Thursday, January 7, 2016

Raven Guard 30K - Corvus Corax Part: 2



Corvus Corax. Primarch of the XIX legion. The Liberator. The Deliverer. The Raven-Lord. Chooser of the Slain. The Shadowed Lord. Master of stealth, rapid strikes and decapitations. He is cunning and subtle, commanding his units with precision and guile, but all of this is guided by an uncompromising sense of justice and hope for the future of Humanity.

In Part:1 I dove into Corax as an individual unit. In this article, I will take a look at him as a force multiplier and how this impacts a Raven Guard list. In general, I don't usually hear people write much about Corax as a force multiplier like they do with other Primarchs, but with the sire of the Raven Guard rule he is basically adding 2 more ways to play the list. 

SIRE OF THE RAVEN GUARD: 

This rule gives Raven Guard Acute senses and auto run of 6".

This opens up to 3 types of lists:

  1. Mass Jump pack infantry that start of the table. Works well with the Angels of Wrath.
  2. Mass Outflankers. Also works well with Angels of Wrath.
  3. A mix of 1 & 2 ;)

So why build lists based on outflank instead of deepstrike or infiltrate? Well... three reasons. Point denial. Timing. Late game maneuverability. Outflanking armies can be very strong if built right and used correctly. So let's talk about outflank armies. 

Point Denial: 


Raven Guard have a huge advantage in that they can alpha strike and are thus basically playing with more points than their opponents, but the flip side is not letting your opponent remove points from from you. Using these 2 components together is even more powerful. Simply not deploying units protects them and gives your opponent less time to deal with them. So while a drop pod heavy force lets you null deploy first turn, an outflanking force can largely null deploy for most of the game, especially with some reserve manipulation built in the list.

In addition, Corax himself is a unit that can be played defensively. This does two major things. One, it makes the points spent on Corax hard to kill. Second, it saves him until the later rounds when units are softened up. A large part of winning 30K is denying kill points to the enemy. 

Timing: 

With infiltrator armies, the goal is to create zones of superior fire power or hth influence. It's all about being on the right side of the mismatch. This is usually achieved by deploying heavy on a flank or deploying in such a way that you maximize the damage output of your units and minimize the damage output of your enemies units. The concept is easy to grasp from a "space" on the board perspective. But the concept of maximizing timing is usually overlooked.

In general, it's a combination of:
  1. Increasing resilience in your own force
  2. Reducing killing potential in your opponents turns
  3. Increasing the output of your own fire power and hth 
  4. Overwhelming objectives in the late game
Long range shooting units, maximize their output by shooting every turn and shooting the appropriate targets. 

Short ranged shooting units. usually have more decisive weapons and usually only get to shoot their preferred target once a game, so maximizing their output is more about controlling when they shoot. Thus, for short range weapons, infiltrators with transports usually have a timing of turn 1 to 2. Walking infiltrators turn 2 to 3. Drop pods from turn 2 to 3. Flying transports are usually 3 to 4 as are outflankers. 

That said, maximizing short range shooting units is not as easy as just killing a long range shooting unit first turn. If the short ranged unit is immediately killed, you have basically just swapped pawns. So in any army of outflankers, the ideal scenario is a combination of not giving the long range enemy squad any good targets and then using your short ranged unit to eliminate them late in the game so the short ranged squads is still around for securing objectives.

Outflanking forces with some reserve manipulation are powerful because they can pick and choose how to apply these concepts as the game progresses. Outflankers with long range weapons can create moments of fire superiority by catching units between terrain, or without cover or shooting side / rear armor facings. Outflankers with short range weapons can usually take out long range fire support with considerable less protection later in the game. Either because the protection has moved toward objectives or the bubble wrap squads have been killed. 

Finally the timing of HTH in outflanking armies is even more delayed. Usually, you will not be able to assault until 2 or even 3 turns after the turn they arrive, which sounds like a disadvantage, but transports are usually just another type of point and timing denial. Assaulting an objective late in the game with not enough time to be killed off or pushed off  that objective is a very strong tactic if you can pull it off. 

