Friday, December 18, 2015

Kauyon Review: Raven Guard Formations

Kauyon includes seven new Space Marine Formations. These can be used by Space Marines of any Chapter Tactics, but can't be part of a Gladius Strike Force. However, if you're playing Raven Guard, they do fit into the Talon Strike Force.

Pinion Battle Company

The Pinion Battle Demi-Company is very similar to the standard Battle Company, consisting of a Captain or Chaplain, an optional Command Squad, 3 Tactical squads, an Assault squad, and a Devastator squad. These options are much more limited than the standard Battle Demi-Company, as they don't include any of the bike, Land Speeder, or Centurion options. However, you are required to take 1-5 Scout squads or Scout Bike squads in addition to the standard Demi-Company squads, and these are integral to the function of the Pinion Demi-Company.

Wayfinders allows each Scout or Scout Bike squad to lead another squad from the Demi-Company in from reserve, using Outflank. You make a single reserve roll for each pair of units, and the squad being led onto the battlefield must enter within 9" of the Scouts leading them. The unit being led also gets Stealth for the the turn after it arrives. This gives your army a lot of mobility without the need for transports. Outflanking Tactical squads can bring their bolters to bear on vulnerable enemy targets much earlier, and an Outflanking Assault squad is much more likely to reach assault. Even Devastators can benefit from Outflank when armed with short range weapons like grav-cannons and multi-meltas. This works exceptionally well in the Talon Strike Force, as your squads can start Outflanking first turn.

Scout Support allows your Scout Sergeants to give Ignores Cover to another unit from this Formation within 9" each Shooting Phase. As I mentioned in the White Scars review, Ignores Cover is both a tremendously powerful rule and a rarity in the Space Marine Codex. Since any squads you Outflank will have to be close to the Scout unit that led them onto the table, you should have no problem passing out Ignores Cover to any squad that needs it.

Shadowstrike Kill Team

The Shadowstrike Kill Team consists of 2-4 Scout Squads and 1-3 Vanguard Veteran Squads equipped with jump packs. The Formation comes with two rules that benefit the Vanguard Veterans. On Time allows you to choose to pass or fail any reserve rolls for them, so you can always choose to have them deep strike first turn in a Talon Strike Force. On Target allows the Vanguard Veterans to charge on the turn they arrive from Deep Strike, and prevents them from scattering as long as they are placed within 9" of at least 2 Scout squads from this Formation. As long as you can get your Scouts close to the enemy, you can reliably assault them out of deep strike.

The Shadowstrike Kill Team adds a ton of reliability to the otherwise strong but unreliable Vanguard Veterans. Any Space Marine army can take it with a good chance of getting their Vanguard Veterans into assault on Turn 2. This gets even better if it's part of a Talon Strike Force, as you should be able to assault Turn 1, before your opponent has much of a chance to kill off your Scouts and limit your options. Either way, the Scouts are a relatively small tax to make your Vanguard Veterans so much better.

Bladewing Assault Brotherhood

Do you like Assault squads? Mad that Blood Angels no longer can take them as Troops? Then the Bladewing Assault Brotherhood is the answer to your prayers. Consisting of a Captain or Chaplain, 1-3 Vanguard Veteran squads, and 2-4 Assault squads, all equipped with jump packs and totaling no more than 30 models. This is because all of the models in this Formation are deployed via Thunderhawk. All units from this Formation that are in reserve arrive on a single reserve roll. When they arrive, you can draw a line between two opposite table edges representing the Thunderhawk's flight path. All of the units must Deep Strike somewhere along that line, but get to re-roll their scatter dice.

On wings of Fire allows the Formation to leave the table and get back into the Thunderhawk once per game. In your movement phase, all units from the Formation are removed from the table and placed in ongoing reserve, even if they were locked in assault.

