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 unrivaled stealth and striking with precise application of force.[2a]
- 1 History
- 2 Homeworld
- 3 Gene-seed
- 4 Culture and combat doctrine
- 5 Organisation
- 6 Recruitment
- 7 Equipment
- 8 Noted Elements of the Raven Guard
- 9 Trivia
- 10 See also
- 11 Sources
The Great Crusade
Originally founded as the XIXth Legion, the Legion was used by the Emperor as his hidden hand in its early years during the Unification Wars on Terra. The original recruits of the Legion were firstborn sons drawn from tribes of savage yet technologically adept Xeric warriors of the Asiatic Dustfields, which regularly battled with the much larger Yndonesic Bloc.
In its earliest days, the XIXth Legion was used for infiltration, reconnaissance, and target identification operations. The Legion was covertly used to quickly annihilate any faction which refused to submit to the new Imperium, striking from the shadows without warning. The XIXth used terror tactics similar to the Night Lords. One of the earliest known campaigns by the Legion was the conquest of the central Asiatic region, which was ruled by a tyrant known as Kalagann of Ursh. They won many battle honors on Terra, and later took part in the expansion of the Imperium into the rest of the Sol System, liberating Jupiter's moon of Lysithea from xenos. The battle on Lysithea proved costly for the Legion and veterans of the battle wore Jovian runes in its commemoration for many years after.[30a]
In the early days of the Great Crusade, the Legion found itself in the shadow of Horus and his Luna Wolves. While Horus valued the XIXth greatly, the Legions forces were largely serving as support troops for the Wolves.[30a]
The Legion's Primarch Corax was not reunited with the Legion for nearly two decades. When the Emperor discovered Corax on Deliverance, he had just liberated the moon from Kiavahr Forge-Guilds by using nuclear weapons.[30a] 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]
The Great Crusade was already a century old by the time Corax took command of his Legion, but he quickly imposed the style of war he had learned on Deliverance on his new troops. Stealth, swiftness, and guile were impressed on a Legion already renowned for its reconnaissance and rapid-strike capability. In particular, the old ways of the Xeric tribes were purged. Corax was also disheartened by how his Legion had been used as a repression, counter-insurgency, and occupation force, not unlike what he had fought against on Deliverance. As such, he purged or banished the Legion of its old Terran commanders, such as Lord Arkhas Fal. Corax also used factories on Kiavahr to commission several vehicles unique to his forces, most notably the Shadowhawk, a stealth variant of the Thunderhawk as well as the Whispercutter.[30a]
Doctrine and Record
Before the discovery of Corax, the Raven Guard utilized terror tactics similar to the Night Lords. However, when their Primarch was discovered, he was disgusted with these methods and introduced changes. Following the discovery of Corax the Raven Guard, based upon his teachings, 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.[2a] In addition, Corax displayed a consistent ill-favor and mistrust towards veteran warriors of his Legion born of Terra, as opposed to those native to Deliverance.
Tensions between the two boiled after during the Battle of Gate Forty-Two, where Horus had the Raven Guard launch a bloody frontal assault on enemy defenses that decimated the Legion's numbers despite Corax's warnings that the plan was reckless beforehand. After the battle, the Raven Guard was reduced to 80,000 Astartes. Corax removed his forces from Horus' command, bitterly swearing to never serve alongside the Warmaster again.[30a] He also began to send his Terran-born forces into forgotten Crusades on the galactic fringes, ensuring in his eyes that the Raven Guard remain "pure".
- M30 — Counterinsurgency operation on Lux Majoris against Terocrati dissidents[23c]
- M30 — Battle of Hell's Anvil[30c]
- M30 — Combat operations on Belfagor against Orks[23c]
- M30 — The Battle of Gate Forty-Two
- M30 — The Scalland Campaign
- M30 — The Compliance of Indra-sul
- M30 — The Carinae Retribution
- 972.M30 — The Farinatus Extermination[23a]
- 994.M30 — The Compliance of Isstvan III[23a]'
The Horus Heresy
The Raven Guard legion was one of the smallest legions during the Great Crusade, numbering 80,000 Astartes 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 guerrilla 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 was 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 their midst.
