Index Ynnari – The Goonhammer Review

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Intro

As pretty much anyone who plays 40K competitively will know, the metagame has been hit by two sizeable earthquakes in the last few weeks. You’ve already had our thoughts on the Big FAQ, and today we’re going to look at the second big shockwave – the release of Index Ynnari in May’s White Dwarf, which I’ve now had a chance to obtain a copy of and properly absorb.

The fact that a change to a single faction can have almost as substantial an effect as the sweeping changes in the FAQ says a lot about how powerful Ynnari were, being a near constant presence at the top tables of major events, and probably vied with the Castellan to be the most complained about thing in the game.

The good news for Ynnari haters is that the lists of old are, appropriately, dead, slain by the complete re-write of their core mechanic Strength From Death, removing the “extra actions” it used to generate. My instinct from reading the Index is that at least at some points of the development GW had a go at coming up with versions of the ability that toned this down, but still kept some of it, but what’s finally been released has not an extra action to be seen. In addition, where the vast majority of previous Ynnari tricks worked around powerful shooting units (excepting the Yncarne), their new version puts a heavy emphasis on melee units, pretty much definitively banishing Scatter Bikes and Dark Reapers back to Craftworld detachments.

Sorry friends, no one is going to “press F” for you.

The question those people who like Ynnari, and indeed other elf fans, will be asking themselves is whether anything can rise, in an appropriate phoenix-like fashion, from the (probably quite toxic) bonfire all those army lists and resin Dark Reapers have been thrown on. As a mixed Aeldari player who didn’t use the previous iteration of the Death Elves, I’m hoping I’m pretty well positioned to look past what was and see what could be, and how it might slot into the wider Aeldari ecosystem. With that in mind, let’s look at what I think the strengths and weaknesses of the army are, then move on to cover the new rules in detail.

Thanks to Goonhammer community members Flavivirus (cool harlequins) and Corrode (Yvraine and the Visarch) for helping with pictures for this article.

The Army

Summary

StrengthsWeaknesses
Good tools for HerohammerBadly held back by no-longer-needed army building constraints
Gives some compelling new options for some unitsLacklustre stratagems make giving up normal ones difficult to justify
Potentially quite potent for melee HarlequinsProbably just weaker as an army core than most regular options

Sadly, the very short version of my thoughts on the Index is that it just doesn’t get there.

I mentioned above my belief that, at some point during the development, a version of Strength From Death much closer to the original still existed in some form, and that’s because of the absurd level of caution and conservatism shown across the Index. Two elements led to broken Ynnari interactions prior to this Index – Strength From Death and effectively cost-free access to mix and match relics, powers and stratagems within detachments. With both of these completely removed, the former via the re-write of the core rule and the latter by an Ynnari specific set of rules and an explicit exclusion from using the ones from their original codices, GW could have afforded to be pretty bold with both the power level of the new stratagems themselves, and the army construction rules.

Instead, Ynnari have an relatively weak pool of stratagems that reads, at points, like GW balanced them while worrying about how they could potentially combine with tricks from the main Codexes or a less toned-down Strength From Death. The cruellest blow of all in this regard is the fact that, inexplicably, Fire and Fade costs the Ynnari 2CP rather than the 1CP it costs everyone else (charitably, maybe at some point in Spring FAQ playtesting the cost for the rest was going up, and got reverted after this went to press and we’ll see a quick FAQ back to 1). There are a few very neat things in here which we’ll discuss later, but for every good one there’s at least one that’s nearly totally irrelevant.

Perhaps even more of a blow than the stratagems being sub-par is a relative absence of loosening up of the army construction rules. One of the things that excited me when this was previewed on Warhammer Community was the revelation of a full set of Warlord Traits, suggesting that a non-named character can be your warlord. That’s true, but in proper monkey’s paw fashion, the requirement to include one of the three named characters in each detachment remains. This means that in order to build a fully thematic Ynnari army (behind which, natch, one of the theoretically best Stratagems is gated), you’re obliged to spend nearly 600pts on named characters, two of which got substantially worse in the update. This feels unnecessary, and if they felt they had to keep this restriction I think there’s a good argument, now that there would no longer be a risk of cross-breeding powers creating broken interactions, that they could have looked at allowing mixing of Aeldari flavours within detachments.

I just want to summon Captain Aeldari, is that so much to ask?

This is the frustrating thing about this Index – I’ve said I don’t feel like it quite gets there, and been pretty negative so far, but I don’t think it’s that far from being something quite interesting. If either the named character restriction was absent, or you could mix and match Aeldari types to make the best use of the units that get a boost from what the Ynnari rules bring to the table, I’d be substantially more excited and optimistic but not, crucially, worried about what had been unleashed.

Some of the things that do excite me here are that a small number of the stratagems available are very good, the fleshing out of the Revenant discipline gives a few interesting options, and there’s some highly potent relics and warlord traits for people who want to play Herohammer (which I think is by far the most likely way this Index sees competitive play). We’ll aim to focus in on some of these things when we go through specific powers and units, and see what gems still shine out from these rules, but first we’ll quickly go over the core rules, just so people who don’t actually know what I’m complaining about yet are on the same page!

Core Rules

Army Construction – How is Ynnari Formed?

In order to make use of most of the rules in this Index, you need an Ynnari detachment. To make an Ynnari detachment, you build a Craftworlds, Drukari or Harlequin Detachment, leave out certain forbidden ingredients (non-Ynnari named characters, Haemoculus stuff, Avatars and Solitaires), make sure to leave a convenient HQ shaped hole in it, then add one of the three Ynnari named characters (NCs) and bake for five minutes on high.

When you do this, you can choose for the detachment to become an Ynnari detachment. If you do this, you lose access to detachment benefits from the previous faction, such as Craftworld traits, and your units can no longer benefit from any stratagems, warlord traits, psychic powers or relics from their original book, but in exchange you gain access to the equivalents from this Index, and all of your units (outside a few Drukari exceptions) get the Ynnari keyword and gain the Strength from Death (SfD) ability (which we’ll cover in a moment). Any <subfaction> keywords also get replaced by “REBORN <$elftype>”, so you can’t sneak round the no-crossover restrictions by cunning use of keywords. Losing detachment benefits also means no Specialist Detachments, so hopefully Ynnari will be picking up some of these for their own use in the near future.

While still having to use a NC is annoying, there’s actually a big buff here for most things compared to the previous Ynnari rules – as well as detachment traits, you used to lose the army-wide unit level abilities Battle Focus, Power from Pain and Rising Crescendo in exchange for SfD. Battle Focus is a bit of a “nice to have” here because of what the army is aiming to do, but keeping the other two is an extremely relevant buff to Drukari and Harlequin units when they don Ynnari colours, with the effect on the latter in particular being a major contributor to the clowns probably having the most compelling case to run as Ynnari in non-gimmick builds.

Stupid clowns, we don’t even have souls!

It should be flagged that some of the restrictions are new, and are thus technically a mild price – the inability to bring non-Ynnari named characters (Eldrad used to be popular), and the lack of Solitaires. If you think solely in terms of old-style Ynnari builds this is a big hit, but I actually think there’s substantially less reason why you’d want to bring either of those into an Ynnari detachment under the new rules, as they heavily depend on rules from their own codexes to hit full potential. I’m a bit sad that you can’t bring the Phoenix Lords in, but it’s not the end of the world.

