Cron Air Going Down in Flames?

Cron Air (Necron Airforce) is easily the most hated list in the game at the moment, but are their days numbered?

Cron Air is an incredibly powerful army that in the current meta is also not all that fun to play against. Few armies can actually fight it in a straight up fight and must resort to lateral tactics to defeat it (board control, playing to objectives, etc.). Flyers, due to their special rules, create an army that with very little skill, can dominate most “normal” armies leaving them with few to no tools to fight back with.

And before folks start popping up with the comments of: “I beat Necron Flyers all the time, they aren’t that bad,” it doesn’t count when you’re playing against 1-2. It’s when you’re up against an army comprised almost entirely out of Flyers that you are really up against Cron Air, and it is brutally powerful. 2 Flyers is 4 times as effective as 1 (double the firepower, double the durability) and that just gets exacerbated as their numbers go up. Even worse than its inherent power, is that fact that playing against it feels like an exercise in futility as your units fight back with little to no effectiveness. I get mail almost every day from folks asking for tactics against flyers, lists to combat them, etc. In our experiences, we’ve sent Cron Air like a hot knife through butter against some top lists. At our Feast of Blades qualifier, Fuegan17 with his Cron/Ork flyercentric army absolutely dominated everyone else, including an IG army with the tools to fight flyers.

We keep a close ear to the ground when it comes to rumors and have developed some reliable sources over time. Between what we’ve heard and general internet chatter, it appears that the new Chaos dex may have a number of tools to deal Cron Air (or any flyer heavy list).

The Dragon is rumored to be a flyer killer, and judging by its profile, I can see it. Although, with its stats, I think it will do just dandy against pretty much anything. With a strength 10 vector strike, and 2 butcher cannons (str8, ap4, heavy4) it will make a mockery of the average flyer (av12 and down). However, being a 12/10/10 vehicle itself, if you go second you’re just as likely to have your Dragon dropped by rival flyers.

Havocs getting Flakk missiles is still an unknown. We have rumors saying that they will replace your frag and krak missiles for +5 points (in which case, I don’t think they will be a very good choice as against every army not using flyers you just wasted a lot of points) or that for the same price you get them in addition to your normal load out. That makes them much better, and havocs could become quite a flyer deterrent…so much so that they will be shot off the board immediately by all available flyers as target priority #1! Without interceptor, they will get shot before they can shoot the flyers and you can bet your bottom dollar that every gun that can shoot them in a flyer heavy list, will.

What does that mean? Will Chaos set the precedent for things to come and bring the tools to the table to fight the Air Force armies, or will they get ground under heel? Only time will tell but I think this will be a good measuring stick to judge future releases by and the long term power potential of the flyer heavy lists. I personally hope that the continued push towards balance holds true and applies to flyers as well.

What have your experiences with flyers been like? Have you found them to be a tad overpowered? Or have you discovered some means to combating them you’d like to share with the community? What are you most hoping to see in terms of AA options in the new Chaos dex?


About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

20 Responses to “Cron Air Going Down in Flames?”

  1. Rathstar September 12, 2012 12:48 am #

    Unless the dragon comes in squadrons I don’t think it will be able to deal with full Cron Air, with 7-9 flyers, especially with it’s poor side armour. However time will tell if other anti air tools will be able to have an effect.

    My concern is also that it makes taking 1 or 2 flyers useless in 6th edition. Because max flyers is so good, most people take some anti air, so it’s best to either go no flyers or loads.


    • Reecius September 13, 2012 9:45 am #

      Yeah, the single or dual flyer lists are going to have a hard time of things against a full fledged flyer army, no doubt.

      We’ll see how it pans out, but as of now, Cron Air is brutal.

  2. Skari September 12, 2012 3:53 am #

    I feel that fliers are great. Not over powered… I have not have the pleasure of playing against a 6-7 flier list yet but when I do I will play to the objectives and hunker down in cover like noones buisness. And give them turn 1, they have to get out of their rides to take objectives.

