40K: Wraithlords – Back In Business

Time to get the air duster out and clean off those Wraithlords because they are back with a vengeance with the new Eldar Codex!

After the preview of Craftworld Iyanden we got excited for one unit in particular – the Wraithlord! Once a king in the Eldar Armory, they fell to the realm of “meh” once some of the other options arrived (looking at you Wraithknight). But now, the case can be made that they are going to be back in a BIG way. Get ready for the return of the king!


Back To Toughness 8

One of the reasons we got excited for the Wraithlords is that they are back to toughness 8. This is huge! The vast majority of small arms fire was strength 4. Even the basic close-combat attack of many of the infantry/troops in the game is strength 4. Now that Wraithlords are Toughness 8 again, all those attacks just dropped dramatically in effectiveness. They used to wound 1/3rd of the time, now they wound 1/6th of the time! Assuming that they still have a +3 save and the same 10 wounds they had in the index, well…yeah, that’s going to be a problem for folks to deal with.

The Wraithlord Rules from Index: Xenos 1


Points Efficient

One of the big reasons the Wraithlords fell out of popular use was the Wraithknights. And I get it – the Knights are big, impressive kits which are super killy. They bring the hurt and are typically a dominate factor on the tabletop. They are also a Lord of War slot so a lot of folks found it easier to shift points that route than to put points in to the Wraithlords in the heavy slot. However, the competition in the heavy slot for the Wraithlord just got a lot thinner thanks to that Toughness boost.

One of the big challengers to the Wraithlord in that slot was the War Walkers who were arguably on par with the Wraithlords. Think about it – they could carry about the same amount of firepower (two heavy weapons) were toughness 6 and 6 wounds and cost about 1/2 the points. When you’re getting shot at by str 4 weapons, being toughness 6 or 7 was basically the same thing. So why would you go with the Wraithlords vs War Walkers? It’s not like the advantages the Wraithlords had in close combat were going to matter that much. But now they ARE tougher and have a better chance of getting across the board…

The new Guided Wraithsight Stratagem will also come into play. “It only works on Wraith Constructs” – yes, that’s true. “But the Wraithlord doesn’t have that keyword!” Yes – in the index he doesn’t have that keyword. And neither do Wraithguard or Wraithblades. So keep your shirt on because I’m pretty confident that the Wraithlords are going to have it when the Codex does drop.

The key take away here is that Wraithlords at T8 are going to be able to do a lot more on the tabletop than they used to. Based the Index, you can take 3-4 Wraithlords for the points of a Wraithknight so it’s going to be interesting if that holds true in the Codex!

(3 Wraithlords is 30 T8 Wounds to deal with. 1 Wraithknight is 24 T8 Wounds – just some food for thought)

Bring On The Firepower

One of the big changes in 8th has been that a unit can fire all of it’s weapons and they can fire at different targets.  That means Wraithlords can be loaded-up with all manner of pain. Starting with their close combat options, the Ghostglaive is pretty mean in it’s own right. Assuming the stats didn’t change, it’s going to be Strength 9 with -4 AP and D6 Damage. Or you could just run two fists – still a very respectable str 7, -3 AP and 3 damage! But where this guy really shines is it’s ranged options.

It can take either a pair of Shuriken catapults or flamers (or 1-and-1). Catapults offer some decent shooting with the “pseudo-rending” at a 12″ range. Double Flamers in 8th are also pretty mean. No one wants to charge in to that…


Wraithlords can also take two items from the heavy weapons list. Now, most old vets who actually used Wraithlords typically built their Wraithlords one way or the other because back-in-the-day they couldn’t shoot all their guns. But now, that problem is gone. Furthermore they can also shoot at different targets (finally). So you can bring your scatterlaser/brightlance Wraithlord and shoot a squad and a tank! One load-out I want to try is double shuriken cannons/shuriken catapults for the run-and-gun option. I’ll gladly take the -1 to hit as I advance and shoot!

The amount of firepower the Wraitlord is brining means it can fill different combat roles simultanously. Did you need a good counter-charge unit? It can do that. Do you need to something to advance with your army and absorb shots? Check! Do you need a fire support unit for your infantry? The Wraitlord has you covered.

It Can Hide

One last BIG advantage the Wraithlord has is that it’s able to actually hide behind terrain. Unlike the Wraithknight who towers over the battlefield, the Wraithlord can actually fit behind a reasonable sized hill or building. That trait cannot be discounted – it can actually get a cover save provided you can get LoS to it. I don’t know about you but I really don’t want to shoot at something that is Tough 8, 10 Wounds and has a +2 save. That’s just not going to be very effective!

We’ve barely scratched the surface on what the Eldar are going to have when the new codex comes out. I know a lot of folks can’t wait to see what else they have in store!

What do you think of the Wraithlord – is it back in business or will it remain an old relic long past it’s prime?

  • Sbatragno Sbatragno

    you gain cover just inside a terrain.
    if you are between someterrain or similar you don’t gain cover.
    m.c can’t move trougth riuns.

    • J Mad

      The can move through ruins, they just cant move up and down walls/levels. The rules literally says “they can only move on the ground floor”.

