Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Storm Raven. The Ugly Duckling of the Adeptus Astartes

Since the release of the latest White Dwarf, and with the model coming out Feb. 5th (or now for some lucky people) much discussion has been brought up about the Stormraven. Some love it, some hate it, but everyone is talking about it. The new model, to me, is very exciting, because it will let a lot of people who have never used it before or who are afraid to scratchbuild the chance to try something new, opening a part of their codex and new tactics that they have never tried before. As someone who ha been playing with the SR for quite some time now, I thought that I would offer a little insight into the world that is, the Blood Angels Stormraven.


The Mighty Thunderhawk...
I have not had the opportunity to hold/play with/see in real life the new kit. The pictures, though, have really got me excited. A lot of people aren't a fan of the aesthetics of the kit. Too boxy, they say, too ugly they say. Has anybody looked at our mighty Astartes' motor pool lately? Rhino - box. Predator - box. Land Raider - you guessed it, box. Even the closest thing to compare it to, the Thunderhawk, is a giant refrigerator box with wings on it. So i am not really sure what people were expecting. I think all the sleek, smooth scratchbuilds everyone made from the valkyrie kit really ruined it for some people. For over a year, people became accustomed to the Valk/raven look, and their minds began seeing this as what the kit should be.

So when GW released the sneak peeks of their model, people were shocked. It would be like if all of your life you thought you knew what a horse looked like and all of a sudden the "official people" changed the horse to look like a cow. 

Games Workshop's Horse
Now in my mind, the new kit from Games Workshop is a perfect representation of what a Stormraven is. It looks like it belongs in the 40k universe, as well as in a Space Marine army. It is square, bare, and is made for one purpose, bein killy. It is a tool with which the Angels of Death carry out the will of the Emperor, and nothing more.

Another cool thing about the kit is the ability to build any load out without any conversions. All the options are in the box (wait, did I just say that GW actually is releasing a COMPLETE kit with ALL the available upgrades??). So you can make it however you want to make it. All this for the low price of.....umm....ok the kit ain't cheap, weighing in at a hefty 66 clams. But with the enormity of the kit, and all the options it comes with, I don't think it is TOO terrible. 

For Play

Ok, on the table is where this bad boy really shines. Lets go through the options one by one.

Standard Loadout
-Twin Linked Heavy Bolter
-Twin Linked Assault Cannon
-4 Bloodstrike Missiles

This thing can really throw out the Firepower. Now, as far as extras, you can swap out the Heavy Bolter for a  Twin linked Multi Melta or for a little extra, a typhoon missile launcher. The top Ass.Cannon can be swapped for either twin linked Plasma cannons or twin linked las cannons. You can also, for a little extra lettuce, throw some hurricane bolters on the sides, adding some defensive firepower to the mix.

I tend to favor the multi melta, ass. cannon, extra armour setup on mine. Comes in at cheaper than a land raider, and still has plenty of shots. And with POTMS, that bad boy is quite capable of truckin 24" across the board and still doin work on enemy tanks/transports. And with Skies of Blood, your fellas can always disembark, no matter the distance moved, much like the Valkyrie.

Now the cool part about the Stormraven is its transport capacity. This thing can haul! 12 marines or 6 termies/Assault troops! Thats right, this baby is the only vehicle in the 40k universe that can tote our hoppy little friends all across the board. Oh yeah, did I mention it can throw a dread in the back?! Now we are talkin about some serious killy! This is the best way to ensure that your nastiest stuff gets into combat safe and sound.


What your stormraven does to the enemy's plans.
Now is where people tend to disagree. How many do you take? How do you use them? Well here is my take  on it. I tend to use the Stormraven much like I run my Land Raiders in my C:SM lists. Put the nastiest thing you have in it and throw it down someone's throat. I tend to run one of them and leave mine in reserve and move it off from the board edge, allowing me to #1, see my opponent's plan and try to disrupt it and #2 put my killiness to use best. If you go 2nd, it is almost a must to leave it in reserve, as it will most surely get blasted in your deployment zone if you don't. Also, this allows the rest of your army to pop some transports/threats to your stormraven, giving the assaulty units inside more targets. The vehicle is fast, so it can make up for lost time if it comes in on turn 3/4, crossing halfway across the board in one turn, and gaining that beautiful all important 4+ save. The Stormraven will then most certainly become a fire magnet the turn it shows up, which is ok, if it has the obscured save, in my experiences it can take it, saving the rest of your army from harm

You will hear a lot of people talking about how it is only armor 12 and will be dead in no time, but I encourage all you doubting thomases to do the rolls. With Extra armor, immunity to melta, and a 4+ save, very rarely will it not make it to the other side. And even if it goes down, your killiest unit is already halfway across the board! Not too shabby if you ask me.

After unloading, the stormraven makes a great firebase in the opponent's deployment zone. with all its guns, it can tear an enemy's heavy support slots wide open. This plus the unit you disgorged are too big of a issue for the fella on the other side of the table to ignore. Now the opponent is having to adjust to you, which is the way you want it. Now the cards are in your hands.

The Stormraven is great for stopping mobile armies in their tracks. If someone tries to maneuver around/away from you, just throw your stormraven/assault unit at them, then they have to deal with you (which most times they cant) then you can surround and bottle up even the quickest armies.

Now, here is an example of my typical loadout
-10x Death Company
---6x BP/CCW, 3x PW, 1x PF
-Death. Co. Dread
---Blood Talons

Very few things can go toe to toe with this unit and still be of any effectiveness afterwards. By using the tactics i have described, one should be able to gain that mobility they may be looking for, or find that way to get stuff into the fray.

The most important thing is, however, that this is not the only way to do it, just one of the many. So i encourage you, go out, get one or proxy one, and just try it out. You may find that you have just discovered your new bread and butter!
mmm, toast
Now, a lot that I know about the Stormraven and its many tactics i picked up from  Green Blow Fly over at Terminus Est, a great blog about DoA Blood Angels and Stormraven tactica, so you may wanna check it out. I know, a bit long winded, and I apologize, but hopefully y'all gained something out of it. Until next time, OMNOMNOM TOAST!

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