farseer and Warlock. 
-Use your Warlock to cast QUICKEN on your Wraithblades, rerolling with CP if necessary.
-Use your Farseer to cast FORTUNE and GUIDE on your Wraithknight, remembering that you can reroll both because you have the “Seer of the Shifting Vector” warlord trait and the Farseer’s natural reroll. 
-Use your Hemlock Wraithfighter to SMITE the nearest unit.

SHOOTING: 
-Start with the Wraithknight. Target and hopefully destroy the unit that is the greatest threat to your wraith units.
-Finish off that unit if necessary with the Falcon- if you have already crippled its profile and your opponent has no way to repair it, consider moving on to other targets with your Hemlock and Star Cannons. Don’t forget to take advantage of all the rerolls offered by “Expert Crafters” 

CHARGE PHASE: 
-If your opponent had first turn, you might use Wraithblades and/or Wraithlords to charge enemy units on objectives. Otherwise, sit tight.

TURN 2 and beyond

-Have your Dire Avengers in the Falcon disembark and trigger “Scamblers” in the midfield.

-On turn 2, deepstrike your Wraithguard to destroy or cripple and essential unit and then try and seize or recover an objective with them. (You might also use them to counter-punch powerful enemy deepstrikers like terminators.)

-Remember you can use the “Forewarned” stratagem to blast enemy deepstrikers as long as your keep your Farseer near one of your heavy support units or Wrathknight.

-Continue to cast Fortune and Guide on the Wraithknight until it is destroyed. After that, use your best judgement, but the deepstriking Wraithguard are a good target for GUIDE

-Have your Wraithlords and Wraithknight grab objectives if necessary

-On turn 3, deepstrike your scouts to trigger “scramblers” in your opponent’s backfield, then have them grab an undefended objective, or be a general nuisance. 

-Cast PROTECT on your wraithblades to give them a 3++ if you are hard pressed

-Don’t forget your Dire Avengers can assign incoming fire to the exarch to hide behind his 4++ invuln for as long as he remains alive

-If your wraithguard are standing on a midfield objective in the midfield, have them trigger “scramblers” if you have not already had a unit do this in the midfield

-Don’t forget your armor bonus for “Masters of Concealment.” All your wraith units save on 2+ if they are 12 inches or more from the enemy targeting them.

-Improvise, but remember this list relies on winning the primary objective game




2) The Blades of the Dead
Overwhelming Melee Pressure and Target Saturation
This list bullies an opponent out of the midfield with tough, hard-hitting wraith units and then delivers a crippling melee assault turn 2. If you want to run a melee-oriented wraith list, this is a good option. 

CRAFTWORLD: Custom: “Expert Crafters,” “Headstrong” 
DETATCHMENTS: 1 Battalion, 1 Super-Heavy Auxilia,
Command Points: 8

Secondary Missions:
1) Scamblers
2) Player’s choice
3) Player’s choice

HQs:

Farseer with/witchblade and FAOLCHU’S WING, psychic powers: DOOM and EXECUTIONER. (115)

Warlock Skyrunner with witchblade and PROTECT/JINX (and GHOSTWALK 65) 

Autarch Skyrunner: with laser lance and Warlord Trait: Seer of the Shifting Vector (105)
NOTE: The Autarch is your Warlord so that you can benefit from the CP recovery provided by Path of Command, but don’t forget to also make use of the rerolls provided by “Seer of the Shifting Vector.”

Troops:

5 Dire Avengers with Exarch power Battle Fortune (65) [mounted in a falcon]

5 Dire Avengers with Exarch Power Battle Fortune (65)

5 Rangers (75) [in deepstrike]

ELITES: 

7 Wraithblades with ghost swords: (240)[in deepstrike]

6 Wraithblades with ghost swords: (240) [mounted in a Falcon]

HEAVY

Wraithlord w/ Bright Lance and Starcannon (135)

Wraithlord w/ Bright Lance and Starcannon(135)

Falcon with Pulse Laser and Starcannon (135)

FAST ATTACK:

Vyper Jetbike with Starcannon (55)

TRANSPORT

Wave Serpent with Shuriken Cannons (150)

SUPER HEAVY:

Wraithknight with glaive, shield, and shoulder-mounted Shuriken Cannons (380)

TOTAL: 2000

HOW TO PLAY THIS LIST:
Overall Strategy: This list wins games by presenting such a potent close combat threat that the opponent yields the midfield objective turn 1 and is then never able to reclaim them because of overwhelming melee pressure.  

