Friday, October 21, 2016

Raven Guard 30K: Mastering the Alpha and Beta Strike


Patton a Fellow Raven, brings you this blog's first guest post! 

Enjoy ;) 

Welcome sons of Deliverance. Today we’re going to look at the way of the Raven Guard: Strike Fast, and Strike Hard. There are two ways to design the Raven Guard to do this: Alpha-strike or Beta-strike. For the rest of this article, we’re going to look at list design to accomplish these goals, including Rites of War and unit choices. For each of these lists, we’re going to cover four types of units needed: anti-Spartan, anti-tank, anti-terminator/primarch, and anti-air.

Alpha Strike

Hit them hard! This strategy works very well with Raven Guard legion rules, giving infiltrate and fleet. There are two options to go with your ROW: Decapitation Strike or Recon ROW.

Alpha Strike—Decapitation Strike

For Decapitation Strike, you will want to take Strike Command Maun as your HQ. His major benefits to this list are the ability to reroll for seize the initiative, allow reroll to drop pod and flyer reserves, and allow no scatter deep-strike within 18”. The goal is to get as many hard-hitting units forward on turn one as possible. This list aims to be everywhere at once, and doesn’t necessarily need a combat unit; however, a unit of dark furies never hurt anybody ;) The list really needs to be able to reliably kill a Spartan turn one to get to the juicy innards with shooting. The list will include pods to get dreadnoughts and special weapons forward, and take an odd number of pods (three is usually good, with the third coming in empty and bought for either a tactical squad or Maun).

Useful Units: Alpha Strike—Decapitation Strike
Anti-Spartan
Anti-Tank
Grav Rapiers
Contemptor With Grav Guns In Pods
Land Speeders With Grav
Medusas
Infiltrating Lascannon Support Squad With Tank Hunter
Grav Rapiers
Quad Launcher Rapiers
Medusas
Contemptor With Grav Gun In Pod
Sicaran
Predators
Attack Bikes
Javelins
Leviathan With Storm Cannon

Anti-Terminator
Anti-Air
Combi-Plasma Seekers
Combi-Flamer Mor Deython
Tactical Support Squad With Plasmas Or Meltas
Medusas
Infiltrating Lascannon Support Squad
Typhon
Hellhammer
Stormsword
Legion Stormblade
Legion Glave
Leviathan With Grav-Flux Bombard

Fire Raptor
Contemptor Mortis Dreadnought
Xyphon

Sample Drop Pod Alpha Strike List at 2.5k: Decapitation Strike ROW
HQ—Strike Captain Maun: 140
Elites: Contemptor Dreadnought: 2xCCW Arm, 2xGrav Gun 205
Elites—3xGrav Rapiers 225
Elites—3xGrav Rapiers 225
Elites—7xMor Deython, Rhino with Dozerblade and Multimelta 279
Troops—10xTactical Marines: Rhino with Dozerblade 165
Troops—10xTactical Marines: Drop Pod 160
Fast Attack—Dreadclaw Drop Pod: 115
Fast Attack—8xSeekers, 7xCombi-Plasma, Drop Pod: 320
Heavy Support—Fire Raptor: Hellstrike Missiles, Reaper Autocannons 230
Lord of War—Typhon Heavy Siege Tank: Lascannon Sponsons 435

Alpha Strike Recon ROW Style
The second option is the Recon Company ROW. This alpha-strike list will combine infiltrating heavy weapons with scouting assault elements which tear apart infantry and terminators. You will usually take a praetor, delegatus or Corax as your HQ in this as you won’t get as much use out of Strike Commander Maun. There is less of a need to murder a Spartan T1 in this build, as you have a better means of countering nasty terminators in cc.

