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40k: X vs Y – Canoptek Scarabs vs Canoptek Wraiths

8 Minute Read
Feb 19 2012

Hey guys, Mercer from here. I haven’t done a X vs Y article for sometime, in fact September was the last time I wrote a X vs Y article. I think it’s time to get the ball rolling on these and the first one I would like to get started with is looking at Canoptek Scarabs and Canoptek Wraiths. Both units do close combat, though which one is better of the two?

Canoptek Scarabs

Taking a general look at Canoptek Scarabs, they cost 15 points a base and you get WS2, S3, T3, W3, I2, A4 and 5+ save. I haven’t mentioned leadership or ballistic skill as you will hardly/not use those. They are also beasts, which can have a possible 24″ range as they have fleet as standard, groovy.

For special rules they have fearless, swarms (so stealth and vulnerable to blasts/templates) and also entropic strike.

Entropic strike is the biggy here, for every hit the Scarabs score on a a enemy vehicle roll a further D6, on a 4+ that vehicle has it’s armour reduced on all sides by 1. If that vehicle is reduced to av0 then it is wrecked. Against infantry it works differently, any model which fails a armour save is then reduced to sv-. This of course only affects models with multiple wounds and those models can still take invulnerable saves there after. Though there is nothing more funny than watching a Trygon being gaussed to death or a Daemon Prince using it’s 5+ invulnerable save to save itself from gauss flayer death after ther Scarabs are done with them..

Now we know what these guys can do.

A full size unit of these little metal beetles will cost 150 points and knock out 50 attacks on the charge. Time to switch from Warhammer 40,000 to Mathhammer 40,000.

If a unit of Scarabs assault a stationary vehicle or one which has moved at combat speed then the Scarabs are going to wreck it, presuming of course it’s av10 on the rear. Against a vehicle which has moved at crusing or flat out the Scarabs will hit 8 times and reduce the vehicle down to av6, this will give the Scarabs a 66% chance to cause some damage on a vehicle in penetrating or glancing hit form.

So, against vehicles Scarabs are handy to have about and will probably take out a couple of vehicles before they snuff it. If you’re clever you can ring a transport vehicle so if it is wrecked the unit inside is also destroyed as they cannot disembark.


Now, lets do the same against a monstrous creature. Lets take a Trygon for example. The Trygon will strike first and probably hit with 5 attacks after the re-rolls and will probably instagib 4 Scarab bases. The Scarabs attack back with 30 attacks and will hit 10 times, they will wound twice which the Trygon will save 1.32, lets round that down so that’s only 1 save made. Next round the Trygon will have no armour save and the Scarabs will start knocking wounds off it until they or the Trygon is dead.

Lets do some infantry now, unit of 10 Assault Marines. These Assault Marines will have dual flamers, a power weapon and a Priest as there’s always Priests in Blood Angel armies ;). Lets say the Priest isn’t in base to base so he cannot attack. The Assault Marines get 16 attacks, 11 will hit and 7 will wound. The power weapon will hit twice and wound once. Scarabs will fail 5 wounds plus the power weapon wound too, so you’re looking at two dead bases. Scarabs attack back now with 40 attacks, hit with 20 and wound 7 times. Out of those wounds 5 Marines will pass and out of the wounded 3, two will pass feel no pain. The Scarabs will tarpit the Assault Marines for a few turns, though ultimately will run out of puff thanks to them been fearless and losing combat most of the time. Nevertheless, they are still affective against infantry, at least to act as a tarpit the Assault Marines for several turns.


Canoptek Scarabs are quite a easy unit to use. I think of them like a crazed dog – just let the unit off the chain and go and attack something, mostly tanks.

You should always deploy the Scarabs in some kind of cover as no doubt they will be high up on the opponent’s target priority list. Depending what units you have in your army, you can either screen them with infantry to get a 3+ cover save thanks to stealth or use to terrain, though terrain will bog them down.

Use the Scarabs to attack high threat units and tarpit annoying infantry units. Either way they will be living on borrowed time, but use that time to move the rest of your forces into position to capitialise on the Scarab’s opening. Remember, if they fail to take down a tank, but reduce it’s armour, units are not locked in combat with vehicles and you can shoot the vehicle next turn and move the Scarabs completely around a transport vehicle. If you wreck or even explode the vehicle, then the enemy unit inside may not be able to deploy and will be destroyed or some models will be destroyed. Sure, you may lose a Scarab base or two, but 10 Scarabs should be enough to circle a tank easily.

Canoptek Spyders


While this article isn’t covering Canoptek Spyders in depth, it is worth mentioning about their cool ability to spawn new Scarabs bases. If you do take Canoptek Scarabs, then it is worth considering these.

Though, I will point out a flaw I have discovered. Thanks to the assault range of Scarabs, you will find them out of spawn range of the Spyders and often the Spyders are racing ahead playing catch up. Really though, you don’t want the Scarabs hanging about for mummy and daddy Spyder. Also, if the Scarabs are destroyed, then the Spyders come redundant in the game and their only use becomes attacking vehicles and small infantry squads, which they are too slow to easily reach to assault.

