Thursday, December 31, 2015

Raven Guard 30K - Dark Fury


Dark Fury squads are the quintessential Raven Guard. There simply is nothing more iconic than jump pack, lightning claw, Raven Guard marines. So let's take a looks at these guys. 

First off, they are Raven Guard, so they get furious assault on the charge, it's not the over top but it's a nice little bump.

Note: Even though Durk Fury are jump infantry and jump infantry follow ALL rules for infantry, Forgeworld has ruled they do not get infiltrate and fleet. Which is a damn shame...

Second, they get the option to upgrade to Raven's Talons for 10 pts a model, which gives them rending and master crafted. It's a pricey upgrade but opens up the option of hunting all legion's elite units. 

The new codex gives them ALL raven talons for free! YAY!

Dark Fury units:

  • They come with lightning claws, frag & krak grenades and jump packs, but the interesting thing to note is the base 2 attacks. 
  • Sudden Strike: Gives them +1I on the charge
  • Fateful Descent: Gives them a 5+ cover on the turn them deepstrike. 
So they are a pretty tight little package. Each guy is throwing out 4 I5 attacks on the charge with re rolls to wound. From a cost perspective it's a deal in 30k terms. A standard Legion Assault marine in a 20 man squad starts at 20 points and hits like a wet noodle. For the 10 points you get +1 attack, 2 lightning claws, Sudden Strike, and fateful descent. A comparably equipped command squad member would be 63 points with the special rules, so you are getting close to a 50% discount.   


But are they good? It's a tricky question to answer. A naked squad is going to run you 175 points and you will murder basic infantry if you can get them into HTH. But lots of things murder infantry in 30K. 1 typhoon is probably better than 10 dark fury. Another thing to consider is timing. If you start them on the board they will likely get shot dead before they get there. If you deepstrike them, they are coming in turn 2 and assaulting turn 3, at the earliest. 

ROWS & Combos:

Certain combinations and Rites of war also can give them a bit of a bump to Dark Fury:

  • Angels of Wrath: Gives you hit and run, which is huge. Hit and run can be used in a lot of ways: Escaping bad match ups. Sling shotting to other parts of the board with extra movement. Bouncing in and out of combat to pick up extra attacks, furious charge and +1I. So you can see that Angels of Wrath can really turbo charge these guys. It should also be mentioned that this works well with melta bomb toting standard jump packers, as the two units basically threaten every unit in the game. 
  • Decapitating Strike: Preferred enemy on ICs is a nice pick up. It probably won't make much of a big difference, but these lists tend to alpha strike, which works well for these guys as they come in later and clean up damaged squads.
  • Alvarex Maun: His strato-vox gives a pretty big range for scatterless deepstrike. I find I'm often using him or running a second vox to bring these guys in. He can also take cameleoline, so the dark fury come in and Maun runs up and joins the squad giving them a 4+ cover, or +1 to any cover they already have. It's a good way to keep them alive unit the next turn. 
  • Chaplains: Fearless is always a welcome rule but the re roll to hit in first round of combat is really where these guys get good. So 105 pts gives you a re roll on 20+ attacks on a charge. If you are running relics, it also gives you a spot to run a personal void shield, which is sweet since you bounce basic fire arms. 
  • Librarians: Libby's are often overlooked, but it's an interesting upgrade for dark fury as the libby can soften up targets or be a multiplier with invisibility or even boo units of the board with terrify. 
Competitive Builds:

  • 5 Dark Fury, 1 with melta bomb. At 180 points and a small footprint, you can often deepstrike this squad into LOS blocking terrain.
  • 10 Dark Fury, 10 raven claws, 1 w. melta bomb, chaplain with a jump pack and a power axe, and a melta bomb
  • 5 Dark Fury, 5 raven claws, 1 w. melta bomb, chaplain w. jump pack, power axe, and a melta bomb, void harness


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

I bought 2 Calth Boxes... What legion do I build!



So 30k is picking up steam in my neck of the woods and people keep asking me to help them build a legion. So here is a quick article to help you decide. It's basically and email I shot to a friend of mine.


In 2 calth boxes gets you:

2 Termi characters

First off, any legion can really build something viable from 2 box sets. Although, legions based on infantry and termies are going to give you more a bang for your buck.

More than anything, pick a legion that you like their fluff and paint scheme and play style. Pretty much any codex can do any list, just some do certain things better than others. All the legions have a lot of different choices though, and even the legion without rules or blah rules can totally be 100% competitive.

From a cost perspective:

In general, I would decide if want to play a stay at home shooty legion or a go get someone legion. If you want to go get someone, you need transports unless you pick a legions with teleporting termies or take a ROW that gives deepstrike. As for infantry heavy legions, all the legions give you some bonus rules, but only a few increase the damage output or reduce the damage intake on infantry. For legions that don't have either things like tacs become objective sitters and you focus on other types units, which gets you back into buying stuff.

the last point, is that you will probably need to go gets some weapons or after market bits to shoehorn the calth box into some armies, but I can point you in the right direction for that. Bascially the infantry models can be turned into anything from seekers to breachers. So consider building your list before you glue the arms on your minis :)

Army Options:

1. Emperors Children:

Infantry: I love the purple look, but in general I don't love the EC rules.

2. Iron Warriors:

Infantry get A LOT. Shrapnel shells give all vhy bolter pinning, which is big in 30k. You are also stubborn in your deployment zone and you can rapid fire and charge as a disordered charge. Which is slightly better, but better in a bunch of situations. So IWs tend to take a lot of rapid fire weapons.

Walkers get extra armor for free. Minor, but points saved.

Tyrant termies are a legion specific coice that is very solid. They basically can all take cyclone missile launchers.

4 heavies. This is really the reason to take them. Hvy's are really good in 30k, but this will probably require you buying some extra stuff. That said, deredeo pattern contemptors are hvy and awesome. So you could run this as hvy. They also have havoc squads with are really solid tank hunters. You often see one of these squads as one of the 4 heavy options. I also think missile luanchers are your best choice with them (or autocannons or las), but missile launcher come in calth.

A standard build would be like 2 big tac squads with apothecaries and a AA sgt, a havoc squad, a scarian, a scorpius, 2 havoc squads, maybe with a HQ to give extra rules, a contemptor and maybe a defense line for cover. Or you go heavy with some machanicum castellax robots.

3. Imperial Fists:

Infantry: Are BS5 with bolter weapons, making the standard tac squad pretty scary to deal with. They also make seekers frightening, since they are bolters with special ammo. another good units is veterans, which you can unlock as troops. they can take the sniper rule on top of the BS5 making them pretty scary. Finally, hvy support squads get tank hunter, so las cannon dev squads are VERY good, and all infantry is stubborn in cover or fortifications, which is really solid in HTH.

Termies: they might be the best in the game because they get a 3++ save. They also get to deepstrike termies which is rare and powerful in 30k.

HQ: Sigismund is one of the best beat stick characters in the game.

4. Night lords:

Infantry: The terror squads are pretty good. So are vets that can infiltrate. They work by outnumbering your opponents and sending in shock troops to run over infantry units. Very much a drop pod legion.

Termies: one of the few legions that get deepstriking termies all the time. So a lot of their tacs revolve around them. Termies can be solid with

Build: I think you would be blending infiltrate and deepstrike. They don't really get to many rules to do other things but they excel at clearing infantry in hth. I think you would be looking to drop pod contemptors, tacs and termies at people. At least, that's how I've seen them played.

5. Iron Hands:

Infantry: -1 to str of any weapon shot at them. so they can't be oblited by anything not a lascannon. Makes 2W models more viable. They also are stubborn in their deployment zone, which is solid if you are playing defensively. To me though the big pick up is that they can take graviton weapons on their infantry. This is a premier weapon in 30k because armored ceremtie on pretty much everything makes meltas much less useful. So you can usually pop spartans on turn, which is an enormous deal.

Termies: Gorgon termies are one of the better deals int he game, plus characters can take cyber eagles to get a 3++ save in termi which is solid. you can also upgrade your praetor to a forgefather which is solid. Termeis can also take graviton guns and they can move an shoot. Totally a great unit.

Contemptors: Blessed Autosimulacra is 10 pts to regain a hp on a 6. This is in addition to the IWND roll from the primarch, so you can run REALLY resilient contemptors.

HQ: Orth is the cheap awesome choice. Autek is a solid beat stick. Ferrus is one of the better multiplier Primarchs.

Build: So this army can do a lot of different builds. Usually tacs hold down the rear. You tend to have a grav unit of some sort as either termies or special weapon support squads. I've seen everything from dread bash to tank hvy with these guys. A VERY strong legion IMO.