Useful Units: Alpha Strike Recon ROW Style
Anti-Spartan
Anti-Tank
Grav Rapiers
Land Speeders With Grav
Contemptor In Pod With Grav Guns
Assault Marines With Meltabombs
Outriders With Meltabombs
Veteran Tacticals With Meltabombs In Dreadclaw
Primaris Lightning

Grav Rapiers
Quad Launcher Rapiers
Contemptor With Grav Gun In Pod
Attack  Bikes
Javelins
Leviathan With Storm Cannon In Pod
Outriders With Meltabombs
Darkwing/Storm Eagle

Anti-Terminator
Anti-Air
Combi-Plasma Seekers In Rhino
Combi-Flamer Mor Deython In Rhino
Tactical Support Squad With Plasmas Or Meltas
Typhon
Hellhammer
Stormsword
Legion Stormblade
Legion Glave
Leviathan With Grav-Flux Bombard In Pod
Outriders With Four Power Axes And Forgelord With Rad Grenades
Assault Marines With Power Axes And Forgelord With Rad Grenades


Fire Raptor
Contemptor Mortis Dreadnought
Xyphon
Darkwing/Storm Eagle

Sample Recon Company Alpha-Strike List at 2.5k—Recon Company ROW
HQ—Forgelord: Artificer Armor, Power Axe, Bike, Grav Gun, Rad Grenades 155 
HQ—Vigilator: Power Armor, Meltabombs, Jump Pack 110
HQ—Delegatus: Artificer Armor, Bike, Power Axe 115
Elites—1xApothecary, 1xBike 65
Elites—3xGrav Rapiers 225
Elites—3xGrav Rapiers 225
Elites—3xQuad Mortars with Scatter Shells: 210
Troops—5xRecon Marines with Bolters 100
Troops—5xRecon Marines with Bolters 100
Troops—5xRecon Marines with Bolters 100
Fast Attack—9xOutrider bikers with Meltabombs, 3xPower Axes, Sergeant with Power Axe 370
Fast Attack—10xDark Furies with Meltabombs on the Sergeant 330
Lord of War—Typhon: 395 

Beta Strike
Flyer-based Beta Strike
In the beta strike, the idea is heavy use of reserves to support a solid infiltrating firebase. The flyer-based beta strike would do well to make use of a ground-based firebase to complement the flyer’s firepower. A solid anti-Spartan option is still a good idea to make those scary deathstars hoof it. A counter-assault unit is probably a good idea. So we are now going to change our fourth category from Anti-air (which I’m taking as a given in a flyer-based list) to be counter-assault instead. Strike Commander Maun fits in well to this style of list, as he insures your flyers arrive on time. However, there is no particular ROW that gives significant benefit to this style of play; you’ll probably want multiple fire raptors. Pride of the Legion is an option as vet tactical squads and terminator squads can take darkwings as dedicated transports

Useful Units: Flyer-based Beta Strike
Anti-Spartan
Anti-Tank
Grav Rapiers
Contemptor With Grav Guns In Pods
Land Speeders With Grav

Grav Rapiers
Quad Launcher Rapiers
Contemptor With Grav Gun In Pod
Javelins
Fire Raptor
Primaris Lightning
Xyphon
Darkwing/Storm Eagle

Anti-Terminator
Counter-Assault
Infantry With Plasma
Combi-Flamer Mor Deython In Darkwing
Terminators With Power Axe And Forgelord In Darkwing/Storm Eagle/Castus Assault Ram

Dark Fury
Assault Marines
Outriders
Contemptors
Terminators

Sample Flyer-based Beta-Strike List at 2.5k: Pride of the Legion ROW
HQ—Strike Commander Maun: 140
Elites—3xGrav Rapiers: 225
Elites—3xGrav Rapiers: 225
Troops—9xVeteran Tactical Squad: 9xPower Axe, Meltabomb Dark Wing 510
Troops—7xVeteran Tactical Squad: 7xCombi-Plasma, Dark Wing 469
Troops—5xTataros Terminators: 5xCombi-Plasma, 1xChainfist; Land Raider Phobos with Dozer Blade, Armored Ceramite 470
Heavy Support—Fire Raptor: Hellstrike Missiles, Reaper Autocannons 230
Heavy Support—Fire Raptor: Hellstrike Missiles, Reaper Autocannons 230

