Playing Ravenwing in 9th Edition: Stratagem Tactics

Hi everyone, Michael here to take you through some key tactics for using your Ravenwing stratagems in 9th edition. For more reviews and tactics, check out the Tactics Corner.

The Ravenwing have access to some amazing movement stratagems that really boost their ability to control the battlefield. Below are some tips for using the stratagems effectively, based on my experience with the army.

The Hunt

Use at the start of the first battle round. Select one Ravenwing unit. It may make a normal move as if it were the movement phase, but must end up more than 9″ from an enemy unit. Costs 2CP if the unit has 5 or fewer models, 3CP if there are more than 5. Can only be used once.

This stratagem obviously has a lot of potential for first turn board control, or for alpha strikes if you get the first turn.

Occurring at the start of the first battle round, rather than before the game means that you gain the benefit of the extra 3″ to movement in the tactical doctrine. This allows a Bike squad to move up to 17″ before the game begins. I find this stratagem works best if you get the first turn, though it can be used to re-deploy a unit that is now out of position, or hide them from the enemy firepower if you are going second.

I tend to use this on a more disposable unit, such as a unit of 3 Ravenwing Bikers, rather than a more powerful unit like Black Knights. Pushing them up in the first turn, as well as allowing you to move again in the movement phase, means that you have an incredible threat range. You are almost guaranteed a first turn charge with whatever unit you use this on.

My general tactic with this stratagem is to send a disposable unit towards the enemy army on the first turn. If your opponent has insufficient screening, you can normally get a charge on a useful target in their backline to hinder their firepower. I’ve used this tactic to go after enemy vehicles to stop them from firing at other units in the first turn. With the Jink save of the Bikers, you can normally block a good level of firepower from enemy vehicles in engagement range.

I’ve used this tactic to shut down or limit the firepower of Eradicators, Repulsors and Ironstriders in the first turn. This allows you to keep your more powerful units, such as Black Knights or the Talonmaster, safe from key enemy firepower in the first turn, or even longer if you can survive in combat.

An alternative use is to get your Biker unit into the enemy deployment zone to start with Deploy Teleport Homers. If you can get them into a position where few enemy units can target them, there is a good chance that the unit can survive for several turns to score points on this secondary.

If you want to go for the alpha-strike, you can use this on a unit of Black Knights. Drive them up to a key enemy threat, then unleash plasma death on the enemy. The downside of moving them forward is you are unlikely to get any re-rolls or auras from your characters on turn 1, so will need to be careful about overcharging your Plasma weaponry. You can also charge into combat with them on turn 1. Armed with Corvus Hammers, they are actually a pretty potent combat threat, so can take out smaller units holding objectives.

Having such a threat in your opponent’s deployment zone is a great distraction, allowing the rest of your army to get into position to grab the objectives and score your own secondaries. This fast moving unit is also great for getting Engage on all Fronts, boosting you up to 3 pts on the first turn in many deployment types.

Swift Strike

Use in the fight phase after a Ravenwing unit has fought. The unit may fall back as if it were the movement phase, or can move normally if not in engagement range. Costs 2CP if the unit has 5 or fewer models, 3CP if there are more than 5.

Another incredible Ravenwing stratagem that has a lot of utility.

One very useful tactic for this stratagem is denying your opponent primary points on turn 2, if you go second. The idea behind this is to take one of your Obsec Bike Squads and charge them into combat with an enemy unit near an objective. Once your unit has fought, you can use this stratagem to fall back into range of an objective in your opponent’s deployment zone. Assuming you are able to control the objective, you can normally deny them at least 5 primary points, as the home objective they were sure they had has now been stolen by your Obsec Bike squad.

I have used this tactic several times to stop my opponent scoring the full 15 pts on turn 2 for the Primary. Denying your opponent 5 or even 10 pts that early in the game can have a big swing in your favour as the game goes on. In this case, you don’t need to worry about the combat ability or durability of your Bike squad in combat, as you can move away as soon as you attack. Just watch out for any auras or abilities that force you to fight last, as these could lead to your squad getting wiped out in combat before they can steal the objective.

This gives you an incredible threat range for stealing objectives, as you can move 17″ in the movement phase, make your charge move, then move another 17″ in the assault phase. This allows you to grab almost any objective on the board. It is also useful to sling shot your unit to score or deny an objective. You can also use this in your opponent’s turn to move off and secure another objective for your turn, to make sure you max out on primary points.

Another useful, but costly tactic, is to use this in combination with the combat interrupt stratagem to save one of your units to score primary objective points.

This works if you have been charged by multiple units in your opponent’s turn. The idea is to spend the 2CP to interrupt combat and save one of your own squads. Attack with the squad, then spend another 2CP to fall back with the unit, out of pile in and engagement range to keep them safe. This is costly at 4CP in total, but can make a big difference to your gameplan if you are able to save a key unit or score more points.

For example, in a recent game, I had a unit of Incubi charge my Bike Squad sitting on an objective. The Incubi would have decimated by squad and denied me the primary points in my turn. I was able to use both stratagems to save the Bike squad, move them just out of range of the Incubi to still hold the objective, thanks to having Obsec.

You won’t be able to use this tactic very often in your games, but it can be a key move to help you score more points in your game, or snatch those last few primary points.

Summary

Those are a couple of key tactics to bear in mind when running your Ravenwing. Of course, there are a whole host of other useful stratagems for Biker and Land Speeder units to check out, giving you great abilities like moving again, or falling back and shooting. You’ll come to know when to use these as you get more proficient with 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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