Codex Supplement: Raven Guard – The Goonhammer Review

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Additional author: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Fans of teen angst rejoice! Fresh out of the local Hot Topic and bursting into your room through an open window wearing their finest Thursday t-shirts, the Raven Guard have arrived! In the second wave of Supplements to the new Codex: Space Marines, we’ve got Raven Guard and Iron Hands getting new books of their own, packed with new stratagems, psychic powers, warlord traits, relics, and a new unit. Raven Guard players might have felt a bit of a sting when their Chapter Tactic was downgraded from the 2017 version, but the new rules have them screaming back into the fold with a fresh set of sneaky tricks. So dust off and load up your MCR The Black Parade CD, sit back, and join us on a journey through the newest supplement.

Raven Guard Army

Raven Guard Army. Credit: Dan Boyd

Special thanks to Dan “TheSexCannon” Boyd for furnishing us with many, many pictures of his Raven Guard.

Army Rules

In addition to the faction rules laid out in Codex: Space Marines, Raven Guard get some additional rules of their own. But before we dive into those, let’s cover what you need to do to get access to them. We’ve covered this before in our Ultramarines and White Scars reviews, so if you already know this part, feel free to skip ahead.

Accessing These Rules

For most of 8th edition, you’ve only technically gotten access to the full suite of subfaction (i.e. “Raven Guard”) specific rules if your army has literally used the RAVEN GUARD keyword. Homebrew chapters could choose a trait, but wouldn’t get stratagem, trait or relic access (meaning that in tournaments people just used the main keywords).

That’s changed, and you can now get access to 95% of what’s in this book if you are a Raven Guard successor chapter. We broke those rules down in part 1 of our main book review, and importantly “successor chapters” in this case includes those using the “build your own” traits. If you’re going down-the-line Raven Guard, this is the tactic you get:

 

The Raven Guard were the only Chapter that saw a nerf to its Chapter Tactic in the new book, in part because an army-wide -1 to be hit applying to vehicles has been thoroughly proven to be a horrible mistake. The new trait gives units more than 12″ away the benefit of cover instead (something that makes traits like the Imperial Fists’ and Iron Warriors’ more useful), and gives them -1 to be hit if they are not a Vehicle and already in cover and more than 12″ away. Overall, though it’s technically a weaker ability than what they had (it certainly no longer feels like the definite “best” trait), it’s also one where extending it to vehicles (even just the cover bit) is extremely powerful. This is still definitely a strong one and at a minimum it’ll save you 2 CP for Prepared Positions in half your games. In general, this tactic favours putting lots of Primaris bodies on the board, as it massively increases their already considerable durability, making it hard to sweep you off the field. Do also take note that the requirement to get the -1 to hit isn’t “be in cover”, it’s just be on a terrain feature, so things like hills and Munitorum containers that explicitly don’t give cover still work to give you the -1. A big pile of Primaris Raven Guard standing very sneakily on a large, flat hill lots of crates is a difficult formation to shift.

Note: As Reddit user dode47 points out, hills not only have no cover rules, they explicitly don’t count as terrain features, so while Munitorum containers work for this, hills don’t!

If you want to instead pick your own trait we’ll go through what we think the best successor combos are a bit later on. For now, we just need to establish that Successor chapters can get most (or in fact with CP expenditure, all) of what’s here, and keep that in mind until we cover them in detail. The breakdown of how to get these abilities is as follows. N.B. This is exactly the same as in our other Codex Supplement reviews, so if you’ve already read that you can skip past.

Successor Chapter Rules - Click to Expand

  1. If every model in your army is RAVEN GUARD or are from the same Raven Guard successor chapter, models with the Combat Doctrine ability gain the “Surgical Strikes” ability. This is an improvement to the Tactical doctrine and we’ll talk about that in a moment.
  2. RAVEN GUARD detachments and Raven Guard successor detachments can make use of the stratagems and psychic powers in this book.
  3. If your warlord is RAVEN GUARD you can freely choose from normal Codex: Space Marines relics, and/or use either the Relics of the Ravenspire or the Special Issue Wargear pages in this book.
  4. If your warlord is from an Raven Guard successor, you can normally only use the Codex: Space Marines relics or the Special Issue Wargear page in this book to pick relics, and can access one of the relics on the Relics of the Ravenspire page via a stratagem.
  5. If your warlord is RAVEN GUARD or a Raven Guard successor, you can pick his trait from the list in here

This might seem to be needlessly complicating things, but there are actually some subtleties of who gets what in various soup scenarios. Basically:

  • You are pure Raven Guard – you get everything. Hooray!
  • You are a pure Raven Guard successor – you get almost everything. Hooray?
  • You have a soup list with at least one full Raven Guard/successor detachment – you unlock the stratagems. Raven Guard/successor Librarians in that detachment can use the powers, but if for some reason you have an Raven Guard Librarian in another detachment they can’t.
  • You have a soup list with some Raven Guard/successor characters in it:
    • If one of those characters is your warlord, you can use the special trait table for him, and can use relics from this book.
    • If none of those characters is your warlord, you can’t use the relics from this book, even if you buy an extra relic and add it to an Raven Guard character. However, if you add a warlord trait to a Raven Guard character via the “Exemplar of the Chapter” stratagem they can use the traits table – or at least you can as currently worded.

The takeaway is that you have to have a decent commitment to Raven Guard to get much out of this – you can add a Knight alongside your otherwise Raven Guard army and get everything except the Doctrines, but you can’t make a Supreme Command of Librarians from three different chapters and stick the best relic from each book on each. This is almost certainly what the rather more restrictive wording is intended to prevent, so good job, GW.

Doctrine – Surgical Strikes

The Raven Guard get a buff to attacking characters while Tactical Doctrine is active. This is a bit of a tough one to evaluate. It’s clearly a boon against large characters rocking 10+ Wounds that you’ll want to target from the get-go such as Knights and Lords Discordant, but it’s harder to determine how useful it will be if your opponent can effectively screen their characters from you.

Raven Guard Phobos Units

Raven Guard Phobos Units. Credit: Dan Boyd

Space Marines have access to tools that bypass those screens, so a Raven Guard army going deep on this is likely to load up with a heavy dose of Eliminators, Scout Snipers and stalker bolt rifles (which can use the Target Sighted stratagem from Codex: Space Marines to snipe at characters for 3CP). The downside is that all of these have weapons that are Heavy profile, so you lose the AP bonus for Devastator Doctrine to get to the hit/wound bonus (Target Sighted being gated behind 3CP is also a big ask to get to use your bonus). However, both Eliminators and stalker bolt rifles have enough base AP that they’ll push many characters to their invulnerable save anyway, so this is potentially less of a problem than it initially seems. Eliminators and Scouts also both trigger their bonus MWs on modified 6s to wound, so get a lot out of the +1 here.