Drop Pod Beta Strike:
The idea of the Drop Pod beta strike is to open all the vehicles turn one, then drop combi-weapons on the disembarked passengers turn two. This strategy works best with Strike Captain Maun and Decapitation Strike. This strategy works well with an even number of pods to get the maximum number of infantry-killers in on turn 2.
Useful Units: Drop Pod Beta Strike
Anti-Spartan
Anti-Tank
Grav Rapiers
Contemptor With Grav Guns In Pods
Land Speeders With Grav
Medusas
Infiltrating Lascannons With Tank Hunter
Grav Rapiers
Quad Launcher Rapiers
Medusas
Contemptor With Grav Gun In Pod
Sicaran
Predators
Land Speeders With Multimeltas And Grav Guns
Javelins
Leviathan With Storm Cannon

Anti-Terminator
Anti-Air
Combi-Plasma Seekers In Drop Pod
Combi-Flamer Mor Deython In Drop Pod
Tactical Support Squad With Plasmas Or Meltas In Drop Pod
Medusas
Infiltrating Lascannons
Typhon
Hellhammer
Stormsword
Legion Stormblade
Legion Glave
Leviathan With Grav-Flux Bombard

Fire Raptor
Contemptor Mortis Dreadnought
Xyphon

Sample Drop Pod Beta Strike List at 2.5k: Decapitation Strike ROW
HQ—Strike Captain Maun with Drop Pod: 175
Elites: Contemptor Dreadnought: 2xCCW Arm, 2xGrav Gun, Dreadnought Drop Pod 305
Elites—3xGrav Rapiers 225
Elites—3xGrav Rapiers 225
Elites—7xMor Deython, 7xCombi-Flamer, MB 243
Troops—10xTactical Marines: Drop Pod 160
Troops—10xTactical Marines: Rhino, Dozerblade, Multimelta 180
Fast Attack—Dreadclaw Drop Pod: 115
Fast Attack—8xSeekers, 7xCombi-Plasma, Drop Pod: 320
Fast Attack—8xSeekers, 7xCombi-Plasma, Drop Pod: 320
Heavy Support—Fire Raptor: Hellstrike Missiles, Reaper Autocannons 230


Monday, October 17, 2016

Raven Guard 30K: All the Dreadnoughts



I've always loved dreadnoughts. Space Marine undead fighting beyond their death in an armored sarcophagus bristling with with heavy weapons and massive hth weapons.

From a fluff perspective, they are a little odd in a Raven Guard army. If they are older vets, they are probably Terran and were likely sent off with the Carcharodons or Ashen claws. If they were post Terran purge, they were lost on Istavan V unless they left some on deliverance. If they were post drop site massacre they are a bit of an oddity.

From a tactics perspective, they don't really fit with an infiltrating force but they fit in a drop force or if you are doing an air force.With that in mind, this article won't be an indepth unit review but instead will focus on what I've used or played against and what I think works best for Raven Guard.




Legion Dreadnought Talon:

  • This is the classic boxnaught. Interestingly, they can be taken in squads of 3 that split up and act independently OR you can take a single dread and take a Legion Dread Pod as a dedicated drop pod. Frankly, there is not much reason to take these. They are only 10 points cheaper than the Contemptor-Cortus Class Dread, which does everything better.

Legion Mortis Dreadnought: 
  • This is your rear guard anti air option. The Helical targeting Array opens up skyfire and interceptor. The obvious choice is 2 twin-linked auto cannons and 2 hunter kill missiles with unlimited range. Note that this is more fire power than you can get for a contemptor version and it's cheaper. 