Finally, you do also have the option of adding one of the NCs to a detachment without it becoming Ynnari, with them also not interfering with the gaining of detachment abilities. This is unlikely to come up that often for the Yncarne or the Visarch, but I think could plausibly see use with Yvraine for reasons we’ll cover in her entry.

So far so good, but what is this “Strength from Death” we keep talking about?

Strength from Death

Ignore all those warnings that wise, grey bearded old tournament player passed on to you before dying tragically (and messily) in a Laser Lance duel, old Strength from Death (which gave extra actions to your units when nearby things died) is gone.

In its place, as long as at least one unit has been destroyed this turn, units with Strength from Death benefit from “Soulburst Actions”, meaning they always fight first in the Fight Phase. If they already had the ability to do this or (more likely) charged, they instead get +1 to hit.

Where old SfD was most heavily abused to turbo charge powerful shooting units, the new version wants you up close and personal. Assuming you can trigger it, it’s definitely a potent buff when you’re on the offensive – most Aeldari units hit on 3s naturally, and there are plenty of ways to get a re-roll 1s bubble. Adding +1 to hit with this means you’re hitting with very nearly all of your attacks, roughly adding a hefty 25% boost to damage output both with and without a re-roll bubble involved.

That’s pretty neat, and it’s also universal – old Strength from Death only affected Infantry and Bikers, whereas the new one applies to (pretty much) everything, which is most relevant for larger craftworld Wraith Constructs, but is also somewhat relevant for things like Raiders, and makes Wave Serpent pilots ever so slightly more capable of satisfying their ceaseless lust for blood.

“Right on the f**king prongs!”

Given that this is, effectively, in exchange for a subfaction trait, while it’s nothing like as powerful as the old version it’s still pretty compelling in the abstract. Looking at Harlequin Players (some of the best users of this), the bonus to damage output when charging is pretty much directly comparable to that from the Frozen Stars trait, their best melee focused trait.

The big concern with it is that it isn’t always going to be active – the elephant in the room is that if you tune your whole army heavily to melee, you might not get to use this on the first few that hit combat, which is disastrous if they’re your best things and you rely on this to tune their output. In some ways, this probably works better for smaller, more targeted Ynnari contingents alongside larger Craftworld or Drukhari forces, who can reliably pop units at range. Unfortunately, the tension with this is that some of the things that use this best are split across all three factions, and the requirement to have a named character with each makes dipping lightly hard to do (hence my earlier complaining).

Helping to work around this, one of the Stratagems in the Index, Souls of the Strongest, lets you permanently turn this on for 1CP if you slay the enemy warlord. Conventional Aeldari armies aren’t going to struggle to pick off a chaff unit each turn, but this can be very useful if you’re heavily focused on melee yourself, or against armies that either proactively want to fight you in melee (and so having your units alternating with their chargers is a problem for them) and against low model count armies like Knights where there’s no chaff to pick off (probably why this stratagem is here, which definitely stands out as a piece of good and clever rules writing in the Index). Also, 1CP is such a low price that you should basically always just slam this when you can if any of your relevant units are still kicking about.

Overall, this isn’t a bad start to things and importantly it is a solid potential foundation for an army – my current hope is that future FAQs make some improvements to the Ynnari Stratagems and/or loosen up the army construction rules, and this is a perfectly serviceable rule that would only be enhanced by that happening.

Psychic Powers

Two of the three actual Ynnari “units” are psykers, so while we can leave Stratagems and Warlord Traits to the end, we need to cover these now for context. It will also help us consider which Psykers it might be worth bringing in from other army lists.

The Revenant Discipline is pretty cool, on the whole, with the effectively four new powers added in this release (as old Word of the Phoenix has been cancelled) being at least interesting and having plausible uses. The powers are:

  • Gaze of Ynnead (WC6): Returning from the original Index. One extra warp charge for a slightly better (on average) Smite that can character snipe. Nice to have, and much more likely to see use now abusing Ancestor’s Grace and Word of the Phoenix isn’t the Ynnari’s only trick. Also has the standard “Smite equivalent” benefit of letting a 2-cast psyker double dip on mortals when they really need it.
  • Storm of Whispers (WC6): Roll 3D6 for each enemy unit within 6″ and do a mortal for each 6. You need to be hitting 4 units to get the average up as high as Smite, and obviously the damage will be much more spread out. Potentially funny launched from a Hemlock, but 6″ is quite small (the Necron equivalent is 9″), and in general you want to be stacking multiple effects like this before they’re good.
  • Word of the Phoenix (WC5): Completely replacing the old version, this now restores D3 wounds to an Ynnari infantry or biker model, or replaces a model on a single wound if there are no wounded models. Obviously nothing like what it used to be, but fundamentally nice to have – the Thousand Sons equivalent gets well exercised healing characters, and the additinonal option to put a model back in can be really good with things like Skyweavers or Wraithblades.
  • Unbind Souls (WC6): Ynnari Doom (re-roll wounds against a unit) but only in melee. Looked terrible for the five seconds it took smarter mixed Aeldari players to go “uh-oh” when this leaked ahead of the FAQ, but with Doom now sandboxed within Craftworlds, this is obviously much more interesting. What actually still holds it back is that there’s a 2CP stratagem that does a similar thing for a phase (which obviously carries a lower risk) and that some of the better melee units have other ways to get this effect (Yncarne has it built in, Harlequins via a Troupe Master). Still likely to see use, as 2CP isn’t cheap.
  • Shield of Ynnead (WC7): All Ynnari units within 6″ have a 5++ until your next Psychic phase. This is completely new and potentially extremely powerful (given it applies to Craftworld vehicles). Launching it from a Hemlock also gives you a way to shield up forward elements of your army that lack a native invuln such as Reaver Jetbikes. A hugely interesting addition that will feature in some of the army lists we try out later on.
  • Ancestor’s Grace (WC5): Returning from the original Index. Give a unit re-roll 1s to hit till their next turn. Great on anything that has both shooting and melee prowess like Skyweaver Jetbikes, or fusion-pistol armed troupers.

I really like this set of powers – Storm of Whispers could have borne to be a bit more “pushed”, but the rest all seem pretty cool on rate, and Shield of Ynnead definitely gets the creative juices flowing. My big complaint is an aggregate one between this and Stratagems – the thing Ynnari (a melee focused faction) are missing more than anything else is a charge enabler for non-biker units/anything coming out of Deep Strike. While I don’t hate new “Word of the Phoenix”, were I writing this Index I probably would have made it (or replaced Unbind Souls with) something like:

Word of the Phoenix (WC7): When this power is manifested, choose a friendly Ynnari unit within 12″. Until your next Psychic Phase, that unit benefits from Soulburst actions even if no units have been destroyed, and you can add 2″ to the distance it charges.

The Units

Normally here we tour through the various battlefield roles in the codex, giving a bullet point summary of each unit and then digging deeper into the interesting ones. Ynnari only have three units of their “own”, and each is a relatively potent named character. Because of this, we’ll instead cover each of these first, before going through the battlefield roles and picking out other units from the existing books that are potentially interesting when combined with the Ynnari rules.

Yvraine

Cats are psychic dynamos, everyone knows this.

The Emissary of Ynnead’s datasheet has technically changed very little from its original form (possibly not even at all?), but in actual fact has a massive void where “give a friendly unit a free round of shooting each psychic phase” used to be. Without it, Yvraine isn’t exactly bad, but is a lot less of a compelling proposition than she used to be.