6. World Eaters

First off I love the paint scheme. The blue and white with red splatter just gets me.

Infantry: Well this legions is very in your face. You often see just tons of big units running across the board or in spartans.

Termies: Red butcher are brutally cheap and effective.

HQ: Kharn won't disappoint. He's a butcher as is their primarch.

Builds: Pretty straight forward charge at your opponent. Not a very subtle army, but brutally effective in a lot of scenarios.

7. Ultramarines:

Infantry: Any unit hit previously by another unit gains re roll to wounds or armor pen. This opens up all sorts of cool tactics. So basically you take small tac squad to paint bulls eyes on units. It even works for units outside of the ultramarine army which makes it crazy powerful. Beyond the standard infantry, there a lot of 2+ save options like breachers with poweraxes. They can build to infantry heavy build but I think you would need some converting to get there.

Termies: Fullmentarus termies are totally cool. the more you take the better their rules get. they are basically termies that can take hvy weaponns. I personally like the autocannon ones that get tank hunter when you take more than 5 of them. It also has good synergy with your Infantry.

Build: It's a newer rule set I haven;t put my mind around yet, but they get a lot of "tactics" with special rules that they can use through out the game especially if you take the primarch. So they are one of the more reactive armies that really change from turn to turn. Feels very space marine.

8. Death Guard:

Infantry: So tacs and hvy weapons squads score. So you can take basically take an entire army of missile launchers :) Plus you can give them flak missiles to take down fliers and augury scanners to shoot deepstrikers when they come in. Flamers can also pick up shred, which is an awesome rules. And they ignore cover when walking through it. Plus they can take rad grenades which lowers other unit toughness in hth. This works really well with something like bikers that can take power axes and oblit T4. So as infantry armies go, this is a really solid one.

Termies: So they have 2 specialized types of termies. They are both good and both cool. They can litterally spam, termies which is cool. You might need to do a little kit bashing, but things like scythes are totally easy to pick up after market these days.

HQ: Morty is about as reslient as you can get.

Builds: Most builds are foot heavy. Usually slanted toward termies or hvy weapons squads with a couple specialty squads through in. They also work really well with contemptors since everyone is walking the same speed.


9. Luna Wolves:

Infantry: So they are focused on being tactical. I don't love the rules. And never really loved the legion.

Termies: Great stats, but way too expensive. They can take pods that can carry them, but really over priced yet again.

I would pass on these guys unless you really liked the legion. they would infuriate me :p

10. Word Bearers:

Infantry: 3d6 ld is a really strong rule as is the overrun rule. In general, i think that tacs squads with chaplains is strong as a choice in general, but you have to figure out how to get them across the board. So usually the tacs end up being small 10 man squad holding down objectives instead, because they don't really have an interesting deployment or movement rules. that said they are good at not running away from objectives and staying put.

Termies: Termies can be VERY powerful in WB armies. Normally you would through them in a spartan or a storm eagle to get across the board. With chaplains with psychic powers they can become pretty crazy deathstars.

HQs: So the HQs are very restrictive. You basically have to take 2 HQ units and one of the will probably be erebus or Zardu. Zardu opens up daemon summoning without allies. Fianlly Lorgar gets to PICK his psychic powers. You can throow invisibility on your termies which is crazy powerful.

Builds: So most builds are a mix of termeis in a spartan and deepstrike vor galbak. But if you can take allies, cultists can be amazing fearless rending mobs or tons of daemons. You could also go heavy jump pack with the ashen circle and Zardu, but that's not really aligned with the minis you just bought. Finially, you need some tank hunting, so you would need to pick somethings up like rapiers platforms, since there are not really anti infantry tank hunting options beyond combi weapons on termies.

11. Salamanders:

Infantry: Are very solid from on moral, but are slow in movement. Flamers get +1 to str which is solid, and meltas become master crafted. Everyone gets move through cover. So you are basically trying to fit in as many flamers and melta as possible.

Termies: first off you get Storm shields for a 3++ and can pick eternal warrior. So you HQ can be crazy resilient. You also get fire drake termies, which are SOOOOO good. The are 2W with 3++ and they score.

Builds: So fire drakes are VERY good, so many of the build have a spartan with firedrakes and shields and medicae to give them FNP. It's an army that lends itself to deathstar builds and it is pretty strong.

Raven Guard:

Infantry: Everyone gets infiltrate and they have a good chance to go first. So they basically try to go first and alpha strike. Infiltrate makes a couple types of units useful that normally wouldn't be. They can also go pretty heavy flier or drop pods. All this said, the infantry isn't special in anyway, so you have to take advantage of special deployement. They also have some good special units.

Termies: They get furious charge. Which is OK. I like termies in a storm eagle with power axes and combi meltas. Cheap and useful. They can also take rending claws.

Alpha Legion:

Infantry: So you can choose Scout, Infiltrate, Tank Hunters, Counter Attack, Move Through Cover, or Adamantium Will, army wide at the beginning of the game. Plus you can take units from other armies as elites. So you can mix and match all sort of units. They also get a special seeker squad that is quite good. But in general, you don;t get anything else special for infantry, so they are pretty vanilla. they also have a special dagger which is a specialist weapon. So you can combine it with powerfists for another attack or with units from other armies to do weird combos.

Termies: So you can do things like scouting landraiders or infiltrating termies. They don't get anything special beyond that but their are cool combos like counter strike grave warden termies and such.

Builds: The are all over the place. But they have a very good chance of seizing the initiative, so they can be kind alpha strikey. Most builds are infiltrate based though.

Other Legion:

The rest of the legions don't have rules yet :) This doesn't mean they are bad!! You can totally build a competitive army with out special rules, and you have a lot of army choices with a praetor and the ROW options.

They get to choose between stubborn or furious charge as a army wide rule. Plus you get to get shiny new minis and rules that everyone will be covetous of when they are released :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Raven Guard 30k - Updated Rules For Battles In The Age Of Darkness (Part 2)



Horus Hersey 5 - Tempest, introduces updated rules missions for battles in the age of darkness. The book clarifies and resets the core rules for 30k. These changes have a fairly profound effect on Raven Guard due to changes in scoring units and winning criteria.

In Part 1, I discussed the changes in the core rules, but the other big change were the new missions.0
 Secondary worth 2

The Missions:

BLOOD FEUD:

Primary: Blood Feud is basically modified kill points. You choose a specific unit type and get extra victory points for killing that type of unit. These points are in addition to 1 victory point per unit.

Secondary:
- Slay the warlod: 1 VP for Killing Warlord
- Last Man Standing: 1 VP doe most units left at end of game

Conclusion: Armies based around death stars, Knights, lords of war, point denial, fliers or even alpha strike will do great in this mission. Raven guard with fliers can hide points by staying off the board, out flanking armies can come in later, but with most Raven Guard forces you will probably be focusing on alpha strike.

This is one of those games you want to be on top of the score. Speed is usually how you win this type of game. Decapitating strike + maun gives you a good chance to go first and keep you warlord alive. Target transports, units with long range and fast units first. Hit hard and run away.

Also remember that 6 turns is a long time! Foot slogging armies can walk across the board by then. So think about starting on one flank. This does 2 things. First it blocks LOS and ranges to some shooters and it let's you drag an army all the way to the far corner.

Finally, think long term. In most missions, units like 5 mor deythan in rhinos are the tits. In missions like this they are liabilities. Taking out 18 tacs and a losing your 5 guys and a rhino is a horrible trade. Consider using such units as counter attack instead.

ONSLAUGHT:

Primary:
- Onslaught Attack: 1 VP per unit destroyed in the first turn.
- Seize the Tactical Objectives: 5 VPs if you hold the objective in the opponents deployment zone.

Secondary:
- Slay the warlod: 1 VP for Killing Warlord
- Attrition: 1 VP is you killed the most units over the game

Onslaught is an awesome mission for Raven Guard on a lot of fronts. First, deployment is usually staged as I go, you go with a certain order. Second the objective tokens are deployed after AND by you opponent in your deployment zone. So usually opponents are trying to punish you for you deployment. This is exacerbated if you roll something like an ambush deployment. With Raven Guard, most list don't deploy much if anything during deployment. So you avoid all that non sense and get to dictate the game play the placement of your objective.

As for onslaught attack, alpha strike armies get a huge opportunity to win first turn, and reserve armies get a chance to force the game to rely on the objectives. It's pretty difficult to flat out win, but you can definitely force your opponent to have to take the offensive and move across the board, which is bad news for a lot of horus heresy armies.

Onslaught attack is one of those missions where you want to be in a position to play for the tie not playing from behind and trying to move an entire army off their home objective. No other legion but Alpha legion is set up as well to create that scenario.

