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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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