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.
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?