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Submitted By: Date: June 15, 2006, 05:44:17 AM Views: 2665
Summary: Raveners in 3rd edition were dismissed as expensive cc units that simply could not make up their points because, despite their speed, would usually not make it into a cc. The new synapse rules and the ability to deep strike, as well as the addition of new weapon choices have forced players to reconsider raveners which, let’s face it, are damn cool models.

However, it is undeniable that raveners remain expensive – so where do they fit in? The best way to understand what they do best is by comparing them to other elements of the tyranid list that perform similar functions.


Raveners vs. Leaping Warriors:

 Fleet, able to deep strike and, if given rending claws, more effective than said warriors, especially as enemy saves get better. With comparable stats, they are almost identical in cost. In other words, the reason to have a ‘pumped up’ cc warrior over taking a ravener is the synapse ability – by no means negligible, and the ability to increase one’s save to 4+.

Raveners vs. Hormagaunts:

The easiest comparison to make, as they are identical in speed (although raveners can deep strike) – raveners prove themselves considerably better than an even pts of hormaguants in close combat. This is further proof that hormaguants are not designed to win your ccs, but to, as stated in the article by Jaedenkaal – initiate ccs and act as ‘undergrowth/shock troops/combat shields’. Raveners, however, are easier to kill (half as many wounds as an even pts squad of hormaguants and vulnerable to being insta-kill), and are by no means an effective replacement for properly used hormaguants.

Raveners vs Genestealers:

Genestealers are the tyranid kings of close combat – on an even pt basis, 2 genestealers will always out-perform a ravener in close combat in every possible scenario. This reaffirms that the role of the raveners, although they can perform efficiently in being ‘cc monsters’ is, rather, the ability to take maximum advantage of its ability to deep strike, it’s ability to wield a ranged weapon to considerable effect and it’s 12’’ charge.

Because of the inherent fragility of raveners, you must carefully judge every charge. 5 raveners charging 10 marines ‘selectively’ (Attempting to engage only 6ish) will, 76% of the time (if a force commander is present), remain in combat with the marines and finish them off in the opponents turn – an ideal situation. A quick turn of firing can annihilate your expensive squad of raveners, so play the odds at all times and choose your targets carefully. They must either be worth more points than you will loose by being in the open for a turn (vehicles, devastator squads, etc) or be likely to hold and die in the enemy assault phase rather than yours.

Raveners are present in small enough squads (manageable squads) that it is feasible and indeed necessary to engage only as many models as you are likely to kill. Clearing a nice 2’’ area around your raveners is an ideal way of ensuring they will survive the combat unscathed, and with the mobility of the ravener it is easy to set up an ideal charge (into just the right amount of models).

Finally – recall you can have broods of a single ravener. These can, surprisingly enough, prove to be superb table-capturers – landing late in the game and staying at a safe distance from most dangerous foes. This is especially true in armies that make use of many Rippers/Zoanthropes/a Broodlord (and are thus somewhat limited in their table capturing). Throughout the game they can also contribute to combats - adding, above all else - an additional cheap unit to chase down runners with it's I value of 5. If it helps you run down even a cheap squad of enemies, it's more than payed for it's points!

Weapon Options:

2 Scything Talons:

Essentially, besides looking slightly cooler – has no merit. Only 2pts cheaper than the alternative, it is considerably less effective against pretty much everything. If you are likely to face many foes against which it would be beneficial (very low armour), you are better off using leaping warriors w/+STR,+I,+WS and 2 sets of scything talons.

Rending Claws + Scything Talons:

The default setting – no reason not to take it.

