Raptor Talon: Chaos Marines New Hope


Is the Raptor Talon the New Hope for the “Chaos Assault Marine?” Let’s take a closer look!

Hey everyone, Reecius here from Frontline Gaming to wax philosophic on the new Raptor Talon formation from the Traitor’s Hate CSM supplement.

So let’s face it: Raptors and Warp Talons are bad. Like, terribad bad. They are so bad, I honestly do not remember the last time I saw them on the tabletop. It’s unfortunate though as they are amazing models, some of the best in the range. And, they have some killer back story, too. In all, it is sad we don’t see them more frequently on tabletops.


So what does the Raptor Talon formation add to these units to give them a boost? It adds a trick that GW is handing out a lot lately to under-powered units: the ability to charge form reserves. And that my friends, is quite the boost.

As someone that plays the Skyhammer Annihilation formation, I can attest to the power of Assault Marines coming in hot from reserves. However, in Skyhammer get some serious boosts with rerolls and taking away overwatch from their Devastator comrades, but the ability to assault in a weak position helps a ton.

Another benefit is taking a Chaos Lord who is actually quite good and comes with Fearless, which is fantastic to mitigate the leadership issues of Chaos Space Marines who certainly know fear. While somewhat cowardly themselves, Raptors also inspire fear in others and their formation rule of granting a -2 to enemy leadership when they assault with two or more units of Raptors, you can easily send non-fearless units packing. Combo this with other leadership debuffs such as that granted by the Heldrake Terror Pack and you can really punish units that are susceptible to morale. Downside here though is the rarity of units that don’t have morale control. Still, there are those high value targets that are not fearless out there like Tau suits, for example. You just have to somehow survive Interceptor and Overwatch fire…


Warp Talons are another unit that goes from fairly awful to useful in this setup. They hit hard with all Lightening Claws (unless, of course, your opponent is in cover where their lack of grenades means they still probably get womped) but with the ability to surgically strike a vulnerable opponent, you can really get some mileage out of these guys. MSU units of Marines, Eldar Jet Bikes, Crisis Suits, Scouts, Tomb Blades, etc. are all easy prey for Warp Talons and we see them frequently as scoring elements in lists these days. These are where Warp Talons will shine as they can quite easily take them out.

Also, taken in the Black Crusade Detachment, you can beef up the Aspiring Champions with free rolls on the Boon Table, most of which benefit melee units. They can become quite powerful with these upgrades and while random and sometimes frustrating, the Boon Table is a fun mechanic.


I’d run this formation MSU style, probably with 2 units of Raptors with dual Melta or Flamers, 1 unit of Warp Talons and the Lord kitted out to taste. Upgrade the Aspiring Champs to have some fun kit such as a Power Axe or Lightening Claw, etc. and have them come in to take out vulnerable enemy assets. Will they be amazing in every game? No, they’re still over priced and under-powered. However, they are infinitely better than they were and will on occasion perform admirably as skirmishing units and give you a reason to blow the dust off of these awesome models!


Thanks for reading! What do you think about the Raptor Talon?

  • Karru

    The big issue with this formations comes from two huge problems. First, there is nothing CSM can do without Psychic Powers to bring this formation from reserve reliably. Second, CSM lack any form of Deep Strike guidance. This forces you to take minimum units, since Deep Striking a large unit is extremely risky and totally not worth it. Finally, this leads to these units being used as Melta carriers since those 5 guys have 11 attacks in CC, which is not enough to kill basically anything. They might be able to tie up a unit, but it would still be better to bring Obliterators to do the same thing but better.

    Don’t get me wrong, this formation is fun and it does help Raptors/Warp Talons, but it is still an immense risk with barely any benefits. Instead of the LD thing, I would’ve liked to see something that would allow them to not scatter or come in more reliably. That would’ve made this formation way more effective and less of a risk.

    • It is true that deep strike protection would be nice.

      However, I get why they didn’t get it. Unfortunately, they didn’t get something USEFUL to compensate. The fear rule sucks against SMs, which is 8 times out of 10 what you’ll be facing.

      If there is going to be high risk in teleporting in such expensive units, there should be a higher reward for doing so this formation. Maybe the Talons get +1A on their first charge after teleporting or something. Make the reward worth the risk.

      • Karru

        Had they made them not scatter, this formation would’ve been a power to be reckoned with. A unit of 10 Raptors and two units of 5 Warp Talons. Deep Strike the Talons in a way that Blinds at least 1-2 units for each Talon Squad. Then charge in and laugh as the enemy can’t hit anything. This way you should be able to break the unit you charge.

