James’ Craftworlds - 10CP - 2000 Pts
Battalion - Custom Craftworld - Expert Crafters and Wrath Of The Dead
Farseer - Fortune, Focus Will, Executioner, Singing Spear
Spiritseer - Quicken/Restrain, Smite
Warlock Skyrunner - Ghostwalk, Protect/Jinx, Warlord: Seer of the Shifting Vector
10 Guardian Defenders
10 Guardian Defenders
5 Dire Avengers - Battle Fortune, Two Avenger Shuriken Catapults
Wraithblades - Ghostaxe and Forceshield
Wraithguard - Wraith-Cannons
Wraithlord - Two Aeldari Missile Launchers, Ghostglaive
Wraithlord - Aeldari Missile Launcher, Ghostglaive
Wraithseer - D-Cannon, Witch Strike, Empower/Enervate
Super-Heavy Auxiliary - Custom Craftworld - Expert Crafters and Wrath Of The Dead
Wraithknight - Titanic Ghostglaive and Scattershield, 2 Starcannons.
Joe's Death Guard - 2000 pts
2x3 Deathshroud Terminators
10x Blightlord Terminators
1x Bloat Drone with Plague Mower
2x Myphitic Blight Hauler
2x Plague Burst Crawler
I’ll start with the big reason I’ve brought my Craftworld Iyanden out - I absolutely love Wraiths. They were the first unit I painted back when I got back into 40,000. I adore everything about them, so any excuse to play with them and I'm there. With the slight points decreases on Wraithblades and the change in how Super Heavy Auxiliary Detachments work this is the excuse I need!
With the addition to the Wraithknight it's not my most competitive list. I've brought a style of list I’ve had moderate success with over 9th edition when I have played my Aeldari, it utilises the strong toughness of Wraith models with the (admittedly absurdly strong) powerful Expert Crafters custom trait.
As much as my heart wants to run them as Iyanden, my opinion of Craftworlds is that you really need to take them as a custom Craftworld and one of those traits has to be Expert Crafters to really stand a chance. The second trait I’ve opted for is Wrath Of The Dead. This increases the efficiency of my Wraiths even more, usually meaning when I'm fighting or shooting I’m getting about 70%+ efficiency on those units. This is critical when you often don’t have many shots or attacks.
There is one slight change, I’ve dropped a unit of Wraiths, the Banshees and a character to squeeze in a Wraithknight. Now I know what you're thinking - they're really bad in 9th Edition... I’m not in disagreement… but the big boy deserves his chance on the table at least once every 6 months! I’ve opted for the Titanic Ghostglaive and Scattershield and 2 Starcannons as his loadout - He’s going to have a hard day going into these resilient Death Guard but we’ll see what he can do.
To put it nicely, we all know that Craftworld’s are not exactly in a great spot right now. However, there may be some light on the horizon, especially for those who like Wraiths thanks to the new points changes just recently added. That, combined with Expert Crafters can lead to some powerful combinations and I’m looking forward to seeing how this one goes! James’ Craftworld army is also beautiful, the yellow looks amazing and whilst I have some horrible memories of them during the earlier days of 8th, I haven’t played them in a while and am looking forward to it!
With tournaments coming up again soon, I’ve decided to break out the Death Guard and get them back on the board in all their smelly glory. With Typhus’ rework meaning he no longer prevents Contagions, I decided to include him as well, hoping to see whether he ends up being worth the effort or not!
I decided to go with pretty standard Death Guard secondaries in the form of To The Last (Blightlords and 2x PBC), Despoiled Ground and Raise the Banners. My game plan here was to go aggressive and finish the game out in a healthy position to score Despoiled Ground, with Banners planted infrequently but with a spike at the end of the game.
The Mission and board
Won Deployment Roll-Off - Death Guard
Picked Deployment - Death Guard
First Turn - Craftworlds
I've deployed quite defensively with little other than my Wraithknight and Guardians on the deployment line. I've also thrust my Wraithknight far on one flank hoping Joe will respond to it with his Blightlord Terminators - I plan to use Phantasm to shift this whole flank over to the other side of the board anyway so it's not that important where I’ve actually deployed them.
I put the Wraithblade Wave Serpent behind the cover - this is one where if Joe does go first I can't deal with him popping that early.
