Saturday, 8 September 2012

40k Tactics: The Flyer

With the arrival of sixth edition and Forgeworld's Imperial Armour: Aeronautica, more people are utilising the new 'flyer' type, and the skies of our gaming tables are full of plastic aircraft and flying beasts. But how do you use them? What role do they meet? Read on to find out a few of the multitude of roles and attack styles for your flyers.

Method A: The Hunter

This first tactic is fitting for small attack craft and fighter planes, such as the Hell Blade or Dakka Jet. The key behind this is your angle of attack and your target.

If you are planning a tank hunter role for your flyer, try to being it on so it can hit weaker side or rear armour values. Planes of this type tend not to have the strongest guns (although a few have lascannons and dark lances), so it is important to aim for the weak spots. Because flyers are so fast, this is a great way of taking out artillery pieces at the back of the table, as you can fry pretty much half way across the field, and your gun's range will most likely cover the rest. Flyers with the Super Sonic rule can cover longer distances faster. The ideal targets for this tactic are: light transports, walkers, sole models (such as monstrous creatures or characters), and light tanks or artillery. Flyers with bigger guns can attempt to target heavier tanks, such as Land Raiders.

Method B: Rapid insertion

Tactics based on this concept can only really be applied to flying monstrous creatures (such as winged Hive Tyrants) and flyers with a transport capability, such as the Valkyrie. The idea behind this is to get your heavy hitters to the enemy fast. A number of transporting flyers can either deep strike units from it, or use the hover rules to allow units to exit safely

Monstrous creatures can change to the jump type, and subsequently assault on its own accord. The flyer can then provide fire support, before zooming off (if it survives).

Another key element of this tactic is a good unit to transport. A heavy assault unit such as terminators, or a good shooting unit is key for this tactic.

Method C: Anti Flyer

"Fight fire with fire" comes to mind when I suggest this. Flyers tend to have low armour values, but because they are hard to hit, they tend to survive the shots from regular units, and are all bit immune to any template weapons. So to combat then, you really need a weapon system which has the Skyfire special rule. This can come in two forms: AA guns, such as the interceptor gun, or another flyer.

All flyers may choose to use the Skyfire rule when shooting, which makes them great at engaging in dogfights. With weak armour in general for flyers, your guns do not need to be the most powerful: you tend to only need to get through armour values of 11 or 12.

When thinking about movement, try getting to the side or rear of your enemy, for two reasons. First off, like artillery, flyers tend to have weak rear armour. Secondly, guns on a flyer are, in most cases, fixed, meaning they cannot shoot you back due to their limited arc of fire.

Also, flyers are less mobile, and in most cases can only make a single 90* turn, meaning they probably can't you you in their line of sight. Stick behind them to deny them a counter attack. Watch out for flyers with the Vector Dancer rule, as they can make a further turn after moving. Also be aware of flying monstrous creatures, as they have a 360* arc of fire, thus ruining the 'stay behind' tactic.

With any luck, and the right flyer, you to can harness the potential of air assaults and conquer the skies as much as the land.


  1. Vendettas can fill multiple roles at once. You can tank-hunt while inserting (via Grav Chute for a turn-2 deploy or Hover for a turn-3 deploy) a SWS packing 3 Demo Charges right behind the enemy's main advance.

  2. Is that a Chaos .... what stormraven, I can't tell but it's cool as hell!

  3. I like to use my Valkyries to deliver my Storm troopers right beside heavy tanks with melta and plasma or vets with flamers.