Also be careful on how much you risk with your alpha strike. You want to kill more units than your opponent and NOT let them retaliate, so careful with rhinos and drop pods.

SHATTER STRIKE:

Primary:
- Shatter Strike: 2 VPs for every SCORING unit and 1 VP for every Denial Unit is enemy deployment zone at end of game.

Secondary:
- Slay the warlod: 1 VP for Killing Warlord
- Attrition: 1 VP is you killed the most units over the game

Shatter strike is the first mission that rewards MSU. It also rewards deep strike, infiltrate, out flank, fast units and fliers, as they are more reliable at getting across the board. It should also be noted that reserves actually beat infiltrate in this scenario because it pays to be reactive. So against something like alpha legion, you might want to reserve things like units in rhinos instead of infiltrating and scouting. In this mission, you should start by counting up units that can actually make it across the board. This will give you a pretty good idea of how much you need to kill or cripple to win. 

DOMINION:

Primary: 1 VP per controlled objective AT START OF EACH PLAYER TURN.

Secondary:
- Slay the warlod: D3s VP for Killing Warlord
- Attrition: D3 VPs if you killed the most units over the game

Dominion is our Maelstrom like mission. You score as you go. It's is also design surprisingly well. If you are playing a Decapitating strike army with Maun with a focus on infiltrate you should be licking your chops right now. Going first and infiltrating on top of objectives before the game starts is a great way to get WAY ahead early. If your opponent is smart they will be placing objectives on their deployment zone edge and putting a unit near it to push back your infiltrators and scouts. In addition, make sure you put objectives in cover. Also remember to use you rhino tactics. Tactics like sideways rhinos in front of a spartan can totally win you a point here and there.

Finally, most armies have some sort of tricky scoring unit that can come out of reserves or something. So deploy markers to screw with that unit. Drop pod unit? Put objectives near board edges. Out flankers, clog up the middle. Oh, and 1 UNIT CAN ONLY HOLD 1 OBJECTIVE.

TIDE OF CARNAGE:

Primary:
- Tide of Carnage: 3 VPs for own deployment zone. 5 VPs for No man's land. 7 VPs for opponent's deployment zone.

Secondary:
- Slay the warlod: 1 VP for Killing Warlord
- Last Man Standing: 1 VP for most units left at end of game

First thing to notice about Tide of Carnage is that it lasts 5 turns. Not 6 and not variable. Also Tanks and Walkers score. Also note that DENIAL UNITS DO NOTHING. So units like HQs, speeders, bikes, non scoring infantry, etc are completely dead weight (Screw you dark angels even though we don't even know you rules!). Finally, it only take ONE scoring unit to contest. So if you are running that 5 man recon squad with MBs or a 5 man mor deythan squad, consider just hiding it in an annoying little corner that they have to commit a couple units to dig you out. they only have 5 turns. 

Another interesting topic in this mission is reserve manipulation. Late arriving units can be a nightmare to deal with. One tac squad in a rhino shows up turn 4 and disembarks in one zone and leaves the tank in the other can completely swing the game. 

For Raven Guard this mission is a bit of a trap. Ideally, you want to hit hard and hold your opponent in their deployment zone, but to do that you usually commit your entire force. So this is one of those missions that you need to consider a rear guard unit. This is also one of those missions that can easily swing from win to loss to draw, especially if both sides are playing with reserves. It's one of the missions that I would truly consider going second. 

Finally, unlike objectives, there is no rider about a scoring unit being in multiple sectors... So be careful someone doesn't pull a fast one on you buy string a unit across 3 sectors. I think it's just sloppy mission writing but at it's worth at least discussing it with your opponent at the start of the game. Or not, if ur a douche ;)

WAR OF LIES

Primary:
- Death Toll: 1 VP per destroyed unit.
- War of Lies: 3 objectives. Roll D6 to determine value at end of game.

1. No VP
2-3. 1 VP
4. 2 VP
5. 3 VP
6. Minus D3 VPs

Secondary:
- Slay the warlod: 1 VP for Killing Warlord

First off, I hate missions like this. You will never see this in a tourny, but I'll review it anyway. From a strategy perspective, this mission is a classic kill point mission. Ideally, you want to be far enough ahead to not get screwed by the minus D3 result. In addition, going second has a huge advantage. If you are winning and ahead, you can just walk off the objectives. Going first leaves you in the hands of the gods. To note though, on average you should score just slightly less than 2 VPs per objective and having more objectives, evens out that possibility. 


DEPLOYMENT MAPS: 

So i'm choosing to not individually review these, but it should be noted that certain combinations of deployment maps and missions will lead to very bloody hth engagements. It's not something Raven Guard excel in compared to some other legions, so I think all Raven Guard lists should be built to infiltrate or reserve almost every unit. 

CONCLUSIONS:

1. BLOOD FEUD
- Rewards low unit armies and infiltrator, so that you can target certain units. 
2. ONSLAUGHT
- Rewards resilient armies that can get across the board. 
3. SHATTER STRIKE
- Rewards alpha strike and high units armies that can get across the board. 
4. DOMINION
- Rewards infiltrating armies with a high number of scoring units and going first.
5. TIDE OF CARNAGE
- Rewards armies with scoring units, units in reserve and tanks. 
6. WAR OF LIES
- Rewards low unit resilient armies and armies with scoring units. 

If your club is like mine, you play the crap out of the random missions and they are usually the one that are poached by most tournaments. So building your list around these finding is a legitimate way to tailor your force. So here are some finding to think about. 

1. Out of 6 missions, only BLOOD FEUD is truly based on straight up killing. WAR OF LIES and SHATTER STRIKE both have components of it but you could go MSU and reserve heavy and be fine still. That said, half the missions do have a unit kill components. So be careful on stocking up on units like 5 man mor deythan squads in rhinos. Too many glass cannons kill lose you missions. 

2. Lords of war are a liability in every mission but WAR OF LIES. 

3. Going first helps is almost every mission. So decapitating strike and maun are solid.

4. Infiltrate helps in every mission and puts you way ahead in a lot of missions. So infiltrate is the AWESOMESAUCE rule for Raven Guard. It gets us across the board for free and lets us ignore deployment zone, which is huge in most of these missions.

5. Units is reserves are useful in almost every mission. So this is a nod to dark wings, storm eagles, and even Corax. Unfortunately, I kinda feel that drop pods, more than ever, are liabilities. I'm still fine with them for elite units but I don't think I would field them anymore with troops.

6. Scoring is important. Only one mission does not use the rule. Luckily Raven Guard have a lot of great scoring units. This is a huge advantage against other units that rely on tacs and the like. 

7. Removing maneuverability from your opponent is the goal of most missions. So alpha strike tank hunting is hugely powerful. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Raven Guard 30k - Updated Rules For Battles In The Age Of Darkness (Part 1)



Horus Hersey 5 - Tempest, introduces updated rules for battles in the age of darkness. The book clarifies and resets the core rules for 30k. These changes have a fairly profound effect on Raven Guard due to changes in scoring units and winning criteria.

The Rules:

Sudden Death Victory:

- Sudden victory is more extreme in 30k than in 40k. In 40k sudden victory is achieved if a side has no models on the board at the end of a game turn. In 30k, if a player has no models on the board at ANY time it's a victory. This means there are no "Null deployment" armies in 30k, and if you wipe out what's on the board, the game is over. 

So for Raven Guard this impacts us in two ways. The first being that we cannot field all drop pod forces and go second and there is a lot of risk to going flier heavy. The second being that we have the opportunity to alpha strike armies off the table in turn 1. Not exactly friend making material, but for tournies... The rules are the rules. 

Beyond Sudden Death Victories, the major update is regarding units that score. 

Scoring Units:

- Troops
- Units denoted as Scoring

Non-Scoring Units:

- Units falling back 
- Dedicated transports

Denial Units:

- All other units

Non-Denial Units:

- Scoring Units
- Falling Back Units
- Immobilized Vehicles
- Zooming Fliers / Super Heavy Fliers
- Swooping Monstrous Creatures / Gargantuan Creatures

Note:

1. Scoring units do not deny other scoring units. 
2. Drop pods that become immobile when they come in do NOT deny.
3. Scoring units are not denial units, but they do deny scoring units from scoring objectives.
4. Scoring units in a transport DO score. See page 80 under "embarking". Range measured for a unit in a transport (except for shooting) is measured from the hull. 

Conclusions:

In general, Raven Guard get nerfed a bit by the new rules. Losing, null deployment armies, light deployment armies, scoring transports and denial drop pods fundamentally changes army building for RG. 

