Raptor Talon: Chaos Assault Marines now worth it?


Hey everyone, Reecius here from Frontline Gaming to wax philosophic on the new Raptor Talon formation from the Traitor’s Hate CSM supplement.

So let’s face it: Raptors and Warp Talons are bad. Like, terribad bad. They are so bad, I honestly do not remember the last time I saw them on the tabletop. It’s unfortunate though as they are amazing models, some of the best in the range. And, they have some killer back story, too. In all, it is sad we don’t see them more frequently on tabletops.


So what does the Raptor Talon formation add to these units to give them a boost? It adds a trick that GW is handing out a lot lately to under-powered units: the ability to charge form reserves. And that my friends, is quite the boost.

As someone that plays the Skyhammer Annihilation formation, I can attest to the power of Assault Marines coming in hot from reserves. However, in Skyhammer get some serious boosts with rerolls and taking away overwatch from their Devastator comrades, but the ability to assault in a weak position helps a ton.

Another benefit is taking a Chaos Lord who is actually quite good and comes with Fearless, which is fantastic to mitigate the leadership issues of Chaos Space Marines who certainly know fear. While somewhat cowardly themselves, Raptors also inspire fear in others and their formation rule of granting a -2 to enemy leadership when they assault with two or more units of Raptors, you can easily send non-fearless units packing. Combo this with other leadership debuffs such as that granted by the Heldrake Terror Pack and you can really punish units that are susceptible to morale. Downside here though is the rarity of units that don’t have morale control. Still, there are those high value targets that are not fearless out there like Tau suits, for example. You just have to somehow survive Interceptor and Overwatch fire…


Warp Talons are another unit that goes from fairly awful to useful in this setup. They hit hard with all Lightening Claws (unless, of course, your opponent is in cover where their lack of grenades means they still probably get womped) but with the ability to surgically strike a vulnerable opponent, you can really get some mileage out of these guys. MSU units of Marines, Eldar Jet Bikes, Crisis Suits, Scouts, Tomb Blades, etc. are all easy prey for Warp Talons and we see them frequently as scoring elements in lists these days. These are where Warp Talons will shine as they can quite easily take them out.

Also, taken in the Black Crusade Detachment, you can beef up the Aspiring Champions with free rolls on the Boon Table, most of which benefit melee units. They can become quite powerful with these upgrades and while random and sometimes frustrating, the Boon Table is a fun mechanic.


I’d run this formation MSU style, probably with 2 units of Raptors with dual Melta or Flamers, 1 unit of Warp Talons and the Lord kitted out to taste. Upgrade the Aspiring Champs to have some fun kit such as a Power Axe or Lightening Claw, etc. and have them come in to take out vulnerable enemy assets. Will they be amazing in every game? No, they’re still over priced and under-powered. However, they are infinitely better than they were and will on occasion perform admirably as skirmishing units and give you a reason to blow the dust off of these awesome models!

Thanks for reading! What do you think about the Raptor Talon?


About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

49 Responses to “Raptor Talon: Chaos Assault Marines now worth it?”

  1. Avatar
    Ytook September 14, 2016 1:28 am #

    Honestly I think some of these Chaos and Blood Angels formations are being a little bit underestimated, they aren’t going to be major to tier meta definers, which I suppose in a tournament setting is all that really matters :P. But still I think Chaos Marines and Blood Angels might creep up the tables a bit.

    • Reecius
      Reecius September 14, 2016 9:43 am #

      I think there’s a lot of fun formations in there.

  2. Avatar
    Dakkath September 14, 2016 2:32 am #

    One small little bonus for the units in this formation is that since they’re not using their jump packs in the movement phase they get to use them in the assault phase to reroll charge distance and gain hammer of wrath.

    • Avatar
      Loofanator September 14, 2016 3:38 am #

      Aren’t they using them to deep strike?

      • Avatar
        Dakkath September 14, 2016 5:55 am #

        RAW no. They count as having moved during the deepstrike but not as having used their jump packs.

        • Avatar
          Blight1 September 14, 2016 8:05 am #

          I thought it specifically said it counted as using their jump packs the turn they deepstrike. Will have to look that up again.