Four of the seven loyalist legions sent to Istvaan V had thrown off the colours and pretenses of the Imperium, and set their betrayal into motion. The Iron Warriors, Night Lords, Alpha Legion, and Word Bearers turned on their brethren in a bloody thunderstorm of bolters and blades, decimating their numberrs 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 meager 3,000 battle hardened veterans. Himself by now a brooding vengeful demigod, wielding 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 Marcus Valerius who ironically brought Isstvan V into compliance with Corax the first time. Unbeknownst to both sides, Corax only narrowly escaped death at the hands of Angron and his World Eaters thanks to the machinations of the Alpha Legion, whose own Primarch Alpharius had greater plans regarding the Raven Guard.
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 preparation for the coming Siege, 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 Primarchs 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 Astartes created by the gene tech were a marvel, a splice of primarch and Astartes, 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 Astartes). 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 Astartes, 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 receive 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 astartes still fought with otherworldly strength, overpowering even the Alpha Legion Astartes. 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. Corax nevertheless led the Raven Guard in full strength (~4000 Astartes) and his allies (over 500,000 Therion Cohort, 100-150 Imperial Fists, ~20 Custodes against The Perfect Fortress, an Emperors Children stronghold.[12e] Planned to be conducted with his legion rebuild to be at least 10.000 Astartes strong, the Fortress was taken by luring the Traitor forces out with an failed assault by the Therion Cohort.[12e] While Raven Guard losses were small, the Traitor force was totally destroyed.[12e] The Perfect Fortress was on a important strategic planet for the whole sector, but Corax withdrew his legion to strike the next Traitor force, leaving the garrison to the Therion Cohort, and the expected Imperial Army and Titan Legion Reinforcements.[12e] Corax again led the Raven Guard in full strength against traitor forces in the Battle of Yarant, rescuing the Space Wolves. After the battle, Corax expressed his intent to continue to resist Horus from the shadows.
Lion El'Jonson and his Dark Angels eventually rendezvoused with the Raven Guard and Space Wolves on Deliverance and offered them a place in his crusade of vengeance against the Traitors. While the Wolves wholly committed themselves, Corax was more cautious and only committed a small expeditionary force to scout ahead and eliminate key targets in order to spare entire worlds from The Lion's destruction. This force also engaged in regular war, taking part in the Siege of Barbarus against the Death Guard. 
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. Tales of the Space Wolves report the use of Astartes more beasts than man. The Space Wolves never reported this to any imperial authorities, most likely because they shared a sympathy with the Raven Guard because of their own similar flaw.
Meanwhile, scattered Raven Guard survivors of Isstvan V managed to join with fellow Salamanders and Iron Hands aboard the Sisypheum, beginning a campaign of vengeance against those who had betrayed them.
- Drop Assault on Istvaan V 
- Space Skirmishes in the Istvaan-System [12a]
- Attack on Word Bearers Communication Outpost [12d]
- The Battle of Ravendelve
- Assault on The Perfect Fortress[12e]
- The Battle of Constanix II
- The liberation of Scarato
- The liberation of Carandiru
- The Malagant Conflict
- The Battle of the Aragna Chain
- The Battle of Yarant
- The Siege of Barbarus
- The Ydursk Incident
- Assault on Word Bearer Stronghold (planned)[12e]
- Joined Operation in an assault on a traitor stronghold with the Space Wolves 
Horus Heresy Aftermath
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. He retained his legions overall structure, but in smaller chapters of 1,000 Astartes.
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.
- 544.M32 — The War of the Beast
- 018.M36 — The Battle of Parocheus. The Raven Guard under Yaroslan Medexus battle Dark Eldar Haemonculi on the world of Parocheus.[Needs Citation]
- 508.M40 — The Raider Raided battle between the Strike Force Ultra under the command of the Captain Oradias and the Dark Eldar pirate forces of the Subaron Rift.
- ???.M41 — Battle on Rhorsch. The planet Rhorsch was infested firstly by a Blood Cults and then - by Daemons themselves. The Raven Guards with the aid of the Mortifactors Chapter eliminated the enemies. Led by Shadow Captain Rykas, the Raven Guard slayed the High Bloodcaller of the horde and stopped the Heresy.