On the flip side, you will run into people unfamiliar with the new sudden death rules. In tourney and friendly play, I would caution not declaring victory turn one when an opponent "Null Deploys" :)

Instead point out there mistake at deployment. In most cases, their game plan and list is probably so shattered at that point that you will likely win, and with Maun and Decapitating strike you are in a great position to truly smash people with turn one Alpha strikes. Lists trying to achieve this won't be popular, but it does make telepathy librarians and death wind drop pods a little more interesting.

Update:

It should be noted that Forgeworld is expected to fix the Sudden Death Victory conditions to the 40K version in the next FAQ. 



Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Raven Guard 30K - Legion Rapier Weapons Battery


When you think Raven Guard, you don't immediately jump to thinking of the Legion Rapier Weapons Battery...

But the Raven Guard's battle doctrine is strike hard, strike early and strike decisively, and the batteries do just that. 

We also should discuss how other legions play. In general, 30K revolves around large, expensive, powerful units getting around the board. This is usually done via spartan, land raider, rhino, drop pod or storm eagle. Otherwise units walk. For Raven Guard to win, we have to remove that maneuverability, because we generally can't handle those big units in a fair fight. But infiltrate lets us be maneuverable enough to use several units to either kill or cripple units. This has to usually be done first or second turn or we lose out location superiority given by deploying second. Also killing anti reserve units early protects incoming reserve units. In both cases this usually means killing tanks and walkers.  

So back to the rapiers in a Raven Guard force. First off, it should be mentioned that the Artillery have Legion Space Marines (Infantry) as part of the unit entry, so they can infiltrate. This important in two ways. One, it gives you the ability to deploy after your opponent, which opens up side armor shots and two, it gives you the ability to get in range turn one. 

There are 4 weapons options, that are all interesting in their own ways. 
  • Quad Heavy Bolters: This is your basic cheap option. I'm sure some legion loves these, like imperial fists maybe, but Heavy Bolters are not as devastating as we need. So move along.
  • Laser Destroyer Array: This thing is 36" S9 AP1 Ordinance, twin linked. So it's super accurate, and if you hit you have a pretty good change of penning with the re roll and a good chance of destroying things with the AP1. It sounds awesome but... .89 hits, .54 chance to glance or pen against AV 14, and if you opponent is smart 1/3 of those are being blocked by cover. So if you want to crack something like a land raider or spartan, you are talking 3 rapiers to get one chance at a pen or glance... Over multiple turns you end up with a pretty good chance of destroying things, but with Raven Guard you need stuff dead turn one. 
  • Quad Mortar: Quad mortars are fierce for their cost. Not only do they offer a good stat line for their price but they 2 modes of fire. Frags are 12-60" range S5 AP5 4 shots, 3" blasts that come with a -1 to pinning. Ok, so they are basically a long range heavy bolter, but you pull from the center of the template so there is some potential for sniping. There are also some combos with telepathy if you wanted to go that route. But really this is your secondary fire option IMO. The main use, for Raven Guard, is the shatter shells, which are 36" S8 AP4 4 shots with sunder (re roll pens). It's a very reliable way to crack things like light transports and dreads. 
  • Graviton Cannon: I saved my favorite for last. 36" large blast, haywire, grav pulse and concussive. Against large tanks this thing is almost always hitting. And when it does it glances on a 2+. It also leaves behind templates that are difficult terrain.
So the Rapier Weapon Batteries are diverse in weaponry, but for Raven Guard, I think the Graviton Cannons stick out as the front runner.  With Maun and decapitating strike you are going first ~83% of the time, and you infiltrated, so you probably got an angle with no armor save. Which means dead or limping transports. It's especially important to Raven Guard to crack open heavy transports because we don't have specialty termi units or hth units that can hang with top tier hth units of other legions (other than castellax). But what we do have is units like Mor Deythan, which can fry a unit of termies with rending flamers, or infiltrating/deep striking plasma squads (Yay!). So crack the egg and fry them yoke!

The other interesting concept is the timing of reserves. Maun gives you reserve re rolls, so units like drop pods, out flankers and fliers come in turn two usually. So you need to kill things with interceptor turn one if you are playing a reserve heavy list.

Another interestingly quality is that Graviton cannons are that they are concussive, which knocks opponents to Initiative 1. This opens up all sorts of combos with weapons with blind. Think Corax, boarding shields, and dark wing missiles. I've started running my chaplain with a board shield just for the defensive grenades. If you can blind a unit just before you charge them with a full 20 man tac squad with extra weapons, your charge is devastating. 

The last element, i want to touch on is how artillery wound allocation works. With a gun and 2 crew. You need one crew member to fire the gun. All crew are T7 if at least one gun is left. Casualties and wounds go to the closest model. So in a scenario where you have 6 crew (C) and 3 guns (G), you should be set up like this:

CCC
GGG
CCC

This way, the crew are ablative wounds, then they chew through the guns, and extra crew run forward to catch bullets as guns die. I also sometimes attach Alvarex Maun to these squads. He can't shoot the guns, but he can take cameleoline to give them stealth and can look out sir wounds onto the guns to keep the first crew wound alive or at least spread 3 wounds out on guns before you lose one.

Units I take:

  • 2 X 3 graviton cannons. I pair these with 2 mor deythan squads in rhinos, and a chaplain with a boarding shield attached to a large tac squad with extra weapons. I also take a dark wing in this list depending on the points. 

Crackle Paint Bases

I'm looking for a cheap, easy way to make nice bases that can be easily magnetized. The last piece is key because I have started to put cut metal sheets to size and put them in the bottom of my foam trays. The amount of models you can fit standing up is astounding compared to what you fit lying them down in foam. So with that in mind I have stopped casting my bases, because they are a pain to magnetize.

For a lot of my armies I use an ice them. Largely because Ice blue and white are really punch and easy to make look nice without being hugely detailed about it. I've found over the years, models on bright bases just seem to score better at tournaments.

So for my Raven Guard I thought maybe I would do them on ice, but part of me wants the army to feel dark and on black bases. So with that in mind I decided to start playing around with crackle paint. You can get them on Amazon for about $7.00 a pot.


I had some old bases hanging around that happened to be spray painted red. The application is supper easy. You just glop it on and let it dry and you end up with a pretty cool scattered earth feel for the black and a cracked ice effect with the white. I'm sure brown would feel like dried up mud. The more you put on the bigger the cracks.

Of note you can see that the white leached the red up off the base and became a little pink, so for white you might need to seal it. They both end up pretty glossy, which is nice for the white but the black feels kinda like obsidian. With a matte coat I'm sure it would feel more like scorched earth.

In anycase, I think it's a solid basing technique that with a couple plants or rocks or snow or flock could really be quite nice.


Monday, April 20, 2015

30K Battle Report: Raven Guard vs. Emperor's Children



Last Week I got a game on against Jason, who I linked up with through the Heresy 30K blog. Great guy with a beautifully painted Emperor's Children list.

We decided to play the city fight rules from HH book 4 and rolled the Uphill battle deployment and the Vital Prize mission, which is basically the relic but with special rules. The relic was a Carta Bellicosa, which gives move through cover and fleet. For second there was Slay the war lord, first blood, and last man standing.

Raven Guard List:

Decapitating Strike

  • Alvarex Maun
  • Chaplian w. power axe, AA, melta bomb, combat shield
  • 20 tacs w. extra ccw, sgt. w. AA and a power sword
  • 10 tacs w rhino
  • 5 Mor Deythn w. 5 x combi flamers in rhino, dozer blade
  • 5 Mor Deythn w. 5 x combi flamers in rhino, dozer blade
  • 3 rapier support graviton guns
  • 3 rapier support graviton guns
  • Fire Raptor w. reaper battery
Emperor's Children
  • Praetor w. termi armor, digi weapons, paragon blade, combi-plasma
  • Spartan
  • Predator executioner w. hvy bolter sponsors
  • Predator executioner w. hvy bolter sponsors
  • 10 tacs in rhino
  • 10 tacs in rhino
  • 9 termies w. combi plasmas, plasma blaster, mostly power fists
  • 20 assault marines, power weapons, sgt w. powerfist
  • Note: his sgts all were tooled up for hth


Even with my re roll, he won first turn and deployed in the back left corner with his tanks in a line. The order was predator, land raider, rhino, assault marines, rhino, predator. The relic was placed in the middle of the board, which meant neither of us could deploy in that terrain piece. This effectively kinda screwed my infiltrating alpha strike, but the middle piece or terrain was LOS blocking on the back side so I hunkerd the big squad behind it. The mor deythan lined up in rhinos closer to me. The rapier platforms I set up with shots to all the predators. I put man in a rapier squad and the las tac as rear guard in a rhino. 

