Craftworld Iyanden is one of the major Eldar Craftworlds. It suffered heavily from an attack by Hive Fleet Kraken, losing four out of every five Eldar before Autarch turned Corsair Yriel managed to drive out the Hive Fleet. As a result, Craftworld Iyanden is forced to rely heavily on Wraith constructs to keep them afloat in combat, and half of the ones alive are probably Bonesingers. They suffered further when WAAAGH Rekkfist invaded the Craftworld and were nearly overrun when the Dark Eldar of the Kabal of the Wraithkind appeared from the Webway to save them. After the battle, the Seer Council inquired why the Dark Eldar had saved them, and they replied that they thought Iyanden's angst over using Wraith constructs was so hilarious that they couldn't let them die. So grimdark.
Much like every other modern day Craftworld, Iyanden truly came into its own during the Fall of the Aeldari. While many of the other craftworlds tucked their tails and ran away to go hide under their cosmic beds while the boogie (wo)man feasted on their kin, Iyanden was among the first of the Craftworlds to actually pick themselves up and resolve to do something about it. As the first to take steps to rebuild an empire for themselves, the seers of Iyanden were the ones to invent the Infinity Circuit and integrate it into the heart of their Craftworld as a simultaneous psychic power source and semi-afterlife for the dead. Though they'd attempted to use this innovation to bribe the other craftworlds to get their heads out of their asses and help them make the galaxy great again, virtually all of them simply accepted the Infinity Circuit tech and kindly told Iyanden to go fuck themselves. The singular exception to this was Biel-Tan, another major craftworld who also thirsted for the conquest and glory of old. The reason for this assholery is probably due to Iyanden being honestly good natured and wanting to actually help the galaxy instead of oppressing/exterminating everyone. Naturally, the vast majority of Eldar could never stomach the idea of not being egotistical psychopaths and so being told "We'll give you the knowledge to save your souls if you help us save the galaxy and make it safe for everyone to live in together" probably horrified the other Craftworlds.
Though Biel-Tan and Iyanden both wanted to make a glorious new empire as an end goal, tensions started to rise over the means to reach it. Iyanden was primarily focused on cleansing Chaos influence from the galaxy and actually building up colonies gradually to form the foundations of a new empire while Biel-Tan was beginning to devolve into something of a psychopathic, xenocidal murder-hobo bent on the eradication of all non-sanctioned life found squatting on any of their (former) worlds. This came to a head when Iyanden came into contact with a massive Tyranid Hive Fleet that they grossly underestimated (I mean, they are still Eldar). Though they eventually drove off the hive fleet, Iyanden suffered countless casualties and lost four out of every five Eldar within Iyanden's halls. This embodiment of a Pyrrhic victory reduced the formerly most populous craftworld to the dramatically underpopulated husk it is today. Biel-Tan, seeing Iyanden in its pitiful state, promptly and formally ditched their alliance at this point, as there's no room for the weak in their crusade. This may have been the last straw that resulted in Iyanden forming its oddly close and trustworthy relationship with the Imperium; even many human worlds don't have as close a relationship with each other while Iyanden includes homestay ambassadors, embassy, and public diplomatic visits. Iyanden may be the first and only Craftworld to have had an epiphany that, for the most part, their species are untrustworthy assholes. Constantly being betrayed by the other Craftworlds whenever they try to be good people (probably for trying to be good people) can only happen so many times before even Eldar have to say "fuck you guys."
Iyanden spent the better part of the following millennia drifting around the eastern rim cleansing Chaos wherever it could, assisting the Dark Angels in dealing with a Fallen's Chaos insurgence, protecting a few Exodite worlds and even gaining a few new allies in the minor Malan'tai and Idharae craftworlds. Though many of the surviving Eldar protested initially, it was around this time Iyanden's signature Wraithguard and Wraithlords began to become a commonplace sight within the craftworld's military. Between their efficiency and the simple fact there weren't enough living Eldar to form the rank and file, this grim necessity was quickly accepted.
But then everything went grimdark again once they started fighting Hive Fleet Naga. Iyanden lost all its buddies as the Ybaric Cluster was isolated by a warp storm. The Invaders chapter destroyed Idharae and the Doom of Malan'tai as well. And to add even more grimdarkness, when Yriel went to battle with all of Iyanden it resulted in a Cyclonic Torpedo hitting the craftworld, killing a few thousands and breaking their soulstones. They really should have realized that attacking a Space Marine chapter, let alone one named "Invaders" was a bad idea. I'm guessing they realized that around the time they noticed a planet-busting missile was heading towards them. Perhaps that was the moment they remembered that this chapter had killed a being that could wipe out an entire Craftworld with a thought. Idharae had certainly learned that attacking Space Marines is stupid. Shame none survived to spread that wisdom to the rest of the Eldar. Then again Eldar failing to realize how outclassed they are by Space Marines is a common thing. Sure the Eldar got revenge on the Invaders, but it took like three Craftworlds' full military forces and even then the Invaders merely became fleet-based rather than being destroyed and cost who knows how many Eldar lives. This, by the way, probably made the Invaders into a much greater threat as now they were fully mobile and could deploy their combined might anywhere and at any time without warning and gave them a vendetta against Eldar. And if they go crusading on the Eldar, then the Codex number limits will not apply to them; number limits already don't apply to Marine crew members of Astartes ships.
