Tyranids are hot on the scene and are sure to make a huge splash! Thankfully Crusher Stampede is dead,
so all we are left with is a nice clean codex to analyze. Shout out to Eric of team Dirty J and the D’s for
requesting some analysis and providing information on a unit we haven’t seen in a long time on the
table top (if ever?): Raveners!
Guest Writer: Dan Meyer
While playing test games is the best way to understand your options, it’s hard to get in enough games to
understand all the variables at play and arrive at a reasonable set of expectations. Have no fear though!
I am here to help by giving you an in depth look at what you should really expect out of a unit or piece of
I will look at a unit and their wargear options and help you understand what is the best choice for a
given situation or at least help you figure out what you can truly expect from your units. I achieve this by
simulating 1,000,000 iterations of that unit attacking a set of common targets that are representative of
things you will see in the meta and get a true sample population so we can not only understand the
mean of the expected outcome, but also how the variance shapes the outcome distribution. This will
give you a much better appreciation for the variability in your game. If you have any questions on my
process, ask away!
How effective are Raveners in melee?
The new Tyranids bring a ton of tools to the battlefield and can layer a complex web of buffs and
abilities that are truly quite horrifying to behold. Raveners have a solid stat line rocking an amazing 12
inch move with 4 wounds at toughness 5. However, the truly frightening prospect on this unit is in its
potential offensive output. Each model has 5 attacks and can be taken in units from 3-9 models strong.
Given the need for good AP (thanks Armor of Contempt!), the weapon choice is obvious in my opinion:
deathspitter and rending claws. Both deliver high AP at a good strength. For this article we will simply
consider the melee prowess of Raveners only…just know they can do even more in shooting (we might
revisit this in the future)!
Rending claws are nasty! AP4 combined with a bonus strength to put attacks at strength 6 is amazing. At
weapon skill 3, the output potential is already high…but don’t worry there are a number of buffs they
can leverage to boost the output into the stratosphere.
For these analyses, we will consider a nine man squad and three conditions for the unit:
b) Reroll 1’s to hit from Hive Tyrant
c) LOTS OF BUFFS: Reroll hits from Swarmlord, Reroll wounds of 1 from a Tyranid Prime, 6’s to hit cause an additional hit from Warriors (referred to as exploding hits)
We will examine this into Marines, Guardsmen and Blightlord Terminators. I think these should highlight
some of the units you might see on the tabletop with the Balance Dataslate changes.
Side Note: In the future, I will add other meta relevant unit options to simulate against, but decided to
stop at just taking into account Armor of Contempt and exploding hits in my code. Doing this type of
coding to brute force all the rolls and account for as many different interactions between different types
of buffs truly shows how complicated this game is! It is painfully easy to see where people can get
tripped up let alone code it and hope I personally don’t also make a mistake in my implementation. As
always if something seems awry let me know in the comments!
Let the Simulation Begin…
First, let’s take a look at the baseline squad output with no inherent external buffs.
With a blistering 45 attacks with high rend, we shouldn’t be surprised that a full squad of raveners does serious work. What I really love here is the nice normal distributions where the left tail doesn’t even record any less than 4 dead marines or 17 dead guardsmen out of a million iterations. Against the tougher blightlord terminators, they kill 3+ models ~65% of the time. Buffing this unit beyond its baseline capability is going to be silly…I promise!
Next up is reroll 1s to hit!
Adding just this nice basic buff starts to change the landscape. We are almost killing a full 10 man marine unit 50% of the time, while you continue to slaughter a minimum battalions worth of Guardsmen troop squads 50% of the time. The rerolls have also unlocked the potential to reach out to 6 dead models for blightlord terminators! This is a nice buff that will raise the consistency of raveners just that little extra to ensure fantastic output…but what if you just really REALLY REALLY want something dead?
Enter the super buffed ravener squad. Full rerolls to hit, reroll 1s to wound AND exploding 6s means our output potential is extreme. What’s silly is that there are still more buffs you could consider too which really goes to show how crazy and exciting the Tyranids book really is!
Holy smokes Batman… The exploding 6s coupled with reroll hits (ONLY rerolled 1s and 2s!) means that we are pushing through a metric crap ton of hits. Coupled with great strength and high AP, we clearly see that our output potential is extreme. 15+ dead marines ~75% of the time…MINIMUM 40 dead guardsmen out of a million simulations…6+ dead blightlord termies ~70% of the time. It’s a lot of buffs and not much is going to stop it! I really love how crazy the offensive output of raveners is!
Well there you have it! Raveners appear to be a fantastic unit in the new Tyranids Codex with insanely high offensive output potential…and we only looked at the melee! Obviously, you will need to consider how they fit into your list and whether you can deliver them, but I’d say they are definitely a unit to consider.
Let me know if you have any questions, comments or concerns with any of the results you have seen here! And of course, I welcome all suggestions for future simulations!