Monday, December 3, 2012

Warhammer 40K Heldrake


Traditionally I don’t like to help my opponents win tournaments I happen to be in.  However, when my friend said he wasn’t planning on bringing his Helldrake to a tournament, I leapt up and Nerd’d out on him about it and told him he simply must avoid such foolish notions in the future.

The HellDrake is quite impressive.  I am aware that Skyfire exists but Skyfire is no more guaranteed to kill anything than its non-Skyfire counterparts would if firing at a Chimera and its not cheap to get.  Wringing ones hands over that is a fools errand and its not like you wont take a shot at shutting the big guns up anyways.

Just to review, both his movement and shooting phase are attacks.  Already that is a little scary.  Like The VoidRaven bomber, though they do it different ways, this monster can hurt you twice per turn, something most units cannot do and when there are only 8-12 Kill points on the board many times, that’s not a small thing.  In addition they provide an enormous punch that can fly from threat to threat, weakening them to the point of ineffectiveness so that your actual force doesn’t suffer the attrition it otherwise would have.  This Heldrakes need to be proximate to its target also means it takes more risks than some flyers but as its strength is in flanking anyways, it costs the bird of prey nothing to simply limit the enemy to the absolute minimum shots possible by flanking.

It can cook people in fortifications but good, wipe out entire squads dumped from Rhinos, peel the armor off multiple vehicles at a time when it gets the right angle (and a little luck) and it forces heavy weapons to fire at something that is a MUCH lower percentage play than any alternate target.  It cannot be hit by a plethora of weapons and really, if you can knock out the 2-wound sky-fire cannon in round 1, your opponent will cry a lot when the Helldrake arrives.

This is going to be a VERY popular model!

One thing about models like this is they really require you to build the list around THEM.  So if you’re going to field these death machines, you are going to have to think outwards from them rather than the more traditional HQ and scoring units that most plan around.

My question was, does the Helldrakes price seem worth it and if so how many SHOULD you afford?  It is by no means inexpensive.  The more elite the list, the more you cannot afford the smaller number of baskets for your points to sync into.

After seeing it in action, I have zero problem recommending two.  I’m not a “redundancy” fanboi but if the goal is for you to flank with them, there are two flanks, and you don’t wanna’ be in each other’s way.  This allows yout to ”cross over” your two birds as they pass the centerline and probably keep them active on the board longer.  So strategically two makes more sense than one unless you just aren’t going to flank.

In a list that does this, you need some High STR, HIGH AP stuff to bust the Interceptors. Early.  So make this a priority in the list.  Just one unit should do it if it’s an accurate  heavy squad with good range (or reach).  Alternatively you could rely on ordinance to do it in. but doing so really limits the Defiler in its role so try to take a dedicated anti-Cannon unit.   Lascannons make the most sense but failing that, something that pours out High AP volume will work too.  Stingwings, and even (gasp) Storm Troopers are actually pretty good for this duty.  What’s important though is that you do it at all cost because the devastation you are going to cause is worth every point lost to this pursuit in the end.  And heavy squads like Devastators are tailor made for the job.

One other thing:  Ive talked about it before but keep in mind:  whatever the NEXT target for the Winged wonders is going to be becomes a lesser priority for the rest of the army, so keep that in mind while you are choosing targets for the accumulation of skulls for the skull throne.

Victis Chaos!

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