Victorus aut Mortis!Reecius here again with part 8 in our Raven Guard review. This time, the Shadow Force formation is up for review! Be sure to check out the Tactics Corner for more great reviews!
Shadow Force is comprised of a team of stealthy veteran Space Marines, killers all! They sneak up on their foes with recon provided by the Land Speeder, and attack the enemy at their most vulnerable point!
- 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
- Part 5 in this series. Skyhammer Orbital Strike Force
- Part 6 in this series. Ravenhawk Assault Group
- Part 7 in this series. Raptor Wing
This is a fun formation that while not amazing, is certainly not bad. The benefits it grants are characterful and a nice boost, but can feel like they fall a bit short compared to other formations available to you as a Space Marine player. The ability to Scout move up these units does provide some fun options and the ability to put units into a good position to strike at the enemy on turn 1 for an alpha strike, or to outflank if you find yourself going second.
- Space Marine Captain: can be swapped out for Sicarius, Khan, Vulkan, Shrike, Kantor, or Helbrecht. The Captain cannot be equipped with Terminator Armor.
- 1 Sternguard Veteran Squad
- 1 Vanguard Veteran Squad
- 1 unit of Land Speeders
- Acute Senses
- Move Through Cover
- Swift Redeployment: Non-vehicle units in this formation can reroll the dice when Running, and vehicles can move an additional 6″ when moving Flat Out which gets really crazy with a unit of 3 Land Speeders which gain an additional 6″ from the Anti Grav Upwash special rule.
This formation appears to fall a little flat in comparison to other Space Marine formations, but, it has some really fun options if you get creative. For one, Scouting Sternguard is–obviously–good! If you get first turn, you can move into position to blast someone with combi-weapons or specialist ammunition turn 1! This is even easier to do if you have them in a transport vehicle, which would have Scout conferred onto it, too. If you are playing Raven Guard Chapter Tactics, you would also start with Shrouding so long as you are on foot. Vanguard getting a Scout move can be very useful, too, as they will almost certainly get a turn 2 charge.
If you do need to use your Scout move to instead Outflank, Acute Senses let’s you reroll the die for choosing the side you come in on, and in conjunction with the Talon Strike Force, you can come in on an enemy flank with an 8/9 chance of getting the side you want on turn 1. So good! That will really disrupt enemy battle plans.
Another benefit is Move Through Cover, which clearly helps Jump Infantry to avoid annoying fatalities due to crashing, but any dedicated transport would also love this ability, as would the Land Speeder. The extra speed on the Flat Out move is slick too, as it turns any dedicated transport into a Blood Angels quick vehicle. A Rhino particularly loves this and Sternguard with a Heavy Flamer can be put into position to really do some work. Rerolling the Run move is also great for ensuring you snag objectives throughout the game…just ask any White Scars player how solid that one is! The Land Speeder with a Flat Out move of +6″ means he can grab an Objective almost anywhere on the table! Not bad.
I’d run this formation with a unit of 10 Sternguard in a Rhino, with combi-weapons to enable them to Combat Squad and potentially pop two units on turn 1, or on foot if using Raven Guard CTs. With Shrouding turn 1, they can be pretty resilient. I’d run the Vanguard in a unit of 5, with the Captain packing a Jump Pack to accompany them. The Land Speeder would be ran Typhoon style (my favorite). This pairs very well with Lias Issodon (as does EVERYTHING in the Talon Strike Force, haha) due to the fact that he comes with the infiltrate warlord trait and allows you to reroll reserve rolls. Infiltrate + Scout is a potent combo on this formation, and if you go second, you can get a reroll 4+ to come in from reserves/outflank on turn 1. Cool!
Salamander Chapter Tactics would work very well here, too as a self-contained force. If you took Vulkan with the Vanguard in a Razorback or Drop Pod (which would love MtC to drop into any terrain!), slap a Master Crafted Relic Blade on the Sarge and some kit on the rest of the Vets, pack a Rhino full of Combi-Melta or Flamers on the Sternguard and dual Multi Meltas on the Land Speeder, you have a fun little formation that packs quite a punch! Could be a lot of fun and effective, too, as an addition to an army that needed some punch.
On a final note, reader Ragnulf suggested putting the IC in a unit from another detachment and confer Scout / Outflank onto them and any dedicated transport they might be using. Terminators, or Assault Centurions in a Land Raider. Or, stick him in a unit like an Imperial Guard blob squad, etc. Quite handy as he also grants Outflank!
In all, I would rate this as a mid-tier formation that will perform well, but may not rate as an all-star.