The Bladewing Assault Brotherhood really doesn't bring any game changing rules, but operates in a very cool way. It sacrifices some flexibility in placement in exchange for more reliable deep strikes, which is a small benefit. In general, you won't want to take your Assault squads off the table once they reach combat, as it's pretty hard to get them there in the first place. However, it could be useful to free up engaged units for late turn objective grabs. They won't get back into assault, but they can drop onto unsecured objectives and win you the game that way.

Skyhammer Orbital Strike Force

The Skyhammer Orbital Strike Force is designed to pick a point on the battlefield and secure it. It consists of 3 Tactical squads in Drop Pods and 1-3 units of Land Speeders. At the beginning of your first turn, you pick a point anywhere on the battlefield. Dropsite Clearance means that Drop Pods from this Formation only scatter D6" if they drop within 12" of the chosen point, and units from the Formation re-roll to hit and to wound rolls of 1 against enemies within 12" of the chosen point. Shock Assault allows Tactical squads from this Formation to run then shoot when they disembark from their Drop Pods.

This is a pretty straightforward Formation. It picks an important part of the battlefield, drops in, and hits any enemy units there pretty hard. Between the scatter mitigation and the ability to run and shoot, you should be able to get the squads exactly where you want them. The Land Speeders seem like a needless add on, as they don't benefit from any part of the Formation's rules except the re-rolls against enemy units in the drop zone. I would take the minimum single Land Speeder, and concentrate on using the Tactical squads to their full extent.

Ravenhawk Assault Group

The Ravenhawk Assault Group allows you to place a lot of concentrated power on the table. It consists of a Sternguard squad and a Dreadnought, Venerable Dreadnought, or Ironclad Dreadnought riding in a Stormraven. Vertical Insertion allows the Stormraven to deep strike, counting as hovering when it lands. This allows the units on it to disembark immediately and fire to full effect, though they can't assault. Targeted Strike allows you to pick an enemy unit when this Formation is placed on the table; the whole Ravenhawk Assault Group gets to re-roll to hit rolls against that unit for the rest of the battle.

The Ravenhawk Assault Group allows you to apply a lot of pressure to a single enemy unit, but it reduces the Stormraven to a heavily armed Drop Pod. It can certainly work, but don't expect the Stormraven to survive long after it lands.

Raptor Wing

The Raptor Wing contains a unit of Land Speeders and 2 Stormtalon Gunships. Incoming Support guarantees that the Stormtalons will arrive on Turn 2, which is exceptionally handy. Priority Target Received allows one Land Speeder to nominate an enemy unit within 18" each shooting phase. The Stormtalons get to re-roll failed to wound or armor penetration rolls against that target until it's destroyed or the Land Speeder designates a new target.

The Raptor Wing is an exceptionally useful Formation. It's a much cheaper alternative to the Stormwing since it doesn't require a Stormraven, and the benefits are far better than the Stormwing's. Not only will your Stormtalons always show up on time, but they get re-rolls against a chosen target. The Raptor Wing is a great choice for any Space Marine army, regardless of Chapter Tactics.

Shadow Force

 The Shadow Force is the Formation from the Shadow Force Solaq boxed set, so it's composed of that somewhat mismatched group of units. It contains a Captain, Sternguard Squad, Vanguard squad, and a unit of Land Speeders. The units get Acute Senses, Move Through Cover, and Scout, as well as Swift Redeployment, which allows the units to re-roll the die for their run moves and the Land Speeders to move an additional 6" when going Flat Out.

I'm really not sure what you're supposed to do with this Formation. The rules are okay, but nothing special on the table and certainly not well themed. If you're taking this for the Campaign Missions that require it, great. Beyond that, I don't know why you'd field it.

1 comment:

  1. Might be worth noting that you can take the Ravenhawk Assault Group and simply start the Sternguard and/or dread on the table at the start of the game. I play Raptors, and infiltrate the sternies with Lias and use the formation bonus to assassinate a threat T1. I also pod in the dread simply because it doesn't say anywhere that I cant (and it gives me the extra pod)


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