Kirb your enthusiasm!


"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Monday, May 17, 2010

Email in: Army choice EMERGENCY!

"Hey Kirby, I just started reading through your blog today, and I like it!  I especially like all the different list flavors, most of which are focused on being brutal but not boring.  That, to me, is key.  I don't want to pull punches, but I also don't want to do something stupid like have 150 IG models to scoot around the table, or 11 identical razorbacks that just stand and shoot.  That said, I'm not averse to clone units, they just have to be fun to use, with some mobility and, dare I say, panache. ;)

So, my situation is this:  I have just won an 1850 army, thanks to crazy crazy luck.  I need to pick my army within a day or two because I'll be moving and won't be able to collect my prize in a few weeks.  So far I've looked at IG and BAngels and different flavors of Marines, but nothing has caught my eye except for biker Marines.  I like a lot of different builds, but each has a different weakness that turns me off of them.  What I like most about biker Marines is the command squad, they bring a whole bunch of 3+ invulns with FNP and a whole lot of close combat punch.  I definitely want at least one in a biker list, but it seems like 2x command squads are really important to max out the cheese.  Just one could be dealt with or avoided, two of them are twice the trouble.

Of course, with 2x command squads and 4x bike squads, you basically have room for a few speeders and you're done.  So I would like your opinion, please:  is an army of almost nothing but bikes viable?  Is it on an even footing with the top tier competitive lists of 5th edition?  It seems great to me, it's got speed, mobility, attack power, and great anti-tank, with the added bonus that it makes a mockery out of enemy anti-tank fire by having few if any tanks.  Here's the list I'm currently mulling over:

2x Captain on bike w/relic blade

2x Command Squad on bikes w/4 storm shield, 3 lightning claw, 1 thunder hammer

4x4 Bikes w/2 melta, combi-flamer + 4x1 Attack Bikes w/multi-melta

2x Multi-melta landspeeders

Points: 1850

Bikes: 32
Hover Toboggans: 2

Is this a worthwhile list?  How would you change it to better fit the brutal-but-not-boring criterion?  If bikers are not the way to go for maximum face-pound, can you name the build that you think takes the cake right now?  I'd like to avoid orks, DE (because of the new models coming out), and tyranids, and I already have Eldar and Sisters of Battle, as if ANY of those are top tier :(  Time is of the essence.  Thanks!


Picture courtesy of Ron from FTW. I want to know how you got so lucky! Can I join in? lol. So to the e-mail, Vanilla Bikers are a damn fine army indeed and with enough biker models and a bit of investment in other models you can get three lists out of them (a normal Biker list, Blood Rodeo and Fast'N'Slow). So first of all let's look at your list. We want to include 2x Command Squads (would love to see your conversions btw) and as many bikes as possible w/meltas. We have no real need for the speeders here as we lack armor saturation and the bikes are mobile melta anyway.

A maxed Bike squad w/2x meltas, PFist & MM AB is 310 points from memory (I don't have my codex on me being at the missus' but because this is urgent, here I am ^^). At 1850 points we probably want at least 3 of these. 930 points gone. We also need two Captains to access two Command Squads. Relic Blade & Bike are mandatory here and we'd like an SS but may not have the points. So 165 points each here leaving us with 590 points for 2x Command Squads (295 per)...might not be enough.

And I can't remember the points off the top of my head! So a COmmand squad on Bikes w/3x LC, 4x SS, 4x meltaguns and Champ w/TH is 400 pts. Well over our limit here. Let's drop 2 meltaguns from each and the champ to save 35 points each but still are well short of what we need, so we need to cut some more down. Let's look at our regular biker squads. We don't really need the PFists on all the Squads thanks to our Command Squads (whilst they are nice we can deal without them). This still leaves us with 65 points to go so let's drop one squad down to 5 Bikes + AB w/MM giving us 10 pts to play with. Stick a combi-flamer on the small bike squad and done leaving us with:

2x Captain w/Bike & Relic
2x CSquad w/Bikes, 3x LC, 4x SS, TH, 2x meltagun
2x 8x Bikes w/2x meltagun, AB w/MM
1x 5x Bikes w/2x meltagun, combi-flamer, AB w/MM

I think it works better at 2k where you can have 3 fully fledged Troops but the Command Squads are what make this list tick. You're in their face T1 and have two super fast rock units and enough anti-armor to slag anything and everything. Whilst it's a bit "spammy" in terms of duplication it's a very fun and competitive list to play.

As I stated above, with some additional ASM and Tanks you can get two other very viable lists in Blood Rodeo and Fast'N'Slow which adds quite a bit of flavor to running Bikes. In regards to "getting" your 1850 points (I have no idea how this is happening, you may have a $500 allowance or just get to pick out 1850 points) go for as many Ravenwing Battleforces as you can. Cheaper than buying Bikes individually or in squads and gives you some Speeders for another army and you'll obviously need to convert the Command Squads.

