KDK Review: Fast Attack: Heldrake


Howdy fellow gamers, Mr.MoreTanks back into the thick of it regarding a unit that can strike the fear into the world of MEQs.

Dominating the skies, the fearsome Heldrake can carve apart all but the heaviest of Infantry and swaths of hordes while smashing up vehicles.  Fast, powerful, and durable as a flier can be, the Heldrake brings all sorts of goodies to your army in a VERY affordable package.   When being used within a KDK force, the Heldrake is a massive force multiplier, and receives great boons from within their detachments.  For more smart tactics articles, be sure to check out the Tactics Corner!


A Flyer with Hover is always a good thing to be, and though BS 3 isn’t anything to write home about by any means, you’ll almost certainly be taking a weapon that doesn’t really care about your BS.  170 points may seem steep at first, but this bird is very useful and will almost certainly be making its points back for you.  Armor Value of 12/12/10 makes it very durable.  Being a Daemon is also a significant factor, as we gain a 5++, meaning that we’ll never have to Jink.  You have an extremely durable and fast vehicle that is a very serious threat to nearly every unit in the game.  Battle Companies will cover in their transports, jetbikes and bikes will flee as they try to escape the fire.  Heldrakes are a perfect fit into a KDK army, as they play it fast and aggressive which is just how the Master of the Skull Throne wills it.



  • Daemonic possession, allows you to ignore Crew Shaken and Stunned on a 2+, this combined with our 5++ means we’ll never be Jinking.  The reduction to BS 3 makes the Hades far less tempting.
  • Hades Autocannon, now this is my kind of gun.  36 inches, Strength 8, AP 4, Heavy 4 and Pinning.  This gun is really quite good, and this is an excellent platform for the gun, but you’ll almost never use it.

Special Rules:

  • Blood for the Blood God!, stuff we kill gives us Blood Tithes, and us dying gives us an additional one.  If they take us down, we’ll still get something!  While we’re capped at 8, we can still rack them up and cash them in for more Khorne goodies.
  • Daemon of Khorne, gain the Daemon rule, Furious Charge, and Hatred of Slaanesh.  Very nice.
  • It Will Not Die, you can attempt to regrow a lost Hull Point at the end of your turn on a 5+.
  • Daemonforge, once per game at the start of either the Shooting or Assault Phase, the Helldrake can opt to activate the ability to re-roll all Wounds and Armor Penetration rolls for the the remainder of the phase.  At the end of the phase though, you’ll have to roll a D6, on a 1, you suffer a Hull Point with no saves allowed.
  • Meteoric Dissent, the Heldrake has Vector Strike and its hits are resolved at Strength 7, AP2.



  • Swap the Autocannon for the Baleflamer for free. The best price ever.  You will always swap.  You’d be crazy not to.  Strength 6, AP 3, Torrent, and Soul Blaze.  All this with the flamer template is quite nice.  Very, very, very nice.  Don’t get me wrong, the Hades Autocannon is fantastic, but you’ll almost certainly always get more out of the baleflamer.


There are all sorts of great options and ways we can use our Heldrake.  When kitted out with a Baleflamer, there are all manner of juicy and appealing targets.  You can play these guys aggressively and really take it to your opponent.  Torrent combined with the potential to Hover makes it so that your opponent can really never get away and hide from your metal dragon from space hell.


As long as your targets don’t have a 2+ Armor Saves, they’re going to burn.  Marines die in droves before the Baleflamer, unsurprisingly.  Bikes will vanish, and Eldar jetbikes vaporize even faster.  Template weapons also are excellent for waxing big blobs of Infantry.  Ork blobs, Guardsmen blobs, and more are all afraid of these high strength Templates.

Heldrakes are fast and can help to keep the pressure on the enemy along with some of the better units with the KDK book like Flesh Hounds, Spawn, or Maulerfiends.  All of these units are fast and can really put the pressure onto the enemy and not give them time to deal with the dragons.  Additionally, consider something that can easily crack open light to medium vehicles, with the massive plethora of Battle Companies out and about.  Minimum units of Terminators with melta-combis are a cheap investment that can crack open a transport with ease.

Vector Strike can do real damage to stray vulnerable vehicles, and if you’re in a position where you feel like you need to get your Heldrake off of the board, clipping something on the way out can remind your opponent not to take anything for granted.

Units that rely heavily on Cover Saves are terrified of Heldrakes.  Warconvocatoins do not enjoy Heldrakes, and actually struggle to deal with them.  Rustalkers and Infiltrators fold exceedingly quickly to Strength 6.  Toughness 3 units, particularly multi-wound ones won’t last a second against the baleflamer.  Pick on units that don’t have 2+ Armor Saves or Toughness 6 or higher, otherwise you won’t be getting what you need out of your Heldrakes.



Khorne’s Bloodstorm detachment allows you to bring a Heldrake, though the taxes are significant.  A unit of Warp Talons and 2 units of Raptors is not cheap, nor is it really worth it.  Units in the formation gain either +1 to the Strength of their Hammer of Wraths or Vector Strikes.  Though this formation can fit into a Blood Host nicely and gain a few more things like extra Blood Tithes, but none of these options are really worthwhile to justify how crappy the other elements of Khorne’s Bloodstorm formation.  A CAD is the way to go for sure.

