Space Marine Review: Heavy Support: Stormraven Gunship

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Hi everyone, Michael here again with a review of the second flyer in Codex: Space Marines, the Stormraven Gunship. For more reviews, analyses and battle reports, check out the Tactics Corner.

The Stormraven Gunship is one of the toughest flyers in the game. It comes packed with firepower and with a lot of transport capacity, but it pays a premium for those abilities. The Stormraven has armour 12 all round and has 3 hull points, making it quite a durable flyer, compared to most in the game.

Wargear:

  • Twin-linked Assault Cannon
  • Twin-linked Heavy Bolter
  • Four Stormstrike Missiles (72″, S8, AP2, Heavy 1, Concussive, One Use Only)
  • Ceramite Plating
  • Options to replace assault cannon with twin-linked Plasma Cannon or Lascannon
  • Options to replace the heavy bolters with twin-linked Multi-melta or Typhoon Missile Launcher
  • May replace the side access points with two sets of Hurricane Bolters
  • Option to take Searchlight, Extra Armour and Locator Beacon

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Special Rules:

  • Flyer
  • Hover
  • Assault Vehicle
  • Power of the Machine Spirit
  • Transport Capacity of 12 models (can be Jump Infantry)  and a single Dreadnought.
  • Front, Rear and two Side Access Points
  • Skies of Fury- Passengers can disembark if the Stormraven moves over 6″. If they do so, they deploy on a point the Stormraven has passed over that turn, and deploy as if they were Deep Striking. If the unit scatters, each model in the unit must take a Dangerous Terrain test. If all models cannot be deployed, the entire unit is destroyed. The unit cannot then charge.

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Tactics:

The Stormraven Gunship is an absolute beast, both in terms of model size and points cost. Coming in at 200 points without any upgrades, it is one of the most expensive non-Forgeworld flyers in the game (only the Space Wolves flyers cost more). It is not a flyer that is frequently observed on the tabletop, perhaps due to its prohibitive points cost.

The Stormraven Gunship appears to be equipped for a mixed role in the battlefield. It comes with a lot of firepower as well as an impressive transport capacity.

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Weaponry

With its basic weaponry of twin-linked Assault Cannons, twin-linked Heavy Bolters and four Stormstrike Missiles, the Stormraven can be a threat to both infantry and vehicles. Normally, this mixture of weapons would have too much synergy; if targeting vehicles, the Heavy Bolters would most likely be useless in most cases, whereas targeting infantry would not often suit the one shot Missiles. However, Power of the Machine Spirit would allow you to pick a separate target with one of the weapons, for example, allowing you to target a vehicle with the Missile and going after other units with the other two weapons.

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The Stormraven has several weapons option upgrades. If you want to go for a tank hunting Stormraven, you could equip it with a twin-linked Lascannon and twin-linked Multi-melta to make it capable of cracking the toughest of tanks. If you want to use if for hunting light infantry, two sets of Hurrican Bolters will add some additional firepower to the standard Heavy Bolters and Assault Cannons. The Plasma Cannon upgrade is generally not the greatest on vehicles, as the change of stripping hull points with Gets Hot! is more of a risk.

As can be seen above, the Stormraven can be upgraded to carry out a number of battlefield roles that you may wish it to perform. However, there are several much more useful and more cost effective units in the Space Marine codex that can perform all of these rolls.

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Transport Gunship

The Stormraven has a substantial transport capacity, able to carry up to 12 models (including jump infantry) and a single Dreadnought. The Stormraven is also an Assault Vehicle, allowing both units to assault from it directly. Utilising the full capacity of the Stormraven will quickly become expensive. A Dreadnought and tooled up combat or assault squad could cost quickly cost over 500 points (including the cost of the flyer) that may not turn up until turn 4, therefore, having less impact on the game. That is a lot of points tied up in one vehicle.

Even if the Stormraven arrives on turn 2, any squad inside will not be able to charge until turn 3 at the earliest. Even though the Stormraven could enter the board on Hover mode in turn 2, the Stormraven model is approximately 9″ long. Even entering the board by the minimum distance just to fit the model on the board would prevent the unit inside from disembarking and assaulting.

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Taking a flyer as a transport vehicle is also a risky prospect. If the Stormraven is destroyed while Zooming, each model takes a S10 AP2 hit and the Dreadnought will take a S10 hit on its rear armour.

The Skies of Fury rule is useful for deploying a unit if you are moving over 6″, but at increased risk. I can’t help thinking that a Drop Pod will do the same job, but much cheaper and much safer.

I can’t help think that if you want a tough assault vehicle for your unit, the Land Raider option is a comparable cost, with tougher armour with more hull points (albeit, easier to hit for non-Skyfire units).  Plus you have the option of a turn one or two assault from the Land Raider, depending on deployment.

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Formations

The Stormraven Gunship can be taken in the Storm Wing Formation. This features the Stormraven Gunship and two Stormtalon Gunships. This formation benefits the Stormraven by giving it Strafing Run as long as one of the Stormtalons is still alive. This is a really nice bonus for the Stormraven as you will likely be hitting with all of your twin-linked firepower, and a nice bonus for the one use only Stormstrike Missiles to help prevent them being wasted.

The Stormraven can also be taken in the Strike Force Ultra Formation. This is an absolute beast of a formation, featuring one Captain in Terminator armour, two Terminator Squads, two Terminator Assault Squads, one Venerable Dreadnought, One Stormraven Gunship and one Land Raider Crusader or Land Raider Redeemer. This formation arrives on one reserve roll (which you start rolling from turn 1) and also gives you bonus shots and attacks for the Terminator units when they disembark from a transport for the first time. At a minimum cost of 1395 pts, this formation is essentially an entire army on its own. I would be interested to hear if anyone has ever run this formation and how they got on with it.

