Thursday, January 27, 2011

Stormraven: Is it a game changer?

As of late all the buzz at GW (and the community at large) has been split between the Skaven death machines and a quirky little shoebox full of guns called the Stormraven. Yes when this big uggo was released to the blogosphear articles sprang up left and right proclaiming there love or hate for the new model. But where is the tactica? Certainly there where more then a couple people who chose to kitbash the then mysterious flying box including this handsome devil made by Brent, but there was only a smattering of actual tactics related posts. Now I will again state that I do not play Blood Angels, that's Ian's bat. Why then would I talk about this unit in battle. While I may not field the "that time of the month" marines I have watched this unit get thrown about and smashed time and time again (I also read the codex but thats not really an important point.) So let us regard this as my thoughts on the unit based upon observation.
Where to start, how about the size? Ahh yes the size, the Stormraven is not a small piece, its roughly the same size as the Valkyrie, add to that it is stuck atop a tall flying base and thus making it one tough bastard to hide "but Scott it gets its own cover save for moveing flat out" You have a point there imaginary heckler. While it dose gain the 4+ save for moving flat out its not practical to use it, especially if you are currently transporting a unit. Flatout saves where effectively castrated in the last FAQ, thus making it a rather risky proposition to chance several hundred points worth of units and up to three possible kill points on a 4+ cover save "but what about the ceramite plating, that's gotta count for something right?" Why yes it does, it discounts one weapon from the massive arsenal of anti armor based units. Don't get me wrong, flipping the bird to melta based weapons is all good in my book but its no eldar energy field (I hate those damn things) Fancy armor aside you are essentially fielding a beefier Valkyrie, this means that like the Valkyrie your opponent is going to throw every anti armor unit he has at it (well the ones within range anyways)

How would I field it in combat? Well lets look at what its designed for, which naturally is clubbing baby seals at close range (baby seals being guard, tau, eldar, nid gaunts) It also has fairly decent anti armor capability but we will get to that later. Hurricane bolters and nose mounted rocket launchers say this bad boy is good at wracking up a high body count with light infantry (baby seals) Compound that with the ability to drop off a squad of rather ornery Deathcompany and there Big black armored buddie gives you a pretty good picture as to why I see this more as a striker unit then a blocker or a hunter. The ability to drop in on an objective point and unleash a crate full of raged up armored killing machines makes the Stormraven an ideal unit for objective clearing, and after its done unleashing hell it can go on its merry way to harass other would be threats to your precious blasted out husk/holy shrine that you currently do not wish to share with the other player/s.

Ok so deep striking shoebox with assault vehicle rules makes it an awesome striker, but how about that anti armor I mentioned earlier. Lets start off with the first and for some reason most popular choice, TL lascannons. Ok these bad boys are pretty much at the top of the heap when it comes to popping heavy armor, and twin linked makes them even more potent, but here's the trade off, your almost guaranteed at the very least one glancing shot, the down side is you get one glance/pen, one. Call me greedy but I would like a little bit more out of my shooting phase when I am dealing with those pesky template chucking bastards that are currently blasting the new finish off my tac marines. This is the reason I prefer the assault cannon, sure its only strength 6 but that will hole most anything short of a Landraider (and yes I have a plan for that to) and instead of banking on one solid shot from the lascannon you now have three twin linked possible glances that your opponent is now forced to divy up amongst his squad (or forced to take all three on his precious command squad rhino/carnifex/unicorn) Let us then add a little power of the machine spirit to the mix, when opening up a transport (insert which ever soup can you are currently facing) you now have that lovely possibility of squeezing those units out into the open, then forcing saves with your trusty hurricane bolters/typhoon missile launcher. Barring some truly terrible (and very possible) rolls you can in theory have your cake and eat it to (the cake in this instance being the slagged remains of your enemy's ride and the eating it part refers to said units inside sucking the business end of your bolters) Of course kitting your raven out with some fangs (nose mounted tl multi melta) and tl lascannons can also be a nasty prospect for any armored unit so really its up to you weather you want to punch hard or land more hits.

So using the above statements one can see that the Raven dose indeed have the capability to be both gunship and transport and still manage to balance the two. As a rule of thumb though you might want to take two. Using the same logic applied from lessons learned with the landraider its usually a good idea to split your opponents target priority, this also gives you the ability to outfit one unit as a striker and one as a hunter.

