|Blue Thunder or Apache?|
So onto the Storm Talon. It's a fast skimmer with all around AV11 (meh), nerfs melta, decent weaponry and a couple of fancy rules. It comes standard with a TL assault cannon and TL HB, which can be upgraded to a TL lascannon, Typhoon ML or a new ML type (Str 7 Ap4 heavy 3). Provides a decent dakka although the assault cannon is only 24" and that forces the stormtalon be close enough to the enemy to fully utilize its potential.
Something odd (especially for GW's revenue) is that it can't be taken in squadrons for additional protection and redundancy. 9 storm talons in a list? Also not happy about being limited to C:SM, which means the Wolves will keep on fighting on their feet , as Russ intended, and that we won't see any crazy aircav list with tons of 'Ravens and 'Talons with Wagner's music blasting off the speakers. Sorry 'bout that, Wagner.
The new rules
The Storm talon comes with a couple of nifty rules that might anticipate what's yet to come. One is about being able to come in reserve together with the unit it escorts, so it does help not arriving from reserve piecemeal. I'm sure people will find some interesting combos.
The other new rule is about not moving in a turn to gain a +1 to the BS against most targets, and adding the Pinning rule. This would mainly benefit the ML as the other weapons are already TL, and again suggests a long range gunboat approach in which the AC sees no use. 150 points for 2/3 BS5 missiles? I'll pass thanks.
Early thoughts on how to use
The HB+AC combination provides good ranged anti-infantry and the occasional anti vehicle, with a TL AC that should get side shots easily. The price is still a big steep but assumible yet.
The new ML has a nice profile and again can benefit from the high mobility to easily access the tanks side armour. Even more tasty if the new cover saves go down to 5+. On the other hands, a 5+ cover save will make it even an easier KP, at least with 5th ed rules..
The escort option of arriving from reserves with a unit (not if DS) is a nice one, with the ability to bring 2 units at the same time. Looks like an interesting option for spearhead, where you can bring 2 units to support your main advance, or send them to the other side of the board.
Now, taking 2 of those is going to be almost 300 points. For less points we can get 3 dakka preds, which of course occupy a different placement in the FOC and are far less mobile, but much harder to get rid of at range.
I really like the new model, maybe because it reminds me of the Blue Thunder. It's amusing how alike the 41st millenium war machines look to the 20th century ones.
In terms of competitiveness, we will have to wait for 6th ed to find out. I suspect the rules will benefit flyers so GW can keep their cash cow healthy. I just can't understand why not all codexes have access to it, which is bad for both the players and GW. Really, and it's something I do as my full time job (product manager). And a final digression: will the rise of the flyers be countered by some special anti air rules, and finally plastic kits for the hydra and riflemen?
Get ready for air battles!