Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Stormraven For All?- Army Specific Units

Ah yes, the Stormraven once again. No, I'm not trying to beat the dead horse anymore than it needs to be beaten, but the Stormraven brings up so many good thought provoking issues. The one that comes to mind, was proposed by a member of The Forgotten Chapter in response to a situation that occured to his army at Feast of Blades 2011. He told me that "when" Games Workshop decides to release an FAQ, or some kind of rule that makes the Stormraven able to be used by all space marines, that he would field at least two of them. I responded with the simple word "if." I field two Stormravens in my Grey Knights army, and love using them. My friends therefore hate playing against them, as I am constantly harrassed about how " over the top" their rules are. BUT, they are always quick to point out that they would field them in an instant if they could. Now, Im not trying to be greedy or stingy, and its not that I dont like sharing, but I beleive that the Stormraven should be an army specific unit, in which only certain armies can use it. There are reasons for such an opinion, as I would not say such a thing without doing more than just thumbing my nose. Many things come to mind, but the top three are: variety of play, the "fluff" of the game, and the desire to keep armies "different" by preserving some army specific units and rules. Such things are used to maintain the dreaded F word.... FUN within the game.

I dont know about you, but I like playing different armies. I dont like playing yellow marines, red marines, black marines or grey marines. I prefer to play the Imperial Fists, the Blood Angels, the Black Templar, and the Grey Knights! The variety of armies in 40k is already quite limited, and yet there are still things that keep the armies separated. One sub category that is hard to keep separated are the armies of the space marines. Each space marine chapter is supposed to be unique, yet similar, but their strategies and tactics can be quite different. Because of this, I like seeing a variety in playstyles amongst the Astartes, as well as other armies. It would not be fun however, to see every darn army out there with a Stormraven or three, knowing that the only reason why people field it is becuase they can. I dont want to see all ork armies with the same style of play, nor the same nids armies as well. I most certainly dont want to see space marines all played the same with the same tactics and styles. There are MANY different things available to the Codex Astartes chapters, that there is no reason for any of them to look the same. Plus, they dont need to have the Stormraven just becuase some non-Codex Space Marine chapters do. If all the armies looked and fought the same, then this game would eventually be nothing more than tic tac toe, in which everyone knows what the next player's move will be before they have even done it. I like playing Space marine armies with jump packs, or a fleet of rhinos, some with a massive amount of devastators or an all drop pod army. I like seeing blood Angels with Stormravens dropping off Furiosos and the Sanguinor, while their Grey knight counter parts use their Stormraven as a teleport homer to bring a Dreadknight onto the table right next to it. I like seeing the variety that comes out of proper codex segregation, and the fun that you have when you think "cool, I'm playing a Grey Knights or Blood Angels army and not just a grey or red space marines army."

Of course, any dedicated 40k person must never forget the story line or "fluff" and how that influences the gameplay and tabletop performance of every army. According to their respective codices, the Grey Knights and Blood Angels have been using the Stormravens for a long time, and the tactics involved with the Stormravens mimick the tactics used by the Grey Knights and Blood Angels. Both armies tend to be first strike oriented, trying to close the gaps, and getting into combat as quickly as possible. They are able to be tactically precise due to the shaping of their army rules and the fact that they are able to use the Stormraven to get across the board rather quickly. Most other space marine armies, such as the Imperial Fists, are siege oriented, and have no need for a Stormraven. Why should it be possible for them to be able to use the Stormraven if it doesnt even fit the fluff of the army? I am just waiting for people to complain that the Dreadknight or Furioso dread needs to be made available for all the other chapters as well. If Games Workshop wanted to give all of the space marine armies the same units with slightly different rules, then they should of just added them to the main space marines codex and just put excerpts in there for the army's special rules, much like they did with the Salamanders, etc. But, fitting in with the storyline once more, the Grey Knights and Blood Angels do not follow the Codex Astartes, and because of that, they would not use the same units or have the same military organization as their Astartes brothers. I know people like the Stormraven, but does everyone else really need to have one? The Grey Knights are supposed to have access to the most advanced and ancient weapons in the galaxy, setting them apart from their battle brothers. So why then should every army have the same things as them? Wouldnt that just ruin the fluff? Besides preserving the storyline, making sure that not all armies have the same units and similar rules will keep the game from becoming stale and unappealing.

