Flyers Everywhere!


Hey everyone, Reecius here from Frontline Gaming to talk about a trend we’ve been seeing in the meta: Flyers are back in a big way!

Not since Cron Air and Hell Turkeys blotting out the sky have we seen so many airborne threats in the game as we are now. The Daemon Flying Circus was a thing there at the end of 6th ed, and is still really good, but was brief as the edition rolled over so rapidly.

However now as we settle into 7th ed, we are seeing a LOT of aerial hunters in the game, again. This is largely due to the strength of certain Formations, but also due to the inherent strengths of flyers themselves.

Image form the Tyranid Hive

Image form the Tyranid Hive

Chief among the offenders, so to speak, is the Flyrant at present. For the points, you will be hard pressed to find a more multi-functional tool. Speed, durability, excellent firepower, haywire, and psychic powers add up to make the Flyrant a top tier model, and one you should certainly be prepared to face. being able to field 5+ of them in an army with various Formations means they can overwhelm most armies’ ability to deal with them and dominate the skies.

Stormtalons are great for the points, but the Tyrannic War Veterans formations gives you access to loads of them that start on the board…with Scouts, no less! Not much to see here, when you can put as many as 5 points efficient flyers on the table, turn 1, you have a powerful tool. Luckily though, dealing with Stormtalons isn’t nearly as troublesome as an FMC as vehicles are inherently easier to kill in most cases.

Lord AK's Razorwing

Lord AK’s Razorwing

Dark Eldar can field full on aerial armadas! The Razorwing Jetfighter is a an outstanding, multi-threat model and while the Bomber isn’t incredible, it is pretty good and if you have 3 of them plus 6 Razorwings they get a lot better!

Airwolf armies are also quite popular as the Stormwolf is incredible and can be ObSec, to boot. An array of twin linked, high strength weapons makes these transports more potent offensively than most gunships, and AV12 all around plus PotMS is incredible. Their biggest downfall is their lack of tools to deal with light infantry or hordes, but you can easily make up for that with the rest of the army.

For a little while longer, Cron Air as we’ve known it is still definitely a thing. Night Scythes have always been undercosted big time, and the almost certain increase to their points and nerf to Tesla will sting, but for now, they are still predators of the sky. Doom Scythes also pack a punch…for now!

Flying Daemons too, are still quite popular and still very good. The current flavor is a mix of Tzeentch for firepower and Nurgle for durability (2+ jink anywhere on the table? Yeah.). While not as popular as it was, it is still a very powerful army easily capable of going toe-to-toe with everything else out there. Be’Lakor and Fateweaver are very common sights for most gamers.


We’ve also seen a rising trend in Astra Militarum air force lists. They died down quite a bit after the 6th ed book came out, but with Forgeworld flyers at their disposal and some nice formations, we’re seeing lots of Vendettas, Vultures, Avengers and even Valks plying the skies again. Pair this with tank or drop troop support and you have a fun, effective force. Vultures especially, be prepared for. They are absolutely beastly and my all-time favorite 40k vehicle model, too!

Lastly, the Fire Raptor is coming out in force. It is a beast of a unit and has the ability to smoke both MCs, Infantry and Light tanks. Plus, it can shoot 4 different targets on the turn it comes in! Nice.

Flyers are something you must be prepared for in 40k or you could find yourself with no way to counter them other than rolling some lucky 6’s. Also be aware of the upgraded Skyshield Landing Pad which can allow a flyer to start the game on the board, which can be a nasty surprise. Unfortunately, a lot of the AA unit in the game aren’t actually good at killing Flyers (looking at you Stalker and Hydra!), particularly FMCs. Ironically, the Wave Serpent is one of the best AA units in the game, lol, stupid Serpent Shield. But I digress, you need a good plan to take down flyers but that can be difficult to do. Often, a flyer of your own is the best solution, but is tricky to implement. If you go first, your flyer often comes on, has no enemy flyers to target, they come one and he gets smoked. If you have one, but your opponent has 3 or more, yours often gets overwhelmed.

I personally have found that you either ignore it entirely, or go for a mix of ground and aerial AA to cover your bases. Having some kind of trick up your sleeve that allows you to deal with them is very important. Oh, and always roll for those mysterious Objectives, might get lucky and roll up Skyrifre! Everyone always forgets to use it.

What’s your solution for flyers?


About Reecius

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

49 Responses to “Flyers Everywhere!”

  1. iNcontroL January 30, 2015 12:53 am #

    Yeah been pretty common seeing lots of fliers these days at least in norcal. Surprisingly didn’t see THAT much up in TSHFT.