Glad you like the blog btw! I tried to put this out ASAP (the missus is cranky atm! lol) so hope it made it in time. Btw, where have I seen your name before?

9 pinkments:

Chumbalaya said...


Kirby saves the day.

Ixe said...

Well, I'll be buggered. I wrote a lengthy response, and then I was signed into the wrong Google account, and I tried to change which one I was signed into, and my post was eaten. I rewrote it, then tried to sign into the right account. And it turns out that account was disabled for no reason, and that post was gone as well.

So rather than rewrite all my thoughts about the army, I'll just say: thanks a billion Kirby! Keep up the good work on the blog. I might come back and discuss bike marines in more detail some other day when I'm not as mad at Google.

Kirby said...

When you re-write your comment Ixe I'll reply then ^^ or I could put up some info on a Bike army, up to you (or others in general).

This is why I always write in a processor when I start with extensive comments/posts :P.

I can't stress enough though how good Bike armies are. I'm planning on getting some Ravenwing Battleforces before the price hike so I can get the Blood Rodeo and Fast'N'Slow lists running. Not sure if I'll ever go for pure bikers though due to cost of getting all the storm shields/LCs unless I do some massive conversion work.

Ixe said...

Damn, I am on frickin' fire! First I win a whole army, THEN I get a job without even having to interview after a year of unemployment, and it's the job I wanted in the location I wanted! Boosh!

So, the details of my army win: The Ard Boyz I went to had an alternate prize scheme: for a voluntary $20 fee, you were entered to win an 1850 army instead of the standard preliminaries prize. I only really won because of crazy luck coming down on my side, especially in game 3 where my dice totally caught fire, but that's always how it is. All other things being equal, it comes down to dice to decide who melts the most faces.

Anyway, I ended up going with 4 Ravenwing battleforces and 3 dreadnoughts in pods, along with an extra 3 bikes, a Captain, and a Libby. I did the dreads because I was concerned about the army's range. It has good range with its multi-meltas, but not that great. And for stuff like land raiders and battlewagons, I really want to get that 2d6 penetration without putting juicy bike squads within charge range of the embarked troops. I had to drop the 2nd command squad to fit them in, I dunno how that will go, but I like the added utility of the dreads, especially how they can block transports from forward progress by forming a dread-pod wall. I also really want to have a psychic hood if possible, with the libby's powers being largely a bonus.

What powers would you take, incidentally? Null zone is a no-brainer. GoI could allow the command squad to leave combat, which would be great fun, though they sort of already have that with Combat Tactics, and GoI is risky and won't allow the squad to charge on the turn it ports out. Vortex of Doom is cool because a bike libby is Relentless, and storm shields can absorb any wounds he takes from failing the test. Avenger has some nice punch, but it doesn't help against termies or FNP, which would be tough opposition for this list. So I'm kind of leaning towards Might of the Ancients for extra close combat punch, plus some good anti-tank in an emergency.

Kirby said...

That's pretty nice in terms of prize support! Not sure about the Pods though, can easily keep the Dreads on the table & perhaps add in some Speeders but it does offer you for mobility advantages. Have to be careful of the single rock unit though! Don't want it shot or escorted off the table.

For Libby Null-zone as you said and I think Vortex is a nice addition. Without any locators wouldn't bother with GoI unless you did bring some on the Pods (4 meltaguns is nice) but beware of the big footprint. Ancients is okay as well I guess but with WS4 & I4 it's not as good as it could be.

Let us know how it goes! I'm ordering my bikes soon too =D.

Ixe said...

OHH, that's a good idea. GOI + Locator Beacon = meltaguns pop up right where I want them in your face. I hadn't thought of that. It is sort of a one trick pony though. VoD will probably be better because it deals with both tanks and heavy troops.

Kirby said...

And you don't want your Command squad to become a glorified meltaunit. Though you could use a smaller bike squad w/the Libby instead if you wish.

Smurfy said...

My 2k Bikers is pretty similar to the OP's -

2x CMD Squad Bikers - 2 Meltas, 4 Storm Shields, 3 Lightning Claws, 1 Thunder Hammer each
2x Biker Capt - Relic Blade/Bike
2x 8 Bikes - 2 Melta + 1 MM Attack Bike
2x 5 Bikes - 2 Melta

grav said...

I'm using a similar bike list. Just that we play 1700 around here..

2x capt'n (bike,relic,MeltaBombs)
2x command squads (4xSS,3xLC,1xTH,4xMelta,3xMB)
2x Full bikesquads w/2x Melta,MM

is 1700

But one equestion, doesn't your commandsquad ever get charged by dreads (coming out of reserves, Stormravens etc.)?

For this purpose I put meltabombs on my captain and LC guys.
Especially now that there are plenty AV13 dreads out there I feel its needed.

I also like the 4x Meltaguns on the Commandsquad as it sucks shooting a rhino and not killing it so you can't charge it occupants. Reliability is key here..

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