Stagnation through similarity is never good in the gaming world, and it certainly is not good in the universe of 40k. The last thing we want is to lose interest in something that we all have sunk (or will be sinking) a lot of time, money, and energy into. The desire to keep the armies different should be key amongst not only the game designers but the players as well. In order to protect against this stagnation, and preserve the FUN, excitement, and challenge of the game, we must keep the armies balanced but different amongst each other. We must keep army specific rules and units intact, ensuring that each army will have a different feel, spirit, playstyle, and attraction. Preserving army specific rules and units help keep the armies different, meaning that instead of always playing the same army, we can have some variety and different challenges presented to us by fielding and playing different armies. Some of these armies are completely different species, races, or chapters, none of which should be duplicated, otherwise it wont make a difference fielding a Tyranids list from Necrons, or Black Templars from Blood Angels. Not every army needs to have a Stormraven, a Furioso, Carnifex, Weirdboy, or Monolith to be competitive and balanced. We are playing different armies for that very reason, because they are DIFFERENT, and that is whats fun. I know that a lot of space marine players think it is unfair that the Knights and Blood Angels get the Stormraven, but look at what they DONT get. I cant speak for the Blood Angels, but the Grey Knights dont get the Vindicator, Predator, Land Speeder, Drop Pod, Thunderfire Cannon, Whirlwind, Bike units, etc. I am not trying to say that they should have them, because I feel like those units are unnecessary, but I am saying that I think its ok for them to be one of the only armies to have the Stormraven, I think thats a fair trade. Ultimately my opinion matters only to me, and I'm sure there are many out there that want the Stormraven to be released for everyone, regardless of the things I have mentioned, and that is fine. I only hope that the game continues to be as fun as it is, and that the armies remain as unique and different as the people who field them. In the end, it doesnt matter if you have one Stormraven or none, as long as your having fun with your army then thats all that matters!


  1. I have FW doors ready for my Crimson Fist stormraven. I think they should open it up to other chapters. BA have their dred and unique preds. GK's have inquisitors and henchmen.

    Let's sell some kits!!

  2. Well...
    First allow me to apologize for my post-cromancy, but on the eve of 6th edition I think this post becomes relevant once again.

    I agree with your general premise actually, but my issue is that there is a lack of character development per chapter. As a White Scars player the Storm Raven fits the profile for my chapter, particularly in terms of Heavy Support. As "Fast" Heavy Support, it provides not only the firepower of the Heavy Support slot but also the transport capacity of troops that I lack with Rhinos.

    There is a minor trend of running "counts as" White Scars using the BA codex due to the fact that the rule set fits the chapter better than the codex. One could easily make the same argument for the Raven Guard (assault troops as troops). Using word analysis we can also see that White Scars have "Stormseers" and the Raven Guard...well that is too easy isn't it?

    So the next step is to fully develop your argument on the Grey Knights lack of units, only extending it to the Blood Angels. Following your assertion, it could just as easily be stated that since the BA have Baal Preds, they shouldn't get any other form of Pred or that since they have Furiosos they shouldn't have any other form of Dred (actually following the "fluff" with Dreadknights, the GK shouldn't have Dreds either). With Storm Ravens the BA shouldn't have landspeeders lets say? The fluff dictates that White Scars don't have Dreds, so I don't run them, but this is a choice that I am making as a player to develop the character of my army through army build. The issue is that the rules prevent myself and others from building armies that fulfill their character through pre-existing units.

    As I stated, I agree with the general thrust of your post. And with pre-orders being taken starting in three days, I think this argument should be re-visited as list construction brews in the various gaming metas. With the rumors swirling on the content of the allies rules-set I have already begun constructing a list that would provide me access to the Storm Raven, but at the cost of including another HQ/Troop choice. Now these marines, would be painted as White Scars and in reality would be BA "in name only". Why force players into such shenanigans, when a simply FAQ would solve the issue.

  3. According to the reference section in the 6th ED rule book, storm ravens available to vanilla Marines, as well as Grey Knights and Blood Angles :) Lets hope it's not a typo, and is FAQ'd in