Turn 1: RG

I seized the initiative with the Maun Re Roll! 

The first mor deythan rhino went into the middle terrain piece and turned side ways. The mor deythan deployed up on the second floor of the building looking down on the assault marines.

The second mor deythan squad goes straight at the spartan, turn side ways and pops smoke.

The big tac unit runs into the ruins and grabs the relic. 

In the shooting phase the mor deythan kill 14 jumpers and the rapiers do 4 hull points to the spartan, 1 to a rhino, and 2 to a predator. 



Turn 1: EC

The Emperor's Children respond by moving forward the Spartan and unloading all the tacs. The assault marines jump into the big terrain piece. 

The spartan is shooting snap shots only, but mange to peel off two HPs on the rhino. The predators fire into the big squad. The first predator manages to only kill a couple of his own assault marines and the other predator kill 3 marines. He quickly realizes that everyone is basically 3+ cover saves and that he is going to have to get the relic by hth.

The tacs all double tap into the 1st mor deythan squad and wipe them out. He charges the big RG tac squad with his assault marines. The chaplain has a boarding shield so they don't get their charge bonus. He issues a challenge and I refuse. The big squad fails to kill any in over watch, but with everyone getting 2 attacks with a re roll to hit, I manage to chew through the assault squad with minimal losses. 

At this point Jason mention's he had no idea that the tac squad were going to be that good. And laughed it off that maybe that was a bad charge choice. 



Turn 2: RG (Sorry my camera dies...)

I move my mor deythan into position to kill the termies when they get out of the land raider. 

The big squad moves 6" away from the enemy and I retreat with the middle rhino and place it in such a way as to block a lot of shooting at my big squad. 

The rapiers shoot using Maun as a spotter and pop the land raider and a rhino. The other squads  does 3 glances, but Jason saves them all. Actually he had been doing pretty well on the cover saves on the vehicles all game. 

I decide to shoot 2 combi flamers at the termies from inside the rhino and rend with them. Not ideal but my rhino only had one HP... I kill 3 or 4 termies.

In the middle of the board, I transfer the relic to maun in the middle rapier squad.

Turn 2: EC

Jason decides he has to chase the tac squad. The termies, ignores my bait of the mor deythan squad, moves forward and double tap their combi plasma, and kills on 5 of them. One other predetors also gets a shot at my rapier squad and it scatters onto my tacs, killing a couple more. The other predator pops the mor deythan rhino. One EC tac squad gets in a rhino and moves 12" toward the big RG tac squad. The other tac squad runs forward. 

Turn 3: RG

Fire raptor deepstrikes in off of Maun. (Forgot about it turn 2... doh!)

I create a wall of rhinos in front of the termies, which would effectively speed bump them from assaulting or getting much movement this turn. 

The big tac squad moves toward the incoming EC tac squad in the middle terrain piece. My small tac squad moves up to maun and maun joins their squad. 

The Mor deythan squad manages to wipe out all the termies accept the praetor. The fire raptor and big tac squad chews up the EC tac squad and kill about half the squad. The reaper batteries fail to get through the cover saves of the predator. 

The big tac squad charges the EC tacs squad and kills them off. 

Turn 3: EC

We call the game. With maun in a tac squad ready to jump in a rhino, and all the other stuff I have in the way it's obvious, he's not going to get to the relic. 

End of game Thoughts:

I think when I pulled out the grav cannons and he pulled out the spartan, he said shit and I said sweet. On my side, I was a little greedy and didn't kill the spartan first turn because i was trying to get the predator at the same time. That said, Jason said it was the first time the Spartan had died. 

His only regret was that he was under aggressive with the spartan and termies, which might have been a big deciding factor in the end. He also sportingly put the objective in the middle of the board.

Me seizing the initiative was also huge. It let me get ot he relic first and lock it up all game. Maun continues to impress with his re roll, not to mention I used him for spotting, a reserve re roll, a scatterless deepstrike and a +1 cover for a rapier unit. Being able to shut down the spartan early set the tone of the game. Not to mention, it also put my other Mor deythan in position to kill 3/4 of his assault squad turn 1. 

The rapiers also did really well. They took 5 HPs off the spartan, 2 HP of each predator, 3 off one rhino and 1 off the other. 

All that said, the true mvps were the big tac squad. They basically ate all the fire power the enemy could put out and killed a tac squad and an assault squad in hth. This squad continues to impress and surprise opponents with it's resilience, versatility and damage output. 

I also liked the boarding shield on the chaplain, the defensive grenades were solid and I tried to throw a grenade and blind him but it didn't work... Next time maybe.

Thanks Jason, and I look forward to a rematch!

Jason's Awesome EC army


Raven Guard 30K - Mor Deythan



The sneakiest of the sneaky. Mor Deythan are infiltrator vets that have Corax's abilty to "wraith-slip" avoiding light and walking in the shadows, even in direct line of sight.

On the table they start off at the same price as recon marines but are cheaper, better and come standard with shroud bombs, implacable advance, stealth, scout, BP/CCW, and Fatal Strike.

Fatal Strike is what makes them one of the best units in the game. Once per game, the unit gets twin-linked and rending. With sniper rifles they rend on a 5+.

What makes this rule especially nasty is that the entire squad can take combi-weapons. This opens up all sorts of nasty combos:

  • Shot guns: This is the economy option for mor deythan. 2 shots and being an assault weapon lets to shoot twice and charge. My take on it, is that I would rather pay a couple more points and try to get more rends. 
  • Sniper rifle: Awesomely fluffy, but again I see this option as being less effective than weapons with more shots. That said, these guys are some of the best snipers out there, and they score and are hard to dig out of terrain. Solid unit just not optimal IMO. But in non deapitating strike lists it has a place.
  • Combi-Flamer: Now you are talking my language! These guys are amazing. Not only are flamers auto hitting, but they ignore cover, re roll to wound and rend on 6's. On a unit that can infiltrate and scout in a rhino! These guys are sooooo good. 
  • Combi-plama/melta: So on one hand these are amazing. You're BS 5 so you are hitting on twos and probably wounding on twos. But you can already do something similar with seekers or support tactical squads. However as a tank hunter these guys are rending so they good even against things with ceremite armor. In the end, I might sprinkle in some melta guns to give the squad an option of tank hunting and being dangerous after they do their rending gig, but in this case I would likely go for a true melta gun, not the combi. 
  • Combi-volkite charger: Again, these are really quite good, but why not just take plasma guns...
  • Combi-grenade launcher: So these can produce a devastating amount of hits in frag mode so are absolutely devastating like flamers can be, but at range. In addition, they can shoot krak which might occasionally be of use. 
Let me take a moment to impress how good these guys are.... IMHO.

 THEY ARE THE BEST UNIT IN THE GAME. 

No seriously, when combined with Maun and Decapitating Strike, they will gut or wipe out a squad of your choice turn one. I never take less than 2 squads, which is why elites are always cramped in RG lists. 

An interesting issue with Mor Deythan is deployment. You see a lot of people run them with storm eagles or dark wings. This option is really strong as it lets you crack transports before you come in. The down side is that the birds are really expensive and run the risk of being shot down. On a special note, if you buy them as a squad upgrade they also score which is something that is often overlooked. 

On foot is fine for snipers, but usually you want some mobility. Land raiders can either scout OR are an assault vehicle, because they aren't bought as a squad upgrade. That said, Rhinos are bought as a squad upgrade, so they can infiltrate and scout in them, which gives them huge range. 

Finally, drop pods are solid for them, but you can't get drop pods for them through decapitating strike. You can however bring them in with maun in his drop pod, or purchase an anvilius. 

Units I use:

  • 5 Mor Deythan, 5 combi flamers, in a rhino. If I have extra points I put dozer blades on the rhinos. At 200 points it's a great plug and play unit in any list.
  • 6 mordeythan, 2 flamers, 4 shot guns. This is your budget squad.
  • 10 mordeythan, 7 combi flamers and 3 melta guns. This is good out of a storm eagle or dark wing. If you are going to spend all those points, you might as well max out the squad. 
  • 7 mor deythan: 5 flamers 2 meltas in a rhino with a combi melta. i like this squad a lot. It let's you alpha strike with melts first turn to take out mortis dreads and the like, but let's you save the rending flamer to later in the game. It's also let's you be dangerous from inside the protection of a tank. 
You guys use Mor Deythan in any other way?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Raven Guard Tactical Markings - 30K Era

One of the more frustrating things you will run into when building a Raven Guard Legion is the lack of uniformity in tactical markings during the time of the Horus Heresy. In addition, there have been a couple confusing example put out by GW along the way. I'm putting this thread together to try to save some of my fellow XIX Legion generals some head ache.