- ???.M41 — Conquering of Obdurus. The Heretic Fortress World was taken by the Raven Guard Chapter in less than a day, after its Scouts managed to disable Obdurus's orbital defenses.
- 240.M41 — 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.
- 260.M41 — The Battle for Columnus.
- 748.M41 — The Thruskus Rebellion.
- Mid-Late 700's.M41 — The Sabbat Worlds Crusade. A detachment of Raven Guard take part in the assault on Caligula.
- 862.M41 — Waaagh! Skullkrak invaded the Targus system. Kayvaan Shrike and the Raven Guard 3rd company were amongst the forces that respond.[4c]
- 865.M41 — The Heraclad Massacre
- 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
- 986.M41 — The Battle for Targus VIII
- 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.[6b]
- 996.M41 — The Lonal Ambush
- 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.[10a]
- 757999.M41 — The Battle of Mu'gulath Bay. Raven Guard under Chapter Master Corvin Severax himself attempt to defend Agrellan from Tau assault.
- 999.M41 — The Battle of Voltoris. Reeling from his defeat at Mu'gulath Bay, Severax successfully ambushes the Tau.
- 999.M41 — The Prefectia Campaign. Chapter Master Corvin Severax is slain battling Commander Shadowsun. Kayvaan Shrike is elected the new Chapter Master.
- 999.M41 — The Second Agrellan Campaign. Shrike leads forces to recapture the Hive World of Agrellan from the Tau.
- 996999.M41 — The Waaagh! Garaghak. The entire chapter stands ready to defend their homeworld against Ork Waaagh! of titanic proportions.[6a]
- ~999.M41 — The Terran Crusade. Raven Guard elements answer the call of the reborn Roboute Guilliman.
- ???,M41/M42 — The Reclamation of Safiniyus
- ???.M42 - The Scattering. Kayvaan Shrike convenes the Chapter and orders their strategic deployment across the Imperium.
- ???.M42 — The War for Tarrovar
- ???.M42 - The Invasion of the Odoacer System
- ???.M42 - the Battle of Xalladin
- ???.M42 - The War for the Sithoza System
- ???.M42 - The Charadon Campaign
- ???.M42 - The Fourth Tyrannic War including the Battle of Bastior
- Unknown - campaign against the Word Bearers on the planet Hope's Pyre[42b]
- Unknown - Purging of Shondor[42a]
- Unknown - The Siege of Kantarel[44d]
- Unknown - Fighting in the ruined city of Ghastorgrad[42c]
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 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 explicitly stated what the actual cause is.
In M32, a sudden degeneration afflicted the Raven Guard's gene-seed, causing organs to fail and implants to be rejected. From this time onward, the Chapter was forced to rely on gene-seed stocks from Terra, a factor that slowed the Chapter’s recruitment rates significantly but did not curtail their willingness for battle.
The Sable Brand
Since the earliest days of the Raven Guard, some of their number have been prone to a battle madness known as the Sable Brand. This consists of cold-blooded determination to fight on with no regard for self-preservation coupled with an inability to separate the whispers of the dead from the words of the living. Thought to be an original flaw in Corax's gene-seed that he himself may have suffered, it is marked by one's eyes becoming completely black. Though its effects are not permanent, it is often ever-present amongst those who suffer from it. During the Great Crusade, Corax organized those afflicted into units of Shadow Killers. However, after the Legion's near extinction on Isstvan V, the Primarch could no longer waste troops like this.[44e]
After Isstvan V, Corax labored with various methods to control the Sable Brand. He developed the Trifold Path of Shadow as a result in an attempt to control the outbreaks of madness. The doctrine has indeed led to fewer battle-brothers becoming afflicted with the Sable Brand. However, should the afflicted not be slain in battle, they are eventually incarcerated in the Ravenspire and used in experimentation by the Chapter's apothecaries. This attempt to cure their gene-seed is carried out in total secrecy.[44e]
Culture and combat doctrine
TacticsBlood 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 equipped with these weapons in addition to their Jump Packs.[Needs Citation]
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]
Core to Corax’s teachings was the Trifold Path of Shadow, often rendered in pictorial form as a short-bladed trident, or a triple-bladed lightning claw. The first path of shadow is Ambush, the second Stealth, and the third Vigilance. Mastering one Path, he taught, brought the possibility of victory; mastery of two rendered triumph likely, and accomplishment in all three made the foe’s defeat all but inevitable. From the very first, the Chapter’s Battle Companies were founded around this Trifold Path. Companies 3 through 5 each specialised in one branch, and a battle-brother’s promotion to the 2nd came only when true mastery was attained. Such promotion is far from guaranteed. Even amongst Corax’s sons, there are few who can replicate his skill so completely, and many battle-brothers live out a life of war in the same Battle Company, peerless in their own path, but never truly able to grasp the fathomless depths of the others.[44c]
Due to their specialised combat style, the Raven Guard makes less use of heavier vehicles and tanks (such as the Land Raider and Predator) than most chapters. However they conversely make heavy use of Land Speeders and gunships, and due to their extreme tactical autonomy and genetic instability nearly every deployment with see an Apothecary of some sort of included. As a result, the Raven Guard maintains more Apothecaries and Helix Adepts then most chapters.[51a]
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 were 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 Constanix II. 
