Raven Guard Review 4: Bladewing Assault Brotherhood

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Victorus aut Mortis! We’re back with the 4th installment in our Raven Guard review series. On deck: the Bladewing Assault Brotherhood! Be sure to check the Tactics Corner for more great reviews.

Like vengeful angels, the Bladewing Assault Brotherhood descend onto the battlefield to deliver death to the enemies of the Emperor! This formation is comprised of hardened veterans of a chapter backed with elements of the assault companies. They deploy via Thunderhawk insertion and then attack weak points in the enemy lines.


This formation gives you access to a large number of assault marines and Vanguard vets with some cool special abilities to boost their mobility that make them stand out from the same units in your standard CAD. If you like jump pack equipped Marines, then you will want to take a look at this formation!

  • 1 Captain, Chaplain or Shrike.
  • 1-3 Vanguard squads.
  • 2-4 Assault squads.
  • Every model must have a Jump Pack and you cannot have more than 30 models in the formation.

Special Rules:

  • On Wings of Fire: Once per game, you can essentially Skyleap, as Swooping Hawks do, with the entire formation. They all leave the table–even if locked in combat–and are placed into ongoing reserves.
  • Thunderhawk Assault: Any units from this formation in reserves come in at the same time on a single reserve roll. They always enter play by deep-striking along a line drawn from one board edge to the opposite board edge. Each unit must be placed on this line and can reroll the scatter die.

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This is a cool formation! I don’t think it really competes with the Shadowstrike Kill Team in terms of pure power, but, it does have some very cool tricks up its sleeve! The big trick of the formation is to engage the enemy with a bunch of assault units and then to leap off of the table, leaving the enemy units free to be blasted by the rest of your army. Then, your units come back onto the table next turn with reroll scatters anywhere you want them ready to hit other enemy units. Pretty awesome! This is a subtle ability but if you apply it correctly can really leave your opponent in terrible position.

If you are using this formation in the Talon Strike Force, you also have the option to Deep Strike in on turn 1, which is super cool. Normally, Deep Striking Assault Marines isn’t the best idea as it means at best, a turn 3 charge. It also means with a flubbed reserve roll or two, you may not be in melee until turn 5. Had you started on the table, you’d likely have been in combat turn 2. But, if you drop in these units turn 1, you get to assault turn 2, and you have the benefit of seeing where your enemy is before striking. You also get Shrouding turn 1 if you got the top of the turn which helps you survive, and you get to use your Jump Packs in the movement and assault phase due to Raven Guard CTs, which means you can Deep Strike fairly far away from target units, hopefully in safe hiding spaces.

I’d run this formation MSU style, with likely the minimum size: 2 units of 5 Assault Marines and 1 unit of Vanguard, with a Chappy attached. This is a relatively modest points investment but gives you some very useful, flexible tools to work with. You can beef up the units if you choose, and really pepper the opponent with targets, but, considering they all have to Deep Strike along a straight line, that may force you into bad board position.

In all, I dig this formation. It is characterful and works great in the Talon Strike Force. It would also be a fun compliment to a shooty Raven Guard army as it could jump into combat, force enemy units out of cover through consolidation moves, jump off the table and then leave the enemy units in the open with their pants down to get blasted! Sounds very Raven Guardy to me!


About Reecius

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11 Responses to “Raven Guard Review 4: Bladewing Assault Brotherhood”

  1. jpwyrm November 20, 2015 7:20 am

    I’m thorn about this formation. It looks so cool and it definitely has the Raven Guard hit-and-run, strike from the skies feel, but then it just seems like you’ll only pull that move off once or twice before everybody and their mama see it coming and adapt.

    I fear that with the MSU approach, you might loose too many men to take advantage of the Formation’s SR. You’d get a better chance with beefier units, but then it starts eating too much pts… Maybe if Shrike got the ability to Infiltrate the Formation and extend his Stealth SR to all units on turn one, then I think it could stand a chance. Maybe I have too much bad luck with armor/cover saves to see that this is viable…

    • Reecius
      Reecius November 20, 2015 8:36 am

      Yeah, I agree. It is a killer concept, but it may struggle on the table top a bit vs. hard armies. In general terms I dig it and think it will be fun to play, but not a top level tournament formation.

  2. westrider November 20, 2015 7:43 am

    This is one that I’m really looking forward to playing with. Not the strongest thing out there, but the concept is just so cool, and I can see a bunch of possibilities for messing with Opponents with Wings of Fire.

    • Reecius
      Reecius November 20, 2015 8:35 am

      Yeah, this definitely looks like a FUN formation to play. I dig it!

  3. fluger November 20, 2015 7:43 am

    Yeah, I’m just not as sold on this formation. While it has some neat tricks I feel it’s missing SOMETHING to make it worth taking in a tournament list. I’m just not sure.

    • Reecius
      Reecius November 20, 2015 8:35 am

      I honestly don’t see it as a tournament list, FWIW. I see this as a for fun formation. In a tournament you’d be better off with the Shadowstrike Kill Team or Skyhammer, IMO.

      • fluger November 20, 2015 10:40 am

        I think if they had some kind of buff for the turn they arrive so they don’t get blasted off the map they’d be better.

  4. Dayone916 November 20, 2015 10:35 am

    Possibly combo with skyhammer… The soft hitting assault marines from skyhammer serve a new purpose of combat squadding and tying up several squads of their army just long enough for this formation to smash in turn two…especially if the units from this formation are protected from the units in locked in combat.
    I think this formation isn’t enough by itself but maybe with other stuff it can do well.

    • Reecius
      Reecius November 20, 2015 10:38 am

      Yeah, good points. You could probably make it work in combination with other formations.

    • jpwyrm November 20, 2015 10:55 am

      You know what, it may be the trick behind the Bladewing. I have a game against Tau this weekend, I think I’ll try it alongside a Shadowstrike Kill Team and some Outflanking and drop podding squads from a Pinion. This should overload the Tau player’s Interceptor units. In fact, maybe I can include Shrike to infiltrate the vanguard and drop the other two squads turn one to provide living-cover for the Kill Team…

  5. bigpig November 21, 2015 1:12 am

    this is reserved for fun games only in my book. Very characterful, but not powerful and there are so many other contenders to bring a competitive RG force with force.