I Believe I can Fly

by | Jul 3, 2017

In this week way too early 8th edition assumptions we need to talk about the “biggest” problem with the game. Flyers! So far with limited results Flyers lists are dominating, more specifically Space Marine Flyer lists. There is quite a few factors to consider to why Flyers are winning the early meta war.

So why are Flyers so damn good?

  • Flyers are hard to Hit in the Shooting Phase (-1).
  • Flyers avoid many of the dangerous Assault units.
  • Flyers Toughness is 6-7.
  • Flyers have 10+ wounds.
  • Flyers weapon options can handle most opposing situations.
  • Flyers many of them get to hit bonuses.
  • Flyers can fly to any part of the board with ease.
  • Flyers can wall off redirect opponent units by simply being in the way.

Why are Space Marine flyers particularly dangerous?

It all starts with the Stormraven. Stormravens can take a host of weapons, but most importantly it is a transport vehicle, allowing Imperial armies to minimize the amount of drops, thus being able to go first in most battles. Add in all Space Marine flyers have some sort of bonus to Hit depending on the target. Critically, all Space Marine Flyers can take Twin Assault Cannons (Stormhawk can take two separate Assault Cannons) perhaps one of the best weapons in the game, able to punish most units. Combo with a secondary weapons like the Lascannon and Flyers are a unit for any season. Then even when things go sideways, Space Marine Flyers can also always go into Hover, repositioning and avoid crashing and burning.

To give you an example on exactly on how this all can come together, here is the winning list from the Caledonian Revolution in England a 90+ tournament featuring many ETC team members. This was the only army with a perfect battle score at the event.

Anthony Chew 1st Overall Caledonian Revolution 2017

This list takes all the advantages of Flyers and adds in some point efficiency by taking Inquisitorial Acolytes. The event did not allowing duplicate Detachments, explaining possibly why this wasn’t just an all Flyer list.

How do you deal with Flyers?

The biggest problem at the moment is having very few hard counters to Flyers. The best one at the moment is Mortal Wound Spam, but then again unless you can get close enough (all at once). A smart Flyer player will just castle in Hover mode and shoot at greater range and/or adapt by adding a screen unit, like Conscripts. If you have an all comers list the best thing to do is try focusing on the lighter Flyers, don’t waste shots on the Stormraven, when the Talons or Hawks are much easier to hurt. Take Anthony’s list, you have to think of Flyer armies in terms of damage output, if you kill one Flyer his damage output drops by 1/8 and exponentially after that. The problem is surviving the initial strike.

The game is still early, is their some hidden counter list, that can also be effective against other army types? I am sure though as Games Workshop starts to roll out codexes we can expect to see changes, but until then we have very few ways to limit Flyers. Luckily, we have large events almost every week from now on, so we can see the adaptation in real time.

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