The Moritat Protocol dates back to the Horus Heresy, and sees individual Raven Guard dropped into warzones to train local defenders or pro-Imperial elements in order to wage a local insurgency in support of the Chapters own war effort.
Culture and Traditions
The Raven Guard are known for their grim and brooding nature. However due to their history as liberators of slaves, the Raven Guard maintain close ties with mortals, particularly those of their homeworld Deliverance.[44a]
Rites of Shadow
The Rites of Shadow are a Raven Guard and Successor Chapter silent ritual with ancient roots. Conducted in complete silence, Corpsake sign language is used for traditional questions and answers. The Rites teach that the shadow contains both trues and lies, the purpose of each is the separation of one from the other, and glimpsing of verities otherwise hidden. This is applied to one's Battle-Brother's, one's cause, and even one's foes. Once one has completed the rites, they will earn the status of "Shadow". The title holds great respect, but no rank or authority.[44e]
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 its equipment and trappings (including the Corvia), harvested of it's gene-seed and left for the local carrion birds to feed upon [21b]
Described as being a combination of mental discipline and martial art, the process of "wraith-slipping" is to take advantage of one's surroundings to conceal one's presence. This is not a psychic power but rather a collection of disciplines and techniques that the Raven Guard use to conceal their visual and aural presence despite their use of power armour. It is a technique that is described both prior to the outbreak of civil war in the Horus Heresy and up to the 41st Millennium.[24a]
Corspake is a form of sign language taught to all members of the Raven Guard. This allows them to communicate on the battlefield without having to risk themselves to exposure by speaking or using Vox technology. Notable signs include The Crowfane; the Feast of Bones; the Empty Chime; even the Murder Call, which calls for vengeance against the slayer of a great hero. The 2nd Company is known for its prodigious use of Corspake, and none can rise to the rank of Shadow Captain without mastering it.[44e]
During the Great Crusade the Raven Guard Legion followed the basic organizational doctrine. The Legion was divided into chapters, chapters were divided into battalions, battalions into companies, and companies into squads. However companies were preferred for most independent operations. Legion officers devolved command responsibility to sub-commanders, allowing them to make tactical decisions and to seek the initiative without interfering with the command chain. The influence of Terran recruits from the Xeric tribes was the cause of this.[30a]
After the Dropsite Massacre Corax was left with a tattered Legion and had to reorganize them. They were combined into divisions based on combat specializations. The tactical companies became the Talons, the assault companies became the Falcons, and light vehicle squadrons and air support were renamed the Hawks. Another unit of genetically enhanced Astartes dubbed the Raptors was later added as well.[30a]
- 11th Chapter ("the Pale Nomads")
- 18th Chapter ("the Ashen Claws"): Turn renegade during the Horus Heresy and still exist as a piratical warband in the current imperium.
