Craftworlds Codex Review: HQs: Wraithseer

If you’ve ever been sad to have your psykers get sniped, the Wraithseer is here to help. Click to read on, or check out the Tactics Corner for more reviews and strategies.

Overview

While it is possible to implant the soulstone of any Eldar into a wraith construct, doing so can be a hazardous process- even just attuning oneself to the psychoplastic body and manipulating it can take a terrible toll on weaker minds, to say nothing of focusing on the curiosities of the material world. The soulstones of heroes are preferred, and it should be no surprise that they retain their knowledge and expertise even in death- including their psychic talents. Although channeling these gifts through an artificial body can be difficult, for the most gifted of the race it is still possible, and so in times of dire need when the craftworld calls forth the armies of the dead, they also call forth the empowered amongst their ranks.

A Wraithseer is very similar to the Wraithlord it is based on, having a statline that matches it in most places (though with a couple notable bumps.) 8″ movement is about what we would expect, although it degrades much faster than most similar units (8″/6″/4″, rather than 8″/7″/6″ like the Wraithlord or others), and weapon/ballistic skill are likewise exactly what we would assume for a run-of-the-mill Eldar unit. Strength seven and four attacks make it pretty good at fighting even on the most basic level, and toughness eight with twelve wounds and 3+ armor make it a reasonably tough combatant. (Note that the printed value is wrong, as it was raised to T8 in an FAQ.) Finally, leadership nine isn’t going to come up often, but is nice to have when you’re getting hit with psychic powers and whatnot. A Wraithseer comes standard at 100pts on the nose, which is a surprisingly acceptable number.

Special Abilities and Wargear

Like other Wraithguys, the Seer comes with Ancient Doom (reroll misses against Slaanesh in combat, but -1Ld) but lacks Battle Focus- not that it would be able to do a lot with it even if it had it, so we can’t regard it as a huge loss. It also comes with Wraithshield, which gives it a 5++ save. Its only weapon to start is the Ghostspear (S9 AP-4 DmgD6 reroll wound rolls of 1 against vehicles), which is actually a surprisingly good melee option- the only thing it lacks is fixed damage, and apart from that it has everything we want to see in a choppy item.

The Wraithseer also gets an unusual option to add another heavy weapon to its arsenal, though- like a Wraithlord it can take any one of the Craftworld weapon options (Scatter Laser, etc) to mount over its should, or it can take either a Wraithcannon (12″ S12 AP-4 DmgD6 Assault 1) or D-Cannon (24″ S12 AP-4 DmgD6 Heavy d3 no LOS.) Although the two unique guns are a bit pricey (15pts and 45pts respectively), they are easily some of the best options- especially since you have so few platforms that can otherwise access them. There’s something to be said for a cheap Scatter Laser or Shuriken Cannon, but for my money I’d rather take something a little more effective.

A Wraithseer is also a psyker, but sadly a really bad one. They do not get access to the Smite power for whatever reason and can only cast/deny one power per turn, although it does have access to three options when it casts (though all of them exclusively affect Wraith targets, and so are of somewhat limited utility.) Enliven, WC6, lets you roll an extra die on a targeted unit when advancing or charging and drop the lowest result- this is not actually horrible, since it functionally adds 2″ or so to your distances, but it’s also not super-exciting. Deliverance (WC7) gives you 6+ FNP on one unit; it’s strictly worse than Fortune, but you can at least have both of them getting put on different units, so it’s not wholly worthless. Finally, Foreboding… gives enemy units -1Ld when within 6″ of the caster, which is pretty abysmal for WC8. All in all, the Wraithseer’s powers are nice to have but not going to be central to your taking it, which is a bit counterintuitive for a psyker.

Uses

The main reason you’d want to take a Wraithseer is because of its utility as a big, stompy monster that you can put in the HQ slot; while its ability to carry a gun and psychic prowess aren’t worthless, they are definitely second-tier sort of stuff. Just comparing a Wraithseer straight across to a Wraithlord, for ~15pts you get two wounds, one attack, a 5++, and a better weapon profile (albeit at the cost of the secondary armament), which is a pretty solid deal even if you ignore the other things you can get and the slot it occupies. Additionally, since it is a separate datasheet, the Wraithseer allows you to significantly expand the number of monsters you bring in a Craftworlds detachment- six “Wraithlords” is a lot scarier than three, and there are lots of other units you can easily pair it up with to maximize your saturation.

