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The Raven Guard were the XIX Legion of the original Space Marine Legions. Their Primarch is Corvus Corax . Their homeworld is Deliverance (originally named Lycaeus), a moon which orbits the Hive World Kiavahr.[2b] The Legion was devastated at the outbreak of the Horus Heresy and survived only by the most desperate of measures.
The Raven Guard specialise in guerrilla warfare, moving behind enemy lines with unrivalled stealth, and striking with precise application of force.[2a]
|Marine||Basic Data||Chapter Symbol|
The Raven Guard homeworld is Deliverance, a moon which their Fortress Monastery "Raven Spire" is built on. Deliverance was once known as Lycaeus, where 10,000 years previous to current events, Corvus Corax (soon to be Primarch of the Raven Guard Legion) lead a revolution to free his fellow slaves, and eventually the whole moon from the Slavery enforced on them by the Tech Guilds of the planet below, Kiavahr. Kiavahr was converted into a forge world by the Adeptus Mechanicus upon the Emperor's arrival, due to Corax's wishes that the Tech Guilds no longer held sway, this meant that the Legion also recieved a vital supply line for materials.
The Great Crusade
The first meeting between Corax and the Emperor is shrouded in mystery, as the two spent a day and a night in private discussion, with no records kept about the conversation's contents.[2a] At dawn the next day though, Corax agreed to take command of the Legion, on the condition that Kiavahr be conquered and brought into the Imperial fold.[2a]
Doctrine and Record
During the Great Crusade the Raven Guard, based upon the training Corax had learned on Deliverance, became masters of sabotage, assassination and other covert operations. Planets that were thought impossible to take fell quickly as the Raven Guard applied precise military pressure to its vulnerable sectors.[2a] Such was the Legion's reputation that Warmaster Horus frequently requested their assistance to assure victory, though there was little admiration between the two; unconfirmed reports include the two sides nearly coming to blows on one occasion, averted only when Corax removed the Raven Guard from Horus' command.[2a]
- M30 - Counterinsurgency operation on Lux Majoris against Terocrati dissidents[23c]
- M30 - Combat operations on Belfagor against Orks[23c]
- 972.M30 - The Farinatus Extermination[23a]
- 994.M30 - The Istvaan Compliance[23a]
The Horus Heresy
The Raven Guard legion was one of the smallest legions during the Great Crusade, numbering 80,000 Astartese as well as an Imperial Army Regiment known as the Therion Cohort attached to the legion's expeditionary force. As a legion they were a fierce enemy for anyone who opposed the Imperium of Man, using time honoured tactics of guerilla warfare which Corax himself had learnt during the Revolution he himself had commanded to free his people from the merciless slavery forced upon them by the Tech Guilds of Kiavahr. Extremely efficient and trained, the Raven Guard would engage in acts of mass sabotage along with infiltration, blink-of-an-eye Strikes, and expert covert operations, all of which they had perfected into what would look like ease to any other warrior.
The Raven Guard were one of seven legions to be sent to the Istvaan system (Others present were the Iron Hands, Salamanders, Alpha Legion, Iron Warriors, Night Lords and Word Bearers) to quell a rebellion lead by the former Warmaster, Horus - Primarch of the Sons of Horus Legion (Formerly the Luna Wolves). Horus and his other three traitor primarchs (Fulgrim, Angron and Mortarion) had entrenched themselves on the planet of Istvaan V, and lay in wait for the Loyalist forces to land and engage. The fighting once joined was fierce and hot-blooded, brother versus brother, and no quarter was given on either side. Mid way into the fighting, Horus and his allies retreated back into their fortifications for no reason that could be grasped by the loyalist factions. The Raven Guard were in the thick of the fighting from the start, though out of their element due to the lack of tactical planning and the close-up-and-personal combat spreading like wildfire across the plains of Istvaan V. They fought both with as much honour and as much skill as any other legion would in the circumstances. When the traitors made a surprise withdrawal back to their fortifications, the Raven Guard used this cease in the fighting to regroup and re-arm. However, when they neared the "loyalist" defences (which were tenfold reinforced by the expert siege engineers of the Iron Warriors legion under their Primarch Perturabo's direction, they were fired upon by the very guns meant to protect them. Hundreds were gunned down in the first few minutes of the betrayal, before they even realised that there were traitors in there midst.
