List Review: Raptors Skyhammer


This week in List Review we’ve got another Raptors army- which I can hardly disapprove of, as Raptors are awesome- looking for assistance. Check the Tactics Corner for more great reviews!

The Original

Hi AbusePuppy

I’d like to submit a 1850pts Raptors CAD Space Marine List with a Skyhammer Formation (Using Imperial Fist Chapter Tactics) for your consideration. The list is not for tournaments, but I would like it to be able to hold its own vs. a wide range of opponents and be semi competitive.

Regarding Model/fluff limitations, I’d like to avoid using scouts, land speeders, flyers and excessive amounts of transports.



1 Lias Issodon

5 Legion of the Damned (Multimelta, Meltagun, Combi-Grav)

5 Legion of the Damned (Multimelta, Meltagun, Combi-Grav)

5 Legion of the Damned (Multimelta, Meltagun, Combi-Grav)

10 Tacticals (Multimelta, Plasmagun, Meltabombs)

10 Tacticals (Multimelta, Plasmagun, Meltabombs)

10 Tacticals (Multimelta, Plasmagun, Meltabombs)


5 Assault Marines (Jump Packs, Flamer, Meltabombs)

5 Assault Marines (Jump Packs, Flamer, Meltabombs)

10 Devastators (4 Lascannons, Drop Pod)

10 Devastators (4 Lascannons, Drop Pod)

Lias infiltrates the 3 tactical squads and himself, important to note, Raptors now use the 1st part of the Ravenguard CT’s instead of the old ruling, so they get shrouding 1st turn, but no scout anymore. The Devastators combat squad. I know Lascannons is an unusual weapon choice in a skyhammer formation, but I have the modals and like the idea of using them in a more backfield manner rather then alpha strikers. I’m not stuck on this aspect though and am willing to change the load outs and chapter tactics here.

The lotd provide a beta strike and are helped by Lias and his reserve manipulations.

So, we’ve got a lot of good ideas here- Lias Issodon, as I’ve mentioned before, is an absolute BEAST and it’s really hard to go wrong with him. The ability to put several wounds or HP on a tough target before the game starts (he can theoretically even kill a Wraithknight!), infiltrate multiple units, provide Shrouded to a unit, reroll reserves, and a decent gun on top of it all is just absolutely golden. By pushing up a bunch of units with him early on so that they can remain static, then dropping in DSing support units nearby we have some excellent tricks.

The Skyhammer is, of course, excellent, but Legion of the Damned are an often-underestimated part of the SM codex; Ignores Cover is a very powerful ability and being able to get it on practically any gun you want is a fantastic thing to have. Combined with Lias’s reroll on reserves, we can consistently put a bunch of scary units down close to the enemy and give them more targets to worry about.

However, there are some definite problems. While not wanting to use Scouts/etc is understandable from a fluff perspective, taken with the use of an expensive formation and more expensive specialist units (the LotD), it leaves us with a list that feels rather short on bodies and very short on mobility. This army will struggle mightily to score Maelstrom points or get onto wide-flung objectives in the late turns of the game.

The use of the Imperial Fists tactic for the Skyhammer, while interesting, is also a bit tricky. On the one hand, it means that the Lascannons are very deadly to enemy vehicles while being much cheaper than a Grav Cannon would be- however, lacking Devastator/Tactical Doctrines, it’s very easy to simply miss with most or all of their shots, which can be frustrating in the extreme. Reece and other players have experimented with a variety of other loadouts, including the use of Missile Launchers and Heavy Bolters to give the same “stand-off” functionality. Grav Cannons/Multimeltas and Ultramarines are undoubtedly the “correct” choice for a competitive list, but as the original writer was looking for a somewhat more casual-themed army I think we have some other options available to us.

I think the loadout for the Tactical Squads also bears some attention- while the original writer has cannily realized that Infiltrate allows you to get within range of a Multimelta on the first turn and potentially fire off shots immediately, the presence of the Skyhammer and Legion units already in the army I feel renders this somewhat unnecessary; we already have quite a lot of anti-tank shooting to rely on, so I think we can safely look to other options. In fact, my main worries with this army would be from fast assault units (e.g. Khorne Dogs or their like) and monstrous creatures, which can potentially soak the wounds from his shooting and then get into melee to do a lot of damage.