Yvraine has (appropriately for the fluff) a statline somewhere between a Farseer and an Archon. She’s slightly less good in a fight than the latter, and a bit less awesome than the former in the Psychic phase, but is pretty nifty at casting (especially as her kitty cat gives her +1 to cast and her single deny) and killing. She has a 4++ (in line with a Farseer) and can also regain wounds when Aeldari models die near by. She knows two Revenant Discipline powers, and learns a new one if an Aeldari Psyker dies nearby. She’s also one of the better users of a very strange Ynnari stratagem Acolyte of Ynnead, which adds +3 to your next cast if a unit has been destroyed this phase. If you happen to finish off a minor unit before using up Yvraine’s casts, then adding this to her normal bonus for a +4 on a Smite cast is at least amusing. Finally, she can ride in any Aeldari transport even if it hasn’t been Ynnari-ised, useful in mixed lists.

Yvraine used to be in the vast, vast majority of Ynnari lists, but I’m not sure that will be as true going forward. The Revenant Discipline is certainly nice, but she’s no longer the only way to get access to it, and several of the powers in it are “build arounds” that you really want to go off when you’re casting them. While her +1 is obviously helpful for this, a “Runes of the Farseer” re-roll is a more reliable way to ensure a single key power goes off. With that in mind, you may find that if you’re building a Craftworld detachment are are happy to pay your “Ynnari Tax” with one of the other characters, you might get better use out of a Bike Farseer at the same price point thanks to the increased mobility and durability.

That won’t always be the case, obviously, and if you want access to the Psychic tricks and are using Harlequins and Drukari as your core, she’s more likely to be your best bet (though any detachment with lots of Troupers might well want a Shadowseer, so bear that in mind). She’ll probably be in lots of Ynnari armies, and has to be in one that wants to go full fluff and use all three Aeldari types, but she’s just not as exciting for this as she used to be.

Where I think she will potentially shine is as a much smaller Ynnari contingent enabling the Aeldari to play psychic herohammer. With the addition of the Revenant discipline, the Aeldari can now access three different disciplines in total, all of which have multiple non-smite powers that throw out Mortal Wounds. Building an army around this, similar to what Thousand Sons can do, can enable an army that pushes out a frightening number of MWs, especially as several of the tricks involved also mess around with leadership, enabling tools that do further MWs in the shooting phase and set up gigantic Mind War casts.

I think this is the most likely competitive use of Yvraine, either coming along as a Ynnari Supreme Command with some Wraithseer buddies (we’ll get to them), or even just using her ability to slot into a detachment without altering it’s core nature to slip into an HQ tax slot elsewhere. If, like me, you want a lightweight Black Heart Battalion (which you’re going to need to access Vect going forward), slotting her into one of the HQ slots instead of a faintly awkward second Archon isn’t cheap, but can potentially contribute a lot more to your army by enabling a proper barrage of psychic nastiness. I’ve included a sample list for this later on.

If Yvraine is your warlord she has to take the Favoured of Ynnead warlord trait, which gives her a 6″ pile-in and consolidate. This isn’t bad, and she’s on a huge and oddly shaped base thanks to her strong dress and cat game so you can potentially pull some tricks, but in general is not what I’d really want for her, and I think you can do better.

The Visarch

“I actually meaningfully exist now!”

The Visarch got a substantial buff in this release (which is a relief because he was worthless beforehand). He’s cheaper than he was, making him the least expensive way to tap into Ynnari, and gained a re-roll 1s bubble in the fight phase that affects all Ynnari units. This latter change means he now actually has a reason to exist, especially if you’re interested in running Harlequins, who have to pay CP to access a re-roll bubble normally, and can’t get one if they’ve become Ynnari.

He’s also pretty hard in the fight phase, crossing the threshold from “OK” to “actually pretty dangerous” thanks to being S5 and -3AP. Like Yvraine he re-gains wounds when nearby AELDARI die, and can also gain additional attacks if AELDARI CHARACTERS die. I’m normally not super hot on abilities that give bonus attacks over time, but you’re normally “paying” more for them with a relic or trait, and this is a bit easier to set up, so it’s a slightly more relevant bonus. He can bodyguard for Yvraine, but since keeping her alive isn’t as important as it used to be this isn’t super relevant. Finally, he shares her ability to ride on all the different Aeldari busses, which continues to be a nice bonus.

The Visarch, all things told, is pretty cool. They could probably have made him even cheaper, but he’s, like fine and pretty tasty either accompanying a bunch of Ynnari Harlequins or leaping out of an allied transport to buff up some more specialised units. It’s also not irrelevant that he gives the Yncarne a re-roll 1s aura – rolling a clutch of 1s to hit was a great way for him to whiff, and the Visarch can now show that glowing purple newbie the ropes to avoid this.

If the Visarch is your warlord he has to take the Master of Death trait, which means each unmodified 6 he rolls to hit is 2 hits. That’s OK but my god GW, if there was one place not to include the “unmodified” rider this would have been it.

Speaking of glowing purple newbies…

The Yncarne

The Yncarne here pictured in the wild in its natural habitat – surrounded by bodies.

Much like for Yvraine not much has actually changed in the words that are written on the Yncarne’s unit entry, but there’s a gigantic, gaping void none the less.

The Yncarne requires a bit of explaining for people who aren’t used to it, because it is a hella complicated unit, roughly operating like an Avatar of Khaine and a Daemon Prince had an accident with a teleporter and now they can’t make it stop and oh god. It has a hideous monster statline, being huge and tough with six hard-hitting attacks that re-roll wounds, and sliding just under the threshold where it would become shootable at 9W. It also, as earlier flagged, teleports. Whenever a unit (friend or foe) is destroyed, you can redeploy the Yncarne as close to where it was as possible (while not being within 1″ of an enemy unit). You can also set it up in reserve and do this from there, but no one bothers with that now you can’t do it turn 1, especially as it still has to wait till a unit dies. In a turn where it re-deploys it can’t charge, but it importantly can heroically intervene (or charge in your next turn if something dies during your opponent’s). Given how large its base is, you’ve potentially got quite a bit of leeway to position it while meeting the criteria of being as close (i.e. touching) the position of what died, so your opponent has to be extremely wary of how they position before killing their units unless they want one of their units to get heroiced into and trashed (which is largely what happens to stuff smaller than a Knight this touches).

Note – Daniil on Facebook has made the excellent point that per the wording on redeploys in Big FAQ 3 the “teleport then heroic” trick no longer works. This could well be an oversight – the Yncarne is probably the only unit this really affects, but until/unless they correct this disregard the previous paragraph – it no longer works RAW.

As well as all of this, it both has powerful buff aura, giving all nearby Ynnari a 6+++ and morale immunity, and is a 2C/1D psyker. Finally, like the other characters, it can also regenerate wounds when AELDARI models die, which is especially relevant here given how tough it is.

The Yncarne brings a lot to the table, but obviously it comes with a fairly hefty price tag (337 points), which begs the question of whether its worth it. Prior to these changes, the answer was definitely a resounding yes, but unfortunately old-style Strength from Death was a big part of it. The Yncarne is tough, but will still go down fast if it gets exposed to serious firepower. A very common move with the old rules was to charge it in, butcher something, then use a Soulburst move to get it back to safety. Without that, you have to be a lot more careful about when you commit it to combat. It’s not necessarily an insurmountable problem – my first round opponent at St. George’s champion made good use of timing when he picked off some of my flanking objective grabbing units to effectively jump the Yncarne in and out of danger via the teleport, and you can still do that, but it’s a lot harder work than it was, and isn’t always going to be doable.

