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Themed Army Ideas
Other Chaos Space Marine Themed Army Ideas

Rai’s Reavers
Astral ClawsMy favorite Chaos army is the Red Corsairs. Originally known as the Astral Claws, they were not part of the Horus Heresy; rather, they turned traitor thousands of years later. Defeated during the Badab Uprising, they escaped into the Maelstrom, re-named themselves, and began recruiting deserters from loyal Marine chapters. The Second Edition Chaos Codex noted that they had little contact with daemons, a rarity among Chaos Marines. 

Because the Astral Claws had such cool tiger-striped armor, I like to imagine that they were related to my Fighting Tigers of Veda and are arch-enemies. When my pal Pat and I were writing up Eye of Terror: From the Jungle to the Gate (to tie in with Games Workshop’s campaign), I thought it would be fun to include the Red Corsairs. Thus, Rai’s Reavers were born….

Armor and insignia image courtesy of Captain Stern's Imperial Database. Used with permission. 

Rai Nagtrishul was a mediocre Tactical Marine in the Fighting Tigers of Veda Chapter. He was often reprimanded by his superiors (especially Chaplain Daksha Ram) for failing to carry out his duties on time and with quality. It came as no great surprise—or loss—to the Tigers when Rai deserted while on the planet Ghaatti.

Rai eventually fell in with the Red Corsairs, who lair within the Maelstrom, an area of space similar to the Eye of Terror. By then he had managed to acquire a Kai Gun, probably by backstabbing its owner. With such a powerful weapon, Rai was able to impress Huron Blackheart, lord of the Red Corsairs, who assigned him a number of men to command. 

During Abaddon’s 13th Black Crusade, Rai was tasked with aiding Arvaal the Heretic. Rai attempted to enlist the Kabal of the Ozone Scorpions to Abaddon’s side, but they betrayed and almost killed him. He was more successful in helping Arvaal summon a Necron army to battle an Ulthwe Strike Force intent on recovering ancient alien artifacts before Abaddon’s men could seize them. Rai also ably defended Arvaal against a combined army of Fighting Tigers, 13th Company Space Wolves, and Inquisition forces. Rai escaped his old nemesis, Daksha Ram, and continues to serve the Red Corsairs.

Never an exceptional Space Marine, Rai is a barely competent leader who can be trusted only with tasks of small importance. He would have been better off staying with the Fighting Tigers and applying himself. Rai would be nothing without his Kai Gun, a fact that he is aware of and attempts to conceal from all others.

Rai is a Chaos Lieutenant (page 22 of Codex: Chaos Space Marines) with no psychic powers. He has the Mark of Chaos Undivided and no Veteran Skills. Wargear may vary, depending on his fortunes, but he always keeps his Kai Gun on his person.

Rai is in nominal command of his Reavers, so no Chaos Lords or Chaos Sorcerer Lords may be taken as additional HQ choices. The Red Corsairs have few daemonic allies, so the army may not include a Daemon Prince or Greater Daemon.

Rai’s Reavers may only include Chosen, lackeys that Rai has managed to bully or bribe. Rai secretly fears his men under him, so Chosen are most often used as bodyguards.

Because Red Corsairs do not often consort with daemons, Possessed Marines may not be taken. Rai’s Reavers have had little contact with Obliterators, so none of these mutants will be found in this army.

Rai’s Reavers are Chaos Space Marines with the Mark of Chaos Undivided. Most of them are fairly recent deserters from Loyal Chapters, so a maximum of one squad may have Veteran Skills. Rai’s Reavers may only call upon one Daemon Pack, and Nurglings never accompany this army.

Fast Attack
Because Rai’s Reavers are former Loyal Space Marines, none of them act as Chaos Raptors and hence, this unit may not be taken. A fair amount of Bikers can be found, as per page 33 of Codex: Chaos Space Marines. As with Daemon Packs, only one unit of Daemonic Beasts (usually Furies) may be summoned.

Heavy Support
Because Rai was a Tactical Marine, he favors arming Havoc Squads with melta guns and/or flamers, mounting them in Rhinos, and hurling them into the enemy to provide other Reavers with close-range fire support. As Rai’s army is relatively new, no Chaos Dreadnoughts or Defilers may be taken. 

Painting and Modeling
Rai’s Reavers uses the standard paint scheme of the Red Corsairs as featured on page 76 of Codex: Chaos Space Marines. That is, members bear the colors of their original chapters, with Imperial livery painted over with red “X’s” or otherwise defaced to show that the wearer is a renegade. 

Models should be assembled using standard (Loyal) Marine parts, with perhaps one Chaos conversion for every third or fourth trooper. Remember, the Red Corsairs are fairly recent traitors with minimal contact with daemons, so few of them will be mutated. 

Page 76 of Codex: Chaos Space Marines depicts an entire squad of former Crimson Fists that have joined the Corsairs, but I find that scenario unlikely: I would expect that post-Horus Heresy, a chapter may only have one or two Marines desert every 100 years or so. I would advise painting figures in a wide variety of Loyal chapter colors (Ultramarines, Space Wolves, Fighting Tigers, whatever), limiting yourself to two or three members from each Chapter. Mix these figures into squads, so that in one squad, for example, you might have:

  • One former Ultramarine;
  • One former Black Templar;
  • One former Blood Angel;
  • One former Howling Griffon;
  • One former Fighting Tiger;
  • One former Salamander; and 
  • Two former Dark Angels.
Mixing miniatures in this way will visually reinforce the rag-tag theme of the Red Corsairs and Rai’s Reavers. 

Space Marine players often have a spare figure or two that they painted but no longer use for one reason or another. A quick way to collect Rai’s Reavers or a Red Corsairs army would be to buy or trade for spare Marine figures. The fact that they would be painted in different styles by different players would further visually reinforce the army’s eclectic theme. 

General Tactics
Being recent deserters, Rai’s Reavers tend to fight like standard, “shooty” Loyalist Marine forces, particularly as they have few of the close-combat units that most Chaos armies are known for.

This is not to say that Rai’s Reavers will be forced to “stand back and shoot.” Chaos Space Marine squads may be armed with two special weapons (plasma pistols/guns, melta guns, or flamers), mounted in Rhinos, and sent into the enemy to wreak carnage, especially if accompanied by mobile Havoc Squads similarly armed.

Related Pages
Eye of Terror: From the Jungle to the Gate
Other Chaos Space Marine Themed Army Ideas

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© Copyright Kenton Kilgore, November 2003. 


Fighting Tigers:
Codex <> Tactics <> Gallery <> Allies and Enemies <> Tales of the Tigers

Other Pages:
Main <> What's New <> Site Index <> The Tiger Roars <> Themed Army Ideas
Events and Battle Reports <> Campaigns <> Terrain <> FAQ <> Beyond the Jungle