If you looked at the more notable tournaments this year, you’d notice, with a single exception, something is missing. Where have all the flyers gone?
I want to apologize to all of the BoLS readers who took my Eldar Jetbike (last week) piece as anything other than the satire which I intended it to be. I was trying to make light of all the fear mongering plaguing the new Eldar dex. When I posted an article on BoLS with rules that I had clearly made up earlier this year, which was also clearly marked HUMOUR in the title, people actually took it seriously. In this case, I had hoped the over the top rules errors and math shenanigans would clearly indicate the intent of the piece. I understand your disappointment and anger, and again apologize for any misunderstanding. Now on with the show!
It is interesting to me, with all the conversation about flyers and AA, how little impact flyers have actually had on the competitive tournament scene in the past year. The exception was Sean Nayden’s winning, and innovative, Nid list at the LVO. All of the other top tier lists were all but devoid of winged models. Here is a sampling to prove the point:
LVO: Sean’s previously mentioned list contained 3 Flyrants. However, he also created a great synergy between the Lictors and Mawlocs, and overwhelmed the board with Spore Mines. On the other hand, the fact that those Flyrants were a central part of his winning strategy, especially against a range of opponents who clearly did not come prepared to deal with them, speaks to an inherent weakness in a codex that relies so heavily on winged HQs. The second place “scout” list did not have a single flyer. He also had no AA to deal with those Flyrants. But why would he? No one else (except Sean) brought flyers!
Adepticon: The winning list here was Fateweaver and the Tzeentch boys. Sure, Fateweaver is an FMC, but he never functions as a flyer in terms of game play. He is there to provide all of his special rules madness. Other than that, not a flyer to be seen. The 3rd place spot was held by wingless Necrons. No flyers. I have been hard pressed to find the 2nd place list, but would bet bottom dollar there are not flyers in there.
NOVA: The top two spots were held by Eldar (with a spot of Dark Kin allies thrown in). Tzeentch grabbed 3rd place and a fun combination of Necrons and Meganobs took 4th. Again, no flyers.
Storm of Silence: The top spot here was an Ork list, and 2nd place to a Blood Angels list partnered up with the new Skitarii. Lots of Skitarii Vanguard in the 2nd place list; not a flyer to be seen.
So my point is what? That there has been a plethora of articles and commensurate commentary during the same time period about flyers, AA and how some armies are not able to deal with flyers. Also, how players who would otherwise not include flyers in their lists are forced to do so in order to stay competitive. For me, the issue of flyers in tournament play is much like that of the psychic phase (Tzeentch summoning fun notwithstanding). They both are part of the game, but are not central to having an army on the board that is competitive. The other piece of the flyer puzzle is that in tournament play, unlike many casual games between beer drinking friends, the players are not aware of what their opponents will bring. This forces them to create “all comers” lists, sometimes cheesed out, that can deal with almost any opponent or scenario. Most of my games have been against people I know will bring a Stormraven, a couple of Heldrakes or a couple of “Bumblebees” (Storm Talons). I know who I will be playing before the game, and can customize, to a certain extent, my ability to deal with a specific threat.
Do flyers have a place in tournament play? The results say otherwise. What do you think?