Battle Strategies

This section will discuss the basic tactics behind an Iyanden warhost. I will show you how to use each unit to its maximum effectiveness, making it almost impossible to withstand.

Chapter 1: The strength of an Iyanden army

In this part I would like to write about playing Iyanden in general. Most people say that it is basically an eldar army with different warlord traits, because it doesn't affect the composition of the army. That is certainly true, but in my blog I would like to tell you how to use a true Iyanden army. In order to understand what and why am I presenting on my blog, I have to tell you about some specific premises I've made:

  • No aspects,
  • No jetbikes,
  • As many constructs as possible.
You may think that those limit the potential of your army, but as we will progress deeper and deeper into the strategies lying behind those assumptions I hope to show you that it can be a great advantage.

First of all, let's have a look at the Iyanden special rules:

  • Heroes of Iyanden - Wraithknights and Wraithlords can become your Warlord,
  • Shadow Council - more Spiritseers for a single HQ choice,
  • Gifts of Asurian - an alternative list of relics for your characters,
  • Spiritseer Psychic Powers - Alternative Primaris Power for your Spiritseers: Voice of Twilight
  • Alternative list of Warlord Traits
Before I get into describing each of these rules I will start with the basic concept behind an Iyanden army: 


Most of your models (Wraithblades, Wraithguard, Wraithlords, Wraithknights, Vehicles, Flyers) are very resilient to damage. Weapons that would normally wound your Eldar on 3+ or 4+ (which is the majority of standard infantry weapons) will now wound your models on 6+ or won't be able to harm you at all! If it comes to Wraithlords (WL) and Wraithknights (WK) they will be immune to such weapons. If it comes to Wraithblades (WB) and Wraithguard (WG) the amount of Wounds coming from the same weapon firing the same number of shots will be 3 or 4 times smaller. This is actually the best save in game if you think about it. Many Special Rules allow you to ignore cover or Armour Save, but they still need to wound you and, most of the time, you'll still get your 3+ Armour Save. 


A unit is hit by 18 shots coming at S4 AP5 against three different units: 
1. Guardian Defenders (T3, 5+ Save),
2. Aspect Warriors (T3, 3+ Save)
3. WG (T6, 3+ Save).

In case of Guardians, 18 shots result in average 12 wounds and, since the weapon is AP5, 12 casualties.
In case of Aspect Warriors, 18 shots would still result in average 12 Wounds, but 3+ Save will limit the casualties to only 4 models.
Now, the WG. 18 shots give only 3 wounds and with the 3+ save they result in only one casualty.

If we make an assumption that each model is ten men strong, that would result in the guardians being wiped out entirely, the aspect's combat power greatly limited, and WG barely noticing that sheer volume of shots.

That is the basic idea that stands behind my Iyanden Warhost. The opponent has to waste enormous amount of shots in order to bring your unit down or engage them with heavy weapons thus limiting his anti-tank capability. And so, we move on into the next point and another advantage of an Iyanden Warhost: Wraithknights and Wraithlords. Both models are T8. this means, that they cannot be harmed by weapons with S4 or less, which excludes most units if it comes to harming them. The only weapons that are capable of harming them are Heavy Weapons, the same used for machine-hunting. Some will say that it's better to field machines, since they are also immune to S5 weapons and are way cheaper in points. That's not entirely true. A Wraithlord with some upgrades can cost as much as a Fire Prism. Wraithlord is T8 and Fire Prism has Armour Value of 12.


Both models get hit by Weapons with Strength varying from 5-10. The wounds/penetration table looks as follows:

Strength      Wraithlord        Fire Prism (Glance/Penetration)
     5                  6+                      -
     6                  6+                      6+/-
     7                  5+                      5+/6+
     8                  4+                      4+/5+
     9                  3+                      3+/4+
    10                 2+                      2+/3+

At first glance, Fire Prism indeed looks tougher, but consider what can happen to both models. If a WL gets Wounded it looses only one wound and is otherwise unaffected . If a Fire Prism get's Glanced it looks similar, but if it gets penetrated then many things may happen: at best, he'll be firing on Snap Shots which means no blasts and the Lance hitting on 6+. Then it can get only worse: you may not move and shoot, you loose one weapon (50% for prism cannon), you get immobilized or explode. Weapons with S8 or higher are particularly lethal to your vehicles since most of the time they are AP2 or AP1, meaning that your vehicle can explode on 5+ or even 4+. In that case you'll loose your tank. Wraithlord has still two Wounds left.

Chapter 2: Moving around the army composition

Part 1: HQ & Troops

Taking into consideration the premises (or limitations - as some people call them) the army composition looks as follows:

Prince Yriel
Warlock Council

Guardian Defenders
Storm Guardians

* You need a Spiritseer for WG and WB to become Troops.


** If you take a Spiritseer, WG and WB move to Troops section.

Fast Attack:
Helmlock Wraithfighter

Heavy Support:
Vaul's Wrath Support Batteries
Fire Prism
Night Spinner
War Walkers

Now, if we take a look at the composition we can see that both Elites and Fast Attack section have little to offer most of the time. But this shouldn't be a problem, since we will put the points to a much better use: Troops and Heavy Support sections.

Let's run some analysis.

HQ section has two slots. To create an effective Iyanden warhost, you will need at least one Spiritseer. The reason for that is very simple: you got rid of "those pesky jetbikes", so now you cannot move 48" in one turn to capture or contest an objective. You need to come up with something, that will set constructs in motion. This is where the Voice of Twilight comes in handy, as it allows your constructs to run before/after shooting. This means that your constructs don't get penalized for running. Having the possibility to take multiple Spiritseers as a single HQ choice allows you to spread a web, similar to the Tyranid Synapse, that will greatly enhance your constructs. This is the first advantage of using Iyanden as your Primary Detachment. The other HQ choice is purely a matter of what do you need in the army. You can leave your army with a single Spiritseer, saving points for more units, or take another character to lead your army. 

