Specialist Detachment: Wraith Host Ideas!

Hey guys its Cavalier, commission painter for Frontline Gaming and co-host of Splintermind the Dark Eldar Podcast, checking in with ideas on potential winning combinations with Wraith Host specialist detachment from Vigilus


Ever since the Codex dropped I was a big fan of the Iyanden Craftworld Trait and thought it was very much overlooked. They double their wounds characteristics for purposes of determining degrading stats and they never lose more 1 model on failed morale. First off, Eldar have some great units to which this applies. For units like the Fire Prism and the now much more viable Wraithknight, this keeps their offense in the higher brackets longer than usual. Likewise, it keeps units which rely on speed like the Wave Serpent, Hemlock moving and grooving for longer as well. The second aspect of their Craftworld Trait keeps big units like the very popular and very effective Guardians (big 20 man units for example), or even big units of Wraithguard who are going to be in the thick of it, from losing manpower from Morale.

The Wraith Host detachment builds upon that sturdy foundation, enhancing durability, while also playing to some of the key relics, iconic characters and unit types that define an Iyanden or Ghost Warrior themed Eldar army.

Iyanden Assault

One combination that immediately jumped out at me is the potency of a Wraithblade assault. While the Axe and Shield Wraithblades are still prohibitively expensive (though very useful), the Ghost Glaive variant could hit very hard when using the Pystronome of Iyanden relic to support them for a bargain price. The Pystronome doubles the attack characteristics of Wraith constructs within 6″. Activate the brand new shiny Wrath of the Dead stratagem from this detachment and you get an additional attack on top of that. This brings Wraithblades with the Glaives up to 9 attacks each attacks on the charge! (2 attacks base, +1 for charging, +1 for the stratagem= 4 . Multiply that x2 for the Pystronome:=10 and add 1 for the glaives). Thats 45 attacks from a unit of 5 on the charge at Str 6 Ap-3 Dmg 1! If you go for my favorites with Axe and Shield you are getting 40 attacks at Str 7, AP -3 D3 Damage!

If lead by a Spirit Seer with Enhance you can get those Wraithblades up to WS 2+. The Spirit Seer can likewise use its free ability to “Spirit Mark” to re-roll 1’s when within 6″. But if you want to go full on Iyanden, you can throw run a simple Warlock instead, with Prince Y’riel in there alternatively to kick out that re-roll 1’s aura as well.

So units of 5 will be kicking out 45 attacks at Str 6 Ap-3 Dmg 1 hitting on 2’s re-rolling 1’s with Glaives, or with Axe and Shield you’ve got 40 attacks at Str 7, AP -3 D3 Damage, 1 hitting on 2’s re-rolling 1’s . Imagine attacking a Doomed or Jinxed target!

There are defensive measures you can use to protect this unit as well, to prevent it from being a 1 hit Wonder. You can use the phenomenal Wraithost Exclusive 1 CP Spirit Shield stratagem to give this unit a 4++ as well. You can continue to push the damage denial by casting Fortune to give them a 5+ Feel no Pain, and even Conceal them granting them a -1 to hit. Activate the Lightning Fast Reflexes Stratagem get them to -2 to hit and you have an insanely tough and hard to hit durable unit!

With maxed out buffs, you have a unit hitting on 2’s, re-rolling 1’s, that is Toughness 6,  with 2+ armor, 3++ Invulnerable save, 3 wounds a pop, and -2 to hit!

If you support that unit with say a Sword and Board Wraithknight who’s only 375 pts after Chapter Approved, he’ll also double his attacks if nearby the Pystronome and you have a wrecking ball assault wing, even if you do skimp on the psychic defenses and stratagem investments.

Wraithknight Firebase

I think the most exciting element of the Wraith Host detachment is the Spirit Shield stratagem which grants a 4++ to an Wraithconstruct. It is useful on Wraithguard, Wraithblades but most especially the Wraithknight which has been very lackluster for its very high points cost especially when compared to its cheaper, more durable, and more flexible Imperial counterparts which came with an Invuln standard yet cost less than a Wraithknight.

That has changed to a very large degree. The stratagem to give a Wraithknight a 4++ opens up some big opportunities to get the big man on the table again. However their is a catch, the Stratagem can only be played at the end of the Movement Phase. Meaning if you go second in a game, the Wraithknight (with Wraithcannons at least) is being exposed big time.

