I have already been contacted and told at least a few of you are really enjoying this series so far. It's always nice to get some positive feedback. The series if you are just catching on has been a brain dump of sorts. More of thinking out loud in general about flyers to give everyone a baseline and some talking points about the new dynamic in 6th edition. I have been generally keep the articles quick light reading nothing to in depth or too lengthy. If you missed the other two so far I'll wait here while you catch up.
Flyers in 6th - A Introduction
Flyers in 6th - Quick Summary of planes
Let's move on to part 3
If you are the math hammer type you could easily get lost in all the math and options when dealing with flyers. I however think the strategies should be broken down into a very simple matter and you shouldn't make it complicated until you have to. I mean really make it easy on yourself until you need to get down to the more complicated side. So first let's talk broad concepts.
When dealing with flyers we can simply look at it two ways initially. We have the options to ignore flyers, or to try to be able to kill them. Simple, I am planning to kill them or I am planning it ignore them and weather the storm. Both plans can have merit and are going to work with varying degree's depending on what army your are playing.. Let's start by talking about the concept of ignoring flyers.
When I say ignore that doesn't mean I want you to pretend the flyers aren't there. What I really mean is you have decided that you will not take any reliable (Reliable being the key word) way to shoot down flyers, and that you are planning/expecting to take the punishment the flyers dish out. When you decide on this type of strategy you need to keep a few things in mind.
-You need to have durable units or a large enough model count that a few flyers aren't going to cripple your forces.
-You need to accept and plan for the damage you will end up taking
-You need to plan your movements to make life more annoying for flyers.
Pretty simple in concept now let's talk about each of this just a bit further.
DURABILITY or NUMBERS
We need to understand that first off flyers aren't coming in until turn 2 maybe not until turn 3. Then they are going to be off the board one or two more turns depending on how the game plays out. So really think about that. It means that your standard Necron Flyer for example is going to come on then get two turns of shooting then fly off the board a turn before coming back on. So right away we know that in 4 turns the plane is only going to be impacting the game on 2 of those turns. If they don't get the plane on turn 2 then you can change that numbers to 2 turns out of 5 turns. so Realistically I would just say half to keep it easy. Also the planes while durable and fast can't always be sure they will be able to focus fire on certain targets because of the nature of plane movement.
Most planes on average are putting out 4-6 shots of high str style weapons.
Necron flyer is usually 4 str 7
Ork flyer is random amount of Str 6
Vendetta is normally only 3 Str 9
Storm Raven 2 missiles and melta shot or autocannon.
(note these are really simple fast estimates to get through the simple concept of the article)
It's usually pretty easy to think of them as the same output as a predator just to keep it simple in your head. They are shooty and great support but not game breaking alone. In terms of Marines your going to lose 2-3 per round of shooting is a easy way to look at it. Just as a horribly rough average. You prob would lose more squishy IG guys. Durable units change this of course, units with 2plus saves. but honestly since the majority of fire is high strength having higher toughness does very little for you. so your goal is better saves or better INV saves. or numbers when list building to be able to take the punishment from flyers so they are not your highest priority threat.
(Note depending on the game this does not mean you always ignore them there are several times you will shoot at them because they are the important target the goal is to be able to ignore them while dealing with more important targets on the ground or targets you can reliable kill.)
Keep in mind being in assault means that flyers can't shoot you as well and is a viable part of this tactic. Trying to plan your assaults so that you are locked in combat during the other person's turn can be a great asset and makes units with Hit and Run also great for this type of tactic.
ACCEPT the LOSSES
Going to with what we have said above we need to understand that your flyers, and vehicles are going to be the prime targets for other people's flyers. With the new rules Flyers are very good at killing low and medium armor vehicles. Also something you will hear me repeat often is that a flyer is always the best anti flyer option if you can get it. Which means your flyers are normally going to be the priority target for other people's flyers. So understanding going into the turns what units will be the primary targets or most likely taken out right away by enemy units goes a long way towards planning your strategy and even controlling the direction of the other players turn. Sometimes instead of protecting these units you can use them to lead, bait, or as sacrifices since you are already going to be losing them most likely.
Remember flyers have to fly a certain distance, and can only turn 90 degrees. So regardless of your strategy your movement can be used to truly limit flyer options and targets during game play. Positioning yourself keeping the 90 degree turns in mind as well as placing yourself so flyers have to go past certain units is always something you should be watching.
I want to end this part by stating that while this is again a valid strategy that can work I don't feel it is near as strong or reliable as actually having a plan to counter or deal with other flyers in most cases. This strategy is going to work best with horde, and at least moderately high model count armies. The problem is that small elite forces can be brutally punished by flyers. Also the problem with this style strategy is that while you can pull it off averagely well vs 2-3 flyers or even 4 depending on your build.. When you play a full on flyer force via Necrons where they have 8 flyers or something like this, you are going to have a huge uphill battle. So for example with a paladin army which is small and elite you will find that with 3 flyers unless things go well for you your paladins might be the only thing left standing. You are pretty much excepting that every flyer you run into is going to be a solid choice for your opponent most games and you are playing for the mission or to cripple everything else in his army.
As with other times in this game a uphill battle isn't a auto loss but a harder fight. A decent list should always have a shot at winning if built correctly even during the uphill battles because of army list miss matches. The Rock vs Paper for example. In these cases it's your job as the player to know your weakness, have a plan going in, and in these match ups more than the others keep focused on the mission.
Next time we will talk about units to use for Anti flyer, and actually shooting the things down.