Monday, January 14, 2013

Ravenwing Black Knights - Deathstar extraordinaire?

Heya all, and welcome back to the webway.

Today I would like to talk about a certain unit from the Dark Angels codex; The Black Knights.

Fluffwise, they are a souped-up Ravenwing bike squad. Gamewise, they are potentially a nasty deathstar.

In order to understand why this unit is a deathstar you will have to see what a certain wargear does; The Ravenwing Grenade Launcher. The Ravenwing Grenade Launcher is essentially 4 weapons rolled into one; with the option to fire either a frag grenade shot, a krak grenade shot, a Rad grenade shot, or a Stasis grenade shot. The first two are essentially Guardsmen grenade launchers with rapid fire slapped onto them, but the last two will be the one we will be talking about.

Both of these are assault 1 blast weapons, with the Rad grenade shot being Str 3 while the Stasis being Str -. Despite their apparent mediocre wounding (in the case of the statis, very bad wounding), the main effect of these shots kicks off if you hit with them. The Rad grenade is similar to the Grey Knights book that it reduces the toughness of the models that were hit by the grenade, and it could affect instant death. The Statis grenade on the other hand is similar to that Tyranid power, that it reduces the Weapon Skill and Initiative of the models that were hit by the grenade. Even though they only reduce the characteristic by one, but the fact still remains that they can stack and thus make a lot of units feeling really dumb about themselves.

Now that we know about the grenades, we now need to look at what the Black Knights have in addition to these things. They are mostly armed with the Corvus hammmer, which is a +1 str Shred weapon with no AP. The weapon may be mediocre, but combined with the rad grenades you find yourself with a rather mighty weapon, and since it is a one handed weapon, you can use this in conjunction with the bolt pistol to give yourself a +1 attack. This combined with the Plasma Talons would usually make short work of anything that have to suffer their wrath. Last but not least, this unit is really fast and mobile, with the USR Hit and Run, Scouts, and Skilled Rider to boot.

Now that we have the pros, now we will have to go to the cons.

For one, they do not have any invulnerable saves. This could mean trouble especially when they are facing an unit that could withstand their attack and strike back with everything they have. Powerfists and Thunderhammers are big threats to this unit. In addition, they are not scoring which makes the investment on them really a question of how much points are you willing to spend on this unit while not weakening your scoring options. Thirdly they might be a victim of their own success and kill off whatever unit that they are assaulting and thus expose themselves to retaliatory firepower. Last but not least, Flyer armies will be a challenge for this unit.

The ways that I would actually improve this unit is actually a simple Darkshroud. Why is that you ask? With the Darkshroud, I could confer Stealth upon these crazy bastards and if they move they will get a 3+ cover saves when they move, and a 2+ when they turboboost. This would actually help them defend themselves from stupid nonsense such as an IG static defense line, and actually mash through an enemy unit. In order to make this combo into a spicy dish, I can always take two squads of 9 Black Knights with 3 Ravenwing Grenade Launchers with some scoring Deathwing and a Librarian on a bike with stuff from the Divination discipline to rock the house hard. Will anyone be crazy enough to try this? I sure believe so. Do they have the money to make such an army? I sure believe so too. Will this win games? Not necessarily.

Just a review for what is perhaps one of the best unit in the game right now.

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