We’re back with part two of our Raven Guard review, you can check out part 1, here! This time we take a closer look at the very cool Pinion Battle Demi-Company. Be sure to go to the Tactics Corner for more great reviews and tactics articles!
The Pinion Battle Demi-Company takes elements of the very awesome Battle Demi-Company with support from the 10th company scout units to create a whole greater than the sum of its parts.
The Pinion Battle Demi-Company is a very cool, very fluffy detachment that allows you to field the iconic units of the Raven Guard in new, and effective ways. By taking the familiar codex structure (Battle Demi-Company) and giving it some slight tweaks, you get a familiar army (Space Marines) played in a uniquely Raven Guard way.
The formation is comprised of the following:
- 1 Captain or Chaplain (Can’t take Termie armor on the Captain or Chaplain)
- 0-1 Command Squads
- 3 Tactical Squads
- 1 Assault Squad
- 1 Devastator Squad
- 1-5 units of Scouts and/or Scout Bikers
- Scout Support: In the shooting phase, each Scout Sarge or Vet Sarge can grant the Ignores Cover USR to another unit from this formation that is within 9.”
- Wayfinders: A unit of Scouts or Scout Bikers in this formation can escort another unit from the formation onto the tabletop, including via Outflank even if the escorted unit normally can’t. You roll 1 reserve roll for both units, and so long as both units come on the table within 9″ of one another, the unit being led by the Scouts has Stealth until the start of its next turn.
So how to use this formation? It presents some fairly unique play-style options, particularly when taken as a part of the Talon Strike Force “Decurion” style detachment. On its own, you can have a lot of fun with it. The ability to Outflank other units such as Tactical Marines with escorting Scouts, who then grant them Ignores Cover and Stealth for a game turn is very useful. You can save points on Transport vehicles by bringing in some 5 man Tactical squads toting a Melta and Combi Melta (or whichever special weapon you prefer) behind a 5 man Scout squad, and cause major disruption in the backfield. With Stealth, you gain increased defense too, and if you are playing Raven Guard Chapter Tactics (and you can use any CTs with this formation in case you were wondering) in the Talon Strike Force (only available to Raven Guard) you can start rolling for those reserves on turn 1 due to the Command Benefit, Know When to Strike. This means you can also have a situation where your units come on with Stealth from this formation and Shrouding from the Raven Guard CTs.
The Assault Squad in the formation can be used traditionally with Jump Packs (a great place for the obligatory Captain or Chaplain to go!) or in a Drop Pod where you can create a list that fully null deploys and then starts coming out of reserves en masse, turn 1. You can also of course do this with Deep Striking Jump Packs, but the Drop Pod is certain to come in, which makes it easier to formulate your battle plan by eliminating variables. This unit can also function as an effective screening unit to other uiits in your army arriving via Deep Strike with Raven Guard CTs, as they will have Shrouding, jumping them up to a 3+ or 2+ cover save behind them in most cases.
The Devastator squad in the formation lend themselves to taking weapons such as Las Cannons and then sitting in the back next to a unit of Sniper Scouts and gaining Ignores Cover from them, which is–obviously–really good. The Sniper Scouts hanging out with them can also take the very characterful Nihilus relic sniper rifle which we will get into further depth about in an upcoming article. Basically it grants Split Fire, is AP3 and is strength 6, armorbane vs. vehicles. Sweet!
If you opt to take a unit of Scout Bikers in this formation, they can provide fantastic combo opportunities for you with other formations such as the Shadowstrike Kill Team or Skyhammer Annihilation formation. You slap a Homing Beacon on the Scout Bikers and deep strike in without scattering. With units that come in turn 1 and assault from reserves, that can be a brutal combination!
The weakness of this formation compared to a Battle Demi-Company is the lack of ObSec. ObSec really cannot be understated. It is just so good for most missions. The question you have to ask yourself is: would I rather have units coming in from multiple threat vectors, potentially with Ignores Cover on any unit I choose, or the ability to decisively take objectives from my opponent? I think in most instances, you will want to go with ObSec, but it isn’t totally clear-cut. In my games with the Pinion Battle Demi-Company I felt that it was slippery enough and packed enough punch to bear serious consideration in a Raven Guard army. Plus, it is honestly just a ton of fun to play!