AoS: Vanguard-Raptors vs Judicators

The Vanguard-Raptors are on shelves as the new Range option for Stormcasts – but are they worth taking?

Back in the day, we here at BoLS used to run a feature called “X vs Y” where we compared two units. Well in the spirit of those articles and the fact that the Stormcasts have just gotten some more ranged options, I wanted to take a look at the two Ranged units for them and see what we could see!

First up: The Judicators

The Judicators attack with speed and accuracy, with arcing, whistling volleys of arrows and bolts signalling their arrival in battle. The massed, howling forces of Chaos are their sworn, hated enemies, and they will soon feel the wrath of sigmarite crossbow bolts and hissing, crackling arrows of purest lightning. The Judicators disseminate their anger with stoic mercilessness, and leave nothing in their wake but death.

Their rule can be found HERE. I’m going to leave out the “Special” weapon for base comparison sake – I just want to look at the basic trooper.

These were the first batch of ranged units released with AoS for the Stormcasts. They have options for both long range (Skybolt Bow) and shorter, but higher volume fire (Boltstorm Crossbow). You can take them in batches of 5 for 160 points up to a max unit size of 20. Each model has 2 wounds and a +4 save – not too shabby all things considered. The Judicators are capable of being an annoyance at range that would take more than just a stiff breeze to take them out.

10 total wounds doesn’t sound like that much to deal with but on average you’d have to deal 20 wounds to wipe a unit of 5. Considering they are going to be at range (or attempt to be) that could prove to be more than just a minor annoyance. Plus they are Battleline units for a pure Stormcast Eternal list. Another factor worth considering.

Their damage output isn’t anything to really write home about. It’s better than some ranged units but still mostly “meh” – and for the Rapid Fire rule to work they have to have not moved and would have needed to be within 12″ of an enemy…That’s max charge range, not a position I like for my ranged units to be. And that’s only for a lack-luster 15 shots with a 3+/4+ attack. Personally, I’d rather take a block of around 10 with Skybolt Bows, sit them in a forest or on an objective, and shoot 10 shots at characters or other important targets.


Raining death upon the enemy from afar, Vanguard-Raptors armed with longstrike crossbows are marksmen with few equals. Poised in well-chosen vantage points they wait with bolts loaded, reading the ebb and flow of battle until the perfect prey appears. When it comes their retribution is swift, loosing deadly missiles to despatch even the most resilient targets.

The Raptor’s have two different profiles so I’ll compare them separately. First up we have the Hurricane Crossbows. These Stormcasts come in sizes of 3 for 160 points up to a max size of 12. They do have 1 more bravery than the Judicators but basically have the same stats from there. Their weapons, however, are vastly superior. With an extra 6″ of range and 6 attacks per model, it seems like a fair trade with the slightly weaker 4+/4+ weapon. If you add in their version of Rapid fire, that’s an extra 3 shots per model they can generate. That’s right, 3 of these Raptors standing still can generate 27 shots.

Defensively, I think they are a bit more of a liability. They are worse in close-combat (but really, if they are in close-combat something has probably gone horribly wrong). Couple that with the fact that it’s only a total of 6 wounds (per 3). That means you’d only need to do 12 wounds on average to wipe them. They also aren’t Battleline units. They are very much glass cannons.

The Longstrike versions swap out quantity for quality. They may only fire 1 shot each, but that shot has a 24″ range with a 2+/3+ , a -2 rend and 2 damage each. If they don’t move they also get an extra 6″ of range bumping up their threat range to 30″ – that’s no joke! Characters better look out if these guys are on the board. And they also have the possibility of doing 2 mortal wounds with their Headshot ability as well.

They still suffer from the same problems that the Hurricane versions do, and they clock in at 180 per 3 with a max size of 12. Oh, and they aren’t battleline either.

The Verdict

Before we make that call I would like to point out that we’re looking at these in a vacuum. We’re not taking into account the rest of your army, any applicable buffs, formations or even the scenarios. If you do take all those factors into account it really comes down to personal preference and how you want to play your army and their attack. Maybe you DO want to get with 12″ and offer close range, mass shooting. Maybe you prefer the long range Character killing possibilities – it’s different strokes for different folks!