Canoptek Wraiths

I really like Canoptek Wraiths, I think they are a cool customer. What’s not to like about a half snake robot with big blade like arms? I think the sooner Games Workshop brings out a new model the better. You hear that GW? Do it!

Anyway, time to take a closer look at these bad boys…

The Wraith is WS4, BS4, S6, T4, W2, I2, A3, LD10 and 3+ invulnerable save. They cost 35 points a pop for all that and they are jump infantry too.

For special rules they have fearless, phase attacks (rending) and wraithflight. Wraithflight means Wraiths are never slowed by difficult terrain and auto pass dangerous terrain tests, nice :).

They also have a choice of wargear. The particle caster – a S6 pistol, whip coil which makes anything in base contact I1 (modifiers apply after i.e nemesis halberds) and the transdimensional beamer, which is a heavy weapon so I wouldn’t bother with this one.


Now, as the Wraiths are S6 and have rending this means they can deal with infantry and vehicles.
They tackle infantry better thanks to whip coils and the multi wounds along with 3+ invulnerable saves, making them a excellent tarpit. Though, I think it’s math exercise time!

Lets take a unit of 5 Wraiths. They will have 20 attacks on the charge and against a vehicle which has moved at combat speed will hit 10 times, this will give them 50% chance to damage an av10 rear vehicle. Not bad.

Now some Wraiths against a Trygon. The Trygon will strike last thanks to whip coils, so Wraiths will get 20 attacks and hit 10 times, they will score 5 wounds out of which the Trygon will fail 2. The Trygon will attack back and hit with 5 attacks and wound with 4. Wraiths are best with 3 whips coils, particle caster and a naked Wraith for wound allocation, so each of these take get a wound allocated, so lets say for arguments sake that the plain Wraith takes fails the armour save. The Wraiths will win combat and slowly cut the Trygon down, hopefully they will get a few rending wounds in there too.

Lastly, Wraiths against Assault Marines. It’s difficult to say which Assault Marines will be lashed, but lets say it’s two Assault Marines per whip coil so 6 Assault Marines are lashed, though this might be a bit extreme. The Priest isn’t in base to base either. Also the power weapon has no difference in this close combat. Ok, so 7 attacks from the Assault Marines first (one Assault Marine, the two flamers and the Sgt), they hit with 4 attacks and wound with 2, Wraiths fail one save, which the plain Wraith takes. Wraiths attack back with 20 attacks, hit with 10 and wound with 8, which 3 will fail armour saves and a further one will pass feel no pain. At the moment the combat is a draw, though the remaining 6 Assault Marines need to strike. So, the remaining Assault Marines attack with 6 attacks, hit with three and wound with 2, which the plain Wraith and particle caster Wraith take, lets say the particle caster Wraith fails the save.


Like the Scarabs, Wraiths are pretty easy to use. I tend to use them as a ‘wraith-wall’ which acts as a barrier between assaulting units on my Necron lines or to stop units getting into melta range for example. Due to the lack of a new model it’s difficult to tell if they can easily give cover to vehicles, I would have thought at least they would give cover to an Annihilation Barge, though we will wait and see. You can also hide them behind your own units and use them as for counter assault, with fire support from other Necron units.

Tarpiting is another good tactic for these guys, though they are better at tarpiting elite close combat units such as Assault Terminators as their invulnerable saves will keep them alive. Of course they do work nicely against units such as Long Fangs and Combat Squads, though you should expect the Wraiths to beat them in combat soon enough and not really act as a tarpit, though this is sometimes fine.

You can also use the Canoptek Wraiths to run around after a Catacomb Command Barge. There shouldn’t be too much gap if you don’t move the Barge the full 24″. They make a nice combo as the Overlord can pop a vehicle with the sweeping attacks and the Wraiths then launch a assault. They can also support the Overlord in close combat if needed, though just remember they are fearless so if they lose combat this will affect the Overlord too. Pick your fights correctly 😉


I am really stumped here to find a clear winner. Usually when writing these articles one emerges to be superior than the other, truth be told I thought it was going to be the Wraiths…


Most times I have a opinion which one is better out of the two units when doing X vs Y articles and of course everyone has their opinion after reading the article, whether it is the same or mine or not. Though this time the answer to this X vs Y is really down to your opinion.  Like chocolate and peanut butter, they are both good. Both these units can do combat against vehicles, though the Scarabs do that against vehicles better. Both units can do combat against monstrous creatures and infantry, though the Wraiths can probably tackle infantry better as they can asborb wounds thanks to the 3+ invulnerable.  Finally the Scarabs do have more synergy with a Necron army thanks to entropic strike weakening vehicles for shooting attacks.  I’m stumped.

Readers, I leave the outcome of this X vs Y battle to you. Which do you think is better, Canoptek Scarabs or Canoptek Wraiths?

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