Victorus aut Mortis! Here’s the 5th installment in our Ravenguard review. This time, the Skyhammer Orbital Strike Force! Be sure to check out the Tactics Corner for more great reviews.
When the Raven Guard need to secure a beachhead, they use this formation to secure a foothold, scouring the enemy from critical objectives.
- Part 1 in this series. Talon Strike Force
- Part 2 in this series. Pinion Battle Demi-Company
- Part 3 in this series. Shadowstrike Kill Team
- Part 4 in this series. Bladewing Assault Brotherhood
This is a straightforward formation, but has some very cool aspects to it. You drop in some Tactical Marines supported by Land Speeders with offensive buffs. However, it has one glaring drawback: no ObSec! Is it worth the trade? Read on to find out.
The Formation consists of:
- 3 Tactical Squads, each of which must purchase a Drop Pod
- 1-3 unit of Land Speeders
- Dropsite Clearance: Pick a point on the battlefield at the start of your first turn, all Drop Pods from this formation only scatter D6″ if they land within 12″ of that point, and all units from this formation reroll to hit and wound rolls of 1 against enemy units within 12″ of that point.
- Shock Assault: Tactical Squads from this formation can Run and then shoot the turn they disembark from their Drop Pods.
This formation is built for offense. You play it very aggressively, choose your target zone, drop all the pods and then unleash everything you’ve got. In my mind, you’d want to run this with min/maxed Tactical Squads for a few reasons. One, you give them a special and combi weapon and consider them largely disposable. Two, since they don’t have ObSec, don’t sweat maxing them out, just maximize their offensive punch. If you play in a meta where the Bolters will be useful, then by all means, take 10 man squads, but in general terms, a Melta/Combi-Melta or the same with Plas, is going to be your best bet. Reroll 1’s, don’t scatter very far, and smack some key units in your deployment zone.
The Land Speeders also really dig this as they benefit greatly from it. Typhoons can stay back at a safe range, and fire into the kill zone, so to speak, with much improved efficiency. Frag Missiles with reroll 1’s to wound are solid, you’ll be surprised how much damage these fellas can do. Alternatively, you could go Assault Cannons and heavy Bolters to really gain benefit form rerolls or dual Multi Meltas to compliment meltas on the Tactical Squads to provide a potent anti tank punch.
If you are using this formation as a part of the Talon Strike Force, you get to roll for reserves starting turn 1, which is awesome, and your boys have Shrouding turn 1, also awesome. Edit: you don’t get Shrouding for the RG is you start in a transport, sorry for the confusion. This formation would combo very well the Shadowstrike Kill Team and Skyhammer Annihilation formations. You overload your opponent with threats and if you manage to pop open some transports, you provide a means for the assault elements in other formations to then attack the occupants.
It would also compliment a Battle Demi Company (which you can take in the Talon Strike Force) mounted in pods as they provide the scoring power, and also pack a solid punch, themselves. Also, the Pinion Battle Demi-Company works great with them as while they too lack ObSec, they can pack a nasty sting themselves with Scouts providing them Ignores Cover shooting. Also, pairing this formation with something like a Librarius Conclave to provide multiple, accurate entry points for Libbys who can spam out a power like Psychic Shrike, can be devastating to some armies. And again, with everything potentially coming in on turn 1 (again, Lias Issodon is a perfect compliment), you can hit with a Super Saiyan alpha strike. The means to reroll your reserves means you can drop in an crazy number of units, all turn 1. This formation plays into that well, and provides some fun special rules to give them a roll in the overall battle plan.
The real question is why would you take this over a Battle or Pinion Demi Company in the Talon Strike Force? That’s a tough call. I think this formation certainly has a place and makes Land Speeders much more attractive, but it will be seen relatively rarely compared to some of the other all-star formations available to Raven Guard.