Not the best fighters, not the best shooters, nor even the toughest units in their subfaction- but still a very good unit. Click to read on, or check out the Tactics Corner for more reviews and strategies.
Wracks are the twisted servants of the Haemonculous Covens, the acolytes and laborers that do the manual work that their masters will not deign to. Although their forms are hideous enough- twisted masses of nightmarish flesh adorned with all manner of tools for flensing, defleshing, and injecting- the true terror of a Wrack lies beneath their skin. Virtually all Wracks choose their fate, for a Drukhari boredom in anathema, and with a new flesh comes new pains and new debaucheries. It is under the torturer’s knife of their own kin that they learn their craft, hoping one day to ascend to leadership of a Coven of their own- and all of the sadistic pleasures that come with it.
On the tabletop, Wracks have a fairly solid overall statline. 7″ movement is standard for most Aeldari, as is strength three; however, Wracks come with and improved toughness of four compared to most other models in the codex, making them a lot tougher to hurt. With weapon skill and ballistic skill 3+ they are fairly accurate, and they also get two attacks in close combat, showing their natural preference for melee engagements. Leadership seven is middling but not abysmal, and while their native armor save is utter garbage it also won’t really ever be relevant given their abilities. One member of the squad can be nominated as an Acoythst (sergeant), gaining an extra attack and leadership at no cost. At 9pts per model in squads of five to ten, Wracks are quite affordable, though they max out a lot lower than the other Drukhari troop choices.
Special Rules and Wargear
Like virtually all units in a Drukhari army, Wracks have Power From Pain, which gives them escalating bonuses as the game goes on- most notably including a 6+ ability to shrug off wounds, and later on bonuses to charge and melee.
They also benefit from the Insensible to Pain rule, which gives them a 5+ invulnerable save. Combined with the subfaction bonuses and auras, this can make them immensely difficult to get rid of, as they are one of the toughest troops in the game.
They are armed with a set of Haemonculous Tools, which are poisoned close combat weapons- which largely mitigates their low strength value. Additionally, for every five models in the squad one can take either a Liquifier (8″ S3 AP-d3 Assault d6 autohits) or an Osseofactor (24″ AP-3 Poisoned 2+, if it slays a model do an extra mortal wound on 4+.) The Liquifier is almost always a poor choice, due to its combination of short range, unreliable stats, and low strength; it’s comparatively-high cost (11pts) also does it no favors, and you’ll virtually never see them used. The Osseofactor is a surprisingly good gun and can easily be fired on the move, but since Wracks usually like to stay hidden behind terrain it isn’t something that most people will lean towards- though it can do good work if you try.
The Acothyst also has access to a wide variety of equipment, both melee and ranged. They can take a Liquifier (if you are foolish), Stinger Pistol (2+ poisoned), or a Hexrifle (36″ S4 AP-1 sniper, mortal wounds on 6s). The Hexrifle is a very interesting choice because it is cheap (5pts) and can provide a surprising amount of harassment fire from a unit that most people won’t expect to be shooting- however, as with the gun options for the regular squad members the unit often wants to be hiding, so most common setups forego these options entirely. The Acothyst can also pick from the standard melee weapon options, the best of which are the Venom Blade (2+ poison) for 2pts as a discount choice, the Agonizer (4+ poison, AP-2) for 4pts, or the Electrocorrosive Whip (4+ poison, AP-2, Dmg2) for 6pts. If you’re looking at running a larger squad there is some potential value to putting a melee weapon in the unit to discourage trivial assaults, although it is by no means a necessity.
So, Wracks really have one thing going for them- they’re tough. Extremely tough, in fact, with the right Coven choices. The hands-down winner for Haemonculous Covens is Prophets of Flesh, which ups your invulnerable save to a 4++, making the unit extremely resilient to most kinds of both shooting and melee when combined with their 6+++ to ignore wounds. If you then keep them within 6″ of a Haemonculous, they will be toughness 5 (and thus wounded on 5+s by most common weapons). A squad of Space Marines firing into Wracks at rapid fire distance will kill one model, on average- which means it will take them essentially the whole game to dig your squad off an objective, and the numbers are even worse in close combat.
Anti-infantry weapons simply bounce off their high toughness and multiple layers of protection; heavier guns are mitigated by their excellent invulnerable. There are a handful of things out there that can get past these defenses (mid-strength high rate-of-fire weapons with multiple damage such as the Avenger Gattling Cannon or Heavy Burst Cannon do it well), but these weapons are comparatively rare and are usually still wasting a lot of shots when aimed at a minimum-sized squad of Wracks on an objective. This is the key to understanding Wracks- not that they are invulnerable, but that they are usually too much work for the enemy to get rid of, given the trivial number of points they cost.