I put the dire Avengers into Strategic Reserve and the Wraithgaurd into the Webway. Having the innate re-rolls with Expert Crafters and Wrath of the Dead should let my Wraithguard be able to support themselves and getting them down in a position within Joe’s lines should prove quite effective.
Deployment was a mistake from me, it’s been so long since I played against Aeldari that I completely forgot Phantasm was even a thing, and had stacked myself pretty heavy on the right flank. Unfortunately, with the army relying around buffing up the big Terminator bomb, this was always going to be the case. James was smart and Phantasm’d a lot of his army off of that flank and onto the opposite side of the map. So, with little else in the way of choice, I suppose my game plan was decided for me from the get-go. Focus on objectives to the exclusion of all else, max primary and then grind out secondary points.
Turn one for Aeldari - Immediately before the game begins I use Phantasm to move my entire right flank away from that side of the board. Joe’s Blightlord Terminators terrify me and they’ll make short work of the Wraithknight given the chance. Similarly my Guardians need to be around to score R.O.D and they usually die to a stiff breeze anyway, so keeping them out of reach is pretty important.
I start up by jumping all my Characters out of their respective transports and shoved out my Wave Serpent with the Guardians in and put it so it is wholly in the bottom right corner, sadly he didn't roll high enough on the advance to secure me the 3rd point for Engage On All Fronts. The back Wraithlord sits in the bottom right corner and the rest of my army moves up other than the Wraithseer who holds the objective. This should secure me Engage on All Fronts for 2 points if I can get Quicken off on my other unit of Guardians. I debated for a long time sending my Warlock forward in range of Joe’s Typhus to try for a Mental Interrogation instead of securing 2 points for Engage, with the idea to then attempt to quicken him back and out of danger. But with such a key Psychic power tied to him I decided it wasn't worth the risk and the 1VP this turn.
Straight into the psychic phase and it all goes off swimmingly. Fortune onto the Wraithknight, Quicken and Protection onto the Guardians and an Executioner onto the Poxwalkers that manages to kills 3.
I unload all my shots I can onto one of the units of Poxwalkers to stop Joe from using The Dead Walk Again stratagem and chain them way out of his deployment on his turn 1. With not enough shots on my Wave serpents to finish off a 2nd unit, I instead put their shots into the Myphitic Blight-hauler. I plink off a few wounds but nothing too noticeable. And that ends my turn, no charges, 3 points for Engage On All Fronts.
Instinctively I feel like I messed up here - I should have got the 2nd unit of Guardians out to R.O.D and I didn't - this will probably cost me 4 points here to be honest. If my Wave Serpent survives, or dies but the Gaurdians can hide in the terrain I think I should be fine.
As is always the way with Aeldari, they’re off to a pretty blistering start. Their mobility is one of their biggest strengths, and no amount of somewhat out of date rules is going to stop that! His powers went off without a hitch, although his shooting phase doesn’t go amazingly. I lose a unit of Poxwalkers and some wounds on a hauler, but that’s to be expected. Target priority is to tear down the Wave-Serpent in front of me and start plinking away at the Wraithknight. I was rather surprised James decided to move the Wraithknight down the extreme flank, as it made it easy to move block him with a blight hauler.
Going into shooting, I wanted to pop the Serpent so I could charge the guardians inside, using that extra movement to get onto the middle early. Thanks to the combined anti-tank might of the demon engines and the incidental fire from my Blightlords, I manage to achieve just that and the Guardians fall out into the central ruin. It’s now a long charge for the Death-shroud, but with Nurgle’s blessing, anything is possible. Thankfully, they manage to make the charge along with the drone, either of which should pretty easily pick up the squad. On the left flank, my hauler charges his screening guardians to prevent them from doing R.O.D in James’ turn.
Combat goes as expected and the middle is left held by the Death Guard alone… Time to weather the turn two clap-back.
A very respectful return from Joe, removing my Wave Serpent in the bottom right quarter was expected but losing all my Guardians too stung a little, the charge from the Deathshroud was pretty critical and it really paid off for him. On the other side, my Wraithknight bounced all the melta and mortar shots Joe sent at him and remained on a healthy set of wounds. At the start of my turn I use the Tears of Isha stratagem and heal him up with two more wounds.
