Wraithsight - Ghosts out of the Shell
This Article was written by:
Yriel of Iyanden
Wraithsight: Using wraithguard in non-Iyanden type craftworldsIf running into other Iyanden players is an unusual occurrence, discovering the presence of other Eldar players that field wraithguard as part of a non-Iyanden force is somewhat rare.
And for good reason- players using non-Ghostwarrior lists often find cheaper, more efficient units to fill the same combat role as would normally be filled by wraithguard. A common example of this is Fire Dragons. Generally speaking, Fire Dragons can do the same job as wraithguard at under half the points cost, and allow for transport options other than a Wave Serpent, the only real "speed" you can give to a wraithguard unit.
So if you're not playing a Ghostwarrior army, why consider taking wraithguard at all?
The answer to that can vary. Some players take wraithguard because they fulfill a portion of their designed craftworld's "fluff". A good number of non-Iyanden wraithguard users cite the decimation of their craftworld's population, and use wraithguard to represent perhaps a grim inevitability of the craftworld's extinction, though not as pronounced as the Light in the Darkness.
Other players simply assign some rather specialized combat roles for wraithguard, and have found some degree of success in doing so. In other words- rather than simply emulating slower, more expensive Fire Dragons, these Eldar players have found a way to make use of the differences between the two units, and in some cases enjoy fielding both side-by-side.
In order to understand this, we need to take a very detailed look at each unit. Here are some key differences:
Outside of Iyanden, wraithguard are always an Elite unitThis isn't the case for Fired Dragons- who can be fielded as troops in Swordwind lists. This difference can change the dynamic of many craftworld-based lists. While wraithguard probably aren't the best choice in Saim-Hann armies (especially since they are only allowed one Elites choice), you can configure your Ulthwe' force differently by taking wraithguard as Elites. For instance- since you cannot take more warrior aspects than guardian units in Ulthwe', you can elect to take wraithguard as elites to give you some additional punch without wasting an Aspect slot. On Biel Tan lists, you can use wraithguard as Elites to fight side by side with Aspect troops, fielding a high-performance troop list. These are just a couple of examples of how wraithguard can be deployed to fill specialized roles in lists, and the other craftworld lists change the dynamics of how this unit can be used. For example- on a Biel Tan list- you can use Fire Dragons to do the gist of MEQ Definition: Marine Equivalentkilling (which they do better) while using wraithguard as a countercharge unit (which favors them vs. most Fire Dragon configs). The bonus is that you now have two units that fulfill two roles and BOTH are incredibly dangerous to any armor they come into contact with.
Wraithguard have better armor saves and much better toughness and strengthSo they can't fleet of foot, nor do they have melta-bombs, but wraithguard hold up better against heavy bolters, and punch harder than Space Marines in close combat.
Fire Dragons can have Exarchs, while wraithguard are allowed warlocks/spiritseersThis can dramatically change the look and feel of each unit. Exarchs can give moderate boosts in assault, range and firepower, while warlocks can boost the entire unit in assault, confer an invulernable save, improve the unit's horde-killing capability, and boost the assault characteristics of the entire squad. In these cases it's the unit's leader which really helps define the role of the unit, and this role has more options in the case of wraithguard lead by a warlock.
The wraithcannon and fusion gun have different profilesThis further differentiates the two units. I'd rather be firing fusion gun at targets with T lower than 6, or armor lower than 11. I'd rather be packing wraithcannon if a Necron monolith or LandRaider is within range or a Monstrous Creature with multiple wounds like a wraithlord. Wraithcannon can be as poor as a grot blaster or as powerful as a Railgun- it simply depends on what you're firing at. On the other hand the Fusion gun is the same weapon no matter what its target. These differences can be explored to give a commander the best weapon to be deployed against the optimum enemy target.
So as you can see- an Eldar Farseer can use these differences to his/her advantage, and can define roles for wraithguard that may not be as optimal as their traditionally regarded equivalents- the Fire Dragons.
One last thought about wraithguard use in other armies- it really changes the use of such units compared to Iyanden. In Iyanden, I'm fielding wraithguard as my primary tactical core. So- I may have more of them, but I'm using them for a multitude of roles, whether that be tankhunting, countercharge, or unit scoring. Tactics change significantly when you aree regarding the wraithguard as your basic troop and backbone of your infantry, or as a specilized elite that you can mix into a larger tactical base like guardians, rangers, or Aspect warriors. While wraithguard are like "linemen" in your Iyanden force- they're more like "special teams" on other lists.