I think it would have been really nice if GW had considered whether “classic” Strength from Death could have been a specific once-per turn (or heck, even once per game) ability on the Yncarne itself. A lot of people were wondering if they would sneak in some sort of homage to the old ability in the Index, maybe as a Stratagem, and I think this would have been a nice way to do it without the inherent risk of broken interactions with future new Aeldari units that opening it up more widely could have caused. Even just being able to do it once a game would restore a huge amount of the Yncarne’s old flexibility, and helped soften the blow to Ynnari players.

The one silver lining for the Yncarne is that I think the presence of the new “Shield of Ynnead” power potentially opens up new possible styles of army build where the Yncarne could be a key part. Just hordes of fearless Kabalites/Storm Guardians with a 5++ and a 6+++ does a reasonable impression of some of the tricks that Chaos can pull off while also providing a tonne of bodies for the Yncarne to hide behind until it’s time to strike. If (like me), you find the idea of playing that kind of army totally horrifying, you can also do it with a happy bubble of even-more-of-a-bastard-to-shift-than-normal Wave Serpents. Of these, I think the former has an better chance of being competitive, but since I would actually very faintly consider playing the latter I’ve listed a starter version of it up later on.

If the Yncarne is your warlord it has to take the Warden of Souls trait, giving it +1S and +1A while soulbursting. On paper this sounds like a straight upgrade to its old stalwart of “legendary fighter” (rulebook, +1A on the charge), which it mostly is, but you do have to be a little careful. The jump from S6 to S7 doesn’t make a colossal difference to output against any relevant target when re-rolling wounds, and the risk of not having access to the +1A when charging against some armies when charging is real. However, the upside is that if you’re sneaking into combat on your opponent’s turn via a heroic out of a teleport you’ll implicitly have this on, making the Yncarne doing that an even scarier prospect. This does pretty much just help the Yncarne do what it wants to do, I just wish it could get to S8.

Other Units

Plenty of stuff from all of the Aeldari books is potentially useful in Ynnari detachments, and if you do go all-in on them you’ll probably need to glue your detachments together with things that aren’t specifically super great in an Ynnari list (don’t bring Fire Prisms though, apparently becoming Ynnari makes you forget how your gun works). However, some stuff looks especially interesting with some of the Ynnari rules applied, and this is what we’ll focus on while touring through other possible units to include in your army lists.

HQ

  • Autarchs: Every flavour of Autarch has something to like here, even wing Autarchs (which I thought were a myth).
  • Troupe Masters: If you bring Harlequins you want one, and a great user of the relic power sword.
  • Warlocks/Spiritseers: Not being restricted to solely buff/debuff powers gives these the option to play a different role in Ynnari lists.
  • Wraithseers: Probably unintended interactions with relics and traits lets you build nightmare hell monsters.

Ynnari love characters, and that’s because they have some great ways of buffing them. Like many recent codexes, they have access to a stratagem, Exalted of Ynnead which hands out an extra Warlord trait for 1CP. You can only do this once, but I expect most Ynnari lists to do so, as two of the warlord traits we haven’t already covered are very potent. There are also two very powerful relics and a few OK ones. These things all come together to make some character choices in the other Aeldari books look super attractive. All INFANTRY or BIKER characters also benefit from the Back from the Brink stratagem, which lets them come back to life with D3 wounds on a 4+ the first time they’re destroyed for 2CP.

The first cool toy is the Hungering Blade, a relic power sword that makes the three different (all terrible, that’s why you’ve never heard of them) ones available in the Craftworlds book look like toys. It adds a massive +3S, has flat damage 2 (which i find vastly preferable to D3) and throws out mortals on 6s to wound. It’s great on any of a Troupe Master, Bike Autarch or Wing Autarch, letting all of them throw down with the best. You still probably shouldn’t ever take a Wing Autarch over a Bike one, but this is finally a way to do that without being out and out laughed out of the room. The Troupe Master probably wants it most (and his built in wound re-rolls are good with it), so default to handing it to him, especially as a Bike Autarch can natively get similar levels of killiness on the charge by paying a bit more for a lance.

So confused by this no longer being the objectively correct loadout in all cases.

Foot Autarchs don’t want to use the sword, but one with a Reaper Launcher (Index option) is a great place to add the Walker of Many Paths trait, which gives you regen for your CP on a 5+, and a re-roll to hit or wound per turn. As backline CP regen characters go, one that can throw out a missile shot that can usually reroll its hit and wound isn’t horrible. An Archon with a Blaster is also a totally fine place to sling this, but Archons with Blasters are already good, so it feels like less of a specific Ynnari thing, plus you have to put the character more in harm’s way.

Warlorcks and (especially) Spiritseers are usually very dependent on other units to make their powers worthwhile, so having access to the slightly more independent powers of the Ynnari is at least interesting. I don’t ultimately think it’ll be super relevant, but you at least need to consider it when building lists

And then, last but definitely not least we get to Wraithseers. Would it shock you to learn that in TYOOL 2019 a Forge World unit causes unexpected and potentially rather broken interactions with some new rules? Why I’ve never heard of such a thing!

Expect to see plenty of Wraithlords mysteriously growing a spear shaft on their ghostglaive like this fine example.

Wraithseers already quietly got a lot better in the Big FAQ with a boost of their toughness to 8. I tried playing around with Wraithlords a bit post CA, but even at 95 points while running around as minimally specced wrecking balls they were just a little bit too fragile for the cost. For only 5 points more than that (admittedly losing the shuriken catapults) you now get 2 extra wounds, a 5++,  built in wound re-rolls of 1 against vehicles, a deny and very occasionally a fringe relevant cast. You can also strap on a D-cannon for comedy value (which probably isn’t worth it as it costs a huge chunk) or more realistically a wraithcannon for a mere 15pts.

Just on the base rate, Wraithseers are interested in what Ynnari bring to the table, as despite being “character” Wraithlords, they still only hit on 3s base. Pushing that up to 2s via SfD and adding lots of ways to get melee re-rolls on hit and wound ups their output by a tonne, making them just better at their job (running around smashing things) here than they normally are. Their already bizarre method of casting powers gets even more mysterious and non-workable in Ynnari (are their powers “Asuryani” psychic powers? Does that mean a Ynnari Wraithknight can buff Asuryani Wraithblades but not Ynnari Wraithblades? Who knows!) but you don’t need to care about that here (or indeed, in general).

It’s when you add traits and relics that they get ridiculous though. The Lord of Rebirth trait hands them a 5+++ and regen of one wound per turn, boosting their already considerable survivability. It’s the Lost Shroud though, which halves all incoming damage and gives a 5+++ that’s truly ridiculous. Sticking this on a Wraithseer creates one of the toughest things in the whole game, able to absorb the kind of punishment you usually see killing entire Knights and walk it off. Being attacked by a Knight Gallant with the Paragon Gauntlet will, on mean dice rolls, knock off about half this thing’s health. By my maths, a Knight Castellan popping Order of Companions and blazing with all of its long-range guns (including a missile) gets close to putting it down but still doesn’t quite manage it.

