As an opponent of this beast, if you are not a little scared of what this thing will do to your army, you have not faced it properly. The Heldrake is the most dangerous hunter on the tabletop, and it can and will properly seek and destroy entire units on the tabletop when it strikes.
While some people really like the anti-air capabilities of the heldrake, that is not where it is the most efficient. So scrap the Hades Autocannon on the front of this thing, fire up your baleflamer, its time to talk about the most feared model in the game.
The Heldrake when loaded up with a Baleflamer, is in its in its element hunting and seeking out those unlucky enough not to be in a transport when it arrives on the scene. Anything short of a 2+ (which is most of everything) is going to get bit hotter the moment it arrives. Lets take a closer look at this thing.
Flyers move up to 36" when they arrive on the field. The Baleflamer is S6 AP3, with soul blaze and Torret. Never before has a flamer been so versatile on the battlefield. After all this flamer can reach almost everything on the tabletop with it the round it arrives. Torrent allows the flamer template to be placed within 12" of the weapon, so that the wide is no closer to the weapon than the narrow end.
For a flamer that is AP3 and S6, this is borderline abusive in a good way. On top of that, for those IG blobs, or other massed infantry, soulblaze is likely to keep the damage going.
The real strength behind this weapon is its flexibility to reach anything on the tabletop, and to choose its target..... and the most ideal of course is..... a group of infantry or two that just was de-meched and are now sitting in tighter confines.
Are you taking just one of these? Get two. Three is even good, but watch your points. Team up the Heldrakes with something that is going to reliably open up transports. Lucky for you, you play Chaos Marines and have some of the perfect solutions for this..... Havocs, cheaper than snot Predators, etc.
Do not forget with the flexibility of how you place your template, just make sure you are pointing that mouth in the right general direction, these flamers can also damage vehicles along the rear armour. Not to mention double the toughness of many T3 xenos or guard models. Remember no jink or other cover saves against this flamer template. It kills anything short of terminators on the tabletop.
This beast comes with "It Will Not Die", "Daemon", "Deamonforge", and "Meteoric Decent". So if you were not scared from what I mentioned above, this will close the deal.
It will not die
At the end of each friendly turn, roll a d6. On a 5+ the heldrake recovers a Hull Point.
You do not need to evade with a Heldrake.... You come with a 5+ invul save and generate fear (encase you were in hover mode and got assaulted) Fear just means roll your leadership roll or be reduced to a WS1 for the remainder of that close combat subphase.
Once per game, the model may re-roll all failed to wound and all armour penetrating rolls. Do not forget to roll a d6 at the end of that phase, if you roll a 1 you take a hull point damage.
Vector Strike for a flyer. The d3+1 hits for the unit your are flying over are resolved at S7. (remember that you cannot use your daemonforge re-rolls with this ability, as daemonforge is only allowed during shooting or assault phases). So yes, you can fly over another flyer with this ability, and then torch something else on the ground. d3+1 S7 hits is nothing to laugh at. Also remember that these hits are resolved at AP3!!!! And always against the side armour of vehicles.
One last thing...... Hover. You can go into Hover mode with the Heldrake. Yes, people forget about this one all the time. So yes, it can go into Hover mode at the beginning of its movement phase, which turns it into a fast skimmer. While this limits the distance it can reach, there are times where a turn 5 180 degree turn around is better than flying off the board (and if game ends being counted as a casualty).
The Heldrake is the Great Hunter. Played well against you it will rip your army apart, and if in an army designed to use the beasts efficiently, not even your transports are going to be safe. Hide, and hide well, the Heldrake is coming to get you... If its Round 2, and its already too late.