Raven Guard Review 6: Ravenhawk Assault Group


Victorus aut Mortis! Here we go with the 6th installment in the Raven Guard review! This time on deck: Ravenhawk Assault Group. Check the Tactics Corner for more great articles and reviews!

The Ravenhawk Assault Group is deployed to destroy a specific enemy target, and descends on dark wings to strike, just like the chapter’s namesake!


This formation brings together some fun units and gives them a decent little boost so that they pack a respectable punch. It may not be the most competitive choice, but it certainly is a lot of fun!

This formation consists of:

  • 1 Sternguard Veteran Squad
  • 1 Dreadnought, Ironclad or Venerable Dreadnought.
  • 1 Stormraven Gunship

Special Rules:

  • Targeted Strike: When the first unit from this formation either deploys or arrives from reserves, nominate an enemy unit to be the target of this formation. Units from this formation reroll to hit rolls against that unit for the rest of the game.
  • Vertical Insertion: The Stormraven Gunship has Deep Strike, and if it does so, arrives in Hover mode.

raven guard 3


This is a Formation that consists of units whom are all actually fairly dang useful. Sternguard can be fantastic, Dreads are much improved, particularly the Ironclad, and a Stormraven Gunship, while expensive, is a solid unit. Now, together I would not exactly call them a tournament winning formation, but, they are good enough to be used and every unit in the formation is a lot of fun. The twin-linking ability is awesome, but the downside to it is that unless you’re targeting a very durable enemy target, these units will tend to smoke it pretty quick, thereby negating their primary benefit fairly quickly. Now, if that is an important enemy unit then hey, nice! But as formations go, there ability is a bit of a one shot wonder.

If your target is a unit like a Deathstar or LoW however, then you may get a lot of mileage out of this. A Knight, Wraithknight, etc. will certainly have plenty to fear from a unit of 10, twin linked Sternguard with combi weapons. The Ironclad too, with Meltas, can be quite a threat and as the bonus applies to melee as well, you can focus quite a bit of attention on the target unit to maximize your efficiency with these hard hitting units. If you have a tough flyer to be wary of, like a Heldrake or Fire Raptor for example, this bonus gives the Storm Raven quite a benefit, too. Even twin-linked ground fire can be quite effective against a flyer. Any toughness based unit, and Monstrous creatures in particular, will fear reroll to hit Sternguard with 2+ poison shots. They will mulch a unit in short order.

The ability for the Stormraven to Deep Strike into Hover mode is actually pretty bad ass. You come in–possibly on turn 1 in the Talon Strike Force–and deploy the Dread and Sternguard and all three units can light up their target enemy unit before it gets to do squat. Not bad! You then have 3 distinct units on the table to cause havoc and while the Stormraven is a lot more vulnerable in Hover mode, you don’t have to worry about everyone dying if it gets shot down and crashes. Note, this also would mean even Interceptor fire won’t be as bad for the guys inside, making it a great option for fighting armies like Tau.

While I wouldn’t call this a great formation, it is a good and fun formation that can catch some folks off guard. If you like the units included in it, and use it in the Talon Strike Force, it can do some work and let you use some of the cooler units in the Marine dex effectively.


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13 Responses to “Raven Guard Review 6: Ravenhawk Assault Group”

  1. Avatar
    westrider December 4, 2015 3:06 am #

    This one doesn’t grab me as much as some of the others, but the possibility of it coming in Turn 1 in the TSF definitely makes it more interesting. Especially with Lias around to re-roll Reserves, that could make for a hell of a Null Deployment/Alpha Strike list in combination with some Pods and such.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 4, 2015 2:50 pm #

      Yeah, I think that is the big draw of it, too. You can plop a lot of high threat units on the table.

  2. Avatar
    Kroll December 4, 2015 5:45 am #

    I’ve been using this formation in the talon strike force, I recommend taking ten Sternguard, and combat squading them, that way you can put five in the Storm Raven, and put another five in a drop pod.

    That way you get Four distinct units causing all sorts of havoc.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 4, 2015 2:52 pm #

      I hadn’t thought about using a Drop Pod with them, you can actually do that with the Dread, too. Nice suggestion!

  3. Avatar
    fluger December 4, 2015 8:16 am #

    From a pure fluffy perspective, what I like about this is that this is the easiest way to shoehorn in a counts as deathwatch force into something else. IIRC, these formations don’t necessarily require using RG CT (just for the RG Detachment), so you could use something more useful (since the RG CT literally does NOTHING for this formation) like Imp Fists or Ultramarines.

    Anyway, it would be a flavorful to add that formation in to an IG force or the like to represent a Deathwatch force swooping in to save the day. Maybe add an inquisitor as well for funsies/flavor?

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 4, 2015 2:56 pm #

      Yeah, totally. This is one of the formations available to the RG that work really well for other Chapters, too. However, in the TSF, it is pretty slick.

    • Avatar
      westrider December 4, 2015 3:08 pm #

      That is an excellent point about the DeathWatch thing. Also, you don’t have to leave them all in Reserves. You could start the SternGuard on the table and get Shrouded for them if you did want to get something from the Raven Guard Chapter Tactics.

      I’m thinking Imperial Fists or Ultras as a DeathWatch Counts-as, tho.

  4. Avatar
    Ragnulf December 4, 2015 12:04 pm #

    So interesting side question here – if you attach an inquisitor to the sternguard, could the storm raven still enter on Turn 1? It would be an IC gaining a detachment bonus he’s not a part of. (Anyone else tired of the interaction between IC’s and formations/detachments they’re not a part of?).

    On the Ravenhawk formation – if your dread is an ironclad, might be worth not disembarking it on the deepstrike. the Storm Raven is an assault vehicle, so he could get a round of protection from interceptor Tau or shooting, and assault turn 2 even if the Storm Raven is blown up or wrecked around him.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 4, 2015 2:55 pm #

      I read it as yes, you can come in turn 1 with an IC attached that is not in the detachment. Each detachment/IC interaction is different in many cases, unfortunately.

      Good point on the Ironclad. I would also consider taking a Dreadnought Drop Pod, too. They are extremely good.

      • Avatar
        Bigpig December 4, 2015 3:04 pm #

        What about an ic added to the shadow strike kill team? I could see where they gain first turn reserves because that is not a formation specific requirement, it is part of the detachment. Would they still get the on time on target rule? My understanding is no based on the way the skyhammer formation was ruled

        • Reecius
          Reecius December 4, 2015 3:07 pm #

          Shadowstrike Kill Team specifies that only the Vanguard Vets get to assault.

  5. Avatar
    Kroll December 5, 2015 1:20 am #

    It’s funny people mention the inquisitor, I actually ran an inquisitor with half the Sternguard in the Raven last time I played as well. I didn’t think the fact that he was an IC would effect the Raven deep striking on turn 1. I think of that rule as similar to drop pod assault, and units in pods don’t effect that.

  6. Avatar
    Suijin December 8, 2015 1:12 pm #

    “Vinctorus aut Mortis”

    -notice the N

    Victorus aut Mortis does not resemble Raven Guard philosophy well.

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