Friday, April 5, 2013

Space Marine (and Variants) Flyer Discussion (sorta Rant)

So with the release of Imperial Armour Aeronautica and Warhammer 40k Compendium: Death from the Skies, I have some mild complaints. They are based upon fluffiness, army composition, and codex uniqueness vs universality. This isn't one of my rants where I go off talking about the stupidity of a certain element of the game or how broken I perceive something to be (which are all typically exaggerated for the Internet anyways. Always remember, the internet's greatest output is hatred. Everything else is a byproduct).

So basically my main gripe is down to this- The inclusion of the Storm Raven into the inventory of SM and BT but not the inclusion of the Storm Talon into BA, GK and SW.
And remember, this was originally designed as a skimmer, not a flyer
First of all the Stormraven was something unique that set BA apart from all the other SM variants. You may say there is alot more, but all those changes are really just variants of existing units or changes in FOC. The Stormraven was wholly unique. When the GK got it as well, it wasn't too much of a problem for me as the GK, while a power armour army, are different in so many ways when compared to SM and Codex Variants. But now that unique quality is spoiled. If there is any army that should have gotten it, I would say it would be SW, but really they should get the Storm Talon instead IMO (which they do not have access to either, making SW the most boned SM variant in 6th, with no native flyer options meaning you either have to take allies or fortifications for air defense).
SM flyers do leave something visually to be desired
Then there is the Storm Talon, which by the way is half as expensive points wise as the Storm Raven, and just as heavily armed. Sure it may have one less HP and is 11 all round vs 12, with no transport capacity, but if you buy 2 (just 20 pts over an unmod raven), you have twice the fire power, multiple targets (that are flyers) and 4 hull points. Still no transport capacity yes, but let us look at the utility of the Transport Capacity. First off, it is clearly for assault units, which 6th is causing people to shed. As well, 6th is a numbers game, and the best assault units to deploy from a raven tend to take up 2 slots, thereby really cramping the size of the unit to 6. Next, built into that cost mentality is dreadnought transportation, something rarely done. You are paying for that ability, and most of the time wasting it, of which the Storm Talon has no lost cost. Last off, there is always a need to shoot at more things, which is all the Talon will ever do. While the Raven can do this too, its mission and cost is not based upon this, and its mission isn't alway utilized, lowering unit untilization/efficeincy (while yes, gaining tactical flexibility for the savvy general, but once again, you are paying more for that).

So really, SM players will likely normally opt for the Storm Talon (cheaper, heavily armed) versus the Storm Raven UNLESS they need the Raven to perform the roll it is specifically designed to do (which is done best with BA anyways since they have Descent of Angels) and transport a hard hitting assault unit in quickly. Meanwhile if BA/GK want a Flyer, they are stuck with the Raven, whether they need the transport capacity or not. And as I said before, SW are just screwed (well at least untill you read below)
Now you may think at this point "What about Dark Angels? All they have are the crappy Dark Talon/Nephilim?" Well I really don't know how those play, but I can say this about them- they at least have unique native flyers that fit their fluff and complement a unique DA athestetic and force composition.

But if that is not good enough for you, there is an answer, that is once more detrimental to the BA/GK- The Forge World Storm Eagle.
An actually expansion unlike Death from the Skies
Now if you are one of those people that get all uppity and shout "But that is FW! Bah-humbug!", then you might as well press the back button now and run back to BoLS (which is where you likely came from). Forge World is not only becoming less cost prohibitive (comparitively that is- looks at Australia- while maybe the game as a whole is -sheds a tear for Australia) but it is acceptable now, as I have advocated for a long time. They produce balanced rules for the most part, and IMO have more underpowered units, lists and vehicles than overpowered ones.

Back on track though. The Storm Eagle was FW's answer to the Storm Raven and really crossed the bridge between Raven and Thunderhawk. It is only 225 points, decently armed for strike capabilities rather than anti-flyer, and has a 20 man transport capacity. And is useable by SM, BT, DA, CSM (yep) and SPACE WOLVES (YAY they got a flyer!). Okay, don't be too excited for the SW, as I said the Eagle isn't really good at the anti-flyer roll and that is what SW lack the most is Flyer Defense. However it is better than nothing.

Now if you were going to use a Strom Raven specifically to deliver an assault force, why not use an Eagle instead. It can deliver more damage to ground targets and deliver more troops to battle at the same cost! And as we said, the only reason a SM player has to take a Raven over a Talon is to perform this very role! There is really only one explanation for how this could have happened. The two books (Aeronautica and Death from the Skies) where written in a vacuum in relation to one another. FW clearly made the Storm Eagle for armies without the Storm Raven, and GW clearly ignored FW options when writing their rules (as they often do). While that was an okay system in the past when FW was something for specialist play only, as I mentioned above they are far more integrated now and the two entities cannot operate like this anymore.

The UH-1N and AH-1W. The new UH-1Y looks retarded, like it has a tumor on its back.
I'll wrap up here with a final point- The Talon is a true gunship, the Raven is not. The Raven is a multipurpose vehicle, much like a Valkyrie/Vendetta (40k) or UH-1 Huey (Real Life), whereas the Talon is built just for killing, like the Vulture (40k) or AH-1 Cobra (Real Life). And for fast air assault, you would use both in tandem, like the Elysians (40k) or US Marines (Real Life). You wouldn't just want the multipurpose vehicle for support. Sure it can do the job, but not as well as the dedicated Close Air Support (CAS) platform. The Blood Angels are the SM version of Elysians, or at least they should be in 40k. They are the best capable for this role in terms of FOC, Army Special Rules, equipment and Fluff-wise. So why would they not have a dedicated CAS unit like the Storm Talon in their inventory. They have all these fast vehicles, fast assault troops, DS Landraiders, outflanking tanks. They are a lightning assault army, but cannot access the most obvious support platform for lightning assault. I guess the point I am trying to make is, lets make Blood Angels Space Marines feel like they are all actually that... Marines.