That’s a hell of a thing for 100pts and a CP, and if these interactions don’t get nerfed, I expect supreme commands with two Wraithseers (one with each of the above) and either Yvraine or the Visarch to pop up in serious lists. Being that tough (plus probably adding in the single random wraithcannon shots for 15pts a pop) lets the two of these do what Wraithlords have actually been supposed to do in the lists that I’ve tried them in, which is put the enemy on a clock by lumbering towards them and threatening to murder them in melee if a disproportionate amount of energy isn’t invested in killing them. They’re also much better at charging a Knight – I’ve successfully set up multiple Wraithlords charging a Knight at once in some of my games, which should be a great position, but the sad reality is that the knight just interrupts after the first attacks and profiles or worse the second one. As long as you fight with the Wraithseer without the Lost Shroud first, interrupting suddenly ain’t going to do much – unless you’re literally the aforementioned Gallant with the Gauntlet, you aren’t even going to drop the seer down a profile.

Troops

  • Wyches: A squad of these coming out of deep strike can be pretty good, and having the Yncarne around means losing Cursed Blade hurts a bit less.
  • Troupers: Definitely benefit from Ynnari bonuses (and like having the Visarch around), but suffer a bit from losing their mobility psychic power.
  • Storm Guardians: Still a bit pants but maybe enough of them flooding the board around the Yncarne is good

Completely unsurprisingly, the melee focused troop choices across the Aeldari range gain the most from joining the melee focused Ynnari. Funny that.

The most interesting choice is probably Harlequins. People don’t make that much use of melee troupers currently, preferring to go all-in on Skyweavers or Fusion Pistol drivebys with Soaring Spite. If we’re brutally honest, Soaring Spite is probably still the best thing to do with them, but if you do want to melee spec them, Ynnari is a neat way to do it. While a Troupe Master does provide built in ways to re-roll to wound, having the option of blowing the 2CP stratagem if a squad gets into melee out of the bubble is helpful, especially when using the S5 Harlequin’s Caress, combining with the +1 to hit to allow them to severely put the hurt on something. They are, sadly, still expensive and still kind of need some sort of delivery mechanism on every squad, and Starweavers are probably a bit overcosted as stands, though I guess setting them up next to the Yncarne makes them slightly tougher. I’d probably fill out a Battalion here with two squads in Starweavers and one larger squad deep striking.

Another great choice to deep strike is a full squad of Wyches. These have the attraction that by the time they’re coming in they’ll have access to a “full” re-roll on the charge roll, as well as a big old bundle of attacks. The only real thing holding them back is that you probably only want one squad – you definitely want to be using the +1S combat drug most of the time (particularly with easy re-roll wound access), so additional squads start to diminish in utility (and Drukari transports are just way better for Kabalites than Wyches). Make sure to bring some Shardnets/Impalers so that if you do get into combat with infantry it’s harder for your opponent to bug out, and after that load up on Razorflails to maximise your attacks. A power sword on the squad leader may not be a bad buy either.

Finally, we get Storm Guardians. They still kind of suck at doing anything, but they’re really cheap now and I guess enough of them hitting on 2s with 2 attacks each and Wound rerolls will theoretically put something down – it works for Chaos Cultists. Either these show up as a very cheap way to make up the numbers in a Battalion for someone trying to make a list with all three NCs, or it’s completely the opposite and flooding the board and shielding them up actually works. Painting guardians is like a living hell to me, so I certainly won’t be the one to find out.

Elites

  • Striking Scorpions: Priced to move these days, don’t get that much from being vanilla Craftworlds, the Exarch likes +1 to hit, so sure why not.
  • Howling Banshees: Really need wound re-rolls to have any chance of killing anything ever, and Ynnari give them multiple ways to access them.
  • Wraithblades: Honestly here to tell you not to do this – it sounds cool, but they are desperately reliant on Craftworld defensive tools.
  • Ur-Ghuls: Having access to a model you can contrive to get killed quite easily has tactical uses, and they actually shred infantry pretty effectively their cost once you factor in Ynnari buffs.

What we sadly start to see here is that while the Ynnari rules are cool in the abstract, there really just isn’t that much that actually wants to use them.

You weren’t using us anyway, let us have this.

Ynnari Striking Scorpions are neat. The Scorpion Exarch is already low key a hideous monster, sporting three power fist attacks which don’t take penalties to hit and generating more attacks on 6+ to hit. Last time I took one out against an unsuspecting opponent it went through a Primaris Lieutenant and an entire Vendread before it was finally stopped. Extra bonuses to hit from Strength from Death make him even better, as does the ability to throw Wound re-rolls on a target. The rest of the squad are pretty lacklustre, but these are priced to move post-CA and have a built in delivery mechanism. If for some reason you really, really want a light dip into Ynnari, three squads of these and the Visarch deep striking via their version of Webway Strike is cute, if not likely to light up the competitive scene. Much more prosaically, a couple squads coming out of a Wave Serpent (because to be abundantly clear, the Exarch is what you’re paying for here so you want two small squads rather than a big one) can put a decent amount of hurt on mid-quality stuff where the Claw really matters, but the fact that Harlequins or Wyches can probably go through the same targets via weight of dice, and do much better against hordes, probably keeps these on the bench. Bringing in three squads as above is probably extremely funny in Cities of Death for any fans of that out there. If you want to go full galaxy brain on this, as far as I can tell Karandras’s aura will still work on Ynnari Scorpions if you bring him along in a conventional Craftworld detachment alongside them, at which point the Exarchs can pull some very, very silly stuff with double-exploding 5s and 6s.

Howling Banshees are helped by what Ynnari bring, but also just help Ynnari. If you’re running a melee focused army in the current metagame you really want to get in some overwatch suppresion if you possibly can, and these do a very good job of it (your other good options being a Bike Autarch or various allied Harlequin tricks). Don’t forget their -1 to hit in combat from the Exarch – one neat trick against Tau is that five of these probably have enough ground coverage to trap a Broadside Battlesuit, and if you combine their inbuilt -1 with Lightning Fast (which everyone always forgets you can do in the fight phase too) the Broadsides don’t even have the outside chance of punching one out.

Ynnari Wraithblades are, sadly, a trap. +1 to hit sounds nice and all, but these guys are slow and, while tough, aren’t tough enough without Craftworld defensive tricks stacked on them.

Sorry slicey bois. Maybe next rules update.

Ur-Ghuls are probably the most out-there thing on the list, but are actually kind of interesting here. Having 6 S4 attacks that hit on 2s on the charge is already kind of great for a 15 point model (if I could put a squad of these in Ynnari I would in a heartbeat), but their normal drawback of being an absurdly fragile can suddenly become a strength here if you really want to get something killed on overwatch to turn on SfD, or if you want to put one in a place you want the Yncarne to appear and then dare your opponent to kill it on their turn. They’re probably still not incredible (and you do still have to bring an Archon to get them), but it’s at least fringe interesting. Look I’m grasping at straws here.

You’ll notice I haven’t mentioned Incubi. I’m not sure I’d be interested in Ynnari Incubi if I didn’t have to spend 2 whole CP on giving them access to Strength from Death, so you can imagine my opinion of them as they currently are. I honestly have no clue what the thinking was behind them not getting it natively – the way the rule is worded makes it look like GW think it’s “obvious” that the Drukari mercenaries wouldn’t get SfD, but nothing else in the rules makes that necessarily true, so I’m genuinely stumped. The closest I can think is that some point in development having the REBORN <$elftype> keyword is what caused you to get SfD, so units that didn’t start with a <kabal> or <cult> tag wouldn’t get it, but the final version doesn’t work like this and thus looks incredibly weird, and makes an already worthless unit even more of a hard no. Do not take these.

