Ravenwing Army: Part 1- Special Rules

Hey everyone, Michael here to take a look at the using the Ravenwing in 9th edition. For more reviews and analyses, check out the Tactics Corner.

The Dark Angels were my first 40k army and have remained one of my favourites throughout the decades. In particular, the Ravenwing have really appealed to me. I just love Biker armies, so have a sizeable White Scars and Ravenwing army. I was inspired by Reecius’ recent articles on running his Deathwing army, and thought I would have a look at an all-Ravenwing force.

I frequently used to run an all-Ravenwing force from as early back as 3rd edition. Back then, you could count Ravenwing Bikers as troops choices by taking Sammael or a character on Bike, making it easy to run the army. Later editions brought in formations and detachments that allowed you to run the army. Bikers suffered a bit in 8th edition, but the increased wound the Bikers received in the new codex, along with a number of other buffs means I have been taking another look at the Ravenwing army.

Special Rules

Grim Resolve– The Dark Angels Chapter Tactic. If the unit does not move in its turn (excluding pile-in and consolidation), then add 1 to hit rolls. Each time a combat attrition test is made, it is automatically passed.

While this is a useful tactic for many Dark Angels units, I don’t see it having much benefit for Ravenwing units. If the unit does not move, they get +1 to hit, but will lose the valuable Jink save (see below), so there are trade offs for the increased accuracy. Combat attrition is also unlikely to be much use, as I doubt the Ravenwing will be fielded in large enough units to make morale such a big deal to them, but may come in useful every once in a while.

Relentless Hunt– Whilst in the Devastator doctrine, the Range characteristic of all Heavy and Rapid Fire weapons on Dark Angels units are increased by 6″. All Assault and pistol weapons are increased by 3″.

This is a great bonus for the Ravenwing, increasing their firepower threat range in the first turn. This is particularly useful for the heavy weapons, such as Assault Cannons and Heavy Bolters, giving you an increased threat range, as well as the additional AP bonus of the Devastator doctrine. It also increases the range of Bolters to 30″, giving you a big boost to your Ravenwing Bikers.

Sadly, this only lasts for a single turn, as you need to move out of Devastator doctrine after that. You should be able to close range after turn 1, but there are ways to keep some units in the Devastator doctrine thanks to warlord traits and stratagems.

Jink– Models in this unit have a 5+ invulnerable save against ranged attacks. In your movement phase, if this unit remained stationary, it loses the invulnerable save until the start of your next movement phase. If the unit advanced, the save goes up to a 4+ invulnerable save.

A much improved version of Jink over the old rules. You will now get the benefit of this in your first turn if you do not go first, allowing you to have better durability against enemy firepower.

The big downside of this is that any Ravenwing units taken from the main Space Marine codex do not gain Jink. This means your Bike Squads and Landspeeders will not gain access to Jink, so will be more vulnerable to enemy fire. I hope this gets corrected in the new Dark Angels supplement, but we’ll need to wait and see. They do get the Ravenwing keyword though, so can benefit from some other abilities in the new rules.

Stratagems

The Ravenwing get access to some new stratagems in the Index Astartes, which could be of great use to the army. The loss of Weapons of the Dark Age is a bit of a blow, reducing the power of the Ravenwing Black Knights a little, but there are still some useful ones they can use.

Evasive Assault (1CP)– Use in the Fight Phase when a Ravenwing Biker unit made a charge move or was charged this turn is chosen as a target of an attack. Until the end of the phase, models in the unit have a 5+ invulnerable save.

A nice way to give your Ravenwing Bikers an invulnerable save in combat, which is something they don’t normally have access to. It would be nice if you could use this on any Ravenwing unit, to give your Landspeeders or Talonmaster a bit more protection in combat.

Full Throttle (1CP)- Use in your movement phase after moving a Ravenwing unit. The unit may move again (and can advance if it has not already done so). It cannot shoot or assault.

A situational stratagem, but great for getting into position to grab an objective, contest an objective or score a secondary objective. Paired with the Jink save, this will give you a highly mobile and durable unit.

High-speed Focus (1CP)– Use when a Ravenwing unit is targeted by a shooting attack. Until the start of your next movement phase, the unit has a 4+ invulnerable save against ranged attacks.

Great for the first turn if you want to give a bit more durability to one of your Ravenwing units. Also useful, as it is not a boosted Jink save, so you can remaining stationary and still get an invulnerable save. This means you can utilise the +1 to hit from your Chapter Tactic while still getting a save against enemy firepower.

The Ravenwing can also utilise Hit and Run Wargare to fall back and shoot, as well as Skilled Riders for a means of accessing -1 to hit. Sadly, they have lost Speed of the Raven, meaning a unit can no longer advance and fire as normal.

Warlord Traits

The Ravenwing have access to three new warlord traits, as well as the ones from the main rulebook.

Impeccable Mobility (Aura)– While they are within 6″ of the warlord, models in Ravenwing units do not suffer the penalty for advancing and firing assault weapons.

This is great for Black Knights, allowing them to advance for the 4+ jink save and still fire at full effect. Also useful for any Bikers with Meltaguns, increasing their chances of hitting the target.

Tactically Flexible– Once per battle, at the start of the battle round, you can select a combat doctrine that is not currently active. Until the end of the battle round, the warlord has the following aura ability; When resolving an attack made by a model in a Ravenwing unit within 6″ of the warlord, you can treat the chosen doctrine as being active instead of the current active doctrine.

This is a nice trait, but is sadly let down by the once per battle limitation. You might be better off with Brilliant Strategist, as it can at least be used multiple times during the game. Could be very useful for boosting the combat ability of Black Knights or boosting the firepower of heavy weapons in your squads.

Outrider- At the start of the first battle round, before the first turn begins, the Warlord and one other Ravenwing unit from your army can move up to 12″ as if it were your movement phase, but cannot advance. They must end the move more than 9″ from enemy units.

This is a great warlord trait for giving you some redeployment options before the start of the game. This allows you to move up on the enemy army or objectives, or allows you to move into cover if you don’t win the first turn. You could also use this to trick your opponent into a refused flank situation, moving units away from potential threats in the enemy army. A very useful trait that is worth taking on a character, even if it is not your warlord.

One other warlord trait that will be very useful in the Ravenwing army is Rites of War. The game is pretty much won and lost on objectives, so the ability to make your Bike units objective secured is a big boost for the army, as the lack of troops units could be a big deal for trying to steal objectives from any enemy units.

Overall

I think the Ravenwing could be an interesting army to field. They don’t benefit from the in-built Transhuman that the Deathwing get access to, so may struggle to match that level of durability. The next post will take a look at the potential advantages and disadvantages of the army.

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About Michael Corr

An avid 40k player and blogger from Scotland. I started in 3rd edition and have been playing ever since. I detail my adventures in my own blog "St Andrews Wargaming", highlighting my mediocre painting skills, regular battle reports and my occasional random ramblings.

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