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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

GWvsJohn talks Chaos: Chaos Bikers


Next up, Chaos Bikers. Just a note, I don't have any particular order in mind, so if anyone in the pink nation would like me to do a unit earlier, just shoot me an email, or leave a comment to that effect.
Over the course of this series, we will illuminate all the problems with the CSM Codex, and Bikers are a perfect example of a big one. GW can't seem to decide if they want CSM to be a completely unique army or just spiky marines. The Biker entry puts them firmly in the latter category. Chaos Bikers have almost the exact same cost and stats as their loyal bretheren.
The Same:
Statline: barring LD, which is balanced by the loyalist LD 9 sergeant
Weapon Options: 2 specials, CC and MB on the leader
FO slot
Cost: except not really. The base 3 man CSM squad is 9 more points, then each additional is 8 more than their loyal bretheren
Different:
Weapons: CSM come with BP and CCW (ie +1A) standard, unfortunately they lose this when they take a special weapon
ATSKNF, Combat Tactics: these 2 rules are awesome on all loyal troops, but fast and shooty bike squads really make the best use of it
Icons: CSM can have icons, but I'm not sure that's really a good idea
Attack Bikes: a biggie. These add a 3rd melta to a loyal squad and extend their threat range significantly.
FO slot: loyalist bikes will usually be found in the Troops section with a bike captain, which is like a thousand times better than FA.
Looking at that list, loyalist bikers are superior, even in the FA slot. But we're dedicated to being spiky, so let's make these guys work. In fact, I think this is a unit that deserves a little more play. How to bring them though? With the bp/ccw combo, you might be tempted to kit them out for CC. I don't think this is a great idea. T5 only goes so far with a 3+ (or 3++ if you zoom, I've heard it's the new black) and 1 wound. CC gear (fist, icon, numbers) will drive the cost way up. In an otherwise mech force (obvs) even at t5, 3+, they become a prime target for low strength anti-troop weapons, and at 33+ per model, they will go down fast. If you need CC, Berserkers, Noise Marines, even Plague Marines can do the job better, getting there almost as fast and probably safer in a Rhino.
If CC is out, how do we bring these guys? I think they can be used to "solve" another main problem with CSM. Use them as fast melta. 3 guys, 2 meltaguns, 119. In this role, they are comparable to MMAB squads. Unfortunately, they also fall on the weaker end of this comparison. They're pricier, shorter ranged, fewer wounds (but less vulnerable to s8+) but higher LD (but not ATSKNF) and bring more attacks on the charge. Still, they provide speedy, cheap melta in the best way in the CSM Codex.
Let's try to build a "Best Of" Chaos Biker list. Obviously, we'll start with 3 of the above squads. (It's a testament to the weakness of this squad, that a list "focusing" on them has 9 bikers)
(3) 119 - 3 Chaos Bikers - 2 meltaguns
We still need to pop transports, and the best way for CSM to do that is still Oblits. Also, having the bikers might draw some fire from the Oblits (both being "tough" foot units), which is a nice bonus
(3) 150 - 2 Obliterators
We're at 807 now, and we have decent anti-transport, anti-heavy armor and anti-infantry. We need more of each and we need scoring and CC. Unlike SM and IG and Tau (and maybe others) CSM simply cannot outshoot anyone, so they need some squads that don't blow in CC. Plague Marines are the best troops choice in the codex, so I think we should bring them. We'll cover this in their dedicated post, but you can run them cheap and bag CC with them or expensive and turn them into a decent CC unit. I think this list needs the latter.
(2) 279 - 8 Plague Marines -champion, powerfist, 2 meltaguns, rhino