Four of the seven loyalist legions sent to Istvaan V had thrown off the colours and pretences of the Imperium, and set about playing out a totally new preformance (hatched from long before Istvaan). The Iron Warriors, Night Lords, Alpha Legion, and Word Bearers turned on their brethren in a bloody thunderstorm of bolters and blades, decimating their numbers in a multitude of seemingly never ending skirmishes and drudging battles for ground that cost lives for every metre gained or lost. Corax and his legion were reduced from their mighty 80,000 warriors to a meagre 3,000 battle hardened veterans. Himself by now a brooding vengeful demigod, weilding a whip in place of his normal customary left set of talons which were lost in a rage fueled duel with the traitorous primarch Lorgar, which would have ended in Lorgar's death had Konrad Curze, Primarch of the Night Lords (also known as the Night Haunter) Not intervened and shattered it with a swipe of his own claws. Respite came in the form of a single battle barge The "Avenger", captained by Commander Branne Nev, a captain originally stationed on Deliverance as a garrison commander, with him came the battered remains of the Therion Cohort normally serving with the legion under Praefactor Valerius who ironically brought Isstvan V into compliance with Corax the first time. 
Upon escaping the tailing forces of World Eater's picket ships, "Avenger" broke real-space into the warp, and headed for Terra. Upon arriving Corax headed for the Imperial Palace, which was being fortified by Rogal Dorn and his Imperial Fists in preperation for the coming Siege (Siege of Terra), upon which after much argument with Dorn and Malcador the Imperial Regent, The Emperor himself boomed in a psychic voice for the arguing to cease and pulled Corax into a vision of extreme light, and showed him the secrets he had been asking for - The gene forging tech used to create the Primarch's by the Emperor himself. After navigating the treacherous and dangerous contraption which was the ever shape-shifting maze on Luna, by using his advanced logic, and the skill of his sons to out-think its logic engine and freeze it in place, he retrieved the gene tech and returned to Deliverance under the watchful eye of the Adeptus Custodes (who were charged by Malcador to keep an eye on its safety).
At first the Astartese created by the gene tech were a marvel, a splice of primarch and Astartese, but not in an imbalanced degree so as to cause malfunction, a perfect meld. These new warriors were faster, stronger, and more intelligent than any of the older warriors of the Legion, and within a few weeks more aspirants had been successfully implanted with stable gene-seed than ever before (the new gene seed also meant that warriors matured into their new forms rapidly compared to standard Astartese). The new warriors would be placed under the command of Captain Branne Nev under the moniker "Raptors", and would be used against a Word Bearer fortress as their first deployment, which would see them successfully slaughter veteran Word Bearers with the ease of much older warriors. Raptors would take injuries that would have killed even an Astartese, and still remain fighting due to their enhanced bodies. Word of this reached the ears of Omegon, twin primarch of the Alpha Legion, whom had been laying dormant on Kiavahr below stirring up a rebellion amongst the tech guilds, and he sprung into action.
The rebellion and even the Alpha Legionnaires supporting it were a distraction, while the Raven Guard were caught off guard, Omegon and several Alpha Legion operatives managed to covertly spike the gene tech with a daemon blood poison (while managing to keep the pure technology for themselves) using the Raven Guard gene-seed to produce deformed monsters. The battle finally began as the first Raven Guard recruits to recieve the secretly spiked gene seed were implanted, and by the time it raged into the gene labs of Ravendelve, only to be met by deformed warriors created by the spiked gene seed's effects. While deformed, these astartese still fought with otherworldly strength, overpowering even the Alpha Legion Astartese. By the time the battle was over, Agents had been found amidst the legion, explaining how news reached the traitors about the gene tech, and thus the loss of such a boon to the crippled legion, gene screening was to be implemented to find and destroy the agents with the stolen faces of Raven Guard Legionnaires. Without the gene tech the Raven Guard Legion remained a small legion, though their continued work with small cells of warriors allowed them to remain no less of a fighting force, though fewer in number then before.  When Roboute Guilliman announced his "Codex Astartes" which would split the legions into organised chapters, Corax was circumstantially forced to adapt to the new rules, Abliet still retaining his legions overall structure, but in smaller chapters of 1,000 Astartese, As is how the Raven Guard chapter is to this day.
