Guest Editorial on the Ravenwing at TSHFT Part 1 by Jeremy Veysseire


This article will cover a specific list that I will be taking to a regional tournament in the Seattle Metropolitan Area, TSHFT OPEN (, ran by a long time TO and awesome persona, Zen from


Some of you might recognize me as MikhailLenin, the French Overlord, the guy that wrote that super (aka: Ultra!) boring (aka: Awesome!) article about my Sisters of Battle and GK ally army that I have been seriously enjoying as the dismay of my local 40k cohorts. But since I reserving their 2013 reappearance for BAO, I was going to take something shiny and new for me for TSHFT OPEN.


Originally I was going to be taking a Necron with CSM allies and then GW decided to drop a bomb on me by releasing the DA Codex a week before the event. At first I dismissed the usual exhilaration of new SM codex because who needs angrier, flawed, hateful super humans? Turns out I did (Who’s got two thumbs up someone’s Wallet (aka: rear-end)? GW!). I used to play a White Scars army back in 4th using Ravenwing rules and then in the early days of 5th edition with the new shiny SM codex but they were soon shelved to follow more interesting ventures. But once again this new Codex offers me the childhood glee of being a Loyalist Commander to the best Astartes Legion to have ever been created! (aka: Historically based on the military force that to this day holds the record for largest dominion of Earth.) But what spark this resurgence of Loyalist Mongolian Bike Fever? (Note: No, not yellow fever…)

  • Hit and Run on every Ravenwing Biker Unit.
  • Scout on every Ravenwing Bike Unit.
  • A Biker unit actually geared for Close Combat. Ravenwing Black Knights.
  • The Removal of Fearless from Ravenwing Units. Which I dislike all through 5th Ed and I will go into why later.
  • Skilled Rider being located on the elite units.

As you can see from the list above, the changes to the core mechanic of the Ravenwing Units is that they essentially have all the tactics and rules that reflect a fluffy White Scars Company. In the Mini Dex they got from WD in 3rd edition, they had Hit&Run and the first early versions of Outflank. They also had a totem that increased their turboboost distance (Rapid Manoeuvre Warlord Trait from Sammael achieves this for his unit also). They also had the “Born in the Saddle” rule giving them Skilled Rider essentially.


But enough about fluff! What about functionality!?!  Well first here is the 2,000 Points list:

