However, whereas Wraithguards and Wraithblades house Aspect Warrior souls and Wraithlords house Exarch souls, who are then shepherded by a Spiritseer, the Wraithseer cuts out the middleman and puts in a Spiritseer's/Warlock's soul stone as the pilot, allowing them to exert greater control over his wraithbone shell and the shells of others. In a way, they resemble the Blood Angels' Librarian Dreadnoughts, except they're not quite as ridiculous a premise. However, they're just as grand a rarity, as the secrets behind making these psychic machines is lost to the general populace. Also, despite the badass practicality, these titans are used more as a last-ditch resort, more so than using Wraith-constructs normally entail.
On the field, it is a legendary thing to field if your opponent lets you field Forge World. It has both incredible support for other Wraith-units and for combat a Wraithseer is always equipped with a Wraithspear and Wraithshield, and may also arm themselves with a Bright Lance, Scatter Laser, Eldar Missile Launcher, Starcannon or D-Cannon.
Their psyker abilities are also quite potent, allowing them to assist friend and hamper foe. Wraithseers have been known to cloud their enemies' minds with the terror of death, enliven the spirit stones of ghost warriors around them to inspire fresh vigour, and alter fate to protect themselves and their charges.
On the Tabletop
8th edition Wraithseers are the single most durable HQ choice any Craftworld army can take, and are arguably the hardest hitting as well. This lethal combination of durable and powerful makes them quite the DISTRACTION CARNIFEX, as anything short of a Titan is easy prey to the high damage weapons the kitted out Wraithseer brings to bear. As mentioned above, it has great synergy in a Wraith-heavy list, and can give accompanying Wraithguard/blades or Wraithlords an extra boost in mobility or endurance as the situation demands.
Offensively, the Wraithseer comes stock with a Ghostspear (S+2 AP-4 D6 Damage) which lets it pry open the hull of any vehicle it comes across and wound most standard infantry on a 2+ while erasing pretty much all GEQ and MEQ saves. This can be complemented by one of several heavy weapons its Wraithlord cousins usually carry:
- Shuriken Cannon: Assault 3 24" S6 AP0 (-3 on rolls of 6+) 1D. The Wraithseer can take this, but doing so is ill-advised. Sure, it at least lets the Wraithseer shoot some dakka, but there are many, many better, cheaper platforms for spamming Shuriken weaponry.
- Scatter Laser: Heavy 4 36" S6 AP 0 1D. If you're looking to skim down the points, or are expecting to deal with hordes...why are you taking the Wraithseer? Still, a slightly better pick than the Shuriken Cannon if points are truly so hard to come by and nothing can be spared to accommodate heavier firepower.
- Starcannon: Heavy 2 36" S6 AP-3 D3. A reliable choice to deal with most MEQ targets, though the random damage and limited shots tend to make it more difficult to deal with the kind of targets the Wraithseer will likely be facing in battle.
- Bright Lance: Heavy 1 36" S8 AP-4 D6. The first of your heavy artillery. Not recommended, its price point is almost as high as the AML and only ever gets the one shot. AMLs will at the very least offer a little more versatility at greater ranges.
- Aeldari Missile Launcher: Heavy 1 48" S8 AP-2 D6 or Heavy D6 48" S4 AP-2 1D. This is the most flexible of the Wraithseer's toys, and probably the one to take if points scarce, but not cripplingly so. It gives your Wraithseer a little more potential for clearing out squads of infantry compared to most of the prior choices as well as being the longest ranged option, though given how durable the Wraithseer is, it shouldn't be terribly shy of getting up in the thick of it.
Or for +1 Power Level (for the few who use that system), the Wraithseer can take the much more attractive:
- Wraithcannon: Assault 1 12" S10 AP-4 D6. While potent, the lack of firepower and range, on top of a particularly generous price point, make this an inefficient choice when compared to the following.
- D-Cannon: Heavy D3 24" S12 AP-4 D6. This big beauty is the Wraithseer's pride and joy, as well as one of the reasons it can be so monstrous on the field of battle. With the recent buff in the Codex, the Wraithseer can fire at any target it wants, regardless if it can even see them. It's also guaranteed to wound all GEQ, MEQ and TEQ targets on a 2+, and anything smaller than a Warlord Titan on a 3+.
