As I mentioned on my last post I’ve been looking over the Ravenwing option
for my Marine biker army.
big differences you get if you want to play Ravenwing over normal Vanilla bikes
army. This is by no means an exhaustive review of Ravenwing either, but really
my observations as someone who is interested in moving from a Marine biker army
over to the Ravenwing.
Sammael vs Captain
Ravenwing Combat Squads
bikes as troops. There is no Captain on a bike
option for the Ravenwing, which is a bit of a shame. Azrael will unlock bikes as well as
terminators, but I’d argue that’s the blend you really want there of both units. So if we want a pure Ravenwing army it is all
there is a Speeder option that is 14/14/10, a 4++ save, and TL Assault Cannons
and TL HB. This is nice, but really I
want him on his jetbike so he is able to join and lead a unit.
Linked Storm Bolter (instead of twin linked bolter) and a Plasma Cannon. The later is really cool since we do love us
some Plasma in 6th edition.
He also gets an AP2 sword that is Master Crafted, so he can get through
anyone’s armor though the lack of a Str boost is a downer compared to say my
typical Captain with a Power Fist.
wouldn’t really want to count on it for that last minute objective grab knowing
my penchant for rolling 1s.
though my normal Captain would boast a 2+/3++.
He does gain Eternal Warrior, so Str 10 and Force Weapons are not a
threat. Does this come up? Yes, it actually came up in my last Biker
game (curse you Typhus!) but in reality T5 shrugs off most of the threats to Instant Death. So this seems almost wasted on Sammael instead of the other HQs like Belial or Azrael.
Attack Squad bikes have, but the big one is Skilled Rider. Skilled Rider let’s you auto pass your
Dangerous Terrain but many people forget that you also GAIN +1 to your Jink
save. This means a 4+ jink save with
normal movement or a 3+ Jink if you turbo boost. Don’t forget that he CONFERS this skill to
his unit if they don’t have it, which is pretty sweet in my opinion!
survivability due to his saves, but for the extra 10 points the amount of tools
that Sammael brings to the table makes the trade off more than worth it.
regular Marine Bikers: Grim Resolve, Hit & Run & Scout. When I say Free Skills that is exactly what
this is all about. The cost of 3 RAS bikes is
10 points less that the marine equivalent of 3 bikers. You do lose the LD 9 2 Attack Sarg the marines
would have, whom you can upgrade to for 10 points and is called a Vet Sarg (see
how that works out to be the same essentially?). I’m not sure how worth it that 10 points is
for the Vet Sarg in the end so you may get some point savings there. However is also worth nothing that the Attack
Bike w/ MM is 5 points more. But for the
sake of argument the unit costs about the same when we just look at the bikes
themselves. That means these skills are
essentially FREE. Let’s go through
these all a bit and figure out how much this is really gaining us in the bike
can auto fail morale checks. It sounds neat, but I question is this is
huge improvement of ATKNF? With my current bike army I am usually
avoiding assaults. Once in combat I’m
usually either dead or in some kind of stalemate. If I’m losing bad enough where stubborn would
be helpful that usually means I’ve only got a bike or two left. I think this might be neat for other units
but less so for bikes, especially since we’ve got …
bikes. I know I’ve been tied up in combat I want to get out of in a
hurry. This lets you leave combat to try to get away and save your scoring units, or line up more plasma/bolter death and another possible charge.
the past. For my mobile shooty bikes I don’t know that it adds a lot, as
I usually don’t want to get too close to the enemy. I think there are
some CC options and range limitations for a few units in the Ravenwing (Black Knights) that might encourage you to move up a bit or just redeploy around terrain to maximize your formation. However if the name of the game is scoot and
shoot this is not so helpful. However
outflanking a small unit could indeed be helpful, which leads directly too…
bikes you can combat squad into 2×3 squads.
Neat, though maybe only practical for sending a few small squads into
outflanking mode. 3 bikers tend to wilt
on a sunny day, though there is some help we’ll get into in the Supporting
there on his own (and a possible easy first blood), so I’d argue he almost
always might as well go and try to do some outflanking on any army that plays
with vehicles parked in the backfield.
section. He can’t score and he’s always
on his own. The plus side is you aren’t
giving up a bonus point in the Scourging.
The downside is he isn’t scoring in the Scouring, and you can take a
unit of 5(!) in the Fast Attack slot. So
I’m not sure how needed he is here in the troop section, which brings us to our
supporting cast for the Ravenwing.
Ravenwing and Space Marines: there are no
Attack Bike Squadrons for the Fast Attack.
This isn’t new to Ravenwing players but my own current biker army
usually has 6 of these guys running around for tank busting. As 6th edition progresses we have
seen less and less heavy tank lists, so I’m debating how much losing these
squads is going to mean to me.
add some depth to the Ravenwing force. A
few really stand out to me so I’ll cover those; there are more options in the
book that might tickle your fancy.
to 3 guys is a bummer that we need to start off talking about a bit. These guys
start off not cheap and can get real expensive.