Contemptor-Mortis Dreadnought:
  • I really like the 2 twin kheres assault cannons. It's a ton of dakka that threatens just about everything. You could use this as an anti air platform but it really just more expensive and let dakka than the mortis dread alternative. It should be mentioned that you have to use skyfire and interceptor together... so something like multi meltas aren't as interesting as they originally look. This is pretty much the only dread I would recommend that is walking and not anti air. 


Contemptor Dreadnought Talon: 

  • In other legions, these are your rear guard or mid field contemptors. They are resilient, have good armament options and can be good counter charge units. In a Raven Guard list, they are solid in a drop pod. The trick is to take 2 Dread CCWs or a chain fist and replaces the inbuilt twin-linked bolter with graviton guns. Not only are they a way to get some serious hurt on a Spartan Turn 1 they force your opponent to have to deal with something nasty up in there grill. 

Contemptor-Cortus Class Dreadnought Talon: 

  • For 40 pts less you can field a contemptor with one less side armor, atomic shielding in the front only, no 6+ in hth, and 1 less pip of BS and WS. BUT you still can take 2 dread ccws and 2 graviton guns and you pick up move through cover and atomic overcharge. So in short, the cortus is a glass cannon version of the contemptor. Truthfully, it's just nice to have the option when your trying to fit one of these beasts in a smaller list, but in general I try to take the full contemptor version. 



Deredeo Pattern Dreadnought: (Did anyone else think Mad Cat when they released this?)

  • This is your long range contemptor. It has a lot of weapon options that are viable, but at the end of the day Raven Guard are always looking to close the gap on tank hunting. I prefer the stand anvilus autocannon battery over the lascannons. The lascannons are fairly solid, but 50 pts is a lot of extra points  to upgrade an already very good gun. It's also worth mentioning the aiolos missile launcher. While it's not a necessary upgrade, it can fire at it's own unit, so really the question is, would you pay 35 pts for 3 60" S6 Ap3 BS5 shots that ignore intervening obstacles? So yeah... it's usually an auto include.  
Leviathan Pattern Siege Dreadnought Talon: 

  • I bought this bad boy to run when I field Dynat with my infiltrated Raven guard. (booo hisss). In that scenerio, I run a seige drill with the cyclonic melta lance. As a Raven Guard unit, I actually like it with the grav-flux bombard. The Grav-flux is the absolute king of gutting rapier platforms. So if you are running an infantry heavy list, you can rid yourself of a rapier unit turn one and draw a crap ton of fire away from the rest of your army. In all honesty, I haven't decided my favorite build is yet. It does a lot of everything. There is a lot of love for the phosphex launcher as well, which is a worthy upgrade for 15 pt if you are planning on smashing into HTH. The 2 storm cannons, volites and sposphex is a popular build as well, but I feel the hth helps Raven guard out more than other legion. In the past I always preferred 2 contemptors in pods. Now with the increase in pods, that gets quite expensive. All that said, I wish I could upgrade the flamers with grav guns! 


Conclusions:

First off, Dreads are pretty good anti air units, so if you are looking to rules the skies, you can often get cheaper more effective, more resilient anti air in the form of a dread than you can out of most aircraft or other options. So they are nice way to make airforce lists better and they are units that start on the board, so you don't auto lost before the birds come on. This is the only time I would ever take dreads not in a Pod. 

That said, my biggest challenge building Raven Guard list is deal with armor. Raven Guard have LOTS of very strong anti infantry options, but when it comes to anti tank we are limited because most anti tank units don't really have much synergy with the Raven Guard rules. 

Dreads fall in this category. As they don't infiltrate, they don't get the benefit that infantry based anti tank gets out of positioning after your enemies deployment. BUT they do have synergy with some Raven Guard army genres, like drop pod heavy decapitation strike or orbital strike. And they can take advantage of reduced scatter from vox's scattered through out your infiltrate units or from something like Alvarex Maun. 

Another distinction is that Raven Guard don't have any way to get mass tank hunter or effects like Dynat, so most of my armies focus on stripping hull points away with grav or the like for tank hunting instead of relying on high strength, low AP weapons. Not that those weapons are ineffective, but other legions do it better... 

