Tuesday 27 October 2015

Breaking News - Raven Guard Relics and Formations Review

More Raven Guard delights!

So all this information is pretty accessible now but I'm going to run through them anyway for those who want it in an easy to find place and also I'll add my own thoughts on each relic and each formation. Some are definitely created more equal than others!


The Armour of Shadows - Confers a 2+ armour save and stealth, shrouded if the model did not move. 

Great in combination with a beat stick unit that you really need to survive at tactical points in the game. Also good on a unit that you want to camp on an objective that might be in the open. Fair pricey for what it is though at 7 meltabombs of currency.

Ex Tenebris - An assault 3, rending boltgun with precision shots.

Not bad at all for the price of 2 meltabombs. If you have the points handy its a neat little addition to a support HQ to give some added firepower.

Nihilus - A 36 inch range, heavy 1 sniper weapon with AP3 and armourbane. It also has the special rule Shadow Shot - allowing the wielder to shoot at a different target from his squad and it counts as strength 6 against vehicles, so damn handy on side and rear armour with armourbane. However this can only be equipped a veteran scout sergeant.

At 3 meltabombs this is a great addition to a scout unit as a little surprise that your opponent may forget about. Characterful without being anywhere near OP.

The Raven Skull of Korvaad - Add 1 leadership and weapon skill. In addition in the bearer dies, mark the spot and for the rest of the game, Raven Guard models gain hatred and rage within 6 inches of that spot.

Only 3 meltaguns but a very odd one that has abilities relying on the wearer dying. The weapon skill buff is nice but the only great point about this relic. A pass for me.

Raven's Fury - A jump pack that resolves hammer of wrath at +2 strength and with strikedown. 

Priced at 3 meltabombs again and very characterful. A free strength 6 hit at initiative is nice but with no AP it lacks great impact against tough units even with strikedown. An include in fluffy lists but not more competitive ones.

Swiftstrike and Murder - Lightning claws with a special rule called Flurry. Flurry acts a bit like deflagrate in that every hit generates and an additional hit, these new hits do generate additional hits themselves. 

This is an ultimate marine destroying relic. 6 attacks on the charge for a chapter master hitting on 3+ usually will give an average of 8 hits. Granted these will be resolved at base strength 4 without any additional buffs, but I really like it nonetheless. Bit steep at 7 meltabombs worth but I'd take it anyway in a marine dominated environment. 


The relics are very characterful, but lack a bit of oomph over all for me. But that is only in the context of other relics that you might consider OP. They are mostly well balanced. Swiftstrike and murder could do with being 5-10 points cheaper but other than that they aren't too badly priced. The armour of shadows give some nice cover save shenanigans and Ex tenebris is also nice for the price.

Ultimately I think these have nicely been designed to work well with the Raven Guard special rules and warlord traits which I think is really well done and better than generic relics overall, if not better competitively overall.  


Shadow Force - 1 Captain, 1 Sternguard Veteran Squad, 1 Vanguard Veteran Squad, 1 unit of landspeeders. These guys gain acute senses, move through cover and scout. They also gain the ability Swift Redeployment which allows vehicles to move an extra 6 inches when they flat out and none vehicles can re-roll their run moves.

A nice little characterful force with acute senses, move through cover and scout allowing some fantastic shenanigans with outflanked and then swiftly moving up into key position unhindered by terrain and with a re-roll for the table edge with acute senses. The captain is not allowed to take terminator armour, but I think I would run him with a jump pack in the vanguard anyway.

Raptor Wing - 1 unit of landspeeders and 2 stormtalon gunships. The stromtalon gunships arrive automatically on turn 2. In addition once per turn a landpeeder can nominate an enemy unit within 18 inch and line of sight during the shooting phase. Till this unit is destroyed or until another priority target has been designated, the storm talons can re-roll failed to wound rolls and failed armour penetration rolls. They can also re-roll glances to try and obtain penetrating hits.