 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[6b] 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|
"The Black Wings"
Shadow Captain Aethon Shaan,
Shadow Captain Aajz Solari,
Shadow Captain Vordin Krayn,
Shadow Captain Aevar Qeld,
|Reserve Companies||Scout Company|
|6th Company||7th Company||8th Company||9th Company||10th Company|
"The Darkened Blades"
"The Dirge Singers"
Shadow Captain Sard Gaeron,
Shadow Captain Oras Brael,
- The 1st Company, known as the Blackwings. the 1st Company are the mightiest warriors of the Raven Guard known for their mastery of assassination.[44d]
- The 2nd Company, known as the Shadowborne. These are the Raven Guard's preeminent assassins.[44d]
- The 3rd Company, known as the Ghoststalkers. Less subtle than most of their brethren, the 3rd uses sudden and overwhelming force to silence their foe, embracing ambush, the first aspect of Corax's Trifold Path of Shadows.[44d]
- The 4th Company, known as the Silent. The 4th strives for the second aspect of the Trifold Path of Shadow, stealth.[44d]
- The 5th Company, known as the Watchful. The 5th utilizes the third and final path of shadow, vigilance.[44d]
- The 6th Company, known as the Darkened Blades. Unlike the Reserve Companies in other Chapters, the 6th of the Raven Guard is not tasked with reinforcing Battle Companies on campaign. Instead it is tasked with a specific purpose: to infiltrate enslaved worlds and deliver them anew into the Imperial fold.[44d]
- The 7th Company, known as the Whisperclaws. The 7th specializes in hit-and-run attacks, maintaining an agile and responsive war footing.[44d]
- The 8th Company, known as the Unseen. The 8th serves as the Raven Guard's Close Support Squad reserves but in keeping with the Chapter's tenets are often found fighting their own campaigns.[44d]
- The 9th Company, known as the Dirge Singers. The 9th act as the Raven Guard's Fire Support Squad reserves.[44d]
- The 10th Company, known as the Subtle. The 10th acts as the Raven Guard recruiting force and operates both Scout and Vanguard forces.[44d]
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.
Today, Aspirants are considered to be given a high honor of receiving the rare and unstable Gene-seed of the Chapter. They are thus subjected to harsh training in the force-domes of Deliverance and Kiavahr. They face lethal conditions with little food, water, or sleep, and are required to evade or kill monsters and Mutants and must learn patience, stealth, and the art of the hunt in order to survive. In the Trial of the Watcher, an Aspirant is required to navigate the ganglands of Kiavahr and undertake missions with only the most minimal of visual clues to guide them to their objective.[51a]
In the Trial of Justice, they are tested to see if they can uphold to the ideals of Corax. In this challenge, Aspirants are strapped to a chair in near total darkness and has their mind examined by Chapter Librarians as they are given questions by Chaplains on questions relating to loyalty, courage, freedom, and justice. They are often given hypothetical scenarios and complex moral dilemmas and forced to give solutions. There are no true right or wrong answers to these questions, though due to the presence of Librarians an Aspirant can not lie and give responses he knows will please his overseers. A mere attempt at dishonesty sees one killed on the spot or made into a Servitor.[51a]
The Trial of the Wraith is a more physical challenge and forces Aspirants to be dropped alone into the Ologothien Wastes on Kiavahr. They must then traverse 199 miles of lethal territory in three days without sustenance and to be not spotted by a native predator. Thus aspirants are forced to utilize their stealth training to the utmost extreme.[51a]
Those that complete their trials can expect long service in the 10th Company as Scouts, which the Raven Guard maintains a higher amount of compared to other Chapters. Upon proving themselves after years of service in the 10th Company, a full Battle-Brother can take on a new name, often that of a past Chapter champion or a Kiavahran word for beast, weapons, or folk hero.[51a]
- 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]
The Raven Guard makes use of an array of unique vehicles tailored to the Chapter's specialization in stealth assault. These include the Whispercutter.
During the Horus Heresy, the Raven Guard's fleet was equipped with special stealth technology: a ship's void shields could be modified so that they provided only minimal protection, but at the benefit of making the vessel nearly undetectable either visually or by sensors. It took only a few minutes for this adjustment to be made.[12a] The Raven Guard also operates a stealthy variant of the Thunderhawk, the Shadowhawk
Noted Elements of the Raven Guard
Relics and Artefacts
- Avenger — Battle Barge, under Branne Nev's command when he lead a flotilla to rescue his brethren being slaughtered on Istvaan V.