Before the game Begins
-The Rangers and the unit of 7 Wraithblades begin the game in deepstrike

-Deploy your Wraithknight and Falcon aggressively on a flank that requires your opponent’s heavy weapons to deploy without clear line of sight of the rest of the field in order to counter these units. Before the game begins, use the “Phantasm”
stratagem to reposition these units out of range and/or line of sight of enemy heavy weapons. Against an opponent likely to see this coming, just hold off on deploying the Wraithknight until the end so that you can make an informed choice, then move it to safer position with “Phantasm” if you don’t get first turn and the heavy weapons threat is too potent.

-When you position/reposition the Falcon, deploy it out of Line-of-Sight, but close enough to a midfield objective that you can seize it turn 1.

-Deploy your Wraithlords far enough back to be out of range of the majority of your opponent’s heavy weapons and out of Line-of-Sight if possible

-Deploy your Dire Avengers on foot out of Line-of-Sight, but close enough to the rear most objective to grab it  on turn 1.

-Deploy the Waveserpent full of Wraithguard as far forward as possible while remaining either out of Line-of-Sight or only vulnerable to a few heavy weapons. Remember you can ALSO reposition this unit when you use “Phantasm.”

-Deploy your Warlock, Farseer, and Autarch out of Line-of-Sight and close enough to a vehicle to use it to trigger “Look Out Sir” in case of indirect fire

-Deploy your Vyper out of Line-of-Sight, but in a position to grab a midfield objective on turn 1.

-All three of your characters should move to a midfield position where the Falcon or Wratihlords provide protection via “Look Out Sir.” Ideally, the Farseer will also be within range to cast “Executioner” and either “Smite” or “Doom,” and the Autarch should be in range to buff the Falcon and Wraithlords. (Remember that “Executioner” and “Doom” do NOT require Line-of-Sight.)  

TURN 1:

MOVEMENT:

-The Wraithknight and Wave Serpent both make advance moves towards high value enemy targets. This can either be essential units or objectives in your opponent’s backfield. consider using the “Matchless Agility” stratagem on the Wraithknight if there is any question about succeeding on a turn 2 charge. (Unless your opponent got first turn and moved high value targets within range for a turn 1 charge, in which case use your judgement. I would suggest prioritizing putting pressure on your opponent’s backline with at least one of these units.)

-Move the Wraithlords towards midfield objectives. Unless there is a good reason to spread them out, keep them close to potentially benefit from the Autarch’s reroll bubble.

-The Falcon and Vyper should each grab a midfield objective. If possible, position at least one of these units close enough to the Wraithlords that all three can benefit from the Autarch’s reroll bubble on turn 1. 

-The Dire Avengers on foot should seize a backfield objective and/or perform the secondary mission “Scramblers”

PSYCHIC PHASE:
-Your Farseer should cast EXECUTIONER and SMITE on forward enemy screening units, or “Executioner” on a screening unit and “Doom” on the unit you plan to target with your heavy weapons. (Remember that for a CP the Farseer can cast all three with “Unparalleled Mastery”) 

-Your Warlock should cast JINX on the unit you are targeting with your heavy weapons; if that is not possible, cast PROTECT on your Vyper or on the Dire Avengers on your backfield objective IF your opponent has a weapon that threatens them. (Remember that you can assign incoming damage to the exarch, so with PROTECT that whole squad will have a 3++ invulnerable save while the exarch lives.) 

NOTE: You should only use “Seer Council” this turn if you have good targets for your powers. You need to save some CP for next turn.

SHOOTING PHASE

-Your Wave Serpent and Wraithknight should use their Shuriken Cannons and catapults to clear screening units of light infantry or light infantry holding an objective.

-Your Wraithlords, Falcon, and Vyper should focus on eliminating or crippling a high-threat unit. Don’t forget all the rerolls provided by “Expert Crafters” and the Autarch’s reroll bubble. If you were not able to cast DOOM, you might also consider using the “Runes of Witnessing” stratagem to enable the three units near your characters to also reroll 1s to wound, but this is only worth doing if you stand a good chance of eliminating the target or significantly reducing the profile by doing so.

