Hi, Ben here! I’ve just finished painting my Tyranid Raveners that I purchased a few weeks ago. I bought them to give my Tyranid force a faster-attacking option and have a unit that can pop up on the battlefield anywhere at any time. The models are really cool and satisfying to paint and are also a lot of fun to play on the battlefield. In this blog post, I will cover how I painted the Raveners in my black and white colour scheme along with how I plan to use these lightning fast beasts in my games of Warhammer 40,000.
The Ravener box contains the components to make three Tyranid Raveners. Each of them has their own unique pose with the Scything Talons and Rending Claws all separate so that you can position them how you feel looks the best. I wanted my Raveners to have some punch, so I gave them Rending Claws and Deathspitters so that they can do the maximum amount of damage when they pop up with their Death from Below special rule, which we’ll cover later in the tactics section of this post. The kit also comes with options to equip your Raveners with thorax Devourers, thorax Spinefists and an extra set of Scything Talons in case you want to run them at a cheaper points cost instead of having the Rending Claws.
My favourite part of the modes is their heads, as they are the focal points of the models, they’re what give the Raveners their character. The Ravener models are quite old now but I think they still look great in any Tyranid force. In the section below I will talk about the steps I went through to paint them in my black and white colour scheme.
PAINTING TYRANID RAVENERS
1. Painting the Chitin
The first step when painting my Tyranids is to undercoat them using Corax White spray. Doing this gives a great base colour when applying the first colour which is Screaming Skull. Screaming Skull is a layer paint, but when Corax White is applied beforehand it goes on quite evenly with just one coat. Once the first layer of Screaming Skull has dried I then down an all over wash of Nuln Oil, making sure that it goes evenly into all the recessed areas of the model. Once the Nuln Oil has dried I then do a dry brush of Screaming Skull just to brighten the base colour up again but still leaving the shading in the recesses.
Once the dry brush has been applied I then use a watered down Ceramite White and apply it to all of the raised areas of the model. If the white isn’t coming through bright enough I then add another watered down layer of Ceramite White. Once the white highlights are done the chitinous exoskeleton is complete.
2. Painting the Flesh
For the fleshy parts of the model such as the thorax Deathspitters and the Reveners’ tongues, I use a base coat of Kislev Flesh. Once this has dried I wash these parts with Nuln Oil and then when it’s dried I do another wash of Druchii Violet. Once the washes have dried I then go around with Kislev Flesh again to brighten these parts up but leaving the wash in the recesses. Once the Kislev Flesh has dried I then do a highlight of Pallid Wych Flesh to bring out the edges.
3. Painting the Armoured Carapace
Now for the most satisfying parts to paint… the armoured carapace. Firstly, I base these parts with Abaddon Black. Once the black has dried I then do a rough and relatively thick highlight of Eshin Grey. The thicker Eshin Grey highlight gives you a starting point to get thinner from when we work our way down to white. Once the Eshin Grey layer has dried I then move on to a Dawnstone edge highlight that’s a little thinner than the previous Eshin Grey one. Once the Dawnstone has dried I then do a final thin edge highlight of Ceramite White which gives the armoured carapace it’s definition.
Once the base of the carapace is down I then move onto the green markings that I freehand. For these markings, I paint a line going down the centre of their head carapace using a base of Caliban Green. Once this has dried I then do a thinner highlight of Warpstone glow and then add some small dots running alongside the central line. When the Warpstone Glow has fully dried I then paint an even thinner highlight of Moot Green and then even smaller dots over the previous Warpstone Glow dots. After the Moot Green layer, I then add a small edge highlight of white to tie both the green markings and black carapace into each other.
I really like the effect that these markings give to the Raveners and it also adds a really nice alien looking colour to contrast nicely against the black carapace. Then, once all of these layers have dried I then cover the carapace in ‘Ardcoat to give these parts a glossy appearance. These glossy parts contrast nicely to the exoskeleton and give them a more insect/bug-like appearance.
Overall I’m really pleased with how the Raveners came out. They took a little longer to paint than I expected but I did put more effort into these than I have into some of my previous Tyranid models, but I think the extra time makes the difference. I’ve also been working a lot on our commission work too, so these took a back seat whilst we got through our customers’ work first. I really like their poses, especially then one that has burst out from the ground on its base. I think they’ll fit right in with the rest of my Tyranids and I can’t wait to use them on the battlefield! Speaking of which, I’ll be talking about the tactics I’m going to be using for the Raveners in the next section.
