I wanted to write a bit about what has quickly become one of my favorite models, the Cryxian pistol wraith. When I first started exploring the offerings of Turok and his ilk, I wasn’t that impressed by the undead gunman. His stats are decent, but nothing to get too excited about, and I believe I fell into the trap of viewing him primarily as an anti-infantry piece (and a pricey one at that). After discussing this with several other people, and a few newer Cryx players, I believe this mistake isn’t uncommon. Let’s take a look at the reasons I am now glad I gave this model another look.
Death chill is a pretty simple ability; it is a chain attack that grants you a 3rd shot if you hit the same model with both initials. Hit with this third attack, and the said target has to choose to give up its move or action. I cannot emphasis how powerful this can be, primarily because it denies models their charge in a fashion they cannot dispel or shake off. Knock down pretends to offer the same power, but between the ability for beasts/jacks to shake off, and all the immediate standup abilities in the game, it doesn’t hold a candle here. Imagine a 3 pt solo shutting down the Molik Karn bullet on the turn that Skorne player needs him to come through. Or how about holding a POW 22 Conquest at bay with one model? The power in Death Chill cannot be overstated.
Not that pistol wraiths are the only incorporeal model in the game, but I am pretty sure it is one of the only incorporeal models with ranged attacks. I like to have a few incorporeal models in my lists for scenario play; many armies I face simple have little to know magical weapons, and a pair of pistol wraiths have often guaranteed my opponent couldn’t score control points (at least without sticking his warcaster/warlock’s neck out). Having a pair of quality ranged attacks makes said neck sticking far more dangerous. In additional, the ranged factor means the model is more versatile than a melee incorporeal model that, while powerful, can easily get stuck away from prime targets. Finally, an incorporeal ranged model doesn’t have his plans interrupted with a screening wall that blocks LOS. He simply walks through the screen and shoots the juicy targets behind. Incorporeal melee models have their LOS blocked and thus cannot charge (despite having the power to move through those models).
In the event that Death Chilling large targets isn’t nearly as important as picking off key solos and chewing up some units (and for this, you cannot beat a pair of wraiths against a Black Spot-infested unit courtesy of eSkarre), never forget that the wraiths pick up soul tokens for those living models. Often times the wraith doesn’t need the souls to boost against those infantrymen, but I like to save those tokens up for later when the lanes to the warcaster/warlock open up. Boosted POW 12s kill casters, they say, and I have had my pair or wraiths throw 4 of them out there late game. It can be a brutal way to end a game.
All in all, I can’t say enough good things about pistol wraiths. For my money, I almost always run them in pairs, especially with Denny or eSkarre. 6 pts for all that denial and versatility is hard to beat, if you ask me. But even a sole wraith can be enough of a denial investment to stop even the scariest melee heavies from trampling, slamming, or charging itself down your throat.