Space Marine Review: Formations: Anti-air Defence Force


Hi everyone, Michael here with a review of another Space Marine Formation, this time the Anti-air Defence Force. For more reviews, analyses and battle reports, check out the Tactics Corner.


As its name suggests, the Anti-air Defence Force is a great formation for taking on enemy flyers, featuring the two anti-air tanks available to the Space Marines. It has some nice special rules that give it a slight boost against taking out enemy flyers.



  • One unit of Hunters
  • One unit of Stalkers (must contain at least 2 models)

Special Rules:

  • Skyspear Autotargeting- If a Hunter from the formation causes a hit on an enemy flyer or flying monstrous creature with its Skyspear Missile Launcher, all stalkers add +1BS until the end of the phase when shooting at the same target.



The Anti-air Defense Force is a great formation for taking on enemy flyers and enemy monstrous creatures. If the whole unit is firing at the same target, that will be at least seven S7 skyfire shots, with armourbane and AP2 on one of the shots. That should be enough firepower to take out most flyers in the game, unless they get really lucky with their Jink saves.


The Skyspear Autotargeting is a nice bonus, meaning that your Stalkers will be firing at BS5 when targeting the same unit as the Hunter (assuming it hit). This will help to ensure maximum hits for your Stalkers (especially if you choose to fire at one target and twin-link the Icarus Stormcannon).

The base cost for the formation is reasonably cheap, coming in at 215 pts for the minimum unit choices. That is not too expensive, but 215 pts can still buy a lot in the marine codex.


The problem with this formation is that it is built for a very specific job. Having skyfire on all the weapons on the formation means that it is really effective against flyers (as well as Skimmers), but will struggle against most ground-based targets that it will have to snap fire at.


For much cheaper, you could take a Stormtalon Gunship or Stormhawk Interceptor that can do the same job as the formation, but can also fire at ground targets more effectively. Alternatively, you could spend roughly the same points and take both flyers or two of the same flyer in your army.


The Anti-air Defence Force can be taken as a reasonably cheap auxiliary formation for the Gladius Strike Force. At only 220 pts base cost, it is more expensive than the commonly taken 10th Company Task Force, but it can still have its uses. If you are likely to be facing a lot of flyers, it will make a valuable addition to the Gladius to help support your Battle Company list, as there is no cheaper way to take some anti-air firepower in the Gladius (the other option is the Storm Wing, which is a lot more expensive).

The Anti-air Defence Force would be a good choice to take if facing the new Heldrake formation from the new Traitor’s Hate supplement, as all those AP3 flamers will make short work of your marines. A couple of Stalkers could stymie the advance of the Daemon flyers by either forcing them to Jink (preventing them from firing the flamers) or maybe even taking out some of the flyers before they get a chance to fire.

While having Skyfire on the Interceptor weapons is not ideal, the Anti-air Defence Force may be a little help against drop pod armies, as you may get lucky with some of your snap shots and take out or reduce the number of attackers firing at you from an alpha strike. This one is a long shot, but may prove useful in a game every once and a while.

Overall, the Anti-air Defence Force is an ok formation for the Space Marines, not one I imagine you see much on the board if you have ever seen one at all. Probably not worth fielding in your army.

And as always, Frontline Gaming sells Games Workshop product at up to 25% off of retail, every day!

You can also pick up some cheap models in our Second Hand Shop. Some of these gems are quite rare, sometimes they’re fully painted!



About Michael Corr

An avid 40k player and blogger from Scotland. I started in 3rd edition and have been playing ever since. I detail my adventures in my own blog "St Andrews Wargaming", highlighting my mediocre painting skills, regular battle reports and my occasional random ramblings.

9 Responses to “Space Marine Review: Formations: Anti-air Defence Force”

  1. Avatar
    Maeglin September 17, 2016 3:02 pm #

    Gonna be THAT guy and say actually the cheapest way to get AA in a Gladius is Flakk Missiles.

    • Avatar
      Dakkath September 18, 2016 8:07 pm #

      But then your devastators are armed with missiles and not multimeltas or grav.

      • Avatar
        Maeglin September 20, 2016 8:50 am #

        Not a problem when you play Imperial Fists (Tank Hunter) and don’t want to use them as a suicide squad.

  2. Avatar
    Alex r September 18, 2016 12:08 am #

    I managed to squeeze this into a 2k list of nothing but formations lol

  3. Avatar
    AngryPanda September 18, 2016 7:47 am #

    Sometimes I almost wish the people who claim GW makes new units overpowered to sell them were true. As it is, how many of those things did they even sell then they were released?

  4. Avatar
    Vercingatorix September 19, 2016 6:16 am #

    Does skyfire work on Jetbikes? I thought it only worked on Skimmers. I’ve never had someone try to shoot my screamers with full BS and skyfire.

    • Michael Corr
      Michael Corr September 19, 2016 6:53 am #

      You are correct, Skyfire does not work on Jetbikes. For some reason, Jetbikes are classified as Air Targets but are unaffected by Skyfire (all other Air Targets are affected by Skyfire).

      • Avatar
        Vercingatorix September 19, 2016 11:51 am #

        okay, that makes sense then. Otherwise I think you’d see this guys in every battle company. They’d have viable targets against eldar, daemons, and probably space marines as well.

    • Avatar
      westrider September 19, 2016 9:10 am #

      No, it doesn’t. There’s a lot of confusion on the issue these days, tho, because in DftS, Jetbikes are categorized as “Air Targets”, and all the rest of the Air Targets are the Unit Types that Skyfire works on.

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