Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Dark Angels in 6th Edition Part 2: Ravenwing

Old School here with the second part of my series on Dark Angels in 6th Edition. Once again, I am adding my thoughts so far. I am not trying to come down from the mountain, rather I am also looking for good feedback to help everyone. So let's get straight into it:

Ravenwing Units


I will start with my favorite, the cheap and useful Ravenwing Support Squadron. We still are restricted to one Typhoon craft per squadron and though the squadrons don't automatically lose an immobilised craft, I really don't see myself taking more than one speeder in a squadron.

The ability to take a jink save is nice and it has helped me fire more weapons than I did before, though snap shots can be a limiting factor if you move too far since I can't drop small blasts in snapfire. In general, I think I will use my guns the same way I did before - one at a time in most cases!

Beyond that, the hull points have made us a little less durable (you have no idea how often I would get glanced and just laugh it off in 5th) - so small arms fire from S4 weapons is a bigger deal than it ever was before. We are still cheap, mobile and carry a lot of guns, though, so I am still packing Typhoon speeders in my lists!

Sammy the Super Biker

Sammael is still the only choice for bikers as troops (outside of allies obviously) and with an extra FOC at 2000 points, you no longer have to juggle if you want to run scoring Deathwing with scoring Ravenwing. His true T5 now makes him more able to zip off on his own if need be and with jink, you may be able to take a gamble with any missiles or low AP weapons on the board. In general, I would keep him near a squad unless the opportunity presents itself to quickly hunt down a small scoring unit or (if he can score due to warlord abilities) take an objective himself. His initiative and sword will also keep you in the win for combat as he can challenge those powerfist Sgts and other low I characters. As with any biker unit though, he and any squad he sticks around really need to stay away from CC specialists.

As a speeder, Sammy is AV14 as before and still pumps out a lot of anti-infantry/ ant-transport fire. He will be harder to take down in some regards, but hull points have generally made him an easier target for the big guns, though Jink means he can move and still fire successfully, especially being twin-linked. I also don't know if he counts as a character for being on a speeder. If he does, precision shots may make him more useful in this form.

Now, that would be a nice squadron! Check out Anything but Ones

Ravenwing Bike Squads

The average Ravenwing bike squad is for all intents and purposes, the same as it was before. We are no longer jealous of other bikers who used to boost in the scout move, so that is sort of a feather in our cap. We did gain a further potential charge range and Hammer of Wrath, though I would caution you not to put a whole lot of weight behind that unless you are taking on units with bad armor saves or small squads like long fangs (in fact, I think our bikers are great for taking on fangs). We can also team up with Deathwing in assault against non-fearless units to push the combat resolution in our favor and potentially run down enemies out terminator brothers otherwise couldn't. Being fearless means we can stick in fights and allow our DW pals to charge in if the bikers survive. In general though, I would still keep our bikes out of combat if possible unless it offers us a significant advantage. That being said, I would probably take a power weapon on the Sgt just to challenge enemy Sgts, though the fist isn't necessary. I will try using them with or without power weapons.

Our real strength still comes from our mobility and shooting. Plasma bikers can really get into positions to hurt squads and ignore some of the ignorance associated with units that abuse Look Out Sir by placing tough ICs out front. Plasma will also glance more often, taking hull points and grounding vehicles better than it used to. You still have the potential to lose an expensive biker, but I want to play around with plasma bike a little more before I solitify my opinion on them.

That said, flamers are useful for hunting down snipers, who seem to be creeping up in my games. The melta is obviously a good choice too since the mobility and high AV vehicles are usually hard for dual wing or mostly DW forces. Don't forget though that a plasma squad can still hold a melta bomb with the Sgt, so melta guns may not be as necessary as they were. We will have to see where tanks and transports go in this edition as time progresses.
One other thing that used to hurt us in the last edition was the fact that fleet units and fleet MCs used to catch us and tear us apart. Fleet isn't what it used to be, which is a bonus to us and the ability to overwatch with either twin-linked weapons or with Plasma is a pretty good bonus.

My own attack bikes ... er, chariots!
Our attack bikes are still pretty good and while we still don't get them in squadrons, I will continue to add them to the bike units I take to the game. If I make allies, I will probably also take some attack bike squads for support.

I think pure Ravenwing would look cool, but likely functions best in support of Deathwing, but time will tell. 

There is a lot to say here for allies as well, but I will save that for a post on Dark Angels and Potential Allies. Again, feedback is appreciated!


  1. What PW have you been running them with? I have 2 squads built as 3x with 2x melta guns, but I have another 12 bikes in boxes currently, so I'm getting ready to expand the ravenwing for my DA. I'm still considering whether I want to do lances or maybe axes, or swords or many choices!

  2. I have just gone with the default sword so far, but I could play around with different types.

    1. One thing to consider is Lances for that bonus on the charge with our hit and run and skilled rider ^_^

  3. Old School,

    In 5th edition Sammy on jetbike practically had permanent toughness five thanks to his mantle. So he was definitely a beat stick and could take a power fist or a few rockets to the face without worry.

    Personally, I think the first turn charge was a gimmick that was unreliable and easily defeated. However, still being able to re-deploy is pretty awesome. I am personally thinking, if I do run ravenwing (though White Scars are the better bikers) I would probably max out on plasma guns and reserve the melta for the attack bikes and speeders.

    Also, the banner is worth considering as well on the command squad. You have 6 bikes. 1 attack base, 1 attack for charging, 1 for the banner, and 1 for hammer of wrath. 24 attacks is nothing to sneeze at when charging small units. Too bad you cant take more special weapons in that squad!

  4. Yeah, I didn't take into account the command squad because I have never had the bikes to go full Ravenwing, but that is a really good point. His squad could potentially be used for tougher fights.

    I am feeling exactly the same way about the plas-to-melta ratio, since we get a better melta platform and a better gun, we might as well take the plas. I plan to really run the bikers through the tests this week to see how they do and then I may come back with some more thoughts based on those games.

    1. Yeah the command squad is pretty sweet with the apothecary, scoring, and plasma guns.

      Let me know how the bikes preform for you, I am very interested in hearing your results.

  5. I thought sammael on a jetbike can't join a squad since he's not an independant character?

    1. He is not an independent character, therefore he can not join units.

    2. Yes NOT an IC and ergo cannot join a squad.
      Most ridicules failure in the entire DA codex.
      GW should be ashamed.