Our big problem for this list is the scoring issue- without the ability to use Land Speeders, Scouts, or extensive transports (all of which can be good ways to add cheap, reasonably-tough models to an army) we are going to struggle to score effectively. Inquisitional or Guard allies could possibly solve this problem, but these feel like they run counter to the mandate not to make use of Scouts; ditto for Skitarii or their ilk. It may be, of course, that I’m overthinking this, in which case our job is a lot easier and we could simply slot in an Inquisitor and 3×5 Henchmen for practically nothing, but for the time being we’re going to assume this isn’t a possibility.


The New Kid



1 Lias Issodon (175)

5 Legion of the Damned (Multimelta, Meltagun) (150)

5 Legion of the Damned (Multimelta, Meltagun) (150)

10 Tactical Marines (Grav Cannon, Grav Gun) (190)

10 Tactical Marines (Grav Cannon, Grav Gun) (190)

10 Tactical Marines (Grav Cannon, Grav Gun) (190)

1 Drop Pod (35)

1 Thunderfire Cannon (100)


5 Assault Marines (Jump Packs) (85)

5 Assault Marines (Jump Packs) (85)

10 Devastators (4 Lascannons, Cherub, Drop Pod) (260)

10 Devastators (2 Lascannons, 2 Heavy Bolters, Cherub, Drop Pod) (240)

So our fundamental list is very similar, but with a few tweaks. We cut one Legion of the Damned squad in order to fit in some backfield support; we have plenty of ways to blast tanks if we have to, so we’d like a way to slow down hordes and punish basic infantry. We swap the Tactical Marines over to an exclusive Grav loadout in order to keep our target priorities straight- between the Grav and Rending on the basic Bolters, our whole squad is kitted for hunting heavy infantry and MCs effectively, or even vehicles in a pinch. We sadly have to lose the Grav on the Legion units due to points constraints, but they otherwise remain effective tank-killers.

The Thunderfire Cannon and Drop Pod are the big additions we gain from the points we saved above; with T7, 2+ or 3+ armor, four wounds, and an excellent cover save (thanks to Reinforcing a piece of terrain in our zone) we can expect it to live through most games- and should the enemy charge it thinking it an easy target, a Servo-Arm will quickly prove them wrong. The Drop Pod is for trying to score an objective if we can and some added flexibility in deployment- we can potentially stick a Tactical unit into it in order to Combat Squad, if we want to Infiltrate the TFC with Lias, or other shenanigans. It also allows us to play a full-reserve game when going second, Outflanking the Tacticals and bringing the Skyhammer down on the second turn with the rest of our forces, denying the enemy the ability to shoot us early on. It’s shenanigans at their finest, which feels appropriate for a chapter based on subterfuge and deception.

The Assault Marines lose most all of their kit, which is unfortunate but necessary given our other changes; Krak Grenades will still wreck most vehicles effectively and the Flamers have their role taken over by the Thunderfire’s alternate fire modes. The Devastators, on the other hand, see some additional upgrades; Armorium Cherubs help ensure that our Lascannon shots land as often as possible. We swap two of our Las out for Heavy Bolters not only because it is fluffy for the army and appropriate to our Chapter Tactic, but also for mechanical reasons as well- the range on the HBs allow us to deploy on an objective while still shooting effectively and it gives us a way to suppress infantry units very reliably.

The updated list still has plenty of ways to crack tanks (four Melta, six Lascannon, and twenty-four Grav shots) while also having a lot more tools against lighter infantry and other types of targets and more options for how to deploy and play the army, which I think is beneficial for anyone who wants more variety in their games.