It also doesn’t help you once you move to Assault Doctrine, which can be a blessing or a curse. If you’re using some surgical tools (such as a jump pack Captain) to go after characters in melee, you can get the bonus to hit and wound without having to commit the whole army to Assault doctrine, but if your army is melee-focused, you lose access to it when you do. Since the additional durability it lends to Primaris Marine battlepiles is one of the biggest strengths of the Raven Guard chapter tactic, and those largely want to be in Tactical, we think a few precision units backing up a largely tactical force is where it will see most use. It’s also a good defensive tool for that kind of army, as it means that melee threats with the CHARACTER tag are at a real risk of getting mulched by weight of fists (or some liberally scattered sergeant weapons) if they stray into your lines.

The net effect of this doctrine is that you don’t need to devote your entire army to it, but it draws you towards the inclusion of a certain sub-set of units, and provides you with a potent countermeasure to many popular choices.

 

The Unit

The Raven Guard have a single named unit in their Codex, a Primaris update of Kayvaan Shrike, newly upgraded to be the Raven Guard Chapter Master.

Credit: Games Workshop

Kayvaan Shrike

Shrike is a beast, and an absolute bargain at 130pts. Any dedicated Space Marine list wants a Chapter Master, and in general (thanks to the huge pile of exciting stratagems they now have access to) they’d rather pay a point premium for one than spend 2CP to upgrade a Captain. Of the chapters we’ve seen so far only Ultramarines have had access to this option (I guess Blood Ravens too if you want to be pedantic), and the premium here is much lower than on Calgar, immediately making Shrike look attractive before looking at any of the other words on his datasheet.

Luckily, these are pretty great too, and Shrike is a bit of a monster. His statline is mostly standard for a Primaris Captain (at least once you realise the extra attack for his paired claws has been baked into it) with one exception – he’s got a jump pack, so has a move of 14″ and the FLY keyword. This is a great complement to Chapter Master, as it allows you to make sure he ends up where he’s most needed at any given time to maximise the use of his aura. Alternatively, you can use it to send him out hunting, as he’s no slouch at killing stuff either.

Offensively, Shrike can do damage both at range and in combat. He wields a pistol called Blackout that has 18″ range, two shots at S4 AP-2 D2, deals mortals on 6+ to wound and can character snipe. Once the RG doctrine goes up this presents a very real threat of just one-shotting weaker characters, especially if he’s near a friendly Lieutenant so that he’s hitting on 2s with re-rolls and wounding on 2s or 3s re-rolling 1s. A few failed invulnerables is going to leave something in the dirt, and even if he doesn’t get the job done alone you’re very likely to be packing some other tools that can finish it.

Melee is where he really shines though. As we saw in our White Scars review, what lightning claws really need to be relevant is D2, and wouldn’t you know it, Shrike has a pair that have just that (with a bonus point of AP tacked on). With 7 attacks on the charge and full re-rolls on hits/wounds, Shrike is going to inflict a hefty blow against anything with <T8, and will still chip a few points off something like a Knight. If hunting T8 models is your order of business, getting Might of Heroes on him will be a big help, as it pushes his wound rate >50% against normal T8 stuff and to 75% against characters when the doctrine is also up, at which point he’s doing some serious damage (not being massively far from being able to one-turn a Knight if you use Honour the Chapter). As a PRIMARIS unit he’s also eligible to use Gene-Wrought Might, making him auto-wound on an unmodified hit roll of 6 for the phase, which is probably worth considering popping if you’re planning to fight twice into a key T8 target.

He also really likes charging, doing a MW when he charges 50% of the time, and has a 6″ re-roll charge bubble for himself and any RAVEN GUARD PHOBOS or JUMP PACK units. He can make use of the Strike from the Skies strat to advance and charge as well, allowing him to cover huge distances.

The only thing you have to be careful with on Shrike is that he isn’t any tougher than a regular Primaris Captain, which given he can be a key part of your army and has an offensive statline that can encourage taking risks means you do sometimes need to be more cautious with him than you’d like, aiming to surgically deploy him into fights he’s going to win. This is admittedly very on-brand for Raven Guard, but if you do find him in a situation that’s less safe than you’d like (or you need to tank a Knight attack to get to a second fight) don’t forget that you can use Transhuman Physiology so that only unmodified 4+ rolls can wound him for a phase.

The final point of interest on Shrike is that he has the PHOBOS keyword, which opens up some possible interactions with the Obscuration Discipline and the Vanguard Warlord traits. In practice this may not prove to be super relevant – there’s a bunch of shooting accuracy boosts and shooting hit mods which Shrike doesn’t even slightly need – but there are a couple of things worth looking at. He’s eligible for redeploy via Lord of Deceit which means if, for some reason, you want to yeet him into the enemy lines turn 1 (which sounds mad but he’s 13 points cheaper than a smash Captain so maybe not if you can land the right kill) you can move to catch an opponent out on their positioning. Continuing the vein of yeeting him, he can be targeted by Temporal Corridor, so you could plausibly set up a Phobos Librarian mid-board with Concealed Positions, advance Shrike to them, have them do an epic high-five (being careful to ensure the claws are retracted at the time) and fire Shrike into the enemy lines, where he blows the advance and charge strat and goes wild.

This probably isn’t the best use of him, especially given that the Doctrine won’t be up yet, but it’s at least worth being aware of as a possibility, and can be more practically used in a battle that’s gone “wide” to allow him to return from fighting something in one direction and then zoom off in another. On a much more pedestrian note, you can pick him for the “Fire and Fade” equivalent, which can have its uses – it allows him to get off some shots with his pistol and then move to wherever his aura is best used. Raven Guard have an extremely good relic swap for the rifles that PHOBOS characters have, so setting him up with a sniper buddy doesn’t seem wildly implausible.

Overall, Shrike is a beast, and a huge attraction towards playing down-the-line Raven Guard (not that much was needed given the strength of their chapter tactic). Expect to see him in a lot of lists.

Notable Core Units

Primaris Characters with Sniper Weapons

Raven Guard Phobos Captain

Raven Guard Phobos Captain Credit: Dan Boyd

Raven Guard have an exceptionally powerful relic to swap in for these characters in Ex Tenebris, making them vastly more attractive than normal. The various Lieutenants are especially improved, as it allows them to contribute from a gunline and the relic gives +1 to hit, mitigating their (normally rather pedestrian) BS3+.

Chaplains

Raven Guard Chaplain

Raven Guard Chaplain. Credit: Dan Boyd

Raven Guard have a bunch of ways to set up charges out of Deep Strike, and can use the Shadowstep psychic power to redeploy a Chaplain with the Canticle of Hate up to add +2″ to their charges. There are other ways to boost charges (and remember that they don’t stack), but +2″ is a big difference in a single package, especially as the Raven’s Blade stratagem can give a full re-roll on it. If you’re planning to use the Master of Ambush warlord trait to redeploy something horrendous into your opponent’s face turn 1 (see later) a Canticle of Hate Chaplain is a good choice for the delivery mechanism as well.