    • Andrew
      Andrew September 14, 2016 9:04 am #

      I noticed the same thing. It makes sense from a fluff standpoint. I just imagine them flying down form the sky and landing on top of the opponent.

      I’m glad that chaos is getting more options for viable builds even if we aren’t pushing the tournament scene.

  3. Avatar
    Jedkar September 14, 2016 2:43 am #

    Warp Talons benefit from cursed earth…Precision charges and 4++ or even 3++ with Tz. mark. Just a thought.

    • Avatar
      Dakkath September 14, 2016 5:55 am #

      Nice one.

    • Avatar
      Blight1 September 14, 2016 8:08 am #

      Just need a reliable way to get it and get the caster in range.
      I don’t like sorcerers for malefic since all those wc3 powers are basically a death sentence for them and the only really good wc1 power is cursed earth. Even going all in on an unmarked sorcerer into malefic only results in a 50% chance to get it. Using multiple sorcerers helps with the odds but then you are investing a ton into one power and you could be going into the new lores.

      • Avatar
        punchymango September 14, 2016 10:02 am #

        I feel like there’s some potential for this formation supporting Daemons; in addition to precise DS with cursed earth, raptors are also fairly affordable drop melta, and that’s something daemons tend to lack.

        While that’s still unlikely to be a CSM primary, it’s still actual CSM taking the field. An improvement over “sorc, 10 cultists, heldrake”

      • Avatar
        Beau September 15, 2016 6:51 am #

        Good thing you can take flying nurgle DP with ML3 malefic and spell familiar. People like to complain about the mandatory god power but I feel like nurgles rot primaris and weapon virus can be situationally decent especially since they can be used while swooping.

    • Reecius
      Reecius September 14, 2016 9:56 am #

      Use the Grim on them, too as they are Daemons.

      • Avatar
        Blight1 September 14, 2016 11:11 am #

        Plus if you also use a skull cannon they get assault grenades.
        Daemons are a warp talon’s best friend.

      • Avatar
        Blight1 September 14, 2016 11:13 am #

        Oh and daemon icons reduce warp talon scatter by d6. In case you don’t have a tzeentch herald with cursed earth nearby.

    • Avatar
      Threllen September 15, 2016 12:42 pm #

      Tzeentch is still the most useless mark for Warp Talons imo (especially considering how insanely pricy it is).

      1) Most of the time they aren’t dying to AP3/AP2. They’re dying to small arms fire. So no one cares if they have a 4++ instead of a 5++.
      2) If you are going to pull Daemons shenanigans (like the Grimoire) MoT can’t bring you below 3++ so it doesn’t really give you any benefit.

      One exception would be if you’re running a full Tzeentch list. I believe then (unless I’m mis-remembering) they may deep strike w/ no scatter from a Tzeentch banner.

  4. Avatar
    Duh_Ruckus September 14, 2016 7:56 am #

    I’ve missed your articles

    • Reecius
      Reecius September 14, 2016 9:56 am #

      Thanks! Yeah, was gone most of the summer.

  5. Avatar
    Calle September 14, 2016 9:46 am #

    Charge from reserve would do everything for ork stormboyz and kommandoz.They always gets shot off the board when they have to wait one turn to actually do something.

    I’m happy for my CSM-player friends though!

    • Reecius
      Reecius September 14, 2016 9:57 am #

      I know, right? Kommandos particularly should be able to charge from reserves. Back with Snikrot they were so awesome.

      • Avatar
        Blight1 September 14, 2016 11:10 am #

        Would it be bad to go back to charging from reserves? It didn’t break 5th ed.
        We might even see deep strike charges for everyone as long as it’s disordered. A theme seems to be forming here.
        Also while this is controversial I think a return of consolidating into close combat should make a return. It isn’t nearly as bad with overwatch plus only d6 range to actually do it.

        • Reecius
          Reecius September 14, 2016 2:28 pm #

          I think it is MUCH better that way. Things like Genestealers are seriously awful without that ability.

          • Avatar
            Lysere September 14, 2016 3:27 pm

            I’ve missed assault from reserves since they pulled it. I mean no deep strike assaults without formation rules is fine but people need to learn to fear the table edge again.

