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. 

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