Mike Vs. BoLS - Guest Article

Well the guys at Bell of Lost Souls have put up a Tactica for Stormravens that to be honest I thought was a bit rubbish. However it has managed to piss off my friend Mike to such an extent that he has e-mailed me the following that I'm going to publish exactly as it was sent to me.

Original article in White, Mikes comments in red.

Normally I ignore any and all tacticas on BOLS because they break down into “well der!”, “actually, my rulebook clearly says you cant do that” or “if you have to do that to win then go play warmachine you prick!” however this one caught my eye as far from being disparaging it actually said something that I thought was good was, well, good. However having read the article on why stormravens aren’t shit I’m now thinking I may have been wrong on not one but two counts. One for thinking bols can produce anything that uses common sense or maths to prove something and two I’m now thinking storm ravens must be quite shit if this is the best someone can come up with for arguing its pros. So this will break down into two parts I think. First of all proving why BOLS writers (even this guest author) are fail at life and arguing, well I’ll prove the arguing thing and leave you all to draw your own conclusions about how much they suck at life. Secondly I’ll write an article analyzing the storm raven both in the context of (accurate) theory hammer, the game and the army list in which it’s set currently. Red italics are me and black is the original article. Where possibly I’ve tried to put my observations and annotations at the end of the paragraph however in several places there were two or more mistakes per sentence in which case I felt it necessary to interject half way through. Happy reading!

Now that the new official model has been released I think we will start to see a lot more of these fantastic gunships on the tables. There are some big misconceptions regarding the Stormraven we need to tackle.

What he means here is “there are some fairly well reasoned points of view that he’s going to tell you are wrong with whatever the exact opposite of linear thinking is”

I would like to state up front that I believe most of these misconceptions are based upon theory hammer, not actual gaming experience. Of course if the player does not wisely use the flyer then, of course, it's bound to fail. This article will teach you how to most effectively use your Stormraven.
This may well be true, however given that later he will use some bad and/or poorly thought out theory hammer it’s not a great start to the article

Misconception #1 - Every gun in your opponent's army will be pointed at the Stormraven, it won't last one turn so why bother ??

if its on the table that seems like a fairly safe assumption to me!
If you have been following my series of articles here you'll know I specialize in the use of aggressive DoA tactics. The Stormraven makes a fine addition to any DoA army. So let's first look at what the flier has going for it that will keep it shaking and baking all your opponents.
Fair enough, deep striking it in will keep it alive for turn 1, but how can something without descent of angels make a fine addition to such an army, surely it wouldn’t be a DoA army anymore, more of a DoA army with stormravens flying shotgun?

AV12 all around - Might not sound that great but in fact it is. Because he says so ;) S8 glances 50 percent of the time and penetrates one third of the time.
ß that’s theory hammer right? That thing that apparently proves the storm raven is useless he said earlier….Extra armor negates most adverse effects from glancing hits and you can move flat-out for the 4+ save versus penetrating hits. Extra armour knocks stunned down to shaken so it ignores half of 1/6 of a result IF YOU PAY THE EXTRA. And going flat out gives you a 4+ save against glances and pens doesn’t it? If you factor in the roll to hit and the cover save you'll find that your chances of dropping the Stormraven with one shot are greatly reduced. For example suppose a Space Marine Devastator shoots it with his missile launcher:

0.67*0.33*0.33 = 7 percent odds to penetrate and destroy
ßThat’s this mathshammer again. The stuff he said shouldn’t be used to prove the stormraven is useless?furthermore, he’s wrong. Chances of penetrating stop at his 0.67*0.33 which is a 22% chance of penetrating. Followed by a 33% chance of killing it which I suppose does, overall, come out at his stated 7% but if you’re clumping words like “penetrate and destroy” together then we need to look at other variables. Like the 16% chance of a glance which could still result in immobilization which makes its life as a transport over and makes its guns less useful as it will have just sunk to the floor.
Though the crème of this argument has to be his example being of a single devastator with a missile launcher. When have you ever seen one? In a tactical squad holding an objective this may be feasible, but a single devvy marine? Wouldn’t that single devvy be hitting on 2’s anyway? Unless the rest of the squad died, but if that happened then we need to look at the chances of him falling back and such before working out how he’ll do as the only thing in a marine army capable of taking down a stormraven!
Lets backup a tiny bit as while taking a break from his stupidity and eating a bacon sandwich I noticed another problem with his argument. 7 chance of “penetrating and then as a result destroying” as I think he means. That’s sounds shit?
0.67*0.5*0.33 = 10% chance. That doesn’t sound great does it? That’s the same missile launcher firing at a rhino using the same(flawed) mathshammer as before.

