Raven Guard New Rules Review Part 1: Talon Strike Force

raven guard scout

Hey everyone, Reecius here from Frontline Gaming to share some thoughts on the new–and so cool–Raven Guard Talon Strike Force detachment! Be sure to check out the Tactics Corner for more great articles.

First of all, what the heck am I talking about? I am referring to the new rules for Raven Guard Space Marines in the Warzone Damocles: Kauyon campaign book. Beyond having amazing artwork and engaging fluff, it also has some absolutely awesome rules in it, too!

It contains new material for not only the Raven Guard, but also Tau and White Scars, too. However, we’re going to look at the Raven Guard specifically in this article series.

First of all, I have to say that I really love this new detachment! It not only provides a fun, unique play style but it also represents the Raven Guard on the tabletop the way the fluff indicates they would play. It also lets me play some of my favorite units in 40K: Scouts, Assault, Devastator and Tactical Marines. That’s a home run in my book!

How does it do this? With a combo of some slick special rules. First of all, the “Decurion” style detachment that frames the army: the Talon Strike Force. Let’s get to it.

It is very similar to the Gladius Strike Force in the Space Marine codex and as a matter of fact, you can use it with a Battle Demi-Company if you want to, although the Pinion Battle Demi-Company is the Ravne Guard specific core formation. In the Talon Strike Force, you do not gain the benefits of the Company Support and Codex Astartes command benefits (free transports  if you take two Battle Demi-Companies or access to all of the Combat Doctrines). You do, however, gain some pretty incredible abilities that are very Raven Guardish!

A Cunning Plan

The first command benefit is Extensive Planning. This is INCREDIBLE. I cannot underscore the power of this command benefit enough. It lets you reroll the mission table, deployment roll and first turn roll. WOW! That is so good and so cool. While it doesn’t actually damage the enemy, it allows the tactically minded general strategic advantage by increasing the odds that he or she gets to dictate the terms of the battle which is very cool and very true to Raven Guard fluff, too.

The second command benefit is Know When to Strike. This is also so cool! It allows you to attempt to bring reserves in on turn 1 on a 4+. The ability to fully null-deploy after choosing the mission, deployment zone and first or second turn is awesome. The utility of this rule on its own is incredible but when combined with some of the other formations out there available in the Talon Strike Force, it really takes on a new dimension of efficacy. You can attack on a weak flank, from multiple threat vectors, go after undefended objectives, etc. It provides adaptability and the opportunity to lay traps, which is super fun.

Lastly, you get the final command benefit of the detachment: Know When to Fade, which allows you to choose to fail morale checks. Again, too cool. Fits the Raven Guard fluff and it is very useful to be able to choose to bug out when the going gets tough, or to set up false feints and leave an enemy unit in a poor position, ready to get pounced on by other units. Due to ATSKNF, falling back is often nothing but a benefit with very little risk unless you’re near a board edge or subject to the Trapped! special rule.

The Talon Strike Force requires the usual 1-2 core formations, 1+ auxiliary formations and 0-2 command selections, and all units within it must be Raven Guard. Beyond many of the usual suspects from the Space Marine codex, it also gives you a ton of very cool formation options, which we will cover as this series progresses!

Here’s a video of a live game from our Twitch channel wherein I play the Talon Strike Force vs. the new Tau Hunter Contingent. Check it out if you are curious to see it in action!

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About Reecius

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

33 Responses to “Raven Guard New Rules Review Part 1: Talon Strike Force”

  1. Maeglin November 6, 2015 1:03 am #

    These rules have got me really excited about the Ravens again but I also think they could be used to represent Night Lords too.

    Love the Black Adder reference btw.

    • Reecius
      Reecius November 7, 2015 11:12 am #

      Yeah, I was thinking the same thing for how to actually use my dang Night Lords, lol.

  2. Dayone916 November 6, 2015 1:13 am #

    I think this decurion version will see some serious play… Know when to fade is a poor mans hit and run but could prove more useful in certain situations. Some of the other auxiliary formations are ridiculous too. Look forward to more battle reports and reviews.

    • MidnightSun November 6, 2015 9:00 am #

      It’s 5th ed Combat Tactics, and that rule was *incredible* back in the day. Got me out of a hell of a lot of sticky situations with my Tactical Marines.

  3. Kian Alden November 6, 2015 8:13 am #

    I sense an Alpha Legion army on my horizon!

    • Reecius
      Reecius November 7, 2015 11:12 am #

      I know, right? lol, Chaos will get more use out of this than anyone, haha.

  4. Karaghul November 6, 2015 8:25 am #

    I really like how true to the fluff this new set of rules is.

