My Tactics pledge: I am not the greatest player, nor a seal pup. I will endeavor to speak from my experience and always be honest about what is theory and what is play tested. Never will I assume to know better than anyone else... unless I must call out ego or pretension.
Warping to Fail
I don't get it, really, it seems like every codex, Games Workshop decides to make really cool models, and then give them terrible rules.
The Warp Talon is just that model in the realm of Chaos Space Marines.
With that said, I want to warn everyone, this will be less a tactical article, and more a rant, on just how terrible Warp Talons are.
It really makes you wonder, what was the initial rules mockup for this Warp Talons, and if at any point were they good?
If you don't believe me how terrible Warp Talons are take a look at their rules and I will explain.
(Click to Enlarge)
Bad to Worse
- Lightning Claws
- Warpflame Strike
- Two Gifts of Mutation
- No Grenades
- No Fearless
--Weapons for 5th not 6th--
Much of the egregious price for a Warp Talon comes from their two Lightning Claws. A weapon that was pretty rare before, but now rarer being only AP3. In a codex that lacks good options for taking out 2+ armor, Warp Talons were a golden opportunity for Games Workshop to give them AP2 weapons. Instead, you have a weapon that isn't worth the points, on a unit that isn't worth its cost.
--Coming from the Warp has never been less scary--
So Warp Talons are Daemons which means they get 5+ Invulnerable save and can put the Fear in units-- well like 1/5 of the units you will actually face, but hey who is counting. Since no good general would waste AP2 weapons on Warp Talons expect Bolters to do the job just fine. The +5 save is only good for combats, what combats I am not sure...
--Deep Strike to Die--
I really find Special Rules that have lots of conditions pointless. So, let me get this straight, I have to first choose to Deep Strike, then land close enough for JUST the chance to Blind my opponent? If that doesn't sound game breaking then I don't know what does! Frankly, I would have taken a few point reduction in overall cost and a thank you note for not including this lame power.
--Can I spend more for that extra Tentacle--
I am glad that Warp Talon Champions get the privilege to purchase two gifts of mutation, because I always wanted a 50 point Warp Talon with a 3+ armor save! I rather would have liked access to Melee Wargear Options.
--Genestealers of Chaos--
With two Lightning Claws sucking up all the points and the sanctity of Games Workshop in jeopardy, Warp Talons don't have grenades. This is by far the most mindbogglingly lame oversight...ever. Was the hope to Blind everything by Deep Striking, because being the super evil step-children of Raptors you would think they get some grenades.
--Booing the Boogeyman--
The final kick in the balls. Warp Talons being so horrifying to fight (according to the fluff) you wouldn't know that a simple Leadership check or a sideways close-combat could send them running. Mutilators don't have it, but at least they have Fleshmetal and Possessed might be expensive, but they don't get scared. Then Games Workshop has the nerve to have you spend an extra three points per model to get Leadership 10. Did I mention Warp Talons can't even get Icon of Vengeance?
Mark of Khorne
34 point Warp Talons gets me Rage and Counter Attack, yippee! Now if only I could get an Icon to make them 40 points each, at least I would get Strength five. With the two Lightning Claws though you could do a lot worse than four attacks on the charge. Then again it does make me wonder, why don't Warp Talons have more base attacks to start?
Mark of Tzeentch
36 point Warp Talons gets you a 4+ Invulnerable save, but as we already know that an Invulnerable save isn't going to do a damn thing when mass fire is the king. I guess it kinda makes sense, you aren't going to hide Warp Talons in terrain, because you might want them swinging at Initiative when charging!
Mark of Nurgle
34 point Warp Talons gets you Toughness 5, so this Mark might actually be worth it. Since you already chose to take Warp Talons might as well throw caution to the wind. The biggest threat to Warp Talons is mass low strength fire and having Toughness 5 is a pretty good protection.
Mark of Slaanesh
33 point Warp Talons gets you Initiative 5. Taking Mark of Slaanesh really gives your Lightning Claws their best opportunity for success. In ideal situations you can clear out most basic troops without the Warp Talons taking casualties back. The idea of Initiative 5 Warp Talons makes the whole no grenades thing that much more depressing.
So, let me get this straight, I have to first choose to Deep Strike, then land close enough for JUST the chance to Blind my opponent?
Warp Talons are expensive, fragile, and one-dimensional. There are so many other units you can take and have better results. A Warp Talon is one point less than a Chaos Terminator, if that doesn't put things in perspective nothing will.
So what can do you with such a unit? First off don't take them, but if you are glutton for punishment I have only a few meager words of advice.
First, focus like a laser. Either use them as a counter charge unit or Deep Strike far away from the enemy.
If you combo Warp Talons with for example Plague Zombies you might have something. Plague Zombies can easily hold a unit, then Warp Talons come in to finish the job. When you combo Warp Talons with any Fearless unit it also protects them from Sweeping Advance as most Fearless units can hold a combat even if Warp Talons lose and Fall Back.
As for Deep Striking, forget about using Warpflame Strike, instead take you Warp Talons and use their Jump Packs to pick fights they can win. Warp Talons because of all their limitations have to survey the battlefield before committing to a fight. See if you can catch an opponent off guard or join a combat from an unexpected angle to maximize potential.
Then there is joining a Chaos Lord to Warp Talons. This combination doesn't change the fact you still don't have grenades, but at least they are now Fearless. They might be a good candidate for an Outflanking Slaanesh Chaos Lord, too bad you cannot Assault the turn you come from reserve.
Configuration One: 289 pts 9-man Warp Talon unit with Mark of Slaanesh. Either join with a Slaanesh Chaos Lord or join intractable Assaults you need ending. You can take risks with this unit in Assault, but be cognizant of torrent units that can decimate Warp Talons.
Configurations Two: 298 pts 8-man Warp Talon unit with Mark of Nurgle. Use this unit to Deep Strike out of sight and come up aces when you need to turn the tide. Leave them for squishy unit clean up or counter assault late objective grabs.
Overall, Warp Talons are the worst unit Chaos Space Marine codex.
I don't like making these kind of declarative statements, but there is no sugar-coating it. They are in the same category as Mandrakes and Pyrovores, units so castrated, that you can only assume they were designed for another game other than Warhammer 40,000.
It's Like Tactics is rated theory hammer because these are general observations and assumptions based on only few tested games.
For tactical articles feel free to email me to continue the discussion or if you discover an inaccurate interpretation of the rules-- edits will be made accordingly.
Also check out other articles in this series...
- Getting Restarted
- Breaking Down the Codex
- Chaos Space Marine Unit Review
- Cultist Review
- Khorne Berzerkers Review
- Thousand Sons Review
- Noise Marine Review
- Plague Marine Review
- Chosen Review
- Mutilator Review
- Helbrute Review
- Possessed Review
- Chaos Terminator Review
- Chaos Bikes Review
- Chaos Spawn Review
- Raptors Review
- Warp Talons Review
- Heldrake Review
- Havocs Review
- Obliterator Review
- Defiler Review
- Forgefiend Review
- Maulerfiend Review
- Rhino, Vindicator, Predator, Land Raider Review
- Abbadon the Despiler Review
- Huron Blackheart Review
- Kharn the Betrayer Review
- Ahriman Review
- Typhus Review
- Lucius the Eternal Review
- Fabius Bile Review
- Chaos Lord Review
- Chaos Sorcerer Review
- Daemon Prince Review
- Warpsmith Review
- Dark Apostle Review
- Final Breakdown