The almighty melta only rolls 1d6 versus the ceramite plating putting it basically in the same class as a missile launcher except for the +1 on the AP table. Or that means there’s no benefit to getting into half range as meltas only get an extra dice at half range normally. It's even worse odds when you use an autocannon or plasma. Did he really just tell us to buy a stormraven because plasma and autocannons aren’t as good as killing it as a meltagun?!?! You don't see many lascannons these days, compared to the obscene amount of self-blowing up plasma you see day in day out? and who seriously plays Tau as a competitive army? Sure a railgun is your worst nightmare but I don't expect to see any on the top tables at a big tournament. Which coincidently is probably where you won’t see this guy and his storm ravens either if his arguments so far are any indication of his intellect or game winning strategy!

AV12 in the rear is also huge as it is great defense versus landspeeders and other fast vehicles that can shoot. Land speeders? Really? I fully agree that av12 on the rear is awesome but my go to arguments would have been krak grenades, marines and such with furious charge and hydras. Now maybe I’m being unfair, perhaps he’s going somewhere with this argument?If you're playing it right though your tail will never face those enemy guns but then it doesn't really matter.i may be right, he may have been going somewhere but in all honesty that sentence doesn’t make sense to me, if someone wants to explain what he means then answers on the back of a postcard to the usual address

Finally there will be tables setup with high LOS blocking terrain you can hide the Stormraven behind. Cityfight tables are a great example! He argues we don’t see lascannons or competitive tau but we might play cityfight?

Misconception #2 - The Stormraven is a huge point-sink. Why would anyone bother putting a jump troop inside?

There are lots of options how you can configure the Stormraven. My favorite is extra armor, first off I think when he says armor he means extra armour “because there’s a fucking U in it”* and secondly, I thought his arguments thus far rested on the assumption that it came with this, he has worked it into most calculations he’s made so far. twin linked lascannon but you don’t see lascannons anymore…..and twin linked multi-melta. In one game at BoLScon last year my Stormraven destroyed three landraiders but you don’t see lascannons anymore…..- that's lucky but still very impressive. The Stormraven is cheaper than a landraider and in many ways much more of a potent threat. Because it has half as many lascannons, which you don’t see anymore, and the multimelta is twin-linked….seems like 6 of one and half a dozen of the other to me! Mine is geared towards anti tank but you could go with the flying Land Raider Crusader if you want anti horde.i must have an early print of the blood angel book and the white dwarf that shows the storm raven as neither contain options for me to give my storm raven armour 14….oh he meant offensively…..ok fair enough, but none of these are arguments for putting stuff inside It's very flexible and the four Bloodstrike missiles are just more gravy on the biscuit. Im from the north if you ask anyone living in London (“lots of planets have a north!”** so I put gravy on lots of things but never on biscuits. Biscuits are fine on their own or they dunk in tea

I like to run an Epistolary (Sword/Rage) with a choppy Honor Guard. They've all got jump packs and the Chapter Banner for the +1 attack. To me they are the ultimate Blood Angels deathstar - furious charge, FNP, reroll hits all the time and the 3++ save (i.e., stormshields on three of the Honor Guard). I also have a Furioso with a pair of Bloodfists onboard. Together they can destroy anything in close combat including the mighty Thunderwolf cavalry. By running them in the Stormraven I can quickly move them and place them in the best position to spearhead my assaults. The rest of the army plays a very vital role coming in from reserve via deepstrike and first eliminating threats to the Stormraven. This is all assuming that the storm raven doesn’t get immobilized, something his theory hammer which you shouldn’t use to prove the stormraven is shit didn’t take into account

