The swashbuckling pirate prince of the stars, Prince Yriel Ulthanash is what you would get if you changed Jack Sparrow to an elf and threw in an extra bucketload of cocksure arrogance and a sense of hygiene. He is known as the greatest Eldar naval genius to have lived, and this only makes his arrogance grow greater (and if other Eldar are calling you arrogant, then that has to mean something).
The life and times of arrogance incarnate
The prince was once an Autarch and the fleet master of Craftworld Iyanden, and was renowned for his tactical genius and daring leadership. It was a testament of his skill and ability at void warfare that he received the post of Autarch without having walked the Path of Command, but had instead walked the Path of the Mariner. He trashed a Tyranid Hive Fleet and a Chaos Lord’s armada, and his deeds made him well feared and respected. It was the Chaos fleet that would be the turning point in Yriel’s career, however. In his recklessness, he stripped Iyanden of all its starship defenses and brought the battle to the enemy, focusing on defeating them once and for all above all else. It went pretty well, the Eldar managing to take apart the Chaos fleet while sustaining few losses, except for one little thing... Faced with inevitable defeat, the Chaos Lord ordered to fire his last remaining cyclonic torpedo straight at the Craftworld (he'd probably saved that one up for a nifty mass sacrifice or something). With the entirety of Iyanden's ships busy fucking up Chaos' shit, the torpedo did reach its destination and inflicted huge damage, instantly killing many tens of thousands of Eldar along with destroying their soulstones (and you know what the latter means). The Eldar's crushing victory was completely soured by that last low blow.
It should come as no surprise that Yriel was stripped of his rank for his overly bold strategy, since he'd been the one to throw everything Iyanden had to the last pleasure ship at the Chaos fleet, and the entire thing would have been avoided if the Prince had kept but a single squadron of fighters back in reserve to take out the torpedo. It was, however, a surprise to Yriel, who believed his actions were justified since Chaos would have come at them again and again if they hadn't been crushed and crushed good and it would have meant an even heavier cost for the Craftworld in the long run. Hurt in his pride at his kinsmen censure, Yriel became so enraged he went into self-imposed exile with many of his fellows followed him. With them, he started an Eldar corsair clan known as the Eldritch Raiders, which became one of the most feared Eldar pirate bands in the galaxy behind Duke Sliscus and his Sky Serpents. Many believe that Sliscus is Yriel's dad, if we put into account Yriel's mother meeting with someone from a darker path and his status as bastard of house Ulthanash, and the whole pirate thing runs in the family.
For years Yriel plied the stars, stealing from the rich, ignoring the poor, making raspberries at the Imperium who couldn't catch him even if he handed himself over to them. When they tried to turn him against other clans of Eldar corsairs, but this backfired splendidly when he just absorbed them and made himself an even bigger menace.
When Hive Fleet Kraken arrived in the galaxy, one of its tentacles was heading directly towards Iyanden, which could not outrun the speed of the Tyrannic threat. When Yriel heard of the danger his Craftworld was in, he at first ignored it... but in the end, blood is thicker than arrogance, and he could not truly abandon his people. He and his raiders struck like the spear of Khaine against the Tyranids, tipping the scales in the favour of the Eldar. To save his people Yriel took up the cursed Spear of Twilight, which would doom its wielder by slowly burning their soul away to nothing while they wielded it (and do so instantly if they tried to discard the weapon) and turned it against the bugs, slaying the Hive Tyrant that lead the beasts (retcon'd by Guy Haley into the Swarmlord himself). Hailed as the saviour of the shattered craftworld, Yriel was reinstated as Autarch and master of the fleet. He then stabbed the Hive Mind. Well not really, but as a whole it yelled out in pain, so same thing.
Since then, Yriel has fought many battles and feels his time is soon to be over. However, a vision by the Harlequin Shadowseer Sylandri Veilwalker (who had earlier suggested to send the message of help to Yriel, was there when he took up the spear, and may or may not have had a thing with Yriel at some point) has shown him he still has much to do, and that the end times may be upon the Eldar. With a renewed spirit, Yriel steps forth to kick demon ass once more in the name of Iyanden.
Yriel is the very definition of an arrogant bastard. When the Ordo Xenos speculated that he and his raiders have "procured” no less than one thousand class IX or greater vessels over the past 50 years, Yriel felt insulted and immediately sent a spam message across the Imperium with all his Raiders’ conquests, totaling over eleven thousand ships because he was insulted at how much they underestimated him. He even included all the information on exactly who they had been taken from. Which is strange because he only turned up to help his Craftworld with a hundred ships... unless that tally was how many ships he plundered rather than stole and annexed into his fleet (it's possible he wouldn't use human ships in his fleet and deem humanity's technology inferior to the Eldar's, espeically since he's arrogant by Eldar standards).
