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.
- 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
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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