If you have ever played against a necron army you've probably had the frustration of playing against necron wraiths. Today I'm going to go over this unit I've used many times and even played against. I'm going to go over what they do (for those who've never played against them), how you should use them, and of course how you can beat them.
What makes these guys so nasty? At the end of the day its really the 3+ invulnerable save combined with 2 wounds that really makes them awesome for what they do. They have no normal save, just that lovely invulnerable save that someone necron players always seem to make. Without that invulnerable save the rest of the abilities, while good, wouldn't be as amazing as they are. On top of that save they're jump infantry that completely ignore all cover due to the wraith flight ability. This means they don't care what you put in front of them they will just move right through it and not get slowed down. So on turn 2 in most games they have made it into hand to hand.
When they get into hand to hand, they get a free strength 6 hammer of wrath hit because they're strength 6. This is of course only if the necron player saved the jump move for the assault phase. Their regular attacks are rending and if they have whip coils (they most likely will), the models in base contact with the wraiths now strike at initiative 1 because of said whip coils. They will each have 4 attacks on the charge, 3 base, so figure 24 strength 6 rending attacks at higher initiative than most of your guys. The whip coils are what allows this unit to actually care about initiative. Without the coils the wraiths are just straight up initiative 2.
They do have 2 guns they can in theory take but you will never actually see them. Wraiths can't have a gun and the whip coils, its an either or thing. They choice is a 12" strength 6 ap 5 gun that gets 1 shot for 5 points, or a transdimensional beamer. The beamer is 15 points has a 12 inch range and is heavy 1 weapon, meaning if you shoot it will be snap shots if you moved. When you hit a model with the beamer that model takes a strength test. If they fail they die no matter how many wounds and no save of any kind allowed. It sounds like an awesome gun, but it costs points to buy, only has a 12 inch range, and will always be snap shots because with that 12 inch range you will have to move to get where you can shoot it. Whip coils cost 10 points and make wraiths better at what their really good at, which is hand to hand.
So how do I use wraiths effectively? First make sure you max out the squad size. For the most part this is true of a lot of units in 40k, but wraiths especially. Having that invulnerable save is awesome, but if you don't have 6 and you fail a couple saves that first turn or two, the effectiveness of you wraiths will quickly diminish. Since you can only take 6 in a squad it is always a good idea to try your best to save that jump move for the assault phase. Having up to 6 free strength 6 hits means you will wound most guys on a 2+. In theory if you charge 10 marines this means you wound on average 5 and he loses approximately 2 (rounding up) before blows are even struck. Your 6 wraiths will tear through 8 marines. You will get 12 hits (you hit marines on a 4 because wraiths are WS4) on average. Of the 12 hits you should cause 10 wounds with 2 being rending. This means that the now 6 marines left have to make 6 normal saves. Worst case scenario they have 4 marines left on average that you should kill in the next assault phase. These numbers are averages and obviously will go up or down. Make sure you take the whip coils to help in this scenario. You want to take as few hits back as possible. As I've already mentioned neither gun is really worth taking unless you hate hand to hand. In which case why are you using wraiths in the first place?
What should I avoid? You should avoid blob squads, monstrous creatures, anything with a power fist, and terminators. Blob squads will really just keep your wraiths tied up. 6 wraiths can't quickly burn through 20 man squads. With 24 attacks on the charge you'd think they could but they won't. Monstrous creatures will use smash attacks against you. That strength 10 will instant kill you if you fail a save. That is also why you should avoid power fists in general, unless the model is base strength 3. Essentially you just need to avoid getting hit by anything that's strength 8 or higher. Terminators will kill you because obviously powerfist, and unless you get lots of rending wounds, they will still be alive to kill you. Things like riptides, wraithknights, etc, don't go after them as priority targets unless you really need to try and locked them up in combat for some reason.
What should I target? Any squads of 10 or less are good targets. Small squads are really great. Think crisis teams or combat squaded marines. Lightly armored vehicles are great. That wave serpent giving you hell? Well wraiths will tear up that rear armor 10. Wraiths are great at just rolling through the things the rest of your army has already hurt. The idea is to get into hand to hand on turn 2 and just keep going from assault to assault. You want to keep these guys in combat to avoid getting shot. The fact that terrain doesn't slow them down means you shouldn't have too much trouble do just that. Go for something like a rhino with troops inside and make sure you wrap around the disembark points so when it dies the squad can't be placed and they die as well.
How to cheese up the cheese? Take a destroyer lord and stick him with these guys. Now they just become broken. You can stick the lord out front so he can make a ton of 2+ armor saves for you until you get where you need to be (this has its risks so be aware he may die). Now your wraiths also get preferred enemy everything. This means you reroll to hit and to wound rolls of 1. Not so great on the to hit, but at strength 6 you will only not be wounding on rolls of 1 most of the time. That pretty much means you will never fail to wound. Also your lord has an ap1 hand to hand weapon which now means you don't really care about terminators so much. Give the lord mind shackle scarabs and look for the other player's hq unit. Go kill it.
If you're still reading and wondering how the heck to beat these guys its not really that hard. If the necron player has multiple squads of them make sure you set up as far back as possible. Your objective is to avoid them getting into hand to hand on turn 2. If you only see 1 squad this may not be such a huge deal but with multiple squads it becomes a pretty big priority. Wraiths are only toughness 4. Strength 8 weapons are great for instant death if they fail that save. Try and focus those weapons on the wraiths. Also small arms fire in concentration is great. Shoot them with 40 bolters and you will quickly thin them out. At lower numbers they just can't do a ton of damage. If you see multiple units of them make sure you focus fire on 1 unit at a time. If one of your units gets locked up in combat feel free to send more guys into the fray. They're nasty but only toughness 4. 20 guys in a combat against them is going to make that necron player make a lot of saves. Basically just stand and shoot is really the key to killing these guys. Alternatively feel free to move back and shoot to avoid that charge range.
I hope you enjoyed reading this and that it helped someone know a bit more about the game.