A really nice little formation, 2 of these could be absolutely terrifying indeed. Not too pricey as well at all.

Skyhammer Orbital Strike Force - 3 tactical squads that must take drop pods and 1-3 units of landspeeders. Gain the rule Dropsite Clearance. At the start of your first turn before drop pods arrive, nominate a spot on the battlefield. Drop pods that arrive within 12 inches of this point only scatter D6 instead of 2D6. In addition Any unit from this formation may re-roll to hit AND to wound rolls against enemy units within 12 inches of that point.

This is a very powerful formation, especially if you like to run drop pod lists anyway (like I do). Not only can you get a nice accurate deep strike you can then unleash hell on the units you land next to. This will then create an area of the battlefield which your enemy will attempt to avoid. It will also cause them to think twice about deploying units close together to minimise your ability to cluster his units in that 24 inch bubble around that point. Very nasty and not expensive to achieve either, I see this being included in many an army.

Ravenhawk Assault Group - 1 Sternguard veteran squad, 1 dreadnought (ironclad and venerable also) and 1 stormraven gunship. Gains targeted strike, when the first unit from this formation enters the battlefield nominate an enemy unit. This formation can re-roll to hit rolls against this target for the REST OF THE BATTLE... Also gains  Vertical insertion which allows the storm raven gunship to deep strike but must land in hover mode if it does so.

Quite powerful but expensive to pull off and if you have no reserve buff like a comms relay could leave you high and dry till turn 4. Doesn't specify you have to keep the vets and dread in the stormraven or keep them in reserve with the storm raven. Rules make it sound like they should all be kept in reserve. Perhaps would give the vets and dread drop pods and then the stormraven can utilise the re-roll to hit against a tough unit when it flies on. Not sure where I stand on this one to be honest.

Bladewing Assault Brotherhood - 1 captain/chaplain, 1-3 vanguard veteran squads and 2-4 assault squads. All models must  be equipped with jump packs and the formation has a model limit of 30. On wings of fire special rule - once per game all units in the formation, even if engaged in close combat can nominate to be removed from play and enter ongoing reserve. Thuderhawk assault special rule - when units from this formation enter from reserve or onoing reserve make one roll for the whole formation. Draw a line from one table edge to its opposite side. The formations units must attempt to deep strike along this line and can re-roll the scatter dice.

I love this formation. Jump pack with shenanigans is my mental definition of the Raven Guard and this gives a supreme amount of tactical flexibility that is enviable. It has the potential to go horribly wrong and requires good nouse to get it right along with being a pretty heavy points investment. I think this formation hits a nice balance between risk and reward and I would love to take it. 

Shadowstrike Kill Team - 2-4 scout squads, 1-3 vanguard veteran squads that have to equip jump packs. The On Time special rule allows you to decide when the vanguard veterans arrive from reserves with no roll necessary. The On target special rule allows the vets to charge on the turn they arrive from deep strike and they do not scatter if they deep strike within 9 inches of TWO or more scout squads.

I like that they bothered to specify they can only charge after deep strike so no on from the board edge mischief! This will make your scout squads priority one for your opponent so I would take 4 with camo cloaks myself and take advantage of the Raven Guard special rule granting them shrouding first turn making them nice and survivable. Really nice formation, but pricey enough not to be spammable but still very powerful I think.

Pinion Battle Demi Company - An alternative to the regular Demi Company in Codex Astartes. 1 captain or chaplain (no terminator armour), 0-1 command squad, 3 tactical squads, 1 assault squad and 1 devastator squad PLUS 1-5 units made up of scout or scout bike squads.

Special rule Scout Support - Each scout sergeant or veteran sergeant can spot for a friendly unit within 9 inches during the shooting phase. The unit being spotted for gains ignore cover for it weapons till the end of the shooting phase.

Special rule Wayfinders - Each scout squad held in reserve can lead another none scout unit on. Roll for both units at the same time. If the scout outflanks then the unit it is leading can also outflank even if it can't normally. As long as the units are within 9 inches of each other when they arrive from reserve the unit being led gains stealth till the next turn.