          • Avatar
            Vercingatorix September 15, 2016 11:18 am

            Everything is so much faster now I’m not sure how much of a difference it would make.

          • Avatar
            Anggul September 15, 2016 2:04 pm

            I’m torn.

            On the one hand I loved my genestealers being feared and, you know, useful.

            On the other hand it wasn’t really much fun for the opponent when a tide of genestealers just washed over everything anywhere near the table edges and they had no say in the matter.

            We talk about how it sucks when there’s no interaction and there isn’t really much you can do to stop something from happening, and that’s why they removed assault from outflank.

            I feel there must be a better way.

        • Avatar
          punchymango September 14, 2016 4:52 pm #

          With how lethal shooting has become, yeah, I can see it.

          At this point, if you can deliver, say, a squad of ‘zerkers into your enemy’s gunline, you deserve to kill 2-3 units with them.

          • Avatar
            Blight1 September 15, 2016 6:26 am

            And if they put all their squishy shooting units within 6 of each other they deserve to lose them.

  6. Avatar
    rgMarkon September 14, 2016 12:38 pm #

    I cant really find anywhere where it says to get the path to glory chaos boon you have to be on the table.. so is it possible to beef the champion up before he actually deepstrikes?

    • Reecius
      Reecius September 14, 2016 2:28 pm #

      That’s how I read it, too.

    • Avatar
      Threllen September 15, 2016 12:44 pm #

      GW has implied in a lot of their recent rulings that you need to be on the field to be affected by rules or to affect the game yourself. Not saying that necessarily applies in this case, but I wouldn’t put it past them as their intent.

  7. Avatar
    Indy September 14, 2016 6:54 pm #

    I would like to see something along the lines of “once a unit entering from Deep Strike Reserves has been successfully placed on the table [after Mishap, etc… resolved], the unit may take an initiative test. If passed, the unit may Charge. If failed, the unit may not perform any other action.”

    Adds and element of chance to things and reflects the paratrooper nature.

    Not a perfect idea but a thought .

    • Avatar
      Jural September 14, 2016 8:07 pm #

      truly- you are the first non GW person I know who has looked at Chaos and said- “you know, they need a more random element!”

      When you consider the charge is random and the deep strike is random location with no protection, I think there’s already enough randomness in this formation.

      • Avatar
        Blight1 September 15, 2016 6:29 am #

        He was talking about deepstrike units in general not just chaos or this formation.

        • Avatar
          punchymango September 15, 2016 9:25 am #

          Still, that’s a lot of points of failure; you’re adding a 4th dice roll that can shut down an already risky strategy that most players already consider more trouble than its worth.

          I feel like this is another one of those ways 40k’s gotten clunky; getting rid of surprise assaults with no counter-play was arguably good for the game, but now we’re all fantasizing about surprise charges with no counter-play because it’s the only way most assault troops have any hope of seeing the tabletop.

        • Avatar
          Jural September 15, 2016 3:53 pm #

          That makes more sense then! It might make drop pods too good though…

          Personally, I’m with Calle up above; assaulting from deep strike is OK as a special rule only, but assaulting from reserves should always be available

  8. Avatar
    MattC September 14, 2016 11:04 pm #

    I ran the Raptor Talon last night in a 1850pt game against Blood Angels. It was actually pretty good. I ran 2 squads of Raptors with 2 Meltaguns, Combi Melta and Melta Bombs and a squad of Warp Talons with MoT, and my Lord had MoT, a Sigil of Corruption and a Powerfist. Turn 2 I got 1 squad of Raptors and the Warp Talons in. The Raptors blew up a Vindicator and the Warp Talons failed the charge. The Warp Talons then got charged and killed by Assault Termies. Turn 3 the other Raptors came in and took 2 hull points of a hovering Stormraven and then charged it and blew it up with a melta bomb.

    Long story short, the Raptors were great, the Warp Talons still sucked. Being able to charge a vehicle and melta bomb it after shooting it with 3 melta shots makes Raptors much, much better. However the overall cost of the formation still requires you to keep 600+points off the table in reserve, and considering that the Warband encourages you to take Terminators (because Chosen and Possessed aren’t really an option) who are also only useful for meltacide I found that i just had way too much stuff in reserve.