Unfortunately, Joe has put the damaged Blight-hauler in the way and I will probably only get 1 turn left with the Wraithknight and this really isn't what I want him doing. It could have been a mistake to send him this far left, perhaps he should have aimed for the other side of this building…
I do move up as far as I can go, my Guardians fall forward and out of combat, my Wraithblades jump out of their Wave Serpent and the Serpent flies forward to tag Joe’s Plagueburst Crawler.
Unfortunately my Wraith-Cannon unit can’t get close enough to do anything this turn so I decided to hold them another turn in the Webway. The Dire Avengers do come down in the top right corner (I actually forget to place them there until Joe reminds me they're sitting in the wrong place and graciously lets me put them in the correct place!)
The Psychic phase comes and I fail Fortune but all my other powers go off, I put Protect onto the Wraithblades to give them a 2+ 4++ for when they charge the Deathshroud. I also get my first Mental Interrogation - The Farseer seemed to be with me when I rolled a 4, I knew I had to re-roll it as Joe would easily beat me with the denial. It worked out as Joe matched my re-roll of a 10.
The shooting phase was abysmal, between my low rolling on damage and Joe's crazy Death Guard resilience, my weapons bounced off everything.
I charged my Wraithknight into the Blight-Hauler after both he and the Wraithlord failed to do a single wound in shooting. My Wave Serpent charges into the Plagueburst Crawler and Joe activates Overwatch. After his rolling I’ve taken a staggering 9 damage… on Overwatch! The Wraithblades, Spiritseer and Warlock all converge onto the Deathshroud in the centre and the Wraithlord goes into support against the Lawn Mower.
Into the Fight phase I open up with the Wraithblades who… do 2 wounds… Joe interrupts and strikes my Wraithlord who takes a horrific 6 wounds. My Spiritseer is attacked by the Deathshroud who miraculously roll’s five out of six 4++ Invulnerable saves and lives with 1 wound remaining - to add insult to injury he manages to down the wounded Deathshroud with his Witchstaff! My Wraithknight attacks the Blight-Hauler, I roll three 2’s and a 1 with his Titanic Ghostglaive… with my Expert Crafters re-roll I do manage to get a wound through and fortunately for me Joe fails it. So far my Wraithknight has killed a single Blight-Hauler, not quite what I wanted his triumphant return to be!
Well, with the amount of resources James threw into the middle, I can’t say I’m surprised to have lost it, and I was actually pleasantly surprised by just how tanky the Deathshroud are, still it stung to lose them to a Witchstaff! Looking at the overall situation though, it’s going well. 15 on primary on turn two is a good start, and if I can keep feeding the Wraithknight road-blocks, I shouldn’t have too much to fear on that side. The Wraithblades in the centre are my biggest concern, as I know they can be surprisingly tanky/killy with the right support powers thrown on them. Fortunately, this sort of situation is exactly where DG excel, picking a point and grinding it out with tough trading units. I begin the general advance towards the middle, Terminator blob pivoting slightly so that it can help gun down the Wave Serpent who has bad touched my PBC. I definitely feel like I made a mistake by not putting this 400 odd point unit in the middle of the board, as I can’t help but feel their impact is going to be negligible this game.
So the big boy is gone, he will be forever remembered in the halls of the Spiritseers. The Farseer got annihilated by Joe’s second unit of Deathshroud deep striking behind him. And I've lost a Wraithlord and the remainder of my Guardians… Not to worry my Dire Avengers are on the long flank game, getting a 6 to advance and speeding up into the mid-board. My Wraithblades fall back and my Wraithseer finally steps away from the objective and comes out to play. The Wraithguard deepstrike into Joe’s deployment zone ready to snipe his out of position sorcerer. Finally my Guardians carry out the R.O.D and this will secure me my first 4 points for this.
Psychic, with only one psyker left, my Wraithseer successfully casts Mental Interrogation on Typhus.
The shooting phase flies by with my Wraithguard doing a bold 2 damage to his Plaguecaster thanks to rolling two 2’s for damage after some not amazing hit rolls! The Dire Avengers fire into the Poxwalkers but only manage to get 2 of them down.