    I think it’s quite awesome that they are implementing more “outside of the tabletop”-special abilities too, like “Extensive Planning” and a couple Warlord-traits from the Harlequin table 2+ Seize and the one that modifies when the game ends (one of the new Raven Guard ones does that too), they give yet another nuance to the game.

    • Karaghul November 6, 2015 8:26 am #

      Harlequin one for the game to end is +/- 2 instead of 1, but same concept. 🙂

      • Reecius
        Reecius November 7, 2015 11:12 am #

        Indeed, it is VERY powerful!

  5. Novastar November 6, 2015 8:59 am #

    Obviously it’s not Reece writing this as it has no Ork Bikestar in it lol

    • Reecius
      Reecius November 6, 2015 9:49 am #

      F U, Bruh! lol

      • Novastar November 6, 2015 3:28 pm #

        your reactions are why we do it lol

  6. winterman November 6, 2015 9:42 am #

    Yeah this book really injected some life into Raven Guard. Their chapter tactics actually function really well within the Talon.

    Does really give one hope for the future. Think if Chaos Legions get their own tailored detachment like these? So cool.

    • Reecius
      Reecius November 6, 2015 9:48 am #

      I dare not hope Chaos gets anything this cool! lol

      • fluger November 6, 2015 12:32 pm #

        Remember when Chaos got all the cool toys and was the power gamer army de jour. I’m not sure I miss those days.

        • Novastar November 6, 2015 3:30 pm #

          The 3.5 codex is nothing compared to the books today

          • WestRider November 6, 2015 8:07 pm
            #

            Other than Siren Princes. Those would actually be even nastier now, because of the changes in how Psychic Defense works.

        • Reecius
          Reecius November 6, 2015 4:20 pm #

          3.5 was some dirty, dirty business! haha

          • Dbiesto November 6, 2015 7:55 pm
            #

            All I want are blastmasters to ignore invisibru and I’ll be happy again. They already ignore cover, and from a realistic stand point, if you shoot enough tank shells at hidden enemies you are bound to kill something (including your own units with my XP WOOOO Chaos!!!)

      • Jural November 6, 2015 3:43 pm #

        I see a random table in our future…

  7. fluger November 6, 2015 12:33 pm #

    So excited about this release. I’m actually pricing out a Raven Guard army. Jesus this game is expensive, even with a FLG discount.

    • Reecius
      Reecius November 6, 2015 4:20 pm #

      Yeah, it ain’t cheap. But, it’s an investment that lasts. I still have and use, my very first GW mini.

      • Dbiesto November 6, 2015 7:59 pm #

        +1 on that Reece, I’m still kicking myself for having to rebuy my entire chaos army, plus adding some new fun units (Fiends of Slaaenssh). Only thing I do like is in focusing on getting my army painted up this time vs gray on gray on gray.

        • Reecius
          Reecius November 7, 2015 11:13 am #

          Retro is cool! I dig it, haha.

      • WestRider November 6, 2015 8:06 pm #

        Ditto. I recently did some re-conversion work to make him relevant again (swapped a Plasma Pistol out for a Combi-Melta), and touched up the paint job, but it’s still that first Aspiring Champion model I picked up back in like ’96 or something.

        • abusepuppy November 7, 2015 12:00 am #

          I just keep buying new armies and new models forever.

          Forever.

          For. Ev. Er.

          • Colinsherlow November 7, 2015 12:03 am
            #

            I hear that puppy!

            Will AbPuppy be going to Tshft in January?

          • Reecius
            Reecius November 7, 2015 11:13 am
            #

            I too have a plastic problem. No shame in it!

          • abusepuppy November 7, 2015 12:04 pm
            #

            Oh, of course I will. I’m sad that I’m “only” making two tournaments each in Nov/Dec.

  8. Sactownbri November 7, 2015 9:26 am #

    Dammnit! I thought I already had enough space marines on my shelf. Guess I need more 🙂

    • Reecius
      Reecius November 7, 2015 11:13 am #

      Haha, yeah, they are good fun to play!

  9. MidnightSun November 8, 2015 1:07 pm #

    A Talon Strike Force with a First Company Taskforce has coincided *perfectly* with the release of Betrayal at Calth and my new 30k Night Lords. Let’s see… veteran jump infantry with Fear, projecting a bubble of -2 Leadership, Fearless, with increased chances of Night Fight and Shrouding on the first turn? And the Sergeant can take a special two-handed power sword with a higher strength?

    Man, all we need is a Talent for Murder and we’re more Night Lords than actual 30k Night Lords – even with Sire of the Night Lords!

  10. Jimmyicus June 19, 2016 12:15 pm #

    So how will this work with the school leauge, in them the mission is rolled once for everyone. Does this mean a raven guard can ask them to reroll it for everyone.

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