TIP: When shooting with your Wraithlords, resolve the Brightlance shots first as these will benefit most from the rerolls provided by “Expert Crafters.”

CHARGE PHASE
Unlikely.

NOTE: Save at least 3CP so that you are guaranteed to have 4 next turn.

TURN 2: 

MOVEMENT:
-Position your Wraithknight within charge distance of his first target

-Disembark from your transport with your 6 Wraithblades and move them within charge distance of their target

-Move forward with your Wraithlords to reinforce a midfield objective and provide cover to your characters.

-Move your Wave Serpent back to hold a midfield objective if necessary, otherwise you can move it back to provide cover for your characters. If neither of these are needed, move within charge distance of an enemy units vulnerable to being tied up.

-Position your Autarch within 6″ of a target you plan to hit with one of your three melee units. This way he can both fire with his weapons AND buff your close combat unit with rerolls.

-Position your Farseer behind your Wraithlords 

-Position your Warlock behind your Wraithlords, staying close to the Farseer. Be sure to place these models such that your Warlock is can cast GHOSTWALK on the 7 Wraithblades you are bringing in from the webway.

-Disembark your Dire Avengers from your Falcon onto a midfield objective and perform “Scramblers”

-Deepstrike your 7 Wraithblades within charge distance of a desirable target.

PSYCHIC PHASE:
-Use the “Seer Council” strategem. (You really need your Psychic powers to work.)

-Begin by casting with the Farseer. This is in part because you want to draw out any “Deny the Witch” tests your opponent may have available as your most important cast this turn is with your Warlock. Consider paying one CP so you can attempt all three psychic powers. Use your Farseer’s native reroll, but don’t use a CP reroll; save that for the Warlock.

-The Warlock now casts GHOSTWALK on the 7 Wraithblades. This power has a warp charge value of 6, so with the +1 from “Seer Council” you only need a 5, and you also have a CP reroll in your back pocket. 

SHOOTING: 
-Do more or less the same thing you did during turn 2. 

CHARGE PHASE:
-The Wraith Knight, and 2 units of Wraithblades each declare charges. Remember all of these units are at +1 for “Headstrong” and your unit of 7 Wraithblades should be at a total of +3 for also benefitting from GHOSTWALK.

-If your Wave Serpent did not fall back to grab a midfield objective or provide protection to your psykers, charge a unit vulnerable to being tied up in melee.

-Your Autarch should only charge if he can do so without serious risk of death

MELEE:
-Use savage violence to destroy your opponent. Remember to benefit from the rerolls provided by your Autarch and “Expert Crafters.”

-Consider whether your Wraithknight will do better using his Wraithbone feet or his glaive. Against most bikes and infantry, the feet are better.

-Consider using the “Supreme Disdain” stratagem to generate more hits with either your Wraithknight’s feet or with the ghost swords of one of your engaged units. 

TURN 3 and BEYOND
-Bring in your Rangers turn 3 to complete the “Scamblers” secondary in your opponent’s deployment zone.

-Remember you have access to the “Forewarned” stratagem should you need to soften up your opponent’s deepstrikers

-You can use your flying tanks, Vyper, and characters to tie up opponent’s units that are not combat adept while your wraiths chew through enemy units with melee potential

-Play the objectives

-If you have the CP, consider using “Tears of Isha” to restore D3 hitpoints to your Wraithknight if that removes a penalty for a degraded profile. Only do this after turn 2, as you may need those CP for other things early on.

COMPLICATIONS: WHAT IF THINGS GO PEAR-SHAPED?

Most of the time, things don’t go according to plan. For example, if your opponent gets first turn it is distinctly possible that she will kill your Wraithknight on turn 2 before it reaches combat. (If you are very unlucky, this could happen on turn 1.) Although this might seem like a catastrophe, it probably isn’t. If eliminating the Knight meant that your opponent was not able to shoot anything else effectively on turns 1 and 2, then it was well worth the trade. As long as 2 of your three major melee threats reach their targets, you are still in the game. 

In the event that your opponent is also running a hard-hitting melee army, then you might want to disregard much of the advice I just gave. In this case, should you get first turn you can seize objectives with the Falcon and Wave Serpent- let those units take your opponent’s charge, and then drop the hammer blow with countercharging wraiths.


