Ravenwing: Sammael, Land Speeder Vs Jetbike
At 205 points Sammael (now Sammy) is a bit of a point sink on your army, so naturally you’ll want to get the best out of him right? Thought so.
As the Master of the Ravenwing, he allows the RW squads to be taken as a troops choice, which is the main reason you take him. Unlike any other character Sammy has the choice to be taken on either his Jetbike, or in his Land Speeder.
On this arcane piece of technology Sammy rides, armed with a mightly Plasma Cannon and twin linked Storm Bolters he can certainly make a mess of units. Sadly he can only fire one weapon out of the two, and with BS5, the Plasma Cannon is usually the weapon of choice. On his bike he’s Toughness 5 with three wounds, has a 4+ Invulnerable save and 3+ armour and immune to instant death, so really he’s about the toughness of three bikes, it’ll take a lot to take him down, but also he is vulnerable to small arms fire. He also has “basic” close combat potential, 3 attacks with a power weapon (4 on the charge) can be enough to keep a squad pinned down or finish a squad off. With his higher initiative of 5 and higher toughness, he should be able to shrug off normal attacks, however powerfists and powerweapons will hurt.. backed up with a squad or two of bikers he should be pretty handy.
With the speedy “in your face” approach RW usually have, Sammy should usually get ignored in favour of other units. Plus as he’s quite small he’s easy enough to hide and because of his jetbike ability he can relocate with no difficulty.
His only downside, he’s not an independent character, so can picked off easily by Heavy weapons.
Sammy can also be mounted in his personal Speeder, he loses his power weapon and 4+ invulnerable save, but his Speeder gains a shield, giving it armour 14 at the front and sides.
Armed with a twin Assault cannon and a twin Heavy bolter is firepower is quite powerful, his shots will rarely miss so he makes an excellent troop hunter, or even a light vehicle hunter. Also because of the Rending rule his Assault cannons can even take down a Land Raider, however I’d leave that to the Multimelta attack bikes and keep Sammy for hunting infantry. Pair him up with 2 Land speeders with HB’s and AC’s and you have a squadron able to take down whole units of infantry a turn, and as they’re all separate targets they’ll be hard to take down! Also if you place sammy at the front, he’ll give the weaker speeders a nice healthy cover save.
Armour 14 on a Land Speeder is great, sadly he still has rear armour 10, which is really bad for a 205pt model. A deepstriking unit can really ruin your day, and close combat is even worse! Most troopers come with Krak grenades or powerfists, all capable of bringing your HQ down into a burning wreck.
Lastly he also has the ability to deepstrike, which the other speeders lack. However I’d probably not do this, his speed will easily allow him to exploit weaker armour and you’d be putting his weaker armour at risk too, I wont even go into the risks of Deepstriking!
So his main downside is his weaker rear armour, I would have liked him to be able to use his sword in combat from his speeder, maybe not being able to charge, but if charged can make his three attacks as usual. Other than that an Av14 Land Speeder will cause a real pain to your opponent, backed up by other speeders this element of your army can move up your flank laying down support fire and can relocate easily if it gets in trouble. Like all vehicles all it takes is one lucky shot and he can be bought down, I prefer to think of it as: if they’re shooting their heavy weapons at Sammy, then they’re not shooting at the important units, the bikes!
Overall, it’s more up to your play style on which version of Sammy you want to use. In my current (untested) list, I run him on a speeder with two other speeders, giving my army anti-infantry potential, leaving the bikes to take down tanks.
However in another list I ran him near the RW Command squad who had 2 plasma guns and a plasma pistol. Backed up by Sammy this combination can obliterate anything they set their eyes on, the Apothecary hopefully fixing all the overheats that occur!
Model wise, the Metal jetbike is a very nice model (with the exception of his crazy cape), the Speeder you make from the plastic RW sprue, so the possibilities there are endless!