    • Reecius September 13, 2012 9:42 am #

      It really isn’t that easy. We’ve been playing the Air Force lists and they just dominate other armies. We’ve found them to be incredibly overpowering when taken en masse and most armies simply get obliterated by them. Try it out, and then get back to us. I will be you money your opinion will change quite dramatically.

  3. Xzandrate September 12, 2012 5:33 am #

    First, thank you for cross posting this, BoLS comments seem to overwhelm so quickly.

    Out of curiosity what points level are you guys seeing these lists and how many fliers? Because the flyers don’t come cheap, single force org the full 9 flyers are over 1500 points. Plus another 90 for a barebones Overlord, doesn’t leave a whole lot of points to start stuff on the table for turn one.

    Really, the reason the necron flyer list is hard to crack in my opinion isn’t the flyers alot, it’s the Ever-living rule.

    Most armies should be able to take out the 200-400 points worth of models on the table, unless they are running reserve heavy as well, or the opponent has something good to bury a model in. There will be some player/list combinations as well, but the majority of lists should be able to deal with such a small force.

    Against something like an IG flyer list, you would win as soon as that game turn ends and the opponent has no models on the board. With Necrons, even if you can kill every model to a man, if even a single Ever-living token is on the board, you will probably loose on a 5+, because it means the flyers will get to come in.

    So basically, Necrons win on a dice roll in turn 1. That single rule, offsets the downside to going reserve heavy. Do I think it’s imbalanced? Yes Do I think it’s unacceptable? No, I just think it’s odd that it’s not Marines that get that imbalanced advantage. . . there probably wouldn’t be as many complaints then.

    • Reecius September 13, 2012 9:36 am #

      Yeah, the BoLS commenters are quite frankly, awful.

      The issue with Cron Air particularly is that the Night Scythe is so cheap, and the Doom Scythe is so versatile. They just smash most other armies with ease.

      We have been playing 1500-1750 and you can pack in so much at that points level that it is really overwhelming for most armies.

      As for tabling them turn 1? Yes that is viable, but a good Cron player will minimize the odds of that happening as much as possible. Starting some units on the table and hidden with an Overlord too, means that the odds of getting a turn 1 tabling against most armies is really minimized. A pod army can do it, but it is unlikely.

  4. Warscythe September 12, 2012 5:35 am #

    I’ve played against a 7 flyer Cron force coupled with a deathstar ground component as well – and beat it with a balanced Necron force (I had 2 Flyers – one Nightscythe and one Doom Scythe and moved 2nd) BUT … it wasn’t a fun game.

    I found standard Gauss weapons to be my best AA unit either firing from my ghost arks or from a unit of Immortals with Gauss Blasters in rapid fire range – though my 2 annihilation barges consistently inflicted hull point damage to anything they shot at. In this game we also did two things no longer allowed after the most recent FAQ – we fired Death Rays at zooming flyers and I did 2 sweep attacks against flyers with my command barge (only 1 flyer was killed this way).

    My opponent had just returned from the NOVA open tournament and stated that balanced Necron list were his hardest to fight. He had added the ground “deathstar” element to hopefully improve his list. He also mentioned horde armies being tough for the Air Force to deal with – depending on the scenario.

    I have not fought against a Flying Monstrous creature “circus” army yet though, so I don’t know if my balanced Necron force can deal with multiple high toughness, vector striking MC’s. My suspicion is no – since the gauss weapons become far less effective against high toughness targets.

    • Reecius September 13, 2012 9:38 am #

      I think balanced armies in general will be the best bet, but in our experiences the all Flyer Cron army is just savage. Everyone’s experiences are different of course, but for us so far, Cron Air has been just not fun to play against and incredibly OP.

  5. Puretide September 12, 2012 8:31 am #

    The flyer i am waiting to see is the tau one with the rumours I been hearing with the chance it can be upgrade with a railgun sounds deadly and OP.

    • Reecius September 13, 2012 9:30 am #

      The Tau Barracuda is brutal. No railgun, but just deadly.