On the thread of grav, you need a couple units toting grav for it to be effective and the haywire combo of grav rapiers, breachers, speeders, forgelords, lightnings and dreads can work really well if you invest in the concept. 

It should also be mentioned that Contemptors are spectacular because AV13 is immune to krak grenades. So even if you don't do damage with contemptors, they can tie a lot units up nearly indefinitely. We you mix that concept with Alpha strike, you are basically killing a big chunk of your opponent so they can shoot back and then tying up another big chunk so they can't fight back. This makes Raven Guard as a legion, much more resilient than they would initially look on paper. It also means you can keep a unit locked into a spot so you can hit them with a unit of dark fury or something made for infantry clearing.  

It's also worth mentioning HTH. Raven Guard don;t really have great HTH characters that can go toe to toe with other Legions HTH characters. We generally try to shoot them to death. Dreads on the other hand can often just oblit most characters. While it seems unlikely that you could force this situation, I actually find that it happens often. Consider frying a retnue with flamer mor deythan in the proximity of where you dropped in a dread. It's like the character will be standing in the open ready to be charged.

Finally, with the recent change to drop pods, I would suggest always taking a anvillus pattern dreadclaw drop pod over the legion dreadnought drop pod. It's just better and gives you more options for 15 more points. That said, leviathans are forced to take the standard legion dreadnought drop pods. Beyond pods, you have a couple super heavy options, which is awesome but is definately only viable at huge point costs.


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Raven Guard 30K: Kaedes Nex





Kaedes Nex. The Blood Crow. A condemned infamous murderer, obsessed with the Hunt. Corax pardoned him and invited him to become a Raven Guard Legionary. Still he was seen as an ill-omen by his brethren, even though his murder-honed skills were employed regularly in Corax's shadow wars.

Kaedes was a Moritat-Prime, deployed on Isstvan V. He vanished into the wastes to stalk traitors on his own terms. Nothing has been heard of him since.

War Gear: 

The first thing that should be noticed is that Nex doesn't have Rad grenades... This is a huge loss IMO, but he makes up for it by having a good grenade selection.
  • Two Fulcrum Hand Cannons: 
    • 18" S4, AP4, Pistol, Rending, Concussive
    • At first glance, it's not a great weapon... Sure. It has potential, but it's no melta pistol. That said, one thing often overlooked is the 18" range. Models can only shoot what they can see. So with careful placement, you can pick off one or models a turn off a unit and they can't do anything about it without running your ass down. This is how I usually use Nex. 
  • Grenades: 
    • Frag, Krak, Shroud Bombs, Melta Bombs
    • This is an awesome amount of choice. I will go into most of these later, but remember that if for whatever reason you can't shoot some turn, feel free to throw a krak grenade ;)
  • Armor: 
    • Power armor, refractor field, cameoline
    • In general, this makes Nex pretty resilient to shooting, but remember he only has 2 wounds...