Making sure that you have enough other targets to stand alongside it is critical to making the Wraithseer work; yes, due to having twelve wounds it can be picked out as a target, but if you put enough other targets onto the field it becomes something of a moot point, since the enemy will have so many other things to shoot at that shooting the Wraithseer in particular just isn’t a priority. Obviously other Wraith units help here, but so do other vehicles (e.g. Wave Serpents, Fire Prisms, etc) as well as various other Aeldari units, including Starweavers, Talos, Grotesques, and similarly tough customers. Since Aeldari, surprisingly, have these in abundance, it’s not hard to pick some of your favorites and field them alongside your Seers and make sure the enemy won’t have any easy choices.

It’s also worth pointing out that the Wraithseer itself is not that easy to get rid of, either; T8 means that very few infantry weapons will be able to cause significant damage to it, barring perhaps Tau, and similarly means that a lot of the most popular anti-vehicle weapons (e.g. Plasma, Autocannons, etc) will struggle to do damage as well. S7 weapons, which are some of the most popular choices, are in particular trouble as they have a pretty abysmal rate of actually putting damage through on the Wraithseer. Its 5++ save, while maybe not ideal, exacerbates this problem by giving you a chance to shrug off even the most punishing of firepower; it may not be reliable in doing so, but odds are good that you’ll stop one or two critical hits from doing anything, thus forcing the enemy to dedicate even more of their limited resources to the unit. And, of course, if you’re going Alaitoc (as you always should), that makes the problem even worse by decreasing the number of hits to start with.

Choosing the Wraithseer’s heavy weapon can be a bit of a dilemma; the D-Cannon, while very dangerous, is also quite expensive and increases the cost of the chassis by almost a full 50%, which is not a great feeling. On the other hand, giving it no weapon at all similarly feels like a waste, since you have a unit that is… mostly just standing around and doing nothing at that point. Sadly, I haven’t found a great resolution to the dilemma myself, since I don’t have a ton of experience with the Wraithseer, but my intuition is that you always want to be putting some kind of gun on it (even if it’s just that cheap Scatter Laser) and ideally you are putting a “relevant” gun in there- the Missile Launcher seems like it might be an acceptable compromise weapon, since it has a flexible profile and hits hard enough to put some fear into most enemies, but the Starcannon might be a better option just due to being cheaper while having similar numbers against T6 or weaker targets. Although the D-Cannon seems tempting, I think that it is a trap overall, as you want to be on the move most of the time and twelve wounds won’t carry you that far if the enemy decides they want to get rid of you.

Countering

While the Wraithseer is fairly durable given its cost, it isn’t actually particularly hard to kill- Lascannons and similar weapons will blast it down fairly quickly, and strong melee units (e.g. Smash Captain, Blightlords, etc) will shred it with ease. It is very much a medium-weight platform, able to take enough punishment to be inconvenient but not enough to expect to survive to the end of the game with regularity. Since it typically only has one weapon of relevance and isn’t particularly fast, that means you should have a solid 2-3 turns to ignore it while you focus on more important units and then once it closes in you can use your countercharge units or heavy guns to get rid of it. In a pinch, locking it up with a horde is also quite effective- four attacks simply isn’t enough to clear out a mass of dudes if they start piling onto it, and while they might never kill the Seer they really don’t need to if they can immobilize it for the rest of the game.

Final Thoughts

The Wraithseer is a solid little customer and sits in a pretty good place overall; while a lot of Forge World units are cursed with either awful rules, a bad price point, or both, the Seer manages to dodge most all of those problems. If/when its psychic powers ever get fixed, it could actually be a pretty decent inclusion in many Craftworlds armies, and even as it is now it certainly has the potential to be a very useful unit when built right.

As always, remember that you can get your wargaming supplies at great discounts every day from the Frontline Gaming store, whether you’re looking to start a new army or expand an existing one.

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AbusePuppy is the one who has been ruining 40K for everyone this whole time. He is also searching for the six-fingered man and is one of the three people who know the secret recipe for coke (not the soda, the illegal drug.)

23 Responses to “Craftworlds Codex Review: HQs: Wraithseer”

  1. Zapntoo June 19, 2019 8:06 am #

    I am curious if a Wraithseer is taken in a White Dwarf Ynnari detachment would that then change its psychic abilities to Ynnari? Or because its a Forgeworld unit that does not apply?

    • abusepuppy June 19, 2019 8:45 am #

      Hmm, that’s an interesting conundrum.

      The Wraithseer’s text notes that “when it manifests a power, it may only manifest the following powers and has access to no others.” Unlike other psykers, it doesn’t even note _how many_ powers it knows, only that it can choose from its three unique ones each time it casts.

      On the other hand, the Ynnari rules say that psykers drawn from Ynnari detachments “must generate their powers from the Revenant discipline instead of from [the others].”

      I would have to say that even a Ynnari Wraithseer still kept its standard powers- not only does the Wraithseer not “generate” powers in the traditional fashion, it does not draw from any of the disciplines listed in the Ynnari index (and thus does not fall under the “can’t get powers from these” restriction). Moreover, the Wraithseer’s own rules explicitly state that it cannot manifest any other powers than the three listed, which would preclude it from using the Revenant powers even if it theoretically had them.

