Wraith cruisers are typically seen to escort Hive ships during assaults or when feeding on a Human world. When their Hive ships are destroyed, the escorting cruisers typically abandon the battlefield by escaping into hyperspace. Beyond this role, they are also seen in the role of patrol ships that are sent to investigate disturbances near Wraith territory. They are also sent alone against Human worlds in order to cull its inhabitants that are incapable of mounting a defense against the vessel. Similar to other Wraith vessels, they apparently do not possess shields and instead rely on their organic hull to protect them from damage. Like hive ships, Wraith cruisers require a Wraith or someone with their DNA to pilot it.
When among the company of a Hive ship, cruisers typically are carried into hyperspace even though they are capable of entering it by themselves. They are known to carry Wraith Darts on them which are deployed in combat engagements, though the exact number of Darts remains unknown.
Wraith cruisers are relatively meager in size and power when compared to equivalent ships of other races. A Daedalus-class ship, for example, has superior energy weapons and shields. As Wraith vessels rely on their regenerative hull for protection, a cruiser can be destroyed by phaser fire and torpedoes, and even natural lightning. Additionally, a direct hit from quantum phasers can tear the cruiser apart; if critical systems are damaged, secondary explosions will destroy it completely. Targeted shots are capable of disabling the hyperdrive without destroying the cruiser as well.
While the Atlantis team has mainly encountered larger cruisers, there is a smaller class that do not possess Wraith Darts and serve more of a transport than a combat purpose. They do however have a shuttle bay where Puddle Jumpers or scout ships can land and airlocks that allow them to connect to other Wraith ships directly.
Cruisers are equipped with a bridge similar in structure to those of Hive ships consisting of numerous consoles where the crew stands. These consoles are used to operate the ship, allowing the crew to fire weapons, enter hyperspace, launch darts, and control repair operations.
Cruisers were capable of carrying a complement of Wraith Darts, which they released for culling and combat engagements. Colonel John Sheppard used a cloaked Puddle Jumper to enter the Dart bay of Michael Kenmore's cruiser in order to rescue Teyla Emmagan.
Whenever a cruiser would face destruction, Darts from the bay are launched in an attempt to board an enemy ship.
- Presumably, the dart bay contained many of the same features as those on a Hive ship.
The Wraith hyperdrive aboard cruisers is unique in that it appears to be suspended from the ceiling of the vessel. Several terminals lay on the ground where crewmen tended to the controls. Typically, three crewmen were all that was required to maintain the hyperdrive.
The hyperdrive of Michael Kenmore's cruiser was disabled by the quantum phasers of the Daedalus. However, the repairs were completed quickly until Colonel John Sheppard used explosives to permanently destroy the hyperdrive.
- Presumably, a Hive ship contains an exact but larger version of these hyperdrives within their ships.
- At least a cruiser destroyed in orbit of P7L-418 during the Lantean Wraith War.
- One cruiser was damaged during the first siege of Atlantis when the Lanteans were in control of the city and was shot down whereupon it crashed into the bottom of the ocean where it remained intact after 10,000 years. Dr. Rodney McKay believed that its main engines were damaged and shut down and that it was repairable. This cruiser carried Queen Coldamber, the original Queen Death and the most feared Wraith in history. After the discovery of the mobile drilling platform, Coldamber attempts to use her cruiser's self-destruct to destroy Atlantis, but is fooled into disarming it by Teyla Emmagan. Afterwards, Coldamber is killed on her cruiser by Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard and Doctor Rodney McKay after which it is abandoned on the ocean floor.
- A Wraith cruiser was destroyed by Ronon Dex and the V'rdai Nehar'lem with a rigged shuttle.
- Two cruisers and hundreds of Wraith Darts attacked Proculus while Chaya Sar was away. Detecting the threat, Chaya raced back followed by Major John Sheppard and destroyed the fleet - including the cruisers - with her powers.
- Three hive ships and nine cruisers culled Orin's homeworld .
- During the Battle of Starbase Atlantis, numerous cruisers survived the conflict when the Daedalus arrived but instead of fighting to the death, they retreated into hyperspace. Given the massive Wraith fleet that showed up later, it is believed they called for reinforcements.
- On M32-3R1 it was a cruiser that was trapped on the planet by an Ancient planetary force shield. Destroyed crashing in the sea by John Sheppard's team.