That helps with some anti-troop and heavy armor and CC, and 16 PM are probably enough scoring at 2000. We're at 1365 and have a few options to fill out the list here.
More troops: Berserkers would add some nice CC to assault whatever the bikers and Oblits pop, plus their rhinos add more vehicles.
243 - 8 Berserkers - champion, power fist, rhino
That's a little pricey and can't kill anything except troops. What else can we do? Princes add CC and anti-tank (s6 MC + warptime), they also add to the "mixed" army we're building by adding more tough foot targets.
175 - Daemon Prince - mark of nurgle, wings, warptime
I like the way that feels. Let's add 2.
Here's the list so far
175 - Daemon Prince - mark of nurgle, wings, warptime
175 - Daemon Prince - mark of nurgle, wings, warptime
279 - 8 Plague Marines -champion, powerfist, 2 meltaguns, rhino
279 - 8 Plague Marines -champion, powerfist, 2 meltaguns, rhino
119 - 3 Chaos Bikers - 2 meltaguns
119 - 3 Chaos Bikers - 2 meltaguns
119 - 3 Chaos Bikers - 2 meltaguns
150 - 2 Obliterators
150 - 2 Obliterators
150 - 2 Obliterators
That's 1715 and I think we're mostly lacking suppression fire (welcome to CSM). We only have troops and elites left. What can we do? We can try the poor man's Rifleman Dread, which I like to call the Crazed Gunman
110 - Dreadnougt - TL autocannon, missile launcher
Not as deadly or reliable than a true Rifleman (but not terrible, I'm assuming we all play crazed properly), but it's decent mid strength fire and very good if it fire frenzies. Adding 3 of them takes us to 2045. We could cut 1 PM from each squad to get us under, but I'm not happy with our mech and our troops situation. 2 Rhinos and 3 Dreads isn't enough armored might to project the mech threat. Let's play around with our Plagues. Replace the big nasty squads above with
(3) 170 - 5 Plague Marines - 2 meltaguns, rhino
We lose 1 marine (which is better than the 2 we were gonna lose to get under 2000), but gain a 3rd Rhino and 2 more meltaguns and get under 2000. Our final list
175 - Daemon Prince - mark of nurgle, wings, warptime
175 - Daemon Prince - mark of nurgle, wings, warptime
170 - 5 Plague Marines - 2 meltaguns, rhino
170 - 5 Plague Marines - 2 meltaguns, rhino
170 - 5 Plague Marines - 2 meltaguns, rhino
119 - 3 Chaos Bikers - 2 meltaguns
119 - 3 Chaos Bikers - 2 meltaguns
119 - 3 Chaos Bikers - 2 meltaguns
150 - 2 Obliterators
150 - 2 Obliterators
150 - 2 Obliterators
I kinda like it. It's definitely the best of the 3 we've made so far (TS and Bile). It could probably hold its own in lower level tourneys, and still has a fluff/theme feel to it with the mono-nurgle + bikers (adding MoN to the Bikers would be a terrible idea though). Tactics are pretty straightforward. Use the PM Rhinos to protect the DP as much as possible until it's assault time. The PM can tarpit, but need DP bailout eventually. The Bikers are your blocker/suicide unit. Positioning of the Dreads is key to managing frenzy.
Let me know what you guys think.
-GWvsJohn

3 pinkments:

Kirby said...

Nail on the head with the analysis of Chaos Bikers. I think they should be a CC version of SM Marines in their next incarnation but as they stand, cheap and fast melta is where they should be used.

Are we seeing a theme yet with Oblits? lol

Even adding in with our melta though CSM start to lose out on anti-infantry. 12 pure meltaguns is nice but only 15 scoring models and only 24 bolters + Oblits + Combat so I might be tempted to take larger CSM squads.

Keep it up though! Should give some CSM players some better ideas about their book :).

Smurfy said...

Ahaha, love the image chosen, love that guy from Raising Arizona...

And the killer part? It's the main character's dad? Fuuuuuu

Chumbalaya said...

Yeah, CSM Bikers fail pretty hard.

That list looks very light on scoring units, even if they are Plague Marines. Infantry en masse might cause problems too.

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