Smash Captains

Raven Guard have some of the best mobility support for these outside of Blood Angels, having an on-board redeploy psychic power in Shadowstep, and stratagems for boosting and re-rolling charges out of deep strike. Thunder hammers are certainly pricey now, but increased reliability in delivering the bearers helps to offset the cost. When going after character Knights in Tactical Doctrine, smash captains in pure Raven Guard are also extremely good, essentially getting the benefits of being both Space Wolves and Blood Angels when it comes to killing power. They also have access to a few neat tricks among relics, with the Armour of Shadows helping them survive through to a second fight, and a few other options to increase their output.

All early indications are that the price hike hasn’t killed the smash Captain, so since he’s super great here, go wild!

Intercessors

Raven Guard Intercessors

Raven Guard Intercessors. Credit: Dan Boyd

Intercessors are already great for their cost with all the buffs the Space Marine codex has given them, and Raven Guard make them shine all the brighter. The chapter tactic is superb on them, substantially increasing their already considerable durability, and there are some other nice things you can do with them as well, most notably:

  • Deep striking a full squad via Strike from the Shadows. This gives you the kind of drop-in back line harassment that will carve through most objective-squatters and can actually threaten bigger things, especially if you make them veterans and give the sergeant a fist or hammer.
  • Shifting them onto central terrain pre-game with Infiltrators, giving them even more resilience and threatening to claim objectives early.
  • Using a stalker bolt rifle squad to just execute a character via the Target Sighted stratagem.

All Primaris Marines are good in Raven Guard but Intercessors probably see the biggest boost.

Sniper Scouts

Wings Note: Every time one of these supplements has dropped TheChirurgeon has been all up in our editor’s chat being like “but what does this mean for SNIPER SCOUTS?”. I don’t know why, but I hope he’s happy now.
TheChirurgeon’s Note: That’s because they are RAD AS HELL, you joyless jerk. Also because they’re the cheapest Troops that Marines can field with “Heavy” weapons.

Sniper Scouts are a cheap detachment filler at 13PPM, and once the Raven Guard doctrine goes up present an actual serious threat to enemy characters. Three stationary squads of these in the RG doctrine comfortably pick off a Farseer without help, and give plenty of other things fits too. If you can get them into re-roll bubbles that output only increases, and they even strip quite a number of MWs off big character targets.

There is a mild tension with them that you ideally want them stationary on turn 2, which does tend to mean putting them somewhere where they can get shot up, although thanks to the +1 to hit from the doctrine while character sniping they’re still fine if they have to move. The camo cloaks might look attractive but we think they’re mostly a trap – how cheap these are is part of their appeal, and we don’t think they’re worth it over Primaris stuff once you hit 16PPM with the cloaks.

Marines desperately want to make a dual battalion (or even a brigade) if they can, so having cheap Troops you actively want in your lists is a real advantage for Raven Guard.

Invictors

The Invictor is just great all around all the time, but Raven Guard’s ability to bring forward other stuff to support it makes it even cooler. We think it’s highly unlikely you’re waiting for our endorsement to slam them in Raven Guard armies, but if you were, go right ahead.

Aggressors

Raven Guard Aggressors

Raven Guard Aggressors. Credit: Dan Boyd

Double shooting Aggressors absolutely melt stuff, and the dream is to get to do this turn 1. Raven Guard have several options that can make that a reality against an incautious opponent, as the Infiltrators stratagem and the Master of Ambush warlord trait both give you ways to pull if off, positioning them in firing range prior to the first turn. These options are all “optional” (i.e. you don’t have to leave them out in the wind and risk getting seized on), and Raven Guard Aggressors are a nightmare to shift from cover anyway, so if you go second moving them up into some mid board ruins can give you a very potent defensive bastion.

Assault Centurions

Take everything we said about Aggressors and amp it up to 11. Assault Centurions are mind-bogglingly deadly for their cost if you can get them into position, which has always been the hard part. We explored some options to do this with White Scars, but Raven Guard do it even better. If your opponent is foolish enough to deploy a Knight on the line, redeploying a unit of these with Master of Ambush should equal a dead Knight. If they realise you can do this and backline all their Knights? Great, just put these in deep strike with Strike from the Shadows and leap out on them with a re-rolling charge later on. Even if your opponent has a pretty hefty screen up front sending these down their throat can be worth it – mounting flamers and hurricane bolters gives them 42 average flamer hits and 72 bolter shots, which is a hefty toll of dead Guardsmen. They’re also tough enough to soak up a counterpunch from armies that don’t have hefty mortal output (do be wary of those).

Much like with Aggressors, even if you can’t profitably go straight for the throat with them, starting with these set up in a central ruin is going to be appallingly bad news for your opponent in a lot of tournament missions, as getting to precious central objectives is going to require prising these from their cover, which is a tricky feat to pull off.

The spectacular point cut and extra wound that Assault Centurions got in the codex has left them poised to be great, just waiting for the right mobility tools. People have already been getting them to perform in White Scars, and the tricks Raven Guard have for an initial strike with them are substantially better, at a cost of being less good at getting them around once they’re on the board. Our money is on Raven Guard getting the nod as the best option, so expect to see plenty of tryouts done with these on tournament tables.

Vanguard Veterans

Being able to advance and charge with the jump pack builds of these is a nice bonus, but ultimately these aren’t quite as great as they are in White Scars – there’s nothing in Raven Guard to really leverage the extremely cost-effective dual chainsword build (which has been accepted by the ITC as legit) in the same way as Scars. There’s still plenty of support for them, and another thing worth at least thinking about here is running these on foot, as the USP Raven Guard do have compared to Scars is the ability to just straight up deep strike a unit with Strike from the Shadows. At only 140pts for a full squad (or 144 with a couple of storm shields scattered in) that’s at least quite funny, but without the easy access to strength or damage boosts Scars get it still just looks a bit lacklustre. It’s a truly eye-watering number of attacks at the price point though, so maybe, just maybe, there could be a place for it in some strange build.

Suppressors

Raven Guard have two big things going for these guys:

  • Dropped into a terrain piece, they’re quite hard to shift, mitigating their big weakness of fragility. If they’re far from the enemy, popping the sergeant’s smoke on the turn they arrive (when the shooting is at its least effective) makes them -2 to hit, at which point many armies just won’t bother.
  • They do way more work against big character targets than normal when the Doctrine is up.

This may not get them the nod over other options, but it’s worth considering.

Inceptors

Much like Suppressors, if you drop these into cover then anything not nearby is going to have a bit of trouble shifting them. They also present the threat of popping in and assassinating an unsuspecting character, as the footprint of a 3-model squad isn’t huge, meaning your opponent might mess up their screening.

These are still a bit heftily priced for what they do, and Raven Guard are quite likely better off spending the points on Aggressors and using their tricks to position them, but these are very cool and if you want to use them they’re certainly at least fine here.

Eliminators

Raven Guard Primaris Eliminators

Raven Guard Primaris Eliminators. Credit: Dan Boyd

Y i k e s.

