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.
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.