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"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, June 21, 2010

How to: Space Marine Bikers Part 2: Unit Choices

So now that we've established the basics of what defines a Space Marine Bike list in Part 1 this next section will focus on unit selection.

1) Captain equipped with a Space Marine Bike

Thoughts: Your basis before you choose anything else, because having your Captain on a Bike enables you to take 5 Strong Bikes Units as Troops. After purchasing him, your army is set. Generally we find him in this kit for many armies:

HQ: Captain - Space Marine Bike, Relic Blade, Hellfire Rounds

This is your typical combat support Captain with some MC tickle-potential (hehe Tickle-Potential, I like that.) in the form of Hellfire Rounds 2+ to hit and 2+ to wound anything with wounds in the game? Pretty enticing, this is also comparatively light on points.

But, I say it's better to go "all the way" if you don't have a Command Squad on Bikes supporting your army, so here's the down and dirty combat Bike:

HQ: Captain - Space Marine Bike, Relic Blade, Artificer Armour, Storm Shield, Digital Weapons, Meltabombs

More potential survivablity, a meltabomb hoping to hit a Walker and a re-roll in Assault is nice for what this guy does for the team - Is a bullet sponge (As one piece of Artillery that would normally give your Bikes trouble are Colossus, with this guy taking a few of the shots with his 2+ Save, it's pretty dandy.) Storm Shield is bought because it makes him even more of a potential tank against the right kind of squads, and truly, this guy can be a "1 man army" in a enemy's backfield.

Of these two they fill different niches - 1 is nigh bare-minimum with some support for the rest of the army, the other is more investment. How you play your Bike Captain is up to you.

2) Librarian on a Space Marine Bike

Thoughts: This one is tricky. It's a utility belt on a bike chassis, but it lacks a Invulnerable Save. But, if you know anything about Librarians, their roles vary and they can indeed fill gaps where you need them. Psychic Power choices are usually

A) Null Zone - Your anti-daemon/anti-Seer Council, and helps deal with opposing Invulnerable Saves.

B) Avenger - Strength 5 AP 3 Flamer on a Bike chassis, it goes places. (Hurr)

C) Vortex of Doom - For funsies - A mini-railgun caliber shot with a supreme risk on a Bike Chassis. This is also grand for facing off against Blood Angels, who tend not to Run after dropping in to fire off their meltas or what have they.

D) Machine Curse - Bear with me here, a glance may not kill many targets at all, but with a good range and again, assuming the Bike Chassis, you really easily shut up key tanks in the opponent's army with a simple Psychic Test, and that can be mightily useful.

E) Instant Death Strike - Feeling lucky? It becomes handy if you do.

Mostly, this guy is for his Psychic Hood, little else really is as reliable as just mere Hood support.

I donno how to classify this one!

Command Squad on Space Marine Bikes

Thoughts: Upon buying your captain, you open these guys up for a option, and a option they surely are. These are the guys you look to for a Biker Assault Squad, of course you got to gear them correctly to do this - Lots of Armour Ignoring attacks, and add Storm Shields. They can also be given specialty weaponry for guns, which further embeds redundancy as a tenant of any good list.

Add in they have supreme durabilty with 3+/4+ FNP/3++ and Toughness 4(5) it's quite enticing.

These guys can be equipped a variety of ways (Save the poor Apothecary, he just gives the unit Feel No Pain, but he's lonely not getting any wargear. Sadface.) but personally this is how I run my Command Squad:

Command Squad (5) - Space Marine Bikes, Frag & Krak Grenades
2: Lightning Claws, Storm Shields, Meltaguns
1: Lightning Claw, Storm Shield, Bolt Pistol
1: Thunder Hammer, Storm Shield, Bolt Pistol
1: Apothecary - Bolt Pistol, Close Combat Weapon

I got Storm Shields to help me vs. other CC hammers, I dish out my main force of pain through Lightning Claws and a attached Captain on a Bike, I even got a few Meltas to deal with Tanks on the way in, and lastly I got a Thunder Hammer to punk MC/Dreads that somehow get past the Meltas.