TYRANID RAVENER TACTICS
Before we take a look how I’m going to use the Raveners it’s important to take a look at the unit characteristics, their wargear and the abilities that they have available.
3 Raveners – 4 PL, 99pts
Equipped with Scything Talons, Rending Claws and Deathspitters.
M WS BS S T W A Ld Save Ref
12″ 3+ 4+ 4 4 3 4 5 5+ Index: Xenos 2 p99.
18″ range, assault 3, strength 5, ap -1, damage 1, Index: Xenos 2 p140.
Melee, strength user, ap -1, damage 1. Each time you make a wound roll of 6+ for this weapon, that hit is resolved with an AP of -4. Index: Xenos 2 p141.
Melee, strength user, ap 0, damage 1. You can re-roll hit rolls of 1 when attacking with this weapon. If the bearer has more than one pair of scything talons, it can make 1 additional attack with this weapon each time it fights. Index: Xenos 2 p141.
Unless a (HIVE FLEET) unit with this ability is within range of the Synapse ability of any friendly (HIVE FLEET) units, it can only target the nearest visible enemy unit if it shoots, and if it charges it can only declare a charge against the nearest visible enemy unit. (Index: Xenos 2 p85).
Death from Below
During deployment, you can set up this unit underground instead of placing it on the battlefield. At the end of any of your Movement phases, the unit can burrow to the surface – set it up anywhere on the battlefield that is more than 9″ away from any enemy models. Index: Xenos 2 p99.
Raveners have quite impressive unit characteristics with a movement of 12″, strength 4, toughness 4, 3 wounds, and 4 attacks hitting on 3+ in combat. The only entry in their characteristics that’s not that great is their 5+ save. Although their armour may not hold out very well, it’s countered thanks to their sheer speed. A good idea would be to keep them behind cover or out of line of sight and wait for the right time to strike to do the maximum amount of damage.
Raveners in the Movement Phase
Tyranid Raveners are lightning fast with a massive 12″ movement. The distance they can cover is great for objective based games as they can quickly make up the ground needed to capture or steal an objective from the enemy. This movement also allows the Raveners to get out of harms way behind some line of sight blocking terrain if you feel that they’re going to become the target of any devastating shooting attacks.
A great idea is to deploy them underground at the start of the battle and have them pop up at the end of one of your movement phases thanks to their Death from Below ability. This ability lets you set the Raveners up anywhere on the battlefield as long as they’re 9″ away from any enemy units. This ability is great for when your other units are too far away to claim an objective and you need to secure some vital victory points for Maelstrom Mission objective cards such as Ascendancy or Supremacy.
The ability also allows you to use the Raveners as a distraction unit which will take the attention off of some of your more important units thanks to being able to set up anywhere on the battlefield. The enemy can either ignore the Raveners and fire at a more desirable target and then be shot at and charged in the next turn by a full strength Ravener brood, or fire into the Raveners and maybe do a lot of damage, but then be shot at and then charged by the target that they would have originally preferred to be firing at in the first place. This will put the pressure on the enemy by giving them more targets to deal with, which may cause them to make mistakes giving you the edge in the battle.
Raveners in the Psychic Phase
Although Raveners don’t have any psychic abilities it is worth noting the benefits of casting psychic powers onto to them to buff them just before they attack an enemy unit. The power Catalyst would be a great idea to cast right before the Raveners charge into combat as it will improve their durability due to ignoring regular wounds and mortal wounds on the roll of a 5+.
The Horror is another great power to use on an enemy unit that the Raveners will be charging as it will make their to hit rolls -1. This should also increase the Raveners chances of survival and can be really powerful when combined with Catalyst. With these two powers, your enemy will be hitting you with a -1 to their roll and then any unsaved wounds that the Raveners do take can be ignored on a 5+. The Horror also reduces the enemy unit’s leadership by -1 too, so any casualties that they do take means they’re more likely to fail their morale check, resulting in more of the enemy unit being removed from the table.
The psychic power Onslaught is also a great power to use on Raveners as it allows them to move, advance, fire without any penalties and then charge. This power also adds to their fast movement giving them an even larger threat range. This means that they can move 12″, advance D6″, fire their Deathspitters without a -1 penalty to hit because of advancing and then they can charge up to 12″. All of this means they can have a potential threat range of 30″ if you roll really well on your advance and charge rolls.
