Space Marine Review: Formations: Strike Wing

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Hi everyone, Michael here with a review of one of the newest flyer formations for the Space Marines, the Strike Wing. For more reviews, analyses and battle reports, check out the Tactics Corner.

Overview:

The Strike Wing formation was introduced in the Death From the Skies supplement and provides a great air support formation to add to a Space Marine army, with some special rules that give it some added tactical flexibility. It is, however, a relatively expensive formation of flyers to field and does require the Death From the Skies rules to be in effect for maximum benefit.

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Formation:

  • 2 Stormhawk Interceptors
  • 2 Stormtalon Gunships

Special Rules:

  • Twin Leaders- The formation has two Wing Leaders, one must be a Stormhawk Interceptor, the other must be a Stormtalon Gunship. The formation can form two Vigilance Attack Patterns (more on this below) comprised of the two Stormhawk Interceptors and the two Stormtalon Gunships.

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Tactics:

The Stormtalon Gunship and Stormhawk Interceptor are both great flyers for the Space Marines. They are relatively cheap (compared to many flyers for other armies) and pack a decent number of guns for such a cost, along with some nice additional special rules to add to their utility.

The formation special rules gives you two Wing Leaders in the formation. This gives two of your flyers additional special rules for the game. For the Space Marines, these include ignoring the effects of Crew Stunned and Crew Shaken, re-rolls on To Wound and Armour Penetration rolls of 1 and giving the flyer a 5+ invulnerable save. These are some nice additional bonuses for one of the Stormhawks and Stormtalons.

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Attack Patterns

Death From the Skies also includes rules for a number of attack patterns that the flyers in the formation can form in order to gain additional bonuses.

Both sets of flyers in the Strike Wing can adopt the Vigilance Attack Pattern. For the Stormtalons, this gives the lead flyer +1BS against ground targets and +1 to any Jink save. The Jink bonus is nice, but the Stormtalon already has Strafing run, so is hitting on 2’s (but will get a second chance to hit on a 6 if they miss with the first shot due to BS6). The Stormhawks gt +1BS against Air Targets and get +1 to Jink saves as well, useful if you are facing enemy flyers.

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The formation can also adopt other attack patterns as normal. These include attack patterns such as:

  • Vehemence- grants Tank Hunter to the flyers (ground targets for the Stormtalons, air targets for the Stormhawks).
  • Intolerance- grants Ignores Cover to the flyers (ground targets for the Stormtalons, air targets for the Stormhawks).
  • Fortitude- all flyers gain a 4+ invulnerable save and It Will Not Die. In addition, the flyers’ weapons gain the Interceptor rule.
  • Omniscience- gain preferred enemy against a specific enemy unit.

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As you can see, the Attack Patterns can provide some great bonuses to the flyers if the Death From the Skies rules are in effect. The Fortitude pattern is particularly powerful, giving the flyers a Jink save without having to snap fire (but better as it is an invulnerable and not a cover save), as well as Interceptor on all their weapons.

Formations

As the Strike Wing is a Flyer Wing, it can also be taken in the Air Superiority Detachment. This is a detachment that gives some great reserves bonuses to the Strike Wing as well as other great special rules.

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If the Strike Wing’s Wing Leader has Air Superiority (is the only flyer in reserve), then you get to add or subtract 2 from your reserve rolls. In addition, your opponent must subtract 2 from their reserve rolls. This is obviously huge if your opponent has a reserves-heavy army and could seriously cripple their ability to deal with your army, as well as allowing you to delay your own reserves or help them arrive earlier. The only downside of this is that the Strike Wing must be in reserve for this to occur, meaning you will need to keep all four flyers off the table in order to use this.

In addition, the Stormtalon Gunships gain Objective Secured. This is a great bonus, allowing them to go into Hover late in the game to secure objectives.

EDIT- As was pointed out by Trentat in the comments below, only hovering transport flyers get objective secured under the Air Superiority Detachment. The Stormtalons can still go into hover and grab objectives, but don’t get objective secured. 

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Despite the bonuses to the Strike Wing, there are a number of drawbacks to the formation. The first up is the cost. The base cost for the Strike Wing is 470 pts. This is a lot to invest in 4 flyers and there are many other units in the Space Marine army that this could be spent on.

Another issue is whether the Death From the Skies rules are in play. If they are, the Strike Wing gains some great bonuses from the Air Superiority Detachment, as well as from the Attack Wings. However, your Stormtalons will lose Skyfire and the Stormhawk Interceptors will be at -1BS against Ground Targets (most likely the majority of units in the enemy army). This is a bit of a mixed bag, as your Stormhawks will be slightly less effective in most games, but highly effective against enemy flyers.

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If the Death From the Skies rules are not in effect, you still get four great flyers to use in the game. They can put out a fair amount of accurate firepower for their cost and will be difficult for many opponents to deal with if they do not have access to Skyfire or Interceptor in the army.

Looking at the other flyer formations available to the Space Marines, I would say that the Raptor Wing would probably be a better choice for a formation to add to your army. Not only does this guarantee an automatic arrival for the two Stormtalons on turn 2, the Land Speeder in the formation grants the two Stormtalons re-rolls To Wound and for Armour Penetration against a selected target in the enemy army, boosting their damage output.

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Overall, the Strike Wing is a decent formation if you want to take a number of flyers in a Space Marine army. It allows you to field 4 flyers in a single formation, so no using up all your Fast Attack choices in a single CAD. It will probably surprise an opponent in a casual game, but I can’t see it being an effective use of points for a tournament list.

Has anyone out there used the Strike Wing yet? Does anyone actually have the models to field the formation?

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.

4 Responses to “Space Marine Review: Formations: Strike Wing”

  1. WestRider October 2, 2016 8:22 am
    #

    I do actually have the Models to run it, but haven’t played SM since I got the second StormHawk built. Definitely want to give it a try, tho.

  2. Trentat October 3, 2016 2:10 pm
    #

    Thank you for the reviews and the speed at which you’re putting them out. I love the constant content and other’s insight into formations and units.

    One correction to this article though. Regarding the use of the Air Superiority Detachment you wrote:

    “In addition, the Stormtalon Gunships gain Objective Secured. This is a great bonus, allowing them to go into Hover late in the game to secure objectives.”

    An unfortunately common misunderstanding of the detachment rules. It actually states on p. 104 of DftS under the Air Superiority Detachment that all flying TRANSPORTS gain Objective Secured when they hover.

    That leaves only 4 “main rules” flyers (Storm Raven, Stormfang, Valkyrie, and now the Blackstar) that can benefit from this formation, plus a handful of Forgeworld flyers.

    That makes the Air Superiority Detachment much less useful, punishes factions without good flyer options even more, and provides yet another argument against the use of DftS rules.

    • Michael Corr
      Michael Corr October 3, 2016 10:35 pm
      #

      Glad you are enjoying the reviews Trentat.

      You are right that only hovering transports gain objective secured, thanks for the correction, I’ll make a note of it in the article.

  3. Nightman October 8, 2016 10:36 am
    #

    This formation is actually really competitve. Use the indomitable pattern when they come in, stormtalons with have ignore cover and tank hunter vs ground target. Put the stormhawk in front, so he gets bs4 vs ground. Just the stormtalons alone will usually do 4-5 (per model) hull points against av11, or clear out a lot of infantry.