Hexwraiths is a Vampire Counts cavalry unit in Total War: Warhammer, reused by the Followers of Nagash in Total War: Warhammer II.
Hexwraiths charge, spectral, through mountains in search of their prey - a battle line is a trifling thing for their devastating attack.
Hexwraiths have the ethereal attribute, meaning they have a very high resistance to physical damage, but not to magical damage.
The origins of the Hexwraiths are shrouded in mystery, but it is said that they are created on Hexensnacht, tearing their way into the mortal realm from the very bowels of the underworld. Their single-minded purpose seems to be the pursuit of those evil men who have cheated their rightful fate, for a Hexwraith's shade-like existence leaves it with a hunger that only the succour of a damned soul can sate. Once the curse of the Hexwraiths has been laid upon their prey, there can be no escape - the spectral horsemen can hurtle across rivers and pass through mountainsides on their incorporeal steeds without slowing their headlong charge. In recent years, the Vampires of Sylvania have learned to bind these creatures of shadow to their service, using them as weapons of war. The sight of a pack of cackling Hexwraiths approaching fast, spirit scythes held high and unnatural soul-fires flickering from their eye sockets, is enough to chill the blood of even the most seasoned warrior. It is small wonder that these deathly riders are amongst the most feared of all the minions of the Vampire Counts.
- ↑ Armour-Piercing: The damage of armour-piercing weapons mostly ignores the armour of the target, making them the ideal choice against heavily-armoured enemies. They are often heavier and attack at a slower rate though, making them less efficient against poorly-armoured targets.
- ↑ Ethereal: Ethereal units ignore most damage done by non-magical weapons. As they have shed most of their physical form, they are not slowed by terrain-based movement penalties either.
- ↑ Causes Terror: This unit can cause terror, making its melee target rout for a short time. Units that cause terror are immune to terror and fear themselves.
- ↑ Vanguard Deployment: This unit can deploy in an expanded deployment area, allowing it to start the battle within striking distance of the enemy - or somewhere unexpected.
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Deploying Hexwraiths in battle can be a bit of a gamble. Although they are excellent flankers who can move with blistering speed through any kind of terrain and only take a quarter of all incoming physical damage (even armor piercing), any kind of magical damage will swiftly send them back to the haunted realm from whence they came. This includes the damage they take from crumbling due to low leadership. Carefully protecting them from being swarmed and buffing them with spells like Vanhels Dance Macabre to get the most value out of their high armor piercing, they can generate a lot of value, but they are a lot more fragile than their high resistance might suggest.
A special exception is that Hexwraiths do very well against dwarves, whose lack of magic ensures that they will arrive relatively unscathed and then hit with a very high armor piercing attack.