Eliminators are already very, very scary to play against, and Raven Guard really just push them to absurd heights. To start with, their camo cloaks kick in based on having the benefit of cover rather than because they’re in terrain, so the chapter tactic lets them deploy in your main gunline (if you’d rather have the re-rolls than the scouting) and still enjoy their 1+ save. That already makes them more dangerous than normal, but once the Doctrine goes up things just get a bit silly.

I think a huge proportion of Raven Guard armies will start with three squads of these, and they’re going to be absurdly painful to play against for anyone who enjoys their characters being alive. Unlike in most Marine armies, when the Doctrine is up you’re often going to want the sergeant to participate in the shooting rather than give orders, as you’ll frequently already be hitting and wounding on 2s and the increased chance of dealing a mortal wound on Mortis rounds outweighs the accuracy buff. Stuff you point three squads of these at from Raven Guard just dies, especially if you put them in a battle pile with re-roll bubbles.

Another nasty trick you can tack on to one squad is to give the sergeant Korvidari Bolts via the Favour of the Ravenspire stratagem. These allow him to shoot at extra range and with no-LOS with all three profiles (so, relevantly, the Mortis profile), substantially increasing the threat of untimely death even to characters that hide out of LOS.

If you play Raven Guard, get these.

Vehicles in General

Raven Guard Heavy Forces

Raven Guard Heavy Forces. Credit: Serotonin

Perma-cover is really good for tanks. If that’s all you want you can build out a successor chapter with Stealthy and Master Artisans, but bringing vehicles to back up your Raven Guard, especially if you’re packing Shrike, is definitely going to be fine.

Psychic Powers

Raven Guard Phobos Librarian

Raven Guard Phobos Librarian. Credit: Dan Boyd

Raven Guard Librarians have access to the Umbramancy Discipline. It has two powers that are pretty meh, two that are OK, and two that are great and you’ll end up taking a lot of the time.

  1. Umbral Form (WC 5) – The psyker gets a 4+ invulnerable save till your next psychic phase. This is theoretically useful because Librarians can really use invulns, but you’re just not going to take it because the other two good options are so much better. B
  2. Enveloping Darkness (WC 7) – Select a visible enemy unit within 18″ of the Psyker. Until your next psychic phase that unit can’t fire Overwatch and gets -1 to its To Hit rolls. This is fantastic, and a great way to either weaken big threats or tee them up for your units to charge in. There’s no reason to not take this. A
  3. Spectral Blade (WC 5) – Until the start of your next Psychic phase, the Psyker’s strength characteristic becomes equal to its Ld value and when it attacks a unit with lower Ld, that attack has an AP value of -4. Theoretically, this is a cool way to make a Smash Librarian, where you can give a Jump Librarian this and Umbral Form to come in at Strength 9-11 and AP-4 against most targets, but the big challenge is that Librarians are locked in with weapons that do D3 damage. The upside is that you can master-craft your force stave and then in Tactical Doctrine against characters, your Jump Librarian does D3+1 damage per swing and hits and wounds on 2s. You can further boost him by either giving him the Hero Made Manifest warlord trait to ensure he’s always getting the AP-4 boost or Champion of Humanity to give him +1 Attack and +1 to hit and wound rolls against Characters. B-
    Wings Note:
    I’m not super convinced. As with many “buff this psyker” options, the fact that Librarians start out way worse in a fight than Captains makes this a bit questionable, and the fact that in order to go after Knights properly you need to invest in something that boosts your Leadership makes this a bit less good than it initially sounds, especially as for slamming the hell out of a character Knight, the RG doctrine means a “traditional” smash Captain is deadly reliable. If you are going for this, I’d also argue for always picking the force sword rather than the force stave – I think more circumstances will arise where having AP-3 lined up against something you don’t beat the leadership of matters more than where S11 rather than S9 will matter, especially as when going after T5 characters you’ll still end up wounding on 2s. I think this is one of the better attempts at this kind of ability we’ve seen and could have legs, but would guess that it’ll turn out to be too intensive in CP and traits to quite get there over just buying a hammer guy.
  4. Shadowstep (WC 7) – Pick a friendly RAVEN GUARD character within 18″ of the Psyker. Remove that model from the battlefield, then redeploy it anywhere more than 9″ from an enemy model. A character-specific Veil of Darkness for Raven Guard that allows you to shift around auras as you need them. One of the more subtle uses for this is shifting a Chaplain who has the Canticle of Hate litany active, so you can place him next to your deep-striking Raven Guard combat units without having to spend multiple turns pushing him into position to ensure that your charges go off. It’s also, obviously, great for throwing smash characters of any stripe at your enemy, allowing you to imitate “Upon Wings of Fire” at a bargain price. Forcing your opponent to account for a possible incoming smash Captain from turn 1 is a huge constraint on their deployment and movement, and lets you punish mistakes savagely. A
  5. The Abyss (WC 6) – Select a visible enemy unit within 18″. Roll 3D6 and for each 4+, that unit suffers a mortal wound. If any models die from this, the unit gets -1 to its Leadership until the end of the turn. Alt-smites (especially ones that can snipe) are always worth looking at, but if you’re coming into this discipline it’s most likely not for this. C
  6. The Darkness Within (WC 6) – Select up to 3 enemy units within 18″ of the psyker and roll 1D6 for each, adding 1 if you rolled a 11+ on the psychic test. On a 4+, that unit suffers a mortal wound. There aren’t really any ways to key off doing a single wound to a unit in the Raven Guard codex, so the value on this one is pretty limited. D

 

Warlord Traits

Raven Guard Gravis Captain

Raven Guard Gravis Captain. Credit: Dan Boyd

Like all the other supplements, Raven Guard characters are fleshed out with a full set of warlord traits to pick from, supplementing the trait they got in the main Marine codex (which is reprinted here). Remember when reading these that the Hero of the Chapter and Master of the Trifold Path exist, allowing you to either add a trait to an extra non-named character, or supplement your actual warlord’s first trait with an extra one.

