Friday, 17 July 2015

Dark Angels codex review part 3 / 5 - Ravenwing

Moving swiftly on to the third part of the review, which will detail the 2nd Company. 

A fair few changes for Sammael here. He no longer has the master of Ravenwing rule, so no more bikes as troops. His wargear has been streamlined to simply give him eternal warrior and an iron halo now, and despite not being a deathwing member he does have hatred CSM and fearless still. He also has the ravenwing rule, allowing him to reroll jink saves! The raven sword and corvex remain the same, except he now has a rule allowing him to fire all his weapons. Grim resolve is also there, as are all the old special rules he had. So, bottom line is he lost his FOC modifying abilities but gained a reroll to jink, better overwatch and the ability to fire all his weapons.
Now a seperate datasheet with some changes, Sableclaw and Sammael may not be included in the same army. Sableclaw now has an Iron halo as Wargear and can also use the Ravensword, effectively as a sweep attack, inflicting D3+1 hits at S4 AP2 with ignores cover! It can also his the rear armour on vehicles. Sableclaw, as well as AV14 on the front and sides, has scout, skilled rider, ravenwing, grim resolve and deep strike, as well as its two twin linked weapons. All for the same price as before. Much more durable and packing more of a punch, Sableclaw is a much more attractive option than before.
Ravenwing command squad

OK, so fixed properly now, the entry allows for 6 black knights rather than the 3 in the original print or the 5 it was FAQd to. Like the other command squads, it gained elite slot status. Price of your average biker is now a fixed 40 points, with the apothecary and champion being one per army as with the deathwing. Both upgrades remained the same cost unlike with the deathwing, however. Ravenwing standard got 5 points more and revered standard disappeared. 2 black knights, regardless of squad size, can take grenade launchers now. Now, not only have they gained the overwatch benefits from grim resolve, they also gained the reroll to jink from ravenwing and retained hit and run, scout and skilled rider. This makes Black knights some tough cookies to beat and a great unit. The perks from the command squad (feel no pain and the ravenwing banner) makes a full strength command squad a tempting commodity and, as it takes up an elite slot, a good way to take black knights in an alternative slot for CAD armies.
Ravenwing bike squad

Now changed from the attack squadron, which gets its own datasheet as a formation. They got 2 points cheaper each and retained everything that made them great. They also now get access to grav guns as well. Unlike codex marines, their attack bikes stayed the same cost. No Land speeder upgrades here though.  However, when you figure in that they now get reroll to jink as well as improved overwatch, as well as retaining their rules/wargear and gaining grav, these chaps are pretty awesome indeed.
Ravenwing attack bike squad
The Ravenwing now get access to attack bikes as a seperate entity which enables them to be fielded as per codex marines in squadrons of 1-3 with a multi-melta upgrade option. Same as those found in the bike squad, they are 5 points more than regular marines (i.e same cost as before) mainly due to their rules and teleport homer.
Ravenwing land speeders
Replacing the standard support squadron is the land speeder squadron, which as before is 1-5 speeders. They gained the same points drop in upgrades as codex marines and also gained the anti-grav upwash rule for squadrons of 3+, granting an extra 6" when flat out.
Ravenwing Darkshroud

Popular in the old book, it looks as if the shroud will remain so. Same price and with a cheaper upgrade option for the assault cannon, it now boasts 3 hull points (and rightly so - it's bigger thana rhino!) Rules changed a bit. The shroud itself now gets ravenwing, deep strike, scout and shrouded, but the icon of old Caliban now provides stealth and fear to units in 6" (not the shroud itself) and, wait for it, no units can fire overwatch at UNITS in 6" of the Darkshroud.  Sadly the stealth and overwatch boosts apply to units, not models, encouraging ridiculous conga lines, but never mind. This is a good mod for the Darkshroud, making it pretty darn resiliant and a great supporting unit to keep your models safe from both ranged fire and overwatch. Think about it - Black Knights get skilled rider (+1 to jink) as well as ravenwing (reroll jink) as well as stealth (6" of a Darkshroud) - so suddenly one of your most powerful units is getting 2+ rerollable cover saves to get in position, with protection against overwatch when they decide to charge. Nasty.
Nephilim Jetfighter

Again, some much needed changes to this chap, which is great as it's a fabulous model. 10 point base point drop and starts with the mega bolter as standard, with the lascannon now the upgrade (for 5 points). Unrelenting hunter, strafing run and (the superfluous in 6th and removed by FAQ before 7th) missile lock rightly remains. So, what has changed then aside from a few less points? Well, it gets ravenwing for starters, meaning it can reroll jinks to keep it alive. Blacksword missiles also gained a point of strength and AP3 making them actually useful. between them and strafing run it's hard to miss ground targets unless you jink, and pretty hard to miss airborne ones. It still isn't quite an air supremacy fighter but it's more durable than a stormtalon and through a combination of its rules and weapons (well worth the lascannon upgrade) it should be good vs both medium air and ground targets. Not great, but better at least and so may show up on the table a bit. Unless of course this next chap steals the limelight...
Ravenwing Dark talon

