Thursday, February 25, 2016

Raven Guard 30K - ROW: Liberation Force

First off, kudos Forge World for launching a ROW that starts melding armies in such a fluffy and awesome way. It's a personal annoyance to me that many tournaments don't allow allies.

More than most legions, the Raven Guard back story is based on humans and freedom from oppression. It's Corax's humanity that sets him apart from Primarchs like the Nighhaunter and some of the other Traitor Primarchs that also overturned the governments of their home worlds. It also adds an interesting guerrilla flavor to the RG tactical doctrine, which otherwise feels like black ops and assassins.

The Rules:


  • Once per game, every model gets the Zealot rule for the remainder of that game turn. 
  • Slay the warlord is worth D3 instead of 1, for RG
  • Allied Imperialis Militia and Warp Cults are Fearless within 6" of a Raven Guard Astartes


  • No Shattered Legions
  • No Fortifications
  • No Immobile or Slow and Purposeful Units
  • Loyalist only
I think most players, Raven Guard players included, largely wrote this off when it was released. I get it... It's a very different feel and requires you to collect a whole new army. Then again, I have 250 IG infantry and about 50 tanks painted. So giddy up suckers!!!

First off, the Zealot rules confers fearless. So for one turn, your entire army is fearless until that game turn. One important thing to note about the wording, is that if you went first you get basically 2 turns of fearless instead of only one. So Maun, might be a nice warlord to get the re-roll on Seize the Initiative. 

Another thing to notice is the bonus for slay the warlord. It comes with no downside. The possibility of 2 extra VPs is a really big deal. Especially since you will likely be picking up a slay the warlord point and maybe a unit kill VP. So killing a warlord could be worth 5VPs!!! That's an enormous opportunity. So building a list dedicated to HQ killing is a real opportunity here. It also means, you could potential take Nex and target the same HQ units bumping it up to 6 VPs. That's insane for a secondary objective. It honestly could be worth more than most primary objectives. 

Finally, the big rule. Allied Militia are fearless within 6" of a RG. When I first saw this rule, I was crazy excited. But with with Militia being an allied force and the limitation of no immobile units it largely cut down the units I wanted to field.

That said, initial disappointment aside, there are plenty of other options that become nasty when you add the fearless rule. Also, remember this is a allied detachment so you are working with a minimum of 1 HQ and 1 Troop and the option for another Troop, Fast, Elite and Heavy.

Units & Combos:

Provenances of War

One tough choice with this list is whether to invest in Leadership. Fearless in awesome, but it's a house of cards if your Raven Guard "handlers" die. Another tough choice is how you use your troops? Are they offensive? Shooty? Defensive? Depending on what you choose, a provenance might help, but in an allied detachment the cost per model runs really high. 
  • Warrior Elite: +1 Ld. 
  • Gene-crafted: +1 Str & +1 Initiative. 
  • Cyber-augmetics: 6+i save. Or +1 to i save. -1 sweeping advance
  • Alchem-jackers: No negative modifier to Ld in assault phase. Additional option to add rage.
  • Survivors of the Dark Age: +1 to armor save. Guns can get +1 and get Rhinos and Landraiders
  • Feral Warriors: +1 WS. Ogryns +1 Attack. Optional +1 attack for other units. 
  • Abhuman Helots: +1 Toughness & -1 Initiative. Option Discipline collars (stubborn)