Horus Heresy Aftermath
The Raven Guard chapter birthed in the Second Founding from the Raven Guard legion remained a successful fighting force, even with diminished numbers (1,000 Astartes from the 3,000 survivors of the Drop Site Massacre).[4a] The hunt for Kernax Voldorius alongside the White Scars[11b], 4th Company's deployment of several Raven Guard warriors to aid the Ultramarines in their capture of Adaric Vaanes, and the defence of Ultramar, and many other campaigns have been successfully won by these masters of shadow.
- 240.M40 - 224.M41 - The Baran War. The Raven Guard leads a campaign to secure the Exodite World of Baran from Orks. Shadow Captain Moradius leads a small contingent to secure the Sub-sector around Baran, based out of a small moon. However Moradius and his Marines are killed by Eldar after being encircled and ambushed.
- 748.M41 - The Thruskus Rebellion[25a]
- 862.M41 - Waaagh! Skullkrak invaded the Targus system. Kayvaan Shrike and the Raven Guard 3rd company were amongst the forces that respond.[4c][25a]
- 865.M41 - The Heraclad Massacre[25a]
- 871.M41 - The Hunt for Voldorius. Kayvaan Shrike leads a pursuit of the infamous Alpha Legion Daemon Prince Kernax Voldorius.[25x]
- 890.M41 - The Shadowblade War[25a]
- 986.M41 - The Battle for Targus VIII[25a]
- 991.M41 - The Sargassion Reach Campaign[19a]. The Raven Guard deployed at least 3 squads from 4th Company[19c] under Shadow Captain Koryn[19b] to aid the Brazen Minotaurs in their fight against Death Guard Warband Empyrion's Blight.
- 992.M41 - The Raid on Kastorel Novem. Shadow Captain Korvydae leads the 10th Company against the Ork Warboss Garaghak on the world of Kastorel-Novem.
- 996.M41 - The Lonal Ambush[25a]
- 999.M41 - The Invasion of Ultramar. An elite squad from the 4th Company, under Shadow Captain Aethon Shaan is deployed to aid Ultramar in its battle against the Bloodborn.
- 996999.M41 - The Waaagh! Garaghak. The entire chapter stands ready to defend their homeworld against Ork Waaagh! of titanic proportions.
The degeneration of the Raven Guard gene-seed means several of the unique organs of the Space Marines no longer work properly or no longer grow. Raven Guard do not have the Mucranoid or Betcher's Gland. The Melanchromic Organ has a unique mutation that causes the skin of the Space Marine to grow paler. Eventually each Marine's skin becomes pure white while their hair and eyes darken, becoming black as coal. The main issues could have come from Corax's experimentation with the Raven Guard Gene-Seed to try and create stronger and faster-maturing astartes (although the Alpha Legion is primarily to blame for causing his project's failure), it is never fully stated what is the actual cause.
The Shadowmasters or Mor Deythan were a unit of Raven Guard during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy. They were ordinary battle-brothers who had their primarch's ability to Shadow-walk. It was a quirk of the gene-seed in a few Deliverancian born Raven Guard that had more than just the standard gene code. One unique trait about the Shadowmasters is that they were completely unknown to their own legion. The marines were selected for testing "Thermal Technology" which was considered "highly temperamental. Corax and select apothecaries are the only marines in the legion that knew of the group at the time of the Horus Heresy. The Mor Deythan acted as an elite stealth team and saboteurs and communicated through Stalk-Argot while working in concert with the rest of the legion. The Shadowmasters performed flanking maneuvers and sabotaged columns of rogue Skitarii on Constinax. 
Culture and combat doctrineBlood Angels. The Raven Guard rely heavily on their Scouts for pinpointing enemy positions and to scout for good drop sites. Because of their hit and run tactics they also make extensive use of Assault Squads. The Tactical Squads of the Raven Guard are often deployed via Thunderhawks or Drop Pods. The favorite weapons of the Raven Guard Commanders are the Lightning Claws and it is a common sight that their command squads also come equiped with these weapons in addition to their Jump Packs.