  1. Shadowmaster – Repeated from the main codex. Enemy units cannot fire Overwatch at the warlord. Always an important thing to be able to access, but slightly diminished by it also being available as a psychic power. However, that’s often non-trivial to set up on units far from your main force, so if you’re planning to fire characters about with various tricks like Shadowstep this can be a good add, although it’s a shame it’s “instead” of something like Imperium’s Sword. Shrike gets this if he’s your warlord, and honestly that’s probably an argument against him being that. B
  2. Master of Ambush – At the start of first battle round, before the start of the first turn, select one friendly RAVEN GUARD INFANTRY unit on battlefield. Remove that unit and warlord from the battlefield, then set them up anywhere on the battlefield more than 9” from the enemy deployment zone and any enemy models. If both players have this ability, you roll off to determine who redeploys first. This is extremely good – effects like this have existed before (the original Raven Guard stratagem effectively let you do this pre-nerf) but we’ve not seen something as open ended as this for a while. Since the original great round of nerfs on this style of ability, most of these have either been tied to a specific unit or prohibited you from then charging.
    This has neither of those drawbacks, and the possibilities are thus considerable. Screens got you down? Surprise – six Aggressors are here, and they look mad. Opponent deployed some Knights right on the line? Here comes a Chaplain with six Assault Centurions to really ruin their day. Want to throw two smash Captains in your opponent’s face turn 1? Have a smash Captain with this bring his buddy, who is also a smash Captain, along for the ride. Want to do something incredibly stupid that won’t survive the two-week FAQ? Give this to a Land Raider Excelsior – the travel partner has to be INFANTRY but the user doesn’t, so you can bring a clown car of all your favourite characters and 6 Assault Centurions to run buck wild on your opponent’s army.
    Even just used sensibly this ability is exceptional and allows for some potent tricks, and good enough that detachments built around it could see play in soup armies. Do note too that there’s no requirement to deploy the user and the transported unit together, so if you just want to throw a unit and don’t want to commit the character you can just place them back in your lines. A+
  3. Swift and Deadly – Friendly RAVEN GUARD units within 6” of this warlord can charge even if they advanced this turn. Jump Pack units can already access this via the Strike from the Skies stratagem, but this opens it up to a wider audience. If you really want to pull off a horrendous alpha strike, comboing this with Master of Ambush to allow whatever you redeploy, plus any nearby Invictors, to advance and charge is going to make it very hard to avoid you, but at that point you’re putting a lot of eggs in the basket of going first. B
  4. Master of Vigilance – When resolving an attack with a melee weapon made by this Warlord, an unmodified hit roll of 6 inflicts a mortal wound in addition to its normal damage. Because this is “unmodified” 6s, this isn’t going to outstrip either of the melee boost traits from the main Marine book most of the time – pick one of them (although we guess if you want something super smashtastic you could combo this with one of those). C
  5. Feigned Flight – When the warlord falls back, they can move across models and terrain as if they weren’t there.  In addition, they can shoot and charge in a turn in which they fall back. Deeply “meh” – you can already access most of this via a stratagem (or all if it if your warlord flies) and it’s far too situational to want to spend a trait on it. D 
  6. Echo of the Ravenspire – Once per battle, at end of the Movement phase, the warlord can vanish if they are more than 6” away from any enemy models. Remove the model from the battlefield and then at the end of your next Movement phase deploy the model anywhere more than 9” away from any enemy models. If the battle ends while the Warlord is off the battlefield, it’s counted as destroyed. Not really interested in this – Shadowstep achieves pretty much the same thing but without the whole “spent 1/6 of the game without use of one of your characters” thing. D

The Raven Guard’s warlord traits are slightly underwhelming overall – a lot of them are very clever or cool abilities, but they suffer from being highly situational and often being replicable via other means that need less commitment. However, Master of Ambush is a massive exception to this – it’s extraordinarily powerful and opens up a bunch of new strategies that are really only available to Raven Guard. While they did used to be able to replicate it waaay back when, the “top end” of what a powerful Marine INFANTRY unit can now do is vastly higher than it used to be, and buying into a full squad of something like Assault Centurions also represents a vastly smaller proportion of your points. Even the base case of “just” putting ten Veteran Intercessors in your opponent’s face T1 has its attractions, and the possibilities are soooo much bigger than that. Expect to see this one everywhere, and a few of the better among the others pop up here and there.

Relics

Like the other supplement factions, Raven Guard have access to two groups of relics: Relics of the Ravenspire, which are exclusive to the Raven Guard chapter unless you use a stratagem to give one to a successor, and Special-Issue Wargear, which successors have access to.

Relics of the Ravenspire

The Relics of the Ravenspire are:

  • Ebonclaws – Replaces a pair of lightning claws with a pair that are Strength User, AP-3, d3 Damage and give you +1 Attack and the ability to re-roll failed wound rolls. A big upgrade over lightning claws (which are otherwise just not very good), but would have been better as just flat 2 damage, which especially hurts given that “master crafted” can already give you that. Much like with Shrike, if you’re planning to use these bringing a way of casting Might of Heroes is a good shout. C
  • Armor of Shadows – When resolving an attack against this model that has an AP of -1, resolve it at AP 0 instead. In addition, an unmodified hit roll of 1, 2 or 3 always fails against this model. Cool but a bit underwhelming in many cases. The most plausible use case we can see is as a bolt-on to a smash Captain when you’re up against Knights, as it combines with a storm shield to reliably see you through a stomping counterattack. B-
  • Raven Skull of Korvaad – Once per turn, when resolving an attack by this model re-roll the hit, wound or damage roll. In addition, when this model is destroyed by an attack made by an enemy unit, until the end of the battle all friendly Raven Guard add 1 to hit rolls against that enemy unit. An alternative option for a spicy smashy boi (which given Raven Guard have good support from bringing several, is fine), which both helps him kill stuff and punishes your opponent if he suicides into a key unit and whiffs. The “configurable” re-roll here is a great combo with a thunder hammer or other -1 to hit weapon as it lets you grab an errant 2 from a hit roll, or a failed wound. The other potentially interesting thing to do is to hand this to someone with a combi-melta, but if you want a shooty character there’s a better option coming up. B
  • Raven’s Fury – Model with Jump Pack only. This model can charge even if it advances.  When a charge roll is made, you may re-roll the dice. After this model finishes a charge move, select an enemy unit within 1” and roll a D6.  On a 4+, that enemy unit suffers 1 mortal wound. Yet another powerful option for a jet pack murder machine. Almost like there’s some sort of theme going here. This suffers from being able to reproduce almost everything it does via stratagems when needed, so the other relics, which offer more unique bonuses, are probably more attractive. C
  • Ex Tenebris – Replaces a master-crafted stalker bolt rifle, oculus bolt rifle, or instigator bolt carbine. It’s Range 36”, Assault 3, S4 AP-2, 2 Damage and can target CHARACTERS. Also, it gives its bearer +1 to hit rolls and ignores cover. This thing is no joke, and a serious attraction to including the relevant builds of the characters that can wield it in your army. It goes especially neatly on the Primaris and Phobos Lieutenants, as the +1 to hit offsets them only having BS3+, and having an extremely murderous, long ranged gun suddenly lets them contribute a lot while hiding in the traditional Marine battle pile. Really, really good, and likely to be used a lot.  A
Raven Guard Primaris Lieutenants

Raven Guard Primaris Lieutenants. Credit: Dan Boyd

  • Oppressor’s EndReplaces a combat knife. Has Strength +1, AP-2, 1 Damage and gives +1 attack.  Against CHARACTERS its Damage increases to 3. The “Reiver” Phobos Lieutenant build and the Phobos Captain both struggle with access to good weapons normally, so having something like this available is extremely helpful, and it combines with the Doctrine to give something that will put a proper dent in characters of all shapes and sizes. If you’ve ever wanted to send a grizzled old man with a big knife to try and pull a Shadow-of-the-Colossus on a Knight this is the tool for you. It is a little bit of a shame that it’s only D1 base, but +1 strength is a decent help in pretty much all situations. B+

There’s some good stuff in here. It isn’t quite as wild as the White Scars or Iron Hands selections, but there’s a good set of things for boosting up murder-characters, with Ex Tenebris standing out as something that aligns extremely well with what the army wants to do and providing a hefty capability boost.