Late Game Maneuverability:

This element is truly what Corax is helping maximize. Outflank with acute senses allows units that are coming onto the board where you want them. Raven guard also can manipulate reserve timing with Alvarex maun, comm relays and Damocles rhinos. Together, reserve manipulation and acute senses get units coming onto the board at the right times. In addition, 6" run can help units like foot sloggers with melta bombs grab objectives and hunt back field tanks.

Raven Guard Outflanking units:

Good outflanking units tend to be one of 4 types of unit:

  1. Harassers: Are units able to shoot units from afar while staying mobile.
    • Good Harasser units: Javelins, dark wings, vets or destroyers with missile launchers with suspension webs in rhinos
  2. Eradicators: Are units able to decisively kill a target and then being able to take or contest an objective. 
    • Good Eradicator units: Seekers, Support squads, Mor Deythan, Termies w. combi weapons, destroyers with phosphex, vets with weapons. Any of these units in transports would qualify. 
  3. Hammers: Are units that smash a unit off objectives and can hold it. 
    • Good Hammer units: Termies, command squads, vets with power weapons. Any of these units in transports. 
  4. Spoiler: Are units that can stay alive unit the end of the game, they don't necessarily need to kill anything. 
    • Good spoiler units: 10 vets with melta bombs, 5 reconnaissance squads with melta bombs, single javelins
Other Corax force multipliers:

Part: 1 focused on largely using Corax offensively. In general, the mindset is to throw Primarchs into the mix to try to get their points back. But, consider the concept of using Corax defensively as a counter assault unit. He's largely unkillable at range. He has a 24" bubble of anti deepstrike. He will basically murder anything that actually gets to you. Finally, he can jump into reserves and redeploy in the end game to be a late game threat. 

Corax's is an interesting Primarch partially because of his force multipliers. They open up new and interesting army types at high point levels, which make tactics that normally wouldn't be good at lower point level viable. And he opens up the use interesting units and list concepts that revolve around jump packers, or out flankers or even static resilient support elements. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Raven Guard 30K - Corvus Corax Part:1




Corvus Corax. Primarch of the XIX legion. The Liberator. The Deliverer. The Raven-Lord. Chooser of the Slain. The Shadowed Lord. Master of stealth, rapid strikes and decapitations. He is cunning and subtle, commanding his units with precision and guile, but all of this is guided by an uncompromising sense of justice and hope for the future of Humanity.




War gear & Rules:

The Raven Guard are known for all sorts of cool, alternative war gear that focuses on stealth and surprise at the expense of protection. Even Corax's kit of gear follows this philosophy. He comes with the Sable Armor, the korvidine pinions and the Panoply of the Raven Lord.


PtsWSBSSTWIALdSv
Corvus Corax:45076666/576/5102+/5+






  • 2+ / 5++ armor
  • Units can only snap fire at Corax if he is the closest unit or if they are a daemon or psycher. Thus he is close to immune to being targeted by blast and flamer template weapons!
  • Can be removed from play and put in reserves at the beginning of Corax's turn, even from hth if his Inititative is higher than his opponents.
  • Deep strike mishap on doubles within 12" of Corax
  • Enemy teleport homers and location beacons won't work with 12" of Corax
  • Jump pack with D3 hammer of wrath hits on a charge at Str 5 AP3, even if Corax's used the jump pack in the movement phase. 
  • Deepstikes scatter can be re rolled and a mishap is automatically a delayed
  • Can vector strike like a swooping monstrous creature
  • HTH: Str 6, shred, blind
  • Frag grenades and shroud bombs
  • 2 X Archaeotech pistols
  • IC, Eternal Warrior, Fear, Adamantium will, fleet, fearless, It will not die, Master of the legion, Hit & Run, Bulky
  • +1 str and +1 Initiative on the charge

So add up all the rules and the wargear and what you get is a difficult to shoot Primarch that can choose to leave a bad fight.

He is also highly maneuverable and re-deploy-able, and with fleet getting into HTH is a reliable proposition.

Deadly Prey: By the end of the Dropsite Massacre, much of Corax's gear was damaged or destroyed, so a version of Corax is available for 100 pts less. I don;t think it's ever worth taking that Corax, so let's not review it. Only use it in fluffy narrative drop site massacre campaigns.