Despite this, the craftworld is recovering at a rather fast rate, hopeful to return to its former glory. Fitting for its name, really. Yes, Ward wrote some noblebright in 40k. Considering how slowly Eldar reproduce, this means very interesting things are happening in Iyanden, either that or their close relationship with the Imperium resulted in some very secretive assistance (artificial wombs, high-tech artificial insemination, etc.).
This growth has been hampered by yet more invasions though. With the spilling of the Warp brought about by the Fall of Cadia Iyanden found itself once more beset by Chaos Forces, this time three Hulks infested with Nurgle Daemons. Although small in numbers these ships were impossible for the Iyanden fleet to destroy, so the Craftworld instead decided to focus on terminating the Hulk's engines and fleeing. Doing so came at a high cost, including the death of Yriel (although Yvraine brought him back later because a Nurgle Daemon Prince wanted to screw over Slaanesh). The Ynnari, when leaving, also took so many of their Wraith warriors with them that some of the Eldar of Iyanden feared the Craftworld was being left defenseless.
This turned out to be true when, again, Chaos attacked the Craftworld, lead by the Keeper of Secrets N'krisha, who proceeded to wreck the Craftworld and was on the verge of destroying it before the intervention of numerous different Eldar allies saved Iyanden from being destroyed yet again.
All in all the one thing Iyanden tends to be good at is almost getting destroyed and then having someone show up to save it at the last moment, though being saved seems to be the result of making a lot of friends; being perhaps the only Craftworld to ever discover diplomacy, this makes sense. Since they seem to be diplomatic with the Imperium and don't seem to be actively targeted by Imperial forces (except when Iyanden is in the way), perhaps next time the Imperium will be the Big Damn Heroes. Also, there's probably a strong cultural importance placed on Iyanden as the Craftworld that basically set the form and future for the Eldar.
Grease Monkey of The Last Chancers stole the grav-vehicle of an Iyanden ambassador and took it on a joyride, which implies that Iyanden has a very public relationship with the Imperium, aside from the human ambassadors on the Craftworld.
Iyanden, being a Craftworld comprised almost entirely of the dead, unsurprisingly quickly came to support the burgeoning Ynnari in their efforts to bring Ynnead into his full power. To this end, only a very minor portion of the Iyanden seers even oppose the Ynnari as a faction and even then the primary reason isn't what they're trying to accomplish; they're simply worried that too many of their (ghost) warriors will march off and leave an already critically underpopulated Craftworld defenseless.
The Craftworld that gets shit done
As a result of their codex supplement and the fact they are the most underused of the craftworlds, they currently have the highest number of victories of any craftworld, despite being best known as 'Nid food. This is possibly the one good thing that ever came out of Matt Ward's work.
Some of these include:
- Destroying a Chaos Empire ruled by a Fallen Angel.
- Handing him over to Dark Angels because their Farseer saw it was the worst thing they can do to him.
- Having fucking Colonies meaning they've done more rebuilding their Empire than any other craftworld. Actual colonies, like, with cities. Not Garden of Eden Feral World on easy mode with all the cheats enabled that is the Eldar's (especially Exodite's) idea of "roughing it".
- Help destroyed a minor Tyranid Hive fleet.
- Right after being NOMed they defended an Exodite world from Imperial invasion. Which is odd because fluff also says they refused to protect an Exodite world from Imperial invasion, which pissed Biel-Tan off. Different worlds? Writers not reading fluff before they write? (Actually it was an uninhabited maiden world, Biel-Tann is pretty much the only Craftworld that cares about others camping out on Maiden Worlds until they want one for their own people to settle on because Eldar are too sissy to live on anything but a planet that does everything for you)
- Leading the Eldar Bio-Purge in Octarius(aka fixing Kryptman's clusterfuck).
- During the battle for the Farseers keep seeing the craftworld lost, until Iyanna rigs the outcome saying sometimes they need to forge their own future (how ironically human of them).
- Getting M'kar to attack Ultramar, meaning they're the ones who gave Varro Tigurius nightmares about the Daemonculaba resulting in the events that lead to everything Uriel Ventris did in his books.
- They're about to combine forces with Craftworld Biel-tan in Apocalypse: Warzone Valedor and kill Hive Fleet Kraken once and for all (except not really) before Hive Fleet Leviathan can eat them.
