Kayvaan Shrike of the Raven Guard (AKA King Beakie/Beakie McAwesome or any other variation of such) is the Shadow Captain of the 3rd Company, promoted to Chapter Master from 8th edition onward. A fucking badass that wears the lightning claws once owned by Corvus Corax himself, he also has a supremely epic Beakie helmet to round out his old-school style. He's a sentimental old sod; when the rest of the company pushes off to deliver righteous asskicking on other foul xenos, Kayvaan prefers to stay behind and spend his time rescuing pockets of surviving civilians and soldiers, or assist the local Imperial forces in killing off any left-over resistance. This makes him a goddamn PSEUDO-HERETIC for valuing human life above killing the Emprah's enemies, but hey, that's life in the grimdark future of the 41st millennium for you. Judging by his interactions with Kor'sarro Khan, he's even willing to look past the Ravens' millennia-spanning rivalry with the White Scars.
Back in 4th Edition, he even had a rule to lead a unique custom unit called Shrike's Wing, which were lightning-claw-wielding Veteran Assault Marines that Shrike personally trained. Pity they aren't available anymore, though you can take Vanguards for the Shadow Captain and call them Shrike's Wing.
He's also fucking awesome because he's named after one of the most hardcore birds in existence, the shrike, who are known for impaling their prey on brambles instead of outright killing them. Hence why they are known sometimes as butcher birds.
As of the 7E Warzone Damocles campaign, it's revealed that the Raven Guard Chapter Master, Corvin Severax (whose crowning achievement was... nothing, really), got blasted by Commander Shadowsun. As they regrouped, the remaining Captains began debating over who'd be next and Shrike decided to take the initiative. Only time will tell whether or not this will reflect on his statline or with a new model... but as of right now he's Chapter Master of the Sons of Corax. And he's getting his own book.
As of 8E he has joined Calgar, Tigurius and Kor'sarro in becoming a Primaris marine. His model has hair like that of an early 2000s emo (though he still retains his Corvus helmet).
True to being the big boss of the Brooding Beakies, Shrike's been more than a little emo about Corvin Severax's death. He thinks he's unworthy as a successor, seeing himself as a mere Shadow Captain with more warrior pride than sense. Guess even the Raven Guard takes pride in how well they can pull a sneaky on the enemy and tear out their throat.
So when the Indomitus Crusade rolled along, he figured it was the perfect way to play "The Apprentice: Chapter Master Edition". Shrike sent his finest men on scattered missions to see which of them will prove to have the qualities a Chapter Master truly needs. Without telling them about why they're doing it or that they're competing with their brothers, of course.
Should a worthier candidate come along, Shrike plans to abdicate as Master of Shadows and let them sit in the big chair. And in true emo form, he fails to recognize that humbly recognizing his own strengths and weaknesses while prioritizing duty over glory-seeking make him worthier than he thinks. Which is more than SOME people can boast.
Shadow Captain Shrike appears to be an underwhelming character, and unless you're playing with your mates and are willing to fudge your way through the issue discussed below, he really is useless. Shrike comes out of the tin with a typical captain's stat line and a few extra bits. He has ATSKNF and Chapter Tactics (Raven Guard tactics give him shrouded on the first turn, plus they allow him to use his jump pack for movement AND assault and he can reroll wounds on his HoW attacks). His warlord trait, Angel of Death, gives him fear, which your opponent must test on 3d6. He has a unique special rule, "See, but Remain Unseen", which gives him infiltrate and stealth, but he is only allowed to join jump infantry squads BEFORE deployment. His infiltrate rule fucks with this, but more on that below. For wargear he gets frag and krak grenades, power armor, an iron halo, a pair of relic master-crafted lightning claws, and a bolt pistol (fuck if I know how he uses the damn thing when he's got those giant gloves on - maybe he just throws it). His Chapter Master upgrade will need less derpy rules. Games Workshop should at least give him artificer armor, an Assault 2 ranged weapon mounted on one of his lightning claws and the appropriate stat-line.
- Rules Conflict
:If you're playing by strict RAW standards, Shrike can't join squads, because of some fucked up sentence structure in the codex. His "See, but Remain Unseen" Rule says he can only join a squad of jump infantry before deployment, which would be great if characters were allowed to join squads before deployment (yes, that means his special rule is quite literally useless). The infiltrate rule was also FAQ'd to mean that in order to use the rule, all members of a squad must have the rule. IE, a character who doesn't have the Infiltrate USR can't join a unit that does, and vice versa.
