Hi everyone, Michael here to tell you why I’m looking forward to the release of 9th edition and hopefully the return of one of my favourite armies to play, the Ravenwing. For more reviews and analyses, check out the Tactics Corner.
Dark Angels were my first army when I started 40k back in 3rd edition. I loved the look of the army, as well as the ability to paint up a force in three different styles thanks to the various “wings” available to the Dark Angels.
Of these, the Ravenwing were one of my favourites. In several editions of the game, I would play an all-Ravenwing force, taking a ton of Bikes and Landspeeders to the table to outmaneuver and demolish the enemy force in daring hit and run attacks. I took an all-Ravenwing army to a number of tournaments and had a lot of fun playing them against a range of opponents.
Unfortunately, 8th edition has not been so kind to the Ravenwing and Bike armies, so I didn’t really get to use my army all that much.
The first problem was the detachments. In previous editions of the game, you could count your Ravenwing Bikers as troops with the right HQ unit, so you could still field a legal army with the detachments available. However, in 8th edition, the only way to field an all-Ravenwing army was with the Outrider detachment.
While this was fine, allowing you to take all the Ravenwing units in the detachment, it did mean that you were starved of CP. Most of the time, you would be fielding a couple of Outrider Detachments and would start the game with around 5CP. Ravenwing have some very useful stratagems to take advantage of, and starting the game with so few CP was a real battle for them, in a list that was already pretty difficult to use against most opponents. You could throw in 3 units of Scouts to get a Battalion and more CP, but that was always a bit of a cop out for me.
Another issue was the -1 to hit from moving and shooting. Now, the Landspeeders and attack bikes that provided much of the fire support for the army were hindered when firing on the move, which was a big blow to their damage output.
This is why the rules previews for 9th edition so far have had me excited to take the Ravenwing back out on the table when the game is released.
First up is the change to detachments and CP. Armies now start with the same number of CP based on the points of the game being played. This already gives a significant boost for my Ravenwing army. As can be seen from the Battalion detachment preview, you gain back the cost of the detachment if your warlord is part of the Battalion. I’m hoping that this is the case for all the detachments, essentially giving you a single detachment for “free” to build your army.
If this is the case, my Ravenwing will be going up to 12CP from the start, allowing them to use more of their stratagems during the game. Even if the Outrider does cost me, I imagine it will only be 1 or 2CP, so will still be starting the game with at least 10CP, double what I would normally be using in 8th edition.
Another boost is the change to moving and firing heavy weapons. By all accounts, only Infantry will suffer the -1 to hit for moving and firing heavy weapons. This is a nice boost for my Landspeeders and Attack Bikes in the army. The improved accuracy of these units on the move will increase their usefulness in my list, allowing me to put out a decent level of firepower in the army.
This will be especially useful for the Talonmaster, who will be back to hitting on a 3+ with his Twin Heavy Bolters and Twin Assault Cannon. This allows the unit to move around the battlefield and still fire at full effect in most cases, which is what most people with think of when using elite armies such as the Ravenwing. In addition, the Dark Talon will be hitting ground targets on a 2+ with its Rift Cannon (thanks to Strafing Run), allowing this powerful weapon to do more damage.
The smaller board size will also make it hard for your opponent to hide from the Ravenwing, as their high speed and Jink saves will allow them to close with the enemy army very quickly. In addition, the rumoured changes to reserves may allow me to keep some Bike units aside for outflanking the enemy army and cutting off their escape from the main force.
The rules previews so far have got me excited for more unusual armies that players may wish to field. The change to CP will allow you to experiment more with your force and not lose out as you are not running a double Battalion or Brigade to gain those CP for your stratagems. I think this could be a great edition for running some fun lists that don’t often see play; Deathwing strike forces, an Ork Dread army, or even a San Haim jetbike army. Hopefully, this coming edition will expand the concept of what a competitive army can be and how they can be built.
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