Thursday, July 28, 2016

Ravenwing Army Breakdown Part 6: Allies (Battle Brothers)

Ravenwing Army Breakdown Part 6: Allies (Battle Brothers)

Following up on last week, here's how Ravenwing interact with their other Battle Brother allies.

Imperial Guard+Stormtroopers
Guard are a strange army at the moment, with a few good units and a lot of bad ones. Luckily this means they have something to offer almost every imperial army. Unfortunately, Guard are slow and have trouble keeping up with Ravenwing, plus Ravenwing typically don’t run vehicles besides a Darkshroud or two, so Guard vehicles will become a large target. Wyverns can add a good way to help deal with hordes or MSU armies which Ravenwing typically struggle with. Special mention goes to the blob of conscripts and Azrael for a fantastic tarpit, and with the bonus run/charge range warlord trait they are relatively fast for footslogging guys. Ultimately, Ravenwing probably make better allies for Guard than vice versa, making up for their lack of speed and giving them a more reliable way to get plasma and melee towards your opponent than anything Guard have.
Stormtroopers could be really useful allies for Ravenwing, if they came in from reserve more reliably. With a lot of Ravenwing armies you’ll find yourself struggling to contest every objective on the board or have enough units to target all the enemies you need. Deep striking hot-shot lasguns, meltaguns and flamers would be perfect for this. But due to the unreliability of their reserves, Stormtroopers just can’t fill that gap. If you have an easy way to reroll or add to reserve rolls, a CAD or Allied detachment of Stormtroopers may not be a bad idea.

"For once we landed without worrying about getting shelled by our teammates"

Sisters of Battle
Like Guard, Ravenwing probably have more to offer Sisters as allies than the reverse. Also like Guard, Sisters have a few good units and a lot of bad ones. Exorcists and Dominions are the best part of the Sisters army, and both can help make for a powerful alpha-strike. Scouting, ignores cover meltaguns cover a hole that normally needs to be filled by regular bikers, giving Ravenwing more room for black knights. In the same vein, exorcists give Ravenwing some long range support to cripple vehicles or soften up monstrous creatures to make sure your bikers don’t have to charge a Wraithknight except to finish it off.

Inquisition and Assassins
The infamous Inquisistar, made up of crusaders, death cult assassins, and priests, makes for a decent ally for Ravenwing. The Land Raider to cart them around will be a large target, but the star itself is a good way to deal with things like Lychstars and Wraithknights, which can otherwise give Ravenwing trouble. Otherwise the Inquisition don’t have much to offer Ravenwing, because their henchmen are mostly overpriced, slow, and don’t have objective secured.
Assassins don’t make for great allies for Ravenwing. Typically Assassins are only used as a Culexus in a drop pod to selectively turn off enemy psychic powers. Eversor and Vindicare assassins are overpriced and Culexus and Callidus are too vulnerable if they’re just infiltrating. Taking up an entire detachment on their own is usually something a Ravenwing army can’t give up for gimmicky units like Assassins.

"Xenos Henchmen, are you heretics?"
"Nice Watcher in the Dark"
"Right, let's kill some Tau"

Skitarii+Cult Mechanicus
When it comes to allying to Ravenwing, Mechanicus units are like a better version of Imperial Guard. They can provide you with good long range firepower, but also pack tougher basic units. Even better, their giant robots are monstrous creatures instead of vehicles, which are far tougher. Unlike Guard, Ravenwing and Mechanicus units both work equally well as allies for each other, Ravenwing give them fast outrider units, while Skitarii and Cult Mechanicus units give us longer range fire support or a big anchor unit to hold the center of the board. Cult Mechanicus units are the best non-space marine allies for Ravenwing, and if the GW FAQ prevents starting in battle brothers’ drop pods I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ravenwing used as fast objective cappers for a War Convocation formation.

Imperial Knights
Last but not least, a knight can fill a lot of holes in a Ravenwing army, giving them long-range firepower, stomps, and a bully unit that has no risk of randomly losing a wound or hull point to a bolter. The knight has similar problems to an inquisistar, where you’re putting a big vehicle on the field that’s going to be a large target for enemy anti-armor. The ion shield and being a superheavy helps a lot though. Ultimately knights make for good allies as long as you practice with them. They’re easy for your opponent to ignore and may struggle to make up their points if they’re avoided, but used correctly Ravenwing can remove major threats to them while they run rampant across the board. They probably make the best allies for Ravenwing after Space Marines and Cult Mechanicus.

