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Iyanden Tacticum: Principles of Playing Iyanden Armies

This is not a tactica, or even advice that will lead to a tournament army, but an essay on the way that Iyanden Armies should be themed, selected and played; and hopefully a guide to creating a unique and authentic Iyanden army. 


Iyanden was once the greatest and most beautiful of all the craftworlds, but now it is little more than a drifting and devastated shell, all but destroyed by Hive Fleet Kraken.  The dwindling fate common to all of the eldar is more profound on Iyanden; it’s beauty more melancholy; it’s eldar warriors more precious.

Such is the dire state of the craftworld that the dead have been reanimated to an extent not known elsewhere in the galaxy.  And it’s because of this shortage of living troops that mean Iyanden armies need to be selected and played in a way that is distinctly different to other eldar armies.  The ‘leave the civilians at home’ principal applies even more strongly, because each one of those civilians is so much more precious.

With these fluff-based restrictions, how do you put together a nicely themed Iyanden army, which reflects the needs and limitations of the Iyanden craftworld?



There’s a number of strong contenders for your leader. 

Farseers are clearly useful, as they can augment the wraithguard, and protect your troops from wraithsight, as well as acting as a flying lascanon when armed on a jetbike and singing spear.

Avatars are also an obvious choice: and the sacrifice of a single eldar life seems a fair trade for a combat monster.  My fear is that he’s not going to have a clear role in this kind of army because combat is something that an Iyanden army wants to avoid. 

Autarchs are another strong contender, and stuck on a jetbike with mandiblasters, laser lance and fusion gun again gives this army a fast and hard hitting unit that can charge in with 6 str6 power weapon attacks, and also turn most enemy tanks into so much molten slag.    

I think the best choice would be a farseer, but the options are fairly open here.



An obvious troop choice is to take pathfinders: as these are wanderers, who have left whatever craftworld they hailed from.   These guys can die without depopulating Iyanden, so that’s OK.  

Another troop choice is Dire Avengers.  These guys have been nicely revamped in the latest codex, making them actually worth taking, and more importantly, the Shrine of Asurmen is located on Iyanden, so that of all the aspects these would be the most common.  Exarch skills should naturally include Defend, as preservation of Iyanden lives should be a major concern of any Iyanden general.  And shimmersheilds will no doubt be in plentiful supply in Iyanden, so take them.

It has been suggested to me that guardians could be taken, as long as they were painted to be part of Yriel’s corsairs, as opposed to Iyanden civilians, and I think this is an acceptable use of warm meat.



Luckily you have the option of taking a great hand to hand combat unit without endangering anyone from Iyanden: Harlequins – so take them! 

For a pure Iyanden list I would then fill my other two Elite slots with Wraithguard in wave serpents.  As I said above, wraithguard are surprisingly poor at using their weapons, and I think they need a wave serpent to get them to where you need them to be: either for a flank shot at an irritating basilisk, or a do-or-die fusillade against a carnifex or greater demon.



I don’t really see any of the fast options as fitting nicely into an Iyanden army.  Vypers seem too fragile, I imagine there are strict speed limits and rules on drunk driving and the like in Iyanden, and the thought that people will be zipping round at high speed on vipers seems a little unlikely.

Swooping Hawks seem just too vulnerable, but if you do take them then give them sky leap.  

Warp Spiders are a real no-no: why make mortality even more fragile by taking short leaps through the warp? 

I have no reason not to take Shining Spears, although it seems a little too risky to throw a few men into combat when wraithguard could go in instead.



Obviously Wraithlords come in up here as well, tooled up nicely with star canons, missile launchers, star canons and scatter lasers.  You could take three, and deal out some real dakka: or look at some of the other choices, which fit in nicely with Iyanden. 

I’m in favour of almost all the heavy choices, because blasting the enemy from a distance seems to be exactly what Iyanden are about.  Being inside a Falcon or Fire Prism that is decked out with holo fields, spirit stones and vectored engines are about as safe a spot on the battlefield as you can get.  Perfectly fluffy, in my opinion. 

Surprisingly Dark Reapers come in on my acceptable list, partly in honour of Maugan Ra, who was instrumental in beating back the tides of tyranids of Hive Fleet Kraken.




Clearly Iyanden tactics will revolve around avoiding combat or unnecessary casualties, especially warm-blooded casualties.  Units of wraith guard are easily overwhelmed in combat by anyone with reaping or power-weapons, so they need to be used with precision.  To get them to where they need to be, they need to be mounted in wave serpents. 

I see Iyanden tactics revolving around a powerful fire base, fast and deadly mounted wraith guard units surgically destroying key threats from the enemy’s army, the whole army using its speed to avoid combat.  Dis-engagement is the key.  Keep moving and sniping, and moving on again. 

In the sample list below, I have augmented the wraithguard’s wraithcanons and the bright lances with horde-killing firepower on the transports and the falcon.  The army will refuse to engage the enemy in combat, and keep moving and sniping at the enemy.  You’ll note the only ‘warm-blooded’ units are the rangers and harlequins: not members of the Iyanden craftworld, and so not a tragedy if they were to die on the battlefield.   


Sample List


   1 Farseer @ 138 Pts with Jetbike; Fortune;  Mind War; Singing Spear



  2 x 4 Wraithguard @ 288 Pts with Wave Serpent; Spirit Stone; Shuriken Cannon; TL Shuriken Cannons; Warlock @ [28] Singing Spear

6 Harlequin Troupe @ 128 Pts all with Harlequins Kiss



 2 x 5 Rangers @ 95 Pts


Heavy Support:

   1 Wraithlord @ 160 Pts Bright Lance (BL); Starcannon

   1 Wraithlord @ 100 Pts Shuriken Cannon

   1 Falcon @ 185 Pts  Holo-field Spirit Stone; Scatter Laser; Shuriken Cannon


Total Roster Cost: 1497