  6. Shep September 12, 2012 9:46 am #

    After playing against “all-in” necron flyer spam, I have come to my conclusion of why it is broken. I actually don’t think it is the flyer mechanic at all. It’s that twin-linked tesla destructor for 100 points.

    When I play against purifier spam with my balanced nid list, eventually I kill off the purifiers and I can ignore the 4+ razorbacks that are still alive after I kill the psyflemen. My army is robust enough to handle getting shot at by twin linked strength 6 heavy bolters. In contrast, you just can’t ignore four twin linked tesla destructors.

    If those night scythes were 160, or just had tesla cannons, I don’t even think we’d be talking about this.

    No one has any problems beating Elysian drop troops. And it’s because the Valkyrie can’t put out like the night scythe.

    • Reecius September 13, 2012 9:31 am #

      I agree, they are crazy under-priced for what you get.

  7. edwin September 12, 2012 1:16 pm #

    The problem with the new chaos codex I think I will see in my area is that people often write lists on the spot. This leads to alot of tailoring. These AA options hurt all comers and wont be taken in droves alot, but when tailoring, they are just nasty

    • Reecius September 13, 2012 9:30 am #

      List tailoring is not the most enjoyable way to play the game, IMO. Better to come with a set list, more challenging and fun, IMO.

  8. Douglas of Wolfbrothers September 13, 2012 3:51 am #

    None of the competitive events have played the game in full yet and probably wont. Modified deployment zones, modified or missing missions (relic, scourging, big guns) Missing mysterious terrain and objectives. The Warlord chart. Secondary Objectives. Terrain placement. Missing 2nd FoC. Banned Allies and or fortifications (specifically the fortress) lead us into this land of missing list archetypes so then we have fake dominant list archetypes. Modifying the game leads to a modified game.

    Missions, Secondary Objectives, Allies, Fortress, mysterious objectives having great impact on “the metagame.” A lot of it is MISSING on the tournament scene, and shouldent be, and I am sure many if not all of these intricately linked parts of the game would have huge impact of which lists dominate the competitive scene.

    Zero Comp being one of the most minor offenders, I think All Mission types, First blood and Fortress (especially, but everything I mentioned) should be in your tournaments. The new game is still Brand new and we are suppose to be in a time period of chaotic upheaval. Although the Cron flyer list and others would still be powerful, I doubt they would be as “dominate” if the whole game was being played intact. The more stuffs you eliminate from the game the less stuffs good/bad lists will have to be designed to deal with and we have a smaller pool of powerful/balanced list archetypes to play or be ready for.

    • Reecius September 13, 2012 9:26 am #

      You make some good points. We do use First Blood and allow all fortifications. However, we don’t use all the missions because we have found some of them to be so imbalanced, the Relic chief among them. We’ve found that by using multiple book missions at one, the game is more challenging and fair for as many different list types as possible.

  9. General Oadius September 13, 2012 9:24 am #

    I like cake. cookies are good too….

  10. Defeatmyarmy September 14, 2012 2:39 pm #

    Lol sorry guys but I have to do a wraith flyer list. It’s the only army I put real money into back when the new necron dex came out. I only plan to have 4 flyers, 1 night 3 doom More for distraction than anything, I want to actually fight my opponent not fly around all game stallin til the end.

    • Reecius September 17, 2012 9:11 am #

      We won’t be mad someone plays it at all, haha, but it is gnarly. By allowing people to use forgeworld though, we found it mitigated flyers a ton.

  11. Damien Taylor February 2, 2013 11:42 pm #

    I’ve played many of these cron-air lists as they are the new killer list in our area, but as a Tyranid player with 4 (Usually unhindered FNP spell) Tervigons, 9 Hive Guard and over 150 spawned termagents a game I have no trouble with them, 1: his unit count is so low, 2 he struggles to eventually take objectives, 3 he is trying to kill T6 6W models with FNP, and he gets no Jink saves from Impaler cannons… I eventually just ignore the flyers and focus on the weak 5 man units inside them… Also a Flyrant or 2 eats them for breakfast…

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