Into the charge phase, my Wraithguard do fortunately make it in on the Plaguecaster, the Wraithseer chargers into the Deathshroud and Joe activates Overwatch… and rolls TRIPLE 6 for his overwatch and suffers 4 damage on the way in. Finally, Joe heroically intervenes with Typhus into my Wraithblades
Well. Typhus died… Spectacularly. With James’ Wraithguard just about managing to fit into my deployment, I was a bit worried about their shooting as I had misplaced by Plaguecaster… Again however, after rolling not amazingly, he was left alive and ready to rock, even after being charged. Even though it’s only turn 3, I am already mostly playing a game of cleanup as the Aeldari units definitely feel like they are just a little too expensive for what they do right now. My Terminator blob is more than capable of cleaning up the pesky deepstrikers, and the units in the centre have mostly run out of steam. My Blight Hauler manages to rip apart the last two remaining Wraithguard in shooting, before lining his sights up on the Wraithseer. This leaves James two choices next turn, either deal with him, or the Deathshroud -- failure to do both, will likely result in the Seer’s doom.
The remaining pesky unit of Guardians on the left flank gets circled by the Poxwalkers who bring them down in short order, replenishing their own ranks and preventing any R.O.D. Unfortunately, I fail to bring down the Dire-Avengers with the Foul Blightspawn at even with a boosted 18’’ thanks to Overwhelming Generosity.
As I had expected Joe is on clean-up time, destroying all but the Wraithseer and my three remaining Dire Avengers (who managed to roll some very good saves from the flamer on the Foul Blightspawn but did lose two of their squad.) I march forward with the Wraithseer, he knows his fate but he’s ready to clear out more of these filthy Death Guard.
He manages another Mental Interrogation to secure me another 3 points and shoots and charges into the Deathshroud unit within the central ruin. He does manage, between his D-Cannon and his Ghostspear to kill both the remaining Deathshroud within that ruin. He then consolidated back to the remaining 2 in my deployment zone.
I’m always surprised by the D-Cannon. I shouldn’t be, it’s an amazing weapon that only seems to get better with each rendition of it. My poor Deathshroud, whilst slain, did their work and left the Wraithseer exposed to a quick couple of finish off shots from the Blight Hauler, and the Poxwalkers on the left flank continue the plan of wrapping and then killing squishy T2 infantry.
From here, we have to plan for Despoiled Ground which in my opinions is certainly in contention for one of the hardest to remember secondaries in the game and remains the one rule where I have to break out the codex every game to check… Fortunately, when there is nothing stopping you from moving around the board, it’s quite easy to max and I spread out to set myself up for the turn 5 spike.
With nothing remaining, I pass the turn over to Joe and the game finishes out on 24-85.
With my units already mostly moved into position, all turn 5 consists of, is some last minute movement to get into the more extreme corners of the map, and the planting of as many plague ridden banners as I can slap down in time to hoover up points.
What a brutal game, Joe really showed the strength of the Death Guard this game. I can confidently say the changes to the Super Heavy Auxiliary Detachment has not helped the Wraithknight nearly enough. Sadly he still feels like just a fancy looking paperweight. However, I always have a lot of fun bringing him out and I doubt it’ll be his last run before Craftworlds get their new update.
I definitely made a couple of errors with placements of models and possibly, had I played it differently I could have made the game a lot tighter. I think Joe definitely went into the game with the upper-hand but Craftworld lists with Expert Crafters are always deadly no matter what army you're playing them against. The consistency of the double reroll on weapons like the Aeldari Missile Launcher is very powerful.
I’m looking forward to bringing the Wraiths out again soon. I think dropping the Wraithknight, adding some more infantry and possibly the Yncarne might be a better way to run this. Either way bringing my 'Iyanden' out is always a great fun and it was a pleasure to bring them to the table again.
I’ve been on something of a Space Marine hype recently after burning myself out on Death Guard playing them for a few months straight after the release of their codex. This game really helped reinvigorate my love for the faction and the way they play. I know that Mono-Craftworlds isn’t exactly the greatest test of their strength, and especially not with a Wraithknight but I’m pleasantly reminded that the faction plays exactly how I want it to. I think going forward, I will probably pick myself up another unit of Deathshroud… They’re just whacky good, and I’ve always loved Terminators.
I think Raise the Banners wasn’t the greatest pick this game. James’ army has too much threat and didn’t give me a chance to get them off much, and had the game not swung heavily in my favour at the end, I doubt I would have scored much at all for this. In the future? I’d probably swap it out for something like Grind Them Down, to really lean into Death Guard's resilience.