Now that you have decided what do you want to take in the HQ section, it's high time we thought of what will you expect from your army. Here are some questions you should ask yourself when creating an Iyanden Warhost:

  • How big the army will be? 1000, 1500, 1850?
  • Should it be mechanized or purely on foot? Or maybe a balanced mix perhaps? 
  • What kind of enemy will it face? Close combat, shooting, mechanized, fast, horde?
  • What scenario are you playing? Defence, assault, holding objectives, kill points?
Those fundamental questions will help you create a basic template. Now you need to assign certain roles to your units as you purchase them, so that when you reach the points' limit, you will have everything covered. That said, let's move on to the next section: Troops.

Guardians - cheap, basic unit. Most useful against heavy infantry that is little in numbers. Why? Let's take a look at this:


10 Guardians are shooting at a unit of 30 Orc Boyz (T4, 6+ Save), 10 Fire Warriors (T3, 4+ save), 30 Termagants (T3 6+ Save), 10 Assault Marines (T4, 3+ Save) and 5 Terminators (T4, 2+ Save, 5+ Inv). 20 shots give 13,33 hits...

Orc Boyz: ...resulting in 6,67 wounds and as many casualties.
Fire Warriors: ...resulting in 8,89 wounds and 5,18 casualties. 
Termagants: ...resulting in 8,89 wounds and as many casualties.
Assault Marines: ...resulting in 6,67 wounds (1,11 with AP2) and 2,96 casualties.
Terminators: ...resulting in 6,67 wounds (1,11 with AP2) and 1,67 casualties.

Let's summarize the casualties:

Orc Boyz: 22%
Fire Warriors: 52
Termagants: 30%
Assault Marines: 30 %
Terminators: 34%

It looks like Guardians are most effective against small units of heavy and medium infantry. So it's worth engaging targets like 5 Terminators, Marines, Fire Warriors. Don't waste your shots on hordes, unless you really have to or you have multiple units of guardians.

Storm Guardians - good, but there are better things. They can take melta guns and flamers, but then again: there are things that do this better than they.

There is one thing they are really excellent at: destroying summoned daemons by the Demonology Psychic Powers and any other fragile units that come in small numbers such as the Inquisitorial Henchmen, Jokaero Weaponsmiths and so on. As much as we have Wraithguard with flamers to get rid of it, usualle it's a waste of their potential. They should be hunting Greater Daemons, Dread Knights and other tough things in the opponent's army.

Rangers  - an excellent unit and a must in every Iyanden warhost. They are very cheap, good at hunting down enemy special and heavy weapons, characters and monsters. Can also engage Heavy infantry such as Terminators. But their biggest use here is the ability to infiltrate an objective that has been placed in cover (ruins are the best choice). If you put them there you benefit from a very high cover value (4+, 3+ or even 2+ if you go to ground. If you can - do so!) That's when they become irritating. I use them to sit in a ruin that is close to my deployment zone, put an objective there. With this, my ghost warriors can march on the enemy as the objective is protected. Even if all my Rangers do in battle is sitting on the objective, for a mere 60 points I can really afford it.

Wraithguard - they come in two different weapon load-outs. Wraithcannons are S10 AP2, Distort. D-Scythes are S4 AP2, Distort, Template. Both configs are just murderous. D-Scythes prove to be really devastating to almost everything: infantry, heavy infantry, monsters and tanks. But they come at a high price: point cost and very limited range. If you need points elsewhere, Wraithcannons is what you go for. They also kill everything, but they do not ignore cover and inflict less hits. For me, so far the most effective set seems to be when I have no more than one unit of D-Scythes for every unit of Wraithcannons. You can go without the D-Scythes as well, but they are excellent psychological weapon. They vaporize almost everything they hit, so most of the time your opponent will try to keep away form them. Use it to your advantage.

With the coming of 7th Edition, we have to face a completely different battles. Gargantuan Creatures and Super-Heavy Vehicles now rampage across the battlefield crushing everything beneath them. Wraithguard with Wraithcannons are just ideal for taking them down. Two squads of Wraithguard will easily obliterate Lords of War, leaving the enemy seriously wounded and shocked. The best thing about this is that most of the time - two units of 5 Wraithguard come cheaper than the lords of war. All we have to do is to figure out how to get close enough for a shot.

Wraithblades - they come in two different weapon load-outs as well. Again, the choice depends on the role they have to fulfill on the battlefield. Ghost Swords give them a devastating flurry of blows, while Ghost Axes and Force Shields give them a punch against armor and make them very resilient at the same time.

Part 2: Fast Attack

Helmlock Wraithfighters - the new rules for 7th edition gave them a considerable boost. With the Psychic Phase coming after Movement Phase, Helmlocks are now allowed to manifest Psychic powers on the turn they arrive from Reserves. In addition, as they are considered Psykers for all rules purposes, they gain the Psychic Focus, which means they now know two psychic powers, forming an excellent combo: Terrify reduces target's leadership and the Psychic Shriek lays waste to it. In case it wasn't enough, Helmlock is also capable of firing it's Heavy D-Scythes blasting away even more models (not to mention that he can shoot at a different target to the one chosen as the target for his psychic powers.


  1. Good stuff, looking forward to the next installment.

    1. Thank you very much. Unfortunately, due to some crazy period at the University, I was unable to post. Now it should be all well, so I think I'll have more time to post some new stuff.