In Defense of Ynnari: Part 2 – Putting it together

Welcome back to a look at Ynnari. The previous article discussing what they bring to the table as far as rules generated some rather passionate comments. I believe Ynnari has a lot of potential, and there are a few things they can, in their current state, bring to an allied Aeldari force. Let’s take a look at that. For more awesome tactical content, check out the Tactics Corner!

So let us get this out of the way first.

Are Ynnari good?


As a standalone army, on their own merits and not comparing to lost opportunity costs, they are not. Add in what you are giving up when taking pure Ynnari, and the issue is further exasperated.

So stop doing that. Stop looking at the things Ynnari does worse, and look at what they do better.

It is not a long list, but I have played around with them a lot and I think I have found a few small parts that can work. Lets look at what they do offer:

  • The ability to strike first in combat
  • The ability to get +1 to hit
  • A strat and a power to re-roll wounds vs a target in Close Combat (CC)
  • A 5++ Ynnari unit bubble
  • A healing spell
  • A way to get Wl traits and Relics even when not made as the main force, and 1 CP per Relic
  • Some excellent relics

Let’s also acknowledge the true cost of taking a Ynnari detachment, beyond what you are giving up – and that is the 115 points for Yvraine.

So, the next question then becomes, what units in any of the three codexs (1) do not have a lot of support otherwise, (2) can benefit from Strength for Death (SfD), and (3) can pickup the other few strengths Ynnari has to offer?

To me, all three of those are answered by Autarchs, and Wraiths. I will often try and do this via a Supreme Command or Spearhead detachment, both of Craftworlds.

Ynnari Supreme Command Detachment

First up is Yvraine. 115 point, and she will pick up Word of the Phoenix and Gaze of Ynnead. This is mainly because she is going into a wave serpent so the 5++ bubble is not as relevant. Why don’t I choose that more? Because it is dependent on her being able to keep up with the units she wants to protect, and with her getting first turn to cast it before you take any firepower. As such, I find more reliability in having her ride.

Next up comes the Autarch. He gets to pick up the Hungering blade Relic, replacing his star glaive. This is a straight upgrade. Compare these two weaposn, remembering that the Autarch is a Str 3, WS 2+ model.

It is the same strength, the same ap, and more reliable damage. In addition, there is no penalty to hit, and it has the change to do an additional mortal wound.

There are a few other builds for the Autarch that are fairly viable as well, and rather fun. The above however, is what I have found to be the most effective. I tend to not give him a Warlord trait either, as that is saved for the next entry.

Which would be the WraithSeer. This guy is a beast. He is taking a relic and a warlord trait, and there is some overlapping abilities in this. That being said, he is well, well worth it. He takes the Lost Shroud relic and the Lord of Rebirth WL trait. What this amounts to is a Toughness 8 model with 12 wounds, who has a 3+/5++/5+++ and halves all damage taken per attack. In addition, he regenerates one wound at the start of each battle round. For 100 points base, this guy is mean. He has tanked entire armies worth of firepower, and with 4 attacks hitting on 2’s (on the charge) that do d6 damage at strength 9 and ap -4… he is a serious threat. He can take a heavy weapon gun as well – I tend to opt for the wraithcannon as it is cheap and does not penalize him for moving. 110 points for the package (+2 cp for the trait and relic) and you have a walking distraction carnifex. It can not be ignored, as if it makes it to the enemy lines, 4 d6 damage attacks and one d6 damage shot can wreck big targets.

In additon, the WraithSeer is a psycher. He may not trade out any powers for the Ynnari ones. Typically he is a very sub par psycher, because everything he wants to do is done better by Craftworlds psychers. However, in a Ynnari detachment, he actually becomes viable.

He can cast one and deny one and has no access to smite. Of his three powers, only two are worth anything at all, even in Ynnari. The first power, Deliverance, is a Warp Charge (WC) 7 that gives a Wraithguard, Wraithblade, or Wraithlord unit (which I will now refer to as “Wraiths“) a 6+++. WC 7 is not that reliable, but it is nice to get off when you can. Typically this power is overshadowed by Fortune, but remember, we gave up access to Fortune when going Ynnari…

His second power worth talking about is Enliven. At a WC of 6, a unit of Wraiths may roll an additional d6 when advancing or charging and discard the lowest. Both of these powers are geared towards making Wraiths a touch better, which, as I stated above, are also made better by being Ynnari.

In particular, there is one unit of Wraiths I love to run, one that is not that good in Craftworlds but suddenly becomes rather good in Ynnari.