Special-Issue Wargear

The Raven Guard Special-Issue Wargear includes three repeats and five new choices.

  • Adamantine Mantle – Grants the bearer the ability to ignore lost wounds on a D6 roll of 5+. Solid, particularly for units that already have an invulnerable save. A decent fall back to have. B
  • Artificer Armour – Grants the bearer a 2+ save and a 5+ invulnerable save, bringing the total of possible characters with 2+ saves through relics for Marines to 2. Most useful for characters who lack an invulnerable save or can’t improve their save for whatever reason, such as jump pack Librarians or Lieutenants. B
  • Master-Crafted Weapon – Common to all Space Marine codex supplements. Add +1 to the Damage of any weapon that’s not a relic and doesn’t have master crafted in its name already. This wargear has a pretty broad set of uses between damage 4 thunder hammer Captains, Aggressor sergeants firing 12 2-damage shots per turn at range, or giving Suppressor sergeants the ideal gun for killing Custodians at flat 3 damage. Ideally you’d never be taking this as your free relic, but an excellent use of the “pay a CP for an extra relic” stratagem since being able to use it to buff up various units depending on your opponent’s army is a useful tool. A
  • Shadowmaster Cloak – Gives the bearer a 3+ invulnerable save while its model is wholly on a terrain feature. They know storm shields exist, right? Pass. D
  • Silentus Pistol – The special pistol for Raven Guard successors. It replaces a bolt pistol or heavy bolt pistol with a gun that’s Range 12”, Pistol 2, S5, AP-2, 2 Damage and it can target characters and gives +1 to hit rolls. Hey, cool, it’s very nearly Shrike’s pistol. This is actually a genuinely good gun, the mix of flat 2 damage and character sniping giving it a hefty leg up over the regular version. We suspect it’s a bit far down the priority list to see much use, but this is at least OK. B
  • Korvidari Bolts – The special ammo for Raven Guard successors. The model can opt to shoot these with a bolt weapon and gets +6″ range and can target units that aren’t visible, but only gets to make one attack when using these. Terrible on most things, as what you’re usually looking for from bolt weapons is rate of fire, but there are a couple of major exceptions. The two plausibly relevant uses use are to give them to a Phobos Captain (allowing him to no-scope characters with his D3 shot) or an Eliminator Sergeant (allowing him to fire Mortis rounds without LOS). Ex Tenebris does a better job of the former but if you decided you wanted to have multiple snipers in your lines picking off enemies while giving orders (which is pretty metal) you could plausibly take both. In most Marine factions Eliminator sergeants should always be giving out the buff rather than shooting, but that’s a bit less true here – if you’re already hitting/wounding characters on 2s in Tactical, then adding a souped up Mortis bolt is a much better use of the sergeant. This could be a genuinely good flex pick against Orks or Nurgle, where characters that really don’t want Mortis bolts to the face rely on staying out of sight to not get popped. B+
  • Shard of Isstvan – A model with this relic gets +1 attack and friendly units within 6” of that model automatically pass morale tests. Sure, why not. Boring but reasonably effective, and the morale isn’t irrelevant if you want to bring 10-model squads to your battle pile. B

Raven Guard get a set of special bolts actually worth thinking about on a unit you’ll want to take, and other than the Shadowmaster Cloak everything here is at least decent, with some crossing over into good.

Stratagems

Raven Guard get 16 of their own stratagems.

  • Infiltrators (1 CP) – Use at the start of the first battle round, before the first turn begins. Select 1 unit of friendly RAVEN GUARD INFANTRY unit from your army on the battlefield.  This unit may move as if it was the Movement phase but must end its move more than 9” away from any enemy unit. If both players have such an ability, roll off to see who uses it first. A unit can only be targeted by this stratagem once per game. Returns slightly improved from the post-nerf version of the old Codex (as you no longer have to activate it when you deploy the unit), and has plenty of uses. The main one is pushing something slow and threatening towards a central objective or firing position, which can be effective with Aggressors, as it allows them to still double shoot turn 1 if you can get them into range. It’s especially relevant with the new Chapter Tactic, as it can allow you to position a tough squad on a central “L block” if you’re playing on that increasingly common setup. B+
Sneaky Raven Guard Aggressors