And this feature is key to their success in a Covens army or detachment. By being an extremely cheap (45pts for a basic squad) troop choice, Wracks give you a way to fill out your command points and detachments without having to invest too many points- which leaves more to spend elsewhere, such as on big units of Grotesques or Talosii, which can present a devastating threat to the enemy that must be dealt with. While the opposing general struggles to do so, the Wracks spread out and take control of the board to gain you points, so that even if the enemy manages to stabilize their position and push back your threats, they will find themself having only a small handful of turns to get rid of some very resilient units before the game is over- not an easy feat when you’ve already taken a beating from a bunch of tough melee squads.
The Wracks’ role, then, is not one of projecting power forward but of simply being, of sitting on key points on the battlefield to earn you points (in a progressive mission) or to await the end of the game (in a more traditional one.) In either case, their resilience and cheapness both mean that it is a tough call to get rid of them, as they often can come in significant numbers. And if they are embarked on some cheap transports, as Drukhari players often tend to do, this becomes doubly difficult- especially as it allows them to contribute firepower while giving them a large boost to mobility.
Of course, it is possible that the enemy will simply throw their own troops forward to contest those objectives, but this is no easy task, either- because while Wracks may not be exceptional combatants, with their decent number of attacks and ability to wound anything on a 4+, they will take a toll on whatever units try to get stuck in with them- and more importantly, since they have Objective Secured they can often maintain control of the objective even in the face of opposition, especially as their resilience typically means that they will take fewer casualties than the enemy (and thus keep the superior numbers needed to trump an enemy troop unit.) Those units that can outnumber them usually have weak defensive stats (e.g. Guardsmen, Termagants, etc) and will be fairly quickly cut down, still leaving the Wracks as the final holders of the objective.
As already mentioned, Prophets of Flesh has traditionally been the only “real” choice for a Coven detachment- while the other two aren’t bad, per se, they simply cannot measure up to the immense resilience granted by Prophets. But there is another layer to this as well, because the unique stratagem for Prophets allows you to recycle units of Wracks for 2CP apiece, much like Green Tide of Tide of Traitors. Black Cornucopians, as it is called, removes the unit from play and then allows it to re-enter within 6″ of any board edge (and more than 9″ from the enemy) at full starting strength without spending any reinforcement points. This is critical because it not only gives you a way to sneak into the enemy backfield if you want, but it also lets you pull the Wrack unit out of combat if they have been tri-pointed by the enemy- thus allowing all of your other units to shoot them when they thought they were safe. Also note, the unit does not need to be wounded for you to do this- you can simply pick them up and send them over to the other side of the table as long as there is at least one model left alive, so it can also function as a way to “redeploy” a unit late in the game. For all of these reasons, it is often preferable to have at least one maximum-size (or near-max) unit of Wracks in a Prophets army to take advantage of this stratagem, since it can potentially be used multiple times over the course of a game.
The release of Psychic Awakening has opened up a few other options to compete with Prophets, however; Dark Technomancers is the premiere one (allowing ranged weapons to fire with +1dmg and +1 to wound)- this isn’t exceptionally beneficial to Wracks but it may be worth considering an Osseofactor or Hexrifle if you are fielding transports to take advantage of this, as both of them can be a lot more deadly with the extra wound bonus. Experimental Creations (+1str and circumstantial +1 to wound with poison) is much more relevant to them, as it not only means you have a little bit higher chance of scratching the paint on a vehicle but also helps in close combat a bit. Similarly, Dark Harvest (mortal wounds on 5+ when charging into combat) can whittle down the enemy a decent amount if you need to pounce on something tough, although neither is going to turn the unit into a melee powerhouse.
If Wracks have a fatal flaw, it’s that they don’t really do anything to affect the battlefield. While holding ground and staying alive are certainly useful skills, in the face of an army with overwhelming offensive power (e.g. Tau, Iron Hands) you simply can’t expect Wracks to stay alive for long when forced to take the brunt of it. They can try and hide or sidle about, but eventually the enemy will get to shoot at them, and with indirect-fire weapons becoming more common even this strategy is a delaying measure at best. For anything more than about 14″ away, Wracks simply are not a threat in the slightest- and even at closer distances, they generally lack the hitting power to do anything but whittle away at the enemy, which can often be ignored.
Despite their layers of defenses, they can be drug down if you are willing to dedicate time and firepower to it- as such, it’s best not to wait until turn 4 or turn 5 to start doing so, but to start on it as early as possible- a few Bolters or Lasguns plinking away may not seem like much, but those casualties can add up and it’s always possible for the Drukhari player to flub a roll and lose two or three or four models in a single volley. Since these same weapons are often wholly ineffective against the heavier forward elements of the list (like Grotesques, Talosii, or vehicles) there is little opportunity cost in aiming them at the Wracks, either.
Wracks are in some ways the epitome of a good troop unit- relatively inexpensive and able to hold or defend objectives well. Although what they do is not generally very exciting, it can be absolutely critical to winning a game, as they are masters of taking control of sections of board and ensuring that the objectives are under your control. Especially since we’ve seen a whole set of new traits and options for them, you can expect to run into Wracks more and more often as a core component of Drukhari armies of all sorts, whether foot, mechanized, or hybrid.
As always, remember 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.