Raven Guard Tactics


Raven Guard – Victorus aut Mortis -a Tactica by Peter Wisniewski

I’m not one that will be found trolling the internet looking for the next greatest net list.  Nor am I one that will be found skulking BOLS or Dakka stirring up GW hate.  I am however, one that listens to a great many podcasts to get the latest news, rumors, and discussions on tournaments and hobby in general.  Since the creation of chapter tactics everyone has mentioned time and time again that the Raven Guard were getting the short end of the unlucky stick in comparison to the other founding chapters.  Their minds go back to 5th edition reminiscing on the glory days of when Raven Guard was “good”.  The new rules don’t represent the chapter, some other founding chapters tactics like White Scars better suite them.  How come the White Scars can do Raven Guard better than the Raven Guard?  I’m sure you’ve heard all of this before.  The crushing negativity that weighs so heavy on my favorite founding chapter’s heart.  Well it’s a damn good thing they have two then giving them the strength to overcome.

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When I first saw the change to the rules in 6th edition I too wondered what Games Workshop had in mind.  Then when the 7th edition codex dropped, I let the same negative outside influence my thoughts on their new rules before I even looked at them.  I cracked open the book and I skipped over them and went straight for my trusty old Imperial Fists thinking maybe I’ll have to wait until the next codex to get it right.  Then a few weeks later I gave their tactics a glance.  Then after a few days I gave them a glance again and eureka!  Games Workshop nailed it with their tactics.

Hey everyone I’m Peter from NGC40k.  I’m a long time gamer that has moved through all aspects of this hobby we love.  Starting out as a garage gamer in the early 90’s, moving on to a tournament player during 5th ed and again moving on to my current status as a narrative gamer.  Ninjas and Tigers, it’s what every boy loves right!  We then grow up to like the Raven Guard and some of us even closet root for the Bengals, but I digress.

What do we know about the Raven Guard?  They are one of the founding chapters, the XIXth Legion.  They were led by a cunning Primarch, Corvus Corax.  Before the Heresy they were known for their speed, stealth and precision.  The drop site massacre on Istvaan V left their legion decimated, forcing them to pull from the fight until they could bolster their numbers.  Even then they did not let this stop them from participating in the war.  They became masters of the unseen war, guerilla warfare at its most extreme.  The Raven Guard stalk and study their prey from the shadows and wait for the perfect moment to strike their foe in a bloody, yet brief assault.  Because of their fighting style they are known for their infiltration and expert close combat skills.  They make heavy use of scouts and jump pack equipped assault troops.   .   . Yes, yes yes Peter, we all know this about the Raven Guard!

If you want more background on the Raven Guard go to wiki.  Don’t take my word for it, Reading Rainbow.

raven guard scout

Since we are all now semi experts in the fluff surrounding the Raven Guard, let’s revisit their chapter tactics in their current state.

Strike from the Shadows: Non-vehicle models that are not in a transport receive the shrouded special rule first game turn.  Furthermore, night fight happens on a 4+.

Winged Deliverance: Jump units can use their packs in both movement and assault phases of the same turn.  They also reroll failed to wound hammer of wrath hits.

First let’s look at the names of their tactics; Strike from the Shadows and Winged Deliverance.  The names alone speak Raveny goodness to me.  Who would benefit the most from these rules?  Sorry, must take a break for a peanut butter filled pretzels which taste so good with a cold pint of Smithwicks.  Anyhow, who would benefit the most from these rules?  The second one is obvious: jump pack assault troops.  The first one not so much.  We all can imagine certain scenarios when the Strike from the Shadows rule would be handy.  I think about the possibility it gives all the time.: Scouts my 40k loving friends, Scouts!   And Scouts have received a bump in this edition making them even tougher.  You get a lot of scouts in camo cloaks with combat knives and bolt pistols, throw them in the face of your opponent first turn and watch them play out their panic on the table top.  Now you have a unit that gets a 4+ normal and a 3+ cover save with a 50% potential of having a 2+ cover save first turn.  Combine this with the scout and infiltrate special rules and you have a wall of hurt within 12” of strike distance.

Jump pack troops quickly moving up, scouts ghillie suited up, sneaking into the enemy’s lines, and all of these units are shrouded.  This screams Raven Guard!

I threw together an example Raven Guard list using the units that benefit the most from their tactics.  It’s a Maximum Threat Overload (MTO) list that is designed to hit very hard 2nd turn.  And hey, it turns out its super fluffy too.  I know this list will have its issues with death stars, Lords of War and other such things, but there is enough here that you can avoid these units and decimate the rest of your opponents army and deal with the death star and LoW in later rounds. What do you guys think about it?