  • HQ – Sammael – Raven Sword, Adamantite Mantle, Corvex, Night Halo.
    • Unlocks Ravenwing Attack Squad as Troops and Ravenwing Command Squad.
    • Corvex: Jetbike, Plasmacannon, TL Stormbolter.
    • Raven Sword: AP2 Mastercrafted Powersword.
    • Adamantite Mantle: Eternal Warrior.
    • Not a Killy Character but unlocks what I want, provides decent firepower but especially adds some soaking wounds to the Command Squad to help protect the Banner.
  • HQ – Librarian – Mastery Level 2, Auspex, Space Marine Bike, Force Staff, Psychic Hood.
    • Auspex: Model forgoes shooting to lower cover save by 1 of a target unit within 12”.
    • I would choose Telepathy for Invisibility to make the Command Squad resilient. The other disciplines have potential too but I feel Telepathy gives me the more tools in the bag at the moment.
    • Force Staff is just an aesthetic choice.
    • Being Mastery Level 2 with his Psychic Hood will provide most often a 4+ Deny the Witch Roll to all units within 6” (assuming the Psyker is of lower level).
    • Helps shore up the Command Squad more by adding more wounds.
  • HQ* – Ravenwing Command Squad – 3x – 2 Corvus Hammer, 2 Plasma Talons, Champion w/ Blade of Caliban, Apothecary w/ Narthecium, Standard Bearer w/ Banner of Devastation & Grenade Launcher.
    • Expensive 3 Bike Unit but with the HQ characters, it would help lower the risk to losing the Standard Bearer.
    • Champion upgrade is mostly to gain the Character rule for shooting.
    • Narthecium is for Feel No Pain to the Unit.
    • Banner of Devastation is what this unit is all about. For 65 Points you gain the following Bubbles:
      • All units within 12” Re-roll to Morale and Pinning.
      • All units within 6” grant their Boltguns Salvo 2/4. This essentially makes any Biker Unit with Twin Linked Bolters within 6” (only 1 Model is required to be within) an incredibly deadly volley of bolter round. Being Relentless means the the Bikes can fire 4 Shots, at Max distance while moving and still retaining the ability to assault. Essentially making the 6 men Attack Squad able to fire 24 Twin-Linked Bolter rounds at 24”.
    • The Grenade Launcher offers an additional benefit that multiplies the effect of the Banner + Bike even more which is access to Rad Grenades. For a 12” Str 3 Small Blast, it has the nasty effect of lowering a Unit Toughness by 1 as long as 1 model is hit by the blast (Also means you can affect multiple units with 1 blast assuming they are close enough to each other). This reduction also reduces the Instant Death Threshold meaning that all the sudden my Bolters rounds would Insta Kill T2(3) models. But it also means they wound on 2’s on anything that was reduced to a T2 and on 3’s to anything reduced to a T3.
  • Troops – Ravenwing Attack Squad – 6x + 1x Atk Bike – 2 Plasmaguns, Multimelta.
  • Troops – Ravenwing Attack Squad – 6x + 1x Atk Bike – 2 Flamers, Multimelta.
  • Troops – Ravenwing Attack Squad – 6x + 1x Atk Bike – 2 Meltaguns, Multimelta.
  • Troops – Ravenwing Attack Squad – 6x + 1x Atk Bike – 2 Meltaguns, Multimelta.
  • Troops – Ravenwing Attack Squad – 6x + 1x Atk Bike – 2 Meltaguns, Multimelta.
  • Scoring, Fast, Tough, and as long as they are within 6” of the Banner makes them an effective anti-infantry unit.
  • Fast Att – Ravenwing Black Knights – 5x – 4 Plasma Talons, Power Sword, 1 Grenade Launcher.
    • Plasma Talons: 18” Str 7 Ap2 Rapid Fire, Gets Hot!, Twin Linked. Good compliment to help shore up Anti-Heavy Infantry and not atrocious at hunting Flyers.
    • Grenade Launcher as stated before but in addition to comment on another useful Mode of fire is the Stasis Grenade which works like the Rad Charge except it has no Strength but reduces the WS and Ini of the affected unit(s) by 1. Allowing this more Close Combat Centric Unit to hit MEQ on 3’s in the charge and striking before them.
    • Corus Hammer: The entire unit minus the Huntsmaster is equipped with these and Bolt Pistol. They provide +1 Str and Rending in Close Combat. Essentially making each model 3 Attacks and 4 on the charge with Rending.


As most of you will notice the army has what I call a Combo (even maybe perhaps a 1-trick Pony, get it White Scars, Mongolians, Ponies! Comedic Gold right there!) essentially around the TL Bolters of the Bikes and the Banner and to a lesser extent the Rad Grenades. Assuming the Banner can live past the first turn of enemy fire, you are on your way to put down a lot of hurt quickly. The other downside is essentially requiring that your army moves into this massive bike fest bubble but I soon realized that no matter what you do, you are essentially stuck doing this as all those bikers will take all the open space in your deployment very quickly. Other double edge sword are the Attack Bikes which always function as independent models and thus are likely to give away First Blood very easily but also greatly increase your effectiveness of firepower. I will be blunt and state that this army has a very Nasty Alpha Strike capability because of Scout for it allows your army to be in the perfect shooting position right off the bat. But the army still suffers from the same pitfalls as I had in late 5th Edition with my Vanilla Marine version. T5 used to mean a big difference but with Tzeentch Flamers, GK and Psybolt, Necrons with Tesla, Helldrakes from CSM, Poison from Dark Eldar there is a lot of armies that mechanically make your T5 Marines just as durable as T4 Marines. While it almost has 50 Models on the table, it is still a very small number relative to some of the firepower from certain builds. I hope to see how far I can take them at TSHFT this weekend. I will let you all know how it does and if it punches Reecius or Frankie in the proverbial “ballsack” or vice versa.



About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

45 Responses to “Guest Editorial on the Ravenwing at TSHFT Part 1 by Jeremy Veysseire”

  1. Andy January 24, 2013 2:46 am #


    Congratulations on the result, I am genuinely impressed at the level of detail and understanding that has gone into constructing the list.