    Will be interesting to see what LVO brings!

  2. Fagerlund January 30, 2015 1:15 am #

    I tend to ignore them and try to out-manouver them for most of the time. While powerful they’re also quite easy to move around due to having to move so far. And uf they have the ability to go into hover… well that’s usually when they die. 😛

    Ironically I think Eldar has one of the best anti-flier fliers around in the Crimson Hunter. Vector Dancer is so damn powerful. But you never see them anyway, because well… Serpents. 😛

    • Logan January 30, 2015 8:51 am #

      Ignoring Flyer’s is ok. Since they move 18-36″. Ignoring FMCs isn’t. They move 12-24″. Also FMCs have 360 arc, so even if position yourself for them to fly passed you, they still can shoot you.

      • Reecius January 30, 2015 9:50 am #

        Yeah, it’s funny how much better MCs are than Vehicles in almost every way.

        • AbusePuppy January 30, 2015 7:37 pm #

          Flyers don’t have to take Grounding checks from Bolters, are transports 90% of the time, can move further when necessary, can fire four weapons rather than two, and are inevitably priced lower than a FMC is. It’s not entirely clear-cut.

          • Reecius February 1, 2015 3:13 pm

            Good points. I think in general terms though that MCs are vastly superior to Vehicles baring those vehicles with some type of shtick like a Serpent.

    • War Corgi January 30, 2015 9:40 am #

      That’s the problem I have when I plan to ignore flyers. There are so many varieties with differing capabilities, sometimes I am successful at ignoring them with my marines and other times Helldrakes. I think I will break down and finally spend some money and points on comprehensive flyer defense. I would also like to add that I very much enjoyed this article.

  3. jy2 January 30, 2015 1:56 am #

    Fight flyer with flyer.

  4. jy2 January 30, 2015 1:56 am #

    Or don’t and get smoked by the fire.

    • Reecius January 30, 2015 9:48 am #

      Jy2’s a poet and didn’t know it!

  5. Massive Dynamic January 30, 2015 2:02 am #

    Flyers and FMC’s have a big presence in the UK London Tournament scene. I tend to use Crisis with with double missile pods and a buff commander together with a HBC Riptide with Early Warning, and Velocity Trackers which can deal with the flyers, hopefully before they get a chance to shoot. That’s a fine solution for 1,2 or maybe even 3 flyers but after that it becomes a struggle. I tent to like AA that can preform a multi purpose role.

    • Reecius January 30, 2015 9:49 am #

      That’s interesting to hear about the London scene. I always try to keep an eye on what’s going on in other places and the UK, London particularly, always seemed to have a brutal meta.

  6. Charlie January 30, 2015 2:27 am #

    What are these “nice formations” for Astra Militarum flyer armies?

    • Blightstar January 30, 2015 7:22 am #

      As far as I know and I’ve been following the releases quite closely, there arent any formations. Only which comes close is Airborne Assault Formation but its not for AM, its for Militarum Tempestus.

      • Charlie January 30, 2015 1:34 pm #

        That’s what I thought. Spending a lot of points just to get four Valkyries that arrive together doesn’t make a great flyer army…

  7. Lardus January 30, 2015 2:57 am #

    I like using Stormravens, but playing pure GK it limits my ability to deal with other threats in 1500 points if I take 2. One guy at the club likes his Helldrakes, but I haven’t seen many flyers here. Maybe when I join the Tournament scene here in South Africa I will see more flyers? I hope so 🙂

    • Reecius January 30, 2015 9:51 am #

      Awesome to hear about the scene in South Africa! Heldrakes are still good, they just really died of fin popularity for the past year and change. I think they are still incredible, you just don’t need to take 3 anymore, 1 is fine, IMO.

      Good luck when you take the plunge into the tourney scene!

  8. Cavalier January 30, 2015 3:46 am #

    Eldar players are sleeping on the Nightwing…. 2+ jink double bright lances, double shuriken cannons. Mine hasn’t died in over 14 games of use.

    As for what to use against Flyer spam? Well the Nightwing does it for me. Its downed every flyer its ever faced…. even taking down 2 Vendettas and a Vulture in one game. But for back up the Dark Reaper Exarch on an Aegis with an Icarus. Give him fast shot, and thats 2 str 9 shots at WS5 that flyers (and skimmers) can’t jink due to the Reaper Range Finder.

    • DCannon4Life January 30, 2015 5:01 am #

      Heh, my Noise Marines took one down in a single round of shooting with their sweet Sonic Blasters….

      Ignores Cover is the answer.