Raven Guard CAD 1850pts
Unit Description Size Cost
Captain Jump pack, Digital weapons, pair of lightning claws 1 145
Vanguard Veterans Jump pack, 2x pair of lightning claws, thunder hammer and sgt w/relic blade 5 165
Vanguard Veterans Jump pack, 2x pair of lightning claws, thunder hammer and sgt w/relic blade 5 165
Assault Troops Jump pack, Eviscerator and sgt has a pair of claws and melta bombs 10 230
Assault Troops Jump pack, Eviscerator and sgt has a pair of claws and melta bombs 10 230
Assault Troops Jump pack, Eviscerator and sgt has a pair of claws and melta bombs 10 230
Scouts Camo Cloaks, Combat Blade & Bolt Pistol, sgt with a Power Fist 10 155
Scouts Camo Cloaks, Combat Blade & Bolt Pistol, sgt with a Power Fist 10 155
Scouts Camo Cloaks, Combat Blade & Bolt Pistol, sgt with a Power Fist 10 155
Scouts Bolters, DT: Storm w/ assault Cannon 5 110
Scouts Bolters, DT: Storm w/ assault Cannon 5 110


About Reecius

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

25 Responses to “Raven Guard Tactics”

  1. Avatar
    Peter Wisniewski August 6, 2015 11:55 am #

    If you want to know more about the author of this article and ngc40k, visit his website at http://www.ngc40k.com

  2. Avatar
    Sam August 6, 2015 11:56 am #

    I like where your going with this but if you add the skyhammer annihilation force you have anti LOW devastators and shrouded assault troops that are immune to overwatch and can charge turn 1.

    I started building this Ravenguard list so i can field a complete IA8 campaign.

    • Reecius
      Reecius August 6, 2015 1:58 pm #

      Good point, Sam. I think the Skyhammer formation would be GREAT in a list like this.

      • Avatar
        Sam August 6, 2015 2:36 pm #

        Since I was building my list specifically for IA8 ravenguard I use
        Shadow captain Korvydae to lead a unit of vanguard vets. He is adds hit and run to a squad he joins and makes assault squads troop choices. To bad he isn’t legal outside of IA8 campaign.

    • Avatar
      Peter Wisniewski August 6, 2015 2:15 pm #

      I plan to play test the original fluffy design and Sam’s heartbreaker list and I’ll write a follow up article.

      • Reecius
        Reecius August 6, 2015 2:16 pm #

        Nice, I look forward to it! Skyhammer is pretty dang good, and could add a lot to this style army, I think. Will be cool to hear your feedback.

  3. Avatar
    Peter Wisniewski August 6, 2015 12:01 pm #

    Good call. I had a few extras that I thought would be good additions like an assassin or the relic standard that gives +1 attack and makes them fearless.

  4. Avatar
    HacksawBuchanan August 6, 2015 12:32 pm #

    I would also consider a Chaplain instead of captain to give hatred to one of the groups of vets.
    Your captain kitted out as he is doesnt really bring much (except +1 attacks and a reroll for one of his failed) that giving a vet 2 claws and adding a chaplain would. I agree a Ravenguard list should go scout heavy this edition.

    I find myself gravitating toward the idea of a two Chaplain HQs each leading a set of nicely equipped vets to harass enemy units.

    Of course you might just be worried that with the Chaplain they’ll be too choppy and get left out in the open to be shot.

    Either way, great article, great to see some RG love. Now if we could only get Shrike sorted out.

    • Reecius
      Reecius August 6, 2015 2:17 pm #

      Chaplains do add a ton to Assault Marines. Even though he is not optimal, I’d love to see my boy Shrike in there! Or, Korvydae, he’s an awesome RG character.

      • Avatar
        Peter Wisniewski August 6, 2015 3:11 pm #

        I like Korvydae too. Especially with the assault squads as troop rule. Kastorel Novum is no longer on the FW site and hasn’t been for a while. I’m hoping this means they are revamping it.

        • Reecius
          Reecius August 6, 2015 3:15 pm #

          Yeah, it is OOP right now, hopefully will get updated, soon.

        • Avatar
          HacksawBuchanan August 6, 2015 9:13 pm #

          Fingers crossed Korydae gets faq’ed into the captains for the demi company. While i’d prefer him with vets, 10 hit and run assault marines sounds kinda awesome.