There a number of options to try and mitigate that. First off is you dont need to play them as Iyanden. Alaitoc can field Wraith Hosts of their own. A second consideration is with a small detachment of Harlies you can take the Webway Gate fortification and bail the big man out of there with their special stratagem should it be destroyed. Not an ideal situation but it is a possibility.

The 3rd and perhaps least obvious is looking at the Skathatch Wraithknight. This very unique unit is basically a deepstriking Wraithknight (that can even go back into reserves) with a variety of armaments, but the one that interests me the most is the Inferno Lances. 24″ Range, 2d6 shots, Str 8, AP -4 D6 Damage (roll twice on damage, discard the lowest when at half range). This is a potentially very nasty fire base that can deepstrike in where is needed, so long as the Spirit Seer is nearby to grant that 4++. Getting the Spirit Seer into position can be a bit tricky, but you could if you are playing Alaitoc use the Shroud Shift of Alansairr to deepstrike him as well. If you are going full blast Iyanden Wraithhost and dont have access you can just do it the old fashioned way move, advance and Matchless Agility to guarantee 13″ run on your Spirit Seer and use a Wave Serpent to help out, perhaps as part of that Wraithblade assault described earlier.


Well those are just a couple of ideas that I had for getting some serious bang for your buck out of the Wraith Host. Share your own ideas in the comments section below. If you are interested in more Aeldari discussion check out our podcast: Splintermind for exclusive Drukharii and all things Aeldari news and discussion. If you are interested in following my painting exploits check me out on Instagram! Thanks for reading and stay tuned!


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About Cavalier

Commission Painter for Frontline Gaming + Co-Host of the Splintermind: The Dark Eldar Podcast

30 Responses to “Specialist Detachment: Wraith Host Ideas!”

  1. Avatar
    The Traitor December 14, 2018 1:23 am #

    I’ve been looking at the Wraith Host and I think it could make for a very nasty army combined with the point reductions across it’s units. I like a lot the Wraithseer, which now only costs a 100 points, and I think running 3 of them +3 wraitlords would make for a cool target saturation army, specially if combined with a Wraith Knight or two. I’m not such a fan of Wraith Guard/ Blades, but I guess it could work if really built around it. If I hadn’t so many ongoing projecs I would start a Vect Castigators army right away!

    • Avatar
      Cavalier December 14, 2018 4:45 am #

      Absolutely! I have to stop painting Eldar models (for the first time since 2nd edition) and finish my new World Eaters army, and once I’m done with that I’m gonna get myself 2 Wraithlords and finish my Wraithseer (who I’ve got the bits for). I think they will be very good. Especially barebones with Glaives!

      Also like I pointed out, the Wraithblades really need only a Wave Serpent and a Spirit Seer to go crazy. Its not that tough to pull off and with an Iyanden Wave Serpent that thing should be able to move out pretty far even if it takes severe damage

  2. Avatar
    WestRider December 14, 2018 1:34 am #

    You’re getting a bit carried away with the Psytronome there. It doubles the Attacks Characteristic, not the number of Attacks made. The Characteristic is the number written on their Datasheet, in this case, 2. So they only(!) get 7 Attacks each.

    Even if the timing is restricted, being able to give a Wraith Unit a 4++ for a Turn is a pretty big deal. I can see that making for some very tough nuts to crack.

    • Avatar
      Zweischneid December 14, 2018 4:00 am #

      Yes. Psytronome only doubles the characteristic.

      That said, not having the book, I heard the new stratagem does add one to the attack characteristic, so it could be:

      Attacks (2+1(new strat))x2(Psytronome) = 6 + 1 (charging) +1 (extra weapon)

      Got to wait for the actual new vigilus book though.

      • Avatar
        Cavalier December 14, 2018 4:12 am #

        Like I said to Westrider, all the extra attacks are specifically additions to the attacks characteristic. The wording is consistent across all the buffs.