3) Wraiths Light: Getting into Wraiths for under $200
One problem with committing to a wraith list as new player is that it means investing significant money in expensive units- like Wraithknights- that you are unlikely to use in competitive lists you may want to build later. If you want to play with a bunch of wraiths on the table, but are hesitant to go all the way, you could pick up 2 “Start Collecting” boxes on Amazon and a single box of Wraithguard all for just under $200. This will give you 2 Wraithlords and 15 Wraithguard/blades, (as well as a couple of War Walkers and Farseers, both of which are A-list units.)

Here is what I would suggest you do: magnetize everything. But if you don’t have the tools and patience for that, I suggest building 8 wraithblades with axes and shields and 7 with Wraithcannons. Almost any list you construct can effectively incorporate a unit of axes as midfield objective holders and/or a unit of cannons in deepstrike. The Wraithlords are solid midfield melee and heavy weapons support- again, very easy to slot in alongside other units. If you include the whole package, that’s about 750 points of wraiths depending on how you build them- more than enough to provide flavor, but not enough to preclude other competitive choices you might make regarding list construction.

When you decide how to equip the Wraithlords- (and War Walkers for that matter,) you should reconsider your earlier decision not to magnetize- consider magnetizing just these guys. If even that seems like too much, you can swap heavy weapons around with a little bit of Blue-tack. 

Another option is to get on ebay and try to buy Wraithlords and and Wraithguard that other people have already gone through the trouble of magnetizing, (but hopefully have not painted.) Full disclosure: this is how ten of my own wraithguard/blades came to be magnetized and never have I been so pleased with an Aeldari ebay purchase. 

That’s about it. If you have questions about a potential wraith list, or want to send me a picture of the super cool army you have put together, don’t hesitate to send me an email using the contact link at the top of the page.

Best of luck. May your ghost warriors stomp the ill-bred troglodytes of the lesser species into the most miserable corners of the warp.

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Wraithlord w/ Bright Lance and Starcannon (135)

Wraithlord w/ Bright Lance and Starcannon(135)

Falcon with Pulse Laser and Starcannon (135)

FAST ATTACK:

Vyper Jetbike with Starcannon (55)

TRANSPORT

Wave Serpent with Shuriken Cannons (150)

SUPER HEAVY:

Wraithknight with glaive, shield, and shoulder-mounted Shuriken Cannons (380)

TOTAL: 2000

HOW TO PLAY THIS LIST:
Overall Strategy: This list wins games by presenting such a potent close combat threat that the opponent yields the midfield objective turn 1 and is then never able to reclaim them because of overwhelming melee pressure.  

Before the game Begins
-The Rangers and the unit of 7 Wraithblades begin the game in deepstrike

-Deploy your Wraithknight and Falcon aggressively on a flank that requires your opponent’s heavy weapons to deploy without clear line of sight of the rest of the field in order to counter these units. Before the game begins, use the “Phantasm”
stratagem to reposition these units out of range and/or line of sight of enemy heavy weapons. Against an opponent likely to see this coming, just hold off on deploying the Wraithknight until the end so that you can make an informed choice, then move it to safer position with “Phantasm” if you don’t get first turn and the heavy weapons threat is too potent.

-When you position/reposition the Falcon, deploy it out of Line-of-Sight, but close enough to a midfield objective that you can seize it turn 1.

-Deploy your Wraithlords far enough back to be out of range of the majority of your opponent’s heavy weapons and out of Line-of-Sight if possible

-Deploy your Dire Avengers on foot out of Line-of-Sight, but close enough to the rear most objective to grab it  on turn 1.

-Deploy the Waveserpent full of Wraithguard as far forward as possible while remaining either out of Line-of-Sight or only vulnerable to a few heavy weapons. Remember you can ALSO reposition this unit when you use “Phantasm.”

-Deploy your Warlock, Farseer, and Autarch out of Line-of-Sight and close enough to a vehicle to use it to trigger “Look Out Sir” in case of indirect fire

-Deploy your Vyper out of Line-of-Sight, but in a position to grab a midfield objective on turn 1.

-All three of your characters should move to a midfield position where the Falcon or Wratihlords provide protection via “Look Out Sir.” Ideally, the Farseer will also be within range to cast “Executioner” and either “Smite” or “Doom,” and the Autarch should be in range to buff the Falcon and Wraithlords. (Remember that “Executioner” and “Doom” do NOT require Line-of-Sight.)  

