Cairn Wraiths 8th edition warhammer fantasy battle Vampire Counts overview
What are Cairn Wraiths
Many practitioners of dark magic have over the ages sought to extend their lives through unnatural means living far beyond their years. However whilst preserving the spirit is a simple task for practitioners of the dark arts preserving the body is not so easy. Over the ages the bodies of these wretches has withered and decayed away leaving only their twisted spirit behind.
These spirits are the Cairn Wraiths shadow of their former selves they linger in this world unable to pass on into the next. Having lost their sanity and out of touch with the physical world Cairn Wraiths gather in areas where dark magic coalesces waiting to steal warmth from any living creature that ventures close.
Powerful Vampires and Necromancers bind these spirits to them, some even remember shadow of their former lives. Wraiths are a terrible foe to face without magic, the incorporeal form of the Cairn Wraith see physical blows and even cannon shots sail harmlessly through them.
In the game
In the game Cairn Wraiths are now available in 2 forms one as a hero slot character and one as a rare unit. With the exception of being characters both versions of the Cairn Wraiths have the same rules.
The character version of the Cairn Wraith is an interesting and useful hero as he can shelter in other units such as Zombies to protect themselves against ranged magical attacks, however they are no upgrades available such as magic items just the two handed scythes all Cairn Wraiths are equipped with. hero wraiths are slighter more expensive the rare wraiths but can be taken as a single model.
As a rare unit Cairn Wraiths consist of as unit 3 or more strong as only other ethereal characters can join them they are vulnerable to ranged magical attacks, 3 Cairns Wraiths however come out with a healthy 9 strength 5 attacks and are deadly against foes that cannot harm them. They can also upgrade one cairn wraith to a tomb banshee for an additional cost.
In 8th edition cairn Wraiths also get a new attack, Chilling Grasp swapping all their attacks for a single auto wounding no armour save attack that lets them take down even high toughness or armour save foes.
Pros and cons
Pros are that Cairn Wraiths are Ethereal meaning that poorly equipped armies that lack magic missile spells and magic weapons will find them extremely difficult to destroy. This allows them to ramage down the enemy line unopposed. Hero Cairn Wraiths also offer some good options as they are less vulnerable to ranged magical attacks.
Cons are that some armies namely Daemons of Chaos, Wood Elves, other Vampire Counts, Brettonian Grail Knights and Warriors of Chaos (Chaos Knights) all have units with magical attacks that will make short work of Cairn Wraiths. Also be careful of armies such as Lizardmen and High Elves where some unit champions may take magic weapons. Models with magical attacks or potentially magical attacks can however be avoided. The worst armies to take them against are those with a plethora of Magic Missile attacks as even a single Fireball or similar spell can cause serious damage to your Cairn wraiths.
Cairns Wraiths are excellent blocking units with the added advantage of actually being able to cause damage back even with their multiple strength 5 attacks or using Chilling Grasp. The secret to using Cairn Wraiths is making sure your avoid the worse of the enemies magical attacks and are facing off against units that cause you no harm.
Cairn Wraiths making excellent blocking units against things such as chariots (few impact hits are magical), monsters and heavy cavalry who lack magical attacks and will eventually take them down. A Cairn Wraith hero also bolsters otherwise poor units such as Zombies and Skeleton Warriors.
Be prepared to use your dispel dice on stopping magical missiles aimed at your Cairn Wraiths a Dispel Scroll can also be very useful. Better yet you will know which enemy wizards have magic missile spells so use a fast moving unit such as Dire Wolves or Vargheists to kill them early in the game, also remember a unit engaged in combat cannot cast Magic missile spells.