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.
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.