Raveners in the Shooting Phase
I wanted to make the most of the Raveners’ Death from below ability by taking the thorax Deathspitters. This way they can pop up close to an enemy with their Deathspitters in range and hopefully take a few wounds off from a character or kill a few infantry models before they charge in for the kill. The Deathspitter is a great weapon in 8th edition as they’re pretty much a shorter range Heavy Bolter at strength 5 and an AP of -1 and 3 shots each. This can really put the hurt on light infantry such as Guardsmen or Eldar Guardians as their save will go from a 1 in 3 chance to save to a 1 in 6, doubling their chances of dying.
They can also do a good amount of damage to any Power Armoured targets too, reducing their save from a 1 in 3 chance of failing to a 1 in 2. My idea is to pop up with the Death from Below special rule, fire their Deathspitters, hopefully kill a few models in the shooting phase and then charge the same unit to wipe them out or tie them down in combat. I think the Raveners will be perfect for picking off smaller units such as Devastator Squads, Scout Squads and similar units that depend on their shooting and range that ideally don’t want to be tied down in combat fighting a brood of crazed beasts with razor-sharp claws.
Raveners in the Fight Phase
The fight phase is where the Raveners truly excel. Thanks to their swiftness they can easily get into combat on the first turn depending on where they are deployed. I do think it would be a better idea to keep them underground and then see where the enemy deploys their units. Once you see a weak spot which the Raveners can exploit you can then bring them up from underground and then deploy just over 9″ away from that unit with their Death from Below ability. Thanks to the 8th edition rules you can then try and charge in the same turn that the Raveners arrived from reserves, a great way to put the pressure on a weak point of the enemy’s force.
If the Raveners make a successful charge and are unharmed by the overwatch attacks they should be able to do some pretty decent damage. The only downside to Raveners is that they can’t take any of the Tyranid bio-morphs. Toxin Sacs, for instance, would be absolutely brilliant when used with their Rending Claws, as a 6+ to wound is resolved at an AP of -4, and a 6+ to wound with Toxin Sacs causes an extra 1 damage. This means any 6+ roll you make would be resolved at AP -4 and 2 damage, which is pretty, pretty brutal. This is why Genestealers are amazing in 8th edition as they are able to take the Toxin Sacs bio-morph. Unfortunately though, it’s not to be for the Raveners, although I do hope Toxin Sacs are available for them when the Tyranid codex arrives, fingers crossed.
When the Raveners do get to attack they will have a very impressive 4 attacks each that are hitting on a roll of 3+. With a unit of 3 Raveners you will get 12 attacks that are hitting on 3+ at strength 4. I chose the Rending Claws over the Scything Talons as I feel that the Rending Claws will do a lot more damage thanks to their AP being -1 as standard and then any rolls of a 6+ being AP of -4. This means when fighting against a Space Marine squad their Power Armour will only save on a 4+ instead of the standard 3+. The -1 doesn’t sound much but it will make a huge difference in battles, especially if you roll lucky and get a few 6+ wound rolls which would completely negate the power armour due to the attacks being AP -4. I’d be pretty confident in saying that a unit of 3 Raveners at 99 points could quite easily do some pretty nasty damage to a full 10 man Tactical Squad, if not completely wiping them out if you’re rolling well. Combining their Deathspitter shooting attacks and then fighting with their Rending Claws in combat and any casualties they may take in the Morale phase, the enemy won’t have many models left in the unit, especially if you cast The Horror psychic power on them to subtract from their Leadership too.
I don’t think Raveners would be that good in trying to take down tougher targets like Rhino or other monstrous creatures in the game as they like the multiple damage ability that the Toxin Sacs biomorph gives you. I think I’ll keep their concentration on mopping up and harassing smaller, weaker units that won’t be able to hold up against the number of attacks that they get with their Rending Claws.
TYRANID RAVENER SUMMARY
All in all, I think the Raveners have some great potential to be quite effective against weaker infantry and even Power Armoured infantry which is who I will most likely be facing on a regular basis. I think I’ll mainly use them to capture objectives early on in the game and then as the turns go on, keep them moving from cover to cover and mop up weakened enemy units and even basic characters. I’m still looking at getting 3 more of them to make a brood of 6, which will have a lot more killing potential. I’m also wanting to run the Swarmlord with them and using its Hive Commander ability making the Raveners move again in the shooting phase. This basically means that the Raveners will be moving 24″ and then charging… brutal.
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