- UPD: The most recent SM FAQ returned Shrike his ability to infiltrate with his pals, so the point above is now void.
In true Raven Guard fashion Shrike is more tricky and evasive than hard or killy. If you're just looking at his stats and gear he'll seem overcosted. After all, he's essentially just a captain with a jump pack and lightning claws. Obviously he's pretty mobile and reasonably good in a melee, but his real strength comes from his ability to infiltrate a squad in to wherever you want them. Being an independent character he doesn't actually have to stick with whatever squad you brought in, which can open up a lot of fun options. I think this guy actually fits his fluff really well, because, while he is a badass, he specializes in clever strikes and guerrilla warfare rather than raw, balls out power. If this guy sees your special snowflake killy character he isn't going to challenge him, in fluff or in crunch; he's going to withdraw and hit him at the least convenient possible time.
Shrike is especially good in any of the Raven Guard special Detachments. Shadow Force in particular is almost tailor-made for him, having a Sternguard and Vanguard squads joined by a Captain (can be replaced with Shrike) and a unit of Land Speeders. As everyone in this formation receives Acute Senses, Move through Cover, Scout and a mobility bonus (re-roll Run moves for infantry, +6" Flat Out for vehicles), Shrike's Vanguard squad, which ALSO receives Stealth and Infiltrate through his special rule, and first turn Shrouded and double jump pack use through the Raven Guard Chapter Tactics, becomes hyper-mobile and very well protected on the turn it is yet unable to charge (at least if your opponent doesn't have Markerlights), even without a transport, and it can choose either to Infiltrate, Outflank with a re-roll, or even Deep Strike while ignoring Dangerous Terrain, all on turn 1 if you are also using the Raven Guard decurion.
Raven Guard Chapter Master
The above profile is Shrike's old Captain profile, but he's a Chapter Master now. Warzone Damocles: Kauyon gave us a way to make a very effective Raven Guard Chapter Master, which is simply a Raven Guard Chapter Master with a jump pack and the twin artifacts Swiftstrike and Murder. This profile is affectionately named MURDERWINGS, and may be effective/manly enough for you to pretend he's Chapter Master Shrike until we get actual rules for him. Don't be a cheapskate and buy him Artificer Armour to improve his survivability, and maybe an Auspex to fuck with enemy cover saves. You might also want to put him in a unit of jump pack Vanguard Veterans with Lightning Claws to represent his Command Squad. Emphasis on might because he almost costs as much as a Land Raider with this load out.
He's had a promotion, and now has the Chapter Master special rule. His stat-line still reeks of his old Captain status, not to mention his 5 wounds and only 5 attacks including both his lightning claws. He grants fellow Raven Guard models re-rolls to their charge distance, so he pairs very well with any sort of risk engaging CC alpha strike army. With him alongside your forces, you have a very good chance of getting a charge off even when 9 inches away. If you like using Vanguard Vets and jump packs, Kayvaan is the HQ for your army. He can deep strike more than 9 inches first turn. A 9" charge should go off 28% of the time, but with the re-roll that rises to 48%. Keep that in mind when building an alpha-strike CC army, you'll need more than 2 units charging to reliably get a charge off. If he is the Warlord he MUST take the Raven Guard specific Warlord Trait, which prohibits overwatch from being fired at him at all. He's worth sending in first to eliminate overwatch from your vict..er, targets and then following with Vanguard once they can't shoot at them. His CC attacks now do 2 damage and has the same AP as a power sword, rather than normal lightning claws. Overall he's gotten buffed considerably and his rules (chapter master, re-roll charge, and improved melee potential) makes him a character worth investing in, and all of this for just 150. 150 points for 1st turn charges, Yes please!
...Then he got a new model with rules coming in the Raven Guard supplement for the 8.5 Edition Space Marines Codex. It's quite clear that Shrike opted to go with a specialized suit of Phobos armor that lets him keep his beloved Beakie helm while also mounting some special-looking jump pack. For armaments, he not only retains his talons, but he also gets new foot-talons (probably for a charging attack) and a bolt pistol so he can contribute to ranged combat.