Traitor’s Hate Tactica: Raptor’s Talon

Another one of the new formations from the Traitor’s Hate supplement is the RAPTOR’S TALON, which consists of a Chaos Lord (with mandatory, but free points-wise, JP upgrade) and 3-5 squads of Raptors and/or Warp Talons. If two or more units from this formation charge the enemy, then that opposing unit has -2 Ld until the end of the turn. More importantly, like with some of the formations from the Angel’s Blade supplement, the RAPTOR’S TALON units can charge on the same turn they Deep Strike, but with the penalty of having a Disordered Charge.

Obviously, this is a big deal for CSM, as it gives them the ability to get units into close combat anywhere on the board as early as Turn 2, which in turn gives them a new tool in the toolbox for dealing with powerful, mobile shooting foes like Eldar, Tau, SM Battle Companies, Mechanized Guard, etc. It also synergizes well with the CSM ability to “customize” their units for specific roles with different Marks and Icons, allowing commanders to create armies of “specialist units. For this particular formation, I think you can apply it in the following roles effectively:

[1] MSU Tank Hunter/”Bully” Teams — Take up to five minimum-sized Raptor Squads, all with dual Meltaguns and a PF/LC combo on the Champ, plus a Jump Pack Lord with PF/LC as well. You now have the ability to drop in an shoot/charge up to six different enemy units (even more if you Multi-charge, which you have no reason not to do, since your have to do a Disordered Charge anyway). This is tremendous against MSU armies like Space Marine Battle Companies, Eldar Scatbike spam, and Tau Battlesuit spam, since it allows you to defeat (or at least neutralize) numerous dangerous units in a single “swoop” while still keeping the rest of your army free to conduct the “main” fight.

[2] Firebase “Bull Rush” Force — If you are facing an army like Tau or Astra Militarum or Necrons which builds itself around static gun-lines, then taking a couple of squads of Warp Talons, plus a Khorne Jump Pack Lord with the Axe of Blind Fury, gives a CSM commander the ability to overwhelm that gun-line with too many threats and then tie up all or most of it in Close Combat. This works especial well with the Warp Talon’s ability to cause Blind tests all over the place on the turn they arrive by DS and with any CSM vehicles equipped with Dirge Casters that you can get within range to prevent enemy Overwatch shooting (i.e. Tau is the most obvious target for this tactic, with their low Initiative and potent Supporting Fire ability). Again, you might as well multi-charge with your Warp Talons, since they have a Disordered Charge anyway, and even a few of them ought to be a to bring down entire enemy units by themselves (especially with the potential for Sweeping Advances and the -2Ld penalty to enemy units charged by two or more units from this formation).

[3] Mobile “Objective Grabber” Element — With up to six separate Jump Pack units (including the Chaos Lord) that can be Deep Striked anywhere on the board, this formation provides a very mobile “hammer” counterpart to any CSM army “anvil” force such as Plague Marines, Obliterators, Sicaran Predators, Havocs, etc. Not only can the elements of the Raptor’s Talon provide the close combat counterpart to a Chaos Marine firebase, but their mobility allows them to get to and hold multiple objectives quite quickly, making them a real force multiplier in those kinds of games.

[4] Null deployment “Counter-assault” Force — If your opponent is running a null deployment army based around things like massed Drop Pods, the GK Nemesis Strike Force, the Raven Guard Talon Strike Force, etc., then the CSM RAPTOR’S TALON provides a very solid “counter-punch” ability that enables you to react to whatever plans your opponent enacts. This can be particularly useful against, say, an army built around the Skyhammer Annihilation Force, since you can have them drop down and counter-charge the Devastators/Assault Marines on the turn after the Loyalist units have arrived with a strong chance of wiping out some or all of these powerful units in a single blow (Overwatch from massed Grav Cannons would make this difficult, but again Dirge Casters are your friend here).

[5] “Overwhelming Assault” Force Multipliers — If you are already building an army around the tactic of simply storming across the board as fast as possible and getting stuck in (i.e. massed Maulerfiends, massed Khorne Bezerkers in Land Raiders/Spartans, Chaos Juggernaut Lords with attached Bikers, Spawn, Flesh Hounds, etc.), then the Jump Pack squads of the RAPTOR’S TALON can be used to drop in and “pin” the enemy forces in place until you can get your other melee units across the board and into combat. Also, as mentioned earlier, the potential to reduce enemy to BS1/WS1 with Blind from the Warp Talons and to drop their Ld by -2 against all assaulting CSM units can make a solid Turn 2 assault by Chaos Forces into a devastating one that might even win the game).