    I am a biker virgin about to empty my wallet all over GW….and

    I was wondering if you see your army developing and how or if you think it’s a build that will have some longevity in its current form. I appreciate it is early days for the army

  2. Ben January 24, 2013 7:10 am #

    Congrats on the result. I think your win combined with some results other bike armies are putting up, I think it is safe to say 6th edition has opened up the possibility of a bike renaissance. Baleflammers and Deamons being the obvious hard counter but the Bikes have answers.

    I think it will be interesting to see how DA bikes compair to Vannilla Marines over time. I think each Dex has pros and cons about it. The cynergies DA has with their banners versus the IMO supperiour support options in the Vanilla Dex, Combat tactics, and point cost set up an interesting debate with out a clear answer.

    Reece teased there might be some battle reports coming about yur tournament. I’m really looking forward to it if it is happening.

  3. David Key January 24, 2013 11:12 am #

    Well played tournament and nice article. I used to run RW back in 4th edition too! I like how the rules are fluffy again.

    Question: I was considering the similar list combo that you ran here (Banner + relentless bikes), but I ultimately thought “Naw, the banner will just get taken out by precision shots or lack of models in the RW command unit(even with added ICs).”

    What was your experience with this? Were you able to protect it reliably while still conferring the buff to most units? Did people alpha it out in any game? How does the army play without it?

    • MikhailLenin January 24, 2013 11:34 am #

      The Banner only really needs to stick around for 1 or 2 turns to do its damage since its pretty much time to mope up or spread out. Even with the Banner gone, the game is not over then. I think there is too much focus on making the sure the Banner survives the entire game but after the few games with the list, I feel its time to shine is on the first 2 turns of shooting, after that point its not all that necessary. To be honest what really makes the army competitive now is the Combination of Stubborn, Scout and Hit&Run of the army. The ability to decimate Infantry is just a nice bonus. But the true power is controlling the field of battle.

  4. CaptainA January 24, 2013 11:13 am #

    Lets see some batreps!

    • Reecius January 24, 2013 4:40 pm #

      They will be up on Saturday!

  5. umbo January 24, 2013 11:31 am #

    I was told the rad grenades only reduce toughness of ‘models’ they hit. Not the whole unit. I am wrong?



    • MikhailLenin January 24, 2013 11:45 am #

      Currently in the Codex I own, it states: “Every model in a unit hit by one or more rad shells suffers -1 penalty to their Toughness until the end of the turn (this can affect the victims’ Instant Death threshold).”

      The focus is on the Unit being hit not the models.

      • umbo January 24, 2013 11:51 am #

        Thanks for the post, good to see the rule for myself. I think you can read it two ways, dam GW… Might need a faq

        Reminds me of the death ray wordings issue

      • BBF January 24, 2013 1:31 pm #

        So it is on a per model basis, not unit.

        • MikhailLenin January 24, 2013 1:34 pm #

          A) Every model in
          B) a unit hit by one or more
          C) rad shells suffers -1 penalty to their Toughness
          D) until the end of the turn
          E) (this can affect the victims’ Instant Death threshold).

          Sentence Structure seems to indicate you are wrong.

          But you are welcome to argue the other way also which makes it even less sense and playable 😉

          • Black Blow Fly January 24, 2013 3:40 pm

            I tend to stick with the more conservative views (IMO :=) )… It’s still really good if you play it per model and it’s fairly easy to touch the models you want to rad.

        • bugsculptor January 25, 2013 9:43 am #

          No, because then it would say:

          “Every model hit by one or more rad shells suffers -1 penalty to their Toughness until the end of the turn (this can affect the victims’ Instant Death threshold).”

          By explicitly writing “Every model in a unit” they’ve made it apply to the whole unit.

          I also don’t have any particular beef in this argument… I’m obviously going to have these horrible little grenades getting fired at my nids. I just don’t think this one is vague at all.

  6. umbo January 24, 2013 11:36 am #

    I do like the army, as its v similar to a list a friend and I wrote, only differences are we had the land speeder with improve cover saves and SM libby on bike (null zone obviously), scouts (to claim high up objectives which bikes cant) and some hyperious platforms

    • MikhailLenin January 24, 2013 11:47 am #

      My list after the Tournament reflections was that I dropped the Libby altogether for a Darkshroud Speeder and 1 more Black Knight with Grenade Launcher.