Fighting Style:

One Corax's most unique abilities is to take 3 different fighting styles:

Death Strike: Corax's tank hunting or high toughness (castellex) fighting style. So you basically can vector strike with 1 S6 AP2 ingore cover hit, shoot with Str 6 AP3 pistols, and then you get D3 Str 5 AP3 Hammer of Wrath attacks plus 8 Str 10 attacks (on rear armor). Or 8 attacks that wound on a 5+ (remember you have shred and blind). 

Scourge: Corax's anti infantry attack. So you vector strike, shoot the pistols and then you get D3 Str 5 AP3 Hammer of wrath attacks plus 8+d3 S7 AP2 attacks that shred and blind. So altogether you get 9 + D3 Str 6+ attacks that are a mix of ASP 2 and 3. 

Shadow-walk: Corax's tar pit stance. -1 to hit. This is a REALLY good stance in certain situations like when you are dealing with a unit of termies with AP2 weapons. In general, this makes a unit have to hit you on a 6. It also has some synergy with the graviton + blind combo.


On the battlefield, Corax can be a nightmare to have to deal with. He can hit & run at the end of any combat or completely leave the board at the beginning of your turn. He is more of a blender than a sledge hammer though, so he excels and killing lots of guys instead of obliterating a single character with a high strength attack.

HIT & RUN:

He is also considerably better hit & running in and out of combats. In doing do so, he picks up the extra attack from charging, extra strength and initiative on the charge, a vector hit, the Hammer of Wrath attacks, the pistol shots, and most importantly it let's you shoot the unit with other units in the army before you charge back in. So it should be obvious, but ALWAYS HIT RUN OUT AT THE END OF YOUR OPPONENTS TURN! The other BIG lesson is to watch out for units that have concussive rule. Being Initiative 1 hugely reduces your out put and probably ends with a dead Corax.

STRENGTH 6 or 7: 

At face value it's kind one of those meh stats & rules... But if you take a Forge lord with rad grenades... All of a sudden, it makes more sense to use Scourge against big bad high toughness units and more importantly you OBLITERATE T4 models. So blending your way through multi wound T4 termi units and most characters is an option. 

BLIND & FEAR: 

Blind has been nerfed, but you still get lucky sometimes. It also has some synergy with graviton weapons and eclipse missiles (on the Darkwing), which drop a unit's Initiative to 1. Similarly, don't forget that you cause fear.

VECTOR STRIKE:

Vector strike is a strong rule. For one, it can be done against a unit in the movement phase and then you can shoot and assault a different target. The ability to cause damage to multiple units can be very very strong at times. In addition, you can vector strike fliers, which makes Corax a mini anti air unit. Plus the idea of corax pulling jets out of the sky is just epic.


Primarch Hunting:

Corax is a bad ass. He hits as hard as Angron but against his brothers, he is just too fragile for a straight up fight. He is a glass canon, but you can help tip the scale in your direction by bouncing in and out of combat. For one this spikes Corax's damage output, but MORE IMPORTANTLY IT LET'S YOU SHOOT AT THE OTHER PRIMARCH WITH YOUR WHOLE ARMY!

No. It's not a fair fight. But if you read blogs you will always see people crapping on Corax as being middle of the road against other Primarchs unless you get luck with Blind. It's fine to look at these scenarios in a vacuum, but for Corax and Cruz it's not how it's going to translate on the table top. That said the major lesson is that anyone with the concussive rule is a total trap, so avoid Horus, Ferrus, Vulkan and Perturbo at all costs.

Anyway, in a vaccuum, these are the results.

Lose against 9 primarchs
Win against 3 primarchs.

