Hi everyone, Michael here with a review of one of the best support vehicles in the Dark Angels codex, the Ravenwing Darkshroud. For more reviews, analyses and battle reports, check out the Tactics Corner.
The Ravenwing Darkshroud is one of those rare units in 40k; a fantastic looking model with equally fantastic rules on the tabletop. The Darkshroud is a brilliant support vehicle and should have a place in any competitive Dark Angels list, particularly one with a large number of Ravenwing elements. The Darkshroud has armour 10 all round and three hull points (gaining one from its 6th edition rules), all for only 80 pts. While that does not seem like much, it is the special rules the skimmer brings to the table that make it well worth the cost.
- Heavy Bolter
- May replace the Heavy Bolter with an Assault Cannon
- Fast, Skimmer
- Deep Strike
- Ravenwing- Can re-roll failed cover saves when it Jinks.
- Icon of Old Caliban- Friendly Dark Angels units within 6″ gain Fear and Stealth (does not affect the Darkshroud). In addition, enemy units can’t fire Overwatch at any friendly Dark Angels units that were within 6″ of the Darkshroud at the start of the assault phase.
The Ravenwing Darkshroud is a fantastic support vehicle for the Dark Angels army, particularly the Ravenwing units in the army.
With armour 10 all round and three hull points, the Darkshroud seems like it should be fairly easy to destroy. However, as the skimmer has Shrouded, it gets a 2+ Jink save. Not only that, it gets a re-rollable Jink save thanks to the Ravenwing special rule. This makes the Darkshroud insanely durable against all but Ignores Cover weaponry. The combination of special rules means that the Darkshroud should save around 97% of penetrating or glancing hits from shooting. Many tournaments will comp such saves, giving the Darkshroud a 2+/4+ save. While downgraded slightly, you will still be saving about 92% of damage, still pretty damn durable. As tough as the Darkshroud is against enemy firepower, it will quickly fall to most units in combat where its impressive cover save has no effect.
The real strength of the Darkshroud is the Icon of Old Caliban. Giving Stealth to units within 6″ may not seem like much, but depending on the unit you use it with, it can be incredibly powerful. A Darkshroud supporting a Ravenwing Bike Squad will grant them a 3+ re-rollable Jink save. A Darkshroud accompanying a Ravenwing Command Squad or unit of Black Knights will give them a 2+ re-rollable Jink save, greatly increasing their durability to enemy firepower. Even parking a Darkshroud next to a unit behind an Aegis Defence line will grant them a 3+ cover save as standard, boosting the damage that a static gunline can take. Granting the unit Fear is also a nice bonus, but very situational. Most competitive lists will not be affected by Fear that much, so you are unlikely to see much benefit from it. In fact, most of the time I simply forget that it also grants Fear, with Stealth being the important one.
In addition to greatly increasing the durability of certain squads, the Darkshroud can help them out further in the assault phase. Blocking the overwatch of enemy units is fantastic. This is a big boost for your Black Knights units, helping to stop any falling before you get to charge your opponent. This is brilliant against armies with a lot of AP3 firepower or grav weaponry. It is also amazing against the Tau, shutting down supporting fire against your combat units. Tau can be a very tough match up for a Marine bike army (lots of high strength, ignores cover shots), so any advantage against them is most welcome.
What this does mean is that your Darkshroud will most likely need to get close to the enemy army for maximum effect for the unit it is supporting. This leaves it vulnerable to assault where it will die easily. In order to minimise this, you need to be careful with the positioning of the Darkshroud. You want it close enough to your own units to buff them, but positioned away from the enemy to prevent them from assaulting. This is very tricky to do a lot of the time. The only thing you can hope for is that your assault unit (probably Black Knights) smashes the enemy unit you sent it against, allowing you to consolidate back to form a “shield” around the Darkshroud.
The Darkshroud comes with a Heavy Bolter that can be upgraded to an Assault Cannon. This is probably not worth the points. You are most likely going to be Jinking with the Darkshroud any time the enemy army even looks at it funny, so upgrading its weapons is going to be a waste.
The Darkshroud also comes with Scout, allowing you to keep up with any Ravenwing units on the board or re-positioning it for greater effect after seeing your opponent’s deployment. It also has Deep Strike, but I wouldn’t bother with this. You want the Darkshroud on the table from the beginning, buffing and protecting your units as long as it can.
The Darkshroud can be taken as part of the Ravenwing Support Squadron formation. I absolutely love this formation. It consists of a Darkshroud and at least 3 Ravenwing Landspeeders that form a single unit and comes with some great special rules. I will go into more detail when I review the formation, but it gives the skimmers Strafing Run, Interceptor and Ravenshield. Ravenshield is a version of the Tau’s supporting fire, allowing the Ravenwing Support Squadron to fire overwatch at an enemy unit assaulting a Ravenwing unit. This greatly increases the damage output of the formation, as well as providing some nasty tricks to use against an opponent.
In summary, the Ravenwing Darkshroud is a brilliant vehicle for supporting and buffing units in a Dark Angels army. Most competitive Dark Angels lists will include at least one of these vehicles (possibly even two) to boost the durability of the units in the army.
You can also pick up some cheap models in our Second Hand Shop. Some of these gems are quite rare, sometimes they’re fully painted!