      • Cavalier January 30, 2015 8:59 am #

        Noise Marines? Wow I’ve not seen them in years! How’d you get em skyfire or was it all snapshooting?

        • DCannon4Life January 30, 2015 9:19 am #

          9 Noise Marines (out of 10–stupid Aspiring Champion can’t even take his own unit’s signature weapon) snap-firing 27 ignores-cover shots. I WAS surprised when I did 2 glances and he picked it up, I thought it had 3 HP. 🙂

          I am using them mostly as a way to park my non-fearless Sorcerer somewhere where he won’t run off the board if some one looks at him funny. Since Blastmasters, while generally effective, are just too expensive (60 points for 2? For realzorz?), I thought that 27 S4 AP5 Ignores Cover (Pinning?) shots at 24″ might be a thing. /shrug

          • Cavalier January 30, 2015 10:58 am

            Definitely not bad! Glad you shared this it’s something I’ll have to keep an eye out for. Scary!

    • Reecius January 30, 2015 9:52 am #

      Agreed, the Nightwing is awesome! Plus, it’s a beautiful model.

      I think the biggest problem is that the Wave Serpent is one of the best solutions for AA in the game, haha, so why bother with the Nightwing or Crimson Hunter?

      • Cavalier January 30, 2015 10:57 am #

        I don’t know if its my meta… but I feel TAC Eldar lists are far better than Serpent spam. The players round here play very fast imperial armies that try to beat the Wave Serpents down in CC. With so many people playing bikes, dreadknights, knight titans, termies out of storm ravens etc and knowing you have to operate within 36″ (24″ for max effect) they aggressively seek them out in CC and forcing them to jink and play “keep-away” which keeps them out of the fight at least half the game.

        The fact that the Nightwing can’t be assaulted (except by Orks which no one plays at my store) and has vector dancer means it can get into scary parts of the battlefield and get rear armor, or lay down AI fire to take pressure off my vehicles (and keep those other flyers honest). Further helped out by units like outflanking Hornets gives me superior mobility and superior fire power to the Serpents plus reserves mitigates going second and taking a beating on turn 1.

        • AbusePuppy January 30, 2015 7:39 pm #

          Speaking as an Eldar type guy, the Nightwing is great but the Hornet and Serpent are usually better. It’s very fragile if there are any ignores Cover weapons on the field, and those aren’t THAT uncommon.

        • Lord Krungharr January 31, 2015 1:25 pm #

          How do Orks assault flyers? Did the Stormboyz get a way to chop at them in mid-air? If so, I’m getting some!

  9. Andrew January 30, 2015 3:53 am #

    I wouldn’t be shocked if mass flyers was a meta shift to counter mass flyrants, since IMO flying vehicles are usually more effective against FMC’s than against ground targets.

    • Reecius January 30, 2015 9:55 am #

      We’ll see very soon! They are effective but can be streaky due to bad reserve rolls.

  10. charlie January 30, 2015 4:27 am #

    Lardus where are you based?

    • Lardus January 30, 2015 2:07 pm #

      Pretoria. I play with Warbanner in Centurion

  11. crazyredpraetorian January 30, 2015 6:08 am #

    I use the Vindicare behind an Aegis with the Icarus Lascannon. BS8, Ignores Cover, Interceptor, Skyfire, and in his shooting phase he fires his sniper rifle with that awesome special ammo.

    • Reecius January 30, 2015 9:56 am #

      Not a bad solution at all.

  12. Noah January 30, 2015 6:27 am #

    I usually use Guide and Fire Dragons, Warp Spiders, or Dark Reapers with Starshots. Does the trick nicely! Except for that Blood Angels Stormraven I haven’t blown up once…

  13. fluger January 30, 2015 9:17 am #

    I’m trying to get some mek guns into my list to help. They aren’t expensive really and the grounding penalty on FMCs is golden.

    • Stainless Steel Rat January 30, 2015 9:29 am #

      Five traktor kannons with max-ed out crews (inc. ammo runts) put my last opponent in an awkward position as he didn’t know where to dedicate his hevy support or flyers’ shots. Add in my dakka jet and he was in a real bind. Next tournament I’m adding a Kustom Force Field just for laughs.

      • AbusePuppy January 30, 2015 7:40 pm #

        Trakta Gunz are arguably the best AA in the game right now. They’re quite solid.