      If we see an FAQ that gives them access to the Revenant powers that would actually make Ynnari a very interesting choice for a Wraithseer; while they give up that delicious Alaitoc bonus, the +1 to hit is actually useful on them, the relics are _fantastic_ for them, and gaining a non-worthless set of psychic powers would be extremely valuable. As it stands, however, I think I would have to conclude that they cannot use them.

    • r3v0lv3r June 19, 2019 9:37 pm #

      Short answer is NO, since Ynnari replace only the 3 disciplines and wraithseer is using his unique spells.

  2. mferek June 19, 2019 8:34 am #

    I’m in a for-fun painting league and I decided to finally build and paint the Eldar wraith army that I’ve always dreamed of. The crux of my strategy is dropping 10 wraithblades out of a webway while dropping 5 wraithguard and a spirit seer out of a wave serpent nearby. The spirit seer can give the wraithblades a 4++ and reroll charges (both from vigilus detachment), and with the wraithseer’s Enliven on the wraithblades, they have a pretty decent chance of making the 9″ charge out of deep strike. It’s very much a one trick pony but it’s fun to try to pull off and it seems like one of the best uses for a wraithseer. I’m also running two regular wraithlords and a wraithknight, so pretty much all my models that start on the table are T8 (T7 for wave serpent). It’s pretty silly, but pretty fun!

    • abusepuppy June 19, 2019 10:29 am #

      Enliven + the warlord trait from the specialist detachment to reroll charges is not a terrible way to get them in- it’s not quite as good as Orks get, but you have a fairly reasonable chance of making it (70-75ish percent chance, if you’re willing to spend a command point?)

      The Wraithseer definitely helps out that army a lot; it’s sad it can’t benefit from its abilities, though, since it lacks the Wraith Construct keyword for some reason.

      • sultansean June 19, 2019 11:59 am #

        They FAQ’d it to have “Wraith Construct”. But it’s powers don’t use the keyword but individual unit names.

        • abusepuppy June 19, 2019 6:57 pm #

          Ah, did they? I missed that part. That’s good, at least, means you can get the rerolls and such with him if you are using a Wraithhost.

  3. mark ferek June 19, 2019 9:30 am #

    I’m in a for-fun painting league and I decided to finally build and paint the Eldar wraith army that I’ve always dreamed of. The crux of my strategy is dropping 10 wraithblades out of a webway while dropping 5 wraithguard and a spirit seer out of a wave serpent nearby. The spirit seer can give the wraithblades a 4++ and reroll charges (both from vigilus detachment), and with the wraithseer’s Enliven on the wraithblades, they have a pretty decent chance of making the 9″ charge out of deep strike. It’s very much a one trick pony but it’s fun to try to pull off and it seems like one of the best uses for a wraithseer. I’m also running two regular wraithlords and a wraithknight, so pretty much all my models that start on the table are T8 (T7 for wave serpent). It’s pretty silly, but pretty fun!

  4. sultansean June 19, 2019 10:10 am #

    I ran a Ynnari Wraithseer recently and interpreted it as they keep the Wraithseer Powers.

    I think a Ynnari Wraithseer is a good option, particularly as part of a Ynnari Supreme Command which, in my opinion, is the only reason to run Craftowrld Ynnari. With the Lost Shroud Relic he halves damage, has a 5++ and, a 5+ FNP. Making him very survivable.

    The heavy weapon choice is tough. Being able to sit out of line of sight and fire the D-cannon is nice, but if he moves he has D3 shots hitting on 4+ which is not great for 45 points. I think it depends on the rest of the list and what you are using him for.

    In my last game he died the first round to a Yvarha, put it was pretty close on whether the Yvarha was actually going to kill him. And that is an impressive amount of survivability.

    • abusepuppy June 19, 2019 10:38 am #

      Yeah, given how tall the model is (and the relatively short range of the D-Cannon), I don’t think it’s realistic to expect the Wraithseer to be out of LOS most of the time. It’s not impossible, but I definitely wouldn’t center a strategy around it.

      The Lost Shroud is fantastic for a Wraithseer, for sure; Mirrorgaze (-1 to hit) and Corai-Heg’s Locket (+1 move and Attacks every time you kill a unit- in any phase) are also pretty nice. Many of the warlord traits are also quite good- Lord of Rebirth (regain one wound per turn, 5+ FNP) is extremely nice and Favored of Ynnead (6″ pile-in/consolidate) can also be useful for crossing ground.

