Today I thought I would do a post covering a favourite RoW of mine and one you don’t see very often on the board, the Sky Hunter Phalanx. I run it with my Emperor’s Children and it plays really differently; it has such a unique feel to it and your opponents will struggle to know how to deal with it!
How your opponent will feel being chased down by all the jetbikes
In this post I will share some of my tips and tactics that I have found in the various games I’ve played with it, and as of a couple of weekends ago, against it!
Tip 1: Your troops
In putting together your troop squads of jetbikes, I much prefer smaller squads than bigger ones. It is tempting to go with big squads of jetbikes with well equipped sergeants and heavy weapons but I would suggest keeping it simple. I normally run 4 squads of 3 bikes with melta bombs on everyone and 1 volkite culverin.
All the bikes I run in my list. The core of any sky hunter phalanx is a solid base of jetbikes.
My justification for this is three fold. Firstly, smaller squads are easier to jink without the same loss of firepower. If you have a squad of six jetbikes and then jink, that is way more guns hitting on a 6 than there needs to be. Secondly, smaller squads are much more flexible and can move around the board easier. They are able to hold more objectives and can’t all be targeted at once. Finally, taking weapons like plasma and multi-meltas in your troop squads not only restricts firing options but makes you second guess jinking. A multi-melta is a great anti-tank weapon, but it is only 1 shot and, if you target a tank with it, the rest of the heavy bolters cannot do anything and so are wasting their shooting phase. The same goes with plasma cannons, which are deadly against elite infantry, but cannot shoot once you’ve jinked. The 4+ cover save from jink is so useful, and you should be jinking whenever you can. By contrast volkite culverins are excellent anti infantry weapons like heavy bolters and have more shots so jinking does not affect them so much.
I think multi-meltas and plasma cannons are much better in the heavy weapon jetbike squads (and I run 5 man teams of both). This allows them to focus on their respective roles, and by jumping off the board they can limit the risk of having to jink, and therefore snapshoot the next turn.
Tip 2: Avoid combat!
I have found that spending a lot of points on squad sergeants never works as well as you’d like in a sky hunter list. Playing Emperor’s Children this is doubly so, where you can really get caught out in a challenge if you aren’t careful.
What happens when you land danger close and fail to destroy your target, these land speeders really don’t want to be there and didn’t last much longer than when the picture was taken!
The fun thing about the sky hunter list is the mobility and flexibility of your army. To make the most of this you really don’t want to be bogged down at any point, and certainly not in combat. Additionally you can’t jink in combat, so if you end up against any unit with AP2 weapons they will just delete you.
This is what happens if you drop a flyer into hover mode without thinking it through properly!
Tip 3: Target priority is key
As your army will be relatively small and elite, every shot counts and so you should make sure your army is working as efficiently as it needs to be. Basically interceptor is the natural enemy of this list and will make your shenanigans much more difficult (and deadly) to pull off. Any unit with interceptor should always be your first priority!
Fire raptors are amazing at being able to tackle multiple targets at once. I would say they are a must have in a sky hunter phalanx list
Just a heads up, the Sicaran Arcus is the worst. With its 8 shots, interceptor and forcing you to re-roll jink saves (which is super deadly as all your vehicles are skimmers/flyers) it will tear your army to pieces if you are not careful. If you come up against an arcus, it should be your priority and the first thing you destroy. Other things to watch out for are weapons which ignore cover, and heavy weapon teams with an augury scanner.
Tip 4: Have some infantry
It is a good idea to have some infantry in your list, either in anvillus pods or storm eagles. Whilst your jetbikes are tough (T5 and 2+), it is an elite list and so each casualty is keenly felt. I think it is useful having some units with a bit more bulk to them, and some variety of equipment.
The heat blast from an anvillus is a fun bonus when arriving, as is being able to adjust your position once you’ve landed
This is also the perfect place to include some combat punch. I usually run a unit of palatine blades with Fulgrim and a chaplain in an anvillus in 3k games. I have also seen terminators used which is another great choice on account of their 2+ armour. Another option would be veterans who can hold objectives and unleash a lot of firepower when they land.
Something I’m considering taking, and will let you know how it goes in game, is a tactical support squad with plasma guns in an anvillus. The goal with these guys will be to neutralise enemy deathstars/get in my opponent’s back line and cause some trouble.
Tip 5: Don’t forget jumping off the board
It may be an obvious point, but one of the perks of the rite of war is being able to jump your jetbikes off the board and enter ongoing reserve with outflank. I cannot overstate how useful this rule is in most situations. I generally suggest going second if you plan to make maximum use of this, as tabling only occurs at the end of the game turn, not player turn. This means you can jump your jetbikes off safe in the knowledge that they will arrive next turn and you cannot be tabled.
In objective missions this comes in handy as you can jump off with your troop bikes the second to last turn of the game and then arrive in your final turn right on objectives. If you go second this will be the final turn of the game and so your opponent cannot do anything about it. This is especially good in Shatter Strike, where you get VPs for getting into your opponent’s deployment zone.
Arriving from outflank helps put you exactly where you need to be
It is also really good for units like the heavy support squads, who are able to arrive right next to their targets thanks to outflank. This allows multi-melta squads to arrive in the side/rear of vehicles to help with taking them out and avoiding any flare shields.
A fun tactic is outflanking troop jetbike squads behind enemy tanks and using their heavy bolters/volkite culverins to target the rear of tanks. This can be deadly on vehicles based on the rhino chassis as their rear armour is usually 10. I have wrecked many vehicles using this tactic and it is always a surprise to my opponents!
My normal list (2k):
I hope this has been useful, if you have any other tips/tricks it would be awesome to hear them!