In the Index Astartes books of yore GW actually put out some suggestions or preheresy vs post heresy tactical markings. At the time, it created all sort of Jamaican Rasta looking armies as fans started to paint all tacs in green, fast attack in red, etc. This is still a throw back fan concept for some who like the look.


Flash forward to current examples, I think most agree that  the colors are based on Company colors:
  • 1st Company = White or Silver
  • 2nd Company = Yellow or Gold
  • 3rd Company = Red
  • 4th Company = Green
  • 5th Company = Black
  • 6th Company = Orange
  • 7th Company = Purple
  • 8th Company = Grey
  • 9th Compnay = Blue
  • 10th Comapny = Scout Company is usually white, but it's displayed on them individually because they are scouts are usually in camo.  
Additional, confusion from this image comes from the fact that Legions have lots of Chapters (1000 Astartes), which are broken down to 2 Battalions (500 Astartes each). Each Battalion has 5 Companies with 100 marines, each broken down to squads of 5 to 20.

In 40K, the space marine chapters are a Company strong.


The most recent artwork put out by Forge world, removes the concept of trim color across the board, and gives examples with black or silver trim as you can see in the following examples. 


From Left to Right (Based on the text that goes along with these pictures):
  1. Vet Sgt. (White Face), 2nd Company (Displayed on Chest), Recon Company (Right Knee)
  2. 7th Battalion (Right Knee), which actually denotes him of the pre-Corax unified Raven Guard. 
  3. Vet Assault marines (White arms and shoulder pads), 4th Battalion (?), 5th Chapter (?) Assault Company (right knee)
  4. 31st Shadow Company (left knee) which is directly under legion command, stead of serving in line, MKIV recon armor, which is turned off, which is why it's almost black. So technically their armor literally goes to camo mode. 
  5. The Terminator below, is part of the first Battalion in the 5th Chapter in an assault company. 

Forge World also put out shoulder pad tactical markings. Which are very cool but kinda ambiguous, as they don't exactly line up with squad types across the board. Although it is nice that they at least match the index astartes should pads, minus the color.



So, based on what we know:

  • Vet Sergeants have white faces, and the more senior you are the more white you have on your helmet, as seen in the Talon Leader and the Captain. 
  • Vet assault Marines have white arms and white shoulder pads
  • Shoulder pad rims are either black or silver. 
  • Raven Guard markings started after Corax joined the legion. 
  • Company, Chapter and Battalion Markings are used, but not very uniformly. 
  • Squad Type is designated on the knee pad or the shoulder.
  • Squad markings aren't used and are named after their Sergeant. 
  • Finally, it should be mentioned that Raven Guard will often fight in stealth markings so as not to have their leadership easily identified, so feel free to throw a lot of this out the door is you like. 

Ideas for themed Raven Guard Armies:

  • Pre Corax Raven Guard: See armor #2. The XIX Legion was created from the Terran Xeric Tribes which came from the Asiatic dust plains during the unification war. They wore grey armor and fought a lot under Horus and the Luna Wolves. They had a reputation for being cold blooded and acted as oppression, repression and occupational forces. They were known to wear war paint made from Asiatic dust and were referred to as the "Pale Noma" and the "Dust Clad". When Corax took over the Legion they reminded him of the slaver of Lycaeus, and thus he reassigned many of the Terran based Legionaries, including Shade Lord Akrhas Fal to the fringe of the Imperium as Predation fleets or Charcharadons, which would become space sharks chapter that is covered in the Babdab war.
  • Pre Drop Site Massacre Raven Guard: Raven Guard were one of the smaller legions at the time of the Great Crusade. They had 80,000 marines at the time of the drop site massacre, which mean they had ~ 8 Chapters, 16 battalions and 80 companies. So if you are doing markings I would stay with those confines. 
  • Post Drop Site Massacre Raven Guard: About 3,000 Raven guard escaped the Drop Site Massacre, and their total fight force was around 4,000 Astartes all together. Corax reorganized his remaining forces into 3 divisions based on combat specialization. 
    • Agapito Nev: Commander of the Talons, comprised of tactical companies
    • Solaro An: Commander of the Hawks, comprised of light vehicles and air support
      • Solaro An is also interesting in that he the youngest command, being that Corax brought him from Deliverance as a child. He is killed at the drop site massacre and replaced by an Alpha Legionnaire. So you could totally play this as a traitor Raven Guard force. 
      • Nuran Tusk: Replaced Solar An as commander of the Hawks only to be killed, a few weeks later, during the assault on the perfect fortress. 
      • Soukhounou: Became the commander of the Hawks for the rest of the Heresy. He was Terran born.
    • Aloni Tev: Commander of the Falcons, comprised on assault companies
  • Raptors: Corax also tried to bolster his ranks with pure Primarch gene seed that the Emperor gave to him. This made a splice of Astartes and Primarch called "Raptors", which were unleashed on the Word Bearers under the command of Branne Nev who was also the master of recruits. Branne Nev was the commander left behind to protect Deliverance. He came to rescue what was left of the Raven Guard after the Drop site massacre and thus saved the Legion. The new Legionaires created after the massacre eventually became the Raptors Chapter. 
I'm personally still trying to figure out what vintage Raven Guard I am painting. That said, I'm going with the index astartes shoulder pad markings, but I'm doing them in white. I also want to use them in the 40K universe, so I'm using small amount of red indicators to denote the 3rd company. I'm also doing squad markings on the right knee and left shoulder pad and leaving the right shoulder pad for the Chapter Raven. I'm also try not to make them too white, as i want them to feel stealthy, unless they are assault troops or terminators which seem to be unleashed more as a shock troopers.

Anything I missed? What have you guys decided on for you Raven Guard?

    Sunday, April 12, 2015

    Raven Guard 30K - Chaplains



    The Chaplains are the spiritual leaders and the warrior priests of the Space Marine Legions. I have always loved the imagery of Raven Guard Chaplains. They are decorated in the bones of large birds and feathers and have a distinct, dark shamanistic feel about them.

    On the table, I generally don't see that many Chaplains fielded. They are often overlooked for consuls that have special rules that are easier to translate to the battle field. But Raven Guard Chaplains in particular have sneaky ways to add all sorts of force multipliers to a unit.

    They are relatively inexpensive coming in at only 85 pts. They come with a power weapon of your choice. I also always opt for the cameleoline as it give Chaplain and his entire squad stealth for only 5 points. I also think a melta bomb is a no brainer as he can re roll to hit with it, and get +1 strength if you give him a jump pack. And finally, I usually go with artificer armor and a refractor field or a boarding shield. Refractor obviously let's you keep the extra attack, but....

    Why the boarding shield? Beyond looking bad ass, boarding shields give you defensive grenades, which makes charges against you disordered, but more importantly, they have the blind rule if you throw them. Combo them with Rapier grav cannon platforms that have the concussive rule and you are now force your target to make blind tests at Initiative 1. If they fail, they are now BS1 and WS1 until the end of their next turn. So now you are hitting them on a 2+ and they are hitting you on a 6+.

    Oh and if you are allowed to use relics, take the Void Field Generator!!!

    The Chaplain also comes with the Zealot rule, which truly makes them a terror.

    Chaplain and his unit with Zealot:
    • Automatically pass all Pinning, Fear, Regroup tests and Morale checks
    • Re-roll all failed To Hit rolls during the first round of combat
    • Cannot go to Ground
    So this rule can be a huge force multiplier with the right units. So what units do you run him with? Well HTH units obviously... But there are a couple very efficient options to consider.