WraithAxes. A unit of 5 puts out 15 attacks on the charge (using Enliven above to be more reliable) and would typically be hitting on 4’s at strength 7 and d3 damage. SfD can push them back to hitting on 3’s, re-rolling 1’s from that Autarch we mentioned earlier. 2CP for Inevitable Fate can see their target being doomed in CC as well. Yvraine is also geared to try and use Word of the Phoeniex to help these guys stick around as long as possible. Having a potential 3+/4++/6+++ save and healing of wounds or resurrecting dead models, this unit can stick around for a good while and do a fair bit of damage. With the Drop in points for Chapter Approved 2019, this unit runs you 175 points for the 5.

Now, we could deepstrike the above, but I’d rather not spend the CP (and if I did, would probably run a large unit). Instead, they will take a Wave Serpent ride. This allows Yvraine and the Autarch to hop inside as well. The Serpent I run with just stock weapons to keep it cheap, as well as Spirit Stones if I have a few points left over.

All up, this detachment runs me 622 points. Not the cheapest (what Craftworld units are though), but it offers something a gunline Eldar army is often lacking; hard hitting, hard to remove close combat threats with good threat range and cannot be ignored.

I have use this above formation in many, many games. I have not been disappointed by them, nor have I felt that the points could have been better spent elsewhere. The closest comparable unit is Prophets of Flesh Talos.

The Spearhead.

This one is a lot more straight forward. Yvraine, running gaze and Shield of Ynnead. Three Wraithlords with Swords. 385 points. Yvraine uses Shield to give the Wraithlords a 5++, while all of them try to engage in CC, either offensively or as a counter attack force.

Again, being able to hit on 2’s makes the Wraithlords much more deadly, and the option to doom a unit in CC is quite nice to have.

I want to take a brief movement to address Inevitable Fate too. A lot of people view it as a worse Doom, and it is, if that is your only option…. but why not both? Doom a unit with your CWE Farseer and kill it at range (honestly, how often do you doom to kill in CC vs at range?), while your Ynnari unit can benifit on a second unit in close combat. Really, with the Unbind Souls Ynnari power as well, you can get three units Doomed; two for CC only and one for your CWE. This is a bonus, as in a Pure CWE army, you are only getting one doom off per turn.

Coming back to the Spearhead, this is a rather cheap detachment that again offers some good melee threat and is not the easiest to pick up. 30 wounds total, with toughness 8 and a 3+/5++ can be a bit of a bear to shift. The lack of healing hurts a bit, but it is not insurmountable.

Honorable Mention

Yup. The Wraithknight. Terror of 7th edition, laughing stock of 8th.

I have tried, all edition long, to make him viable. He is just not. He is decent. And Ynnari actually does help. Access to a 5++ save while still running the Wraithcannons makes him fairly deadly. No ability to regen wounds hurts a bit. Yes, I know he can take a CWE specialist detachment and get a 4++, but that removes it from the Spiritseer and costs CP. I don’t like that, especially in the new marine meta with eliminators being around. Being able to let him stomp on 2’s in combat is also quite nice. As he gets bracketed down, SfD helps mitigate that. In addition, there is a stratagem that he can use (and I can literally think of no other unit that would use this) which can catch an opponent by surprise. A taste for Death lets a unit add one to their hit rolls in CC if they killed a unit in shooting. A Wratihlord in the middle or lower bracket, that manages to kill a unit in shooting, can then charge and use this to be hitting on 2’s or 3’s again, turning a minimal threat into a large one.

That is so niche though, and in about 20 games with him, I managed it once. It was a great moment, and nothing to ever build a strategy around, but it is there. If you want to try him as well, he can slot into the aforementioned Supreme Command detachment.

Another build one could make, is to run the Autarch with his Glaive, and give him the Warden of Souls WL trait. This activates his Path of Command ability, letting you Regen CP, as well as allows him to, with SfD active, get 5 powerfist attacks off at str 8. With a charge and Sfd, he is still hitting at 2’s.

And there we have it. I did not mention any combos with Dark Eldar, nor with Harlequins, because Ynnari does not bring anything to the table for them that they cannot already do, and / or it is too much an opportunity cost. I also did not delve into incorporating the Yncarne as an add-on to an Eldar force, as that is another discussion altogether.

Hopefully those who wish to use Ynnari can find some value in this. Like all Eldar, they are still a finesse army and will require patience and practice to use well.