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In Conclusion

The Stormraven Gunship is a great model and quite intimidating on the battlefield. It is a fun choice to take in an army, but certainly not a competitive one. It is very expensive for what it can bring to the army, with other units in the Codex able to achieve the same roll more effectively and much cheaper in some cases.

Anyone out there use the Stormraven on a regular basis? Am I wrong about it and is it much better than I have given it credit for?
And as always, Frontline Gaming sells Games Workshop product at up to 25% off of retail, every day!

You can also pick up some cheap models in our Second Hand Shop. Some of these gems are quite rare, sometimes they’re fully painted!

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About Michael Corr

An avid 40k player and blogger from Scotland. I started in 3rd edition and have been playing ever since. I detail my adventures in my own blog "St Andrews Wargaming", highlighting my mediocre painting skills, regular battle reports and my occasional random ramblings.

11 Responses to “Space Marine Review: Heavy Support: Stormraven Gunship”

  1. westrider August 8, 2016 6:35 am
    #

    I haven’t gotten around to it, but I’ve always kind of wanted to run a Storm Raven full of dudes with Storm Shields, just so if it does Crash & Burn, it’s likely most of them will still survive 😀

    I’ve only used mine a couple of times, generally keep it simple. Assault Cannon, Multi-Melta, good to go. I can see a use for the Locator Beacon in an Army with enough Reserved Deep Strikers, but that’s not really a good build anyhow.

  2. Dakkath August 8, 2016 7:42 am
    #

    I always found it funny that the heavy bolters ‘replace’ the side access points, but the stormraven has been using the entire base as the access point since it was introduced in 5th.

    I like setting my raven up for tank hunting so I can ideally come in, pop 2 tanks, drop troops, then next turn pop open 2 more tanks so the infantry can charge the squishies inside.

  3. Virgil82 August 8, 2016 9:54 am
    #

    I keep mine simple, Multi-melta & Assault Cannon transporting a combat squad. Raven flies over an objective I want to parachute troops onto and then hunts armour/MC’s, with the option to help re-deploy troops that arrived via drop pod if it shows up early enough.

    • Michael Corr
      Michael Corr August 8, 2016 12:55 pm
      #

      Redeployment is a great use for it too. Most drop pod units are forced to be pretty static once they land.

  4. Nightman August 8, 2016 12:01 pm
    #

    It’s actually pretty good now with attack patterns. I use a stormwing in my Talon strike force, coming in turn 1 with ignore cover or tank hunter on all flyers has been working out great in test games.

    Usually prefer assault cannon, but plasmacannon is really good with ignore cover, bs5 twin linked makes it quite reliable.

    • Michael Corr
      Michael Corr August 8, 2016 12:54 pm
      #

      Some of the attack formations in Death from the Skies are fantastic, but do require at least 3 or 4 flyers, not sure how many people have that many available.

      • Nightman August 8, 2016 5:45 pm
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        Aye, atleast 3 for the high offense patterns. Stormwing is fairly inexpensive. I use the Raven to drop off Grav Cents since i can put them in pods running the Talon Strike Force.

  5. Lord Krungharr August 9, 2016 3:50 am
    #

    I’ve been debating on building the STorm Wing or the Raptor Wing formation. I’m leaning towards the Raptor Wing because of points now. The Talons can take lascannons, and the landspeeders in the Raptor Wing can take multi-meltas and just pop out over their hiding spots when needed. And in the Fist of Medusa Strike Force if within 12″ of an IC (of which I’ll have several) they will get POTMS.

    While the Storm Raven is certainly tough, I agree a Land Raider is better suited for transport and there are plenty of other shooty options for Skyfire needs. Even a bunch of snap-firing grav is pretty good en masse.

  6. Indy August 9, 2016 5:38 am
    #

    As a Blood Angels player first and foremost, I have to say that I have had some great success with the Stormraven within the past year or so. How I, personally, use them:

    1) 2x Stormravens with a Jump Pack-heavy list basically revolving around Dante’s Descent of Angels rule. I treat them as flying tanks, with Assault Cannon/Multi-Melta. This works because Dante can re-roll their Reserve roll, meaning they almost always show up by T3 at the latest (if Dante dies before then…well….then not much would have helped you). They can almost always roast something scary off the board the turn they arrive. Enemies will make them Jink, but that’s ok because you can always drop them into Hover mode for late-game Obj grabbing.

    2) Angel’s Fury Spearhead: 3x Stormravens w/ 10x Tacticals each holding Teleport Beacons that all come in on a T1 re-rollable roll. This can be amazing for quickly overpowering the enemy. Any Blood Angels units that Deep Strike within 12″ of 2+ of the Teleport Beacons can Charge the turn they arrive. I am utterly convinced this Formation has YUGE potential, but I have never quite cracked the code as to what to make up the rest of the army with considering the points are so tight (1020pt base for the Formation).

    Tl; DR: Stormravens have a lot of potential if you take some time to learn their quirks……or because they’re the ONLY option your Faction has….

  7. Scott August 9, 2016 6:09 pm
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    You left out the Ravenhawk Assault Group. would have loved to hear your take on that.

    • Michael Corr
      Michael Corr August 10, 2016 1:56 pm
      #

      Yeah, forgot about that one, so many formations in so many books…..

      Not wild about the Ravenhawk. Forcing the Stormraven to deep strike in hover mode simply makes it much more vulnerable to enemy firepower. The re-rolls to the Sternguard and Dreadnought against one target are nice (most of the Stormraven’s weapons are twin-linked, so limited benefit), but not worth the Stormraven “tax”.

      I think you would be better suited with a unit of Sternguard in a drop pod. Pretty much the same effect, but for much cheaper. If you want the re-rolls, just take a Librarian and give him Prescience. Still works out way cheaper than the formation.