Thursday, March 24, 2011

Stormraven Gunships

The Stormraven Gunship is the flashiest addition to our Fifth Edition Codex. It’s an impressive unit, being a fast skimmer mounting a variety of weapons, able to transport two units, one of them a Dreadnought. Melta weapons don’t get an extra penetration die against it, and the Power of the Machine Spirit allows it to fire an extra weapon, even when moving flat out. However, it’s easy to confuse its role in your army.

The Stormraven can fulfill two roles: gunship and assault transport. Though you can give the Stormraven upgrades to improve its ability in either of those roles, any Stormraven will be capable of performing both roles. This means that you have to decide on a role for it to play and stick to it, moving on to the secondary role only after the first is complete.

The gunship Stormraven is fairly straightforward. It mounts several long-ranged weapons (I would suggest the lascannon and typhoon missile launcher), hangs back and shoots. As long as it moves 6” or under, it can fire all of its weapons, and it can move 12” and fire two weapons at two different targets. Its use is fairly straightforward: move to engage enemy hard targets while minimizing return fire. You can also stick a Troops squad inside to make the Stormraven scoring, allowing it to move flat out in the last turn to hold an objective.

The assault transport Stormraven is used more aggressively, and will usually be moving. Because of this, it will usually only be firing one weapon a turn, so it’s best to pick weapons that are great against different targets rather than weapons that compliment each other. The assault cannon and plasma cannon both provide excellent anti-infantry ability, while the multi-melta is a great anti-armor weapon, especially at the close ranges where the Stormraven will be operating. Hurricane bolters can also be a useful addition so that the Stormraven can provide close-ranged fire support to your assault squads.  Extra armor is a requirement for this Stormraven so that it can remain mobile and advance on the enemy to unload its squad.

As far as the squad transported by the Stormraven, I would suggest a single, dangerous Assault squad. An Assault Terminator squad, Sanguiniary Guard Squad, Furioso or Death Company Dreadnought, or Death Company all fit the bill. I would avoid transporting two heavy assault squads in a single Stormraven in all but the largest games, as it ties up a lot of points in an armor 12 transport and makes it a high priority target.

The Stormraven can operate well in both mechanized shooty lists and mechanized assault list, essentially acting as a very fast but less armored Land Raider. It takes some practice to use well, but it’s a very flexible and hard hitting unit.

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