Ravendove/Jay from LO here. You might recall I posed this same question to
Stelek a while ago but didn't really receive much feedback (he threw the
question to the community who didn't have much to offer) so I thought I
would see how you would approach it? Original email here:
What I don't want to do is just build a BA army and paint it black - I
want to retain the Raven Guard theme throughout the army. What are your
Hey dude, happy to help if I can.
I'm no expert when it comes to Raven Guard fluff, I'm more of a Dark Angels, Space Wolves, Alpha Legion type guy, but it's my understanding that the Raven Guard are all about precision strikes, usually with Scouts, Drop Pods, and jump packs. That and getting their butts kicked on Istvaan :P Not every Raven Guard player is a big fan of infiltrating TH/SS Terminators (noobs :P), so we'll see if there's greener (redder?) pastures in the Blood Angels book.
First off, to stick with the theme, there are a couple things I wouldn't want to include unless I really needed them. Fast vehicles are a no no, simply because Raven Guard don't have them. That seems a bit limiting, but considering the flexibility inherent in the Blood Angels Codex and the viability of non-mech coming out of it, this isn't as big a limitation as you'd think. Special Characters, by and large, are not kosher. You can make a case for Dante (no scatter DS and H&R? Sounds Raven Guardy to me!), normal Tycho (Rites of Battle ftw), Corbulo (super Apothecary, good for that unstable gene seed), and Seth (chaintalons), but Mephiston, Astoroth, Lemartes and DC Tycho just don't fit normally. I'd be leery of DC too, unless you wanted to do a post-Heresy army featuring the Weregyld or other genetic freaks. Sanguinary Guard are iffy but doable, consider them elite Assault Squads with super fancy claws or whatever. Sanguinary Priests are Apothecaries, so no problem there. Stormravens will hopefully be retconned into every chapter, so I'd have no problem with them (it's even got Raven in its name!). So, that's the ground rules.
If jump packs are your pleasure, Blood Angels are for you. Assault Squads as Troops, jump packers in every category except Heavy Support (which instead has a transport for jump packers!), Descent of Angels, Sanguinary Priests, and melta everywhere makes the all jump army not only possible, but quite viable. Raven Guard are all about precision strikes, and coming in on a re-rollable 4+ (75% chance of arriving) from turn 2 as well as only rolling D6" for scatter is about as precise as you can get.
Let's see how a jump packer list will work at 1500. First off, I want to rep my second best dingaroo buddy Kirby. Sorry Kirbs, Paul Hogan is my everything. He's put up an awesome array of Blood Angels goodness, particularly on jumper armies. In essence, a jump pack army needs to go full on jump packs so you focus your force where you need it and not give your opponent an army that is nice and compartmentalized so he can face one piece at a time with his full force.
So, 1500 jump packers.
Librarian w/ jump pack, Blood Lance, Shield of Sanguinius
Librarians are cheap and effective support HQs, the hood alone makes them worthwhile. Blood Lance will help on your drop by messing up enemy castle formations or just helping against tougher armor. Shield of Sanguinius is handy protection should you find yourself in a bad position due to scatter.
2 Sanguinary Priests w/ jump packs, infernus pistols
The FNP/FC bubble is essential for a jump pack army. On their own, even as Troops, Assault Marines are still just basic marines in terms of damage output and survivability. FC/FNP makes all the difference in the world here. Infernus Pistols help you spread the melta loving wherever you need it.
3x Assault Squads - 10 marines, 2 meltaguns, Sergeant w/ powerfist
This is the meat of your army. 30 marines with jump packs, melta and powerfists should be capable of handling anything that comes their way, and with DoA and Combat Squads they can be pretty much anywhere you need them to be when you need them. Drop in melta range to vape an important tank, split up and cap objectives, sacrifice meltas for the rest of your force, and so on.
2x 5 Vanguard Veterans, powerfist, 2 single LCs, 2 storm shields
While you can bring lots of melta down turn 2, you are still vulnerable to getting assaulted or blocked by bubblewrap. Vanguard allow you to bypass that altogether and get into assault straight away. They can pop bubblewrap, tie down problem units, or finish off units that have just been recently evicted from their transports by all the melta.
So, all told, that's 1500 points exactly. While it doesn't have Drop Pods or Scouts, it is big on the precision and jump packing. A DoA army is much better off than a Podding force due to minimizing the downsides of reserves and deep striking, namely unpredictability, while maximizing the effect of its first strike. Very few armies can reliably stay off the board for more than 1 turn (Eldar with Autarchs and not much else), so you will always get the drop on them, unlike Podding armies that are easily thwarted by intelligent use of reserves.
Now, that may seem a bit too Blood Angely for you, which is understandable. Not much differentiates this army from Raven Guard beyond a paint job.
Here's something that might be a big fluffier, though it may not be as optimized. Some times you just have to go for style points.
Captain w/ dual lightning claws, jump pack
Honor Guard w/ jump packs, 3 meltaguns, powerfist
Shrike and his wing, w00t!
2x Librarian Furioso Dreadnoughts w/ Blood Lance, Shield of Sanguinius, Magna-Grapple, Drop Pod
What? I'm sure a First Founding Legion has a couple of these lying around. Nobody outside of the Chapter knows about them because them Raven Guard is so sneaky. Drop in, Lance or smoke it up, then proceed to RIP AND TEAR. AV13 is difficult to pop for most weapons, especially when smoked.
2x Assault Squads - 10 marines, 2 meltaguns, powerfist
Where have I seen that before?
10 Tactical Marines, multi-melta, flamer, Drop Pod
Gotta have that 3rd Pod, also a cheap scoring unit
Also 1500. So, we lose out on a bit of the alpha strike and VV in favor of fluff'n'stuff as well as a more wave-ish approach. Normally I wouldn't recommend, but Librarian Dreads are pretty tough to pop, so they can start the party with the assurance that most of your jump packs should arrive in short order. The Captain and HG is more for fluff that anything else, but a normal Librarian, Sanguinary Priests and Scouts are an option, I just like Shrike.
Now, these are far from definitive, but hopefully they can give you some ideas. Blood Angels have a lot of options, even if you cut out a good chunk of the Codex, so you've got plenty to work with to make your Raven Guard play how you like.
I think if you want to Pod or use Scouts, Vanilla marines will serve you better. Yes, their Assault Marines tend to fail, but Dropping a bunch of Ironclads backed by Shrike and his unit as well as Scouts can put a lot of hurt on your opponent's doorstep early, with extra Pods and Speeders running in reserve to support as needed. Fleet is also totally awesome. Blood Angels are more focused on their reliable and awesome jumpers, fast mech, and funky stuff like Stormravens. They both work well, so it's really up to you to figure out what you want out of your army and pick the Codex that best fits it.
Hope that helps.