      • Avatar
        HacksawBuchanan August 6, 2015 9:15 pm #

        Shrike is still awesome yeah. I like to envision Its like the scene from dead alive with the lawnmower when he wades through piles of my buddies orks.

  5. Avatar
    fluger August 6, 2015 3:53 pm #

    I’ve had this thread on Frontline sitting desolate and lonely for over a month: http://www.frontlinegaming.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=2136

    • Avatar
      Peter Wisniewski August 6, 2015 6:38 pm #

      My thoughts were to keep them a ninja like strike group that comes from the shadows, hits hard and retreats. I suppose another way to view them, to try and keep it fluffy, is the scouts and vanguard are the pathfinders and LRRP. They creep up, paint the target, mark the LZ and bring in the big guns from on high. They then strike drawing attention away from the hammer.

      • Avatar
        fluger August 7, 2015 7:26 am #

        Yup. I think drop pod assault and scouts is very raven guard.

        My goal was to leverage the CT to it’s best abilities.

        I’m looking at redoing the list because the 10th company formation means the scouts aren’t ob sec. And that’s a shame. I like the precision shots and having stealth/shrouding turn one, but I’d rather have ob sec and pay for cloaks I think.

        In terms of fluff, I see Ravenguard as avoiding vehicles other than dreadnoughts, pods, and flyers and focusing on alpha/beta strike style lists. Heavy use of scouts is a must, and the CT kinda demands using Van Vets IMO (and that formation is pretty slick for them).

        I really wish that all their tacticals came with scout stock or something like that still, but only if they aren’t in a vehicle.

        Anyway, RG are my favorite chapter, and I keep wanting to play them, but I also want to play them competitively, and that just seems to keep eluding GW in how to do it.

        As a side note, I like the Raptors CTs and Lias for capturing the FEEL of Ravenguard. I’m considering a CAD with Lias and tacticals and then RG CT for the Vet Squad and the 10th Company Formation…

        • Avatar
          fluger August 7, 2015 1:51 pm #

          I cobbled this together and I think I like it.

          Combined Arms Detachment (Raptors CT):

          Lias Issodon: 175

          8 Honor Guard: 210

          10 Scouts: 140
          8 Bolters, 1 Missile Launcher
          Combi-grav, Meltabombs

          10 Scouts: 140
          8 Bolters, 1 Missile Launcher
          Combi-grav, Meltabombs

          10 Scouts: 140
          8 Bolters, 1 Missile Launcher
          Combi-grav, Meltabombs

          10 Scouts: 140
          8 Bolters, 1 Missile Launcher
          Combi-grav, Meltabombs

          Stormtalon: 120
          Skyhammer ML

          Stormtalon: 120
          Skyhammer ML

          1st Company Strike Force (Ravenguard CT): 780

          10 Sternguard Veterans: 220 + 35
          Drop Pod

          10 Vanguard Veterans: 270
          Jump Packs, 4 Power Mauls, 2 Power Axes, 4 Meltabombs

          10 Vanguard Veterans: 270
          Jump Packs, 4 Power Mauls, 2 Power Axes, 4 Meltabombs

          1965 pts

          • Avatar
            jpwyrm August 7, 2015 8:42 pm

            Nice list fluger! I love the Ravens and their cousins too and I think you have nailed how to take advantage of the CT. Here’s a variant list at 1850 pts I want to try out soon:

            Raptor CAD

            Lias Issodon

            10 Scouts, bolters, camo cloak, sergeant with combi-grav

            10 Scouts, bolters, camo cloak, sergeant with combi-grav + LSS with heavy flamer

            Raven Guard Formations

            1st Company Task Force

            10 Vanguard Vets, 2 power swords, 2 twin lightning claws, 2 thunder hammers, sergeant with stormshield and lightning claw

            10 Vanguard Vets, 2 power swords, 2 twin lightning claws, 2 thunder hammers, sergeant with stormshield and lightning claw

            5 Sternguards witch combi-meltas, Drop pod

            Skyhammer Annihilation Force

            5 Assault marines, 2 flamers

            5 Assault marines, 2 flamers

            5 Devastators, 3 multi-melta, 1 Grav-canon, Drop pod

            5 Devastators, 3 multi-melta, 1 Grav-canon, Drop pod

            So here we are: Scouts and Vanguards are the men on the ground with Lias. Then the Alpha strike comes in screaming from above, focusing on one part of the opponents army to neutralize it. If he reserves a lot of his force, I can bring the Skyhammer on the second turn and Outflank the Vanguards and Sternguards if necessary.

            I think this is going towards bringing an army list that is true to the Raven Guard Chapter’s combat doctrine.