Fast Attack

  • Reaver Jetbikes: OK the one thing I’m genuinely excited about – these actually seem like they could be great here.
  • Shining Spears: Ehhhhhh I mean yes they’re still OK but no longer much to write home about.
  • Skyweavers: Another pretty big downgrade. Not looking good.

Reaver Jetbikes actually seem really, really good in Ynnari. Because their weapons are “fixed” S4 (and with a helpful -1AP) they can comfortably choose to chug either the +A drug (first choice) or +T (second choice), both of which are great buffs. If you turn SfD on, these things go through even mid quality infantry like a hot knife, especially if you add wound re-rolls. They do all of this while being pretty cheap and quite tough to shift if you bring a Hemlock in to bubble them up with “Shield of Ynnead” while they’re out roving, especially now they keep “Power from Pain”. Other than Wraithseer (which barely count because it’s a dumb Forge World interaction) this is the one thing where I look at this datasheet, look at the Ynnari index and actively think “yes, we should do this”. I honestly think that’s a crying shame – with better support I think these would be really fun outriders for any army. As it is, the fact that they don’t pay a tax slot, and need a sufficient commitment to Ynnari to have a Hemlock flying around with Revenant powers to operate optimally still means we won’t see these out much, but we would if the rest of the Index was better!

You get that tank bikes. Missiles hurt.

Where Reaver Jetbikes are potentially now genuinely best used in Ynnari, Skyweavers and Shining Spears, both notorious parts of old-style lists, no longer feel like they work better here than in their native builds. Both are heavily reliant on defensive abilities from their own books (Protect for Spears, Prismatic Blur for Skyweavers) to up their survivability to a point where it’s commensurate to their costs, and losing those on top of losing old-style SfD makes these a tough sell. I guess with the Skyweavers you could actually build them all out with Shurikens and Zephyrglaives, but even then they’re 46PPM and will die fast without their 3++. Selfishly (as a Craftworld player) I’m hoping that Spears get their points adjusted back down now they no longer need to be balanced around being hellish murder bunnies that bounce around the board deleting 3-4 units a turn, and it wouldn’t take much of a drop for them to be pretty interesting here – combining Ynnari abilities to advance and charge and to get various flavours of re-rolls “remotely” does crank their damage higher than it goes in regular Craftworlds in exchange for the reduced durability, so a reversion to pre-nerf pricing could see these pop up again.

I really need a new army just so I have more things to pose Aeldari murdering for these things.

Heavy Support

  • Wraithlords: I mean they’re cool and all but buddy let me tell you about Wraithseers.

Ynnari are not inclined towards Heavy Support choices (now that Reapers won’t be appearing), with the only choice that really appeals being Wraithlords, and those now being so completely outclassed in Ynnari by Wraithseers that it isn’t even funny. Moving on.

Dedicated Transport

  • Wave Serpent: You can make them even tougher. Isn’t that great non-elf players?

Wave Serpent spam is a semi-legit fringe strategy, and the Yncarne and/or a Hemlock hauling around a 5++ “Shield of Ynnead” bubble seems like a pretty good complement to them – it makes them even harder to shift, giving some defence against the close-range melta style weaponry that’s the best counter to them while also providing a nasty threat that can lash out and delete stuff. Serpents are also mobile and physically “big” enough that you can quite probably position them to shield the Yncarne while it does its dirty work now that using SfD to perform a post-combat cowardly eject is no longer possible. They also help deliver fragile squishy elf troops, which is more important than ever.

For that reason, you’ll definitely still see Starweavers as well, but they don’t gain as much from the conversion so they don’t feel “notable” – if you’re bringing Troupers you probably bring some, but that isn’t news.

Flyer

  • Hemlock: A plane that can deploy a tactical 5++ bubble seems at least interesting.

Obviously running a flier as “not Alaitoc” might get me kicked out of the Cool Elf Club (meetings every Saturday and Sunday on top tables around the world) but being able to deploy a 5++ bubble from a swooping Hemlock is at least interesting, especially if you’re intending to send massive squads of Reaver Jetbikes forwards before your slower Psykers can catch up, which given I’m super hot on Reavers is unsurprisingly a thing I’m game for. Gaining a 5++ itself is also extremely relevant. It does suffer that it has to move away after a turn, but if you’re all in on this strategy you can always just bring two and cycle them around, or follow up with Yvraine or a Bikeseer on turn 2. Probably ends up on the “cute, but not good” list, but that basically sums up this codex.

“Stupid badly painted tank, we have a 5++ now”

Lord of War

  • Wraithknight: I mean, there are worse ways to run him?

Like, melee Wraithknights still don’t appear to be good after the CA point cut they got, but if I wanted to run one in a tournament I think i’d now at least look at using a Supreme command of him, two Wraithseers and one of the NCs (probably Yvraine) rather than just making him Alaitoc. +1 to hit on the charge is big game for him, as is being able to turn on wound re-rolls on demand, and he’s a neat distraction at least. He’s also a valid target for Ancestor’s Grace, so if Yvraine lands that on him, and you use one of the two ways of getting wound re-rolls, he both hits and wounds a Knight on re-rolling 2s with his sword, which gets you a dead Knight most of the time unless you’re very unlucky.

Honestly yeah, if I get mine out at this point it probably will be as Ynnari in some shape or form – losing the -1 to hit from Alaitoc is a shame, but bringing the two friendly hellseers in the same Supreme Command mitigates that – you get a cost effective whack of tough stuff in your list, and the Wraithknight will delete its favoured targets with incredible reliability.

Either of the other builds is still probably a no – being able to use Shield of Ynnead on a gun one is cool but suffers the same problem almost everything that threatens to make a Wraithknight semi-OK does – it doesn’t work if you go second. Maybe, once again, with the Castellan less ubiquitous it looks more attractive but I’m not convinced, and a shooty one I think you’re much more likely to just want to bring as Alaitoc.

Stratagems, Traits and Relics

That mostly covers what units might draw you towards an Ynnari army, but of course another big thing on which armies live and die on in 8th are the Stratagems, Warlord Traits and Relics. Sadly, Ynnari rather fall down on the first, which probably forms the single biggest strike against them, but there’s some pretty neat stuff in their Warlord Trait and Relic lists. Many of these things we’ve already touched on, but we’ll now quickly zip through all of these calling out the ones that are especially nice.