    Units I Run

    1. Legion Tactical Squad: Add a CCW, and they are the cheapest source of S4 attacks in the codex, and you can take them in units of 20. I usually go 20 guys, extra close combat weapon, and a sgt. with a power axe, artificer armor and a melta bomb. This unit is amazing. It's the core of almost all my lists. It infiltrates in. It can Fury of the Legion. But what really makes it strong is the fearless and the re roll to hit. 20 Re-Rolling to hit crack grenades will eliminate most tanks in the game. Plus if you are running the concussive and blind combo, you are murdering other infantry with 60 re-roll to hit on a 2+ attacks. AND, if you are clever and pick out a squad with a IC in it, you can often make him the closest guy so you get to re roll your to-wound rolls too. Finally, it should be mentioned, that this unit is basically fearless. Which helps you investment stick around, but more importantly it makes them a tar pit. With such a large foot print, you can easily charge in and tie up several infantry squads for the rest of the game. This reduces their shooting potential and lets your glass hammers like Dark Furies massacre big units with a lot less risk. 
    2. Dark Fury: These guys are the cheapest way to get mass S4 AP3 attacks int he game. They are so under priced, it feels like a mistake.I feel you really get more out of this unit when you go towards the bigger side of what you can field. You have the option to make them all have rending attacks as well although this reduces the need for a chaplain because they get 2 re rolls from the master crafted weapons. The Chaplain, ratchets the killy potential of this unit through the roof with the re-roll to hit, and more importantly he can take the Void field generator. With the right placement, this wargear makes you immune to small arms fire. They also have great synergy with Maun, as he helps them land safely and come in quicker. Altogether the combo is devastating and cheap for how destructive it can be.
    3. Terminators: Terminators are more for the Asiatic dust plain pre Corax feel Raven Guard, but I still really dig them. You basically have the choice of drop pods, storm eagles, cestus ram, spartan, landraider, or darkwing as a delivery device. This makes them a considerably larger investment than the other options mentioned. But the ability to take combi weapons and power axes or just straight lightning claws can make them a terror. In any case, I usually go with a 7 termies all with combi meltas, 5 axes and 2 chain fists in a storm eagle. 
    4. Veterans: Vets are basically slightly more expensive tacs. They come with more attacks base and with ccw and pistol, and can take as many power weapons as you want. So Chaplains basically turbo charge these guys. That said they get crazy pricey quick, but they are the cheapest way to get 10 melta bombs in the game and can take tank hunter. Combo that with the re roll to hit and you have a very interesting unit, and with decapitating strike you can put them in drop pods, which they can charge out of at tanks. Honestly, you don;t really need the chaplain with them, but I mention them because I do hop my Chaplain into other squads occasionally. A unit like this against an army with a spartan is a prime example or why I often take 9 vets with meltas in a drop pod. Being able to pick your tactics at the beginning of the game lets you be flexible against your different opponents. 
    Beyond that, the Chaplain makes all unit better in hth. I'm sure there are other combos, especially with allies, but the one above are the ones I use to great success. That said, they obviously make Destroyers and assault marines a lot better too, so if you are going to run those units, a Chaplain is worth the look. 

    Any other combos you guys use? 

    Friday, April 10, 2015

    Raven Guard 30K - Legion Reconnaissance Squads



    Unlike scouts from 40K, the recon squad is a true full blown space marine reconnaissance unit in 30K. They can scout and outflank and with acute sense they are good at outflanking.

    So what do recon squads have to offer for Raven Guard, the most recon orientated legion? Not a lot actually. For one, Mor Deythan do everything scouts do but better and for considerably cheaper. 

    So looking through that lens, what do scouts offer above and beyond Mor Deythan.

    1. Melta bombs:  A 5 man scout unit is the cheapest way to take 5 melta bombs. 
    2. Nuncio Vox: Sure your tac squads can take it too, but for 10 points they can bring in a unit safely from deepstrike. Useful with decapitating strike. 
    3. Support Troops: Recon squads don't take up elite slots. Unfortunately they are support squads... so don;t fill mandatory troop slots, which is a shame. IMO this restriction should have been lifted for Raven Guard. As it is, I don't even consider them until I've fill all my elites and mandatory troops. 
    4. Transport: They can take a storm eagle transport. So if you are doing air cav and you need more birds, these guys are a way to crank up the number of flier transports available to the army.
    5. Sniper Rifles: Ok, these are cool as hell, and very Raven Guard, but pretty situational. you don;t really have a lot of monstrous creatures running around 30K, although they are good against units like castellax. On a roll to hit of a 6 it get precision hit, They always wound on a 4+ and the become AP2 on a wound roll of a 6". Plus the 36" range is nice. It's a shame they lost the pinning bit this edition, as that what really made them good. But 10 of them is 250 points, which isn't exactly cheap. 
    Squads I run:
    • 5 Recon marines, combat knives and melta bombs. 150 pts is throw away cheap and 5 guys can hide out of sight, which is important as you are going to be charging them out turn 2. To be honest I run these largely because I have a squad all sneaky with knives that looks awesome. Rule of Cool Baby! You want these guys on the move and it's nice to be able to shoot and charge if need be.  In larger games, I'll run them 10 strong. I like them in  reserve lists with
      Maun where most of the army comes on turn 2. The scouts often get over looked letting you get in you melta bomb charge. 
    • 10 Recon marines with shot guns and melta bombs, sgt with a hand flamer all in a rhino with a heavy flamer. These guys infiltrate in and then scout, so you will be 12" away from your target. Then you jump out your units and double tap you shot gun and fire the flamers. You will off that pesky 5 man dev team or be able to handle 10 man unit of just about anything after that. It's a pretty good generalist unit that can hunt infantry or tanks. 
    • 10 snipers. I don't really dress these guys up more than that. They sit on an objective an plink away. 
    Any thoughts? You guys do anything interesting with Reconnaissance Squads?

    Saturday, April 4, 2015

    Raven Guard 30K - Veteran Tactical Squads

    Veteran Tactical marines. The best of the best, trained in all facets of warfare and with all war gear, and their rules represent this paradigm. So sneaky, they paint their arms and shoulder pads white!

    The first thing that should be mentioned about Veterans, from a list building perspective, is that they can be core troops in your force org with you take a Delagatus Consul or Praetor and select pride of the legion. Which makes them troops and thus have objective secured with 7th ed rules. More importantly, it shifts a very good elite unit out of elites and into your troop slots which frees up your elite slots. 

    In general, I prefer Mor Deythan over Vets in my elite slots, but as troops you don't have to make that hard choice ;)

    The hard choice with vets, is deciding how you want to use them. They can be everything from tar pits, to combat monsters, to tank hunters, to multi taskers, but trying to make them do everything is a recipe for failure. 

    The basic Veteran is a tac squad sergeant. They come standard with 2 attacks, bolter, BP and CCW at 25/15 pts. Note: the second 5 marines are really quite a bargain. 

    In addition, for 25 pts you pick up melta bombs for the entire squad, making them the cheapest way to get 10 melta bombs in your arsenal. Let this sink in. It's really the true reason I take vets. 

    You can also take a power weapon of your choice, on every guy for 10 pts, which is really quite powerful considering they are 2 attacks base. 

    Finally for every 5 guys you can take a special weapon or a hvy bolter or missile launcher with a suspensor web. This makes them pretty similar to 40K vets and also make them key candidates for rhinos.

    The most interesting rule they have going for them is Veteran tactics. Basically they get to pick what sort of special snow flake they want to be at the beginning of the game. And the special rules they get to pick from are great:
    • Fearless: Often overlooked, but I think this can be the strongest rule. It let's you tarpit or be a pain in the ass to the last man.
    • Sniper: Gives you precision shot, wound on a 4+ and ap2 on a wound roll of 6. It's very Raven Guard and a strong choice. It works great on bolters but can really shine on heavy bolters or frag missiles and throwing frag grenades. It also works really well with Raven Guard because you can set up in position in cover and snipe from turn 1 on. 
    • Furious charge: Again, this feels very Raven Guard, but it's a trap. A vet with power weapon costs 35 points. Guess what else is 35 points with furious charge and is a Raven Guard Veteran. A Raven Guard Terminator... 
    • Outflank: Again, it's a trap with Raven Guard because you already get it with our core legion rules. That said, the concept is good with rhinos. Solid choice for reserve list. Also why i usually take them in a rhino, as it opens up this option to do counter reserves. And in diagonal deployment it can be the best way to get across the battle field.
    • Tank Hunters: This is a good option in a decapitating strike list with muan. Either you run them in a rhino with 2 meltas or in a drop pod with 2 meltas and melta bombs and a power axe or two. 
    How I run them:
    • 10 Vets, 2x melta guns, melta bombs, 2 power axes, drop pod. I usually take fearless on these guys, but sometimes tank hunter if I'm going to be better than them in hth. Drop in and stay in the pod. Shoot people up first turn try to charge an d important vehicle second turn. Remember that melta bombs get 2 dice against ceramite armor!!! Which is the real reason I take vets...
    • 10 vets 2 missile launchers. Objective campers. Hopefully you can set up a side shot with the missile launcher. These guys take sniper. I often out flank these guys to keep them alive.
    Army thoughts: 
    • Consider for a second 50 vet marines with fearless and melta bombs, and 20 tacs with a chaplain all infiltrating 18" off your back porch. It's also an amazing core for larger games, where you add more mor deythan squads, hell maybe corax to give everyone on a 6 inch run. 50 fleeting melta bombs is a scary ass concept. You can also put all these guys in drop pods id you like to which makes them additionally scary and in your face. These squads win in hth against anything not hth dedicated and they can smash any vehicle in the game with ease. Plus that's a lot of double tapping bolters and special weapons. AND WITH FEARLESS YOU HAVE TO KILL EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM!!!

