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Play it Sam (Master of the Ravenwing tactica)
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Old 08 Jun 2007, 17:45   #1 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Play it Sam (Master of the Ravenwing tactica)

[size=14pt]The Master of the Ravenwing - On Jetbike[/size]

The Master of the Ravenwing, Sameal (henceforth referred to as Sam) is one of the most interesting parts of the new Dark Angels codex. I'm going to be discussing using him while mounted on a Jetbike. One of the first things you notice about him is his very hefty price tag. That's appropriate though because he's a very hefty model (seriously, I've only got him half assembled and I still have to take a deep breath before I pick him up). In a 1000 point army he eats up just over 20% of your total points cost, that's quite an investment for three wounds. Let me say this right now; he's worth it!

If you play a Ravenwing army he is required, because of the way he changes their allotments on the force org chart. In a Ravenwing army he's very useful as well; he adds a potent long range punch and a powerful counter charge unit that will keep up with the rest of the army. Please note however that just because you've taken Sam you don't need to play a Ravenwing force, or even include any Ravenwing units at all!
[size=12pt]
What does Sam bring to the table?
[/size]

The list of wargear and weapons that this guy carries is longer that the dress he wears into battle!
First up we'll look at his weapons. Most importantly he's got the raven sword. This potent weapon isn't game breaking, but combined with his healthy weapon skill and decent attack value Sam can be quite menacing to MEQ or lesser opponents, he'll struggle against monstrous creatures though. Of course, like all Dark Angels, Sam is fully equipped with a bolt pistol and not one, but TWO flavours of grenade, both green and red!

Next we've got his protective armaments, these are twofold. Firstly like all other Dark Angels Company masters Sam wears an Iron Halo. Having an invulnerable save keeps him alive a lot longer since itís dangerous for him to enter terrain to get a cover save and if Sam is hiding he's not shooting! I find the Iron Halo becomes particularly important in combat where it will save him from nasty things like power weapons and rending attacks! His "tough stuff" doesn't end there though. That cape that Sam wears ain't just to make him look pretty, its also an Adamantite Mantle which will protect him for the dreaded Instant Death. This is of paramount importance in the shooting phase when people direct things like Rokkits, lascannons and rail gun solid shells at him. If his force field doesn't protect him he'll just hide under his blanky until they go away. On top of those two fine items Sam, being an Astartes, of course wears the obligatory Power armour.

Finally we'll look at what makes Sam really special. It's not a crazy special rule or ability. Itís what's between his legs. His long hard mount. That's right Sam rides into battle atop the only remaining imperial Jetbike! What a bike it is! It adds to Sam both offensively and defensively. Firstly on the defensive side of things it gives Sam a toughness boost, which combined with his Halo and blanky make him harder to kill than some monstrous creatures! On the offensive side of things his Jetbike has twin-linked storm bolters, which are admittedly somewhat more impressive than the twin-linked bolters on a regular bike. More importantly though is the underbelly of his bike. That's where the PLASMA cannon is attached! That's right, a plasma cannon. Whenever Sam shoots this thing it either hits or it overheats, there's no halfway point!
[size=12pt]
So he's got everything but the kitchen sick. So what, how do I use him?
[/size]

Ahh now we're at the heart of the matter. While some of the Dark Angels might like you to think the key to using Sam well on the battlefield is some deep dark secret, it's not.

Using Sam is fairly straightforward. Most of this advice revolves around using him in a Ravenwing army, but it will apply equally well to how he interacts with those who let their dresses drag along the ground.

Sam's main role is to fill the gaps. He can get to where you need that extra bit of muscle and make his presence known. Start thinking about this as you deploy him. In a Ravenwing army he'll be one of the last units down which is good. Put him somewhere he can get to an enemy target, and keep in mind where your other bikes will be scouting too as you deploy him. Unlike those on the ground he cannot make a scout move so remain cognizant of this.

Most of the other Ravenwing will be ahead of Sam on that battlefield, but that's okay because he likes coming up the rear.

Let the other bikes get ahead of him, they have shorter range weapons and need to get closer. Use his plasma cannon to soften up targets that could counter attack you, or units you wish to assault on turn one.

Once the rest of your forces are in combat, or at close range use Sam to either relive the pressure by charging in to help out, or preemptively charging units that are getting ready to counter attack you.