We're knights of the round table
We dance when'er we're able
We do routines and chorus scenes
With footwork impeccable 

I've had a couple requests to post a few lists and breakdown how they're played. In lieu of xenos allies, next week and probably the week after will be dedicated to that. In addition to my own lists I'd love to review a few reader-submitted lists, so feel free to send me your Ravenwing tournament lists (1850, allies or primary) and I'll breakdown some of the best of them. Post them here on the blog or send me messages on reddit!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Ravenwing Army Breakdown Part 5: Allies (Space Marines)

Ravenwing Army Breakdown Part 5: Allies (Space Marines)

The first part of our allies breakdown will look at how the Ravenwing play with other flavors of power armor.

Dark Angels
Not “allies” per say but the rest of the Dark Angels codex has surprisingly little to offer the Ravenwing. There isn’t really anything that greenwing do that codex marines don’t do better, and Deathwing are suffering from the sorry state of terminators in today’s competitive meta. If you do insist on running pure Dark Angels though, a DA librarius conclave with Ezekiel and some Deathwing Knights in a transport could make one hell of a death star, while the other conclave members roll around on bikes with your Ravenwing. Drop pod tactical or devastator squads with grav cannons are options if you like greenwing, but codex marines do that better.

Space Marines

Who likes bikes as much as we do? Our White Scar Battle Brothers that’s who! White Scars have a lot to offer us as allies including a librarius conclave that can actually all be on bikes, troop choice bike squads (Obsec is nice, but you’re penalized for not having troops in NOVA format games too), and the Hunter’s Eye. Even better, if the new FAQ is adopted and White Scars lose their chapter tactics by joining Dark Angels, black knights all have skilled rider so they only lose the Hammer of Wrath bonus.
Besides White Scars specifically, space marines have a staggering number of options for us. Skyhammer Annihilation Force can combined with all of our scouting firepower for a ridiculous alpha strike. The Raven Guard detachment can allow for some silly first-turn assaults, and thunderfire cannons can give us some long range firepower we’re otherwise lacking. This works in reverse too, because it’s easy to throw a few cheap Ravenwing units into other space marine armies to fill gaps where they need mobility or good short-range shooting. With space marine allies, you’ll have an easier time finding things that don’t work than do.

The only thing Librarian Faustus enjoys more than purging heretics, is purging heretics with friends.

Space Wolves
The infamous super friends. Take a black knight command squad, a bunch of thunderwolf iron priests, and sprinkle in your choice of Tigirius, Azrael, chaplain, or other goodies, until you have a 1700 point unkillable death star rolling around the field.
Besides thunderstar super friends, Space Wolves don’t have a lot of offer us, mostly because the real strength of their codex is only in their thunder wolves and their formations, which can be a bit expensive. If you don’t want to do the giant wolfstar, try smaller units of thunderwolves as dedicated melee units supported by the Ravenwing. I haven’t seen it tried but it might be more reliable than the 1700 point death star version.

Blood Angels
Blood Angels have the least to offer Dark Angels as allies, and vice versa. Without going too in-depth into Blood Angels tactics, most of their top-end strategies revolve around expensive alpha strikes and jump packs, and we end up stepping on each other’s toes more than supporting each other. A sanguinary priest or chaplain with a jump pack can be a cheap and easy addition to a Dark Angels force though, and depending on how the FAQ hashes out it may be useful to have them in front for re-rollable charges.

Up next will be our other battle brothers!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Ravenwing Army Breakdown Part 4: Detachments and Formations

Ravenwing Army Breakdown Part 4: Detachments and Formations

This is the last analysis of actual datasheets. Let me know where we're going to go from here!

Ravenwing Strike Force
This detachment is crazy powerful. Ignore the lackluster command benefit and look at the force organization. 1-3 HQs, 2-12 fast attack and an elite slot. It's requirements are cheap enough you can throw in some bikes to support another army and it has enough space to spam black knights from hell to breakfast. You lose obsec but it means no pesky troops tax. Also be careful, characters on bikes can lead this army but do not get the ravenwing rule, so they won't be rerolling any jink saves. If you want some Ravenwing allies, take a librarian or interrogator chaplain on a bike, a command squad, a darkshroud and 2 multi melta attack bikes. For about 600 points you've got some very powerful units who can supplement pretty much any imperial army. Be careful about maxing this out. Few armies under 2000 points needs more than 3 squads of black knights, and ravenwing aren't perfect. They lack staying power in combat and don't have many effective ways of dealing with hordes. Try not to spend all of your points here and take some allies or greenwing to fill gaps in your army.