TURN 1:

MOVEMENT:

-The Wraithknight and Wave Serpent both make advance moves towards high value enemy targets. This can either be essential units or objectives in your opponent’s backfield. consider using the “Matchless Agility” stratagem on the Wraithknight if there is any question about succeeding on a turn 2 charge. (Unless your opponent got first turn and moved high value targets within range for a turn 1 charge, in which case use your judgement. I would suggest prioritizing putting pressure on your opponent’s backline with at least one of these units.)

-Move the Wraithlords towards midfield objectives. Unless there is a good reason to spread them out, keep them close to potentially benefit from the Autarch’s reroll bubble.

-The Falcon and Vyper should each grab a midfield objective. If possible, position at least one of these units close enough to the Wraithlords that all three can benefit from the Autarch’s reroll bubble on turn 1. 

-The Dire Avengers on foot should seize a backfield objective and/or perform the secondary mission “Scramblers”

PSYCHIC PHASE:
-Your Farseer should cast EXECUTIONER and SMITE on forward enemy screening units, or “Executioner” on a screening unit and “Doom” on the unit you plan to target with your heavy weapons. (Remember that for a CP the Farseer can cast all three with “Unparalleled Mastery”) 

-Your Warlock should cast JINX on the unit you are targeting with your heavy weapons; if that is not possible, cast PROTECT on your Vyper or on the Dire Avengers on your backfield objective IF your opponent has a weapon that threatens them. (Remember that you can assign incoming damage to the exarch, so with PROTECT that whole squad will have a 3++ invulnerable save while the exarch lives.) 

NOTE: You should only use “Seer Council” this turn if you have good targets for your powers. You need to save some CP for next turn.

SHOOTING PHASE

-Your Wave Serpent and Wraithknight should use their Shuriken Cannons and catapults to clear screening units of light infantry or light infantry holding an objective.

-Your Wraithlords, Falcon, and Vyper should focus on eliminating or crippling a high-threat unit. Don’t forget all the rerolls provided by “Expert Crafters” and the Autarch’s reroll bubble. If you were not able to cast DOOM, you might also consider using the “Runes of Witnessing” stratagem to enable the three units near your characters to also reroll 1s to wound, but this is only worth doing if you stand a good chance of eliminating the target or significantly reducing the profile by doing so.

TIP: When shooting with your Wraithlords, resolve the Brightlance shots first as these will benefit most from the rerolls provided by “Expert Crafters.”

CHARGE PHASE
Unlikely.

NOTE: Save at least 3CP so that you are guaranteed to have 4 next turn.

TURN 2: 

MOVEMENT:
-Position your Wraithknight within charge distance of his first target

-Disembark from your transport with your 6 Wraithblades and move them within charge distance of their target

-Move forward with your Wraithlords to reinforce a midfield objective and provide cover to your characters.

-Move your Wave Serpent back to hold a midfield objective if necessary, otherwise you can move it back to provide cover for your characters. If neither of these are needed, move within charge distance of an enemy units vulnerable to being tied up.

-Position your Autarch within 6″ of a target you plan to hit with one of your three melee units. This way he can both fire with his weapons AND buff your close combat unit with rerolls.

-Position your Farseer behind your Wraithlords 

-Position your Warlock behind your Wraithlords, staying close to the Farseer. Be sure to place these models such that your Warlock is can cast GHOSTWALK on the 7 Wraithblades you are bringing in from the webway.

-Disembark your Dire Avengers from your Falcon onto a midfield objective and perform “Scramblers”

-Deepstrike your 7 Wraithblades within charge distance of a desirable target.

PSYCHIC PHASE:
-Use the “Seer Council” strategem. (You really need your Psychic powers to work.)

-Begin by casting with the Farseer. This is in part because you want to draw out any “Deny the Witch” tests your opponent may have available as your most important cast this turn is with your Warlock. Consider paying one CP so you can attempt all three psychic powers. Use your Farseer’s native reroll, but don’t use a CP reroll; save that for the Warlock.

-The Warlock now casts GHOSTWALK on the 7 Wraithblades. This power has a warp charge value of 6, so with the +1 from “Seer Council” you only need a 5, and you also have a CP reroll in your back pocket. 

SHOOTING: 
-Do more or less the same thing you did during turn 2. 