    Monday, March 30, 2015

    Raven Guard 30k - Rhino Armored Personnel Carrier

    The rhino is the standard Space Marine APC of the 40k universe, but in 30K it's more of a support vehicle, as it's not really legion sized. That said in a raven guard force, it's especially useful because it can infiltrate and out flank.

    Why it shines:
    • It's immune to bolters
    • For units with scout it increases the scout move to 12"
    • It can take a combi-melta or heavy bolter
    • It has 2 fire points
    • It has 3 disembark points
    • It's cheap
    • It is usually scoring with objective secured 
    • 2 guys get to shoot if someone charges it 
    • TANK SHOCK 
    All that said, what really makes the rhino shine is the tactics you can do with it

    Tactics:
    • Defensive LOS blocker: If you are using a unit like Mor Deythan with flamers, you have infiltrated, scouted into position, and oh shit they seized on you... Well I hope you thought ahead and had your rhino turned sideways. Because if they glance that tank to death you can usually hunker you 5 man squad behind the husk and keep it alive. 
    • Offensive LOS Blocker: I can't tell you how many times I've played a guy who has set up their 5 lascannons behind their Aegis Defense line all proudly, and then I've driven up a rhino and turned it side ways in front of them... It's blocks their LOS to shoot anything, and worse of all if they shoot it dead it's probably still blocking their LOS unless they blow up it up, which blows them up... and then they have to walk around it and snapshot for a turn. 
    • Sniper Rhinos: In 7th ed, you can only kill what you see. Simple enough. But that means you can block LOS and snipe out parts of squads. This is super important for Raven Guard since we have preferred enemy Independent Characters. It allows us to kill off parts of a squad and expose that IC to a melta support squads and melt the praetor or what ever you are after. It also let's you block LOS to that pesky Artificer Armor sgt. and since wounds can't be allocated to what you can't see, feel free to melta the rest of the squad on their 3+ saves. 
    • Peekaboo: In 7th ed, you also can't charge what you can't see. So a well placed rhino can often stuff a charge. You can also make a V shape with 2 rhinos so you can shoot through the gap, but your opponent has to go all the way around to pull off a charge. 
    • Speed bumps: Playing Raven Guard effectively is all about playing the game on your terms. A lot of times that means slowing down units that are trying to get places. A spartan with characters and a big chunk of termies is not cheap. Throwing one or two rhinos side ways in front of it basically wastes all those points for an entire turn and probably made it go though dangerous terrain. 
    • Trapped: A lot of time with Raven Guard you take units in big enough size so you KNOW it's going to be successful at popping a transport. A clever trick is blocking one of the disembark points. This forces units out into the open. It's especially good against land raiders if you can block that back side door as the other side door and front are probably down range and in LOS of you units. You can also usually combo this with the unit inside to get infront of another door.
    • Zig and Zag: In the shooting phase your rhino can often move after you have shot, which often let's you shoot something and then it can't return fire. 
    • Flier Manipulation: This is especially viable with outflanking armies or when you have deployed near a board edge. You know a flier has to move 18" at a minimum and can only make one turn at 90 degrees. So you can find where the extreme short movement points of a flier exists. If you put your transport there it has to move further than your tank of move more directly forward than it wants. In addition, it usually means that aircraft can't shoot that tank either. AND it means you will have rear shots on the flier next turn. 
    Units I use with Rhinos:
    • Vets with 2 meltas in a rhino with a combi melta
    • Vets with 2 plasma in a rhino with a hvy bolter
    • 10 tacs in a rhino for scoring
    • Destoyers w/ 2 missile launchers, phosphex greande in a rhino
    • Mor Deythan w. 5 combi flamers
    • Mor Deythan w. 6 combi flamers, 3 meltas, 1 melta bomb in a rhino w. combi melta
    • 10 mor deythan w. 10 combi volkites in a rhino
    On a final note, I do wish there where slightly different rules for MKI and MKII rhinos like they did with the different termi armor. That said, with my Raven Guard Rhinos I went with Hover rhinos to portray their stealthiness. Pictures coming soon!

    Did I miss any sneaky rhino Tactics?

    Raven Guard 30K - Legion Tactical Support Squads

    Legion Tactical Support squads are the mobile fire-support units of the Legions, and nobody uses them better than Raven Guard. Bristling with short range, hard hitting, specialized fire power the question is not why to use them but how to use them best. Not to mention they are really cheap base coming in only 5 points more than a tac marine.

    Raven Guard are unique in that they can choose to infiltrate, out flank, or deepstrike in drop pod (with decapitating strike) Legion Tactical Squads. So you can choose to use them to alpha strike or be more reactive with them.

    What weapon you equip them with and how you deploy them defines their role.

    The weapons:

    • Flamers - Cheap as chips, but if i'm going to take flamers I'm going to take Mor Deythan for rending flamers. However these may grow in popularity if more armies with chaff troops are released.
    • Rotor Cannons - Let's just say I wish my Mor Deythan could take these. 30" S3 AP6 salvo 3/4 weapons that most people put their nose up to... At S3 they are only good at hunting infantry, and if you do the math you on average kill 3 marines with 40 shots. However you do force a lot more saves so the potential of killing a lot more is there. These are the type of weapons that a Divination librarian can really increase the out on with powers like misfortune. All that said, this a good unit for armies that deploy 24" away from their enemy in a fortification and whittle you down as you cross the table. Which isn't really Raven Guard's style of play. 
    • Volkite Calivers - These are really good. At 30" S6 AP5 Heavy 2 they threaten infantry and light vehicles a like. More importantly they kill on average 4 marines, regardless of if they are in cover or not. 
    • Volkite Chargers - A lot of forums will rave about how they love these. At 15" S5 AP Assault 2 they are ok. IMO, the difference between them and rapid fire bolters is negligible. And at 25/20 pts they are difficult for me to justify. 
    • Plasma Gun - These are you termi killers, but honestly they are wonderful because they threaten almost everything. In general, i am often trying to decide between Mor Deythan Flamer squads, Seekers with plasmas or Plasma support squads almost every time I put together a list. 
    • Melta Gun - I love these. Yeah, people point out out that there is tons of ceremite armor running around 30K, but really there are always targets available. Dreads, transports, sicarians, scorpius, t4 termies with 2 wounds, ICs, castellax? Yeah, I want all those dead and dead and fast. Legion support squads are the cheapest way to do it. 
    Squads I use:

    •  10 Volkite Calivers. Simply infiltrate them into a cover or top of a building and plink away. They tend to be a pretty good spot to put Alvarex Maun with cameleoline. Stealth helps them stay alive and they are best not starting in a transport. Good for a central unit for a reserve based list or a litst that is going to max out shooting from cover with stealth. 
    • 5 melta guns, sgt w. melta bomb, in a drop pod. Good for alpha strike or for reserve strike. It's a great unit to hunt heavy infantry or vehicles. 
    • 10 melta guns, sgt w. melta bomb in a drop pod. I've also started fielding larger squads in larger games to deal with the ever popular knight and castellax units. A squad of 10 can really gut any unit if they get caught out of position. Against something like knights I'll use a rhino to make it so I can't scatter more than 6" away. If it works, stay in the pod! Why? See Below.
    • 10 plasma guns, in a drop pod. So in 30k you don't have to get out of your drop pod. You can land and fire at people and can't be shot or charged until they bust open the vehicle. This is especially strong for plasma guns, which rapid fire at 12" and can still shoot even with a bad scatter. Oh and don't forget, if they charge the drop pod you get to overwatch them with the 10 man plasma gun squads. This squad though is better taken in an army with multiple drop pods, as you might not want it to land first turn. It often can do more damage after you crack open a transport, or into rear armor of vehicles that have started moving across the board.  
    Siege Breaker Consul:

    Whaaaaat? I know. Curve ball but think about it. Tank hunter makes 9 meltas or 9 plasma gun very viable even against units like a spartan or something with ceremite armor. He also brings phosphex grenades, which are great out or a drop pod and allows you to upgrade medusas to phosphex grenades for free, which works really well with Alvarex as a spotter. Plus with the option of 3 Dueces in a squadron, one hvy slot doesn't look that bad. The whole combo together can line up some hellish first turn alpha strikes. 

    Plus from a fluff perspective, how cool is a destroyer heavy army with a Siege Breakers and dueces with phosphex grenades!!!

    Thoughts, or questions? Do you use other combos?