Thanks for reading, and happy Wargaming!

And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!



19 Responses to “In Defense of Ynnari: Part 2 – Putting it together”

  1. Conor Lobb April 15, 2020 2:30 pm #

    Excellent series on Ynarri! Inspired me to try a few things. I love the wraithseer! Would be interested to see how you run the Yncarne. (I love her.)

    • abusepuppy April 15, 2020 10:14 pm #

      As a minor point of order, the Yncarne is actually a “they”, as per its own text. Makes sense for an androgynous amalgam entity, I suppose.

      • Faitherun April 16, 2020 5:00 am #

        I was wondering who would first call me out on that. The first article I purposely switched between the male and female pronouns on almost every sentence, trying to get some recognition… alas there was no takers

        • abusepuppy April 16, 2020 6:10 am #

          I did see it, I just didn’t call it out there. Could easily be worth an article on its own, although I doubt that it would be let through.

  2. abusepuppy April 15, 2020 10:14 pm #

    Wraithblades are legitimately one of the units that Ynnari _may_ do better than Craftworlds. The loss of Quicken and Protect is pretty heartbreaking and really changes your game plan, but striking first and going back to hitting on 3s goes a fair ways towards making them work, as does the ability to heal/revive models. If we were playing in more of a melee-heavy meta they might be worth considering, but I still think they fall below the mark overall.

    Wraithseers are legitimately dangerous and the fully-buffed Ynnari dude is scary. However, his Craftworld companions, though not as resilient, can get a D-Cannon (d3 shots, d6 damage, no LoS) that can snipe characters, which is a pretty snazzy trick as well.

    Striking Scorpions are one I’ve also eyed in the past, since they can stack up to +2 to hit (+1 for SfD, +1 against a target in cover) in close combat. This is generally meaningless, but if you can sneak Karandaras within 6″ of them that means their attacks explode on 4+s (and explode twice, in the case of the Exarch). Of course, Karandaras himself cannot be part of a Ynnari detachment, but his aura can still potentially benefit them if he is in an allied detachment.

    • Faitherun April 16, 2020 4:58 am #

      Scorpions are another unit I have considered in the past and played around with. I guess my issue with them is that I almost have to get Karandaras over to buff them, which is more moving parts and cost, and at the end of the day, they just were not killy / resilient enough for me.

      In a craftworlds build, I can use Supreme Disdain to double explode them, which makes them fairly good at removing light targets. That being said, they do have some play in a Ynnari force, and greatly appreciate the 5++ bubble

      • abusepuppy April 16, 2020 6:12 am #

        Yeah, it ends up being more work than it’s worth overall, but if we see a heavy horde meta again it might be useful. A squad of 10 Scorpions will absolutely buzzsaw through most hordes with the right buffs.

        Supreme Disdain is nice, but it eats up CP resources and can’t affect multiple squads, so it ends up being a tradeoff depending on what your list can afford.

  3. Zweischneid April 15, 2020 11:12 pm #

    I don’t get it.

    A “Defense of Ynnari” article that literally starts with admitting that there’s no saving grace to Ynnari, only to spend the rest harping on a few fringe powers and strats that can be abused in some soulless WAAC soup stupidity.

    • abusepuppy April 15, 2020 11:32 pm #

      Realistic assessments of a faction’s power level and expanding on corner cases where they can be effectively used is better than delusional praise of strategies that will never work out in practice.

      Also, you may not have noticed but this is the Frontline Gaming page, home of the largest competitive play organization for Warhammer 40K. You should’ve stopped being surprised that we post competitive-focused content here two or three years ago.

      • Zweischneid April 15, 2020 11:58 pm #


        And the minimum a “Defense of Ynnari” article on FLG as a competitive 40K page should probably do is provide a few concepts and list ideas to win a few RTTs and perhaps a small GT that would count towards “Best in Faction Ynnari”.

        If there was an article about “In defense of Space Wolves” and it exclusively talks about a Supreme Command with a Morkai-Bolt guy and 2 Smash Captains as a good 350-points counter-charge plug for an AdMech army, it’d be just as misleading, especially from a competitive ITC perspective.

        • Faitherun April 16, 2020 4:54 am #

          I have won multiple RTT’s with Pure Ynnari. I took each faction three times as Pure to a bi-weekly RTT, and out of the 9 RTT, won 7.

          That is not because Ynnari themselves were super competitive. Sometimes I won in spite of them. This article is not about what lists to use when the components of those lists are better used as their native faction. It is about making the best possible use of what Ynnari have to offer.