If you’d like to submit a list for me to review, feel free to send an email to me at AbusePuppy at gmail dot com. Please include any specifications for what you want in the army in the email- for example, whether you want it for casual or tournament play, if your group bans Forge World or formations or anything else, if there are particular armies you struggle against, if there are any fluff considerations you want taken into account, or if there are model limitations on what you own/want to include/don’t want to buy for the list. I’ll try to get either an email response or a post here on Frontline for everyone that writes to me- however, be aware that my schedule (and the sheer number of questions that I receive) means that it may take some time for me to get to you- as much as a month, in a worst case.


About abusepuppy

AbusePuppy is the one who has been ruining 40K for everyone this whole time. He is also searching for the six-fingered man and is one of the three people who know the secret recipe for coke (not the soda, the illegal drug.)

16 Responses to “List Review: Raptors Skyhammer”

  1. Kartr_Kana October 27, 2015 6:20 am #

    Good point on the Skyhammer CTs, I hadn’t thought of using UM CTs simply because IF Tank Hunters just jumps out whenever Devastators are mentioned. But having assault tactics for the assault marines and devastator tactics for devastators is far more useful/versatile.

    I totally understand preferring tactical Marines to scouts. There’s just something appealing about them. Plus they are fairly versatile and can get work done.

    • abusepuppy October 27, 2015 3:01 pm #

      For Lascannons, I would go with IF Tactics just because Tank Hunter is such a valuable ability (and it doesn’t hurt that it helps the Heavy Bolters out a fair bit, either.) However, for the more common MM/Grav loadout, Ultras are clearly the right choice.

    • Bryan October 28, 2015 6:32 pm #

      Maybe I’m off the mark here, but tactical marines seem solid in my book, just a wee bit outclassed by bs 4 scouts, bikes and battle companies. I guess Lias really buffs them in this list by granting infiltration, but I can totally see them working in other cad armies!

      Plus I really like the new Dev kit and tactical marines sporting a big cannon.

  2. Gonewild40k October 27, 2015 6:43 am #

    I have a question regarding Skyfire. Where may I purchase the rules for the formation in order to utilize it in organized play? Is it acceptable to use a scanned copy of the formation for organized/tournament play?

    Thanks for your time.

    • jmanj123 October 27, 2015 11:48 am #

      It can’t be purchased. The rules were emailed to customers who purchased the models as part of a limited formation package direct from GW. So, you need to use the scanned copy.

    • abusepuppy October 27, 2015 3:03 pm #

      The majority of tournaments allow use of a rule so long as you have a legible printout of what it does (and some don’t even require that), since there are quite a lot of rules that simply have no physical printing that has ever been produced. However, this does vary from location to location, so it’s typically good to check with the TO if you aren’t sure.

  3. Bryan October 27, 2015 10:00 am #

    That is great AbusePuppy, thank you very much! The input is very helpful and on point I feel. Just a small note, you sold yourself short by 10 pts as the Lotd without combi grav work out at 145pts instead of 150 at a pop. So that is a combi grav on one of the Lotd squads.

    I moved to the idea of grav cannons instead of multi meltas as well on the tac squads, better mesh with Raptor tactics and have some extra kick. I have the modals to do plasma or grav as the special, currently I’m on plasma due to the 24 range matching the squad profile and if they have to move, double tap at the same range as the grav cannon salvo, but if you really think grav guns is the way, it’s an easy switch and one I was going to try at some point.

    The theme is csm, but using the SM codex, hence some of the restrictions, grav is cool I figure as the legions had them or they could be looted, but scouts or land speeders I felt was pushing it! Thunderfire works though, or allies in the form of guard, skitarii or inquisition.

    I’d probably lean towards the cheap as chips inquisition for the servo skulls and henchmen over a thundercannon and drop pod, lets me keep the combi grav on both Lotd squads and melta bombs/flamers on the assault squads. But I’ve heard great things about the thunderfire so I’ll certainly consider it.

    Thanks again for your time and input, I’m definitely going to use allot of it, if not all.

    • abusepuppy October 27, 2015 3:09 pm #

      Ah, okay. Sorry, I typically work on point values from memory, so I’m occasionally a bit off here and there. Better under than over, I suppose!