- A cruiser was present on Olesia where it attempted to kill Lt. Colonel John Sheppard's team but was damaged by a Drone weapon from a Puddle Jumper. Two more took the place of it when it retreated and chased the team through the Stargate then turned to cull the mainland.
- Two cruisers discovered the Ancient warship Aurora and attempted to board it but were destroyed when the ship activated its self-destruct.
- Two cruisers were destroyed by a storm lightning when attempted to follow the Apollo through it.
- When Lieutenant Aiden Ford was culled by a Wraith Dart, he was deposited on a cruiser where he woke up fast due to the immunity to stunning the Wraith enzyme gave him, killed a few Wraith, stole some more enzyme and escaped, something he said was easy to do as the Wraith don't expect anyone to board their ships.
- The Wraith supply ship discovered shot down on the Light Bugs' Planet by the Lagrangian Point satellite during the First siege of Atlantis is stated to be a Wraith cruiser. }
- Shortly after the Battle of Edowin, the Atlantis expedition observes two cruisers fighting each other as part of the Wraith civil war. During the Goa'uld attempt to destroy Starbase Atlantis, a distress call is sent out, drawing the cruisers attention to Atlantis and ending their fighting. The expedition is forced to cloak the starbase to avoid detection, nearly resulting in a ZPM overload due to the attempt to destroy the starbase. The attempt is averted and the two cruisers are fooled by the cloak and debris left on the shore of Lantea's mainland with a transmitter, making it appear to the cruisers as if the distress signal came from the transmitter left in the debris. After falling for the trick, the cruisers leave harmlessly.
- A cruiser discovered and attacked an Aurora-class vessel used by the Travelers, damaging it. The cruiser was destroyed by a retaliatory Drone weapon barrage.
- Michael Kenmore possessed a cruiser which he used as his mobile base of operations which he used to capture Teyla Emmagan, but it was eventually destroyed by the USS Daedalus quantum phasers during the Battle of M2S-445.
- Todd had two cruisers present with his Hive ship when he had negotiations concerning the gene therapy to eliminate the need to feed on humans. Both were called away to help defend one of their alliance's facilities and were subsequently destroyed by the Attero device, when they entered hyperspace.
- Todd travels to Vell in a small Wraith cruiser to make a deal with Sheppard's team.
- During the Battle of Levanna, a Wraith cruiser maintains orbit of Levanna but does not take part in the battle. It retreats with the rest of the Wraith at the end of the battle.
- A Wraith cruiser named Eternal takes part in the Battle of the Frozen Planet alongside a hive ship. An F-302 manages to take out the cruiser's life support, killing its crew and leaving it adrift. Atlantis later repairs the cruiser for Teyla's use in a rescue mission. The Eternal becomes Teyla's personal ship during her guise as Queen Steelflower and is given to Todd after the Second Battle of Starbase Atlantis. Todd later uses the Eternal as transport during the standoff over Wolf.
- When Guide's hive was attacked, his pregnant daughter Alabastar escaped in Wraith cruiser that was believed destroyed. However, the cruiser managed to escape through hyperspace to an inhabitable world with a Spacegate. The cruiser crashed, killing the crew, but Alabastar got off in an escape pod and survived, though she was left stranded on the planet.
- Several cruisers take part in the Second Battle of Starbase Atlantis as part of both Todd's fleet and Queen Death's. Several are destroyed by the Lantean cruiser Pride of the Genii and Atlantis. After the death of Queen Death, the few surviving cruisers under her command surrender to Alabaster.
- One of Queen Death's cruisers is heavily rigged with explosives in an attempt to destroy Atlantis during the battle with engine damage to Atlantis preventing Sheppard from maneuvering away. An away team led by Teyla and assisted by Doctor Radek Zelenka and later the Wraith Ember, board the cruiser, take it over and disarm the bombs. The cruiser is used to send a boarding party to Queen Death's hive ship while Zelenka and Ember attempt to drain the hive ship's power through the cruiser. The two are forced to evacuate in a Puddle Jumper piloted by Doctor Eva Robinson after two more cruisers attack to stop them. The attack leaves the Puddle Jumper adrift, but it is picked up by the George Hammond after the battle.
- Coldamber's cruiser
- Michael's cruiser
- Wraith supply ship