I have yet to formulate any pardigrams (fancy word for another word that means organization I think) for the Ravens use with the Grey Knights. This is mostly due to the fact that I cant see into the future and don't have many solid facts about the new composition. That aside though I see the greatest value in the Stormraven being it's ability to drop off all the kids at the pool (even the chubby one) A full unit of infantry plus a dred is great, and saves the need to throw that big bastard in a drop pod. That and the cornucopia of weapons options available also add a little extra spice to the mix. I still feel though that this unit is more suited as an infantry blender then part time tank hunter. There are also a few reasons that make the Raven a less then optimal choice when it comes to points and the force org, making the Raven a heavy support rather then a fast attack really limits its potential as a game changer, you have to choose between mobility and fire power when you field this thing.

Over all I don't see the Stormraven as a big game changer, I have seen it in action and I have read the reports, most of the time it's shot down shortly after deployment. In the land of IG mech lists and razor spam its hard to weather the storm of firepower being thrown around, at best you can really pummel a dug in unit That's been eyeing up that objective point. I have been wrong before though (so we entered an abandoned mine shaft instead of the gift shop big whoop) so I am fully prepared to eat crow on this one should things turn out different.



BH Senior Editor.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Less for More: Blood Angels Battleforce

Today the blogosphear lit up as GW pulled back the curtain on the highly anticipated blood angels 2.5 wave release, and indeed it looked to be a solid release with many new models and the long hinted at battle force, which is why when I saw the battleforce I could not contain my overwhelming sense of unsatisfaction.

I mean I try not to rag on GW to hard, in fact I enjoy using a fair few of their products and Ill buy the occasional copy of white dwarf, but this set was so lacking it deserved commentary. Alright first off you are getting less by buying the blood angels battleforce, and not just a few pieces you are losing about a fourth of the pieces from the regular battleforce, they essentially yanked out the scouts and the additional combat squad and just dumped some Death company in there and slapped a new cover on the box, then ran to the rooftop and declared to all that a new box set was born. Normally I can take a little canoodling on the part of GW marketing dept, but this was just a slap in the face. Not only am I to pay more for this so called BA battle force but I am also expected to accept that death company are going to be a part of my army. GW is so sure that this will work that they felt it necessary to add another $10 to the regular price tag of $90.

lets look at some counter points. First off the Blood Angels are one of the hip new forces on the block (despite what the pointy eared space pervs might say) so naturally you can expect to pay a little more for a popular box set (this logic makes sense in the reverse universe that the GW marketing dept lives in where you where shoes on your hands and slaps to the face are a formal greeting) so I can see a few extra bucks for a set that looks and plays halfway decent is ok. Going back to them being the new kids on the block, they are new, well not brand new but if you look at things from a fiscal year perspective they are new, and they are not as popular as some other sets that have been bought and paid for long ago or already had molds but where re packaged. Combine that with the fact that GW is releasing two new large plastic kits and you could maybe get a glimpse of the big picture, molds cost money, lost of money, and while Dark Eldar may be flying off the shelf blood angels have been contempt to simmer.

So maybe those are not the best points, I am not great with economics and I sure as hell don't have a copy of GW's internal sales records for Q3 open in front of me right now. The one thing I do know though is when I or someone near me is getting screwed (its like spidy sense) I wont tell you not to buy this kit, but I will say that i would tally up your costs as apposed to buying a regular SM battleforce and some death company (especially from your FLGS or from WCC) Maybe there is something here I don't see, but then again there is already a few things I don't see and that's why I made this post.



BH Senior Editor.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

On The Painting Table: A lot of blisters

Over the holidays I managed to pick up a full list of commissions and projects from a few clients, what you see here is a big direct order that just came in last night that is made up of Cpt Stern, Eldrad, Tyrannic War vets, A librarian with book, Termie Chaplain and Kharn the Betrayer. You may also enjoy picking out the various other little doodads strewn about my work space (its kinda like those ISPY kids books) Anyways just wanted to get up a quick blurb, expect more updates in the near future.



Tuesday, January 4, 2011

On The Painting Table: Chaos Termie Lord

Its been a month of firsts for me painting wise, it started with Tau and has now extended to Chaos. I have had a lot of 'fun' working on different combinations finding out which ones work best for getting that off the box look. I lucked out in a sense, with my client asking for Black Legion I can't say that this was a rough introduction in to chaos paint schemes, but it was interesting working out the right blend of golds and wash.

I loved the cape on this guy, on top of a bunch of bitz I will undoubtably be incorporating in another build in the near future this kit comes with a ton of nifty bitz and bobs. But the reason I like the cape is its folds take well to blending and washing.

And thats about it, as you may have noticed I have been playing around with my light box again, still working on getting that dialed in so bear with me in the mean time.


BH Senior Editor