- Discovering a pre-Fall relic called the Fireheart, essentially a psychically-activated bomb capable of destroying a planet, and (uncharacteristically for ancient relics in Warhammer 40k) actually managing to learn how to produce copies of it so they can Exterminatus planets and deny them to the Tyranids. Well, we say "learned" but the Eldar didn't really lose much of their technology and just keep most of it in storage rather than using any of it so as to force themselves to focus on self-discipline over comforts. Chances are good the Eldar won't even bother using their Firehearts unless the Imperium can't arrive to blow a planet up in time. Ironically, Iyanden is probably the only Craftworld that can honestly be trusted with such weapons as they generally try to talk to people rather than just dicking around without saying anything, which gets them pretty darn good results and the Imperium honestly using diplomacy with them. The Imperium has had an embassy on their Craftworld (well, the Inquisition did), periodically a family of Eldar hosting an Imperial diplomat, and an Ambassador from Iyanden had his grav-vehicle stolen by an Imperial Guardsman (which landed him in the 13th Penal Legion, the Last Chancers, and also implies the Ambassador's presence wasn't a secret). In short, Iyanden has discovered this miraculous thing called "diplomacy" and that it magically results in the Imperium not killing you and actually co-operating without being needing to be tricked, coerced, or bribed.
In all, this Craftworld tends to behave in a much more human way than any other Eldar. They actually make colonies, they don't get pissy about others already living on their Maiden Worlds, they don't mind living on honestly new and potentially dangerous planets, they forge their own destiny, and they badass last-standed the Tyranids like humans do. *Sniff* They grow up so fast! They also use diplomacy (at least with the Imperium; perhaps they realized that if the "peaceful" aliens betrayed humanity at the first opportunity, they'll do the same to the Eldar).
Iyanden has not had it easy what with fending off Ork assaults, Imperial fleets (though these aren't devoted Imperial efforts but more "colony ships come across Eldar world" or "Space Marine Chapter decides to attack"), the Necrons of the Sautekh Dynasty, and further Tyranid tendrils. With the coming of the Great Rift the craftworld has also seen fresh invasions, three times overcoming daemonic threats. Unlike most other Craftworlds, Iyanden has not seen the same level of internal strife caused by the rise of Ynnead; in fact, there is almost 100% support for the new god. The Seer Council is suspicious of the Ynnari, but that's mainly because they don't want people to abandon an already critically underpopulated craftworld to join a bunch of nomads. Is now contemplating mass suicide refuge in Infinity Circuit strategy if Iyanden is endangered since Yvraine can resurrect the dead.
TL;DR Iyanden is the goody two-shoes of Craftworlds.
Tactics and Military Doctrine
Though Iyanden once upon a time was the single largest craftworld in the galaxy, numerous Ork, Tyranid and Chaos invasions have decimated their population to borderline extinction. Though a limited number of Aspect Warriors and Guardians can be deployed as the need arises, Iyanden must often resort to fielding ghost warriors to make up the difference. Indeed, Iyanden hosts the highest number of Wraithguard, Wraithblades and Wraithlords of any other. These unyielding wraithbone constructs often form an unbreaking anvil to crush their enemies against.
- Wraithseers - Though not necessarily "unique" in the same manner Ulthwé's Black Guardians or Saim-Hann's Wild Riders might be to their respective craftworlds, Iyanden is one of the precious few craftworlds remaining who still hosts these archaic and powerful seers. With the soul of a powerful Warlock or Spiritseer residing within the chasis of a Wraithlord, a Wraithseer uses their psychic mastery to guide fellow ghost warriors on the field of battle and rain ruin upon their foes with their D-Cannons and Ghost Spears. Unfortunately, due to their rarity and with modern Spiritseers lacking the skill to properly implant seer souls into the Wraithseer chasis, calling one into battle is truly ever only done as a last resort (you know, more so than the act of bringing in any ghost warriors at all is).
|Governments, Empires, Nations and Astropolitical Powers of the Galaxy|
|Imperial Human Powers:||Imperium of Man (Adeptus Mechanicus - Ultramar) - Squat Homeworlds|
|Renegade Human Powers:||Severan Dominate|
|Chaos Powers:||New Kingdom (Sortiarian Occupation - Prospero/Sortiarius) |
Blood Pact - Scourge Stars
|Eldar Powers:||Commorragh - Craftworlds (Alaitoc - Biel-tan - Iyanden |
Saim-Hann - Ulthwé)
|Necron Powers:||Atun Dynasty - Charnovokh Dynasty - Maynarkh Dynasty - Mephrit Dynasty |
Nekthyst Dynasty - Nephrekh Dynasty - Nihilakh Dynasty - Novokh Dynasty
Ogdobekh Dynasty - Oruscar Dynasty - Sautekh Dynasty - Szarekhan Dynasty
|Ork Powers:||Ork Empire of Charadon - Ork Empire of Octarius - Ork Empire of Bork |
Ork Empire of Dregruk - Ork Empire of Calverna - Ork Empire of Jagga
|Tau Powers:||Tau Empire - Farsight Enclaves|
|Other Xenos Powers:||Q'Orl Swarmhood - Fra'al Satrapies|