Sneaky Raven Guard Aggressors. Credit: Dan Boyd

  • The Raven’s Blade (1 CP) – Use this at the start of Charge phase and select one enemy unit on the battlefield. RAVEN GUARD units that declare a charge against only that unit may re-roll the charge distance this phase. Very good – Raven Guard have lots of support for bringing powerful units in from deep strike, and this helps them make combat. It’s a bit less good against screening chaff as you can’t multi-charge, but is super useful if you’re trying to put a unit into a Knight or something. Just be aware that your opponent can make this quite difficult to use if they’re cunning. B+
  • Stranglehold (2 CP) – Use this stratagem at the start of the first battle round but before first turn begins if your army contains any RAVEN GUARD SCOUT or PHOBOS units. Until the end of the battle round, roll D6 each time your opponent spends CP to use a stratagem. On a 5+, your opponent must spend an additional command point or else that stratagem has no effect and cannot be used again. You may only use this stratagem once per battle. If you’ve ever played against a Callidus Assassin you know that this ability is no joke, and even in this slightly toned down form is a very neat thing to have in your back pocket against armies that burn a lot of CP early like Eldar or Tau. Unlike a lot of stuff here, this may see it’s best use in soup, as it stacks with the aforesaid Callidus Assassin. If an “Imperium” list that wants a detachment of Raven Guard exists (and we think it’s very plausible that powerful combos with Master of Ambush will encourage that), stacking both abilities is going to absolutely ruin the day of some armies. Does need an immediate FAQ as to how it interacts with other stratagems that are activated at the same time. A 
  • False Flight (2 CP) – Use this when a RAVEN GUARD unit from your army falls back. That unit can shoot and charge this turn. Pretty much every Marine faction gets this effect huh? It’s still excellent. Moving on. A
  • Lay Low the Tyrants (1 CP) – Use when a RAVEN GUARD INFANTRY or BIKER unit from you army is chosen to fight. Until end of phase, when resolving an attack made by this unit against a non-VEHICLE CHARACTER or a non-VEHICLE unit containing any models with 4+ wounds, add 1 to the wound roll. The non-vehicle rider is annoying when going after characters, as you’d like to be able to pop it against character knights, but it’s still handy to have. The second “mode” is much more interesting – it’ll only come up against specific armies, but when it does (against thinks like Grotesques, Talos, Riptides, Custodes Bikes) it’s a hefty benefit for the cost, often allowing something like Aggressors to wound them on 2s, and even letting a veteran Intercessor squad throw out some hefty pain.  B+
  • See, but Remain Unseen (1 CP) – Use at the end of your turn. Select 1 RAVEN GUARD unit from your army that did not make any attacks during your turn.  Until the start of your next turn, enemies attacking this unit get -1 to their To Hit rolls. Extremely good. Raven Guard has plenty of ways to position powerful, threatening units near the board centre ready to fight for control, and if you don’t have a profitable way to attack with them then this is a hugely powerful thing to throw on them for only 1CP. More prosaically, it can also just be used to protect something like a Leviathan that’s shuffling into engagement range. A.
  • Strike from the Shadows (1 CP)Use during Deployment. Select one RAVEN GUARD INFANTRY unit from your army. You can deploy that unit into a Teleportarium chamber/high orbit and they can arrive from Reserves at the end of any of your Movement phases more than 9″ away from any enemy models. Checking our notes, arbitrarily being able to Deep Strike infantry units is apparently “quite good”. Some White Scars players at the LGT were already seeing success with Assault Centurions or Aggressors, either catching an opponent off guard with a surprisingly long advance and charge on turn 1 or bringing them on from a board edge if the opponent deployed cautiously. The combination of this and Master of Ambush/Infiltrators both being available let you do much the same – go for a quick punish if your opponent doesn’t respect the redeploy threat, and bung them into deep strike if they do, ready to use The Raven’s Blade for a more reliable charge. It’s also generically pretty great to put a full squad of Intercessors in deep strike – they’ll merrily carve their way through most back-line objective holders, and present a real threat to any army using chaff hordes, especially now “Rapid Fire” is always available. Finally, don’t sleep on combining this with Hellblasters – one of their main drawbacks is the risk of not getting a full turn of firepower out of them, which this pretty much entirely mitigates. A
  • Vengeance for Isstvan 5 (1 CP)Use in fight phase when a friendly RAVEN GUARD unit is chosen to fight  Until end of phase, when resolving a melee attack against a model with the WORD BEARERS, IRON WARRIORS, NIGHT LORDS, or ALPHA LEGION keywords, you can re-roll hit rolls. Could theoretically be useful against Alpha Legion if you don’t have a re-roll aura nearby, I guess, but even then probably won’t matter much. F
  • Ambushing Fire (2 CP) – Use this stratagem at start of your Movement phase if Tactical Doctrine is active. Until start of the next battle round, when resolving an attack from a rapid fire or assault weapon, when you roll an unmodified wound roll of 6 improve the AP of that attack by 1. Use this stratagem only once per battle. Still fine if you’ve got a perfect enfilade set up, and Raven Guard do lean towards a heavily Primaris infantry based list that will be well placed to get the most out of this. B
  • Decapitating Blow (2 CP) – Use this stratagem when the enemy warlord is killed by an attack made by a RAVEN GUARD unit in your army. Until the end of battle, all enemy units get a -1 penalty to their Leadership. Naaaaaaaaaaaah. D
  • A Deadly Prize (1 CP) – Use this stratagem at end of your turn. Select 1 objective marker within 3” of a friendly Raven Guard infantry and not within 3” of an enemy unit. Next time an enemy unit ends a movement within 3” of that objective marker, roll a D6; on a 2-4 it does D3 mortal wounds, on a 5+ it does 3 mortal wounds. You cannot use this stratagem on the same objective marker more than once per battle. Honestly surprisingly interesting, especially against armies that are likely to plan to push with large, single units. Spending 1CP to drop some mortal wounds on a Knight or Lord Discordant is pretty OK, just don’t waste CP on it when they have horde units to “defuse” it. B-
  • Force Their Hand (1 CP) – Use after your opponent generates tactical objectives. Choose 1 objective marker in your opponent’s deployment zone. If you control that objective marker and there are any RAVEN GUARD INFANTRY or BIKERS within 3″ of it, choose one of your opponent’s objectives and they discard it and draw a new one. You can only use this once per turn and only if playing with Tactical Objectives. Horrendously brutal in Maelstrom games, denying your opponent a card of your choice is an outrageously powerful thing to do, even if it’s modestly tricky to set up. None of the Americans reading this care, but it’s true. B-
  • Strike from the Skies (1 CP)Use at the start of your Charge phase, select 1 Raven Guard jump pack unit. Until the end of the phase, the unit can be chosen to charge even if it advanced that turn and add +1” to charge distance. Great in combination with a smash Captain, as it combines with The Raven’s Blade to get you into the region of a 70% charge hit rate out of Deep Strike, or even better if you’re playing with a Hungry For Battle Successor. Certainly useful if you’ve decided to bring any sort of Vanguard Veterans or Assault Marines as well. B+
  • Master of the Trifold Path (1 CP)Use this after nominating a non-named character to be your warlord. Generate one additional additional warlord trait for them. All Warlord traits in your army have to be different. Probably the most relevant option here is loading up Shadowmaster or Master of Vigilance alongside either Champion of Humanity or The Imperium’s Sword from the main book to build a better smash Captain (we have the technology). That’ll certainly sometimes be useful, but there’s nothing screaming out “yes, definitely this”. B-
  • Favor of the Ravenspire (1 CP) – Same as the other supplements. Pick a Sergeant and give him a special issue wargear relic from one of Master-Crafted Weapon, Digital Weapons, Silentus Pistol, Korvidari Bolts. As usual, the real jam here is probably master-crafting something, but the Silentus Pistol is also great and we’ve already talked about the nasty trick of adding Korvidari Bolts to an Eliminator sergeant. B
  • Token of Brotherhood (1 CP) – The successor chapter stratagem that gives you access to 1 Relic of the Ravenspire. The Ravenspire relics are a lot less “mandatory” than, for example, the White Scars ones, but this is still cool if you want to get access to Ex Tenebris on a successor with Master Artisans or something. B-

This is a heck of a set of Stratagems, providing a lot of tools for surprising your opponent and making their lives a lot more fraught and risky in a highly appropriate manner. One thing that’s important to clock is that a lot of this isn’t really “locked in” to only working well with the doctrine or the main Raven Guard tactic, and we’d expect to see quite a bit of experimentation with Raven Guard in soup lists on that basis. Between the stuff here and Master of Ambush they’re basically best in breed among the Marines for throwing a single souped up unit of your choice right at the enemy in a way that’s hard to stop, and it seems reasonably plausible that a smaller Raven Guard detachment or successor detachment tuned to exploit this might fit into a wider Imperium force. Luckily it’s time to look at successor Chapters now, so we can cover this in more detail.

Successor Chapters

The most appealing part of Raven Guard, looking in from the outside, is their box of tricks to let INFANTRY units of various stripes deep strike or redeploy, so we’re naturally looking for successor traits that complement this well. The most promising combination that shines out from the list is:

  • Hungry for Battle: +1 to Advances and Charges.
  • Whirlwind of Rage/Master Artisans: both of these will soup up your damage output, Whirlwind probably being the choice if you’re planning to deep strike squads, Artisan for characters.