So go ahead a fight Lorgar, Dorn and Alpharius in a straight up fight. Against the rest... hit them good turn one and then cheat, run away and shoot them with your entire army :p

Below is the math for a straight up match in a vacuum, shameless stolen from 1d4chan.org

Primarch fighting, while fun to see, isn't a very competitive thing to do as it'll usually tie up both Primarchs for the entire game without either of them dying. With that in mind this section is about how Corvus Corax fares against other Primarchs Mathhammer wise. Please note that all the various abilities are taken into accounts when possible and the match-ups assume the Primarchs are the only ones involved in the fighting, so various abilities like Angron's "The Butcher's Nails" and Rampage do not provide any bonuses. In essence, the fights are supposed to happen in a "Vacuum" for simplicity, but notes are added to make things clearer in particular instances. Also all of the Primarch use their most powerful weapons (because why have a contest if you don't do your best?).
  • Corvus Corax VS Horus
  • Horus hits 4 times (Talon), wounds 3.556 times, 2.37 after saves and IWND will take that down to 2.037 wounds at the start of the next turn.
  • Corax hits 4 times (Scourge)/3 times (Shadow-walk), wounds 3 times (Scourge)/2.25 times (Shadow-walk), 1 wounds (Scourge)/0.75 wounds (Shadow-walk) after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.667/0.417 wounds at the start of the next turn.
  • Horus practically stomp over Corax. Also, he is practically immune to Blind and could use Worldbreaker to Concusse him to initiative 1 so as to not let him escape.
  • Corvus Corax VS Angron
  • Angron Round 1: hits 5.333/4.5 times, wounds 4.444/3.75 times, 2.963/2.5 after saves, and IWND take it down to 2.63/2.167.
  • Angron Round 2 and thereafter: hits 4/3 times, wounds 3.333/2.5 times, 2.222/1.667 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.889/1.333 wounds at the start of the next turn.
  • Corvus hits 4 times (Scourge)/3 times (Shadow-walk), wounds 3 times (Scourge)/2.25 times (Shadow-walk), 1.25 wounds (Scourge)/0.9375 wounds (Shadow-walk) after saves and FNP and IWND will take that down to 0.917/0.604 wounds at the start of the next turn.
  • Angron wins really easily as Corax is simply too frail for him.
  • Note: Corax would actually have the edge on the charge thanks to his Sire of the Raven Guard rule and his Hammer of Wrath/dual Archeotech Pistols, but would still lose unless Blind comes into play. He would strip Angron of almost all his wounds, though.
  • Corvus Corax vs Mortarion
  • Mortarion hits 2.5/1.666 times, wounds 1.666/1.11 times, 1.11/0.74 wounds after saves and 0.777/0.407 wounds after IWND.
  • Corvus hits 4 times (Scourge)/3 times (Shadow-walk), wounds 2.221 times (Scourge)/1.666 times (Shadow-walk), 1.11 wounds (Scourge)/0.833 wounds (Shadow-walk) after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.556/0.278 wounds at the start of the next turn.
  • Mortarion wins either way in this fight, he causes more overall damage, has more wounds, and regenerates faster. In addition even if Corax runs away Mortarion's ability to teleport will mean he'd catch Corax very quickly after he re-appears so he cannot run away to heal which would render this a stalemate.
  • Note: Corax could attempt to "cheat" his way to victory thanks to his special rules, especially Sire of the Raven Guard (which grants him Super-Furious Charge) and Hit & Run. With this he could disengage at the end of Mortarion's assault phase, in order to charge him again during his turn. Using this tactic he would Shoot with his pistols for 1.9444 hits, 0.648 wounds, 0.108 wounds after saves, then charge in with Hammer of Wrath gaining 0.333 wounds, and 0.0555 wounds after saves, then attack with the Panoply which hits 4.5 times (scourge), wounds 3.375 times, 1.6875 after saves and 1.132 with IWND for a total of 1.296 Wounds. This, combined with Shadow-walk during Mortarion's assault phase in order to mitigate his retaliation barely lets Corax win if he goes charging scourge in round 7, then scourge again in round 8 as he strikes before Mortarion, compared to 8 rounds needed for Mortarion to kill Corvus (this is including Overwatch with The Lantern).