Overall, I think this formation works well for a CSM “base” army, but also can be a tremendous assets to a Chaos Renegades force, a Khorne Daemonkin army, or even a pure Chaos Daemon army. I also think it can become even more effective with solid Psychic support, say from Be’lakor, Ahriman, the Cyclopia Cabal formation, and/or Fateweaver.


3 comments on “Traitor’s Hate Tactica: Raptor’s Talon

  1. Mallory Fey says:

    This was at first my favourite formation, and I was even thinking of building an army around it (I don’t have details with me, but something like this:

    1 Chaos Lord with JP
    1 x 10 Warp Talons[mark of slaanesh]
    1 x 5 Warp talons [mark of slaanesh]
    3 x 5 Raptors [ melta bomb, combo melta and two melta guns]

    1 Cyclopia Cabal [3 or more sorcerers lvl 3 each if possible]

    1 Raptor Gunship [with Relic rule allowing 12 inch dirge caster]

    3 Rapiers [either quad bolters or Conversion beamers]

    1 Aegis defence line with comms tower (for reserver rerolls)

    So the Rapiers would soften the enemy from a distance, possibly using Geomortis spells to shoot through troops/walls and fly about the board. Conversion beamers might get in the way when the troops deep strike.

    The Raptor Talon will lay down supporting firepower and stop overwatch over a wide area.

    Now, at first I thought this was pretty sweet, but there’s issues…

    1) I wanted at least some of the sorcerers to join the talons to protect them should they scatter too far, and cast some telepathy spells to take advantage of the leadership loss upon the enemy – but it seems that adding characters to a formation invalidates that formation (look at the Space Marine draft FAQ, and GW seem to have come down on this side of the debate. Makes me sad).

    2) No scatter mitigation – The Dimensional Key woul dhave to get in round 1 – perhaps some trickery using the new spells to propel a Daemon Prince forward to get a turn 1 kill? Or someone casting Cursed Earth – if you can get that spell, and get it off. Would be a little better of sorcerers could join the formation… (I estimate scatter will place a third of your units out of action turn two – either too far away, mishap or just not making the reserve reroll).

    3) Lack of grenades on Warp talons means you’ll need to use your raptors to charge first, which means less for anti-tank and you get to charge less units.

    What do you think? Can this idea be salvaged? Fluffwise, they would be Night Lords or a specialist SAS type force, striking in deep to disrupt backlines (blow up tanks and disable infantry etc.).


    • greysplinter says:

      I think you are on to something with Cursed Earth (obviously this only works with Warp Talons, as they are the only unit with the “Daemon” rule in the formation).

      Perhaps load up on Warp Talons with Mark of Tzeentch, then have a PML(3) Winged Nurgle Daemon Prince (who is very survivable, thanks to his permanent 2++ Jink save, and can absorb a number of hits with his T5 and 4W) use his Swoop move to “dash” up-field 24″ toward the enemy forces you want to attack with the Raptor’s Talon units.

      After Swooping close to enemy lines on Turn 1, cast Cursed Earth then, on Turn 2, use you Comms Relay to bring in the Warp Talon squads with no scatter anywhere within 12″ of the Daemon Prince and charge them into combat. As a bonus, between Mark of Tzeentch and Cursed Earth, the Warp Talons would have a 3++ Invul save and a Tzeentch Lord with Sigil of Corruption would also have a 3++, making them much more difficult to kill, especially with AP3/2/1 weapons. Another bonus is that your Nurgle Daemon Prince gets a 4++ save himself and, if given the Black Mace, is a very dangerous opponent in his own right that your opponent cannot ignore, in turn taking a lot of attention off of your Warp Talons/JP Chaos Lord.

      As you point out, the lack of Assault Grenades is a problem for Warp Talons, but if you can set up your DS/charges precisely, you have a decent chance of avoiding having to charge through Terrain in many instances.


  2. Anonymous says:

    Sound hopeful! I’ll see if i can fit a daemon prince into the list… Thanks!


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