Dreadnoughts - If you are going for a hybrid style of Biker play, the "Rifleman" 2 Twin-Linked Autocannon Varients of Dreadnoughts are excellent for Biker Support. Their torrent of Strength 7 firepower helps rid the enemy of transports faster, helps focus down Monstrous Creatures behind a wall of Gaunts, and lastly, if you're feeling lucky, as unit stoppers. Many-a-time my Riflemen have waltz'd up to a Death Company unit lacking any sensible way to take it out in CC save their Thunder Hammer, and the Thunder Hammer promptly failed ALL game while my Dreadnought just sat there, knowing it probably won't kill anyone, but it glee'd in the fact it held up one of those assault units I'd rather not focus my time on.

Assault Terminators - Still the most cost-effective 2+/3++ you can get, but these guys lack the ability to keep pace with the Bikes, and you need to plan your tactics around them to be there as support to counter your enemy's assault hammers. It can be counter-productive in the end, and if you want these guys, I just recommend taking the Biker Command Squad instead if you can, but take 'em if you can plan your tactics around them, even in the heat of battle. (Takes some forethought knowing where the enemy will go and how your bikes will lure them to the Termies location.)

Of course, you
can put them in a Land Raider and hope someone doesn't know to shoot your only vehicle in the list to kingdom come, but that's bad thinking sirs.Troops

Space Marine Bikes - Your bread and butter. Generally these guys will be doing most if not all the work. Meltas are recommended for their specialty weapons (Flamers maybe), always Combat Squad, and go to town and be sure to practice using your superior mobility to your advantage.

Typical Kit - 2 Meltaguns, Multi-Melta Attack Bike

Very basic kit lets the 2 Combat Squads deal with tanks (2 Meltas in a 5 Man, 1 MM + 3 Regs in the other. Easy.

Alternate Kit - 1 Meltagun, 1 Flamer, Power Fist Sarge, Multi-Melta Attack Bike

This kit is used by me as of late in both my Combat Tactics Bikers Hybrid and, of course, the Blood Rodeo.

The idea behind this one is - 5 Man unit gets the Sarge and Flamer to handle infantry units; the Melta and Multi Melta form part of the other combat squad. This way you don't have to really bite the bad luck as bad when your 1 Multi-Melta misses. It requires you to get into 12" to be more effective, so take note. The Rodeo benefits greatly from this when the Librarians join the Flamer+Sarge units so now you have 2 Flamer templates/2 Meltaguns Combat Squads.
Fast Attack

Scout Bikers - Because Aurteous Taak brought them up. I strongly recommend AGAINST them. This is because of their 4+ Save and their lack of Meltaguns above all else. If a few could still take meltaguns (even at BS 3) I'd consider them, but as it is right now, you don't want to have their liablity and piss poor threat capability compared to normal Bikers. Cluster Mines do not deter your opponent from taking advantage of Bikers weakness (Multi-Tiered terrain.) anyways, so don't get your hopes up, sorry.

Land Speeders - Always good, as they can help Movement Block, reinforce lines, provide Cover Saves to Bikers behind them. Good options are:

Land Speeder - Heavy Flamer & Multi Melta/ Multi-Melta Only

This varient is up close and personal with your bikes, and the Multi-Meltas are more vital than the Flamers because you have Twin-Linked Bolters to fry Infantry, and you need all the Anti-Tank aid you can get. These are also excellent hunters of MC, blocking their intended movement path, shooting their Multi-Meltas, and not generally worried about being hit in CC.

Land Speeder Typhoon - Typhoon Missile Launcher & Heavy Bolter

Excellent ranged support for any army and especially useful for "makeshift cover" for your Dreadnoughts. Excellent for those Tervigon armies Bikers have trouble with in the first place.
Heavy Support

I'll say straight away, I typically ignore this section with a pure biker army. Nothing in the Space Marine Heavy Support section save Land Raiders can remotely try to keep up with their mobility.

Edit: Master of the Forge on a Bike

Seems fun, seems awesome in fact, and then you realize you aren't playing to the Bike's Strengths, in my opinion. That's my thoughts on him, guys, he makes you keep back with a Bike unit when you really need to be mostly pressuring.

13 pinkments:

Chumbalaya said...

Me likey and me agree-ey.

I personally prefer the Master of the Forge. He lets you get more Dreads and provide you with the super awesome conversion beamer.

grav said...