The scout support special rule is absolutely amazing. And its wording seems to be such that the scout sergeant will still be able to shoot his own weapon as it doesn't specify that spotting is done in place of a shooting attack. The wayfinders special rule? I have no idea, it seems unnecessarily complicated and tactical restraining rather than enhancing. But if you think differently do let me know.

The Talon Strike Force -  The big Daddy decurion style formation. The demi company from Codex Astartes or the Pinion Demi company forms the core and all the other formation above form the auxiliary components. Auxiliary components 1st and 10th company task forces, storm wing, anti-air defence force and suppression force from Codex Astartes can also be used. Can also include reclusiam command squad and strike force command squad from codex astartes at 1 per demi company.

Command Benefits - Extensive planning - re-roll the mission, deployment type and also who deploys first. Really good in casual play but other than who deploys first these things are already set in competitive play. But still re-rolling to deploy first is handy.

Command Benefits - Know when to strike - You can roll from reserves on turn 1 with them coming on to the table on a roll of 4+. This in tandem with re-roll to deploy force means you have lots of cards up your sleeves to mess with your opponent and their choices on the battlefield right from the get go.

Command Benefits - Know when to fade - You can choose to fail any morale check for units in this detachment. I think this benefit has some serious tactical legs on it. But it will take some serious play testing to see how this works in games, Answers on a post card please!


Wow. Some very tasty formations with some extremely characterful rules. Nothing screams super OP to me, but there is a slight hint of cheddar in the air and how these formations combine with other imperial armies as well as each other will be very interesting to see. The relics are very subdued but certainly nice enough and its just good to have relics to call ones own even if they aren't super orgasmatronic in their own right.

Shadowstrike kill team and blade wing assault brotherhood are my favourites for fluff and play benefits. But I think the Skyhammer orbital assault force is down right dirty and will be picked up a lot for competitive play, still their is far worse filth out there!

Peace out,



  1. Raven's Fury is an absolute bargain. If it were an upgrade to an existing Jump Pack, it'd be terrible, but as-is, it's basically a freebie. Similar deal with SwiftStrike & Murder. They're only five more Points than a normal pair of Lightning Claws, which isn't bad for Flurry at all. Toss in some BA Allies for Quickening and Unleash Rage (and probably Prescience or some other form of re-roll) for some real fun :)

    The Formations are the really fun part, tho. The Raptor Wing is going to get Allied into my BA all the time, since I totally think they should have Storm Talons anyhow. The SkyHammer (OK, GW needs to start coming up with new names. That's two Formations and a Weapon all called SkyHammer :P ) also looks pretty cool, especially in Emperor's Will where you can put the Dropsite counter on the other dude's Objective. RavenHawk is cool against Opponents who rely on a single DeathStar Unit for most of their power, meh against MSU. BladeWing and ShadowStrike are just straight-up cool.

    I was thinking of a bunch of cool options for Wayfinders, but then I noticed that it only works with other Units from that Formation. No Outflanking Ignores Cover Vindicators ;)

    1. D'oh! Some excellent points there man, I had completely forgotten to offset the cost against the basic upgrade, which as you point out really ups their estimation. Thanks as always for the astute vision :)

      There are some bloody good formations, though totally agreed on the Skyhammer! Maybe it just represents the general working mind of a 7ft tall piece of killing meat... Duuuuh we could call it skyhammer again boss? Good thinking vinny! Skyhammer it is!

      I think the thing about these formations is that they have managed to take normal units and really add a shit tonne of flavour to them. They make some of the other formations for recent releases taste a bit bland to my senses in retrospect. Though I still like the character of a lot of the Blood Angels Shield of Baal formations, though none are as tasty as these.

  2. When did these come out? I don't recall seeing them...

    1. These were in the Kauyon Supplement along with the new Tau units as well as White Scars rules that make them down right dirty!