      I also dropped all the Veteran Sergeants and with those points bought a 7th Black Knight and upgraded 2 of the Meltaguns to Plasmaguns.

      • umbo January 24, 2013 12:19 pm #

        sounds v good to me!, are you not worried about the high up objectives?

        • MikhailLenin January 24, 2013 12:34 pm #

          You mean Objectives in Multi Level ruins?

      • Black Blow Fly January 24, 2013 3:46 pm #

        I was curious as to why you went heavy with meltaguns for the Ravenwing attack squads… I see you’ve added more plasmaguns. I’d like to see your thoughts as to the distribution.

        • MikhailLenin January 25, 2013 11:30 am #

          To be honest, I think a fair mix of Special Weapon is best. The reason I keep 2 units of Meltaguns over Plasmaguns is for the game I dont go first and decide to outflank the Attack Bikes as to not give up First Blood that quickly.

          Overall I like the choice of still having 2 Units with Meltaguns, 2 Units with Plasmagun and 1 Unit with Flamers.

  7. MikhailLenin January 24, 2013 12:33 pm #

    You mean Objectives in Multi Level ruins?

    • umbo January 24, 2013 12:47 pm #


      • MikhailLenin January 24, 2013 1:04 pm #

        Try to Deploy Objectives around ruins to block opponent being able to. If Step 1 doesn’t work, destroy all scoring models near those objectives. If Step 2 doesn’t work, Fly Sammael to contest.
        If Step 3, doesn’t work grab more objectives than your opponent.
        If Step 4, doesn’t work than Godspeed.

  8. Overwatch January 24, 2013 12:58 pm #

    What do you think your chances are of tabling a Necron army, that is flier heavy, before turn 2 when some of the fliers come on? I have been trying to figure out how well a list I run with 3 Annihilation barges and a squad of Warriors with a res orb lord on the field would hold up against an alpha strike from this list. I don’t have anyone in my current meta that I could practice against. I am thinking it would be fairly easy for you to do.

    • Reecius January 24, 2013 4:33 pm #

      Yeah I agree. With scouts and all of that firepower, particularly going first, it would not be that hard, IMO. A lot would depend on terrain.

      • bugsculptor January 25, 2013 9:48 am #

        As an alternative dick move, in Dawn of War do you think you’d actually be able to move the whole bike army into a stripe down the opponents table edge so all flyers had to fly over you and you’d only get shot by the one or two that could target things behind them?

        I’m not quite sure how much table space this many bikes would take up when dispersed well… but they’re pretty big models.

        • Reecius January 25, 2013 3:58 pm #

          I can see that working, for sure. And it doesn’t take as many models as you think with long biker bases and 2″ gaps between models. It’s the rest of the army you have to consider at that point.

  9. BBF January 24, 2013 1:32 pm #

    Liek you said RW is a lot like the WS now… they are really good for bikes but I’m not completely sold on them just yet . Your results do speak for themselves and are extremely impressive !

  10. Dok January 24, 2013 2:44 pm #

    Why no typhoons with the squads of bikes? Was it due to not having enough points or was there a specific consideration?

    • MikhailLenin January 24, 2013 2:55 pm #

      They used to be a necessity when providing the grunt work to the army with anti infantry or anti armor but with First Blood, 2 HP, a lot less Mech for 6th and Salvo 4 Bolters makes the Typhoon a lot less lucrative.

    • Reecius January 24, 2013 4:34 pm #

      I agree, Typhoons are bloody amazing, I love them.

  11. Cypher623 January 24, 2013 3:58 pm #

    I can vouch for this list. Although you beat me to it at a tournament I playtested almost the exact same list at 1850 (sans librarian) plus Darkshroud this past weekend with my son. I thought I would be the first because Ravenwing is one of my primary armies. My son plays a foot dark eldar list with massed poisoned shooting twin linked thanks to Eldrad. It was really all over after the second turn. I got first turn, scouted, poured 144 twin-linked bolter rounds into his squad foot squads and even with a 4+ cover and FNP they wilted. At the top of turn two, I fired my second salvo and sent the bikes in, checkmate. I am WORRIED about the command squad being so small, so I will likely make room for and Interrogator Chaplain with a power field generator.