Don't use turbo boost to advance, this is asking to die. After you've boosted you're left helpless, you can't shoot, you can't assault, all you can do is grin and hope you don't get pasted. A 3+ invulnerable save doesn't matter against 40+ pulse shots!
Quote:

Turbo Boost: A Note for all Ravenwing

Turbo Boost ain't a way of getting there. You've got your scout move for that. You want to advance with guns blazing. Turbo boost is how you get OUT of there. There's not shame in turning your tail and running (for a turn). Use your turbo boost moves sparingly and in order to get your forces out of line of sight out of striking distance of the enemy. Consolidate your strength and then renew the attack where they are weakest.
[size=12pt]Staying Alive[/size]

Sam is tough, but heís certainly not invincible. Oddly enough the stuff that scares him the most isnít the big, strong single attacks, its lots of little things that he has to worry about. Samís number one worry and cause of death on the battlefield will be mobs of infantry at close range. No matter what you do, donít let him get rapid fired. A couple tactical squads, fire warriors or dire avengers will be much more dangerous than the occasional stray las cannon shot. Remember a 3+ save only means you pass more than you fail, it doesnít mean youíll live forever.

To avoid squads like this the best piece of advice is stay more than 18Ē away, that way they canít reach you even if they move and rapid fire. However if theyíre more than 18Ē away you canít charge. Just be careful about how you move Sam, donít come within 18Ē until youíre ready to charge and hide behind terrain. Because Sam has a Jetbike he can ignore terrain while moving (donít forget he has to take a dangerous terrain test if he assaults through cover though). This means will let you set up great firing spots for him, where the only thing that can see him is what he shooting at. Meanwhile he can just fly over his barricade to launch an assault on the next turn.

When it comes to combat Sam is a bully and a vulture. The last thing you want to do is charge a full unit of combat specialists, or an unscathed troop unit with a buried power fist. Either break through his lines and hit dangerous but weak shooty units, like devastators or crisis suits, or focus some fire on the enemy unit before charging in to finish it off. Finally above all else, donít pick fights with monstrous creatures; Samís no good at that.
[size=12pt]
I'm going to score!
[/size]

One last final note about Sam. Unlike most HQ choices he is not an independent character. Some would regard this as a double edged sword, but personally I think it's the icing on the cake for this wonderful model.

Let's look at the pros and cons.

Cons

Can be targeted just like any other unit.
Does not get skilled rider.
Cannot join other units.

Pros

Is scoring.
Only gives up half his vps when he takes 2 wounds, not 3.
Is scoring.
Is scoring.

You'll notice I mentioned that he was a scoring unit thee times. That's because I'm so happy about it. It means that he can hide for most of the game quite easily, while still being a thorn in your opponents side and then do a last turn turbo boost move that IGNORES TERRAIN. He can use this move to grab or contest and objective at the last moment. I think this aspect of Sam really sums up the Ravenwing as a whole. Fast, sudden, deadly and unexpected.
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Old 08 Jun 2007, 17:49   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Play it Sam (Master of the Ravenwing tactica)

Interesting. But I would like to listen more about the Land speeder variant of Samael. The Land Speeder variant is also rather nifty as it is as far as I recall, the only model equilvalent to a flying Land Raider.

Just want to know more about the dude who never puts his foot on the ground.....:P
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Old 08 Jun 2007, 17:57   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Play it Sam (Master of the Ravenwing tactica)

Something to note. On his bike Sam is an independent character. He can only be targeted if he is the closest unit to the enemy. Steal a page from Chaos' book and have him move just 1" shorter than the biker line.
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Old 08 Jun 2007, 18:00   #4 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Re: Play it Sam (Master of the Ravenwing tactica)

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Originally Posted by 40kenthusiast
Something to note. On his bike Sam is an independent character. He can only be targeted if he is the closest unit to the enemy. Steal a page from Chaos' book and have him move just 1" shorter than the biker line.
Actually he's not! Take a look at the last paragraph I just added (had forgotten about it at first, d'oh!)
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My god.... the sarcasm there nearly shorted out my computer screen Nice.
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Old 08 Jun 2007, 19:40   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Play it Sam (Master of the Ravenwing tactica)

Quote:
Originally Posted by 40kenthusiast
Something to note. On his bike Sam is an independent character. He can only be targeted if he is the closest unit to the enemy. Steal a page from Chaos' book and have him move just 1" shorter than the biker line.
Falstead is correct, there is nothing in Sammael's profile that says he is an Independant Character, thus he is not. He operates as his own unit for all intents and purposes and this has a number of benefits and drawbacks. Namely he can be targeted which is bad, and he can't join squads. However it means he is a scoring unit and does not have those irritating IC rules for Close Combat. Combined with his Toughness 5 and Adamantine Mantle along with his Iron Halo and Artificer Armor he is one tough nut to crack.

Nice Tactica Falstead, have a cookie +1!
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Old 08 Jun 2007, 19:46   #6 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Re: Play it Sam (Master of the Ravenwing tactica)

;D MMM! Cookies. I loves me the cookies.

Thanks Vash, I hope everyone finds this useful.
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