    • Avatar
      Blight1 September 15, 2016 8:32 am #

      Now did you have 2 melta guns in the 5 man squad?
      Thought it was either 2 get plasma pistols or one gets a special weapon.

      • Avatar
        punchymango September 15, 2016 9:28 am #

        Nope, raptors can take 2. 3, if you wanna spring for a combi-melta. (might as well, really).

      • Avatar
        Threllen September 15, 2016 12:45 pm #

        Raptors can always take 2 special weapons regardless of squad size. This includes things like meltaguns and flamers (possibly plasma as well?)

    • Avatar
      Vercingatorix September 15, 2016 12:07 pm #

      Well there’s a sentence I expect to never hear in a tournament “My warp talons were charged and killed by assault termies”

  9. Avatar
    Blight1 September 15, 2016 6:31 am #

    I’ve always wondered why warp talons scatter. They don’t teleport in and they don’t drop from the sky. They’re waiting on the other side and cut their way out when they want to. Same with necron deathmarks.

    • Avatar
      westrider September 15, 2016 6:50 am #

      The Warp doesn’t line up nicely with reality. It’s hard to judge just where you’re actually going to pop out.

    • Avatar
      Threllen September 15, 2016 12:47 pm #

      Daemons scatter, too, and they just materialize from the warp.

      You could also think of it as the scatter didn’t really happen, the Warp Talons just misjudged where the enemy would be and meant to come out from the point they landed at.

  10. Avatar
    Bellerah September 15, 2016 10:21 am #

    I think there is a lot to like here. This formation definitely takes these units from something that you never ever see to something that an be useful and make your army better. I think as a whole this formation makes chaos better as a whole. It allows players to play with the toys they like and just not get curbstomped. The big question as always, is do these new formations in any way change what the most competitive chaos builds are. From what I have seen from the rules, not really. I saw nothing that was going to get a player to go, great, I need to get me some warp talon models now, those will gill give me a chance at going 6-0. so I would say all in all and improvement, but nothing game shifting or anything we will see make any kind of large appearance on scene. It does look promising for more one off games though to bring in some old things off the shelf.

    • Reecius
      Reecius September 15, 2016 10:36 am #

      Yeah, good analysis.

    • Avatar
      Jural September 15, 2016 3:58 pm #

      Well, the competitive CSM lists are Chaos Daemon lists, allied lists, or use the FW supplements. A straight CSM list is just not going to go better than 3-3 reliably.

      I think this drop (all the formations together) give you some good options to be more competitive, but as usual, Daemons do it better.

      But… I will have much more fun with my CSM army after the rules dropped, I’m glad this supplement came out. It reminds me of the first few Leviathan drops for Nids in this edition. Nothing game breaking, but the extra options really let you play and have fun in this edition where previously in the ITC you were pretty limited, especially after CtA were outlawed (‘Nids and Knights was pretty lame anyway.)

  11. Avatar
    Wolfsark September 16, 2016 1:15 pm #

    I struggle to use warp talons in my KDK army. In KDK, they are “Daemons of Khorne” and have the mark of khorne increasing their price to 180 points for 5. For 180 points, I can get a unit of 3 bikers with 2 meltas and melta bombs AND a unit of 5 flesh hounds. So I have a choice of trying to run a hit or miss unit of super expensive demon assault marines or 2 reliable, fast, and cheap units.

    The CSM formation that lets them charge out of deep strike is certainly interesting but there are so many conditions that have to be met to make it work. They come in on turn 2 at the earliest, you need to pass 3 reserve rolls, deep strike scatter which could kill the whole unit, survive overwatch/interceptor, roll a successful charge then win combat off a disordered charge (if you lose combat then you might get sweeping advanced.) The fear/leadership/blind thing is pretty much useless at this point in the game where 90% of units in the game can ignore it.

    You will catch your opponent off guard with this formation literally one time. The next time you play against him he will screen his important units with chaff or deploy them in cover. I’m all for constructive discussion but I’m confused as to why people are so excited about this when Skyhammer and the Ravenguard formation exist.

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