Awhile back, I took a look at the performance of the Skathach Wraithknight vs. the standard Codex: Craftworlds Wraithknight firing two D-cannons, and was rather impressed with the balance between the two – the Skathach with Inferno Lances consistently did damage whereas the standard Wraithknight tended toward “Go Big or Go Home” hits, but on average they were pretty even.
And then the Ynnari had to show up and change everything around. How do they compare now?
First, an acknowledgement: The inspiration for this article game from checking out some traffic stats and noticing we had been linked to from The Dark City, and finding there this same discussion, with “Evil Space Elves” of Splintermind fame referencing it. I just decided to add numbers to it.
Second, a disclaimer: If you’re not in an environment that will allow a Skathach to be fielded in a Ynnari detachment, until Forge World releases an FAQ, the answer is unequivocal: the standard Wraithknight wins. The potential for two shots thanks to Soulburst is just too good.
But what if you can field a Skathach? Either when Forge World releases their FAQ, because you’re in a sufficiently casual environment, because a tournament pack says so, etc. What then?
The answer is still the Craftworld Wraithknight. Imagining what would happen if a Wraithknight got a soulburst action is a pretty trivial extension of my original analysis – you just let them shoot again. For simplicity, I’m only going to compare one scenario – both Wraithknights firing at two Imperial Knight-class targets, in melta range, not twin-linked or buffed in any way. And then letting them do it 10,000 times. Here’s what we get:
The sky blue is the Skathach, while the purple is the conventional Craftworld Wraithknight. The Skathach, because it followed a nice, civilized, normal distribution changes in a straightforward fashion – the average shifts up, the curve widens out a bit, and all is well. In this simulation, the median number of hits is 3.5. The Craftworld Wraithknight goes bananas because it’s the sum of two bimodal distributions. It’s still got that frustratingly common “frak all” outcome, where all four shots miss or you roll a 1 on the D-table and the sad Charlie Brown music starts to play.
But the tails of the distribution get huge. The most likely outcome becomes doing 6 Hull Points – that’s one Knight down, and a Soulburst point. And there’s a slim but non-zero possibility of just deleting both of them. The “Go Big or Go Home” distribution of the D-cannon becomes “Go Really Really Big, or Sometimes Do Okay, or Go Home” which is a very different animal. It’s also got a slightly superior median performance at 4 Hull Points. And this is ignoring things like the ability to ignore shields on a 6 for the D-cannon, which will make things slightly more favorable.
Getting two shots is a very big thing for the Ynnari Wraithknight, and really pretty firmly uncaps the potential for the D-cannons to shine. There’s also a problem with the Inferno Lance Skathach – the reason I like it in conventional Eldar lists is because it consistently does damage. That’s awesome – you’re always chipping away at something. But the Ynnari aren’t about chipping away. They’re about destroying units. From a Soulburst perspective, a conventional Wraithknight who just misses, and a Skathach that leaves 1 HP remaining are functionally equivalent – which pushes more of the incentives onto those rare – but now not super-rare – big, unit destroying hits.
So for now, if you’re playing Ynnari and want a ranged, “Big Game Hunter” Wraithknight? Go for the standard twin-D cannon one found in the Eldar codex.
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