  12. Vette114 January 24, 2013 4:47 pm #

    I was also curious as to how you dealt with flyers, I’m admittedly new to flyers/6th ed so i’m curious as to how you fought flyers as they appeared.

    • Reecius January 24, 2013 5:35 pm #

      I am curious to hear this as well. I would imagine he would use speed and hugging the board edge to avoid it, or get into HtH where he couldn’t be shot.

    • MikhailLenin January 24, 2013 5:46 pm #

      I talk about it in my Bat Reps, but most often I jacked the Aegis Quad Gun or Icarus Lascannon after clearing the surrounding. Also Black Knights with Plasma Talon can chase down flyers with TL Plasma Talons. If a Flyer has some nasty CC unit, I use my speed to keep out of charge range and take pock shots with units that dont need to fire at any other target. Though a lot of Fliers are AV10 in the rear and I found out that TL Bolter in the Rear can do some damage too.

      Its not the cleanest strategy but it works =)

      • MikhailLenin January 24, 2013 5:47 pm #

        When I say Jacked I mean steal my opponent Quad Gun or Icarus.

  13. dr.insanotron January 24, 2013 5:49 pm #

    He also has a very good chance to table Flier based armies before the fliers show up

  14. Karaghul January 24, 2013 6:41 pm #

    Hi there!

    Congratulations on the result!

    I was myself considering to play with a similar list, but without the lib (which IMO makes an expensive 3 (4 with Sammael)-model unit even more expensive without providing too much resillience, as well as without Black Knights, and running with 2 squads of 6 Devastators (sergeant + extra wound guy + 4 las-cannons) * 2 (164pts each).

    Do you not consider it an interesting build? The devastators feel very cheap for those 4 las-cannons, one of them with signum, and the enemy will most often be busy shooting bikes, so they should often be able to fire freely the entire match.

    I guess you just went with the extra bikes.

    Any thoughts on that alternative tho (the devastators)?

    • MikhailLenin January 25, 2013 11:38 am #

      With all the Scouting and mobility I have found a need for a static heavy support unit but it is an option. Mostly i stuck to the theme of White Scars and took all bikers.

      But thinking about adding devastators doesn’t seem to be a vertical shift to the list to me, even more of just a horizontal shift and if it comes at the cost of Black Knights than it is very much a downgrade as the one weakness of Biker Armies typically is the last of C&C focus unit.

  15. Karaghul January 24, 2013 7:03 pm #

    Also, another little question that i forgot to ask; In general, how essential have you found the Black Knights to be? (You seem to be quite pleased regarging them).

    Do you think similar lists could work just as fine without them and (for example) the already mentioned devastators instead, or are the Black Knights just too important for the list to function properly?

    Thanks before-hand!

    • MikhailLenin January 25, 2013 11:43 am #

      Black Knights are an amazing Close Combat support unit for a Biker Heavy List.
      A) Str 5 and Rending with 4 Attacks on the Charge + Hammer of Wrath
      B) Rad and Stasis Shells
      C) Plasmatalons which are neat at killing flyers.

      • Karaghul January 25, 2013 1:07 pm #

        Thanks a lot for the feedback, I will give the Black Knights a chance, you do raise a very good point.

        It is not always easy to build strong, competitive lists over here with certain Codices (specially the most newly released), since many tournaments have quite rigid “comp-restrictions”, but the Black Knights don’t currently give any “minus” (which, for instance, the standard, as well as playing a bike-heavy list do), so I’ll definetedly give them a shot!

        Thanks again!

  16. fluger January 25, 2013 12:47 pm #

    We need to meet in a tournament again. Maybe at the GC. Someone needs to take you down a peg! 😛

  17. jadedknight January 25, 2013 8:24 pm #

    I’m curious of these 5 games how many times did you:

    1) Go first
    2) Get Invisibility
    3) Lose the banner before turn 3 in some unlucky turn of events

    • MikhailLenin January 25, 2013 11:43 pm #

      1) 4 Times,
      2) Never rolled Invis
      3) Lost the Banner twice but only once before turn 3. Lost all the Command squad by the banner at least every game =)

      • jadedknight January 26, 2013 10:16 am #

        Do you think that achieving first turn was a key success factor for running this list?

        It seems on average that meant 3+ turns of dakka dakka instead of 2+ on average. Except for one game. Or do other factors mitigate going second?

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