Something amazing happened this past Saturday...I played 40K! I managed to find some time off from farm work to get down to the old FLGS and play in the monthly tourney. 1850 points, and I brought an Ultramarines Demi Company formation (Chaplain, Command Squad, Razorback, three Tacs in Rhinos, Assault Squad, Devastators, and a pair of Las/Missile Dreads in a squadron).
I played three games, one against Chaos Marines, one Necrons, and one Eldar/Haemonculus Covens. All three games were fun and exciting, which hasn't happened in a while.
It was the first time I'd played games since June when the new Marine codex dropped. I wasn't sure how it would go with the change to Ultramarines and the new formations. Lots of good stuff in the book, but how would the Demi Company shake out?
Turns out the updated Doctrines are amazing. Rerolls in just about every turn of the game when you use Ultramarines and a Demi Company. The FLGS plays Maelstrom missions, which are HUGE for the other benefit of the Demi: Objective Secured on EVERY unit. ObSec on Assault Marines and Dreads? Yes, please!
The only problem is that you're still relying heavily on bolter-armed Marines to carry the bulk of your army's work. I didn't kill much in any of my games, and won largely based on scoring objectives and maneuver.
Playing Ultras and doing pretty well (third of a field of 8, two wins and a loss), throws a bit of a wrench in my plans to switch to Raven Guard. Raven Guard were buffed in their Chapter Tactics, but the formation bonuses don't mesh perfectly with them. My story behind my potential Raven Guard force was supposed to be an urban combat force. Urban bases, armaments focused on hab block fighting, and lots of cutting and reposing of models for dynamism. I don't know where to start. I have my unit of five Scouts already, so I can go in several directions. I can add an HQ, and immediately have an Allied detachment to add to my Ultras. But none of the HQs mesh properly with Scouts. None ever really have. So I'd want to add another slot to the Allied detachment. I could add Assault Marines or Vanguard to capitalize on the other half of the RG tactics which is specific to jump packs.
Alternatively, I can focus instead on beefing up my Scouts and build a 10th Company Task Force, which has fun rules with Stealth for anyone who infiltrates for the whole game (until they move in any way), and Precision Shots for the first game turn. Problem is, Scout models are boring as hell to build and paint. I've tried to make them as interesting as possible with weapon swaps and such, but there's only so much you can do.
I could also strike out away from the Scouts and build something new entirely like a First Company Strike Force with three units of Vanguard/Sternguard/Terminators. Or start on the long haul towards a Demi Company or Strike Force Ultra.
I have no real idea what I'll do yet, though I'm open to ideas or suggestions.
The other question I have to ask myself about my Raven Guard regards models and bitz. Rven Guard are always associated with Mk6 Corvus armor. You can now make full sets of Mk6 from plastic kits, unlike in the past where you had to buy Forgeworld or convert pieces. I'd originally intended to have all my power armored Raven Guard in Mk6 armor, head to toe. I have helmets for a squad and a half or so, but not enough torsos or backpacks. My hobby finances nowadays are non-existent, so I can't be buying tons of bitz to complete Mk6 armor sets.
How crucial do you think Mk6 is to a Raven Guard force? Is it worth my time to save up and slowly build towards a "pure" force, or should I not bother? Perhaps I should focus on Mk6 helmets for everyone instead, leaving the rest of the armor as whatever bitz I have available, while mixing the occasional non-Mk6 helmet and bare head into squads? If you parked two identical, non-Horus Heresy, Raven Guard armies next to one another and one is pure Mk6 on every model, and one is not, would you even notice? Would the pure Mk6 one look better?