The Ravenwing Dark Talon is, in my opinion, the best of the two unique Dark Angels flyers. It combines some strong anti-infantry firepower with an incredibly powerful main gun to give a flyer that can deal with a number of threats in the enemy army. It is not the most durable of the flyers available to the Dark Angels, so some care does need to be taken to keep it safe from the enemy firepower. The Dark Talon costs 160 points, including wargear, and is a bargain at that price.
I would give the Ravenwing Dark Talon the Competitive rating. It provides some very fast firepower support for the rest of your Dark Angels army.
- Two Hurricane Bolters- 24″, Rapid Fire 6, S4, AP 0, 1 damage.
- Rift Cannon- 18″, Heavy D3, S10, AP-3, 3 damage. If the unit suffers any damage for this weapon, roll a die and consult the Rift Vortex table. If the result equals or beats the roll on the table, the target unit suffers an additional D3 mortal wounds.
- Jink- If the unit Advances, it gains a 4+ invulnerable save against shooting until the start of your next movement phase.
- Stasis Bomb- Once per game, the Dark Talon can drop a Stasis Bomb at the end of its move in the movement phase. Pick a unit that the Dark Talon flew over. Roll a D6 for each model in the enemy unit (up to a maximum of 10). On a roll of a 4+, the target unit suffers a Mortal Wound.
- Hover Jet- Before the Dark Talon moves in the movement phase, you can declare it is hovering. It’s movement becomes 20″ and it loss the Airborne, Hard to Hit and Supersonic abilities until the beginning of your next movement phase.
- Hard to Hit- Enemy shooting attacks suffer -1 to Hit against the Dark Talon.
- Supersonic- The model can pivot up to 90 degrees, then moves straight forward (it cannot pivot again). If it Advances, increase its move characteristic by 20″ instead of rolling.
- Crash and Burn- If the model is reduced to zero wounds, it explodes on a the roll of a 6 on a D6. Each unit within 6″ suffers D3 mortal wounds.
- Airborne- This model cannot charge and can only be charged and attacked in the Fight phase by models with the Fly keyword.
- Strafing Run- You get +1 to hit against enemy models that do not have the Fly keyword.
- Degrading Profile- 6-10W: 20-40″ move, BS 3+, Rift Vortex 3+. 3-5W: 20-30″ move, BS 4+, Rift Vortex 4+. 1-2W: 20″ move, BS 5+, Rift Vortex 5+.
- Keywords- Imperium, Adeptus Astartes, Dark Angels, Ravenwing, Vehicle, Fly, Ravenwing Dark Talon.
The Ravenwing Dark Talon has a reasonable profile. It has toughness 6, 10 wounds and a 3+ armour save. This makes it a bit less durable than most vehicles, but on par with many other flyers in the game. It’s durability is somewhat helped by Hard to Hit and can be further boosted by its Jink save, though if you are advancing, you are losing out on its considerable firepower.
This firepower is why you are taking the Dark Talon. Under previous editions of the game, the Dark Talon suffered in that it’s armaments were aimed at different types of target, but could only shoot at one unit. In 8th edition, this restriction is now gone, allowing you to target the optimum choice for its weapons.
The Hurricane Bolters are great for clearing out infantry models and screening units in the enemy army. At 12″ and under, you will be getting 24 Bolter shots that will be hitting on a 2+ against most enemy units thanks to Strafing Run. This provides the Dark Talon with a great way to clear out common chaff units such as Conscripts, Cultists, etc, and will even be able to cause serious harm to most infantry units thanks simply to the volume of wounds it will be able to put out. You will have no problem getting it into rapid fire range thanks to its high move value, even at its lowest wound tier. Being a Flyer, it will also be relatively free of reprisal from enemy charges at such a close range, with enemy firepower being somewhat mitigated thanks to Hard to Hit.
The Rift Cannon is also a seriously hard-hitting weapon at times. Although it is short ranged, your high move value will allow you to get into range of a decent target most of the time. At S10 and -3AP, the Rift Cannon will be wounding anything on a 3+ and most infantry and Bikers on a 2+, and giving them little protection from all but the heaviest of armour. A flat damage of 3 with each wound is great for taking out multi-wound threats such as Ogryns or Terminator equivalents, as well as putting a decent dent on vehicles and monsters. With a potential to do 12 damage in a single turn, it can make a serious mess of enemy vehicles or important models such as Mortarion, Magnus or Guilliman. The Vortex ability also works on units, not just single models, so you have the potential to cause additional mortal wounds and take out up to 6 single wound models with a single shot. It is unlikely to cause maximum damage most of the time, but is great for piling on the damage caused by other units in your army. Thanks to Strafing Run, you will still be hitting on a 3+ against ground targets on the move, helping to keep it an effective weapon for dealing with big threats. You can even drop into Hover mode to hit on a 2+, though I wouldn’t recommend this in all but the most vital situations as you become a lot more vulnerable to enemy firepower and assaults in that case.
The Stasis Bomb can also be a great surprise to drop on an enemy unit. Thanks to the change to shooting rules giving all units 360 degrees of fire, it is now easier than ever to use the Stasis Bomb and still get your full firepower. Given the nature of its rules, it works better on larger units of at least 10 models, so that you can attempt to get maximum damage for its use. However, if you have an enemy vehicle or character on a single wound, it can be a nice way to finish them off, giving you a 50% chance of killing them off if they are screened in a way that the rest of your army cannot target them.
The flyer can go into Hover mode. This is only really useful if you need to do so to avoid leaving the board, or want to get some increased accuracy from your firepower. As flyers can no longer hold objectives, it is safer to keep them airborne and therefore, harder to hit and assault.
The Dark Talon works well with a Darkshroud in nearby support of it. The additional -1 to hit provided by the Darkshroud makes it quite a challenging prospect to take down the Dark Talon. On deployment, this can help the Dark Talon to survive to fire if you don’t get the first turn. If you want to use one to support it on the move, you will need to be advancing with the Darkshroud in order to keep it in range to use the -1 to hit bubble, even at the minimum speed of the Dark Talon.
This works well when combined with a unit of Black Knights. These three units can move up very quickly on the enemy army. The Dark Talon is great for clearing out screening units with its Hurricane Bolters. It can use its Rift Cannon to add more firepower to the screen unit or target a big threat near the Black Knights. The Black Knights meanwhile can use Speed of the Raven Stratagem to advance and still shoot and assault. This allows their Plasma Talons to target a screening unit or another choice target. With the screen destroyed or severely depleted, the Black Knights are now free to attempt an assault on a more prime target in the charge phase.
I think the Ravenwing Dark Talon is a fantastic unit to add to a Dark Angels army. It provides some serious short-range, high accuracy firepower that can make a mess of enemy infantry. It’s Rift Cannon can pose a threat to larger models such as vehicles and monsters, giving you a way to severely weaken or even kill them before the rest of your army engages. It is a great flyer to add to your force and should be able to make its worth back in competitive lists.
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