          • Avatar
            fluger August 10, 2015 8:52 am

            Yeah, that’s similar to what I was going for in the first list. I think the skyhammer works great as a Ravenguard strategy.

  6. Avatar
    fluger August 6, 2015 3:56 pm #

    As to your list, I think investing in basic Jumper is a mistake. They are still bad even with the RG buffs. Better to use the points to get the vet formation and go all in on veteran jumpers.

  7. Avatar
    Tsumugi August 6, 2015 5:01 pm #

    I was expecting to see Centurions Devastators.

    With shrouded, they can easily be placed on the edge of your deployment zone and move forward on turn 1. No transport needed, no drop pod needed. E

    Even in open ground they will get 5+ cover on turn 1, 3+ if nigh fight is a go.I think this might solve centurions’ problem of: “Need a transport so they won’t get shoot to bits on turn 1”.

    Just a thought though, not sure if viable.

  8. Avatar
    Deuce11 August 8, 2015 7:37 am #

    Really happy about this article. I was left hoping the author would delve a little deeper into his intended strategy for the list. I was really getting into the content and wanted more!

  9. Avatar
    JM August 18, 2015 1:10 pm #

    Digital weapons are redundant as they allow a single re-roll to wound, but claws already have shred.

  10. Avatar
    Schills September 12, 2015 8:06 am #

    Once the Raven Guard Forge World “scout” models are released I plan on building the list below.

    Gladius Strike Force
    3 Tactical Squads: Sgt. Combi-melta; 4 Tactical Marines Meltagun Drop Pod
    1 Assault Squad: Sgt Jump Pack 9 Assault Marines – 2 Eviscerstors, Jump Packs
    1 Devastator Squad: Sgt; 4 Devastator Marines – Grav Cannon & Grav Amp Drop Pod

    1st Comoany Task Force
    3 x 5 Vanguard Veteran Squads: Veteran Sgt.power weapon;nJump Pack; 4 Veterans – 4 power weapons, 3 Meltabombs Jump Packs

    10th Company Task Force
    5 Scout Squads: Scout Sgt. Sniper Rifle; 4 Scouts, sniper rifles Land Speeder Storm – Assault Cannon.

    The choices are best on the following considerations. While a Combined Arms Detachment gives Space Marines up to 18′ objective secured units, it does not benefit from Doctrines. This is a severe limitation. I have experienced multiple times the pain of failing a critical meltagun roll or missing snap shots at flyers etc.

    In order to maximize my access to Doctrines, I looked at constructing a Gladius Strike Force.
    I decided on drop poding tactical squads because I look at Raven Guard firet turn shroud as a means to getting into combat as quickly as possibke whie providing some mitigstion against AP 3 or better shooting. Since Tactical Squads are pretty weak in assssult and are not fast enough tonget there turn one, I stuck them in pods. Pods also give me more deployment options, and the ability to get melta shots where ever they are neededd to opem up transports, destroy fortifications, take down void shields, etc. or similar actions that will help the rest of my list shot or get into assault.

    The devs have a single Grav Cannon because only a single model can benefit from the Sgts Signum. At BS 5 the Grav Canon will be rerolling to hits for 3 turns. In the few games I’ve played, rerolling to hits and fo wounds makes grav cannons with grav amps extreme effective against everything accept 6+ armor saves.

    The Assaukt squads is for area occupation, vehicle and fortification destruction and tying up moderstely assault units in combat for a few turns. Additionally, the guve a decent screen for a unit or two guvung them a 2+ cover save. The main reason hiwever is undeniably fluff.

    Fluff is also the main consideration for Vanguard vets as well. I do not consider the formation benefits that great for VV, but I have not taken it for a test drive. Power weapons are cheap, and there is no reason to not give a power weapon to everyone. Melta bombs give me some more anti-vehicle, LOW, MC, and GMC options.

    The 10th Company Task force gives precision shots first turn to all units in the formation. This includes land speeder storms. While I could have gone with melta, I did not feel additional melta was really needed. On the other hand, for five points more, I get precision shot assault cannons. This will let me snipe out any pesky supporting models like apothecaries, special weapons, etc. The cerebus missile launcher is now str 4 ap 6 and still has blind which will help out with ranged D blobs.

    Admittedly there is no answer to flyers. If it becomes a serious issue, Buy I could not find a way to buikd a fluff list that inclued them

  11. Avatar
    Matt s September 17, 2016 5:21 am #

    What are your thoughts on the Dark Fury Assault Squad from the Horus Heresy rules? 🙂

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