        • Alan Doyle

          That formation will be in the 8th ed codex when we finally get the new CSMs sculpts.

          • Karru

            I highly doubt it. People keep saying that the only reason we haven’t seen anything “good” for CSM is because they are holding it for the 8th edition book. This makes absolutely no sense. They could give CSM players amazing and cool rules now and that way make more money with people buying CSM armies now and even more when the new models come out.

          • Cergorach

            The reason why you don’t see a “I win button” for CSM is because the folks writing that stuff don’t like the people on the Internet complaining about CSM. 😉

          • Karru

            I’m just hoping to see a book that has multiple options and flavour. Chaos book doesn’t offer that currently.

          • Alan Doyle

            Because they only give new good rules with new miniatures. NEw Codeex with good rules equal more sales on the new miniature. Compare Chaos Possessed with Wolfen, similar points cost, but the new model is 100 times better.

          • Karru

            Except that Wulfen are 100x better than Possessed? Also, AoD brought insane rules with it and it wasn’t a new codex. Relics, Warlord Traits and Detachments for all major chapters. Then there was the Woflen you mentioned, they gave Space Wolves new models but also a bunch of amazing formations and it wasn’t a codex, instead it was a campaign, like the Traitor’s Hate is.

            Once again there is extreme lack of logic here. I have concluded a long time ago that the best CSM players are getting ever will be when Forge World decides to take the Horus Heresy series to the “next level” and start including more Chaos stuff for the Traitor Legions. We are not going to see a cool, fun and interesting codex for CSM ever again. GW just hates them, history has proven this time and time again since 4th edition came out.

            People keep saying I want an “I-WIN-BUTTON” codex, but that is in no way true. I’m going to give those people something to think about here.

            Let’s look at the basic units (not squad leaders) for different armies here:

            Guardian: Shuriken Catapult has the Bladestorm and the model itself has Battle Focus. Interesting mechanics to use in your army.

            Tactical Marine: ATSKNF, Combat Squads and Chapter Tactics. All those are very interesting mechanics that give a lot of room to play around.

            Guardsmen: No special rules per say, but they have Orders that give them something interesting to play around with.

            Termagaunt: Synapse. Another interesting mechanic to use all game.

            Kabalite Warrior: Power from Pain. Again, interesting mechanic that changes the game as it moves on.

            Ork Boy: Mob rule. Fun and fluffy rule that makes them harder to break in some cases.

            Chaos Space Marine. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. No special rules. His weapons are a Bolter, Bolt Pistol/CC or for extra points, both.

            Now, I’m not comparing point costs here and all that, I’m just trying to point out the lack of special rules and mechanics. Chaos Space Marines have nothing going for them. Chaos Marines have to BUY their extra rules and even then they are barely mechanics. +1 to a stat or bonus to charge. This is one of those reasons why the Cult Marines are superior in every way to the Regular Chaos Marines since at least they get something going for them.

            Daemon Engines and their Daemonforges were a nice thing to have, it gave some type of mechanic to play with that actually saw use during the game and impacted it. Obliterators have kept their uniqueness thankfully as well. The Champion of Chaos rule isn’t a good mechanic in any way. I have seen it come up once in a game out of hundreds I’ve played. That doesn’t include the “Gift of Chaos” upgrade, mind you.

            What I want for CSM is an interesting army wide mechanics, something that makes them unique like Eldar, Tau, SM, Guard, Orks and Dark Eldar (or any other army for that matter). Something that isn’t only seen once in a hundred games, something that isn’t purely based around RNG and mostly useless results. As they currently stand, regular CSM are in every way just worse Space Marines. Exact same Stat line and equipment, but they lack all special rules.

            If after all that you still think I want to see an “I-WIN-BUTTON”, then I just can’t help you. That person either lacks the brain power to comprehend the situation, refuses to acknowledge facts or is just plain trolling.

          • Alan Doyle

            ‘Except that Wulfen are 100x better than Possessed?’ Yes thats what I said.

            Sorry, but I really can’t be bother reading the rest. Maybe submit it as a BOLs article?

          • sbsk1882

            ‘Sorry, but I…’


          • Alan Doyle

            I’ll remember that, it will come in useful.

        • Aaron

          maybe run a dimensional key on a daemon prince to get a turn 2 kill if your lucky

          • Karru

            Extremely lucky. First problem, you’d have to get a Turn 2 Charge with the Daemon Prince. Second Problem, you’d have to fail the reserve roll on Turn 2 for the units. Dimensional Key suffers from a major flaw and it is the fact that you have to kill something during the Fight sub-phase. You’d have to get a Turn 2 charge to even get something out of the relic. You are much better off with Burning Brand or Black Mace and spend the points you’d use for the formation somewhere else like Cult Marines or Nurgle Bikers.