They gain Skilled Rider over normal bikes so a bit of survivability
there, plus you can upgrade an apothecary if you choose. These guys are armed with the new courvus
hammer (+1 Str, Rending) and the Plasma Talon (18” Str 7 AP2 Gets Hot, Twin
Linked, and Rapid Fire if you go by the digital version of the book and the back page summary). The gun is an interesting take
on a Plasma Gun in that Twin Linked is helpful as is rapid fire if only at 9″ to double tap. Still this could be helpful to take down light fliers and makes overwatch pretty deadly to the enemy.
FNP and reroll failed morale and pinning tests to Dark Angels within 12″.
WOW! The downside is of course
the banner is 85 points (yikes!), and you have to keep your guy (did I mention there were
only 3?) alive to make this work. Still
I think there are some really interesting things that can be done with this
unit to keep your normally low model count bike army alive!My first look over these guys and I think you either keep them cheap with a banner, or go whole hog building them out and adding HQs (techmarine on a bike anyone?) to make some kind of super unit. I’m not sure the super unit really works out better than other options, so I’ll be going cheap!
under a similar Frag and Krak like you would see with normal grenades but a 24”
range. The two other modes are Rad Shell
and Stasis Shell and both are only 12” range.
The Rad shell has a Str3 blast where every model in a unit hit (not
wounded) suffers -1 T. The Stasis shell
is also a blast that every model in a unit hit suffers -1 WS and -1 I until the
end of the turn. So those really aren’t
about killing guys, but instead debuffing a unit before an assault. I’m not so sure I’d plant one on the Command Squad but how about…
guys are pretty much equipped like the Command Squad, but the big benefit here
is these guys can go up to 10 guys. If
these were troops we’d be loving it, but it can get expensive as a
fast attack choice. Still they can shoot
plasma death and hit pretty hard in CC, and with skilled rider the jink save
can help them shrug off low AP weapons a bit better than the troops. This unit is pretty much your only CC answer, so a grenade launcher in a unit of 5+ guys I think makes sense. Overall I’m very interested to see how these
guys play on the table top.
is relatively cheap though it isn’t going to kill much.
It is also an AV 10 skimmer so that is always a concern. It has two basic functions. First it gives +1 to assault results to Dark
Angels within 12”. I’d say this is
situational as best for the Ravenwing army.
Stealth. That means this guys jink save
is normally a 3+ and tuboboosting a 2+.
Units around him gain +1 to the jink, but I think this would stack with
skilled rider, which would be great (turboboosting Black Knights have a 2+ jink!).
get the most out of it. I’d probably
keep him turboboosting around to try to keep him afloat and then have to work
the units around him to be most effective.
This could prove challenging on a heavy terrain board but on most
tournament type boards which usually are more limited on terrain this might be workable.
are a great and cheap way to get some long range fire support going. When supported by a Ravenwing Darkshroud
their survivability does increase. There
is also the Land Speeder Vengence in the underused Heavy support slot. I find this a bit expensive for the Plasma Storm
Battery’s limited range of 24”. I think
we can find plenty of AP 2 elsewhere in the army to pass on this guy.
look interesting and points expensive. I
find I’m running out of points in every list I’ve built for Ravenwing. I’m a little worried about fighting heavy
flier armies so the Nephilm probably has a place, but I’m wondering if the army
packs enough Str 7 shots to hopefully bring down one or two fliers.I also am really interested in adding a Librarian on a bike with Divination. We all know Divination is great, though the Primaris power is less useful since we have so many rerolls for shooting. It is still nice in CC, but I’d really only sub it out if I felt Scrizer’s Gaze (the 6th power) would not be useful. All the other powers are pretty wonderful really.
here is the first list I’d like to run to see how it does.
Plasma, 1 CombiPlasma, Attack Bike MM, Typhoon
Plasma, 1 CombiPlasma, Attack Bike MM, Typhoon
Plasma, 1 CombiPlasma, Attack Bike MM
Libby will almost always go with the Command Squad to give them a bit more ‘beef’ and Sammael could join there
or go with a RAS to give them skilled rider as well. There are two Typhoons for some long-range
support, and you could always choose to put these in the fast attack squad as a unit if you choose. The Darkshoud is there to boost
the jink save of everyone who can stay close.
You have potentially 9 scoring units when combat squads break down, and
at the least 6 thought 3 single attack bikes aren’t usually going to hold objective all game long. I’d probably always drop
the attack bikes to outflank against an army with a few tanks in the backfield.
good positioning you can play scoot and shoot with a 4+ jink save and FNP on
the bikes. I’m not sure I’m still dying
to combat squad down to 3 man bike squads even with this extra fancy support,
but it is an option that probably works until those key pieces (FNP Banner and Darkshroud) start going down. Even if that only lasts a turn or two I’ve
got to think you’ve got the firepower to be picking apart the enemy forces.
practice to maneuver to gain the maximum benefits of the units. It is by no means flawless and there are
weaknesses to the army but this isn’t unfamiliar to any bike army general. For instance a few helldrakes will ruin your
day, but the same could be said for a normal Space Marine Bike Army!
do you guys think? I’m certainly going to try to give it a whirl though I think for the next month or two I’ll be sticking with my current Marine bikers for tournament play.