I run thesame command squad, just one more meltagun and 3x Meltabombs on the guys with the LC.
1x Meltabombs on my captain too.

Mainly because when I get to use combat-tactics I usually just lost my captain.. {sad-panda-face}

I see Dreads/walkers as the main threat for my guys, especially all the new AV13 walkers.

I never used hellfire or digiweapons, I don't think digiweapon are worth it as rerolling the usual 2+ to wound isn't needed. Don't wannabe killing the enemy in a single round now do we?

grav said...

O, and I recently added a Libby on bike, nullzone and avenger for me, Avenger gives me something I don't already have plenty of:

templates & cover-busting

Brent said...

Ya, I actually like both options discussed, MotF with the Conversion Beamer on bike and Libby w Null Zone on bike...

What's not to like?

That's not why I stopped by though. I was thinking about the epic failure that was my Hard Boyz Finals Chaos army...

...why was I thinking about it? Dunno. I was drinking some Kool Aid and munching on cookies whilst thinking about Battleforce armies and it came to me.

Kirby: care to tear it apart and show the unsuspecting masses where I went wrong? It could be educational. I know you're busy with some other stuff - no rush, no fuss, no muss. If you don't wanna, let me know.

Link Here:


Venerable said...

Great couple of articles. Spot on. The 'alternative' set up for troop bikes really has the potential to screw you over with a classic melta miss...but then, thats why you have redundancy hey... I'd love to run a second command squad but at 1500 it'd never fit properly. Although this Blood Rodeo concept...maybe time to look into it...

Ixe said...

Thanks for doing these articles Kirbinator! For once somebody does an in-depth analysis of the army I'm getting ready to build.

I wonder what you think about MM/HF dreadnoughts in drop pods? I like the for two reasons. One is bubble wrap elimination. They strike down right next to the bubble wrap and they can flame it and charge it if they survive. The other is landspeeder accuracy. Once I've got some locator pods down, my HF/MM landspeeders can drop right next to the enemy and avoid being shot down before they attack.

Now, they're problematic because they show up on turn 1 and are likely to eat all the enemy's melta fire, as they'll be right up close and there won't be another target to melta.

Still, it's hard to imagine a better anti-bubble wrap for bikers. Bubble wrap is literally defenseless against deep striking heavy flamers, and dread pods will thus open up the enemy's tanks for the attack bikes.

Smurfy said...

It aint Kirby doing these. ;)

Bubblewrap is a problem sure, But Dreads surely don't do the job well as some tactics I will present, I believe. Like your suggestions, though do realize a HF/MM Speeder could just stay in normal Reserves and threaten a good portion of the board that way too.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to do a bike list but live in the UK and so most tournaments are at 1500.

I've read numerous times that bikes don't work well in low cost games, what is your experience of this?

Ixe said...

Oh, sorry Smurfy. That's what you get for having the author names in tiny print at the bottom :P

I eagerly await your suggestions for how bikes should deal with bubblewrap. I already got myself 3x dreads, 3x pods, and 3x speeders, but I could just as easily configure them as riflemen and typhoons as I could MM/HF.

Kirby said...

I think double Captain is very important in pure biker lists but MotF & Libby are important choices in hybrid style lists.

@Brent; will get to it today I hope, have a couple of requests to schedule today + painting :p.

@Ixe; ya Smurfy volunteered so he got the call. I'll be looking at Blood Rodeo at some point in the future though lol.

@Anon; you can work 1500 bike lists but the problem becomes you only have one lynchpin in your Command Squad which can be negated somewhat.

Anonymous said...

I'm interested to hear about smaller lists (read: where 2 command squads isnt an option) and wether or not a librarian is viable there. Psychic defense can be quite handy depending on what you face (especially if you face lash often, actually pretty hard on bikes), but powers such as nullzone see allot less use in say 1700 points. The utillity belt seems to give utillity you dont need. Thoughts?

Duke of Earl said...

I think with the rise of the Grey Knights taking a Librarian will become more important.

Kid Famous: The Punch said...

I know it's legal in the rules to Have a lighting claw, melta gun, stormshield and be atop a speeding motorcycle. But... How the flaming shit does one do that? Yeah they are super soldiers. But you've only got so many hands on a marine.

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