- Providence — Battle Barge, Heresy-era vessel
- Raven’s Claw — Battle Barge, oldest of the Raven Guard's surviving Battle Barges.
- Shadowed Guardian — Battle Barge, Heresy-era vessel
- Shadow of the Emperor — Battle Barge, flagship of the Raven Guard Legion fleet. Destroyed by the Terminus Est during the Dropsite Massacre
- Aeruginosus — Strike Cruiser, under the command of Captain Korvydae during the raid on Kastorel-Novem.
- Black Wing - Strike Cruiser, Great Crusade era
- Raven's Valour — Strike Cruiser, part of Commander Branne's flotilla which rescued the Raven Guard survivors of the Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V. Still in active service as of M42.
- Second Shadow — Strike Cruiser, named in honour of the former Flagship of the Raven Guard Fleet (the Shadow of the Emperor). Served the Raven Guard 5th Company, until it was also destroyed by the Terminus Est.
- Triumph — Strike Cruiser, one of the ships in Commander Branne's flotilla which made a rescue mission to aid his brothers on Istvaan V.
- Sabalis Liberatus — Battlecruiser, Heresy-era vessel
- Saviour in Shadow - Warship, Great Crusade-era
- Pinion Blade - Frigate
- Ad Temperesta — Warp Runner, a Symphalia-class observation craft, made first scans of the Isstvan system ahead of the loyalist fleet.[23b]
Known Named Vehicles
- Corvus Corax — Primarch of the Raven Guard
- Branne Nev — Commander of the Raptors
- Agapito Nev — Commander of the Talons
- Solaro An — Commander of the Hawks
- Soukhounou — Commander of the Hawks following the death of Solaro An
- Aloni Tev — Commander of the Falcons
- Verano Ebb — Captain of the Silence Squad 
- Vincente Sixx — Chief Apothecary of the Raven Guard
- Gherith Arendi — Commander of the Shadow Wardens
- Kaedes Nex — Moritat Prime[Needs Citation]
- Alvarex Maun — Master of Descent[Needs Citation]
- 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]
- Torisian — Captain 29th Company. KIA Isstvan V 
- Effe Dellius - Captain
- Rama Karayan — Member of the Knights-Errant
- Alastor Rushal — Joined the Night Lords after the Drop Site Massacre
- Arkhas Fal — Commander of the Legion before the discovery of Corax
- Dravian Klayde — Member of the Knights-Errant
- Khira — Legionnaire
- Chovani — Legionnaire
- Balsar Kurthuri — Librarian
- Antaka Cyvaan — Librarian
- Krahzen — Contemptor Dreadnought
- Aajz Solari — Captain of the 2nd Company[Needs Citation]
- Aethon Shaan- Current Brother-Captain of the 4th Company[10a]
- Alerin — Dreadnought, who was previously the Shadow Captain of the Third Company. Upon his internment, Kayvaan Shrike was chosen as his replacement to lead the Company.