Hungry for Battle is the mandatory part – combined with Strike from the Skies you suddenly have a jump pack unit charging on 7s out of deep strike without needing to do any of the fiddly work with a Chaplain, and adding a re-roll to this with Raven’s Blade makes getting a smash Captain in pretty reliable, whether coming from “true” deep strike or being moved via Shadowstep. It’s also good for things that don’t have jump packs, as the options for getting +charge on these in pure Raven Guard are less easy to access.

We can certainly imagine this combination being used effectively in a Marine detachment that’s part of a larger army. When you look at a new book that’s part of one of the game’s “superfactions” you need to be on the lookout for anything they let you do that’s unique or novel within that, and the ability to put something as dangerous as a full Centurion squad right up in your opponent’s face turn 1 with very low “risk” is pretty novel – the closest alternative feels like Custodes Bikes, and those can be avoided by people who know what they’re doing. Combined with their excellent support for Smash Captains, which are frequently tapped into Imperium lists from Blood Angels and the fact that stacking Stranglehold with the Callidus Assassin is fairly filthy, we can see a detachment built with this set of tactics comprising a smash Captain, Librarian, one horrendous monster unit like Centurions/Aggressors and a third character to make up a Supreme Command turning up in a soup list, as this successor combo feels genuinely more useful to what that detachment is trying to do than the mainline one.

The other mildly amusing possibility is to really lean in to the sniper options and take Master Artisans with Long Ranged Marksmen, but it feels like a force of pure snipers gets so much out of the Raven Guard trait and a paid-for Chapter Master that it won’t go anywhere. Long Ranged Marksmen also theoretically combos with deep-striking flamestorm Aggressors or Assault Centurions, but in practice we think the bolter build of the former is still going to be superior, and for the latter hitting melee is a critical part of the payoff, so you don’t necessarily want to flame everything nearby off the board!

Army Lists

 

Raven Guard Primaris Ancient

Raven Guard Primaris Ancient. Credit: Dan Boyd

 

Raven Guard have a bunch of powerful things you can do with them, and in some ways their lists are among the easiest to build out of new Marines. The core tension you’re often facing with new Marines is wanting to have a dual battalion to get lots of CP to power your nonsense, but that eating into a lot of the points you want to spend on payoff units. The great news for Raven Guard is that Intercessors and Sniper Scouts are among your payoff units, making this dead easy to do without sacrificing power.

We’ll present two lists here, one pure Primaris (as there are a bunch of people who like that, and Raven Guard support it exceptionally well) and one mixing in some Marine classics to show off their other tricks.

List One – Prime Time

Army List - Click to Expand

Battalion – Raven Guard – 1054pts

HQ

Shrike – Warlord – 130

Phobos Lieutenant (Gun Build), Relic – Ex Tenebris – 81

Troops

3×5 Intercessors w/bolt rifles – 255

Elites

Primaris Ancient – 69

Boltstorm Aggressors x6 – 222

Heavy Support

9 Hellblasters – 297

Battalion – Raven Guard – 946pts

HQ

Primaris Chaplain, Relics of the Chapter – Benediction of Fury, Hero of the Chapter – Master of Ambush – 77

Phobos Librarian – 101

Troops

5 Intercessors w/stalker rifles – 85

5 Infiltrators – 110

5 Incursors – 95

Elites

2x Invictor w/flamer – 262

Heavy Support

3×3 Eliminators – 216 (one with Korvidari bolts)

2000pts Total, 10CP after spend.

This list presents a horrendous amount of Primaris muscle that your opponent has to deal with, and has some extreme redeploy/deep strike threats in the form of the Aggressor and Hellblaster squads, the former likely pressing forward accompanied by the Invictors early on if you think you’re going first. If not, then you want to aim to push them into some mid board cover, hopefully with the warsuits lurking too. The Intercessor core can form a traditional Marine battle pile, with the Eliminators either deploying with that or heading into mid board cover to threaten to do bad things to enemy characters. Shrike makes sure he positions himself wherever his aura is going to have the greatest impact, while also presenting a potent counter-charge threat against any planes or enemy murder characters that dare to trouble your lines.

Wings Note: Combined with my disappointing outing at the LGT, after racking up 30,000+ words about Space Marines in the last few months this is the list that has finally broken me – I have a substantial portion of this on sprue/assembled ready to be attacked with Contrast once this and the Iron Hands review are in the pipe. I like Space Marines now. All hail the checks notes God Emperor.

List Two – Drill Baby Drill

Army List - Click to Expand

Battalion – Raven Guard – 1358pts

Shrike – 130pts

Phobos Lieutenant (Gun Build), Relic – Ex Tenebris – 81

Troops

10 Intercessors w/bolt rifles, thunder hammer (Veterans) – 186

2×5 Infiltrators – 220

Elites

5x Centurion Assault Squad w/hurricane bolters – 260
(you can bump this up to 6 and shuffle other stuff if you aren’t playing ITC, taking 5 is to avoid handing over max Gangbusters)

Primaris Ancient – 69

Relic Contemptor w/ Las – 190

Heavy Support

3×3 Eliminators w/Instigator Bolt Carbine on Sergeant – 222

Battalion – Raven Guard – 641

Smash Captain, Warlord – The Imperium’s Sword, Master of the Trifold Path – Master of Ambush – 143

Librarian w/jump pack, force stave – 116

Troops

3×5 Sniper Scouts – 195

Heavy Support

Stalker – 95

Thunderfire Cannon – 92

2000pts Total, 10CP after spend.

This list makes use of what is probably the single best thing to push with the Master of Ambush power, which is Assault Centurions. The rest of the army forms a bit more of a static gunline, ideally wanting to camp on terrain in Shrike and the Lieutenant’s auras, throwing out a massive amount of sniper fire, backed up by a bit more solid anti tank from the Contemptor, and the powerful harassment shooting. Bringing two squads of Infiltrators lets you build a nice anti-deep strike bubble around this. Speaking of deep strike, the full squad of Veteran Intercessors goes in deep strike, ready to come out and bully something at a critical juncture. Finally, there’s a smash Captain. Use him wisely (or throw him straight at their juiciest target after his pre-game redeploy, you do you).

Final Thoughts

Raven Guard Repulsor Executioner

Raven Guard Repulsor Executioner. Credit: Dan Boyd

Of the supplements we’ve reviewed thus far, the Raven Guard probably took to grow on us, as it doesn’t have the in-your-face brute strength of some of the others, but as you dig in and see how it all fits together it becomes apparent just how potent this book is, especially attached to a very powerful chapter tactic. It’s also got some great tools for people looking to build out into Imperium armies, and we expect lots of experimentation with them in these as well. Given this book has literally made Wings buy some Space Marines, I think it’s fair to say it’s got a lot of potential, and we’re very excited to see what the community does with it.

As ever, if we’ve missed your favourite unit, included some howling rules error or if you just want to share pictures of your cool bird bois you can reach us at contact@goonhammer.com or via our Facebook Page.

 

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