Friday, July 27, 2012

The Crowded Skies of 6th Edition

Air power may either end war or end civilization.
— Winston Churchill
There seems to be a lot of discussion on the blogs and forums about fliers in sixth edition.  Having played with and against fliers (and/or Flying MCs) in about every game so far, I can see why people think the sky is falling (hehe).  I used Stormravens in my Blood Angels lists many times in 5th edition, and they have gotten (mostly) better in 6th.  They are more limited as an assault transport with the new reserve rules, but they work great as a fire support gunship.  I am finding that most of the Internet ire seems to be at a usual suspect...

Undercosted in 5th edition, the Vendetta has only gotten better in 6th. However, spamming cheap fliers does not guarantee victory. I played an 1000 pt game with my Tau against an IG player that brought three Vendettas. It was a four objective mission. He was really light on troops and ground vehicles so I was able to take them out and ride out the Vendetta's strafing to win the game.  

So fliers are definitely great for supporting ground troops and taking out other fliers, at least until the game adds more anti-air options.   Thankfully, there's still no auto-win button.  

One of the other issues is that "zooming" fliers have wide turn circles.   The restrictions on one turn then minimum 18" movement can cause air traffic nightmares on a small 6'x4' table.   My last game had this happen:

Thanks to some good evasion rolls by my Stormraven pilot, it avoided getting shot down by the two Stormtalons.   However, due to the restricted movement in the subsequent turns, all of our fliers ended up circling into the center of the board.   You might say it was a perfect "Storm" of "Ravens", "Eagles", and "Talons" (sorry).
So while fliers are good, you still have to be able to place their stands on the table.   And zooming is very movement restrictive on 6'x4' table.
Finally, don't forget about hover mode (if available) to get more maneuvering.  Becoming a fast skimmer for a turn isn't the end of the world since you still get a "jink" save.   Just remember that your skimmers can be assaulted and you should be able to get your guns where you need them.

I am sure there will be more flier discussions in the future.  I don't have any experience against the Ork or Necron fliers yet and I've only played against the Dark Eldar one in 5th edition.   I am curious to hear what others are experiencing with and against fliers so far. 

Until next time, I will keep trying to fly circles around my opponents.


  1. I believe the rage surrounding fliers will definitely subside when more skyfire options are available. I like how you highlighted how hard they are to maneuver, especially on a 6x4 board. It isn't ez-mode.

    At first I was pretty raged out that flying MCs don't have skyfire... but I think perhaps it actually was intended, since they have a 360 degree firing arc. My flying tyrant has absolutely annihilated people in the last two games.

  2. I've played a Necron list that had 8 flyers at 1750pts. In two games I was very nearly tabled in each and through both games I only managed to down one flyer. Their movement is a bit restrictive and the table can look a bit ridiculous at times but they are tough! Twin-linked Tesla destructors are nothing to laugh at. My opponent was averaging 6-7 str7 hits per flyer per turn. Even with 3+ saves it didn't take long for him to wipe out my ground troops. Between the Doom Scythes death rays and all the guass and haywire weapons the troops had inside my vehicles were a joke.

    Due to the newness of the unit type the first game was kind of fun. The second game was just an exercise in frustration.

    I could see this kind of list doing very well until more armies get more ways of reliably dealing with mass flyers. Like Michael, once that happens I see the rage going away some.... along with some of the flyers. But GW's got to get paid first!

    1. Ouch. Yeah, despite GW writing about forging a narrative and making sure your opponent has fun, there will also be players that push the limits.

  3. I wouldn't take more than 2 Vendettas in that small of a game.