Stratagems

Aeldari normally get some pretty nifty stratagems. Unfortunately, Ynnari largely don’t – some of their best are copy/pastes from the other books, and there’s a few that are very powerful, but a substantial number of straight up misses. The strats are:

  • Artefacts of Death: Your extra relic strat
  • Whispering Spirits: Add 2 to an enemy morale test for 2CP if they’re in melee with one of your units. Used before they roll it, so a seriously steep price. I initially had this down as “totally useless”, but re-reading the wording it looks like the timing is deliberately after the window to use “Insane Bravery” (the core book auto-pass strat) closes, so your opponent can’t just counter it by spending their own 2CP (the interaction needs a FAQ though, and I am not your TO, so make sure you check your rulings kids). It therefore might very occasionally be quite good, but it’s still extremely pricy and could easily have cost 1.
  • Ynnead’s Net: Lets a biker unit advance and charge for 2CP. Reavers are great, this is great on them (Skyweavers now obviously have this built in thanks to keeping Crescendo).
  • United in Death: At the start of the fight phase for 1CP, choose one unit of each REBORN <$elftype> and give each of them +1A. For 1CP this is obviously extremely good, but is hampered by this meaning your whole army has to be Ynnari and you have to bring all three NCs. If you can get over the army construction hump this is one of the best strats in the list, but I’m deeply sceptical that a good list capable of using this exists at 2K.
  • Inevitable Fate: Put melee Doom on a unit at the start of the fight phase for 2CP. Ignoring the howlingly obvious rules writing error a friend pointed out (as written it doesn’t specify “can” or “failed” so it forces you to re-roll your successes), this is extremely great and one of the things that draws you to be Ynnari. It is theoretically “redundant” with having the psychic power as well, but having the flexibility to deploy this far from your casters when you need it, or if you simply miss the cast, is exceptional. Just remember that you have to declare it at the start of the phase.
  • Acolyte of Ynnead: for 1CP, add 3 to a casting role but only if a unit has already been destroyed in the Psychic phase. This is so hard to use for a relatively marginal benefit (Yvraine getting to super Smite on a 7 is at least funny) that it’s largely a write-off. Eagle-eyed Reddit user Prom_STar has correctly pointed out that you can only boost “Revenant” powers with this, so boosting up a Smite is out. This downgrades this, sadly, to pretty much completely worthless!
  • Reborn Together: for 1CP, your Ynnari units get +2LD in the morale phase if they’re near buddies. Pretty trash, honestly – either you aren’t running units that are particularly vulnerable to morale, or you are and are deliberately bringing the Yncarne to mitigate it.
  • Shrine of the Whispering God: For 2CP, make up to 3 units of Incubi gain SfD. I’m screaming. We covered how absurdly bad this is earlier. Couldn’t we just have assumed that any Incubi in an Ynnari army came from this Shrine? What did Incubi do to the playtester armies that made this necessary?
  • A Taste for Death: If a unit in your army destroys a unit in the shooting phase, it can have +1 to hit in the fight phase for 1CP. Who is this for? What unit exists that needs this? This stratagem has a bad case of the Necrons – its words arranged together to give an ability that sounds cool in the abstract, but as soon as you try and work out where it actually achieves anything you draw a total blank. Pass.
  • Webway Ambush: Your standard Aeldari INFANTRY/BIKER deep strike stratagem. Just as good as it always is. Nice that they continued their convention of using a different name for it in each list so you can use this and one of the “native” ones if you’re mixing it up.
  • Exalted of Ynnead: One use only. For 1CP pre-battle (and explicitly has to be on your army list), give an extra non-named character a Warlord Trait. The Ynnari traits have some real good stuff and I basically can’t imagine an Ynnari list that doesn’t pop this.
  • Back from the Brink: For 2CP, an INFANTRY/BIKER (sorry Yncarne/Wraithseers) character gets back up on D3 wounds on a 4+ (>1″ away from the enemy). Worth noting that unlike some other faction’s equivalent abilities it’s straight away rather than at the end of the phase, so potentially not great at saving you from shooting, but definitely is nice if things go awry in the fight phase. Could probably have gotten away with costing 1CP given it can’t be used on the super broken stuff.
  • The Great Enemy: Your Aeldari standard re-roll 1s to wound against a Slaanesh unit stratagem. Mostly worthless here because you’re almost always going to be re-rolling wounds against something you really want dead anyway, but I guess if you’ve sent a Troupe to go through some cultists off to stage left it’s fine for the cost.
  • Fire and Fade: Exactly the same as in all the other codexes but twice the price, because ???.
  • Deadly Misdirection: The fall back + shoot/charge strat from Craftworlds/Drukari, generously available at the same price. Always a nice tool to have when you need it, pretty good with my bois the Reaver Jetbikes. Can also stop your Wraithseers getting bogged down.
  • Souls of the Strongest: Turn on SfD permanently for 1CP if you slay the enemy warlord. Probably worth doing a lot of the time, and nice against low model count armies like Knights.
  • Lightning Fast Reactions: Copied from the other books, as good as ever.

Overall this list is a huge disappointment. Inclusion of the key “core” Aeldari strats salvages it a bit, but outside of that you’re basically here for the Doom strat and the character buffing tricks. The vast majority of the stuff that tries to be “interesting Ynnari toys” is waaaay too situational, and overall just doesn’t nearly compensate for losing access to the main book strats.

The other glaring problem is that some units in the various army lists heavily rely on their Stratagems to be worth taking, such as Warlocks (Seer Council) and Fire Prisms (Linked Fire). I have to wonder, if you asked the developers “did you really mean for Ynnari Prisms not to be able to Linked Fire?” whether the answer would be yes – I think a lot of people (certainly including me) are really used to thinking of stuff like this as “part” of the unit. Losing access to this stuff further cuts down the worthwhile units in the books and the replacements are just not worth it.

Aiming is for losers, bloodlust is for champions

If GW are planning to do any changes to Ynnari I think this section is what needs the most work. In terms of their “native” stratagems, I think they basically need:

  • A charge enabler that works on Deep-Striking units (either instead of or in addition to my suggested change to WoP).
  • An additional defensive stratagem – gaining a temporary FNP would feel relatively in-flavour, and there are probably more imaginative places you can take it.

I also wonder if just giving a specific list of stratagems that you keep from each of the original books if you have an “Ynnari <$elftype>” detachment – bring in maybe:

  • Seer Council
  • Linked Fire
  • Hyperstimm Backlash
  • Enhanced Aethersails
  • Shrieking Doom
  • Prismatic Blur (appropriately re-keyworded)

…and suddenly this is a stratagem list that can do work, and is co-incidentally sized more in line with the ones in the other books.

Warlord Traits

That’s the disappointment all out of the way – we’ll finish off with some brighter notes in the Trait and Relic sections. For Traits, we have:

  • Lord of Rebirth: 5+++ and regain a wound each battle round. Great on anything a bit more durable like a Wraithseer (and if I had to guess this combo will survive a nerf pass even if The Lost Shroud doesn’t) or Bike Autarch.
  • Warden of Souls: +1S/A while Soulbursting. Pretty good on any sort of melee killer, including the Yncarne (who has to have this).
  • Walker of Many Paths: Somewhere a Sautekh Overlord is weeping. 5+ regen on your CP spend and a reroll to hit or wound per turn rather than per game as is often the case with these. Really, really good on a number of things as we covered in the HQ section.
  • Fear of the Grave: It’s a warlord trait that includes “LD” in its rules text, if you regularly read these reviews you should know by now that we can almost safely ignore it.
  • Favoured of Ynnead: Your pile in/consolidate moves are 6″. Lets you potentially do some very tricky stuff in certain situations, but loses out to some of the other options when handing out your practically mandatory bonus trait. Yvraine has to have this, which is a good argument to not make her your warlord. Take that narrative.
  • Master of Blades: 2 hits instead of 1 on an unmodified 6 to hit in melee. Fine but uninspiring compared to others available. Visarch has to have it, another relatively good argument for him not being the boss.

Lord of Rebirth and Walker of Many Paths are the standouts here, and happily you’re going to need to pick 1-2 traits whenever you have Ynnari out, and these are probably gonna be them unless you’ve got the Yncarne in tow or something else that wants Warden of Souls.