        • Avatar
          Anthony Coutley December 14, 2018 9:04 am #

          You are still supposed to do multiplication before addition when modifying characteristics as per the rulebook. The exception is when you modify your strength characteristic before applying your weapon bonus, as weapon bonuses are applied after the characteristic is modified. But in that situation you would still multiply then add modifiers to your str, before adding the weapon bonus (whatever it would be)

    • Avatar
      Cavalier December 14, 2018 4:08 am #

      Hey Westrider, the various +1 attacks are specifically +1 increases to their attacks characteristic. The wording on that is quite unique and its consistent across all those buffs, whether they be stratagem, the glaive bonus, or the standard wraithblade buff (on the charge). Very confident on that reading.

      EDIT: The swords dont add to the bonus! Will amend in the article above

      • Avatar
        Zweischneid December 14, 2018 4:18 am #


        Checking my Codex, the Fires of Wrath ability actually does increase the Attack characteristic (!) on the charge, so it would be doubled.

        The Ghostswords, however, only add one additional Attack, and would presumably not be doubled.

        No way to check the Vigilus Stratagem.

        • Avatar
          Cavalier December 14, 2018 4:23 am #

          Yep you are right on the swords. My bad. I’ll amend that. Regardless its a crap ton of attacks!

      • Avatar
        Zweischneid December 14, 2018 4:29 am #

        But on another note, the Spiritseers Spirit Mark unfortunately doesn’t work like “normal” re-roll 1 auras, unfortunately.

        It’s an aura that “marks” enemy units within 6″ of the spirit seer, allowing wraith units (anywhere on the board) to re-roll 1s if they shoot at or hit whatever’s close to the Spiritseer.

        It’s a roundabout-way of doing it, which might matter less for Wraithblades, but it does mean you cannot have him sit back and give re-rolls to a Wraithknight or deepstrike him in with Wraithguard, as the Spiritseer is the one that needs to be in the thick of it so other things get the re-rolls.

        You probably also want to have the 4++ on the Spiritseer, if he’s in combat or striking distance of the enemy.

        • Avatar
          Cavalier December 14, 2018 4:39 am #

          No you got that right, I intended it to be read the way you described it. What I was trying to illustrate was that you can just send a Spiritseer with the Pystronome in with the Wraithblades (and Wraithknight) to give them re-roll 1’s against the unit they are intending on attacking. The idea being to illustrate that you dont need multiple HQ’s (like including an Autarch or Y’riel) to lead the unit to get the max offensive buffs.

          I wouldn’t worry about the Spirit Seer losing his 4++ at that point though. YYou need a bearer for the Pystronome, you need a psyker with Runes of Battle, so the Spirit Seer is gonna be in on the action anyway. Your opponent is going to throw everything they have at the Wraithblades and everything in the area and the Spirit Seer will probably be caught in the process. Also you should have earned at least the 65 pts back in opposing models killed if the Spirit Seer ends up getting waxed. If not something has gone terribly wrong! lol

      • Avatar
        WestRider December 14, 2018 8:55 am #

        I used to play regularly with a guy who said that he started playing Eldar because they were the Army that would let him break more of the standard rules of the game than any other. Guess they still got it 😉

      • Avatar
        WestRider December 14, 2018 9:07 am #

        Wait, hang on. Even tho the various modifiers are applied to the Attacks Characteristic, they should still be subject to the general rule that you multiply or divide first, and then add or subtract.

        • Avatar
          abusepuppy December 14, 2018 10:07 am #

          It’s actually a bit unclear- some effects (such as Power Fists) definitely double _after_ adding to things, but my understanding was that was only the case for weapon profiles.

          • Avatar
            WestRider December 14, 2018 12:08 pm

            Weapon Profiles only is my understanding as well. Fairly certain everything else follows the “multiply, then add” rule.

          • Reecius
            Reecius December 14, 2018 12:24 pm

            That is confusing as it doesn’t always apply. For example, a Catachan with a Powerfist is strength 8, not 7. Same goes here to my knowledge, you modify the characteristic then you multiply.

            The general rule in the BRB causes a lot of confusion.

            I would anticipate an FAQ on this one to help clear it up.

          • Avatar
            abusepuppy December 14, 2018 8:49 pm

            I dunno, reece, that’s just another example of weapon profiles applying the doubling after modifiers. Can you think of any non-weapon examples? Because if not (and barring an FAQ on the subject), I don’t see why the BRB rule on adding and multiplying wouldn’t take precedent here.

