How to Equip a Stormtalon Gunship

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

This is something I've been pondering recently with the addition of the new flyer to my Space Marine army. There aren't many options (4 total) for the Stormtalon, so it shouldn't be that hard. It comes standard with an Assault Cannon and Heavy Bolter for 130pts. Only the Heavy Bolter can be substituted for 1 of 3 weapon options. Here's my thought process on each option:

  • Standard weapons @ 130pts. Initially, I thought about keeping it standard just to keep it cheap. However, 130pts is not cheap. You can get these weapons elsewhere in the codex for cheaper and/or on more durable platforms. This can be said about all the weapon options (except for the Skyhammer Missiles which are unique), but ultimately what kills this option for me is the Heavy Bolter doesn't play to the Flyer's strengths. I'm taking the Stormtalon because my army lacks anti-flyer capabilities, and while it's possible (but not likely) to hurt very low AV flyers, the Heavy Bolter is the weakest choice in this regard. Now if you're going for anti-infantry and want that on a Flying platform, then the standard loadout may be the option for you.
  • Twin-linked Lascannon @ 150pts. Having 2 non-TL lascannons would have been better, but that most likely would have driven up the points cost. Many have said that the twin-linking is unnecessary since the Talon can switch modes to gain BS 5. This isn't the whole story though. The 'Hover Strike' mode does not improve the BS when targeting Flyers or Skimmers, and lets not forget the vulnerability you open up when you switch to this mode. Flyers are durable because most units can only snap fire at them; changing the mode from Flyer to Skimmer removes that protection, and you can't move at all while performing a 'Hover Strike', so no jink saves either. Maybe I'll find a reason to switch modes once I start using these in games, but for now I can't think of any reason why you would ever want to risk changing out of Flyer mode, especially if all your guns are twin-linked. Anyway, the TL lascannon is a solid choice for taking out other flyers and high AV ground Mech alike.

  • Typhoon Missile Launcher @ 155pts. The Typhoon ML is one of the most flexible weapons in the Space Marine codex. 9 out of 10 Land Speeders that I encounter on the table are packing the Typhoon, and for good reason. On the Talon, this gun would be even more survivable with the extra point in AV and the fact that it can only be hit on 6's (unless the enemy has Skyfire). I originally thought this would be my goto choice, but the longer I think about it the more I feel kinda meh about this selection. Dual-purposing a model is nice, and the Typhoon certainly has that going for it, but I keep coming back to the reason I'm including a Talon in my list in the first place -- to take out enemy flyers first and foremost, then to help take out high AV targets. 2 shots at strength 8 is pretty close to a re-rollable strength 9 shot, but in that situation where I want the highest possible chance of taking out a flyer or AV13+ vehicle (which is only going to be more prevalent in 6th) I'd rather be shooting with the TL Lascannon.
  • Skyhammer Missile Launcher @ 155pts. The newest weapon to the Space Marine arsenal, however not that much different than an Autocannon; same exact Strength and AP but has slightly better range (60") and fires 1 more shot (3). The rate of fire matches the Heavy Bolter and the Strength 7 is decent when firing at low-mid AV or MC's. But you still need to roll 5's to glance AV12 flyers, and that's just not going to cut it for what I need out of this unit. I do like the range of this weapon and can see where hover striking the Talon in a corner if you can keep the enemy in range of your missiles while staying out of range from return fire could be fun. But that's a very specific scenario that may never occur, and it's not something I'm going to bet 155pts on.

In the end, I see myself going with the TL Lascannon option as it more adequately addresses the need in my current army list. None of the options are bad in my opinion, it just boils down to what your army needs more of. I'm going to paint up all the weapon options to have on hand and have already assembled the Talon so I can easily swap the weapons out or remove them for, god forbid, a weapon destroyed result. Either way, I'm looking forward to trying this thing out in my next game!

UPDATE: The rules / points for the Stormtalon have been updated via Death From The Skies


  1. Really the Lascannon ? I'd stick to the Typhoon, you'll hit most of the time with both and you got 2 chances to penetrate enemy armor. 2 glancing hits are enough to take out a nightskythe, and imagine a penetrating hit on that from the lascannon, dang you hit their engine - Pretty wasted, that's like one glancing hit :/ And the Typhoon is multi purpose, a lot of times not everything goes as planned and I'd prefere to have to right weapons in that case =) Just my 2 cents

    1. I don't think you can go wrong with the Typhoon as it does grant the option for some blast templates when you need them and, as you point out, there is a possibility of rolling 2 pens with krak shots. But for the purpose of filling a specific gap in my current list that I'm readying for an upcoming tournament, I need the best ranged anti-armor I can get. Not only does the extra point of strength come in handy against flyers and higher AV vehicles, but the AP2 now contributing +1 to the vehicle damage table also ups the chances of the TL lascannon taking out threats faster. It may only strip a single hull point or fail to glance at all in the worst case, but there's always hoping for some rends with the Assault Cannon as well ;)

      Ultimately, I'll be playtesting the Typhoon and probably the Skyhammer as well to see which one is best suited for my list and playstyle. I'm just starting with the lascannon in this case, but I'd love to hear what others are using and their feedback on how the Stormtalon is performing in their games.

    2. I think the Lascannon is the better option for the role the Stormtalon takes in the current codex, which is an anti-flyer swiss army knife. Sadly it costs the same as 2 land speeders, so its hard to justify it for anything aside from going after enemy flyers. The thing is, while some of them will be AV 11 Ork Bommas or Night Scythes, some will be AV12 storm ravens and vendettas. The TL-Assault Cannon on the talon is able to ding light armor (S6 can glance AV 11, even without rending shots) and the TL Lascannon is AP2, so you get a bonus to your damage rolls. getting through AV 12 is a lot easier with the lascannon, and the damage rolls will be more likely to one shot your opponent than the missile launcher.

      I don't think the Talon has a place in every army, but overall I think the Lascannon is the best option, unless your meta isn't heavy flyer heavy.

    3. I haven't used it yet, so this is more of a "gut feeling" response. However, I agree with the choice of the TL-LasCannon myself. I think that if you are going to go with TML, you might as well take the two typhoons as mentioned above.

      I plan on using it as alot like Joe mentions to fill a gap in a bike army. Giving it a high-strength/long range/very mobile weapon platform. The bikes should be able to handle other threats mid-range including armour, the one thing they lack (sans MoTF) is long range anti-armour.

      I'm just not sure how many to field. Having seen the "one in none" posts, I'm still not sure I can afford to limit myself to one "other" FA slot choice at higher points. 1999, how many of these would you take? What else, pre-Flyers, did you take with those FA slots? Do you think that Assault Marines have a place in a White Scars army?

      Aside from the slight buff that assault marines get in 6th ED, I was thinking of taking a squad of these guys as a counter-assault unit to keep the bikes out of a prolonged combat.


    4. RobO,

      2 Talons, each attached to an outflanking bike squad would be quite formidable. But it's difficult to fit all that into a list points-wise without giving up other important elements. Also, as you've pointed out, leaving yourself with only 1 available FA slot is pretty limiting. I've mostly used attack bike squadrons, scout bikes, and vanguard/assault squads in those remaining slots and the top performers for me have been attack bikes and scout bikes. But admittedly, I don't think I used the vanguard/assault squad properly with my bikes. I think they can definitely support your squads in the role you mention and you should give that a shot. Attack bikes have also received some nice buffs in 6th and are worth including if you aren't getting enough melta from your troop squads.

  2. Its good that you mention Death from Above. With the new points costs, I think Skyhammer is defintly the way to go. 5 less points then the old base cost for an upgraded Heavy Bolter? Yes please.