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Into 9th Edition: Rael-Kann Craftworld

With the new edition of Warhammer 40000 coming later this month, I decided to take a look at the current state of each of my armies at the end of 8th edition and what I’m looking forward to for them in 9th edition.

I started a Craftworlds army in 2011 when I made a brief attempt to get back into Warhammer 40000. I chose Craftworlds at the time because I liked the various types of aspect warriors and thought it would be fun to paint up an army that featured a wide variety of unit color schemes. I didn’t end up playing much then, but when I got back into the game with 8th edition, I continued to build up the army and it is now my second largest army.

Army Overview

For most of 8th edition, I used the Biel-tan craftworld trait for my craftworld. The bonus to aspect warrior leadership felt appropriate since I had chosen the army because of aspect warriors, and rerolling hit rolls for shuriken weapons helped out across the army. With Phoenix Rising, I started to use a pair of custom attributes instead. I’ve been playing with Children of Khaine that boosts the effectiveness of aspect warriors in melee and Hail of Doom that gives shuriken weapons better AP within 12″. Thematically it’s similar to the Biel-tan attribute, but I liked being able to mix it up a bit and I hadn’t been using Biel-tan warlord traits or relics anyways.

The army has an abundance of HQ options. I have an old Autarch model with a fusion gun and scorpion chainsword that now needs to use the Legends rules, but since I don’t play competitively that has been okay. The army has two Farseers – one on foot and one on a jetbike. They are key to the army with their psychic powers able to make the rest of the force much more efficient. I also have three warlocks that I preferred to run as separate units rather than a conclave so that they could benefit from the character keyword and use more psychic powers each turn. The final HQ in the army is Jain Zar who I haven’t had a chance to actually play with yet.

While I have a lot of HQs, the army only has the three Troops options to fill out a single battalion. I have a unit of Guardian Defenders with a missile launcher who I generally leave on a backfield objective. The second unit is a ten model unit of Dire Avengers that I like to have in a transport to move up and claim an objective. The third unit of Troops is a Ranger unit that is great at holding an objective from cover thanks to their durability, but I’ve generally been underwhelmed by their shooting.

For Elites, this army has three different units of aspect warriors. A unit of Striking Scorpions can use their stealth to deploy wherever they’re needed mid-game. They are pretty good at fighting light infantry, and I like the new Scorpion’s Sting exarch power from Phoenix Rising to make their mandiblasters more effective. A unit of Fire Dragons offer a devastating amount of anti-tank firepower, but their fragility and short range mean that I need to keep them safe in a Wave Serpent until they are ready to strike. The third set of aspect warriors is a new Howling Banshees unit that I like for their ability to move quickly and threaten infantry units, but like their Phoenix Lord, I haven’t had a chance to actually use them in a game yet.

For Fast Attack, the army has a Vyper and a unit of Windriders. I equipped my Vyper with a starcannon so that it could threaten armored infantry and lighter vehicles which ended up being a disadvantage in 8th edition due to vehicles taking a penalty when moving and shooting heavy weapons. My unit of Windriders is three jetbikes with only the twin shuriken catapults.

For Heavy Support, the army has a War Walker and a Wraithlord. The War Walker has a bright lance and a scatter laser which was intended to let it engage both vehicles and infantry. My Wraithlord is also built with a mix of weapons and has a bright lance, a ghostglaive, and a pair of flamers. I really like the Wraithlord in play since it manages to threaten pretty much any target.

The army has a pair of Wave Serpents as Dedicated Transports. One of the Wave Serpents has a twin missile launcher that lets it provide fire support against either infantry or tanks, and the other has a twin scatter laser that lowers its cost but also removes its anti-tank effectiveness. Wave Serpents are pretty durable and the pair of them are key to getting my hard-hitting infantry units into range of the right targets.

Into the New Edition

The new rules for 9th edition that I’ve seen are a mixed bag for my Rael-Kann army. The new detachment rules hurt a bit. In 8th edition, I’ve been able to get extra command points for having a supreme command detachment alongside my core battalion, but the abundance of HQ units becomes a liability in 9th edition that will instead cost me command points. I’ll need to experiment with only 3 HQs and some dual detachment lists with more HQs to see what feels best in play. The changes to character rules will also be a drawback since Craftworlds characters are relatively fragile and will now need to make sure they stay closer to other units.

On the other hand, I’ve disliked taking a penalty to shooting with my vehicles in order to have them stay mobile in 8th edition, so the new heavy weapon rules will be a nice change that helps the Vyper, Wave Serpents, War Walker, and Wraithlord.

Expansion Possibilities

I have two units in my painting queue for this army. One is a second Vyper. I gave that one a shuriken cannon since I assembled it before I knew that vehicles would no longer take a penalty for moving and shooting heavy weapons, but it will be nice to have one with a different weapon option anyways. The other unit is a Falcon grav tank that will complement the Wave Serpents as a third transport and another source of anti-tank shooting.

Beyond those two vehicles, I think the army could use another Troops choice and I’d be interested in gradually adding a few other units as options. For Troops, I’ll probably go with a second unit of Guardian Defenders. Other units that I’ve considered adding are Wraithguard and more aspect warriors. For aspect warriors, I’d love to get a squad of each type, but I’m not eager to buy more resin models so hopefully Games Workshop will release more varieties of plastic aspect warriors soon.

By Scott Boehmer

A game enthusiast and software engineer.

2 replies on “Into 9th Edition: Rael-Kann Craftworld”

As one Eldar player to another, your main color scheme pops brilliantly and all of your Aspect Warriors’ colors are really on point!

As for expansion, Guardians took a hit with some of the new rules going from 8th to 9th but I still find them pretty good. Banshees also took a hit but they’re one of my favorites, so I’ll keep using them regardless. (Psychic Awakening has some really cool power alternatives in light of Overwatch changes.)

Thanks! I really liked the Psychic Awakening exarch power options and want to try out more of them. For Guardians, I like their flexibility since they can be threatening up close with their shuriken catapults, but can still have some impact with a heavy weapon at longer range if they are needed to hold an objective or just stuck out-of-range of good targets.

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