Monday, March 30, 2015

Blood Angels in 7th: Heavy Support: Stormraven Gunships

Until I get around to painting a Blood Angel Stormraven, they'll be borrowing air support from the Executioners

The Stormraven has stayed pretty much the same since out last Codex. The only real change is that bloodstrike missiles were standardized to the same stormstrike missiles that Space Marines have. The Stormraven comes with a forward mounted twin-linked heavy bolter, which can be switched out for a typhoon missile launcher or twin-linked multi-melta, and a turret mounted twin-linked assault cannon, which can be swapped for a twin-linked plasma cannon or twin-linked lascannon. It also has the option to take hurricane bolter sponsons. Power of the Machine Spirit means that the Stormraven can make good use of all of these weapons.

Stormravens can function both as a gunship and a heavy transport. It can carry 12 models as well as a Dreadnought, and it is an assault vehicle. Units inside the Stormraven can deploy while it Zooms using Skies of Fury, but they can’t assault when they do. If you want to assault right of out the Stormraven, it needs to drop into hover mode.

As far as firepower goes, the Stormraven can be equipped to deal with most any target. A heavy bolter, assault cannon, and hurricane bolters will tear through light infantry, while a multi-melta and lascannon makes it a dedicated vehicle hunter. I generally equip my Stormraven to kill other flyers, both vehicles and monstrous creatures. A multi-melta and the missiles are great against vehicles, while an assault cannon is good for putting a few wounds on a monstrous creature. If I have the spare points, I like to take the hurricane bolters so that the Stormraven can kill scoring units late in the game. However, these are pretty expensive and I often leave them off if I can’t easily find the points for them.

I spent a lot of time with my Executioners trying to use a Stormraven as an assault transport, but I never got it to work. The squad inside can’t assault until Turn 3 at the earliest, and the Stormraven has to drop into hover mode, giving up most of its protection. It was almost always destroyed as soon as it delivered its cargo, and Stormravens are just too expensive to be used so callously. I use my Stormravens as gunships, and I do my best to never put them in hover mode. I’ve been much happier with them since I started ignoring their assault transport ability.

However, the transport capacity doesn’t have to be completely ignored. A small Tactical or Scout squad can rid in the Stormraven, dropping out to secure objectives late in the game. They should be equipped for shooting rather than assault so that they can deploy via Skies of Fury without losing their killing power.

I am convinced that almost every Blood Angel army needs a Stormraven because it is our best source of anti-air. Our only other option is Devastators with flakk missiles, but a minimum squad with 4 missile launchers and flakk missiles costs almost as much as a Stormraven with far less utility and firepower. I am strongly of the opinion that the best way to kill flyers is with flyers, and the Stormraven is one of the best flyers in the game, even if it is pricy. If there aren’t any other flyers for it to shoot down, it’s good at killing ground targets as well.  

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