Raven Guard Captains are fiercely independent, and it's incredibly rare for the chapter to fight as a whole. Individual companies are completely autonomous and are quick to lend their aid to imperial commanders across the galaxy, with or without the sanction of their Chapter Master. Such behaviour has led to some to question the Raven Guard's soundness, but most recognise that such fluidity of command proves the presence of formidable discipline, not its absence.[4a]
The right shoulder guard trim denotes the type of Space Marine. Green is for tactical squads, red is for assault squads and yellow is for devastators. The left kneepad displays the company number
All Raven Guard during their initiation or as a form of meditation or spirit quest hunt the tiny ravens native to the forests of Kiavahr. It takes months of training and practice for recruits to sneak up on the small and alert birds, grab them in their bare hands and snap their necks. The skulls of these birds are worn as small totems hanging from a marine's belt on small chains. These totems are known as Corvia and represent a warrior's honor. If a battle-brother falls, one of his surviving comrades will recover his Corvia and carry it, and thus the fallen warrior's honor, into battle until he can return to Kiavahr and bury the small skulls in the soil of the Chapter's homeworld. 
Treatment of the Dead
Upon death, where practical, the body of the Raven Guard will be stripped of it's equipment and trappings (including the Corvia), harvested of it's gene-seed and left for the local carrion birds to feed upon [21b]
The current headquarters staff as of 999.M41 are as follows:
|Armoury||Apothecarion||Fleet Command||Support Personel|
Like all Codex chapters, the Raven Guard are divided into ten Companies. Each Company is led by a hero of the Raven Guard who bears the title Shadow Captain and who - in addition to his Company command - is in charge of a particular aspect of the Chapter's logistics. The current Company commanders are as follows:
|Veteran Company||Battle Companies|
|1st Company||2nd Company||3rd Company||4th Company||5th Company|
Shadow Captain Kayvaan Shrike
|Reserve Companies||Scout Company|
|6th Company||7th Company||8th Company||9th Company||10th Company|
Owing to the instability of the Raven Guard gene-seed and the experiments of Corax, much of the chapter's genetic stock has been irreparably damaged. Now, much of their genetic material comes from supplies held on Terra. This means the cycle of recruitment for the Raven Guard is much slower than other Chapters and fewer Raven Guard candidates for the Chapter prove able to survive their training and genetic modification. This means the chapter is constantly short-handed.
The Raven Guard's chapter planet Deliverance is said to lack the population resources available on other chapter's homeworlds. By the time of the Horus Heresy only a few thousand marines in the Raven Guard's number were recruited from Deliverance, the rest made up of the original Terran forces inducted before the Great Crusade.
- See - Space Marine Armoury for generic Space Marine weapons, vehicles and equipment
- See - Raven Guard Armoury for Raven Guard-specific items
The Chapter makes wide use of the "beaked" and older marks of Power Armour (Mk. IV-VI). After their near-destruction at Isstvan V, the Raven Guard techmarines created ad hoc suits using salvaged parts and components from other suits or vehicles.[12g] When battle barge Avenger returned to Deliverance, Raven Guard received shipment of 2 000 suits of Mk. VI Power Armour. [12h] At that time, the Mark VI, designed as Corvus suit, was the newest and most advanced version. Because this mark of Power Armour carries name of primarch Corax it is natural that the Raven Guard feel bond to this mark of armour. The Raven Guard's chapter planet and base of operations has the production capacity of a small forge world, ensuring that the Raven Guard rarely lacks for the material to prosecute its campaigns.[4b] Raven Guard's Power Armour utilises enhanced cooling systems that which helps to blend in better with the background. By this means Raven Guard's warriors are hard to be detected by thermal or infrared devices.[11a]
Noted Elements of the Raven Guard
Relics and Artefacts
- "Shadow of the Emperor" (Battle Barge) - Flagship of the Raven Guard fleet, destroyed over Istvaan V during the Drop Site Massacre by the Death Guard Battleship Terminus Est.
- "Avenger" (Battle Barge) - The Ship under Branne Nev's command when he lead a flotilla to rescue his brethren being slaughtered on Istvaan V.
- "Triumph" (Strike Cruiser) - One of the ships in Commander Branne's flotilla which made a rescue mission to aid his brothers on Istvaan V.
- "Raven's Valour" (Strike Cruiser) - One of the Strike Cruisers of Commander Branne's Flotilla which rescued the Raven Guard survivors of the Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V.
- "Second Shadow" (Strike Cruiser) - Named in honour of the former Flagship of the Raven Guard Fleet (Shadow of the Emperor), Served the Raven Guard 5th Company, until also destroyed by Terminus Est.