Ravenwing Attack Squadron
This formation isn't all that strong, but a land speeder and some bikes or attack bikes are great to add to any army. Although I ripped on the speeders in their entry, they aren't a huge tax on this formation when taken with similar weapons to their biker friends. If you plan on taking the components and have room for another detachment go ahead and take this formation. I would recommend grav gun bikes with an assault cannon/heavy bolter speeder, or multi-melta attack bikes with a double multi-melta speeder. +1 BS makes both grav guns and meltas far more reliable and solves the issue of babysitting them with a librarian to make them useful.

Ravenwing Support Squadron
I’ve made no secret that I’m not a fan of this formation, and several members of the community have tried very hard to convince me otherwise. To me this formation amplifies everything good and bad about Ravenwing Land Speeders. All the rules and special abilities they get look awesome on paper, but it’s got some glaring weaknesses. It’s very easy to make it jink, and it becomes almost-useless when it does. Being a unit of 4 vehicles, it’s very hard to hide it behind LoS blocking terrain, and it has all of the crippling weaknesses associated with being a vehicle squadron, especially to melee (it does NOT get to overwatch for itself). It also doesn’t extend the Darkshroud’s bubble, which means the shroud will need to be at the front of the unit most of the time. It’s not horribly expensive, but it’s not very useful either. Unless I see someone put up good tournament results using this formation in a way I haven’t seen, I continue to recommend that you give it a pass.

Ravenwing Silence Squadron
I was kind to the Dark Talon in my vehicle section, and it’s certainly the star of this formation, but a tax of two of the schizophrenic Nephilims doesn’t make up for the buffs this formation gives. As much as I’d love to see this used to one-shot a lychstar or riptide wing, the Nephilims will either need a big cost decrease or, more preferably, weapons that give them an actual identity, before it’s useful.

So that's all of the Ravenwing Datasheets. From here I could do an analysis of allies (probably in 2-3 parts) or wargear/special rules/psychic powers. After those I'll also discuss matchups. Let me know in the comments here or on reddit what you'd like to see next!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

July 9th. The Portal, Manchester, CT

Format: Nova
Number of Players: 28
Rounds: 3
Placing: 3rd

I haven't done one of these for a bit but this tournament went really well and I wanted to share my updated list and my matchups.


Ravenwing Strike Force:

Librarian, Bike, Eye of the Unseen, Auspex
6 Black Knights
6 Black Knights
6-Man Command Squad, Banner, Apothecary, Grenade Launcher

White Scars Librarius Conclave:

Level 2 Librarian, Bike, Hunter's Eye, Sword
Level 2 Librarian, Bike, Axe
Level 2 Librarian, Bike, Sword
Level 2 Librarian, Bike, Axe

White Scars Combined Arms Detachment:

Chaplain, Bike, Auspex
3 Bikers
3 Bikers, 2 Grav guns, combi-grav
Attack Bike, Multi-Melta
Attack Bike, Multi-Melta

I made these changes after I found the Inquisistar was too vulnerable to the land raider being disabled, and that I was in need of some troops choices so people stopped auto-scoring Strike the Rank and File against me.

Game 1:

White Scars Battle Company+Culexus Assassin:

This is a rough matchup for me, more than normal battle company. The Hunter's Eye and shutting off my invis is terrible for me. Luckily I was able to keep his units off of objectives and limit his primary points, and snagged the relic the last turn for a close win.

13-11 Win

Game 2:


This is a super easy matchup for me. I just rolled on Librarius, used psychic scourge to strip wounds off of his tyrants and shot them down with plasma then charged. The Mawlocs can't do much as long as I stay spaced out.

25-7 Win

Game 3:

Iron Priests+Dark Angels Super Friends:

He got veil of time, I got invisibility and null zone. The game became who could get their powers off and block each other's, and I definitely outdid him in the psychic phase.

25-5 Win

I really like how this army performed and I think it gives me a lot of even or good matchups, with a few bad matchups I just won't get around with a bike army (especially demons, definitely white scars battle company as well).