Monday, 28 January 2013

Dark Angels Analysis - Ravenwing Darkshroud

Again, sorry that I missed yesterday's post. I was going to do it in the evening but ended up going out.

I haven't done anything hobby related in that time. I'm preparing to go down to the Oxford Gaming Club tonight and my home club, Steel City Wargaming in Sheffield has some exciting things going on. It is opening a new club night in Rotherham soon and it's in the process of selecting a team, so I'm naturally sticking my nose in, as I feel that I have a fair shot at the top team (I'm getting cocky).

But enough of that, we have another shiny new model to get through. The Ravenwing Darkshroud.

On the surface, it is essentially a Land Speeder that costs just under 100pts, 30pts more than a regular Speeder. It has the Heavy Bolter on the front and it comes with Deep Strike, as you'd expect. It then comes with 4 additional special rules: Icon of Old Caliban, Scout, Shroud of Angels, and Stealth.

This is another one of those units that has a tonne of synergy with other units. What immediately springs to mind are the Ravenwing. Shroud of Angels gives everything within 6” Stealth, and the Darkshroud Shrouded, so Turbo-boosting bikes get a 3+ cover save, pretty nice, at 12” all units also get +1 to their charge range, and with the re-roll you're unlikely to miss a charge.

It does have scout, so it can move up with the Ravening Bikes at the start of the game, I'll come on to how useful this is in their post. And then it has stealth, giving it a 4+ Jink save. Adding that the Shrouded generated from the Shroud of Angels and now you have a 2+ Jink save. Really useful on a 10 armour 2 Hull point vehicle.

The final option for the Darkshroud is to take an Assault Cannon, making it 100pts on the nose. This isn't a worthwhile upgrade for a few reasons. The first is that it's not designed to be a firebase, it's priority is enhancing nearby units. Secondly, it's an extremely light vehicle, and anything that would increase it's points cost or make it a bigger target is not something that's worth taking, as it'll just die faster.

In essence, the Darkshroud is pretty durable due entirely to that 2+ cover save. The only problem is that it only has a 6” radius bubble, so in order to continue to be effective it will have to get close, and the moment that it does that it's going to get charged and now you're in trouble.

To be honest though, that doesn't really matter. The Darkshroud is used for getting your Bikers into rapid-fire range, and unleashing a load of shots. I haven't really looked at the Bikers yet, but what the Darkshroud doesn't do is make them any more effective, it just makes them less susceptible to Missile fire. I may even be tempted to take a second Darkshroud, and is Stealth stacks upon Stealth you'll be getting a 2+ cover save on your Bikes.

The only problem with this is that you only get your cover save when you're not shooting. So you're essentially torn between staying alive and firing your weapons. A bit like the Storm Talon was in 5th edition.

You could possibly use the Darkshroud to escort a Bike unit upfield late game to capture linebreaker maybe, but the best use for this really would be to escort a close combat unit in, that way they are protected until they are hidden in a swirling melee.

The Darkshroud is best used with Bikes though, it keeps pace with them and the Stealth really works well with Turbo-boost, the only problem is the availability of strong, close combat Bike units in the Codex. At the minute I'm thinking Black Knights, but I haven't had a good enough look at them to make a call on them yet.

Overall, the Darkshroud is alright. It's pretty durable and it provides a variety of bonuses to nearby units. Whether it's worth its points though is dependant on how much it would help other units. As I said in the last post (or maybe the post before), this is a difficult Codex to break down.

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