Relics

The Relic list is pretty short, but again has a couple of standout big winners, which is again conveniently about the number you need:

  • Hungering Blade: Exceptionally great replacement for a Power Sword, Star Glaive or Husk Blade. We looked at this in the character section – it’s definitely doing the most work for you added to a Troupe master, but is a big upgrade wherever you drop it in. Always bring this if you can.
  • Song of Ynnead: Relatively nifty upgraded Shuriken pistol. Fine to throw around if you have nothing better to do. Also worth noting that the leadership debuff it confers appears to self-stack, so your casualties are effectively doubled.
  • Mirrorgaze: -1 to all hit rolls targeting the bearer. Cool, pretty good, but slightly has its thunder stolen by the fact that plenty of the best users can get equivalent effects from the Craftworld book natively. Would see use on Wraithseers except that the Lost Shroud exists. Maybe on your second.
  • Soulsnare: a one use only Smite-grenade that also heals the wielder. Never seeing use when things like the Hungering Blade and The Lost Shroud exist.
  • The Lost Shroud: Halve all incoming damage and get a 5+++. Totally bonkers on a Wraithseer (as we covered), still really good on something modestly durable like a Bike Autarch/Bike Farseer, incredibly potent defensive relic.
  • Corag Hai’s Locket: Much like will LD tricks, experienced review readers will know that abilities that power up a model as you go tend to underwhelm. This one is slightly better than the norm because most of these only trigger on killing a Character, whereas this works for anything. With judicious targeting, a tooled up Bike Autarch might get this off a couple of times in a key mid-game turn, at which point they’re suddenly a total monster for the rest of the battle. I think the reliability of the Lost Shroud as a tool to add defences still trumps this, but if I’d brought a fully indexed-up Bike Autarch with Laser Lance and Fusion Gun, I can certainly imagine armies existing where this seemed like a good idea to add via stratagem.

The Hungering Blade and the Lost Shroud are the standouts here, and are some of the real big draws to trying to make at least some kind of Ynnari contingent work.

The Lists

That concludes our tour through the rules of the Index. All that remains is to talk about some sample army lists. Two of these are attempts to salvage something from a “pure” Ynnari army. The last makes the more realistic decision to bring the best of the Ynnari (i.e. two Wraithseers and Yvraine) along to an Aeldari Herohammer list, ready to throw out mortal wounds and generally cause problems for your opponent.

Reaver Jetbike Bonanza

Army List - Click to Expand

Drukari Ynnari Battalion

The Visarch
Archon w/ Huskblade

2×5 Kabalites w/Shredder
20 Wyches w/2x Shardnet + Impaler, 1x Razorflails, (+S drug)

2 Ur-Ghuls

12 Reavers w/4 Grav Talons (+A drug)
12 Reavers w/4 Blasters (+T drug)

3 Venoms

Craftworld Ynnari Battalion

The Yncarne
Bike Autarch w/Hungering Blade + Banshee Mask

3×8 Storm Guardians

Hemlock

 

This army tries to use my favourite (non-FW) Ynnari unit – big squads of Reavers backed up by a Hemlock flying defence with Shield of Ynnead. The +A squad wants to use the huge range that advancing and charging gives them to try and impact onto and lock up as much of the enemy army as possible, while the +T squad with the blasters forms a more durable second wave that can also pick off some secondary targets. With the Yncarne, Visarch and big Wych Squad showing up in the fray from T2, the goal is to get push your opponent so far onto the back foot that they can never recover.

Wave Serpent Spam

Army List - Click to Expand

Craftworld Ynnari Battalion

The Yncarne
Bike Autarch w/Hungering Blade + Banshee Mask
Wraithseer w/Lost Shroud (via strat)

3×8 Storm Guardians

Hemlock

5x Wave Serpent w/Twin Shuriken Cannons & Twin Shuriken Catapults

Drukari Ynnari Battalion

Yvraine
Succubus w/Shardnet + Impaler (+A)

2×5 Kabalite Warriors
20 Wyches w/2x Shardnet + Impaler, 1x Razorflails, (+S drug)

 

This is peak performance

Sure the Yncarne can’t use soulburst to get back behind screening any more, but what if he was surrounded at all times by an honour guard of Wave Serpents with a 5++ and a 6+++? It’s rude to look a gift-horse in the mouth, and Aeldari players are lucky enough to have access to beautiful indestructible wonder tanks, and so we should use them. The big worry here is whether the punch the Yncarne provides can make up for the loss of Doom, which Serpent spam lists often rely on. The honest answer is probably “not quite”, but it at least gives you a fun alternative to play around with.

Herohammer

Army List - Click to Expand

Ulthwe Battalion

Eldrad
Autarch
Warlock

20 Guardian Defenders w/2 Shuriken Platforms

2×10 Guardian Defenders w/Shuriken Platform

1×8 Storm Guardians

Hemlock

3x Wave Serpent w/Twin Shuriken Cannons & Twin Shuriken Catapults

Mixed Harlequin Vanguard

Shadowseer (Silent Shroud)

Solitaire (Midnight Sorrow)
2x Death Jester (Dreaming Shadow)

Craftworld Ynnari Supreme Command

Yvraine
Wraithseer (Lost Shroud)
Wraithseer (Lord of Rebirth)

 

This is much closer to what I actually think you’ll see out in the wild (which you can probably tell given it’s got mixed masque bullshit in it). Stacking Yvraine’s extra psychic firepower with a Shadowseer, Eldrad and a Hemlock gives you formidable Mortal Wound output, here hiding behind some Ulthwe Wave Serpents and two horrific Ynnari Wraithseers. You can throw a lot of damage both at a single large forward target like a Knight, or with quite some degree of precision at a key buff character like Commander Shadowsun.

My honest feeling is that you’re more likely to see this style of play pop up in an army that eschews an actual Ynnari detachment, instead bringing Yvraine along as a second HQ in a Drukari Battalion, where the second HQ slot often looks a bit like a tax. The main problem the list above has is that it’s very CP starved – you probably want to make the Shadowseer your warlord and take “Player of Twilight” to get a chance at some regen, but once you’ve bought the relics and powers you need you only have access to 7CP, and at least some units here are pretty hungry.

Going the Drukari swap-in route gives you a full dual battalion to play with, and access to Agents of Vect, which can be very helpful if your opponent tries a big play to unpick your somewhat fragile strategy of “hide behind a wall of tanks and kill you with my mind”. I’ll very likely try this in an actual event at some point.

I will probably, if I’m brutally honest, go the other way completely at some point and break out my Wraithknight to roll with Yvraine and the Wraithseers. Is it good? Probably not. Is it hilarious? I think we all know the answer to that.

Sooooooooon

Wrap Up

That then, is a somewhat positive note to end what’s otherwise a bit of a downer review on. There is stuff in the Ynnari Index that I want to take out for a spin, but nothing I’ve yet seen has swayed me from my overall view that it’s a bit of a disappointment. Hopefully either I’ll be proved wrong or, if I’m not, a future FAQ will give some big boosts to some of what’s in here. The seed of greatness exists within the Index, but it needs a bit of help to blossom to its full potential.

At least, if you think about it, that’s narratively appropriate.

 

2 Responses

  1. Sourpatchkid says:

    Great Article!

    In your opinion , does the wraithseer get the ynarri powers or keep its one on the data sheet?

  2. Corrode says:

    We think it keeps the datasheet ones. It’s a weird edge case because the Wraithseer doesn’t actually know any psychic powers – instead it can manifest the stuff on its datasheet and nothing else. It desperately needs an FAQ.

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