Tuesday, May 14, 2013

DA + IG 2000 points

I've been toying for a long time with the idea of a Ravenwing army, and actually using it as motivation to paint the 30+ bikers I'd need for it. Right now I'm only down to 7~8 but hopefully I will speed things up this summer. The first thing that comes to mind is that is beautiful, themed army. The second is that it is quite limited from a gaming standpoint, and this is why I'm striving to fix.

Having never played biker armies, my impression is that the tactics are rather one-dimensional (move up and shoot?), with the occasional outflanking depending on the mission and opponent. I also find the backfield scoring a cause for concern, and leaving a combat squadded tactical unit behind doesn't do much for the army does it? it will not shoot much, if anything at all, and if someone gets close they will die rather quick. And last but not least, flyers. Highly mobile twin-linked plasma talons can be a lever, as it is stealing the opponents quad-gun, but I'd feel more confortable with something more reliable. All in all I think a good way to erase this concerns is looking for allies, and unsurprisingly, IG can help in all 3 points. Let's get to it.

A 30-40 man blob is affordable enough and can dish out some S7 love, perfect to crack light transports for the bikers to shoot down its contents. Hiding behind the Aegis are resistant enough with the 2+ save from GTG and then ordered Back to fight!, and armed with some flamers and a power axe or two are a bit more resilient to assaults than a tacticals. Not by much, but enough. This of course doesn't make a blob but is richer tactically - I can have 1 or 4 scoring units, embark a PCS with 4 flamers in a Vendetta for a turn 5 objective clean up and hopefully attract some bullets from the bikers. The ubiquotous Vendetta is a must, and a Manticore is effective as always.

Not in unless you bring a bike!
On the Ravenwing side, obviously we need to make the bikers scoring and I'm leaning towards Sammael for a few reasons. The first and obvious is that he unlocks the RW command squad, without requiring a biker Libby to do that. The second is to tank some wounds in the command squad, and the third is that it has a very long movement range so I can use him to deny objectives in the late game. OK there is another reason, and is that I absolutely love his model - the jetbike is beautiful and tremendously characterful for this army. Azrael has his merits and could very well be leading a blob of death; my impression is that Azrael can potentially make this army stronger but I'd like to keep the Ravenwing theme stronger. Play testing will determine the winner, as soon as I finish all those bikers.

The aforementioned command squad is the lynchpin of the army, carrying the standard of devastation that gives 4 twin-linked bolter shots to every biker. Combined with the grenade launcher it will make mince meat to most foot units. Given I'm already spending a ton of points in this unit, I will pay the apothecary for the FNP. This unit should be having a 2+ or 3+ cover save most of the time, followed by a 5+ FNP. It's only 5 wounds (8 with Sammael) but hard to bring down, and meanwhile lets the scoring bikers live a little longer. If they survive past T3 when the bolter fiesta should be over, they can use their superior maneuvrability and plasma talons to support other units as needed. 8 TL plasma shots can reliably take down most things in this game.

Speaking of the Ravenwing, the core of the army would be 4 units of 6 bikers with meltaguns. Sammel, the plasma talons, manticore and vendetta provide enough Ap2 and I can torrent down Terminators and Sanguinary Guard with massed bolter fire; what this army needs is melta guns to crack those  transports open and ready to salvo to death its juicy contents.

The icing in the cake is a Darkshroud to provide Stealth to nearby units and help protect them in the early turns.

So to recap this is the list


1x RW Command Squad
5 Black Knights including RW Champion (<--5 points to make precision shots and a EW? sold), Apothecary and Standard of Devastation

4x Ravenwing Attack Squads
6x Bikers, 3 squads have 2x meltaguns

1x Darkshroud

IG allies:

CCS, 3 meltaguns (<-- to shoot down drop podded dreads, monoliths or any other heavy armour that gets too close)

PCS, 4 flamers (<-- rides in Vendetta or stays back to protect the platoon)
3x Infantry Squads, 2x Autocannons, 2x Flamers

ADL with Quad-Gun

It's an army to likes to go first, turbo-boosting to get a 2++ cover save on the command squad/Darkshroud and 3++ on the bikes. The infantry platoon stays on home objectives and the manticore goes after high toughness/AV objectives. The RW grenade launcher can reduce the toughness of many nasty units to 5 (Wraiths and the like), making them susceptible to insta-death.

The worst match-ups that I can foresee would be going second against very shooty armies like Venom-spams or Tau / IG gunlines. The bikes should be deployed either out of LOS or range, and  reserved / outflanked if I can't protect them reliably.

Flyers... well I have decent AA. Not nearly enough to counter flyer-heavy armies but hopefully we'll be seeing less of those as more AA options are made available. And if come across 6 Scythes, well, at least I will enjoy a fun T1 :)

Not the most competitive of armies but something I'm really keen on fielding. I would appreciate feedback while I'm painting / building this army - any blatant weaknesses or suggestions for improvements?

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