As I've shown *stifles laugh* it actually requires a high volume of shots on average to drop the flier so by taking out shooty enemy units early in the game my Stormraven has much more freedom to move about the battlefield. Didn’t his earlier statistics assume that the enemy army had a single marine with missile launcher and no lascannons? The Librarian and his Honor Guard can quickly cover open ground once they disembark since they have jump packs and stay in the fight. A unit such as assault terminators on the other hand are very slow once they disembark; versus a wise opponent they will engage one or two units max then they are out of the fight. When did this turn into an article about jump command squads being better than thunderhammer termies which cost far less points anyway?

So by fielding an uber assault jump unit in the Stornraven paired with a close combat dreadnaught you have a fast unit you can insert where needed the most and they can still quickly reach other enemy units once they've disembarked. Being able to field a dreadnaught in the Stormraven has brought another dimension to the game - it's the best delivery system for the walker *cough* drop pod *cough* and ensures they will reach close combat untouched. So long as the opponent only has a single missle launcher and you’re not including the 7% of the time he already showed that it wouldn’t work

Misconception #3 - Sure the Stormraven has some great guns but what is the value there when you've got assault units embarked? It can't practically fulfill both roles!

Sure it can. Here is my basic approach to wielding the Stormraven:

1) Start in reserve.
This helps to protect the flier and let's your deepstrking units arrive first eliminating the most immediate threats. Typically it will arrive on turn 3 to turn 4... Still plenty of time left to seal the deal. Or perhaps turn 2 50% of the time?

2) Arrive from reserve.
If possible I'll move onto the table and alpha strike an enemy tank or unit using the 60" range of the Bloodstrike missiles to outrange my opponent. It's best to fire them all in one fell salvo rather than plink off single shots turn by turn. Also the salvo very effectively negates those pesky cover saves such as smoke launchers and flickerfields. I don’t know about anyone else but my codex says they’re one shot, not negates cover. I mean yeah, firing all four will statistically make more of them get through the cover saves but that’s not what he said and thus we have to assume not what he intended to say or in fact tells his opponents when he plays them. That said, against a stormraven those 4 missiles only stand a 28% chance of “penetrating and destroying” a stormraven. And as we’ve already been told, if its not guaranteed it obviousl cant work.

3) Endgame
After the initial alpha strike the Stormraven will most likely be moving flat-out and you can use it's Power of Machine Spirit to fire the multi-melta or lascannon. But you don’t see lascannons very much anymore… At this phase I move the Stormraven into a position to deliver the embarked assault units. At this point it's fulfilled it's role and not a big deal if its destroyed late in the game. You have to finally expose it to pull off the grand assault - it is what it is. If it does survive the post assault phase then it can still tank hunt and contest objectives. When I read endgame I thought he was talking about contesting objectives but apparently even though there’s only a 7% chance of it dying to a missile its now fine to let it die because it did its job of “maybe” delivering a squad its now easy to kill again

ßthis ought to be good…
So in conclusion let's wrap up what are the main advantages to the Stormraven:

* Fast skimmer
* Assault vehicle (transport + dreadnaught)
* AV12 all around useful against land speeders for some reason
* Extra armor are we back to assuming it comes with it? Cos it doesnt
* Ceramite plating but you don’t see lascannons anymore
* Power of the Machine Spirit
* Wide array of weapons to choose from but you don’t see lascannons anymore
How would you use a Stormraven in your force? Don't listen to those naysayers - go out and try one - you just might like it !! more importantly, listen to me next week when I’ll explain in a balanced and fair way both its good points and its bad points (like that it doesn’t come with extra armour)

*10 points to anyone who can guess where that quote is from
**20 points for this one

I'll publish Mike's own Storm Raven article as soon as he sends it to me.

Feel free to comment away. 

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