          The majority of players I talk to, and that I read online all say Ynnari is simply bad and don’t take it. This Defense of Ynnari is to say there are fringe cases that can and do work. The faction is not complete and utter trash and should be ignored entirely. If you like the lore and the rules, and want to try and make them competitive on the table, here are my thoughts as to how.

          • Zweischneid April 16, 2020 5:44 am

            You’re contradicting yourself.

            You say Ynnari aren’t good and that your wins were despite of the army (though sharing those pure Ynnari lists and explaining how they work would’ve been slightly more on-topic, if only as a part of these articles.. or perhaps for a part 3?).

            Showing “fringe cases that can and do work” is the exact opposite of a “Defense”. It’s a scavenging of the admittedly in-defensible.

            People running Guilliman with 3 Knights in 2017 isn’t a “Defense of Space Marines 1.0”. It’s perhaps ingenuity in getting some milage out of a few bits of a widely considered poorly performing faction, but in no way or shape a defense of the rule set as a whole.

          • abusepuppy April 16, 2020 6:20 am

            The only contradiction is in your belief that winning an RTT means the faction is good. Winning an RTT means, at the absolute most, that the player is at least competent and nothing more. It’s a comparatively easy thing to do and proves nothing about a list whatsoever. I’ve won RTTs with pure Assassins, but that doesn’t mean that Assassins are a viable competitive force.

            You also have read a LOT into the title of this article, molding the ideal of what it was “supposed” to be in your head into some sort of weird pedastal that, naturally, the author failed the rise to because that was never what it was intended to be, regardless of how much you wanted it.

            Some people just want to be able to use Ynnari, in whatever form, and aren’t burdened by your insistence that anything less than 100% pure, unadultered faction is somehow unfair and cheating and dishonest and a sin against God and man alike. For people with this less restrictive view, exploring the options that Ynnari bring to the table for a competitive list _is_, in fact, useful as a “defense” of them.

          • Zweischneid April 16, 2020 6:47 am

            Sure, if I ignore both the title and the text and just look at the pictures, it’s a pretty decent article 😉

            However, not ignoring those things, it does the opposite of what it claims to be setting out to do. Getting hung up about the incongruence of title and text of an article might not be the end of Western Civilization, but it’s kinda the point of an article.

            The Defense of Cherry Coke

            So let us get this out of the way first.

            Is Cherry Coke any good?


            But you can still use it to make Menthos explode! Hurray

            The Defense of the Twilight Movies

            So let us get this out of the way first.

            Are the Twilight movies any good?


            But you can still use the DVD case to stabilize a wobbly table! Hurray

            The Defense of the FLG Defense of Ynnari Articles

            So let us get this out of the way first.

            Are the articles any good?


            But you the might still remind you of a stratagem you might’ve forgotten! Hurray.


            There’s an incongruence there without me molding anything and FLG (as well as Mr. Sean Morgan, who usually seems like a reasonably intelligent person) should be able to acknowledge that without either assuming it’s a personal insult nor by throwing out bad faith straw-arguments that I apparently claimed there was zero potentially useful information in the articles about how one might use a certain character or strat (which I never did).

  4. Zweischneid April 15, 2020 11:15 pm #

    Hell, even your largest “Ynnari”-build doesn’t even manage to hit the 50% mark of a 2000 points army.

    Article should be called “Defense of Aeldari Soup” or “An Argument for sometimes no doing pure Craftworld” or something like that.

    • abusepuppy April 15, 2020 11:28 pm #

      You know that overconsumption of salt is bad for your heart, right?

  5. Vipoid April 16, 2020 6:51 am #

    Are you planning to do any followup articles for Dark Eldar or Harlequins, or is your advice for using those armies as Ynnari ‘don’t bother’? 😉

    • sean nayden April 16, 2020 9:56 am #

      still likely a fringe case but i actually like ynarri for certain wych cult units. especially hellions.

      • Liam April 23, 2020 6:32 am #

        Ynnari is also the best way to play beast units. Most benefit from the 5++ bubble and bringing a clawed fiend back into the unit is hilarious.
        But the best buff for them is definitely the reroll to wound possibilities, though this buff is great for all Drukhari units, especially when you want to make CC Trueborn (OG) viable again… …. ….

        Also, as beasts are considered Aeldari they can also fill up the Yncarne with wounds with their sure demise.

        Ynnari are a great way to spice up some life in Drukhari units.

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