- "Aeruginosus" (Strike Cruiser) - The Strike Cruiser under the command of Captain Korvydae during the raid on Kastorel-Novem.
- Ad Temperesta (Warp runner) - Symphalia-class observation craft, made first scans of the Isstvan system ahead of the loyalist fleet.[23b]
- Raven’s Claw (Battle Barge) - Oldest of the Raven Guard's surviving Battle Barges.
- Corax - Primarch of the Raven Guard
- Branne Nev - Commander of the Raptors
- Agapito Nev - Commander of the Talons
- Solaro An - Commander of the Hawks
- Aloni Tev - Commander of the Falcons
- Verano Ebb - Captain of the Silence Squad 
- Vincente Sixx - Chief Apothecary of the Raven Guard
- Nykona Sharrowkyn - Battle Brother of the Raven Guard 
- Navar Hef - Sergeant of the Raptors 
- Hriak - Librarian of the Raven Guard [21a]
- Avus - Battle Brother of the Raven Guard [21a]
- Kayvaan Shrike - Captain of the Raven Guard 3rd Company
- Aajz Solari - Captain of the 2nd Company
- Korvydae - Captain of the 10th Company - Master of Recruits
- Ardaric Vaanes- Former Brother-Captain of the 4th Company now a member of an Iron Warriors Grand Company[10b]
- Aethon Shaan- Current Brother-Captain of the 4th Company[10a]
- Moradius - Captain, killed in the Baran War
While stated in the background that all Raven Guard have black hair, there is at least one instance where Games Workshop showed a miniature with a different hair colour (accessed 2011/09/08). If this is a mistake or deliberate is unknown.
- 1: Raven's Flight (Audio Book)
- 2: Index Astartes IV
- 3: Codex: Space Marines (4th Edition)
- 4: Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition)
- 5: Insignium Astartes p.59 upper right corner image
- 6: Imperial Armour Volume Eight - Raid on Kastorel-Novem p.112
- 7: White Dwarf 276 (UK), pp. 6-11
- 8: http://warhammer40k.wikia.com/wiki/Raven_Guard#Chapter_Fleet
- 9: Cadian Blood (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, [Needs Citation] p. 62
- 10: The Chapter's Due (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- 11: Hunt for Voldorius (Novel) by Andy Hoare
- 12: Deliverance Lost (Novel)
- 12a: Chapters 1-2 (Drop Site Massacre);
- 12b: Chapters 5-6 (Meeting on Terra)
- 12c: Chapters 8-9 (inside of the Luna gene-tech facility)
- 12d: Chapters 10-11 (The start of the genetic experimentation on Deliverance)
- 12e: Chapter 13 (the start of the Alpha legion plans
- 12f: [Needs Citation], pg. 372 (The Gene virus is mentioned)
- 12g: pg. 64
- 12i: pg. 377
- 12h: pg. 235
- 13: Kryptos (Short Story) by Graham McNeill
- 14: The Chapter's Due (Novel) Chapter 3
- 15: Imperial Armour Volume Eight - Raid on Kastorel-Novem pg.112
- 16: Hunt for Voldorius (Novel)
- 17: Swordwind: The Baran War
- 18: Imperial Armour Volume Eight - Raid on Kastorel-Novem, pg. 77
- 19: The Unkindness of Ravens (Novella) by George Mann
- 20: The Shadowmasters (Short Story)
- 21a: Vulkan Lives (Novel) by Nick Kyme, [Needs Citation]
- 21b: Chapter 13
- 22: The Unremembered Empire by Dan Abnett, Chapter 4
- 23: The Horus Heresy Book Two - Massacre
- 24: Shadow Captain (Novella) by David Annandale
- 25: Codex: Space Marines (6th Edition)
- 25a: pg. 64
|Loyalist||I - Dark Angels · V - White Scars
VI- Space Wolves · VII- Imperial Fists
IX- Blood Angels · X- Iron Hands
XIII- Ultramarines · XVIII- Salamanders
XIX- Raven Guard
|Traitor||III- Emperor's Children · IV- Iron Warriors|
VIII- Night Lords · XII- World Eaters
XIV- Death Guard · XV- Thousand Sons
XVI- Luna Wolves/Sons of Horus · XVII- Word Bearers
XX- Alpha Legion