  • Force Commander: This is usually your go to HQ for militia because of the awesome planetary overlord, which you can't use because he's not your warlord. He is still a fairly good choice because he unlocks the provenances special rule. That said, it's an allied detachment so the provenance rules are "more expensive" due to it being a smaller force. Beyond these rules, the choice basically sucks, with no redeeming qualities. He is a IC though, so you can hide him in a blob.
  •  Discipline Master Cadre: Can't be taken as due to Support officer rule.
  • Rogue Psykers: Can't be taken due to it being a second HQ option.
  • Platoon Command Squads: Super cheap. Super vulnerable. Not very useful. But covers your HQ requirement and gives you some LD boosts. Also gives you a vox. Lackluster but it's the low cost option if you aren't taking a provenance. Seems like a vulnerable KP though. 
  • Infantry Squads: Ok. 50 pts for 20 wounds, plus they come with 2 ccws and a auxilla rifle. They kinda have crap options. Although krak grenades are solid in bulk. Can Grab a Gorgon.
  • Inducted Levy Squads: These guys are GREAT! 100 pts for 50 guys. They can swap out guns for 2 ccws. Discipline collars are solid and cheap, although it's an odd rule for a liberation force! they can also get frags for supper cheap. Best of all they score, but don't give up VPs or first blood when killed! These guys are INSANELY GOOD, even if you can't take tainted flesh.
  • Grenadier Squad: These are ok. You can take them with survivors of the Dark age as "cheap" Marines. But it's an expensive buy in. But two assault weapons shooting out a rhino is an ok unit. Another cool feature is that you can take an arvus lighter, which is actually a cool little flier. It's a damn shame the grenade launchers don't have a haywire option. Would have made this army A LOT better. 
  • Fire Support Squads: Really good! That said you can only take one since it's a support squad. That said, these guys are a solid choice choice for 10 hvy weapons for 250 to 300 pts. Hvy flamers are an interesting option out of a gorgon. 
  • Recon Squad: Another support troop, but it's fluffy and a cheap way to get a demo charge. These guy are obviously being pushed as snipers, but I'm not really sold on sniper rifles in general. 
  • Gorgon Transport: Another missed opportunity. It's stupid that they took away open-topped. It was a great supper heavy for IG before then. Now it's just odd. That said, infiltrating land raiders and a couple gorgons is a lot of AV 14 to crack. It's actually one of the more competitive builds. 
  • Imperial Meidcae: Meh. I mean who are you trying to keep alive? Plus you are putting more KPs on the board. 
  • Ogryn: Actually can be pretty good. They can have a TON of T5 wounds and a TON of attacks. Power axes gets them to S6 which goes well with a forge lord with Rad grenades. Or mauls can get them up into tank hunting range. Plus a Gorgon actually gets them across the board. Expensive but viable
  • Enginseer Auxilia: Enginseers are a solid unit. You can spam graviton gns, You can also make very shooty squad like 12 phased plasma-fusils or Multi-meltas. They can also fix hull points which is great for certain lists. Interesting way to heal typhons and the like.
  • Arvus Lighter: A solid cheap flier. These can even take a heavy weapon! Really they are good for dropping in a Auxilia unit or troop unit on an objective.
  • Sentinel Scout Squadron: Another good unit to add guns to the list. 
  • Auxilla Thunderbolt Heavy Fighter: These are very good. It's an interesting way to get a good flier into a list. 
  • Rapier Battery: Yet another missed opportunity by FW. Why these are heavy support in codex with like 10 Hvy choices is ludicrous. That said, they are a totally good unit, and a unit that gets a big bump from being Fearless. 
  • Malcador: Another very strong unit. It's very resilient and holds a lot fire power. 
  • Battle Tank Squadron: An interesting way to get a bunch of fire power into a Raven Guard list, not to mentions a ton of AV14. 
  • Heavy Ordnance Battery: Yet another way to get a huge amount of fire power into a Raven Guard list.
  • Baneblade: A classic staple of militia in the fluff. A decent unit but not really the best of the chassis types. Batte cannons are actaully much more useful those in 30K with all the mariens running around. 
  • Stormhammer: Yes. This thing is so cool. I love that we can field one of these! It's basically an army in itself. Plus... You can totally bubble wrap this guys in fearless little dudes.
List Building & Tactics:

So first off, the militia list is the best and worst codex Forge World has put out for 30K. It gives you HUGE amounts of options, many of them powerful. But in general, it's pretty poorly thought out and the units mostly have crap choices. More Grenades and special weapon options would have gone a LONG way. Plus, what happened to Orders? This codex would have been great! It's like they kept the current Astra Militarium costs and time warped back to the 3rd ed codex... Anyway, back on topic. 

In terms of the liberation force you are basically running one of 4 types of lists.
  1. Mass Infantry
  2. HQ hunting
  3. Mass Dakka 
  4. Tread Head
1. Mass Infantry:

From an infantry perspective, I think the obvious choice is the Levy squad for you compulsory troop. 100 pts for 50 fearless guys is really an amazing bargain. In general, I actually kinda like the auxilla rifle since it's a S3 18" assault weapon. Although, it's probably better to do CCW/pistol. The only other real option is maybe the infantry squad if you wanted the krack grenades.

As for your second troop option, I would also likely go with a Levy squad, but the Heavy support squad is an interesting option. 250 pts for 30 multilaser shots or 20 autocannon shots is really solid output for the points. 

Following the concept of mass bodies, you can also take Ogryns as an elite choice. They get expensive quick but you can't deny the staying power of 30 fearless T5 wounds with 60 S6 AP 2 attacks on the charge if you take Feral Warriors. At this point you might as well bump you 100 levies up to WS4 and 3 attacks base for the extra points. Sure they are S3 but you get 400 attacks on the charge... Quantity has a quality of it's own! 

So for a little of over 900 points you get:

Force Commander, Feral Warriors
2 X 50 Levy, auxilla pistols, blade and fury, discipline collars
10 Ogryn w. PWs of your choice

Which is 460 attacks, and 130 wounds. I might consider tossing the Ogryns in a Gorgon which brings you up to 1200 ish pts. Then you bubble wrap the Gorgon with fearless blobs. It adds something to Raven Gaurd armies that they don;t really have... a true anvil for an enemy to try to push off an objective.

