Hi everyone, Michael here with another Space Marines Formation review. This time, I look at one of the great new formations that was added in the Angels of Death supplement, the Raptor Wing. For more reviews, analyses and battle reports, check out the Tactics Corner.
The Raptor Wing provides a great source of air support to a Space Marine army, able to put out an impressive amount of firepower and with some great special rules to boost their effectiveness on the battlefield.
- 1 unit of Land Speeders
- 2 Stormtalon Gunships
- Incoming Support- If the Stormtalon Gunships are in reserve, they automatically arrive on turn 2.
- Priority Target Received- Once per turn in the shooting phase, a Land Speeder in the formation can nominate an enemy unit within 18″ and line of sight. This is the priority target until it is destroyed or another target is nominated. The two Stormtalon Gunships in the formation can re-roll all failed To Wound and Armour Penetration rolls against the priority target, even re-roll glances in favour of trying to get penetrating hits.
If you checked out my review of the Stormtalon Gunship, you will already know that I think the Stormtalon Gunship is a solid choice for a Space Marine army, providing some very decent, accurate firepower for a relatively cheap cost. The minimum cost of the formation is 265 pts, which I think is not too much to pay for the firepower and durability it can bring to the board.
The Raptor Wing takes an already very good flyer and makes it even better. Incoming Support is a fantastic rule for this formation. We have all had those games where your flyer or reserves will simply not arrive until turn 4. Incoming Support means that you know exactly when your two Stormtalons will be arriving and can utilise them more effectively in your battle plan. This also means that you should be able to get more turns of shooting with your two flyers during the game.
Priority Target Received is also a great rule, potentially increasing the damage output of your Stormtalons during the game. The two flyers will already be hitting ground targets on a 2+ (with plenty of twin-linked weaponry available to help ensure the maximum number of hits), the re-rolls of failed to wound rolls should help you cause maximum wounds against most basic infantry, where the Assault Cannons, Skyhammer Missile Launchers, Typhoon Missile Launchers and Lascannons will be wounding most infantry on 2’s.
If you arm your Stormtalons for tank hunting (taking either the Lascannons or Typhoon Missile Launcher), the re-rolls to Armour Penetration are great for taking out enemy vehicles more effectively.
You will most likely be shooting both flyers at the same target for maximum effect, but there is not rule that you have to. If your first Stormtalon managed to take out the Priority Target, the second is free to target a second unit (but will not gain the re-roll benefits).
I would be inclined to keep the Land Speeder cheap in the formation. It is going to have to get close to the enemy to use the Priority Target Received rule and will likely come under enemy fire to try and limit the use of this special rule, so will likely be Jinking frequently. You will probably want to start the Land Speeder on the table at the start of the game. It does not benefit from the automatic arrival on turn 2, so if you keep it in reserve, it may not show up until later in the game, reducing the number of times you can benefit from its special rules. You can keep it hidden on turn 1, then move and turbo-boost to get in range of the enemy target to use the Priority Target rule- the rule does not state when it must be used in the shooting phase, so there is nothing to stop you turbo-boosting and then applying the rule.
It also does not count as a shooting attack, so the Land Speeder can fire at the same target or at a different target if you so choose. If you do choose to upgrade the weapons on the Land Speeder, the shorter ranged weapons such as the Heavy Flamer, Assault Cannon or Multi-melta will be good options, as it will likely be getting close to the enemy forces during the game. I wouldn’t tend to go for more than one Land Speeder in the formation. Even though it may die quickly, I think the major benefit of the Raptor Wing is guaranteed arrival on turn 2, with the re-rolls to wound and armour penetration serving as a nice, additional bonus.
How you arm the Stormtalon Gunships will depend on what role you wish them to play in your army. The Assault Cannons, Heavy Bolters and Typhoon Missiles will be great for mowing down basic infantry. The Lascannons and Typhoon Missile Launchers will be great for hunting Monstrous Creatures or Vehicles (along with the Assault Cannons and Skyhammer Missile Launchers to some extent).
Overall, I think the Raptor Wing provides some great air support for a Space Marine army at a very reasonable cost. It ensures that your two Stormtalons will have a greater impact on the game by their swift arrival and provides some nice to wound bonuses for them.
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