Top Bryss Reviews The New Flyers #1

Yes, Top Bryss is back! And it's improved, too! See, when I did the first one, back at Rules Manufactorum, Atrotos wondered what it would be like as an audio article. And now, aaaages later, I've done it. The first audiovisual episode of Top here. And I think it's the best Top the world.

You will need to watch it in Proper Size-O-Vision for the full effect. And in case your Internet is horrible right now, or you miss the old days, here is the transcript.

Tonight, Sooty fails a Pinning Check, Panda fails a Pinning Check, and I fail to appear on camera...

Hello, and welcome to Top Bryss! Now, recently Games Workshop has released small modification kit for their popular Space Marine model, and not-so popular Ork model. These claim to make the books faster and give them new, useful abilities. But are they any good?

We’ll start with some general pointers. These new modifications come in the full-colour White Dwarf magazine, and therefore are in amazing technicolour. This is probably a glimpse into the future, as it is inevitable that GMW will use 6th Edition as an excuse to manufacture new Codices in full colour, at a cost higher than the stupidly tall mountain you’d get if you welded Everest onto the top of Kilimanjaro. This is obviously going to be seen by many as a Bad Thing, especially since GW’s new eBook Codices aren’t any cheaper than normal ones and therefore are not a refreshing alternative.

However, each entry also comes with a mini weapon summary detailing the various guns they could be armed with. If this get rolled out across the board, it will be infinitely more useful than a massive weapon summary as you could simply flick to the entry of the unit you are firing with and check a much smaller list. It’s already done with unit statlines, so this would be a logical extension. Unfortunately, this is probably here because these units are non-Codex entries, so there are no real promises of this being introduced to the main books.

Now we shall move on to looking at the Stormtalon Gunship. Looks-wise, the universe is of a split opinion, with many regarding it as a bit stupid, a bit silly, uglier than a prune left to rot for a few weeks, and above all poor engineering. I have heard it compared to a craft from a bullet-hell shooter game, even. Much to the disappointment of you all then, I have to say I like this aesthetic, as you can probably tell from my ridiculously poor quality illustration of this idea. I can’t be bothered arguing about it though, as it will produce as much good as a teapot made of ice. That is to say, none at all. I shall therefore move on to the important bit.

The rules. It costs 130,000 points, just over the cost of two Land Speeders with multi-meltas, which is what it will inevitably be compared with. For double the cost of a mini-skimmer, you don’t really get much durability. You get one extra armour point at every side, and ceramite plating, which is nigh-on useless at AV11 anyway. You do get the handy Aerial Assault special rule, and a flat-out move of 36 inches per turn, which is a fairly useful thing to have.

Its unique special rules are funny little things. Take Escort Craft, for example. Yes, it means you can get two units onto the board at once, but that could be either better or worse depending on how your dice rolls turn out, and limits the flexibility of your arrival move. There is also a technical loophole allowing you to simultaneously deploy a unit in a non-dedicated transport such as a Land Raider or Land Speeder Storm plus two Stormtalons, one for each unit, which technically are not escorting each other even though they are deployed in the same group. That said, you’d really be hedging your bets on one dice roll in that case. Taking all that in, I’m not sure whether I like this rule or not.

Hover Strike is much more black and white. Don’t move, +1BS and you get Pinning. Since most of your guns are twin-linked with a semi-decent shot count, this isn’t too useful considering the likelihood of Pinning a unit isn’t very big. If you’re in the right place and shoot an exposed unit with Guardsman leadership, maybe it will work.  However, if you and your opponent are more competitive than your average TV lawyer, this isn’t going to happen in many cases. As such, this is a casual rule that adds some flavour to a beer and pizza game, but nothing more.

The Stormtalon has a unique weapon in the Skyhammer missile launcher, which is essentially a better autocannon for more than double the price of a normal one. Considering that for the same cost you can get a flexible Typhoon missile launcher with better Strength and AP at the high end, at the expense of 12” of range, I’ll pass it up unless I want a dedicated transport hunter or Dark Eldar Cardboard Boat hunter. Either way, both are better value than the lascannon, even if it is the cheapest optional extra.

So, the Stormtalon. Probably not the most efficient competitive unit, since as a transport buster a Rifleman Dreadnought is cheaper and has better accuracy. Definitely not everyone’s cup of tea looks-wise. It’s a solid casual unit though, with quirky little bonuses and a decent dose of firepower. However, bring the cost down to Ravager levels  and maybe the competitive types will want a word...