Contained herein are the secrets of the Ravenwing, their tactics and strategies. Known across the Imperium as the finest fast attack force humanity fields, the Masters of the Ravenwing earn their glory as they pursue their Chapter's redemption. If you desire to swamp your enemies with hordes of troops, if you believe that static defenses are the key to the destruction of one's enemies, if you believe that honor is more important than victory, the Ravenwing are not the army from you. But if mobility and flexibility entice you, if using an "inferior" force to destroy your enemies brings a smile to your face, and if the quest for redemption calls your name, then read on, and learn why the Ravenwing are among the Emperor's elite.
Success with the Ravenwing comes in three stages: army construction, pre-battle preparation, and battlefield tactics. We shall begin with the first, the construction of an effective, devastating army list. As a fledging Master of the Ravenwing, your choices are limited to land speeders, bikes, and attack bikes. But within these choices, there is room for flexibility and customization. Battles can rarely be won by army construction, but they can easily be lost. This is a constant theme with the Ravenwing, as they are a very unforgiving army. Mistakes that might only hinder another army will prove fatal to the Ravenwing, so it behooves you to consider carefully all components of fielding an army.
Doctrinae Ravenwing Unit Review
The HQ units available to the Ravenwing are limited to three: The Master of the Ravenwing, an Interrogator-Chaplain on a bike, or a Librarian on a bike. We shall examine all three.
The Master of the Ravenwing:
"That information is strictly need-to-know, and you don't need to know."
BS5 and twin-linked means that he'll almost always hit what he shoots at. The Raven Sword is useful for
picking off single lynchpin models, the Shroud of Night gives him amazing survivability, and the All-Seeing Eye increases the effectiveness of the rest of your army. You have to take him, so going over his pros and cons is relatively meaningless at this stage. On to the optional choices:
The Interrogator-Chaplain on a bike:
"Let us have a pleasant conversation"
WS 5, I 5, and a free power weapon and 4+ invulnerable save! When economy is the word, the
Interrogator-Chaplain is definitely the way to go. At 125 points for a hard-hitting HTH monster, the
Interrogator-Chaplain is in some ways a steal. He can shore up a faltering line, stiffen a unit's resolve, and devastate his opponents in HTH combat. That being said, 125 points is a significant amount of points. At 1000-1500 points, he costs roughly 10% of your army's total points. When combined with the Master of the Ravenwing, that comes to 380 points, a significant sum.
The Librarian on a bike:
"Fear is the Mind-Killer"
At first glance, the Librarian on a bike appears to be an inferior choice when compared to the interrogator chaplain. To get the same effect in HTH, a Librarian costs almost 40 points extra. As Ravenwing units are among the most expensive in the game, this may seem a nonviable option. Yet, it is important not to overlook the Librarian's greatest strength: Weaken Resolve. Judicious use of this psyker power allows entire enemy units to be destroyed relatively easily, and with little risk to your precious bikes and speeders. Few things are as demoralizing to your opponents as watching units that have suffered relatively few casualties die to cross-fires. The Librarian has the ability to force enemy units to fall back almost at will, and Ravenwing land speeders have the speed to position themselves for the crossfire.
The Master's Bodyguard:
"We give our lives for the greater good"
There are three choices here: bikes, regular land speeders, or land speeder tornadoes. Though a bike squadron is allowed by the Codex, and the additional models may be tempting, a bodyguard squadron of bikes is an inferior choice. By attaching bikes to the Master of the Ravenwing, you give up the ability of those bikes to assault, you give up the ability of the Master to move 24", and you give up the ability to stand off at over 24" and shoot effectively. Any prospective Masters of the Ravenwing who still wish to field bikes as a bodyguard for themselves should be escorted to the Rock for re-education and interrogation. Land Speeders and Land Speeder Tornados are the only other choice, and each has its advantages. Standard landspeeders, armed with only a heavy bolter, are the cheapest option. Its major disadvantage lies in its lack of a secondary weapon, which can prove a hindrance at times. In addition, the Master of the Ravenwing is armed with a twin-linked assault cannon, which can be a credible threat to many vehicles, while heavy bolters require a bit of luck to damage those same vehicles. Tornados are slightly more expensive, but have the advantage of matching the Master's weapons loadout. This can make a for a squadron that can lay down a punishing barrage of fire. Even marine armor can be brought down by the sheer volume of heavy bolter and assault cannon shots that a Master and tornado bodyguard can unleash. What then should the aspiring Master of the Ravenwing choose as escorts? The answer may surprise you.
Standard land speeders.
Although you give up a measure of potential damage, placing Tornados in a squadron with the Master provides a large, tempting target for the enemy. A canny enemy will concentrate its fire on the Master and his bodyguard, and with good reason. After all, given the choice between shooting a regular land speeder, or shooting a trio of landspeeders, each better armed and deadlier, a wise opponent will concentrate all available multi-shot, medium strength weapons at them. Enough heavy bolters, scatter lasers, and autocannons will bring down a speeder, and a Ravenwing commander is under no obligation to make an opponent's decisions easier.
HQ Summary: What should an aspiring Ravenwing commander choose? The answer depends to a large amount on the size of the army being constructed.
At 1000 points, the Interrogator-chaplain and the librarian are simply too expensive. For the cost of 1
character, approximately 3 additional bikes can be purchased, and at 1000 points, this can mean increasing the size of your Ravenwing force by nearly 25%. A bodyguard for the master is also superfluous at this size; remember that the Master can join an independent Land Speeder or Land Speeder squadron, and can separate from it as the situation requires.
At 1500 points, a second character is definitely a viable option. The choice depends largely on playing style for sheer HTH nastiness, the Interrogator Chaplain is a hands-down choice, while the Librarian's special abilities can act as a serious force multiplier. Personally, at 1500 points or greater, I consider my librarian to be an essential part of my Ravenwing force, but other commanders have reported success without him.
At 1700 points or greater, I would consider a second character a necessity, as well as a bodyguard squadron for the Master. At this point level, the points spent on these secondary HQ units is a much smaller percentage of your overall force, and the boost in effectiveness is needed to match the quantity of the opponents you will face.
Your army is elite, and has no Elite choices. Rejoice in the fact that your decisions in this area are easily made. Move on.