        Also, props on the name. 😛

  14. Archon-Kalafex January 30, 2015 9:33 am #

    My Crimson Hunter usually drops flyers no problem but never lasts very long if they have more than 1 answer for air. My Voidraven is cursed and can only hit things with it’s bomb and the Razorwings murdilate what they want. I also have this Ravager that with Dissintegrators just powns and likes to make those snap shots work…. Probly to make up for the bomber fails lol

  15. Cuddles January 30, 2015 9:41 am #

    I have an all flyer list, except the base troop choices I have to take (30 cultists). It’s a combo of the fire raptor, fmcs, and heldrakes. It’s great against bike lists, knight lists, and anything else that medium toughness or AV 11/12. The best counter list is one with a lot of objective secured units, wave serpants, or MSU. Of course AA lists are a problem, too, but those are obviously rare.

    • Reecius January 30, 2015 9:59 am #

      Yeah, Chaos flyers are really good, particularly with FW.

    • DCannon4Life January 30, 2015 1:09 pm #

      I’m working on tuning a list around 2 Heldrakes and a Fire Raptor. Looking at acquiring a Dreadclaw. Ground support is currently comprised of a unit of bikes, a Sicaran (resin addiction), a Soulgrinder and the Masque.

      The Soulgrinder + Sicaran are fair to good vs. flyers, and the Fire Raptor (rending autocannons in the ball turrets) is good at opening troop transports so the Heldrakes can do their thing. It’s a lot to hold in reserves, so a defense line and comms relay is a must.

      I’m excited to have the opportunity to put a CSM army on the table and not *know* I’m going to lose, and it’s the Fire Raptor that is the key.

  16. Hotsauceman1 January 30, 2015 2:59 pm #

    If you want anti flyer, look to forgeworld. Sabres are great,
    Also, the sicAron with schism of mars. Decent dice it will smoke most flyers.
    or give it battle of Sarah if you have one thing you need dead.
    There are also mortis dreads for sm. Manti core aa varient.
    The helltalon………
    Not to mention the best, the humble riptide

  17. Adam O'Shovah January 31, 2015 7:30 am #

    I love my Razorsharks. A nice point reduction, maybe some TL’d or lower AP value weapons or the ability to score would make them menacing.

    • AbusePuppy January 31, 2015 9:39 am #

      If the Razorshark’s main gun was twin-linked or was a normal Ion Cannon, it would actually be fairly decent, because that right there is basically the Barracuda.

      • Adam O'Shovah January 31, 2015 12:52 pm #

        Absolutely. If it was a normal Ion Cannon, I’d take it in every game. Up until the recent meta shift here in the Carolinas where most players are running AdLance or Brass Scorpions, obviously we have a lot of Wave Serpent Spam as well… I was running two in every list. I have three Razorsharks in a campaign I’m playing. Makes for fun games and my opponents like seeing only on Riptide on the table.

        I’d play four-six Razorsharks if I could. I just love the model and I enjoy maneuvering flyers around the board. Plus, it would be fun to show up with a Tau Air Force list seeing as I have three Razorsharks already and one Tigershark AX-0-1.

  18. Lord Krungharr January 31, 2015 1:32 pm #

    I’ve been tinkering with my Chaos airforce with Belakor, a CSM Tzeentch Prince and either a Nurgle or Slaanesh Daemons Prince….then a Heldrake, Hellblade with Hellstorm ACs and a Blight Drone.

    Massed vector striking against zooming or swooping models does D3 hits at AP2 that ignore cover on side armor. So while not great at AV12 side armor on Storm Ravens, against anything else, especially Flyrants, can do some major damage. That becomes more of a chess match, which is neat to play.

    The Hell Talon would be awesome to try with all those Warp Pulse Haywire bombs, I think taking 4 of those and 4 regular would be a good armament for that. And it’s pretty good at anti-air with the TL las and autocannon. Of course AV10 just sucks, EWO on Tau anything will down that. Same for the Hellblade but at least that’s cheap!

    A Fire Raptor or even Storm Eagle would be good too though, I might have to get one of those.

    • Reecius February 1, 2015 3:14 pm #

      I think you can do work with a Chaos air force, you have lots of different types of threats coming up the table.

  19. EL Ravager January 31, 2015 10:55 pm #

    Lootas. Lots of Lootas.

    • Reecius February 1, 2015 3:13 pm #

      That and Traktor Kannons which brutalize most aerial units.

  20. Tom February 2, 2015 8:40 am #

    Wow, can’t believe not one vote for Tau allies. I’ve taken 3 crisis suits 2 with 2mpods, the one geared up with pen, mss and node for 226 pts. Cdr 2mpods, bodyguard 1 2mpods, bodyguard 2 mss, node, pen. Guaranteed to take out whatever flyer or waveserpent it hits. Guaranteed!!!

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