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:


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.


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!!!