The Heldrake can’t do everything mind you.  While it can potentially do some damage to vehicles, its pretty difficult for a Heldrake to do any meaningful damage to a vehicle.  They can’t one shot a vehicle unless they’re Open Topped, and even then its a serious long shot.  You can rip a Hull Point off a vehicle or two with your Baleflamer and Vector Strike, but don’t expect too much else.  They certainly can’t really fight other enemy Flyers as they simply don’t have the tools to



The Heldrake is one of the biggest strengths of the KDK book, and for Chaos in general.  Despite its limited drawbacks, the Heldrake is fantastic.  Ignore Cover on an aggressive and durable unit at an affordable rate is just what KDK need.  Khorne may be all for letting the blood flow, but we need to be smart about it.  Giving up air superiority is never a good call, and will be a huge tool to help support your army.  Bring one, maybe even two of them, as they’ll really help to smoke out the enemy.

What do you think of the Heldrake?  Tell us below in the comments!  And as always, be sure to check out the Frontline Gaming store where you can find GW products up to 25% off.



About Mr.MoreTanks

Lover of gaming, whiskey, steak, poker, and politics. T.O. of the http://tshftopen.com/ and http://cruisehammer.org/ events.

13 Responses to “KDK Review: Fast Attack: Heldrake”

  1. Reecius January 29, 2016 9:19 am #

    The Heldrake used to be one of the most hated models in the game, on 6th ed Wave Serpent status, but now that it has been toned down, it’s infinitely more balanced and an absolutely fantastic tool for the KDK player to pick up extra blood tithe and provides some decent AA, too.

    • punchymango January 29, 2016 4:34 pm #

      They definitely shaped the 6e meta in similar ways, rendering both MEQs on foot and vehicles lower than AV13 irrelevant in serious play.

      Although in my biased opinion the old Wave Serpent was bullshittier. Heldrakes are mean, but they only really excel at killing infantry, and the lists they pushed out of the meta were mostly MEQ hordes and that was about it. Wave Serpents rendered entire factions irrelevant in competitive play.

      • Reecius January 29, 2016 4:55 pm #

        Yeah, the Wave Serpent was just complete horse shit, lol. So bad for the game.

  2. blight January 29, 2016 10:46 am #

    Will point out that it isn’t av12 all around but rear 10. Also it can pop a vehicle in one shot potentially since vector strikes are ap2.

    • Reecius January 29, 2016 4:55 pm #

      Correct on both counts.

  3. punchymango January 29, 2016 4:45 pm #

    Definitely seem like it’d be worth bringing a bare-bones CAD for a couple of these for KDK.

    Helldrakes seem to me like their main utility to a KDK list is to help deal with MSU lists and speed bump units, which assault lists can otherwise struggle with. Just delete those scouts standing between your khorne dogs and the thing they really want to assault, or save your juggerlord and escort the trouble of having to chase a scat pack across the map. That sort of thing.

    Plus, the drakes often survive to the endgame, and I’ve won plenty of matches because a drake torched some guys on an objective on the last turn.

    • Reecius January 29, 2016 7:07 pm #

      Yeah, 100%. Plus, they help to mop up little units that have 1 or 2 models left to snag that Blood Tithe.

  4. westrider January 29, 2016 6:17 pm #

    Maybe it’s just the matchups I’ve been getting, but I’ve always been underwhelmed by my Heldrake. It’s only really done solid work for me once, and I haven’t felt like I needed it in any of the Games where I didn’t have one.

    • Reecius January 29, 2016 7:08 pm #

      Fair play. I feel like a good KDK list almost needs them because of their ability to strike anywhere and because they provide some AA, too.

      • westrider January 29, 2016 9:12 pm #

        Ironically, the one time I’ve actually had enemy Fliers cause problems for me when I was running DK was the time I tried to use my Heldrake to take down a Night Scythe. When I just ignore them and focus on the ground game, it usually seems to turn out pretty well.

        The strike anywhere is a good point in theory, but I don’t really have the forward planning skills to get really good use out of something with such limited range and fire arc. When it had the 360, it was easy, and with stuff like Vendettas, I can usually line something up because of the better Range, but the Heldrake just always seems to end up out of position, or somewhere that going into Hover mode means it’s getting Charged and ripped down next Turn.

        • Beau January 29, 2016 11:24 pm #

          Invisible hover mode heldrake on the objective! What I wonder is can it charge to make use of its furious charge?

          • westrider January 30, 2016 1:23 am

            I run my DK without Psykers, the way Khorne intended 😉

            And no, it can’t Charge, unfortunately. I think the only Vehicles that can actually make use of that aspect of Daemon of Khorne are Forge Fiends, Soul Grinders using the Warp Sword, and MaulerFiends that have had both PowerFists blown off.

            It would be totally cool if the Heldrake could fight in CC. 3 Attacks, S7, WS3, give it the Smash USR. Something like that.

  5. rexscarlet January 30, 2016 4:38 am #

    ITC Tournament, yes, all other non ITC tournaments no.
    ITC los fire arc rules (hull mounted180 or 90 degrees downward); ITC tournament worthy.
    Real GW raw los fire arc, still no turret, yes? (hull mounted 45 or 22.5 degrees down):
    Leave them on the shelf.
    Helldrake and LoS has been argued to death, no you cannot tilt the model, that is modeling for advantage, blah blah, etc. plenty of threads on the Interwebs.

Leave a Reply