Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Ravenwing Army Breakdown Part 3: Vehicles

Ravenwing Army Breakdown Part 3: Vehicles

I'm going to take a break from tournament battle reports to finish this up. If you'd still like to see those as well let me know.

The second most important part of a ravenwing army, after black knights. The darkshroud plays to all of the ravenwing’s strength. It’s cheap, gives you fear (which almost never comes up but is hilarious when it does), ignore overwatch and stealth. Plus it has shrouded for itself. Which means 2+ rerollable jink saves, which it can also provide for nearby black knights (and a 3+ for other ravenwing). A darkshroud is a core part of every ravenwing army and taking two is fine if you have the slots/models. Generally one darkshroud can cover 2-3 units early on when you’re being shot at. Never bother with the assault cannon upgrade, there’s always a better way to spend 10 points. Like black knights, you need to be very careful with positioning your darkshroud and keep it away from ignores cover and assault. Not being open topped and 3 hull points will help against weak weapons like heavy flamers or smart missiles but in general you want your shroud out of line of sight, unless you’re using it to block charges or something.

Stealth and Shrouded makes it hard to take a clear picture of this thing

Ravenwing Land Speeder
They've got a pile of weapon options, they're fast skimmers, and they benefit from rerollable jink. On paper they look like they're perfect for a ravenwing army. Unfortunately, they're also made of that paper, with only 2 hull points. They also can't tie units up in combat and don't come with Scout unless they're in a formation. Attack bikes do multi meltas equally well or better, missile launchers aren't particularly useful and heavy flamers can't be used while jinking. This makes land speeders a poor choice most of the time, especially when accompanying other ravenwing units.

Land Speeder Vengeance
Like the regular land speeder, the vengeance doesn't really fill a role that's needed while being less survivable than bikers. The plasma turret seems cool and the extra hull point helps, but for the price of 3 black knights you get a plasma gun with 3 shots or a large blast. Neither are twin linked and taking a librarian just to babysit this guy with divination is an awful idea. Most of the time it will glance itself to death if your opponent doesn't throw a squad of 5 tactical marines at it first to kill it.

Nephilim Jetfighter
Continuing a trend among Ravenwing vehicles, the Nephilim doesn't really fill any strategic niche. It seems to be an air to air duelist but the S6 gun it comes stock with is pretty useless for this, and it can't swap out its heavy bolter for something more useful. It's missiles are only s7 ap 3 which doesn't help against other fliers and aren't good for strafing ground targets. If you switch the bolter out for a lascannon you'll have 3 different weapons with different strength and ap, meaning one of its guns will almost always be wasting shots. It's survivable, but most fliers already are.

The most heartbreaking part is that it's the only Space Marine flier that doesn't look like a flying toaster.

Dark Talon
I'm going to lighten up on the Ravenwing vehicles for this last entry. This thing is silly and potentially a bucket of fun. The Stasis bomb turns Eldar into Tau in cc and can be dropped independently of your other weapons. Also the one time it wounds a stormsurge or necron overlord will be a story you tell your friends about for years. The rift cannon is equally goofy with a chance to spontaneously start dragging things into the warp. Plus it has some hurricane bolters in case you're feeling Orky and want to make some noise. I wouldn't call it great but it's funky weapons aren't terrible and might find their way into a list or two for dealing with death stars or static armies (not that you see much of the latter anymore).

Up next, Detachments and Formations!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Ravenwing Army Breakdown Part 2: Bikes

Ravenwing Army Breakdown Part 2: Bikes

After a short break, we're back for part 2!

Ravenwing Bike Squad 
For 4 points more than codex marines (more specifically, white scars) you lose skilled rider and +1 S to hammer of wrath for rerollable jink, teleport homers and scout. This isn't a bad deal but bike squads are unfortunately overshadowed by your other choices in a ravenwing army. There's no reason to ever take plasma on them because black knights just do plasma better with less risk, and 2 attack bikes with multi meltas have more wounds and a safer range for only a few points more than 3 ravenwing bikers with 2 meltaguns. This of course means the only reason you'd take ravenwing squads is for grav, but there's no easy ways to give them rerolls to hit or ignores cover that doesn't involve having to attach a character to their squad. Ultimately they fail to be the cheaper, less resource hungry version of black knights that they want to be. That being said they aren't bad, but like a few other options here they're overshadowed by your other choices. The option to combat squad may be their only saving grace, as being able to split up into 3 units isn't bad, but probably too situational to rank these guys as a better pick than black knights or attack bikes.

Ravenwing Attack Bike Squad
2-wound multi-meltas. That is the only thing you should ever consider taking these guys as. Surprisingly there is no optimal squad size for them. If they’re your only source of anti-tank then 2 squads of 2 is good, but a larger squad as part of an attack squadron or a single model running around to annoy people are perfectly viable too. If you’re considering taking one with a heavy bolter you will 9/10 times be served better by a land speeder with a heavy bolter or flamer. The debate between these guys vs. land speeders is a close one, but I always prefer attack bikes due to their immunity to blowing up and their ability to tie squads up in close combat, coupled with hit and run to break off and annoy someone else. Ravenwing lack cheap units that can hang in the back and snag objectives and these guys are the best option for that job.

Black Knights
These will be your bread and butter for any ravenwing army and are one of the strongest units in the Dark Angels codex. They cost as much as deathwing terminators and get all the special rules regular ravenwing get, plus skilled rider, plasma talons, corvus hammers and +1A and LD. With a darkshroud nearby or night-fighting they're getting a 2+ rerollable jink save. They excel at hunting MEQs, other fast units, and ranged oriented monstrous creatures like riptides. Remember that they are expensive, will crumple under close combat deathstars and monsters, and ignores cover weapons will ruin their day. If they're already jinking they can shoot at flyers or other snap shot targets without sacrificing their shooting and don't forget to use their grenade launchers before charging. Stasis grenades will often be the difference between hitting on 3s or 4s. Interrogator chaplains and librarians both make excellent characters to attach to these guys, the chaplains for an invuln and rerolls to hit and the librarians for some buffing psychic powers. The Eye of the Unseen relic also synergizes well with them, even though their plasma talons are already twin-linked. Squads of 4-6 of these guys tend to be the best size.

I can’t stress enough that black knights are what make ravenwing so strong at the minute. They have incredible shooting, melee, utility, and survivability, with their weaknesses being their cost, single wound, and reliance on cover saves. As a jack of all trades unit it's very important that you learn to pick your targets well and play them with a good balance of offense and defense. Try to resist the urge to snap shoot their talons too much because a single failed armor save is 40 pts down the drain.

Ravenwing Command Squad 
A squad of black knights with a cap of 6 models and a few extra options. The apothecary is a little expensive but awesome. With toughness 5 there arent a lot of things inflicting instead death and ignoring their fnp. The banner is a must-take for armies relying on hit and run. The champion is cheap and a nice little buff to the unit but not necessary. This unit is one of the things that makes Dark Angels great allies and is the core of several popular death star builds.