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How much AA is enough?


When building a take all comers list, it can sometimes be tough to determine how many points you need to invest into air defense.

Reecius here from Frontline Gaming to discuss AA tactics in 40K. Now, we have to assume here that you are not aware of the meta you will be playing in, as when you are playing at your local club or FLGS and you know what everyone else will be bringing, but when you are going into a tournament or to play a pick-up game where your opponent will be an unknown until you are at the table.

With the changes to the interceptor/skyfire rules, it is no longer such an easy choice as to which units to take to fill this role. As these units are now much more specialized and situationally awesome or very poor, it is a tough choice.

If you take ground based AA assets such as a Quad Gun or Stalker tank, for example, you may find yourself in situations where they are only ever snap firing on targets. This can result in only getting "out of the box" uses out of them such as tank shocking or charge blocking, etc.

If you take air units of your own to fill the AA role, you can find yourself in situations where they don't come onto the table until turn 4, or come onto the table before enemy flyers and actually get taken out by the units they were meant to hunt. Reserve controls help a lot here, but, they are not foolproof.

What I have found myself gravitating to, are ground based units that are useful in general terms but can also function in an AA role. Wave Serpents, Sicaran tanks, etc. are all excellent for this. While they are not as good in the dedicated AA role, they are useful in every other situation. They are also more reliable than flyers as they start on the table and as such, can start blasting FMCs while they are still on the ground. They also are always in position to counter enemy flyers when they come on, so long as they don't get taken out, first.


Now, while I would never say flyers or dedicated AA units don't have a place in a list, I have found that I have gravitated towards the more general purpose units that also fill the AA role for a more efficient use of points. You may find yourself short-handed if you come up against a full blown air-force list, but that is the risk you take. 


What have you all found to work for you?

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27 Comments

  1. 1 Weapon Battery fortification with quad Lascannons manned by BS5+ unit would be sufficient in any game lol

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    1. What fortification is that?? The firestorm redoubt cannot be manually fired, if that's what you're thinking of.

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    2. I like a plain ole ML with flakk. 10pts more but very flexible.

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    3. true dat best you get there is bs3 for an extra 30 pts an still firing at the closest flying thing but i have used this to some success with lootas and a ammo dump to boot skimping on the +1 BS

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    4. Yeah, the vengeance weapon battery is what I'm assuming he's talking about. But the weapons cannot be manually fired and so need to be auto-fired at their own BS and only can shoot the closest flyer or closest unit if no flyers are present. It's generally fine if there are flyers because you'll be happy with whatever one it targets (usually only one anyways). But if it has to fire at the ground then you're screwed.

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    5. Firestorm Redoubt is fully automated but the Vengeance Weapon Battery can be manned. There is no rule on it like the Firestorm saying Fully Automated.

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    6. In Stronghold Assault all battlefield weapons can be manned unless specified otherwise like the Firestorm Redoubt

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    7. Dude are you sure about that? Cause as far as I can remember vengeance weapon batteries are building, not battlefield weapons

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    8. Rules are for all emplacement weapons, both battlefield and battlements which weapon battery considered battlement emplaced weapon
      Also some people man the macro cannon

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    9. The sly GW thing is weapon batteries come only with mega bolter while the Firestorm comes only with the quad Lascannons fired as fully automated. They specify on the product description that the 2 are interchangeable which means if you want to Mann a quad Lascannon you have to buy both products lol

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  2. My relic sicaran with schism of mars legacy of glory does my tank and anti air duties nicely

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  3. The skyfire rule allows you to shoot at full BS vs Skimmers, Flyers and FMC (regardless of if they are flying or not) so dedicated AA is very useful VS any army with skimmers - Tau, Eldar, Nids etc The marine Stalker can be very good as a Hammerhead killer or against a flying Hive Tyrant.

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  4. Razerbackas nd immolators do a surprisingly good job, and you don't have to sacrifice your list at all to take them. It is surprising how well a set of twin linked lascannons can pop flyers.

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  5. Necron Annihilation Barges fit the role perfectly, Twin-Lined and hitting three times for each 6 rolled.

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    1. That will be nerfed when codex is released similar to spacewolves weapon special rule

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  6. 2 Contemptor-Mortis Dreads with either Dual Kheres AC, TLLC or TLAC are quite versatile, I find.

    Though they tend to be giant fire magnets.

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  7. anything with a ML. preferably one used by infantry. cheap-ish and effective-ish, not the best but good enough for the job. ok use for tac squid ML, for minimal AA, and combination of tactical roles. [ground or air]

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  8. For a second there I got excited that this would be about DzC... :S
    Fair enough.
    I got the impression as well, that dedicated AA is most often not needed.
    As a Tyranid player I don't have much of a choice though.

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  9. 3 Ravagers can deal with fliers pretty well. Each one has a 50% to get a single hit, and S8 AP2 Lance can do some damage.

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  10. Three missilesides + 6 drones! Muahahaha

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  11. What if you play Daemons? Whats the best AA choice for them?

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  12. What is the best AA choice for Chaos Daemons?

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    1. A flying daemon prince of Slaanesh with a lash of Slaanesh & iron arm! Nothing ruins a flyers day like 2D6 Str 9 shots!

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  13. I'm a strong believer that any TAC list (the only type I write) needs to have a plan to deal with aircraft. This however does not mean you need AA.

    I agree the best AA options are the alrounders like Warp Spiders, Serpents, Anni Barges, Broadsides (who have the added advantage of coming with interceptor), Mortis Comtemptors etc. I would count flyers broadly in this category too though you need to think about reserves so having redundancy and/or reserve manipulation is important.

    However the other option is target denial. This can be done in 2 ways, deny the flyers ANY target, deny them viable targets. The first requires a mobile army (or all DS force) where you can flood the opponents deployment zone early and watch as the flyers zoom over your head. The later is based on a mixture of taking units most flyers struggle against (High AV, MCs), having your other unit types able to get forward (bikes, pods, battlesuits etc), and having units that can do their damage early game or as an alphastrike (Wyverns, Deathstrikes, Skyrays etc) which you don't mind leaving to their doom when the airforce arrives.

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  14. I run a pair of Contemptor Mortis dreadnoughts with TLAC's, found them to be pretty versatile and having two of them helps, given the miniscule 24" AC range. They're also hilarious against horde armies :)

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