      The reason I went with Plasma over Grav, despite the shorter range, is largely Gets Hot and the superior number of shots. Gets Hot can be a big liability for the squad in many cases- such as when firing Overwatch- and Grav has better chances of neutering many types of vehicles, though Plasma has its advantages there as well. Thanks to Infiltrate, you can typically move up 1-2 squad members and the Grav Gun and then get shots off starting turn 2- and eight Grav per turn is pretty brutal on most targets. If you see a lot of low-armor vehicles (AV10-12) and not a ton of MCs Plasma might be the right call, though.

      CSM _should_ have Grav (as Grav weapons are largely relics of the pre-Heresy era, after all) but GW has decided to deny them it. :\ The Thunderfire could easily be some sort of “possessed cannon” or one of the many Rapier Battery weapons that CSM have access to (though admittedly they don’t actually have that specific weapon.)

      If you’re looking for some Inquisition to be your “cultists” and whatnot, I would suggest a naked Inquisitor with some Servo-Skulls (to help DS the Legion) and then blocks of Henchmen with Boltguns “led” by a single Psyker. Including a Death-Cult Assassin could also be sassy, if you please.

      • Bryan October 27, 2015 4:56 pm #

        That is some solid reasoning on the grav gun, I had not considered moving some modals up whilst keeping the grav cannon still. Nice trick.

        The legions ran into the eye and left behind their grav because, um, Once Horus died csm turned into a bunch of cartoon villains I guess!

        If I go with the inquisitor and some msu henchmen squads for some cheap scoring instead of the thunderfire cannon, I’d definitely use some saved points to grab a combi grav on the last Lotd squad. Would you suggest using any remaining points on melta bombs/flamers for the assault marines or sticking some combi gravs into the tactical marines for some extra ooomph?

        That is the only real change I’m thinking of in regards to the adjusted list, I think some servo skulls to stop others pulling the infiltrate/scout trick on me could be real handy and henchmen are dirt cheap. Why bolters on them though? Say if I took 3 squads of 5 as mentioned in the article, by not upgrading to bolters, I could get another combi grav and a half of anothe for frontline squads.

        Thanks again 🙂

        • abusepuppy October 27, 2015 5:26 pm #

          I think Meltabombs on the ASM squads is a solid choice- Flamers aren’t bad, either, but you already have the LotD who can do that job in a pinch.

          The reason to go for Bolters on the Acolytes is because it’s such a huge weapon upgrade for essentially no points. Having fifteen extra Bolters in an army may not seem like a lot, but it can be very useful for finishing off wounded squads and the like- it turns them from wholly ignorable to annoying.

          • Bryan October 28, 2015 8:35 am

            Cheers ap.

  4. jpwyrm October 27, 2015 10:10 am #

    I like the revised list, it’s actually quite close to one I just tried recently against Necrons. The Shock and Awe tactics commonly used with the Skyhammer (using mass grav weapons) is fun but it’s also quite predictable. I think using it to deploy the Dev squads in a good position and making the best of the “pinning” ability is the real strenght of this formation.

    I personnaly use scouts and Landspeeder storms though, exactly for the reasons you mentionned in the article. Plus, against Necrons, Blinding Str4 large blast are awesome!

    Nice article, I’ll send a list after I’m done building a Talon Strike Force.


  5. alex yuen October 27, 2015 10:46 am #

    not enough firepower to deal with MY wraithknight.

  6. Talon of Anathrax October 28, 2015 9:38 am #

    Great article AbusePuppy!
    I’d never realized that Legion of the Damned had Ignores cover [facepalms]. Well, that suddenly makes them more worthwhile… Why take the 2 heavy bolters on the second devastator squad though? I’m not sure they generally share the same targets as Lascannons.
    Btw, I sent you a list myself. I hope you find it interesting!

    • Bryan October 28, 2015 6:35 pm #

      Combat squads mean the heavy bolters can split off and do their own thing, suppressing units and looking really cool (the heavy bolter marine is a badass, just a pity outside of IF tactics and skyhammer pinning, they are really lacklustre.)

      • Bryan October 28, 2015 6:35 pm #

        Heavy bolter marine model is a badass that should read! Not quite so much rules wise..

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