That said, just based on pure numbers, I kind of need to give it to the Vanguard-Raptors with Hurricane Crossbows. If you spend an equal number of points on them and the Crossbow Judicators, the Raptors should (theoretically) out pace them in damage every time. For just 320 points, you could put out upwards of 54 shots a turn at 18″ – even if it’s a 4+/4+ that’s scary. And at that range they are also feasibly out of a reliable charge range – especially with the Suppressing Fire ability. If that buys them an extra turn of shooting even better.

Now, again – I still think the Judicators have a role in the army. That role is long range harassment and objective grabbing. But if you’re looking to add some serious firepower to down hordes of baddies or if you’re wanting to go character sniping then you might want to consider these new Vanguard-Raptors.


So what do you think? Would you prefer the staying power of the Judicators or the firepower of the Raptors? Let us know in the comments below!

  • Carey_Mahoney

    So many comments…

    It’s Stormcasts, what else to expect.

    • Aezeal

      I only see one comment and it’s a useless one 😀

      • Carey_Mahoney

        That was the whole point.

  • Karru

    Even if I don’t play Stormcast or even AoS, I believe I can still throw in my 2 cents.

    I don’t think we’ll see too many Raptors on the table. The pricing is the first issue, 180pts for 3 models that either have a strong attack or a massive amount of attacks that are a bit weaker. The reason to take Judicators is the fact that they have reasonably good range, they are Battleline and have nice weapons.

    I would say that Raptors are somewhat obsolete when you have Tempestors available. They have double the movement, 5 wounds each, 3+ save, 2 less attacks but hit better, but get D3 hits extra that causes Mortal Wounds. I don’t know the pricing as I only have the General’s Handbook, but I find these guys to be much better.

    Basically the Raptors are trying to fill a role that is already filled by a unit that can do it better. Better movement is great when you need to get close and personal. The other problem with the Raptors is their lacking CC ability, so Tempestors are still superior choice in my opinion.

    • ledha

      240 pts for the tempestor. Their main problem is the range of their attack (12″ for the crossbow, 6″ for the dracoth attack), meaning they need to go up close, and are VERY swingy. They can destroy a whole unit or doing nothing. And die faster than anyone against mortal wounds

      • Karru

        I still believe that they are better option than the Raptors. The problem with the Raptors is the fact that if they fail to kill their target, the chances are that they are going to have a bad time. Meanwhile the Tempestors can still duke it out to certain degree against a charging unit.

    • BClement

      The Raptor/Tempestor comparison seems odd. It’s apples vs oranges because it’s infantry vs cavalry.

      If you want to make that comparison look at Tempestors vs
      Vanguard-Palladors. They at least have comparable battlefield roles (because they are both Cavalry).

      • Karru

        My comparison comes from the “massed shooting” role. Both units are equipped for massed shooting. In my opinion they share the same role in this regard. That’s why I made the comparison. Also, neither unit has Battleline role, which for me at least makes them more comparable to each other than Judicators for example.

  • euansmith

    I’ve bought a box of each of the shootie guys because they are cool looking minis.

  • Byungwook Kim

    I’ve run the math myself. Judicators are better in both versions.

    Long range versions – Raptors have slightly better damage efficiency. But with much more fragile body.

    Short range version – Raptors have 6inch more range, but judicators have better firepower(against 4+armour infantry) and better toughness.

    Hence I only bought judicators and chocobo knights/boss.

  • thereturnofsuppuppers

    I like them because I only have to paint 3 stormcast and then I get to spend more time detailing 3 birdies.

    • ZeeLobby

      Lol. Best response.

      • thereturnofsuppuppers

        Stormcast are great and all, but after painting many of the standard armour guys I start getting the space marine blues.

        The inclusion of the beasties really helps break up the monotony and makes painting an army much more enjoyable in the long run.

        • ZeeLobby

          Yeah. It’s really unfortunate that GW thought what everyone would love is Fantasy Space Marines. I have over 4K space marines I’ve been painting so I feel your pain. Really wish they’d gone with regular humans to start and made them an eclectic mix of old world designs.

          • thereturnofsuppuppers

            I think fantasy knights in space in fantasy in space is a good thing.

            But we shall see if it has staying power.

  • LordKrungharr

    The solution is to take Judicators AND Vanguard Raptors for mo’ DAKKA! Like that scene in Hero when they paint the wall with arrows.