That said, in most situations I think I would normally just take a force commander and 100 levies. It's hard to find a better value for 250 pts in any other codex, and in this list they are FEARLESS. Which is truly powerful. Honestly, this is probably the core to ROW in general. 

The other unit worth pointing out is the Rapier Batteries. A quad mortar is only 60 pts! So for 180 point, you add quite a lot of firepower and they are also fearless with a baby sitter. Not a bad spot to hide the force commander either. 

2. HQ Hunting: 

So I outlined how this list has the chance as a 6 VP secondary objective. It's obviously hugely powerful and I don't think it really takes that much of an investment. Especially in units that you were probably going to take anyway. So there are options for HQ hunting on both the HTH and shooting side. I think with RG you are probably better off shooting an HQ to death, but really you need a lot of support units to pull this off. 

First off if you think about how people run HQs, they are usually one of a couple varieties:
  1. Nasty beat stick with a retnue in beefy transport or some sort of deepstike/flier delivery system. So to hunt this type of HQ, you need something that can rip open a spartan and is flexible enough to deal with a HQ that come in from reserves. Then you need to handle 2+ saves because they probably have a termi retnue. As for dealing with the HQ, RG basically don;t really have HTH units to stand up to the real beat sticks in the game. Termies or Dark Fury squads have a chance but I kinda feel that the units that take care of a termi retnue can also deal with most hth character or primarchs for that matter. So consider support squads with plasma or seekers with plasma in a drop pod.
  2. Min cost HQ hidden in a rear squad. This is what you usually find. Either your opponent is spending points else where or taking a special character for certain rules. In either case, they usually hit like a wet sock and are pretty wimpy. Units like Nex or unit is reserve that can cme after a unit deep in the corner later in the game when the rest of the army has moved away are great. A dark fury squad is a great option. So are units with precisions strike so combi plasma mor deythan or seekers are interesting options. 
  3. The praetor. Your standard HQ to unlock a ROW. He usually is body guarding a big squad in the middle of their army with a paragon blade. He tends to be pretty good in hth. If you can blast through the squad you can usually finish off the praetor out in the open. So think I find unit that can clear a squad are really helpful. The obvious choices are mor deytahn with flamers and / or a typhon. 
  4. The primarch. So usually you will need to shoot this guy dead. Corax can't reliably do it. Again, I think you are looking for units with mass AP2 shooting. 
So for you can add all these elements together to get something like this: 

2000 pts ish

Maun w. drop pod 
2 x 10 tacs with vox 
2 X 3 grav cannons
1 X 8 Mor Deythn w. combi flamers in rhinos
10 seekers w. combi plasma
death strike drop pod
force commander 
100 levy

At 2500 pts with a little jiggering you could add:

3 auxillary quad mortars

3. Mass Dakka:

So if you wanted too, you could field some list seriously heavy of fire power. Armies with 12 artillery tanks or 12 rapier artillery platforms, or 40 lascannons or you can pick up 30 multi laser shots or sentenals are a lso a very cheap weapon platform in fast attack. Another totally viable addition is the thunder bolt heavy flier.  Run it with 3 fire raptors and 3 lightings and a couple cheap scoring squads in arvus lighters and you have a really crazy airforce. The possibilities are truly staggering and in generall cheaper than what it costs to run a similar unit in a RG list. 

4. Tread Head:

Militia have soooooo man tank options and many of them come in squadrons. You could easily run 9 predators and 3 leman russes. Or consider AV 14 spam. A leman is only 46 pts per AV 14 HP which is pretty close to what a proteus costs you. 

So you could run something like this: 

2500 pts

3 x 10 tacs
3 x proteus landraiders
3 leman russes
force commander
100 levy 

The damn list has 130 wounds and 31 AV 14 HPs!!!!! 

1 comment:

Jeffrey said...

I have Raven Guard and I have Militia so I'll have to try playing this at some point.

Among Imperial Militia players, Survivors of the Dark Age is a popular provenance of war as you can build solid 20 man grenadier squads with 3+ saves and a R30 S5 weapons for the whole squad and Rotor cannons that are +1S. Pointwise a squad of 20 fully kitted out in this way costs ~160 points which is the same as the starting cost for Legionary tactical squad which only has 10 models.Double the models with more wounds, comparable armor saves means and a greater range.Combined with thudd guns, I think you could have a good back field holding force that is more economical than using the similar Marine units in those roles and works in tandem with the infiltrating more forward moving Raven Guard elements.

As far as ensuring they remain fearless, it seems like placing a centurion into one or more squads can accomplish this. Either a Chaplain to grant zealot beyond the one turn from the RoW or a Master of Signal to do his backfield Cognis and bombardment thing.