The Ravenwing Darkshroud is a fantastic support vehicle for a Dark Angels army. It provides a protective bubble to nearby Dark Angels units that reduces the effectiveness of incoming enemy firepower for a very reasonable points cost. It is suitable for all types of builds in a Dark Angels army and will find a use in any competitive force. The Darkshroud is a Fast Attack choice and costs 138 points (including base wargear).
For this reason, I give the Ravenwing Darkshroud the Competitive rating. It is a great vehicle to have in your army and should prove to be a very useful force multiplier.
- Heavy Bolter.
- May replace its Heavy Bolter with an Assault Cannon.
- Jink- If the model advances, it gains a 4+ invulnerable save against enemy shooting attacks until the start of your next movement phase.
- Icon of Old Caliban- Your opponent must subtract 1 from To Hit rolls for shooting attacks that target Dark Angels units within 6″ of any friendly Ravenwing Darkshroud.
- Explodes- If the model is reduced to 0 wounds, it explodes on a D6 roll of a 6. All units within D6″ suffer D3 mortal wounds.
- Keywords: Imperium, Adeptus Astartes, Dark Angels, Ravenwing, Vehicle, Land Speeder, Fly, Ravenwing Darkshroud.
The Ravenwing Darkshroud is a medium strength vehicle. It has move 12″, allowing it to keep up with most of the fast moving elements in a Dark Angels army. At T6, 9 wounds and a 3+ save, it is slightly weaker than a standard vehicle, but should have reasonable durability against a range of enemy firepower. It’s lower toughness makes it more vulnerable to mid-strength weaponry with high rates of fire, such as Assault Cannons, Autocannons, etc. It’s durability is further boosted due to the Icon of Old Caliban and Jink.
It has BS 3+ and a Heavy Bolter, giving it some decent firepower to add to your army. I generally wouldn’t bother taking the Assault Cannon. The strength of the Darkshroud is not in its fire support, so this upgrade is generally just wasted points that can be better spent elsewhere. Being a Land Speeder, it also has some decent combat ability, hitting on a 3+ with 3 attacks and S4. You really don’t want it getting into combat that, as that negates some of its best defensive measures.
The real reason you are taking a Darkshroud in a Dark Angels list is the -1 to hit bubble it provides against any shooting. This is actually a really great bonus against enemy firepower, which is why such Chapter Tactics providing this rule for Raven Guard and Alaitoc have proved so popular. The benefit of the Darkshroud is that this bonus applies at all ranges if the unit is within 6″ of the Darkshroud, you don’t have to be more than 12″ from the enemy unit. This means it can provide a useful boost to durability, even when closing with the enemy army.
The tactics for the Darkshroud are pretty simple. Keep it near the most valuable units in your army to provide additional protection against enemy firepower. In my own army, I tend to use a Darkshroud to support Sammael and a large unit of Black Knights. The additional -1 to hit from enemy shooting and the Jink save greatly increases the durability of the Black Knights. Added to the Speed of the Raven stratagem (allowing the Black Knights to advance and still shoot and charge), this provides them with some great protection while still allowing them to fight to full effectiveness.
The Darkshroud works equally well with a Dark Angels gunline force. As you only need a single model to be within 6″ to gain the benefits of the Icon of Old Caliban, you can spread this benefit out to multiple units in your gunline and keep them safer for longer. A castle consisting of Tactical and Devastator Marines in cover, with a Darkshroud and possibly even Azrael (for the 4+ invulnerable) will be an incredibly durable firebase and prove very difficult to shift in the shooting phase for anything that cannot generate large volumes of mortal wounds.
The Darkshroud can also be a big benefit for your flyers on deployment. The extra -1 to hit from the Darkshroud will mean that most elite units will only be hitting your flyer on a 5+, helping to keep them safe from the enemy Heavy Weapons for at least the first turn. The Shroud of Heroes also works well with the Darkshroud, giving a character an additional -1 to hit for shooting attacks. This works well on a Master with a Jump Pack or on a Ravenwing Talonmaster.
Another nice benefit of the -1 to hit bubble is that it stops your opponent from rolling a 6+ to hit without any bonuses of their own. This becomes important when your opponent has shooting abilities that trigger on a 6+ to hit to give them extra shots or bonuses to their damage/AP values. This helps make the units being guarded by the Darkshroud even more durable as, for example, it is much harder to negate their save through an ability such as Bladestorm.
Given the benefits the Ravenwing Darkshroud can bring to your army, it can quickly become a prime target for enemy attacks, especially if your opponent is using a firepower-heavy army. Advancing with it each turn (even if it doesn’t technically move) allows it to gain the Jink save and greatly increase its durability. This is one of the reasons it doesn’t pay to take the Assault Cannon on it. The other thing that can help keep it safe for longer is that as a support vehicle, it is generally accompanying a much bigger threat to the enemy army. If the Darkshroud is behind a unit of Black Knights, they are going to be a much bigger target for the enemy firepower in most cases, which can help keep the Speeder safer for a bit longer.
If you are using the Darkshroud as a backfield unit behind your main line, it will generally be safe from deep striking units. However, if it ventures further and is behind a more threatening unit, it can become susceptible to enemy deep strike assaults. There is not much you can do about this unless you add a supporting screening unit of Ravenwing Bikers to keep it safe from assaults, but this can get expensive to add so many Biker units to your army. A supporting Assault Squad is a nice cheap screen for the Darkshroud and allows gives you an additional mobile unit to go after objectives, to support the Black Knights in an assault, or even act as a sacrificial unit to soak up enemy Overwatch fire if necessary.
Two Darkshrouds will provide the best of both worlds, allowing you to guard your back line and support a forward ranging Ravenwing unit. However, at 138 pts each, it can be expensive to bring multiple Darkshroud. I think it is well worth the points, but this can easily eat into the points of your army for a unit that doesn’t do a whole lot of damage on its own.
The Ravenwing Darkshroud is a great support unit for a Dark Angels army. The Icon of Old Caliban is a great bonus, able to be utilised in any army build effectively. It will increase the durability of your units to enemy firepower and provide a nice defence that can be added to other elements in the Dark Angels army to further improve their resilience to enemy firepower. It is a competitive choice that should do well in your force.
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