Special Rules:
Sooo many rules! And layers of rules! That said, his rules are actually stronger when you realize what they are NOT. He does not have the Lone Killer rule and is not "infiltrated" (usually). Which opens up a lot of possibilities usually looked over.
  • Raven Guard: 
    • Infiltrate & Fleet - Easily overlooked, but should your opponent not deploy an elite or HQ you can still infiltrate and normal or even outflank. 
  • Counter Attack: 
    • USR
  • Ill-Omened: 
    • Cannot be a warlord or join any unit. 
    • Note: This is not Lone Killer. Nex can benefit from psychic powers or anything else that can give him re-rolls to hit, which is important with Decapitating Strike, since he picks up preferred enemy (independent character). 
  • Gunfighter:
    • Can use the Fulcrum hand Cannons in HTH with the full stats and they count as 2 ccws. This is a nice little pick up for HTH.  
  • Independant Character:
    • I'm at a loss as to why he has this rule... 
  • Chain Fire:
    • Gains the Gunslinger rule, which allows Nex to fire with both pistols at once.
    • For every successful hit, from either pistol, Nex gets an additional shot with that pistol up to a total of 12 combined hits. 
    • You may not charge the turn you use this rule or shoot the next turn (i.e. Player Turn). Which RAW means you cannot overwatch if you are charged next turn, but you can totally Chain Fire in each of your shooting phases. To be fair, I don't think this is what they meant... but thems the rules. 
  • Precision Shot: 
    • Being able to allocated who takes wounds can be a strong rule, especially if you are hunting a specific model. In general though, you usually want to try to make sure you don't get tanked by a artificer armor sgt by thinking your positioning out in the movement phase. 
  • Relentless Stalker: 
    • Select an Elite or HQ a your prey. Deploy WITHIN 18" of this unit, as long as he is out of view. Realize that this IS NOT INFILTRATE!!! So things like Djinn site or auspex don't push you back. It's a hugely powerful rule. It also means, that you can complete turn 1 charge! 
    • Gains Shrouded for turn 1. So with Cameoline, you are pretty much a 2+ in cover. 
  • The Raven's Vengeance:
    • Zealot - Overlooked, but Nex is fearless and re rolls hit on the turn he charges or is charged. It also means that he re rolls to hit with grenades. Good thing to remember with your melta bombs! 
    • IF prey is destroyed AND Nex is either involved in the combat OR has caused a wound on the unit, an additional VP is scored. 
Putting it altogether: 

It's a ton of rules to digest, but basically you can deploy Nex anywhere near an Elite or HQ unit. He is fairly resilient with a 3+/5++ and cover save 2+ to shooting, but pretty vulnerable to being charged. 
  • Shooting Damage Output: You are usually going to be hitting on a 2+ rerollable in the shooting phase. Statistically, that means you should hit the 12 hit cap and with rerolling 1's from preferred enemy, you should see 9 wounds with 2 or 3 rends, a couple of those shots are probably precision hits as well. So basically 4 dead marines... 
  • HTH Damage Output: 5 attacks on the charge with re roll 3+ from Zealot and WS5 means you will likely hit with 4 or 5 attacks, and preferred enemy Strength 4 rending likely gives you 3 wounds and a rend. 
I'm not being very accurate on purpose here, but trying to present a GOOD case scenario to point out that with the 12 hit cap, you really don't have much opportunity to do much damage. 

So is he any good after the nerf???? Well it depends how you use him...