  • Though this looks like a close fight at first glance, this tactic relies completely on Hit and Run (which is more akin to Corvus's fighting style), as well as assumes the Charging always works out in Corvus's favour and so the strategy will mathematically fail over the eight rounds needed to kill Mortarion (as there's mathematically one turn that either Hit and Run or Charging will fail when Mortarion consolidates away from Corvus's consolidation) giving the victory to Mortarion again. But that's actually the same chance of Corax Blinding Mortarion (Not included in the fights), so the odds are still the same.
  • Corvus Corax vs Fulgrim
  • Fulgrim hits 4.667/3.5 times, wounds 3.111/2.333 times, 2.07/1.555 wounds after saves and 1.737/1.222 wounds after IWND.
  • Corax hits 4 times (Scourge)/3 times (Shadow-walk), wounds 3 times (Scourge)/2.25 times (Shadow-walk), 1 wounds (Scourge)/0.75 wounds (Shadow-walk) after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.667/0.417 wounds at the start of the next turn.
  • Corax lose.
  • Note: even with Hit & Run and Sire of Raven Guard Corax cannot win this fight, unless he get lucky with Blind.
  • Corvus Corax vs Ferrus Manus
  • Ferrus hits 2.5/1.667 times, wounds 2.083/1.389 times, 1.389/0.926 wounds after saves and 1.056/0.592 wounds after IWND.
  • Corax hits 4 times (Scourge)/3 times (Shadow-walk), wounds 2.222 times (Scourge)/1.667 times (Shadow-walk), 0.741 wounds (Scourge)/0.556 wounds (Shadow-walk) after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.408/0.222 wounds at the start of the next turn.
  • Corax lose.
  • Note: as always if Corax can pull off his tactics of Hit & Run he can close the gap, doing a lot more damage on the charge, but Ferrus' Hammer has Concussive AND Strikedown, and even if Corax use Shadowalk there is a 93% chance he will receive at least one wound, making it almost impossible to rely on this tactics and assuring Ferrus victory.
  • Corvus Corax VS Vulkan
  • Vulkan hits 2 times/1.333 times, wounds 1.667 times/1.111 times, 1.111 wounds/0.741 after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.778/0.408 wounds at the start of the next turn.
  • Corax hits 4 times (Scourge)/3 times (Shadow-walk), wounds 2.222 times (Scourge)/1.667 times (Shadow-walk), 0.741 wounds (Scourge)/0.556 wounds (Shadow-walk) after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.185/0 wounds at the start of the next turn.
  • Corax lose as Vulkan is too beefy.
  • Note: even with Hit & Run Corax will struggle to keep up with the damage output of Vulkan, and if he uses Scourge (the only way to really do more damage than him) chance are pretty high that Vulkan will Hammer him to I 1, thus making almost impossible for him to escape.
  • Corvus Corax VS Lorgar
  • Lorgar hits 2.5/1.666 times, wounds 2.083/1.388 times, 1.388/0.925 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.055/0.592 wounds at the start of the next turn.
  • Corax Round 1: hits 4.741 times (Scourge)/3.555 times (Shadow-walk), wounds 3.16 times (Scourge)/2.369 times (Shadow-walk), 1.58 wounds (Scourge)/1.184 wounds (Shadow-walk) after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.247/0.851 wounds at the start of the next turn.
  • Corax Round 1: hits 5.333 times (Scourge)/4 times (Shadow-walk), wounds 3.999 times (Scourge)/3 times (Shadow-walk), 1.999 wounds (Scourge)/1.5 wounds (Shadow-walk) after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.666/1.167 wounds at the start of the next turn.
  • Corax win.
  • Note: as always, no psychic powers.
  • Corvus Corax VS Perturabo
  • Perturabo hits 2.667 times/2 times, wounds 2.222 times/1.667 times, 1.481 wounds/1.111 after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.147/0.778 wounds at the start of the next turn.
  • Corvus hits 4 times (Scourge)/3 times (Shadow-walk), wounds 3 times (Scourge)/2.25 times (Shadow-walk), 1 wounds (Scourge)/0.75 wounds (Shadow-walk) after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.667/0.417 wounds at the start of the next turn.
  • Corax lose.
