Hey guys Cavalier here, commission painter for Frontline Gaming and co-host of Splintermind the Dark Eldar podcast. This time talking my most recent obsession: Wraithblades!
So anybody that follows our podcast knows that I love Wraithblades, specifically the axe and shield variety. I’ve felt since the codex dropped that their inherent toughness and potentially explosive offense can really add a lot an Eldar army.
I’ve played them throughout the edition and am always glad when they are included in my list, because they provide an excellent defensive anvil, to the hammer of Eldar offensive all-stars.
So in this article I wanted to highlight some of the great combos that I’ve used to really amp these guys up for combinations of ridiculous offense and ridiculous toughness.
Core Defensive Combo
Regardless of Craftworld, the combination I feel that is the most pivotal is a simple 1-2 punch of Protect and Fortune. On a unit of 8 (which I find to be the sweet spot) that’ll give your opponent 24 wounds to chew through with a 2+/3++ and a 5+ FNP. That is phenomenal resilience, the kind which can easily tank a frontline assault from any kind of infantry, Daemon Princes or similar monsters all the way up to a Daemon Primarch or rampaging Knight on Full Tilt going into your lines.
It also gives you an absolute tank that you can move aggressively up the board give you great board presence that tank enormous amounts of firepower and handle itself very capably in combat.
Whats great is that this doesnt require a massive amount of support to pull off. A Farseer and Warlock combo is only 165pts and can add a lot of versatility to the rest of your army should you need to shift gears.
The only downside is if you dont go first, it’ll give your opponent to get after your Wraithblades, but even still you have an enormous pile of 24 wounds for them to chew through when taken at 8 strong, which will take a lot of pressure off the rest of your army.
I’d always be prepared to throw Lightening Fast Reactions on them as well. When taken in an Alaitoc detachment that’ll give you an easy -2 to hit (outside of 12″) even if your opponent gets first turn. -2 to hit, 24 wounds with a 3+/4++ is fantastic defense without any psychic support that will certainly deny enough damage to keep their numbers up and give you valuable asset after turn 1.
Its worth bearing in mind that 24 wounds is the exact same as a Wraithknight or an Imperial Knight but is less susceptible to death by Lascannon due to them being infantry models which is an interesting form of defense unto itself.
The major draw back to Wraithblades with axe and shield is their mediocre offense. They are only hitting on 4’s with 3 attacks on the charge (2 otherwise). However with a few combinations this can be improved greatly.
The first and most basic is Spirit Mark. This is a natural power Spirit Seers have to allow re-roll’s of 1 on a single target within 6″ of the Seer. This is a handy power that doesnt require any tests, or CP on a character that can serve as caddy for Protect or another psychic power (Quicken, Empower, Conceal being my favorites).
However if you go down the route of Iyanden Wraith Host things get very interesting. The big combination is this: the Wrath of the Dead Stratagem ( 1 cp for the Detachment, 1 for the strat) which will grant you +1 attack, Pystronome of Iyanden (a once per game relic which doubles your attacks) and the Iyanden specific strat: (1 cp) Guided Wraith Sight, which allows you to re-roll all failed hits. Stack Doom on their and you are off to the races.
So with that combination you are going up to 8 attacks each, meaning on a squad of 8 you’ll have 64 attacks, hitting on 4’s, re-rolling all hits and wounds at Str 7 AP -3 Dmg D3.
Now you can take this further with other enhancements like Enhance (+1 to hit), Empower (+1 to wound). If you do down the route of Iyanden I do suggest taking a Warlock as the primary delivery system for Protect so you can play Seer Council to get the +1 saving throws, but I do like taking a Spirit Seer for Guided Wraithsight who you can envision as more of a freelancer taking whatever power best suits the game and if you have a real serious offensive beast coming at you like Mortarion or a Knight wounding on 4’s is going to be ideal.
Choice of Craftworld
To my mind their are 3 core choices for axe and shield Wraithblades and they each offer something different.
Alaitoc- In an Alaitoc detachment these guys become truly an immovable object. At ranges beyond 12″ they can go all the way up to -3 to hit with a 2+/3++ with a 5+ FNP when powered up with Lightening Fast, Conceal, Fortune and Protect. In this build you are using them primarily as a damage denying tank that can march up the board shrugging off insane amounts of ranged fire power that can also lock horns with a Knights, Daemon Prince, Daemonic Primarchs etc and just serve as an anvil to the hammer of your flyers, Reapers and Shining Spears etc.
Iyanden- With just Protect and Fortune with that 2+/3++ & 5+ FNP they are still an absolute brick. Yet with the Wraith of the Dead, the Pystronome and Guided Wraith Sight they have potentially explosive offense that destroy major offensive threats like the aforementioned Knights, Daemon Princes and Daemonic Primarchs allowing your shooting units to go after other targets.
Ulthwe- A dark horse candidate for sure, but the built in 6+ FNP can off set some Turn 1 damage if you do not go first. Also Eldrad buried in a unit of Wraithblades throwing out Fortune on them, using Doom against their targets, and even casting Guide on other units up 24″ away is pretty solid if you are an Ulthwe player. His +1 to cast after succesfully manifesting a power than using Seer Council also grants him a +2 to cast which is really great for guaranteeing you get off Fortune or Doom which are pivotal powers for Wraithblades.
Wraithblades are certainly not the most efficient choice, but when supported can offer a Craftworld army exceptional defense and potentially explosive offense that can truly offer a lot to your more efficient choices.
This is a unit I just really have a soft spot for. Having felt I’ve got all the tactics down for my standard Eldar lists giving unique units like this a shot is a lot of fun and really serve as an excellent defensive anvil for the high powered offensive units in the codex.
If you are interested in more Aeldari discussion check out our podcast: Splintermind for exclusive Drukharii and all things Aeldari news and discussion. We’ve already done our solo break down of the new rules, but have an episode just waiting to release with Lawrence Baker from Tabletop Tactics and Wes from D6 Evolution coming up that features an in-depth breakdown of Ynnari highlighting all our favorite combinations and units. If you are interested in following my painting exploits check me out on Instagram! Thanks for reading and stay tuned!
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