Hi everyone, Michael here to review the first of two flyers from Codex: Space Marines, the Stormtalon Gunship. For more reviews, analyses and Battle Reports, check out the Tactics Corner.
I have always liked the look of the Stormtalon Gunship, ever since the model was first introduced. It has a great aesthetic that is distinctively Space Marine, as some nice rules to go with it. In fact, the picture of the White Scars Stormtalon Gunship in White Dwarf inspired me to finally start a White Scars army, the Stormtalon being one of my first purchases.
In the background, the Stormtalon Gunship is a great air support flyer, able to target and destroy both ground-bound targets and skyborne ones. The new Death From the Skies supplement has seriously diminished its ability to tackle other flyers, but it is still a potent vehicle for targeting many ground based units in the game.
The Stormtalon Gunship is a flyer that comes with Armour 11 all round and 2 Hull Points. It has the standard Space Marine Ballistic Skill of 4. It’s ability to access medium to high strength weaponry with good rates for fire makes it a great unit for taking on many infantry targets and lightly armoured vehicles. It used to be a decent choice for providing a Space Marine army with some anti-flyer firepower, but as mentioned above the recent Death From the Skies book has stopped the Stormtalon from accessing Skyfire, making it much less suited for this role. However, as the ITC is not currently using the Death From the Skies rules, it can provide a relatively cheap source of Skyfire for taking on enemy flyers.
- Twin-linked Assault Cannon
- Twin-linked Heavy Bolter
- Ceramite Plating- Melta weapons lose the extra D6 armour penetration at half range.
- Options to replace the Heavy Bolters with a Skyhammer Missile Launcher, Twin-linked Lascannon or Typhoon Missile Launcher.
- Strafing Run
- Vectored Afterburners- A zooming Stormtalon can move an additional 6″ when moving flat out. In addition, it gains +1 to its Jink save when Hovering.
With its armaments and special rules, the Stormtalon is best suited as a gunship for targeting lightly armoured infantry and light to medium vehicles.
Strafing Run means that the Stormtalon will be hitting ground targets on a 2+, practically guaranteeing full hits with your twin-linked weapons and a good chance of hitting with all your other weapons. My personal preference is to go for the Skyhammer Missile Laucher, giving the Stormtalon three S7 AP4 shots, to go with the twin-linked Assault Cannons. This means the Stormtalon puts out 7 S6 or 7, AP4 shots each turn. This makes it great for taking on infantry with a 4+ or worse armour save, multi-wound T3 models or even vehicles with AV12 or less (though even AV13 are at risk with the Skyhammer and Rending Assault Cannon shots).
The Lascannon and Typhoon Missile Launcher options even give the Stormtalon the ability to take on more heavily armoured infantry or vehicles with the flyer.
If you are not using Death From the Skies, the Stormtalon can acutally be quite effective at taking on most enemy flyers. The medium to high strength weaponry and high rate of fire should force most enemy flyers to Jink or risk being destroyed by the Stormtalon.
Even though the Stormtalon is only armour 11 with 2 hull points, it has the inherent durability that comes from being a flyer. This means that an opponent without any means of skyfire or high volumes of S5 or above firepower will find taking down the Stormtalon difficult.
The Stormtalon also benefits from having the Hover special rule. This is great for using the Stormtalon for a late game objective holder or for getting an extra turn of shooting at the end of the game without having to leave the battlefield or if you find yourself out of position. The fact that the Stormtalon gets a 3+ jink save in Hover mode is frequently forgotten and helps with its durability if it is holding an objective at the end of the game. It also benefits from Ceramite Plating. This can be useful against Melta weapons, though with only armour 11, they will still be penetrating the Stormtalon on a 4+.
The only applicable Chapter Tactics for the Stormtalon are the Iron Hands, giving the flyer It Will Not Die to help possibly keep it alive for longer.
One of the more useful formations utilising the Stormtalon Gunship is the Raptor Wing formation. This features a unit of Land Speeders and two Stormtalons. The formation benefits include Incoming Support, which means that your two flyers automatically arrive on turn 2, and Priority Target Received. This special rule allows a Land Speeder in the formation to nominate an enemy target in 18″. The two Stormtalons get re-rolls to wound and Armour Penetration when firing at that target, even getting to re-roll Glancing Hits in an attempt to get Penetrating Hits.
This formation actually works very well in conjunction with the Stormtalons. Arriving automatically on turn 2 is great, allowing you to factor in exactly when the flyers will arrive and what their role in the battle can be. We had all had that game where our reserves do not arrive until turn 4 and make less impact on the battle, so guaranteed reserves arrival is a great bonus. The Priority Target Received rule should increase the damage output of the Stormtalons on the selected target and actually makes the flyers viable for taking on AV12 and above vehicles and Monstrous Creatures thanks to the wound re-rolls and pseudo-Tank Hunter. In addition, depending on the armaments of the Land Speeder(s), they can add their firepower to the chosen target or fire at other enemy units. The formation costs as little as 265 points, making it a relatively cheap source of some very strong firepower.
The only other formation featuring the Stormtalon is the Storm Wing. This features two Stormtalons and a Stormraven Gunship. This formation arrives on a single reserve roll and gives the Stormraven Strafing Run as long as one Stormtalon is still alive. I’m not going to go into too much detail on this, as it is really expensive and not a great choice.
Overall, I think the Stormtalon is a great gunship to add to a Space Marine army. It may not be the most competitive choice, but it can put out a lot of highly accurate S5 and above shots, and can be well suited for giving you another scoring unit in the final turn of the game.
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