    • Michael Goldsberry

      I think you have some rules crossed. You don’t need to be in a terrain to get cover. SOME terrain, that doesn’t block line of sight, gives you cover if you are in it, like craters. But if there is terrain between you and the shooter and you’re within 1 inch of it, you get cover iirc the rules exact wording

      Your MC comment is a bit off. WL have the same general keywords as Dreadnaughts, which get cover. Knights and Imperial Knights have rules specifically saying they only have cover if more than 50% of the model is covered, so they cant get cover from a small shipping crate

      • I_am_Alpharius

        For units that have the ‘INFANTRY’ keyword the rules clear state that, to gain the benefit of terrain you have to be:
        “entirely on or within any terrain”
        Battle Primer pg7

        For any other unit types (i.e. Monsters, Vehicles etc..) need to also meet the additional criteria of being “at least 50% of every model is obscured from the point of view of the shooting model”

        I think you’re getting the 1″ thing from the rules for Barricades. Which are slightly different.

      • Bakvrad

        My book says: in it or no cover at all. If not infantry it also needs to be in said terrain and line of sight needs to be blocked
        Exception: if you play cities of death

    • zeno666

      The terrain rules in 8th edition are horrible.

      • vlad78

        And it’is precisely what makes me unable to enjoy even slightly this edition.

      • I_am_Alpharius

        I don’t think they are that terrible. Just very black and white; in that you benefit from a terrain piece or you don’t – which is kind of harking back to 3rd ed.

        The do need some tweaks made just of add a little more overall usefulness. I would like to see some commonsense changes to the size of the bonus to armour saves and for when you’re behind a terrain piece that can blatantly get in the way of shots.

        If I where to make suggest, that don’t over complicate how you interact with terrain, I would propose the following; and keeping current qualifying rules for gaining the benefit of cover :
        – Behind Barricades/parapets/Craters etc… +1sv
        – Forest +1sv
        – Ruined buildings and the like +2sv
        – Fortifications +3sv
        – If the unit being attacked has 50% of it’s models behind terrain (i.e. a unit of 10 would need 5 behind it), then the unit that is shooting suffers a -1 to hit.

        • LankTank

          Even just +1 to save for 50% of unit inside or behind works

      • Philip Estabrook

        I quite like the simplification other than the fact that it does little for orks and the like.

      • Defenestratus

        The terrain rules aren’t the only thing lacking in this edition…

  • I thought that change was for Iyanden armies only. Wasn’t it?

  • Heinz Fiction

    If you bring a wraithlord you’ll probably want him to engage the enemy with his flamers and/or in melee. For that role shuriken cannons are the only weapon option that makes sense, as you will advance a lot.

    If you just want a stationary heavy weapons plattform, you’ll be better off with war walkers.

    • J Mad

      A T8 stationary unit for 2 Heavy weapons with 10W, hmm sounds like some Heavy vehicles to me (Exorcist for an example)

      Its fine either way you play it, yeah their will be meta builds for it, but either way, both are viable play styles.

      • Heinz Fiction

        Problem is, the wraithlord is too expensive for just standing there and firing 2 heavy weapons. Tough units, that can’t dish out appropriate damage are just outright ignored. The war walker isn’t all that cheap either but better fitted for that particular job.

  • LordKrungharr

    That warscroll says they are T7. So on par with Freadnoughts.

    • J Mad

      That datasheet is from the index, not the new codex.

  • DrLove42

    As someone who owns about 6, amd consider it my favoirite Eldar model, this makes me happy

    • euansmith

      “The only good Eldar, is a dead Eldar.”, Iyanden Proverb

  • Rainthezangoose


    • AntonisLak

      do not wraiths are awesome models man

  • Rayna M. McCowan

    Well I think Eldar might be my next army instead of nids. Always wanted to do Eldar since I got into the hobby in 5th edition because I loved how Wraithlords looked, now? Well they are going to be fun and fluffy.

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      Eldar are the next army. Then Nids

  • Charles Lowry

    Weapon point values, for myself, will be key with a Wraithlord. Flamers and most heavy weapons push the points a bit too high for my taste with the Wraithlord.

  • pad_uk

    I wonder how/if this will affect the Wraithseer?

  • Matthew Manall

    Wraithlords still aren’t very worthwhile to me due to moving and shooting heavy weapons. They used to be a good place to put bright lances.

  • Antoine Henry

    even with Toughness 8 it will die easy to Lascannons/Manticore or artillery… Those rules are not so broken yet but I am starting to hate this “Re-rolling” mass dice game and terrain rules are just useless.

  • Geil

    Unless GW makes a special rule that ignores the new “wounds everything on 6” stupidity, its not going to fix the Lord.

    T8 used to make you impervious to S4 weapons.
    But it 8’ed even las pistols kill titans on 6…

    • Antoine Henry

      You exagerate things. You need a 6 to wound with a Bolter. Having T8 is a lot better than T5 to T7. I doubt that people will use their bolter on him but 2 Lascanon and one command point and its gone.

  • 301stFeinminsterArmoured


    To sum up:
    1. Ulthwe are the Iron Hands of the Aeldari.
    2. Autarchs have CP-fixing built in.
    3. Black Guardians are a bit tougher than others.
    4. Eldrad got cheaper and is getting a plastic standalone release (which won’t matter if you already bought Death Masque).
    5. Mind War is now a soft counter to Conscript spam.