When I first read the new Necron codex the first thing that struck me as being very powerful was the Canoptek Wraiths. Lets take a closer look.
They no longer have We’ll Be Back or Reanimation Protocol as it is referred to now but that is the only downside and their many inherent advantages heavily outweigh that one loss. To me they are the best unit in the codex in many ways – I like them so much I’m redesigning my army into a Wraithwing. They are obviously very good in close combat and I think their new rules make them currently one of the best melee units in the game… I prefer assault to shooting so I tend to keep up on these kinds of things.
Canoptek Wraiths are very fast and ignore terrain – that combination throws a lot of people off… As a result they can make mistakes which you can then capitalize on in a big way. For example I was recently playing a game versus Imperial Guard and my opponent deployed a squad of veterans on the second level of a ruin thinking they were safe up there… Nob bikers and Thunderwolves could never touch them. I moved up my Wraiths ignoring terrain tests and easily reached the guardsmen during the second turn wiping them out on the charge. Sure my opponent should have known better but like I said people tend to make mistakes versus Wraiths. Over time some will learn how to counter them so take full advantage while you can.
Whip coils are also very powerful which I knew immediately since I also play Tyranids – I’m a big fan of the lash whip… If you play it right Wraiths are often essentially striking first in melee which negates I2 – it’s a huge advantage coupled with lots of S6 rending attacks. I have fought WolfStars to a stand still over the course of a game which says a lot in my opinion – they are really just that good. When push come to shove I’d have no problem charging them into a squad of assault terminators.
It’s important to note whip coils only work against enemy models in base contact and weapons such as the Nemesis force halberd allows a Grey Knight in base contact with a Wraith armed with a whip coil to strike first. This is the type of situation where the 3++ invulnerable save is pure gold. It’s looks like Wraiths will be mounted on bases as least as large as 40 mm which means if you position the ones armed with whip coils correctly you’ll be able to drop most of the enemy models to I1. There’s no point to placing them in base contact with enemy models that automatically strike last such as Space Marines with power fists. I try to first make base contact with powerful enemy models such as characters so that the Wraiths can swing first before having to make any saves versus their return attacks. Obviously versus a large enemy unit there will be some enemy models you can’t reach in base contact so try to reach the biggest threats that would swing first.
Wraiths’ one major weakness is T4… They are prone to instant death so you have to be smart and not unnecessarily throw them in harm’s way. Their 3++ invulnerable save is about as good as it gets but still you should protect them as for example a salvo from missile launchers coupled with a batch of poor saves could quickly deplete a squad of Wraiths.
One of the nice things about Necrons is if you make a mistake it’s not the end of your world as is often the case with Dark Eldar and Tyranids. Necrons are resilient which is one of the reasons why I like them so much… It can and does alleviate stress.
Currently I’m running two full squads of Wraiths and one squad of Scarabs… This seems to be the right balance to me for a Wraithwing army. Who would have ever thought there would be an army where fielding three Fast Attack slots is so powerful ? I like to deep strike one squad of Wraiths and either bring the other unit in from normal reserve or start them deployed on the table. I’ve found that it is hard for most opponents to deal with two units of Wraiths. Combine this with a Scarab horde and you can punish mechanized armies. Wraiths will gut a unit of tactical Marines due to their number of S6 rending attacks. There are a few bad matchups such as Dark Eldar but this can be mitigated to a degree through good deployment and using Scarabs to cover a lot of the tabletop (i.e., blocking unit).
Wraiths have two wounds apiece so you can field semi complex multi-wound units which pays off over the course of a game as you start to lose a couple of models in each unit. I am a big fan of the particle caster as the S6 AP5 shooting attack can damage light armor and it’s relatively easy to target side armor versus enemy transports (e.g., Chimeras) since Wraiths count as jump infantry. The Transdimensional Beamer is also kind of interesting as it is good at picking off T3 enemy models such as Vect or an IG heavy weapons team – I’m not sure but I think it’s classed as a heavy weapon which if this is the case then it’s not really worth taking since you’ll rarely ever get to fire it… On the other hand if it’s classed as an assault weapon then it certainly can have some useful application.
Here is a list of the major advantages for Canoptek Wraiths (in no particular order):
— Jump Infantry (fast and immune to JotWW)
— 3 base attacks per model
— S6 rending
— Always strike first in melee
— 2 wounds apiece and can be semi complex
— Ignore terrain
— 3++ invulnerable save
That’s eight major advantages which is a lot for any one unit. They have decent shooting as well which makes the Wraiths more versatile and less dependent on support from other Necron units. That’s why I’m redesigning my current army into a Wraithwing – I think it’s just that good.
Have at it gang.