  • Note: Welcome to Corvus Corax fist nightmare-city, population: Perturabo. He would mostly like to Hit and Run, but then again, with strikedown, concussive and blind, how can he do that? Also, Perturabo is immune to Blind. Yeah, he is like Corax natural enemy and then some...
  • Corvus Corax vs Konrad Curze
  • Curze hits 4 times/3 times, wounds 3 times/2.25 times, 2 wounds/1.5 after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.667/1.167 wounds at the start of the next turn.
  • Corax hits 4 times (Scourge)/3 times (Shadow-walk), wounds 3 times (Scourge)/2.25 times (Shadow-walk), 1.5 wounds (Scourge)/1.125 wounds (Shadow-walk) after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.167/0.792 wounds at the start of the next turn.
  • Corax lose.
  • Note: even though they both got Hit & Run Konrad doesn't get +1 attack to charge Corax, 'cause he has Shroud Bombs, and also doesn't get +1 S ans I, making Corax considerably stronger when he charge all things considered. All in all, a pretty balanced fight, even if the above stats don't say so.
  • Corvus Corax vs Alpharius
  • Alpharius hits 2.92/1.944 times and wounds 1.701/1.134 times, 1.134/0.756 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.801/0.423 wounds at the start of the next turn.
  • Corax hits 4 times (Scourge)/3 times (Shadow-walk), wounds 3 times (Scourge)/2.25 times (Shadow-walk), 1.5 wounds (Scourge)/1.125 wounds (Shadow-walk) after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.167/0.792 wounds at the start of the next turn.
  • Corax wins.
  • Corvus Corax VS Rogal Dorn
  • Dorn hits 2.667/2 times and wounds 2/1.5 times, 1.333/1 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 1/0.667 wounds at the start of the next turn.
  • Corvus hits 4 times (Scourge)/3 times (Shadow-walk), wounds 3 times (Scourge)/2.25 times (Shadow-walk), 1.5 wounds (Scourge)/1.125 wounds (Shadow-walk) after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.167/0.792 wounds at the start of the next turn.
  • Corax wins.
  • Corvus Corax VS Roboute Guilliman
  • Guilliman Round 1: 2.5/1.666 times, wounds 2.0833/1.389 times, 1.389/0.926 wounds after saves and 1.055/0.593 wounds after IWND.
  • Guilliman Round 2 and thereafter: hits 3.333/2.5 times, wounds 2.963/2.083 times, 1.975/1.389 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.642/1.055 wounds at the start of the next turn.
  • Corvus hits 4 times (Scourge)/3 times (Shadow-walk), wounds 3 times (Scourge)/2.25 times (Shadow-walk), causing 1 wound (Scourge)/0.625 wounds (Shadow-walk) after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.667/0.292 wounds at the start of the next turn.
  • Note: Corax could still try to use his Hit and Run tactics to even the odds, but from the second time they fight (whether Corax charges or Guilliman catches him) Guilliman will have him concussed (He's using his fist for a reason) for the rest of the fight and will kill him before Corax can escape again, thus making the strategy not viable against Papa Smurf.
  • TLDR version: Although Corax can put out more damage than most other Primarchs, especially on the charge, where he is almost on par with Angron full charged, he is even frailer than Angron himself, with is weak as ass 5+ invulnerable save that really doesn't help when you are fighting your demi-god brothers. Also, he is extremely vulnerable to Strikedown and Concussive! Still, he can win some fight, or, better, escape from most of the fights he wouldn't love, while being one of the more resilient Primarch when in the open (for his Shadowed Lord rule). In his case, Primarch fighting is really stupid, as he would like to charge and charge and charge again and again until he has killed everything in sight that is not a Primarch. Then, you can focus them when everything else is down..."



WSBSSTWIALdSv
Horus:8576665+1102+/3++
Angron:9576576+1103+/4++
Fulgrim:8666685102+/5++/3++ in CC
Mortarion:7567755102+/4++
Ferrus Manus:7677655102+/3++
Konrad Curze:8666675+1102+/4++
Vulkan:7577654102+/3++
Lorgar:6666564+1102+/4++
Perturabo:8676654102+/3++
Rogal Dorn:8566654102+/4++
Corvus Corax:76666/576/5102+/5++ or 3+/5++
Alpharius:7766665102+/4++
Guilliman:7666664+1102+/4++
Magnus the Red:
Leman Russ:
Jaghatai Khan:
Lion El'Jonson:
Sanguinius: