Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Dark Angels Analysis - Ravenwing Attack Squadron

Having got about 8 hours sleep over the last 2 nights and with a full day of lectures coming up tomorrow I feel awful. But there's blogging to be done as we come to the penultimate Fast Attack choice. I would write about things that I've been up to, but I haven't done anything.

Anyway. Ravenwing Attack Squadron.

A single bike is almost double the cost of a tactical marine, and for that you get +1 toughness, a Bike, scout and hit and run. This is irrelevant, as unless they're Troops, there is no reason to compare them to tactical marines. You can take up to 6 bikers in a squad.

Rattling through the upgrades first. Pointless upgrade of the day. You can swap your Bolt Pistol for a Chainsword. There is no difference between the 2 other than the Bolt Pistol can shoot, albeit not very well but at least it can do it. Skipping right over that.

You can then give them special weapons just like a tac squad, for the same points as a tac squad has access to them. You can upgrade your Sergeant to have +1 attack and LD for over 1/3 of the cost of another Bike. I'd say that this is worth doing, your squad is pretty expensive and although you have 'and they shall know no fear', you still run a maximum of 18” when you fail a leadership check, which is a long way.

Leave the sergeant equipment alone. You may want to consider Melta Bombs depending upon what you're doing with them.

Now, you can include an attack bike for 10pts less than a Land Speeder, and upgrade its Heavy Bolter to a Multi Melta for the same number of points. You can also put a Land Speeder in the squad if you've maxed out which is a bit weird.

As for how to use them. You may have noticed from a few of my previous posts that I'll say, if in doubt slap some Melta on it, shove it in your opponent's face and call it a day. Today is no exception.

The Attack Bike either comes with a Heavy Bolter or a Multi-Melta. I probably wouldn't pay almost 50pts just for a Heavy Bolter and for no other reason (at least the Heavy Bolter armed Speeders screen for the heavier stuff). Therefore, the only reason to take it is to stick a Multi-Melta to it and ram it down your opponent's throat. For less than 150pts I can get a 5 wound T5 bike unit with a Meltagun and a Multi-Melta.

The only problem is again that we're not really seeing that many vehicles, we're only really seeing Battle Tanks (which are bubble wrapped), and flyers (which you hit on 6s with your 2 shots). The Multi-Melta might be able to get those Battle Tanks but the Meltagun is unlikely to. So I'm not sure if this is valid.

As for the Speeder, in order to make it worthwhile you'll probably want a Typhoon Missile Launcher on that thing whilst your Bikes take the hits. The problem is that a lot of the Bikes durability is based on moving around. Missiles don't care if you have Bikes just sitting around with no cover save. Therefore you'll need to move around. In order to Turbo-Boost to get your save, you want be firing the Typhoon, which is a waste. Bikes do their damage by Turbo-Boosting to keep themselves alive before doing damage when they get in close.

However, as Bikes, you can't expect them to cause the most damage in the world. Where there unique selling point lies is in their speed, and the T5 helps too. Bikers are an excellent unit for 2 things. Linebreaker and objective contesting. With Linebreaker you can have an 80pt unit sat in your opponent's deployment zone with T5 and a 4+ cover save with a 3+ armour. Often at that stage of the game your opponent has other targets to prioritise, so they may ignore them in the hope that they will hold on to enough points to win anyway.

Objective contesting is another big one. By turn 4 you should have been able to position your Bikes in cover to get in range of an objective. It doesn't matter if you have to take dangerous terrain, you'll still get your armour save anyway. But remember, so long as there isn't a Power Fist in the claiming squad then you'll be fine, as most of the time your opponent will need 4s to hit you and 5s to wound, followed by your save. Then you have the 12” move followed by a 2D6” charge with a re-roll. You're probably going to get in.

If you're Troops or playing the Scouring then you may even claim it, although I doubt that you'll do enough damage to push the opposing unit off entirely. Remember that you also have hit and run, so you can leave the combat at the end of your opponent's Assault phase, soften the enemy squad up a little more with shooting and then charge back in again against a weakened squad.

So, in conclusion with the Ravenwing Attack Squadron. This unit isn't for flying into your opponent's army and causing havoc, it doesn't churn out an obscene amount of damage, but it is a very useful little unit.

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