      • Aaron

        maybe have a dimensional key? it could make the formation a bit better

    • Jeremy Larson

      CSM can still purchase Aegis lines and Bastions with Comm Relays at a fairly economical price point, so that answers your first point; yes, SM have more options, but CSM aren’t completely bereft. You have a point with your second complaint, though.

    • Cursed earth eliminates scatter for warp talons, plus it buffs their invul

      • Karru

        But it has some major problems if you take Cursed Earth. First, you need the Psyker to be within 12″ in order to get the benefit. You would have to “waste” a Psychic Power on it and even hope you roll it. Then you have to keep it up until the unit arrives from Deep Strike.

        It’s extremely unreliable compared to what SM or BA has with their Locator Beacons on both Scouts and Drop Pods or what Eldar have with their reduced Scatter for things like Swooping Hawks. I’m not saying that we need the exact same things as both factions, just making Icons reduce scatter again would be a start. That way, I can just Turbo Boost a unit of Nurgle Bikers across the board and drop those units right where I want them.

        • Getting cursed earth isn’t difficult, 3 ML3 heralds and Fateweaver is potentially 11 shots at CE, and once you get it, you throw everything at it because paired with the grimoire it gives your tz daemons a 2++ rerollable

          • Karru

            But if you are rolling with that, why would you bring Raptor Talon?

          • Because nothing keeps beakies off your back better than scads and scads of AP3 assaulting them, alternately because you have a new formation that seems like it would be lulzy if only it had precision deep strike

      • William Jameson

        Which is why it would have been nice to have been able to use the relics from Crimson Slaughter in the Traitors Hate decurion, turn a sorcerer into a daemon and try to get Cursed Earth without the main drawback of rolling perils more often (also fancier Possessed).
        Though on the other hand there’s nothing really stopping you taking this formation along with a Crimson Slaughter CAD.

        • Someone

          Why wouldn’t you be able to? The supplement says it’s added to the contents of the chaos codex which is what crimson slaughter then operates out of

          • William Jameson

            Mainly going by the Facebook FAQ for Space Wolves as an example of what you can and cannot do with decurions and supplements, if a Space Wolf player uses their decurion they’re not able (as per the FAQ) to take the Champions of Fenris warlord traits or artefacts unless they take Grimnar’s Great Company.
            It would be nice if Chaos COULD, I’m not saying it shouldn’t be able to and I’m sure in friendly games your opponent wouldnt have any problems with doing it, but if/when an FAQ comes out I’m willing to bet the same decision will be made.

        • TBH I wouldn’t fish for CE on CSM sorcerers, only a 50/50 shot the daemon sorcerer even gets it.

  • Артур Кушуков

    No grenades, no deal.

  • nurglitch

    Being able to take two Melta Guns and a Combi-Melta, and the Melta Guns with losing their Bolt Pistol means Raptors have always been useful units. More importantly, the -2 to leadership is from any two units in the Raptor Talon, including the Lord and the Warp Talons. Land the Lord separately so he can charge second, after any overwatch that isn’t removed by Dirge Casters. The Warp Talons can tailgate any Chaos Daemon allies arriving from reserves with an Instrument of Chaos, and use any Chaos Daemon Icon to reduce scatter to 1D6. Shooting from an arriving squad of Terminators from a Terminator Annihilation Force can remove bubble-wrap, and a certain psychic power can swap them into a charge position later that turn, or swap them with a more effective assault unit.

  • Painjunky

    This formation is the poor, fat, ugly, redheaded step brother to skyhammer.
    If you think random + more random is fun then good luck to you!
    Sadly as Reece says it’s still underpowered and overpriced.

  • Millward Richard

    the khorne skull cannon gives out assault grenades to deamons like warp talons

  • Charles Keeling

    Unlike other charge from reserve formations this one brings a very customizable character along. I think while still not game breaking it does help it some

  • Dan Wilson

    There’s just no excuse for why they must make a disordered charge. Sky hammer is just so absurdly better. Cut and paste the psychic powers but mustnt of that would the formations…

  • Alan Doyle

    ‘infinitely better than they were’ So what word describes infinitely better than ‘terribad bad’?

  • eehaze

    This formation allows your Raptors and Warp Trains to get into combat quickly, so that they can be mulched by every other codex’s CC units in an when more expedient fashion.