Same price, but several rule and weapon changes here. Now has the flyer (hover) type (so no more hover strike rule), gained strafing run and also gained ravenwing allowing rerolls to jink. The real rule changes are in the wargear, which I mentioned in part 1 but will repeat here. The rift cannon is now S10 AP2 (was only S5 AP- before) and gained the rift vortex rule, granting it the vortex special rule if a double is rolled on scatter. The stasis bomb is now S4 and AP5, the bomb is otherwise the same as before but with one difference. If a model suffers one or more unsaved wounds it must pass an initiative test or be removed from play. These two wargear changes alone make the Dark Talon a lot more appealing than before. Still pricey compared to say a Stormtalon, but packing enough of a punch to compensate against the right targets.
Ravenwing Black Knights

I mostly covered these chaps under the command squad, but TBH they're pretty damn good. Now 2 points cheaper per model, they are otherwise unchanged, except for the changes to the grenade launcher (effectively neutering the -1T ability) and the Huntmaster FAQ being overidden to allow any power weapon again.
Ravenwing land speeder vengeance

Another unit in need of a fix, the vengeance certainly got one. An extra hull point and the ravenwing rule added extra resiliance, while the base cost and assault cannon upgrade got a total of a power fist cheaper overall. Best of all, the plasma storm battery got a 50% range increase up to 36", making the unit overall very appealing now.
Ravenwing attack squadron
With the formations, things start to get interesting. The attack squadron is back, but with a difference. You now select one unit of either bikes or attack bikes, supported by either a unit of land speeders (containing a single speeder) or a  land speeder vengeance. They all have scout (the vengeance normally would not) and gain the following 2 rules. Summon the Deathwing means that fully Deathwing units don't scatter when deep striking in 12" of a model from the formation thast was on the board the start of that turn. Attack squadron means that if one of your speeders scores a hit on a unit, all bikes then get +1BS. Nice. So in effect it's a more flexible version of the old attack squadron which can be tailored for various different roles, from accurate deep strikes to tank hunting.
Ravenwing support squadron
Following on from that the support squadron is also back, consisting of a unit of 3-5 speeders joined to a Darkshroud or vengeance (they all join together as a single 2VP squadron). All models gain grim resolve, interceptor and strafing run, as well as the awesome ravenshield rule. This grants this unit the ability to fire overwatch (Tau style) at a friendly Ravenwing unit about to be charged within 24", despite being vehicles. So, you can use these chaps to protect your attack squadrons from afar and, alternatively, can use them to intercept enemy reinforcements. Nice!
Ravenwing silence squadron
This formation is effectively 2 Nephilim and a Darktalon which all enter from reserve on a single rerollable roll. Capture run means that you don't scatter your stasis bomb on the Darktalon and the enemy takes its initiative tests on the higher of 2 dice. If you use this attack to remove the enemy warlord, gain D3 extra VPs in a STW mission. A nice, quirky little rule, but pretty situational and would you really want 2 Nephilim I guess is the other question.
Ravenwing strikeforce

Like the Deathwing, the Ravenwing also have an old-style FOC of their own to play with. This is 1-3 HQ, 0-1 Elites (so, command squad), 2-12 fast attack and 0-3 heavy support. Spot the obvious (and FAQ needing) error here - 1-3 Command units with the Ravenwing rule, when only 1 (Sammael/sableclaw) can be taken. Hmm, someone forgot to add the Ravenwing rule to the Bike entry methinks. All units must be Ravenwing and if your Warlord is in here he may reroll on the DA trait table. All units must EITHER be in reserve OR deployed as normal - they all arrive automatically beginning of second turn if in reserve, but you'll have auto lost first turn without another detachment. Speed of the Raven is the real perk here, granting all your (potentially scouting) models the ability to count as jinking when turbo/flat-out moving, and still fire as normal next turn (this only applies on the first turn they are on the table) This is pretty huge, as you can arrive when you wish effectively, move fast, auto-jink and fire normally the next turn. Epic. It's clear from this that the Ravenwing were given the toys while the poor Deathwing were left lagging. Good for RW players, not so much for DW players.
Well, as part 3 draws to a close a few things are pretty clear. Ravenwing had several awesome and several dysfunctional units last time around. The dysfunctional ones are now fixed and are more viable options, whereas the good ones have either remained so or gotten even better. The formations promote a great bit of synergy amongst the units and TBH I imagine that a Formation or two paired up with the Strikeforce would be the way forward for most players. The Formations are also pretty key to a mixed army, whether it's a Lion's blade strike force or regular CAD. Lots to think about before the next part lands on Sunday evening, which will cover all the 'greenwing' unit that have not been discussed so far. Cheers.

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