      One kink to the bit about keeping psychic powers, though: the Ynnari rules themselves note that Ynnari units “…cannot use Craftworlds…. psychic powers,” as well as noting that they cannot benefit from those powers, either. So a Ynnari Wraithseer _definitely_ cannot cast its powers on itself (as they are clearly Craftworlds psychic powers), and it’s arguable whether they are even allowed to cast them on other, non-Ynnari units.

      It’s a very messy situation.

      • sultansean June 19, 2019 12:02 pm #

        Hmmm good point, I was having him cast his powers on Ynnari Wraithblades, because I feel they are “Wraithseer” powers, while the two craft world psychic disciplines are the “craftworld psychic powers”. But I can certainly see your point.

        • abusepuppy June 19, 2019 6:58 pm #

          I think the issue could definitely use an FAQ, because not being able to get Ynnari powers but also not being able to use its own powers is a pretty shitty situation to be in, but there’s definitely some room for argument there.

  5. Matthew Ehlinger June 19, 2019 11:21 am #

    That’s my wraithseer!! haha awesome. The white floating one with the blue ball. That was a great surprise to stumble across today. Loved the article guys, really informative!

  6. NinetyNineNo June 19, 2019 11:35 am #

    Running a Lost Shroud Ynnari Wraithseer seems almost dirty, the Ynnari index writers almost certainly didn’t keep an obscure Forge World unit in mind when writing it (not that it seems to have had much thought at all put into it, but whatever). Having a 100pt unit that can take the kind of punishment that would down a Castellan is pretty funny. I’ve heard the idea of a Supreme Command detachment with one of these, another with the 5++/heal 1W per turn warlord trait, an Autarch with the lovely Ynnari relic sword and the requisite character. Might be viable somewhat.

    • sultansean June 19, 2019 2:40 pm #

      Nah, it’s the only thing Craftworld Ynnari have left….

    • abusepuppy June 19, 2019 7:00 pm #

      I mean, let’s be honest here- it’s still a unit with 3+/5++ and twelve wounds, it’s not _that_ scary. It’s really good against Dmg2 weapons, but if you’re hitting it with Dmg3+ stuff it’s still gonna go down pretty quickly (and of course Dmg1 weapons don’t care in the slightest.) It’s good, but by no means is broken.

      • NinetyNineNo June 20, 2019 5:33 am #

        I mean, just running the numbers, the thing can take punishment that can drop Castellans. Between the halve damage and the 5+ FnP, it’s taking an average of 1.33 damage for every Dmg3 attack that gets past the T8 3+/5++. Stuff like Reaper Chainswords only dealing 2 damage per unsaved wound is pretty tasty. If I recall, it takes something like 27 hits from a Thunder Hammer to drop it.

        I know that nobody likes the term “distraction carnifex”, but this guy can legitimately take heaps of punishment on the way to the frontlines even in the “everything dies” edition. As long as you clear screens before sending him forward, he can take an army’s worth of anti-tank on the way to chopping shit up. I think it’s worth a serious consideration in terms of a viable strategy — at worst you get stuck on a screen, but if you don’t he either mulches vehicles into scrap or takes the heat off the rest of your army, which is a win-win in my book.

  7. Tim June 20, 2019 6:46 am #

    Calling plasma and autocannons antitank is a stretch when tank wounds average around 12. The fact that this wraith has a degrading profile makes it, while hardier than the wraithlord, a unit you take for fun/fluff rather than effectiveness – especially given its increased monetary cost. Wraithlords themselves would see their play skyrocket by losing one wound off their profile.

  8. James Mills July 2, 2019 9:37 am #

    Something else to consider for the Ynnari Wraithseer with it’s 5+FNP, and halving all damage is that a Bonesinger can heal it for 1d3 wounds each turn, keeping it in peak fighting shape. I’d definitely reccomend an anti-horde unit or two to act as a screen, maybe Storm Guardians?

  9. Jason Brown August 3, 2019 9:43 am #

    Just ran into this. So I have been running a wraithseer for quite some time. (I am just getting back into play after a little over a year off due to work so, some of my ideas/experiences may be off).

    Couple of things: Mark of the I. Hunter with a D canon is gold. Like more gold than the emperor and 100 custodies. That being said, the 3/3 for shooting and melee on a char model kinda sucks.

    This guy blows big units up in combat. Every game I kinda forget how much pain he delivers in melee. He ate three of those stupid custodi bike jerks in one round (bad inv save and good damage rolls).

    I always forget he can deny, and his powers are meh. I typically am going for the enliven or whatever its called to assure a longer or critical charge. Quite frankly, this can be a game changer. Just like prom night, you want those extra inches.

    I wish he had smite….wth Forge World, gimmie a bone. Oh, last thought, since I run Iyanden, his degrading stats are somewhat mitigated and he can take some stupid amounts of abuse.

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