- Ardaric Vaanes- Former Brother-Captain of the 4th Company now a member of an Iron Warriors Grand Company[10b]
- Braknum — Chaplain who took part in the Altmorr Massacre
- Corvin Severax — Kayvaan Shrike's predecessor as Chapter Master, killed in the Prefectia Campaign
- Kayvaan Shrike — Chapter Master, previously Shadow Captain of the Raven Guard 3rd Company[Needs Citation]
- Korvydae — Captain of the 10th Company - Master of Recruits[6b]
- Kyrin Solaq — Captain of the 5th Company
- Kyrolius — Fighter squadron leader
- Laefin Torovac — Chaplain
- Moradius — Captain, killed in the Baran War
- Oradias — Captain of the 1st Company
- Stenn — Shadow Captain. Killed in 260.M41 during the Battle for Columnus
- Syras Colfaen — 6th Company Captain
- Tyris — Member of the Deathwatch during the War of the Beast
- Vykar Kaed — 1st Company Captain
- Yaroslan Medexus — Captain, killed in the Battle of Parocheus[Needs Citation]
- Sael Karros - Lieutenant, 4th Company
- Argan Kallorax — Chaos Space Marine
- Kylesh — Shadow Captain, took part in the Purging of Shondor[42a]
Unique Troops & Vehicles
- Raptor (Heresy-era)
- Shadow Wardens (Heresy-era)
- Mor Deythan
- Dark Fury (Heresy-era)
- Whispercutter (Heresy-era)
- Darkwing (Heresy-era)
- Deliverers (Heresy-era)
- Shadow Bird (Heresy-era)
- 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[Needs Citation]
- 3: Codex: Space Marines (4th Edition)[Needs Citation]
- 4: Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition):
- 5: Insignium Astartes, pg. 59 (upper right corner image)
- 6: Imperial Armour Volume Eight - Raid on Kastorel-Novem:
- 7: White Dwarf 276 (UK), pgs. 6–11
- 8: The First Heretic, Chapters Twenty-Four to Twenty-Five
- 9: Cadian Blood (Novel), pg. 62[Needs Citation]
- 10: The Chapter's Due (Novel):
- 11: Hunt for Voldorius (Novel)
- 12: Deliverance Lost (Novel)[Needs Citation]
- 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: [Needs Citation] pg. 64
- 12i: [Needs Citation] pg. 377
- 12h: [Needs Citation] pg. 235
- 13: Kryptos (Short Story)
- 14: Corax: Lord of Shadows (Novel), Chapter 4
- 15: Clan Raukaan - A Codex: Space Marines Supplement, Battle for Columnus
- 16: Corax (Anthology) — The Weregeld
- 17: The Baran War (archived page last accessed 31 May 2015)
- 18: War Zone Damocles: Kauyon, pg. 29
- 19: The Unkindness of Ravens (Novella)
- 20: The Shadowmasters (Short Story)
- 21: Vulkan Lives (Novel):
- 22: The Unremembered Empire (Novel), Chapter 4
- 23: The Horus Heresy Book Two - Massacre:
- 24: Shadow Captain (Novella)[Needs Citation]
- 24a: Chapter 1
- 25: Codex: Space Marines (6th Edition), pg. 64
- 26: Index Astartes: Battle Barges, pg. 4
- 27: Helion Rain (Audio Drama)
- 28: Angel Exterminatus, Book 2, Chapter 10
- 29: Blood Oath (Novella), Interlude 2-0
- 30: The Horus Heresy Book Three - Extermination:
- 31: Index Chaotica: Terminus Est (Background Book)
- 32: Dataslate: Space Marines Strike Force Ultra (Background Book), pg. 13
- 33: How to Paint Space Marines, pg. 79
- 34: White Dwarf 302 (UK), pg. 87
- 35: Dataslate: Reclusiam Command Squad (Background Book) — Reclusiam Command Squad
- 36: Codex: Space Marines (7th Edition) — The Chronicle of Heroes - The Raven's Fate
- 37: The Horus Heresy Book Six - Retribution, pgs. 137–145
- 39: Imperial Armour Volume Ten - The Badab War - Part Two, pg. 117
- 40: Warhammer Community: Successor Chapter Showcase: Paul Norton’s Iron Ravens (Posted 12/08/2019) (Last accessed on 12 August 2019)
- 41: Apocalypse (Novel), Chapter 2
- 42: Codex: Space Marines (8th Edition, 2nd Codex):
- 43: Codex Supplement: Iron Hands (8th Edition), pg. 34
- 44: Codex Supplement: Raven Guard (8th Edition) pg.34
- 45: Codex: Space Marines (9th Edition), pgs. 42-43
- 46: War Zone Charadon - Act I: The Book of Rust, pgs. 40-41
- 47: Ghostmaker (Novel) — The Founding (Omnibus), Chapter Four
- 48: Throne of Light (Novel), Chapter 6
- 49: Kill Team: Nachmund, pg. 12
- 50: White Dwarf 478, pgs. 107-109
- 51: First Founding (Background Book):
- 52: Codex: Space Marines (8th Edition), pg. 51
- 53: Leviathan (Box), pg. 223
- 54: Warhammer Community Takes On Legions Imperialis (Last accessed on 15 November 2023)
|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