          • Reecius
            Reecius December 14, 2018 8:56 pm

            I could be wrong of course (wouldn’t be the first time) and it certainly needs an FAQ, but, I do believe in this instance due to order of operations (and conversations with others in my position) that you do indeed add then multiply.

        • Avatar
          Stormandreas December 18, 2018 12:04 pm #

          If something modifies a characteristic, then the add/subtract will be done BEFORE weapon modifiers.

          Lets take, a Space Marine Sarge with a power fist for example.
          His S Characteristic is 4, and the Fist then multiplies that by 2.

          Now if there were something that increases his strength Characteristic by 1, he would now be S5 and the Fist then multiplies that by 2, making him S10 when he attacks.

          If something simply increases strength by 1, but not the characteristic, then you do his base S, x2, then +1 making 9.

          Make sense?

  3. Avatar
    abusepuppy December 14, 2018 6:55 am #

    I don’t like the Iyanden trait. Generally speaking, it’s just worse than Alaitoc in… almost every way. Let’s take a hypothetical Wraithknight that you are running, and it is staring down some Space Marine Devastators. (Let’s for a moment ignore the absurdity of either of these units actually being fielded.) For convenience’s sake, let’s say there are two units of Devs, each with four Lascannons.

    Against an Iyanden version, those eight Lascannons shoot eight times, hit a bit less than six times, and wound a bit better than four times. The Wraithknight fails to save four of them almost on the dot, and loses an average of 14 wounds. Hey, great, we don’t drop a tier! Awesome!

    But now let’s look at the Alaitoc Wraithknight. Those eight Lascannons shoot eight times, hit four times, wound about two and a half times, and with saves we take slightly over two hits- or in other words, we lose about eight wounds. Which, oh, also means that our Wraithknight doesn’t drop a tier… and has six more wounds left than the Iyanden version, since it never took that damage in the first place (rather than just ignoring some effects of the damage.)

    This pattern plays out across almost any permutation of shooting that you can create and is not exclusive to the example; of course, the Alaitoc trait doesn’t apply to melee or shooting from within 12″, but there aren’t actually a ton of units in the game that want to be that close to a Wraithknight- and the ones that do will probably kill you regardless of which craftworld you picked. So an Alaitoc Wraithknight is actually _much_ more survivable than the “tough” Iyanden one in most scenarios that will happen in a game.

    • Avatar
      abusepuppy December 14, 2018 7:00 am #

      With that said, the new detachment has some nice bonuses- the ability to give a 4++ to a unit in particular is actually very powerful, and +1A isn’t actually too bad, either. It may be that there’s a new Eldar build buried in there somewhere, although I’m a little skeptical because Grotesques already exist and are a very, very strong unit that cost the same as Wraithblades but don’t require you to jump through any hoops (or pay a 50pt tax) in order to get a 4++, not to mention all the other stuff Dark Eldar can bring to the table.

      The Psytronome has always been great, but it’s just so incredibly difficult to jump through all the hoops to get it to matter (not to mention taking the huge hit of not being Alaitoc) that I just don’t think it’s enough. Craftworlds really rely on that -1 to hit to balance the tables against the many shooting armies out there, and without it I think they are hard-pressed to weather the T1 barrage you’ll often face from armies like Tau and Guard.Spitting out 40+ attacks is a nice trick, but when you can only do it once per game and you need to sacrifice so much to get there, I just don’t think it’s going to enter into competitive games at all. It’s undeniably cool, and I’ve love to bring it to a casual event sometime, but I can’t see it doing well in competitive tournaments.

      • Avatar
        Cavalier December 14, 2018 7:59 am #

        Hey AP. So you dont like Iyanden because it worse than Alaitoc. There’s nothing stopping you from taking both in a list (I do) and have access to a lot of different tools. Any close range units, that wont be taking advantage of the 12″ -1 to hit especially large infantry units like the very popular Guardian bomb are much better with improved morale IMO. Regardless ven if Iyanden doesnt excel in every area, it does have strengths that the other CW dont have.

