The Basic Nerf N-Strike Elite Rayven CS-18 Review (Write Up)

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The box art for the Nerf N-Strike Elite Rayven CS-18

Back in late 2011/early 2012, Nerf released the N-Strike Rayven CS-18. After critical acclaim from both stock users and modders a like, it seems like it was an easy decision to bring the popular blaster into the Elite line a year later. The suggested retail price for the Rayven was $29.99 USD, while the suggested price for the Elite Rayven is $34.99 USD, about $5 more. Is this blaster worth the extra money? If I already own and like the Rayven, should I get the Elite one? I’ll answer those questions and more in this review.

If your not familar with the original Rayven and it’s features, check out my review of the original Rayven CS-18 to keep up with this one. I won’t mention to many features about the Elite Rayven, since the old Rayven has the exact same outsides and shell as the Elite one.

While on the outside the Elite Rayven only has a new (but good looking!) paint job, it has has small improvements over the original, which make a big difference in Nerf games. Keep reading to check out my Elite Rayven CS-18 review in full, complete with photos and videos showing it off in action.

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The back of the package

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The Elite Rayven pictured with it’s 18 dart Firefly Tech clip, GoPro sticker not included.

As mentioned before, everything on the outside of the Rayven and the new Rayven is the same. The Elite Rayven still has a tactical rain on top and on the side. It also still takes barrel attachments. The Elite Rayven once again requires 4 AA batteries to power it up and use the blaster. However, if you have used the Rayven before, you’ll notice a big difference in the sound the Elite Rayven’s flywheels make. It’s louder, the spin up time is quicker, and the ranges are greater. The original Rayven’s ranges were about 25-30 feet flat, and required a second and a half or two before the wheels got up to full speed. The Elite Rayven’s ranges are about 40-50 feet flat, with spin up time only requiring about a second before their at full speed.

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The Elite Rayven comes with a now bright green Firefly Tech clip and 18 Glow in the Dark Darts. The clip still runs on 3 AA batteries just like the original Firefly Tech clip. However, it is noticeably brighter then it.

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The Glow in the dark darts that come with this blaster are not referenced to as Elite darts. However, their dart code is W., while most Elite Darts code is K. or J. The Elite dart coding was the first to use a period after it’s letter, so these very well could be Elite Glow Darts.

The Trigger Pull is still as tough as it was on the old Rayven, which is good if your used to it, and a bit bad if your new to the Rayven, since most wouldn’t be used to it. I’ve noticed that on the previous Rayven, sometimes you would get “squibble” (which seems to be the Nerf Internet Community’s name for the problem) in which the dart would hit the side of the barrel and not come out. Modders and people familiar with it’s insides say that this is caused due to one of the flywheels not being properly aligned with the other. However, in the six high action games I’ve played in, I’ve NEVER had that problem with the Elite Rayven. I could have just gotten a Rayven without that problem, or perhaps just haven’t had the bad luck of that happening to me.

A decently sized debate going on when this blaster came out was which is better, the Elite Rayven, or Stryfe? I won’t dig too much into that debate until my Stryfe review goes up. But with the Stryfe you get higher customization options, and at a cheaper price. With the Elite Rayven, you get a more complete blaster with a bigger magazine and more darts. It seems like the Elite Rayven would be a better introduction to a newer player who didn’t have much, versus a more veteran player getting a Stryfe. In this case the more experienced player would most likely have more ammo magazines and attachments to make the most of the Stryfe.


The old and new Rayven together

All in all, the Elite Rayven is a nice, solid blaster option. If you liked the original Rayven, and wanted to upgrade from it, then I would recommend this blaster if you wanted another bullpup designed one. With it entering the Elite line, it’s range improvements and lack of the “squibble” problem are welcomed improvements that have helped refine the blaster. I have gave the original blaster an 8/10, and while I want to give the Elite Rayven a 8.5/10, it’s slightly higher price makes me lower it back to an 8/10. Also The fact that the Elite line is replacing the normal N-Strike line also makes the range increase less of a pleasant surprise, and more of a standard.

Here’s a couple of Nerf games that I’ve been in that show how effective the Elite Rayven is.


Nerf War Siege The Fort – 126 Rounds Of Foam (Game 5)

The number in the title refers to the amount of darts I usually carry in my clips/mags in my chest rig. In this game especially, it proves to come in handy.

Siege the Fort is a very simple game. There are two teams, attackers and defenders. The attacking team starts off with 2 or 3 people, and have one hit on them. When they are hit, they must go back and touch their spawn point to re-enter the game.

The defenders start off on the playground equipment. They have 3 hits on them. When they are hit 3 times, they must go touch the respawn point, and then join the attacking team.


Humans vs. Zombies Mini Game 2 – Chasing The Flag (Dual Camera Video)

We changed the rules a bit more for this game. We re-picked teams to start off. Theres a flag out on the playing field. The game is 10 minutes long. For a human team to win, they must eliminate all members of the other team and have the flag back at their starting area when the game is over.

If the humans don’t eliminate the other team AND have the flag, then the zombies win at the end of the 10 minutes.


Indoor Nerf War TDM – 5 Outs & 3 Headshots (Elite Rayven 8.4v) (Game 1)

First game out of about 7 that we played during the day. Game 1 I manage to take out 5 of the 7 other opponents. Out of the 5 that I got out, I got 3 of them out on headshots. Whats more important, is that we all had fun. Standard TDM with 3 hits and/or a headshot on a player to eliminate them from the game.

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9 thoughts on “The Basic Nerf N-Strike Elite Rayven CS-18 Review (Write Up)”

  1. The Elite Rayven CS-18 is more compact, since a stock isn’t needed. The stryfe needs a stock, which makes the blaster larger. Which blaster would you recommend?

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    1. depends on the use. generally the stryfe is cheaper and has an easier trigger pull but it mostly comes down to what you to use it for.

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      1. Like Zero said, it depends on what you need from a blaster. Some people want more of a sidearm, smaller primary, or pistol feeling blaster, so they might want a Stryfe. Other’s might be looking for more of a rifle in their blaster, or they want something bigger that they could get behind, then the Elite Rayven could be more for them.

        Other things like available finances and accessory options are what make me hesitant to answer this question of “which one is better”. You might like the fact that the Stryfe can use more attachments,. But do you have them, or the money for them?

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  2. The stryfe is not as good as the rayven in my opinion because it’s 6 bullet clip doesn’t match the 18 bullet rayven. The stryfe can also have sticky trigger and gets jammed easier.

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    1. The Rayven and Stryfe are basically equal. You can switch out the six-dart clip for an 18, and I would never use the Rayven’s 18 anyways because it’s bigger and heavier than a normal one. Also, I believe that the Stryfe’s jamming issues were fixed with the re-release a while ago.

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    2. My stryfe’s trigger does get stuck sometime but it never jams. I’m not sure why the trigger would get stuck but it seems like if I pull it quickly with some effort it can unload an 18 dart clip no problem

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