Raven Guard formation rumors

Raven Guard might be getting some love in the new Space Marine codex.

While this blog has largely focused on my Knight, I’m a dyed-in-the-wool Space Marine player since day one with Rogue Trader. They’re my first love, and I’ve never NOT collected them even when I dabbled with other armies. Lately I’ve been all about Raven Guard, after they caught my attention in the last codex.

Speaking of which, there’s said to be a new Space Marines codex coming soon to finally update it to the 7th Edition 40K format. While that’s a bit shocking for some, I think it’s pretty exciting. Why, you may ask? Because it comes along with a rumor that Raven Guard is going to get its own Decurion-style detachment.

I don’t expect a lot of changes, but I’ll take anything I can get. I love the Raven Guard fluff, and my DIY chapter is a successor chapter so I use their Chapter Tactics when I game. More than that, though, I choose what to build and collect based around the fluff idea of a stealthy, tactical, hard-hitting army. Except the Land Raiders. They’re just fucking cool.

I already like scouts, Land Speeders, bikes, Stormtalons, and of course lots of jump pack Assault Marines and Vanguard Veterans.

So what are Raven Guard rumored to get, exactly?

The short answer is that we don’t yet know. According to Natfka, we’re pretty sure there will be a formation called “Raven Guard Strike Squadron,” for starts. The word Squadron is a bit problematic for me, as that could indicate something very small. As is often the case with rumors this early on, though, that could be a translation issue. I won’t sweat the name too much right now.

Not even knowing what’s in it, this will almost certainly be a must-include for me going forward. It’s very likely to contain some mix of all the units I’m already fielding, and have some perks and boosts to go with it.

I’m not expecting anything Necron-level, but I’ll take anything they’d like to give me.

I’d love to see scouts get a boost (maybe stateline boosts a la Eldar) as right now they’re super fluffropriate, but they don’t benefit from our Chapter Tactics. Beyond that, everything is gravy. Games Workshop is likely to make our formidable jump pack troops even stronger. Sweet! Maybe add some extra stealth/inflitrate options? Excellent: that’s one of our biggest advantages already. Will they balance it with a Scout ‘tax’ by requiring units like they’ve done with Necrons and Eldar? I’ve got two and one more in the box. Bring ’em on.

Other tweaks in the dex are likely to give us an edge as well. Another rumored change (though it doesn’t seem very likely) is the ability to add a Land Speeder to a bike squad. That would be really cool if you could add a LS Storm to a Scout Bike squad to boot, but I digress. I’d also like the ability to squad up Stormtalons since I have two, but no Stormravens (so I can’t take the Storm Wing detachment). This probably isn’t anything RG-specific but it would be nice.

Good old tactical squads are getting slightly cheaper, apparently. I’ve always liked tacticals, and in an RG army they a nice cool per in that they can redeploy 12″ if they’re in a rhino. That’s a big deal for board control, alpha strikes, or bait-and-switch deployment tricks. Sounds like Heavy Support vehicles are all gaining the ability to squad up as well, which is very likely based on what’s happened with recent codexes. I don’t care much about that but some SM players will love it.

Bottom line: don’t we all just want to be loved?

There are lots of folks who dog on Raven Guard Chapter Tactics as the weakest of the bunch. While guys like GreyCrow on Bolter and Chainsword have a lot to say about that, I have felt that we didn’t get as much love as some of the other chapters even though our style is a bit different. Turns out the other big rumored detachment is for White Scars, arguably the least favored of any first-founding chapter. While they are widely counts-as subbed because of their strong Chapter Tactics right now, I almost never see an army actually painted as them or their successors. Maybe giving special attention to two of the least popular chapters indicates we might get some more fluff love, but I’m not holding my breath for that.

One downside of getting detachments in the main codex is that it makes it seem less likely we’ll get our own supplemental codex anytime soon.

I can live with that, I suppose. I’m just excited that my favorite chapter is getting anything at all. Even if half these rumors are false, it seems like Raven Guard are getting SOMETHING at least.

Edit: the rumors keep coming

We’ve now heard rumors about a ‘vanilla’ Assault Marine box in the style of the new Tacticals. I’m pretty excited about this, but I haven’t heard anything about them including Raven Guard bits. I’m totally fine with that. The real news, though, is that there are said to be TONS of new Space Marine formations in the new codex, coming out in the next few weeks. They include ‘Decurion-style’ formations for various tactical focuses like Assault or Mechanized forces. This could be really interesting when combined with Chapter Tactics. So, for example, Raven Guard retain their buffs for using jump packs in both the movement and charge phases to move 12″ and re-roll charge distances. Plus, we’d still get the re-roll on Hammer of Wrath (which, as the math shows, is VERY strong). On top of that, if we take an assault-focused tactical discipline and get the rumored-to-be-required Scout squad (like I said, I’m taking them anyway) and then 1-3 jump troops of either the Assault or Vanguard Veteran variety, we might get other boosts to our melee effectiveness on top of them.

I think it’s very unlikely that the new book will change statlines for existing weapons to make them more competitive. What is VERY likely is that they’ll add special rules to make the marines use them better. Let’s say you take a tactical focus for Devastators, and it gives them all the Tank Hunter USR. That right there would be a big boost. For assault, it could mean a WS bonus, improved HoW hits (maybe a Strength boost) or an extra attack, Furious Assault, etc. Sure, they may just have bolt pistols and chainswords, but they’ll use them better. That, to me, is the fluffiest way to make them truly viable and scary, as they should be.

By mixing Chapter Tactics with new formation buffs, marines might be fluffier than ever. Tacticals could be more flexible, Devastators might have a little more punch, and Assault Marines might be more than a tarpit.

Oh, one other thing… And this is a salty rumor… The new Assault kit is said to include multiple pistol options including grav pistols. Whether this means you can get two grav pistols per full squad like you can with flamers and plasma pistols currently, or if ALL members can have specialty pistols, is not clear. Could be expensive, but potentially deadly. I’m also curious if you can run them as gunslingers with two pistols as you can on Vanguard. While this is a bit of a waste with Raven Guard who want to charge, other chapters might make deadly use of fast infantry that can bring on tons of grav shots. Time will tell.

What do you guys and gals think? Are you excited, baffled or irritated with the latest set of rumors?