Friday, May 25, 2012

Stormtalon: Why do you want it?

The new jets are causing a bit of a stir and I'm not sure why. So I thought I would dig a little deeper into the Stormtalon as it's the only one I have any real perspective on.

What do we know about the Stormtalon? Quite a lot now, thanks to the white dwarf being released! Let's check out the rules.

Unit cost
130pts + upgrades in the fast attack slot for C:SM 

Special rules
BS4 AV11
Fast Skimmer
Supersonic - moves up to 36" when going flat out
Aerial Assault - moves 12 and can fire all weapons
Ceramite Plating
Deep Strike

Escort Craft -  Can be attached to a unit in reserve, and must move on within 6" of the unit. Both units come in on one reserve roll.
Hover Strike - Can forgo moving in order to recieve a +1 to BS against certain targets. Weapons become pinning

Twin linked Assault Cannon, Twin linked Heavy Bolter
The H. Bolter can be upgraded to the following
Twin linked Lascannon
Typhoon Missile Launcher
Sky Hammer Missile Launcher 60" S7 AP4 Heavy 3

The weirdest thing about this vehicle is that it has 0 vehicle wargear options. No option for EA, searchlights, nothing. It seems weird for a supposed scout craft to not even have the option for a searchlight.

So let's compare this to some of the other FA choices of a similar cost

First of all, I want to talk a bit about it's spiffy special rules and how that might keep it alive a few turns.
  • Ceramite plating is good and all, but most melta guns punch on a 4+ anyway, so adding this into the point cost is kind of a drawback. If something is close enough to be in melta range, you are probably playing this wrong. 
  • Supersonic is good for late game contesting and getting into position. But being on a flying stand and AV11, it is not likely to make it to late game without some tricky maneuvers.
  • Tricky maneuvers - Escort craft and hover strike provide this with a bit more survivability than it would otherwise have and might give ti a bit of an edge over the LS. With Escort craft, you can come in from your table edge if attached to a late game min sized scoring unit or you can come from outflank (which I think is really the best way to play it). Hover mode gives you a bit of long range reliability. With any of the upgrades, you can sit across the table and take pot shots at BS5. There's no negative to this mode under the current ruleset, so feel free to BS5 it up!

Next, I want to compare this to the other FA options based on 3 criteria, Range, Resilience, and Reliability. The three R's... apparently, haha.

Land speeder - The unit that most people are comparing the talon to. They have a similar amount of firepower, but you can take three typhoons for the cost of two talons with the Sky Hammer.
  • Range: Similar. They both can have Typhoons, and the H. Bolter out ranges the Assault Cannon by an effective 6". The Talon can move 12" and fire all of it's weapons at full strength however and has the option for a 60" weapon. 
  • Resilience: The talon wins by a slight margin here. It is immune to small arms fire, like I mentioned and has a bit more going for it as far as keeping itself alive. The one major advantage the land speeder has over the talon is size. It is much easier to hide a Land Speeder on a normal 40k table than it is to hide anything on a flying stand.
  • Reliability: I think this is a push. Both will generally get a couple shots off before being disabled. The Talon has a better chance to put out more firepower close up, but that's where it's at it's least survivable imo.
Assault Squad - Assault squads in C:SM are unfortunately over-costed and really sub-par.
  • Range: The talon wins hands down.
  • Resilience: A comparable amount(points-wise) of assault marines will have more wounds to soak up hits, but they are also vulnerable to small arms fire, while the talons AV11 is not
  • Reliability: Assault Sqauds are bad, m'kay?

Vanguard vets - Take the problems listed above and magnify them. Moving on.

Space marine bike squad - One thing I want to mention here is that with Khan, these do not compete for slots and they actually really complement each other. Attaching the talon to an outflanking unit seems really good as getting into the side arc without risking getting shot first is exactly what this vehicle is for.
  • Range: Bike squads generally have an effective range of 24" so the talon wins out here.
  • Resilience: T5 and av11 are pretty comparable. Both will be taken down by the same weapons. The bikes have a slight edge with their 3+ turbo-boost imo
  • Reliability: A straight up biker squad is generally used for reliably delivering melta at close range.  In a non-biker SM list, they will generally be able to get that range, but will falter in CC. I think the Talon will always be able to hang back and harass until it starts getting shot at.  I think it's a push here as well

Attack bike squad - For a similar amount of points you can get 3 multi-melta attack bikes. That's pretty good I heard.
  • Range: 3 multi-melta shots at effective 36" or melta range at 24". This is a bit closer. The Bikes get 3 str8 ap1 shots @ 36 and 3 bolter shots. The talon can shoot some shots from further away, but they aren't as good.  I think the talon still has a slight edge here as it can fire at full effect at an effective 36"
  • Resilience: T5 and av11 are pretty comparable. Both will be taken down by the same weapons. The bikes have a slight edge with their 3+ turbo-boost and their 2 wounds imo. 
  • Reliability: Both will go down to heavy anti-tank fire, but I think both will generally get the job done. I think the survivability and the ability to get out of LOS gives the attack bikes the edge.

Land speeder storm - This is a niche unit and I don't think really compares to the Talon. It absolutely should've been made a dedicated transport options for scouts instead of taking a slot. I don't think these two fit in the same list at all so I will skip this one. The talon can also attach and come in with the storm from outflank, but the storm is not very effective, so I doubt you will see this very much.

Scout bike squad - The scout bike squad is an interesting one.  They serve a similar purpose to the Talon, but are usually played as more of a throw away unit.
  • Range: The bikes can turbo-boost in the scout, and then move 12", fire, and assault. They have an effective range of "where ever you damn well please". However, when they get there, they don't do that much.
  • Resilience: T5 is good, but 4+ saves are not. You can still get the 3+ turbo-boost save, but with their initial range, you are not going to be getting it after the first turn.
  • Reliability: With BS 3 and short range str 6 weapons, these guys aren't going to take out more than one or two things before they are gunned down. Which is what people generally play them for, but at least the talon has the option to try and prolong it's life. The scout bikers do absolutely nothing at range.

Overall, I think the Talon is an interesting unit. I think it will work well with certain fast lists where you can bring it in from the side and limit the amount of return firepower it takes. However, I think in most generic SM lists, you will want to stick to attack bikes or Land speeders for your FA slots. What do you guys think of this thing? Does it fill any slots you think your army was missing?


  1. I can't but help think of Hasegawa egg planes when I look at this.

    1. BLAM!

  2. I think that it fills the AA role well, a role unfilled by anything else in the Codex :Space Marines, yet.


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