        Also I’m not really sure what “all the hoops” are that you are talking about. 1 CP for the detchment, 1 CP for the stratagem and taking advantage of a free relic is not that complicated. All the other stuff to make them go Super Saiyan with hitting on 2+ and all the defensive buffs are really not necessary. Furthermore you can take a single patrol with a Wave Serpent, Spirit Seer and 190pt unit of Wraithblades with a big blob of Guardians that’ll probably last longer when deepstriking. Doesnt seem very complex to me and its a pretty cheap investment.

        • Avatar
          Weidekuh December 14, 2018 9:25 am #

          The biggest problem with the psytronome is making activating it worth it. If you hit a unit you would kill anyway, it just hurts you. If you don’t want to kill everything to stay in melee, you won’t use it.
          It’s only good against tough and juicy targets and I found it hard to find them before a) the unit gets shot down to 1-2 models or b) the Spiritseer dies or is not close enough anymore.
          I made it once with 70 attacks in a special apocalypse battle and it was glorious. But other than the psytronome is devastating in theory, but rarely worth it in der action.
          I mean, 5 attacks per model (wraith host) should be enough to do enough damage against most anything in the game anyway.

          • Avatar
            abusepuppy December 14, 2018 10:12 am

            Also very much this.

        • Avatar
          abusepuppy December 14, 2018 10:12 am #

          >Also I’m not really sure what “all the hoops” are that you are talking about.

          Well, let’s go into it, then. As you say, you’ve gotta pay 1CP for the detachment and 1CP for the strat to get the bonus attacks. That part is easy. The hard part, as with many melee units, is closing to within charge range of the thing you wanna assault and getting stuck in with it- and in this case, you also need to drag along a character who has to be within 6″ of you during the fight phase. That’s not a trivial endeavor by any means, and a single Wave Serpent is probably not going to get you there (especially since it’s an Iyanden one and thus a lot easier to kill.)

          Wave Serpent + Spiritseer + Guardians + Wraithblades is… not cheap. That’s almost 600pts for the standard kit there, i.e. well over a quarter of your army. We can go back and forth about the relative merits of Iyanden versus other things, but unless you’re playing Apocalypse 500+pts is well beyond any meaningful definition of cheap.

          • Avatar
            Cavalier December 14, 2018 11:14 am

            I take that Iyanden detachment I described, and a battalion of Alaitoc with a Farseer, Spirit Seer, 9x Dark Reapers and 2x Crimson Hunter Exarchs and still have around 200+ pts left over. Thats a nasty fire base and a great assault wing. If played with the points I could probably squeeze a sword and board wraithknight in there too to avoid eggs in one basket for the assault element. Am I saying its the best list ever? No. But if you are looking to play something besides Alaitoc or Ynnari, I think its strong enough and gives you tools you wouldnt otherwise have in the standard Eldar lists that people have been playing since october of last year

  4. Avatar
    Jacob Francisco December 14, 2018 12:10 pm #

    An alternative to the psytronome (or in addition to) would be casting Enhance and then using Sustained Assault for 1 CP. Then you get extra attacks on 5s and 6s. Alone that combo does work, and with additional help it only gets better. May not be top ITC rank material but it packs a wallop. Very effective against hordes. Doom plus this combo can delete most any large horde unit.

    • Avatar
      abusepuppy December 14, 2018 8:50 pm #

      Enhance + Supreme Disdain is a pretty good combo for units like this, yeah; it’s a shame it doesn’t work on the Wraithknight, but even on Wraithguard it can put down a lot of damage.

  5. Avatar
    Mark December 22, 2018 8:38 am #

    The psytronome question is an interesting one but I believe the FAQ does talk about performing multiplication before addition even within the base characteristics (I saw somebody link to it). So it would be 2 Attacks base, psytronome multiplication, then additions to characteristic then followed by weapon additions. So an assaulting wraithblade utilizing the new strat and psytronome would be 2A, x2 for psytronome (4A), +1 charging (5A), +1 strat (6A), +1 sword (7A total).

  6. Avatar
    Ben W December 31, 2018 2:57 am #

    Getting a 4++ on the Knight is a big deal, but still, it combos best with -1 to hit, making that unit a real pain to delete for most lists. I think Skatach Alaitoc knights are the big winner here: can’t be alpha’d, its personal spiritseer can deepstrike in with it, and is a (k)nightmare to remove once in play.

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