More than any other unit, the Tactical Squad is building block of all Space Marines, and in 30K the Tactical Squad is the building block of the Legions. Without taking a Rite of War you are left to chose between Tactical Squads, Assault Squads and Breacher squads to fill your troop requirements. The Tactical Squad is by far the most efficient option. It also means that you have 300 pts of sunk cost you have to figure out how to use efficiently.
At 15 pts for the first ten marines and 10 pts for the second ten they are the cheapest marine you can buy, coming in 7.5 points cheaper than the next cheapest marine at 22.5 at piece (breachers).
They come standard with bolters, bolter pistols, frags and crack grenades and fury of the legion. And Because they are Raven Guard Infantry, they come with Infiltrate and Fleet.
Infiltrate gives Raven Guard Tacs squads some strong advantages.
- It allows us to deploy on objectives before the game starts, forcing your opponent to push you off, which is an especially viable tactic in maelstrom missions.
- It allows us to deploy within bolter range for Fury of the Legion shots first turn. Note: For this reason I don't think you should ever swap the bolters for CCWs.
- It allows us threaten hth or charges with crack grenades.
- It allows us to infiltrated rhinos, which can take combi-meltas, or can tank shock, or speed bump vehicles, or hold objectives, or be a LOS blocker for your tac squad, or drive it up and park right in front of an enemy heavy weapon squad, so they can't see anythign to shoot (Lol. Yeah. They hate that).
- It allows you to outflank
Fleet is also very powerful. It can be used defensively to run away or scramble to objectives. Or is can be used to run forward or help get charges off.
They also come with some solid squad upgrades. Unlike in 40k they don get special and heavy weapon choices, but they do get an option of an additional ccw weapon. I almost never see people take this, but it's actually really quite potent. For 2 points you do as much damage as a 15 pt marine in hth, and unlike other legions we get infiltrate and fleet which both help us actually get in hth and use those extra attacks. And with infiltrate Raven Guard can deploy so that they can pick the hth match ups.
The other two interesting options is the nuncio-vox and the legion vexilla. The nuncio-vexilla is great for Raven Guard. It can help deep striking list be considerably more accurate and can help spot for artillery. The vexilla lets you re roll leadership. In a lot of other legions it's almost an auto include. In Raven Guard, I'm usually running my tacs with an IC with fearless or naked.
You also have the option upgrade the sgt. What you take on him basically dictates how you will use the tac squad. Artificer armor is great for a pure shooting blob where he will be the closest model and suck up returning fire. In a squad that will see hth, I tend to additionally give him a power axe and melta bomb. Otherwise run him naked.
Finally, they also have options to cheap transports. This is another huge boon often overlooked. The basic rhino is hugely versatile and a strong choice for maelstrom or objective mission. In addition, you can take a drop pod (with decapitating strike). It's a fairly powerful option that is almost unique to Raven Guard. It allows Raven Guard to play re-actively against our opponents.
Squad Load Outs:
- 10 man tac squad in a Rhino. This is you basic objective grabber.
- 10 man tac squad. Standard rear guard unit meant to be an objective camper.
- 10 man tac squad nuncio-vox. I usually take one of these in reserve lists
- 20 man tac squad w. extra ccws, sgt w. power axe, melta bomb, chaplain with refractor, melta bomb power axe, cameleoline
But wait!!! Where are the 15-20 man squads with vexilla and apothecaries?
True. You see these in tons of other legions. And feel no pain is a strong rule. But Raven Guard are not a rule set that favors "weathering a storm". Other legions do that better than us. Instead we have resilience by deploying in reserves or by front loading damage so the enemy has less to shoot back at us.
I generally use all my elite slots for Mor Deythan, termies, rapier platforms, etc.
Do you have any thought on Raven Guard Tacticals that I missed?