Oh, and he's gay. Go figure. After the whole, stabbing the Hive Mind thing, he was so delirious that he accidentally stabbed, murdered, and absorbed the soul of his lover who had just finished declaring his love for him. The absorbed soul of his lover actually saved his life and give him enough energy to survive a few more years.
|This article contains spoilers! You have been warned.|
Prince Yriel's Spear of Twilight is revealed to be one of the five Swords of Morai-Heg needed by the Ynnari (no that's not a misnomer, the swords can shapeshift into any weapon). Prince Yriel nears the end of his life where the Spear of Twilight will burn his soul. A Chaos Fleet attacks and Yriel leads a boarding party to the heart of the possessed, living flagship; literally, the thing has a flesh and blood heart and is full of giant tentacles (not the naughty kind) and guarded by a Daemon Prince of Nurgle. Yriel fought the Daemon Prince but the Spear didn't kill it, so instead he used the Spear to strike the heart and destroy it. However the Spear took a lot out of him. One of the tentacles grabbed a girder and struck the fatigued Yriel with it, killing him immediately.
Then the Daemon Prince decided to have some Nurgle-style fun with the Eldar. The daemon loaded up Yriel's corpse with tons of diseases that would infect the people of Iyanden when they tried to inter his body, encased the corpse in a giant booger (yes really) and fired it off into space towards the Craftworlder's fleet. Fortunately for the eldar who retrieved the grisly find, Yvraine sensed the spoor of psychic energy - apart form seeing the obvious sickly cocoon - and had Yriel's corpse quarantined in an isolation chamber. She had Wraithguards, who were immune to the diseases, crack open the daemonic cocoon before vaporizing it along the released diseases. With the daemon's plan thwarted, Yvraine went into the chamber to tend to Yriel. Ironically, the Spear's sapping of his life-force was his salvation, as Yvraine was able to resurrect him by returning some of the life force it had stolen to his corpse via stabbing it in the chest. Despite this, and despite being revealed to be a Cronesword, the latest Codex confirms that the Spear/Sword is once again sapping his life energy and he is still cursed by it.
Further, despite being brought back from the dead by them, Yriel is no fan of the Ynnari, believing himself to have been brought back into a cursed state against his wishes (even though he's the same as he was before his death - maybe he's mad about absorbing the soul of his would-be boyfriend), and avoiding the Ynnari and aiding them when possible. There's gratitude for you.
On the Tabletop
Unfortunately, despite his cool fluff, Yriel is nothing more in the game than a slightly better Autarch who for some reason costs twice as much as his nameless buddies and can't use any of the awesome wargear available them. He has decent saves, but if he misses them against anything S6 or higher, he's dead. Furthermore, the Cursed special rule on his melee weapon, the Spear of Twilight, forces him to re-roll saving throws of 6. Other than that, it's S-user and AP3 with Fleshbane and Armourbane, which can do some good damage, but he's not the close combat power house you should be getting for 140 points. And he has no ranged weapons, so BS7 means fuck-all. His little novelty ability, The Eye of Wrath, lets him send out once per game a S6, AP3 large blast while in close combat, but it affects friend and foe alike, so it's just a suicide attack if your squad is already losing. Other than that, he has all the usual Eldar and Autarch rules. Oh, well. Let's hope he becomes worth a damn in the next update.
8th Edition gave him a much needed price drop, actually making him run slightly less than a basic Autarch nowadays. The removal of instant death is a godsend to him (much like any T3 unit), though he still must re-roll any saving rolls of a 6 when wounds are taken in melee. Speaking of melee, he's particularly adept at it these days; he hits on a 2+ (re-rolling 1's like every Autarch) and wounds everything on a 2+ with the Spear of Twilight, which has AP-3 to help it punch through armor saves. Unfortunately, that's literally all he's good for as without any ranged weaponry (bar his once-per-game 3" eye blast) or mobility options available to his generic counterparts, he can't contribute crap outside of that niche. He does have the same "Re-roll hit rolls of 1" aura every other Autarch has, but... you could just take a more mobile Autarch for that if that's all you really needed him for. Due to being listed strictly as Iyanden, any Battle-Forged detachment including him must use the Iyanden craftworld rules; unfortunate, as Iyanden doesn't really offer anything for combat oriented units that aren't Wraiths. If you insist on taking him and insist on making him your Warlord, he's locked into Iyanden's exclusive Enduring Resolve trait, which lets him attempt to deny one power once per phase. While this is certainly usable, it's a lackluster pick when you have ready access to spammable Warlocks, Spiritseers and Farseers who can all deny the witch regardless while offering access to their very flexible psychic support to the rest of your army. At the end of the day, you'll probably only want to take him if you're looking for a cheap centerpiece to a flock of Howling Banshees or if you're trying to play a fluffy army.
|Heroes:||Eldrad Ulthran - Illic Nightspear - Prince Yriel - Yvraine|
|Phoenix Lords:||Asurmen - Baharroth - Drastanta - Fuegan |
Irillyth - Jain Zar - Karandras - Maugan Ra
|From Dawn of War I:||Farseer Caerys - Farseer Macha - Farseer Taldeer|
|From Dawn of War II:||Autarch Kayleth - Farseer Elenwe - Farseer Idranel |
Ranger Ronahn - Warlock Veldoran