Conclusions: 
  • Basic Tactics: 
    • HIDE: 
      • As a single model with a 3+/5++ and a 2+ cover, you can usually find spots to put him that he is completely untargetable. So he is actually useful in heavy reserve lists where you need to keep something alive until the reinforcements arrive. Good for Drop pod heavy decap strike or orbital assault lists. 
    • Tarpit: 
      • Nex is not a beast in hth, but he is resilient enough to charge a heavy support squad and keep them from shooting for awhile. 
    • Bait: 
      • In KP missions a single guy is often tempting to try to run down to catch that easy VP, but he's resilient enough to draw a bit of firepower. Also remember, that they have to pass a leadership check to charge you AND you can completely chainfire during overwatch, and you have counter-charge. Altogether, you might convince a unit to come deal with you and tie them up long enough that they don;t make it back to the battle again. 
    • Tank Hunter: 
      • Often overlooked, but a re roll to hit melta bomb can be the real deal. Considering a fair amount of elites are vehicles, you could easily deploy an inch away from a vehicle and pop it with a turn one charge. Hope you are good at roll on the Pen table ;) Also, remember that you don't have to chain fire your guns, you might get lucky on rear armor with rending pistol shot. 
    • Distraction:
      • If you are running a list with a TON of in your face distractions, Nex can add to that madness. I like him in a pride of the legion list I was running with all vets with fearless and melta bombs (before they changed them to stubborn). My enemy would focus so much on Nex, it left my vets less harassed. 
  • Rites of War:
    • Decapitating Strike:
      • Usually it's thrown out there that Decap Strike adds a lot to Kaedes. Yes. Preferred enemy IC is a great rule on top of Chain fire and Rending, but really you aren't truly going to do huge damage. That said, goign first is actually very helpful if you plan to use Nex aggressively. 
    • Liberation Force: 
      • I think this ROW is really where the rubber meets the road. In short, you get D3 VPs for killing your opponent's Warlord in this ROW. So if you manage to wound there warlord with Nex in the same turn you are looking at an additional +1 VP. PLUS you still get the 1 VP for slay the warlord and if it's a KP mission you might get another VP for killing a unit. It's an insane amount of extra KPs to pick up, and is a totally whack fun Head Hunter list to pull out occasionally. To pull this off though, you can't just send in Kaedes alone. You are best off softening up a unit that an HQ is hiding in or killing off an HQ with other units after Nex has wounded it. So he's much more successful with units like mor deythan in rhinos or seekers in drop pods. Or serious tank support to crack open tough transports. 
      • For more on the Liberation Force check out my article on here.  
As a final thought, I have used the callidus assassin for years and years in 40k. She is similar in that she can be very flexible and distracting but is rarely a wrecking ball on her own. To be successful with with this type of model, I suggest you think about it like trading a bishop in chess. The worth of the trade is what you are getting for it. Nex will die if over committed or over exposed. So two ways to get more out of him is to give him support and to chose your moments carefully. 

With Raven Guard, I often Alpha Strike very hard, but by the end of the game, I am left with very few minis holding objectives. Nex is so easy to hide, he can be a great end game spoiler unit near objectives. 

It should also be mentioned, that you don't need to push all your chips in when you use him. I have a lot of success chipping away at units one or two models a turn. If you kill all the models that can see you, they can't shoot you back without moving... 18" is pretty generous range for pistols, and couple minis a turn starts to add up against rear units, that really don't want to move to deal with you. 

Finally, it's sometimes just better to out flank him or just hide him for the entire game. Don't risk his KPs if you are not going to come out ahead in the trade. 










Raven Guard 30K: Alvarex Maun


Bad Ass Strike Captain Alvarex Maun. The Master of Descent for the ENTIRE LEGION and second only to Corax. He single handled deployed the entire legion at the Dropsite Massacre on Istavan V. 

For a long time I thought of him as a cheap praetor, but really he is a delgatus with a special vox and the bleeding edge rule. If you do out the points he's actually costed pretty appropriately, but his rules have such amazing synergy with so many builds he quickly feels like you are underpaying for this guys and he is considerably cheaper than running a praetor. 

So what do you get for 140 points?

War Gear:

Alvarex is not a front line combatant, his stats are that of a consul with a leadership of 10 and his wargear adds only minimal amount of combat ability to a squad. That said, he is an amazing force multiplier and his war gear reflects that. 
  • Artificer Armor
    • 2+ save. This helps against getting sniped out of a squad and it can also be useful for challenging squad seargents or occasionally tanking incoming fire.  
  • Power Sword & bolt Pistol 
    • Again, Not over the top powerful, but he does have 2 ccws and 3 attacks base with WS5. So he can reasonably protect a squad against a power armor unit, just don't think you are going to last long against anything geared up for hand to hand. 
  • Krak & Frag Grenades
  • Night Fall Pattern Strato-Vox
    • No scatter deep strike within 18" of Alvarex
    • Raven Guard deploying from deep striking vehicles gain counter charge
    • Barrage weapons can use Alvarex's line of sight
  • Cameoline:
    • Interestingly, nothing in 30k restricts you from taking legion specific gear for special characters. Camo, extends stealth to any unit he joins. For 5+ I would never leave home without it. 