Defensively, while the Wraithseer is extraordinarily sturdy, it does have a few shortcomings. As a character with more than 10 wounds, not only does it have to contend with a degrading statline, but enemy units may target the Wraithseer freely. Because of the potent offenses at its disposal, it will definitely attract heavy amounts of focused fire. What's worse, is that while its Wraithlord cousin at least has T8 to protect against Bolter, Melta and Krak Missile equivalents, Wraithseers still have to work with an outdated T7, making all S4 guns wound it on a 5+ and most anti-armor guns wounding it on a 3+. The fact that it at least has a 5++ invuln save does mean that is always at least guaranteed a save against non-mortal wounds, though. There is one additional form of defense completely unique to the Wraithseer that all other Craftworld HQ's lack; access to healing. Bonesingers can provide a constant source of wound recovery, with the Tears of Isha stratagem providing an additional burst of health for 2 Command Points in a pinch.
As a Psyker, the Wraithseer is relatively limited and specialized, even by Aeldari standards. It can only cast and deny one power each turn, and two of its powers, Deliverance and Enliven, can only be cast on Wraithguard, Wraithblades or Wraithlords. Foreboding is the only power the Wraithseer can freely cast without an accompanying Spirit Host to support it, though the power is situational at best if not utilized as part of a Leadership bomb. Unlike literally every other psyker in the game, the Wraithseer is also unable to cast any variation of Smite. Because of this, it's highly recommended to bring along a Spiritseer or two not only for the Guided Wraithsight, but to assist nearby forces with Runes of Battle or to soften up units with a few casts of Smite.
Wraithseers gain additional utility/durability depending on which Craftworld you take them under, and honestly benefit from almost all of them.
- Alaitoc: An innate -1 to-hit modifier adds another frustrating layer of durability on the Wraithseer that can help deal with opposing horde-based armies. As many hordes suffer from relatively poor ballistic skills, this attribute will honestly provide more protection against massed fire than any of the saves you'd have to take otherwise.
- Biel-Tan: Honestly, the only choice that is completely useless to the Wraithseer. Unless you have some obsession with Shuriken weaponry, and decided to forego the much more attractive D-Cannon for a Shuriken Cannon, this Craftworld offers absolutely nothing to benefit the Wraithseer.
- Iyanden: Probably the go-to choice, this almost completely removes the damage table worn down Wraithseers and Wraithlords would otherwise have to deal with. Wraithseers remain completely unaffected until they burn down to 3 wounds remaining after which it will either die shortly thereafter, or can be easily brought back to full strength with a single use of Tears of Isha, or a single Bonesinger repair session.
- Saim-Hann: Wraithseers are monsters in melee combat. This attribute helps get them there much more reliably. Not only that, but Saim-Hann lets them focus on buffing Wraithlords/guard/blades with the Deliverance power, as they'll all be re-rolling their charges by default anyways.
- Ulthwé: Similarly to Alaitoc, Ulthwé adds another layer of durability, despite the relative unreliability of it. Being able to potentially shake off even mortal wounds is hard to argue against, especially since it allows you to never have to waste your one cast on the Deliverance power for your Spirit Host.
Lastly, as an unnamed Character within the HQ slot, the Wraithseer is able to both take a relic as well as a Warlord Trait. There are two applicable Relics available to the Wraithseer, one of which is Iyanden Exclusive:
- Phoenix Gem: The only relic any Wraithseer may take, this adds a final layer of insurance for the cautious player. Should your opponent manage to finally whittle your towering rape engine all the way to its death, this provides it an opportunity to resurrect itself if you manage to wound a nearby unit with it (and you should have at least one unit nearby just in case). Keep in mind, it only resurrects with a single wound, and though it's one tough nut to crack, the Wraithseer is far from invincible, and the keen opponent will likely have a few extra guns available to try to promptly kill it again immediately afterwords.
