A Canoptek Wraith serves as the eyes and ears of the central operating systems of any Necron Tomb World, patrolling for intruders and inspecting the Necron sanctuary's ancient systems for signs of damage and decay. Its primary weapon is its Phase Shifter, a dimensional destabilisation matrix. This is an advanced Necron technology that allows the Wraith to phase in and out of synch with the normal space-time continuum, which was originally designed to allow a Canoptek Wraith to reach into and repair solid machinery, though it is equally effective when used to deal with intruders who have breached the protections of a subterranean Necron stasis facility. A Canoptek Wraith can phase its claws and tendrils inside an opponent, and resolidify them to sever arteries, nerve clusters and other vital pathways without leaving an external mark of what caused the victim's death.
While a Necron Tomb World slumbers fitfully in eternal stasis, the Necron constructs known as Canoptek Wraiths serve as its eyes and ears. They flit silently through the dusty halls of the Necron installation, patrolling for intruders and inspecting the ancient systems for damage and decay. The Wraiths are primarily probe mechanoids, programmed to report back to their Canoptek Spyder controllers via interstitial interface, rather than to act under their own direction. When such orders are received, the Wraith carries them out with the unfaltering resolve of the machine. Whether it is commanded to strike against an intruder, or conduct repairs in the heart of an eons-old collapsing tomb, the Wraith will follow its instructions until its task is completed or it is destroyed.
The Canoptek Wraith's most notable feature is its Phase Shifter -- a dimensional destabilisation matrix that allows it to skip in and out of phase with the normal space-time continuum. It can even adjust the modulation of the Phase Shifter's matrix in order to keep portions of its physical form in different phase states at the same time. Whilst a completely phased-out existence can be sustained by the construct almost indefinitely, a half-phased state requires an enormous amount of energy to sustain. In fact, the Wraith's body is little more than a series of interlocking power generators and etherium lode conduits, and yet even with so much potential power available to it, the construct can exist in a dual phase state for only limited periods of time.
The Phase Shifter was originally created to allow the Wraiths to reach into and repair solid machinery without having to go to all the trouble of removing its outer casing and other superfluous components. However, the Wraith's abilities are no less valuable when dealing with intruders. If it times its attack correctly, a Canoptek Wraith can phase its claws and tendrils inside an opponent, swiftly resolidifying them to sever arteries, nerve clusters and other vital pathways without leaving an external mark of what killed the victim. In addition, the enemy must time his own return blows with perfect precision, lest his own weapons pass through the Wraith's phased-out form. The Phase Shifter also allows Wraiths to move effortlessly at speed through terrain that normal scouts would find difficult or dangerous to navigate, thus ensuring that no obstacle stops a Wraith from moving into position before a battle.
Though their primary function is to watch over their sleeping masters, Wraiths are often drafted into Necron armies to serve as advance scouts. The Phase Shifter allows a Wraith to traverse all manner of terrain without pause and can also keep the construct hidden from enemy eyes and sensors when it is fully phased out of synchronisation with the space-time continuum. Many an enemy force has advanced across the surface of a seemingly barren Tomb World, completely unaware that its every move is being watched, recorded and reported by a Canoptek Wraith, its ghostly form silent and invisible. Only the most observant of foes can hope to catch a glimpse of the lurking Wraith's spectral form or detect the unsettling electronic chatter that accompanies its precise Vox transmissions. Even then, such sightings are commonly dismissed as simply flights of fancy or imagination incurred by the unsettling nature of a Tomb World.
Once the inevitable battle begins, the Canoptek Wraith is then tasked with sowing terror and disorder throughout the foe's ranks by striking at commanders, support troops and supply lines -- any target that a more conventional strike force would struggle to reach. At times, the Wraith will carry out invisible assassination attempts so that an enemy commander will never even make it to the battle -- because he was slain the night before in his warm bed by the cold claws of a Canoptek Wraith for whom doors, guards and force fields were no barrier.
- Phase Shifter - A Phase Shifter is a dimensional destabilisation matrix. This is an advanced Necron technology that allows the Canoptek Wraith to phase in and out of synchronisation with the normal space-time continuum, originally designed to allow a Canoptek Wraith to reach into and repair solid machinery. However, it is equally effective when used to deal with intruders who have breached the protections of a subterranean Necron stasis facility or with foes on the battlefield when the Wraith is used as an advance scout or assassin. A Canoptek Wraith can phase its claws and tendrils inside an opponent, and resolidify them to sever arteries, nerve clusters and other vital pathways without leaving an external mark of what caused the victim's death.
A Canoptek Wraith can also be upgraded to carry one of the following pieces of Necron Wargear:
- Particle Caster - A Particle Caster is a pistol-sized and short-ranged Particle Weapon. These weapons emit a stream of miniscule anti-matter particles that detonate on contact with normal matter. They are incredibly reliable, and need only enough energy to maintain the electromagnetic containment field that prevents the anti-matter from detonating within the weapon's own mechanism.
- Whip Coil - Some Canoptek Wraiths are equipped with writhing mechanical tendrils that constrict around the foe, pinning them in place whilst other weapons do their devastating work.
- Transdimensional Beamer - A Transdimensional Beamer can be used as a convenient method of banishing unwanted debris, machinery and failed experiments from Tomb Worlds and battlefields into a pocket dimension outside of the normal space-time continuum. However, the Transdimensional Beamer can be used just as easily to banish foes to a long and horrifying death from starvation in the same extradimensional space.
- Wraiths - This article describes the 3rd Edition variant of the Necron Wraith. The canonical status of this article is now questionable because of the 5th Edition make-over of the Necron race.
The term "canoptek" is a play on the word "canoptic", an adjective used to refer to an ancient Egyptian vase, urn, or jar, often known as a canoptic jar, that is used to hold the viscera of an embalmed body. The Necron's flavour has been heavily reworked in the 5th Edition to be even more evocative of ancient Egyptian cultural references.
- Codex: Necrons (5th Edition), pp. 44, 82, 94