Ranged Symbiotes:

[It is worth noting that not all raveners in a brood must have the same weapons. It is possible to ‘mix and match’, although the circumstances under which one would choose to do so are rare]


If you need them, and most armies do, they are better placed on warriors – as you are ‘loosing’ fewer attacks by forgoing a weapon that depends on the attacks characteristic of the host, the strength is higher, and the inability to fleet makes them perfect long range gun carriers. However, the presence of deathspitters (and other blast weapons) suits the ravener role superbly – spreading out the enemy troops (to avoid template) allowing for a perfect charge into just the right amount of enemies. It also adds some vehicle hunting capabilities and the additional range does give a touch more flexibility in choosing when to fleet and when to fire (and in targets on the turn you land), although the gun is not terribly efficient: Kills .11 marines per marine under the template.


There’s a reason this is the most expensive choice. The 18’’ range guarantees a large threat range, and 6 attacks are formidable. 1 Ravener will kill, on average, .55 marines (and even better against T3). The weapons are deadly, but be careful not to kill too many marines and leave yourself out of charge range (not often a concern – but keep an eye out for it) or breaking a foe a turn too early. Finally, remember that with only an 18’’ range, you will get one chance to fire at your target (before the charge). The 18’’ range does help on the turn you deep strike, however.


It’s limited range is not a very big loss as, if you fire before a charge, you will always be within 12’’ anyway. In addition, it adds some unessecary light-vehicle killing capacity. Against infantry, it proves less effective than a devourer (.375 Marines), and is somewhat better against 5+ sv targets. The reduced range can be a disadvantage on the deep strike, however – as you may not get off an initial volley. No very good reason to take this gun, unless you like the looks.

No gun:

Guns will rarely get off more than 1 volley (if that) unless you are deep striking - in which case you may get 2. Not having a gun is perfectly viable - as your role is primarily one of close combat and guns do little to add to that role (and can, in several cases - harm it by leaving you outside of charge range or annihilating a foe you would rather have stayed in cc with). Choose wisely when and what to fire. In fact - no gun will make up it's points in one volley, so guns are only worth their points if you can keep your raveners alive long enough to get in several 'gun assisted' charges.

Deep striking:

First of all, recall that raveners may only deep strike if the scenario rules allow – this means that you should (if playing in a tournament environment) allow for deployment with your regular troops. Secondly – recall that, being fleet, deep striking raveners that land somewhere inconvenient can reposition themselves by fleeting. Otherwise, deep-striking raveners are frequently given guns (usually devourers) to guarantee they will at least do ‘something’ (besides drawing fire).

Deep striking raveners are ideal to destroy rear-guard heavy support (Devastators, Non-skimmer tanks, obliterators, dark reapers) and frustrating ‘out of the way’ infiltrators (snipers etc). Recall, however, that outside of synapse range you not only have to take IB tests (on ld 10) but, more importantly, are vulnerable to being insta-killed. This is especially true on the turn you land, as you are unable to bury yourself into the relatively ‘safe’ environment of a close combat. A winged brood of warriors or infiltrating brood lord can be a great help - not only to tie up the potential 'shooty' threats, but to confer imunity to insta-kill to said brood.

Raveners deep striking have the mobility to return back to support the main body of the army as it closes into assault with the enemy’s front-line troops, so having them land far from support is not intrinsically suicidal.

In combination with a lictor, they can prove a devastation to all ‘behind front lines’ forces – taking out select vehicles, critical support troops etc.

Regular deployment:

When deprived of the ability to deep strike, guns become less relevant – as you are unlikely to fire more than once before your charge (forgoing a valuable fleet is usually not worth the shots). In this case Raveners are well suited to flushing out nearby infiltrators (and catching up with ‘the swarm’ in time to charge with the bigger creatures) or partaking in the initial charge with the hormaguants.

They are superb at jumping in ‘with’ the hormaguants and changing the outcome of the combats radically. A few raveners supporting some hormaguants make the first turn charge against any non-fearless front-line force a very likely 1-turn massacre. Although this can leave your troops exposed and near enemy support troops, this has the advantage of keeping the raveners in synapse range at all times and making for decisive combats. This strategy is a solid one – but recall that it leaves most of your non fleet/leaping close combat units effectively out of the fray and unable to join it.

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