CHARGE PHASE:
-The Wraith Knight, and 2 units of Wraithblades each declare charges. Remember all of these units are at +1 for “Headstrong” and your unit of 7 Wraithblades should be at a total of +3 for also benefitting from GHOSTWALK.

-If your Wave Serpent did not fall back to grab a midfield objective or provide protection to your psykers, charge a unit vulnerable to being tied up in melee.

-Your Autarch should only charge if he can do so without serious risk of death

MELEE:
-Use savage violence to destroy your opponent. Remember to benefit from the rerolls provided by your Autarch and “Expert Crafters.”

-Consider whether your Wraithknight will do better using his Wraithbone feet or his glaive. Against most bikes and infantry, the feet are better.

-Consider using the “Supreme Disdain” stratagem to generate more hits with either your Wraithknight’s feet or with the ghost swords of one of your engaged units. 

TURN 3 and BEYOND
-Bring in your Rangers turn 3 to complete the “Scamblers” secondary in your opponent’s deployment zone.

-Remember you have access to the “Forewarned” stratagem should you need to soften up your opponent’s deepstrikers

-You can use your flying tanks, Vyper, and characters to tie up opponent’s units that are not combat adept while your wraiths chew through enemy units with melee potential

-Play the objectives

-If you have the CP, consider using “Tears of Isha” to restore D3 hitpoints to your Wraithknight if that removes a penalty for a degraded profile. Only do this after turn 2, as you may need those CP for other things early on.

COMPLICATIONS: WHAT IF THINGS GO PEAR-SHAPED?

Most of the time, things don’t go according to plan. For example, if your opponent gets first turn it is distinctly possible that she will kill your Wraithknight on turn 2 before it reaches combat. (If you are very unlucky, this could happen on turn 1.) Although this might seem like a catastrophe, it probably isn’t. If eliminating the Knight meant that your opponent was not able to shoot anything else effectively on turns 1 and 2, then it was well worth the trade. As long as 2 of your three major melee threats reach their targets, you are still in the game. 

In the event that your opponent is also running a hard-hitting melee army, then you might want to disregard much of the advice I just gave. In this case, should you get first turn you can seize objectives with the Falcon and Wave Serpent- let those units take your opponent’s charge, and then drop the hammer blow with countercharging wraiths.


3) Wraiths Light: Getting into Wraiths for under $200
One problem with committing to a wraith list as new player is that it means investing significant money in expensive units- like Wraithknights- that you are unlikely to use in competitive lists you may want to build later. If you want to play with a bunch of wraiths on the table, but are hesitant to go all the way, you could pick up 2 “Start Collecting” boxes on Amazon and a single box of Wraithguard all for just under $200. This will give you 2 Wraithlords and 15 Wraithguard/blades, (as well as a couple of War Walkers and Farseers, both of which are A-list units.)

Here is what I would suggest you do: magnetize everything. But if you don’t have the tools and patience for that, I suggest building 8 wraithblades with axes and shields and 7 with Wraithcannons. Almost any list you construct can effectively incorporate a unit of axes as midfield objective holders and/or a unit of cannons in deepstrike. The Wraithlords are solid midfield melee and heavy weapons support- again, very easy to slot in alongside other units. If you include the whole package, that’s about 750 points of wraiths depending on how you build them- more than enough to provide flavor, but not enough to preclude other competitive choices you might make regarding list construction.

When you decide how to equip the Wraithlords- (and War Walkers for that matter,) you should reconsider your earlier decision not to magnetize- consider magnetizing just these guys. If even that seems like too much, you can swap heavy weapons around with a little bit of Blue-tack. 

Another option is to get on ebay and try to buy Wraithlords and and Wraithguard that other people have already gone through the trouble of magnetizing, (but hopefully have not painted.) Full disclosure: this is how ten of my own wraithguard/blades came to be magnetized and never have I been so pleased with an Aeldari ebay purchase. 

That’s about it. If you have questions about a potential wraith list, or want to send me a picture of the super cool army you have put together, don’t hesitate to send me an email using the contact link at the top of the page.

Best of luck. May your ghost warriors stomp the ill-bred troglodytes of the lesser species into the most miserable corners of the warp.

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2 thoughts on “Building the Elusive Wraith List

    1. Yeah, I am not sure why this is happening because on the editing page the second printing of the list does not appear. I am not sure how to get rid of it.

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