- Psytronome of Iyanden: An ideal relic for a Wraith-heavy list. While most players would probably give this to a Spiritseer or even Bonesinger, the Wraithseer is probably the best courier for the relic. Not only does it benefit from the Psytronome itself, but when accompanied by a squad or two of Wraithblades/Wraithlords that it's buffing with either Deliverance or Enliven and supplemented by a Spiritseer for guided Wraithsight, whatever was just charged straight up stops existing. Additionally, the Iyanden Wraithseer has the health pool to comfortably tank the mortal wounds incurred by the Psytronome's usage.
- Ambush of Blades: As the Wraithseer itself already hits at AP-4, with most of your accompanying Wraithblades hitting at a respectable -2 or -3, this is a relatively inefficient trait that makes little difference against your preferred targets. It's best to pass on this one.
- An Eye on Distant Events: Particularly brutal on a Saim-Hann Wraithseer, this is the ideal trait in a particularly punchy list.
- Falcon's Swiftness: Another passable trait, a Movement value of 10" is nice, but is a fairly underwhelming perk when you factor in some of the other traits as well as the depreciating movement value via damage table.
- Fate's Messenger: Brings the Wraithseer up to a total of 13 wounds as well as an inbuilt 6+++ to ignore (mortal)wounds. Can be pretty handy in an Iyanden list, but is useless in an Ulthwé detachment.
- Mark of the Incomparable Hunter: Makes the Wraithseer the strongest character hunter in the game. Being able to target characters with a S12 AP-4 D6 damage gun regardless of LoS or intervening units is downright cheesy, and is likely the standard pick for most Wraithseer warlords in a mixed list.
- Seer of the Shifting Vector: A situational and underwhelming trait, Wraithseer powers are not only limited in their usage alone, but have relatively high Warp Charge requirements in order to trigger. Defensively, it can come in handy if you need to re-roll a save or deny the witch test.
- Puritanical Leader (Alaitoc): Depending on the units trying to "screen" your Wraithseer, this can be pretty handy. While Wraithguard/blades are largely immune to morale tests, Guardians or maxed out Aspect Warrior squads benefit considerably from the fearless aura and can be much harder to clear away from your warlord.
- Natural Leader (Biel-Tan): You shouldn't be using this, since you shouldn't be fielding your Wraithseer in a Biel-Tan detachment. Spiritseers and Autarchs provide similar buffs to all nearby units for free, and are not locked to any specific Craftworld to access.
- Enduring Resolve (Iyanden): If you're facing other Craftworlders, Thousand Sons or Grey Knights, this can help your Wraithseer keep some of their psychic tomfoolery in check. You'd probably prefer just taking MotIH and just erasing a psyker per turn, though.
- Wild Rider Chieftan (Saim-Hann): Slightly less useful compared to AEoDE, this lets the Wraithseer hunt down characters in the midst of melee. Considering the strength and number of attacks they get, this can again make short work of most characters hapless enough to get too close, though MotIH lets you do this 24" away with a D-Cannon, when they're hunkered inside a building under a blanket of the biggest horde unit they could field.
- Fate Reader (Ulthwé): Largely useless, as this ability is better stacked on an Autarch than on your Wraithseer.
Counters: If you're facing an enemy Wraithseer, there are a few fairly standard ways to deal with it. When focusing on the kill, unless supported by Fortune or is part of an Ulthwé detachment, it has no defense against Mortal Wounds (and even those two defenses are unreliable at the best of times). Standard anti-vehicle/monster weapons are also quite reliable; any Lascannon, Krak Missile or Melta equivalent can reliably strike a heavy blow on a 3+, with melta weaponry at half range being particularly devastating. If killing the Wraithseer outright seems a tall order, try to focus on simply dropping it down a bracket on its damage table. Any non-Iyanden Wraithseer's combat performance suffers significantly when dropped even to half health, which in turn can put let you focus on other pressing issues. Alternatively, using hordes to tie up the wraithseer may not end the menace, any turn it wastes killing a maximum of 4 dudes or constantly falling back is a turn it can't target your important units.