Dedicated Transport:

I like the idea that Maun basically has a bat cave of vehicles for him to choose from! Before you get over excited about this, from a pure RAW perspective, Maun can't actually bring another squad with him in any of these vehicles... It's one of those 7th ed, someone screwed the pouch when they wrote the rules things... but basically it's very clear that Independent characters can join squads and their dedicated transports, but there is no recipricol rule. In general, most people will be fine with you throw a squad in, but know that in a tourney scenario, you might get called on it. 
  • May take a drop pod, dark wing or storm eagle. The big thing to note on this, that should you be able to take a squad with Maun, this would be one of the only ways to get a mor deythan flamer squad a pod. 
  • He also has / had his own personal Thunderhawk, but sadly it's not a dedicated transport choice! That said, in his fluff he landing the flaming wreck of his Thunderhawk that got shot out of the sky as he tried to rescue Corax. His heroic flying ultimately saved Corax from an early grave. 

Special Rules:

  • Independent Character
    • While Maun has some cool alternative deployment rules, I start him on the board 99% of the time, largely to re roll seize the initiative roles, but also to help with turn 2 reserves and deepstrike scatters. Should you have him in reserves in something other than a turn 1 drop pod, he won't be on the board to help with turn 2 rolls. 
  • Master of the Legion 
    • This is very important. He is basically your praetor or delegatus alternative. I think he pairs best with Decapitating Strike or Orbital Assault, but he shouldn't be over looked in other lists that are flier or deep strike heavy, like Angel's Wrath. 
  • By Wing & By Claw
    • Fleet & Infiltrate - Which is important, so he can attach to other infiltrating squads. 
  • The Bleeding Edge 
    • If in a vehicle with deep strike: Auto Deep strike turn 2
    • If deployed: Re roll Seize the Initiative rolls
  • Co-Ordinate Planet Strike (Warlord Trait)
    • Fliers & Drop pods re roll reserve rolls
Conclusion:

While there are a ton of list Alvarex is good in, he basically has two major list builds.

  1. Alpha Strike: Fielding Maun in a decapitating strike list lets you re roll the die for go first & the steal the initiative roll, which basically mean you go first 87% of the time if your opponent doesn't have any "go first" special rules. Combine that with an entire army that can set up with infiltrate after your opponent has deployed and/or with turn drop pods and you have a VERY good chance that you can remove a sizable chunk of your opponents army before they get to shoot back. This is even crazier since Raven Guard can field units like mor deythan with combi flamers that can easily remove 20 man squads of the table with rending, cover ignoring, twin linked flamers. Focus on units that do strong upfront damage and are on the table turn 1 to max out this beast of a list. Every thing from grav rapier platforms. breachers with vigilators, special weapons centric squads in pods, mor deythan in rhinos, deepstrike speeder or contemptors to typhons can be deadly is a list like this. 
  2. Deep Strikers: In short, fliers and drop pods re roll reserves and deepstrikers within 18" of alvarex (i.e. a 36" circle!!!!) don't scatter and units that arrive in deep striking vehicles get counter strike. That's a lot extra control over of some pretty random game rules! You want to go flier crazy? Maun is your man! You want to go drop pod heavy? Maun is your man! You want to go deep striking termi or jump pack heavy? Maun is your Man! Ther are way to many options to basically cover here, but you get the idea.
On a final note, alpha strike lists and deep strike lists don't have to be 2 totally different list types. They actually have a lot of synergy. In fact, most list you see Raven Guard players play are a blend and for good reasons. You basically get to mix different timing signatures. for example, if you go flier heavy, it might make sense to add an alpha strike element that can knock out anti air units turn one so your flier come in unmolested. Maun is perfect for list concepts along those lines. 

I use Maun in almost every competitive list I play. He's that good as a force multiplier, but he also adds to much to so many builds that it's hard not to want to include him. The obvious ROW would be something like a Recon ROW list where a lot of rules are already duplicated or a Angel's wrath list that is jumper heavy where a hth praetor or corax probably makes more sense.