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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Email in: Marine bike armies


"Dear Kirby,

I am a new reader of your blog and enjoy the series you and your guest authors did on Space Marine Bike lists, Fast 'n Slow lists and Blood Rodeo lists. It's easy to understand why scoring bikers are such a boon and an army composed entirely of bikes is very mobile.

Personally however, I have no interest in white scars so I have absolutely no reason to limit myself to bikes alone. It seems to me that after your first 2 or 3 (scoring) bike squads getting more bikes gives you very little extra return. After all: you only need so many scoring units, why not invest in other (non bike) units? This is not to say that you should accompany your highly mobile bikes with devastators (yuck) but there are plenty of mobile options out there in the codex.

The Fast 'n Slow list seems to take this on by including riflemen, typhoons and predators but this does nothing to explain the mass of bikes in a normally 'full' bikes list. When you already have 2 full melta bike squads, why not take multi melta attack bikes instead of a third bike squad (provided you have the FA choice). Why take a biker command squad (or two) instead of a similarly priced assault terminator squad in a landraider. Why take a second captain to even unlock that squad if you could get a librarian for that all important psychic defense? Why take a third biking troop choice when you could get a tactical squad / scout squad to secure third level objectives. These four options seem to be (respectively) more points efficient, more stable, better suited to tackle some otherwise tought armies and more versatile.

Are people clinging to an all biker list because its cool and fluffy or am I missing something? Is the lack of armor saturation so great that a landraider won't survive or is a fully kitted command squad just plain better than thunder hammer terminators?

Regards,
Alwin"

Welcome new reader and glad you have found something of use. We have pie. Most lists take 3-5 bike squads but there are only a max of 3 full squads. Smurfy's list for example generally takes 2 full squads and 2 small squads. What this does is provide you with more fire saturation (meltaguns) meaning you can damage more targets because you have more anti-tank guns spread across more units. You're right in pointing out you don't want too many of these because they have their own weaknesses. In a full bike list you'll find the rest of the points are filled in Command Squads whilst Fast'N'Slow lists either buy Terminators or Suppression fire. You could take a cheap Scout squad if you wish to secure higher objectives or home-base objectives but it's 100ish points that's not going to put out much offense and if your opponent dedicates anything to it (like a flamer), it's pretty much dead. The Bike armies are relying upon an in your face game style to pressure your opponent and 100pts which isn't doing this lessens the pressure on your enemy.

In regards to the question about CSquads. Yes you need 2. One super unit is much more easily handled by your opponent either through blocking or ignoring. This is the main reason you don't take a Libby. You can deal without a Libby most of the time and it's also the reason you have 2 (i.e. those powers that just screw over super units like Weaken Resolve & Paroxysm can't hit 2 units). Two gives you redundency which is needed. In regards to not taking attack bikes after you've got 2-3 bike squads, they aren't scoring and you don't really need help on the meltagun front. Each bike squad should have 3 melta weapons split into 2 squads and whilst ABs w/MM are really good anti-tank you can't hide them behind Rhinos in a bike list and without any armor on the table they will eat all S8+ weaponry.

With terminators, you can make a Fast'N'Slow list with terminators. Yes Command Squads are very capable of dealing with TH/SS terminators. They'll most likely be getting the charge and although the Terminators bypass most of their defenses (T5, FNP), they both have the 3++ to deal with and Command Squads have more models & attacks. Anyway, the Fast'N'Slow list with Terminators drops your Bike Troops down to 2 squads (or 3 if you want less suppression fire), add in 10 termies (combat squad) into 2 Raiders and add some suppression fire (Typhoons/Dreads/Preds your preference) vehicles to cover armor saturation. Here you've still got the in your face element of the Bikes backed up by suppression fire from the Dreads/Preds/Speeders and the rock element of the Terminators. I personally prefer the Fast'N'Slow shooty list but that's because I don't want to fork out the money on Land Radiders but it's a viable alternative if you don't want more than 2 bike squads.

To the final question, nothing to do with fluff. Bike armies need to be in your face and put the pressure on and 27+ T4(5), 3+, 3+* w/meltaguns & TL-bolters do this. Add in whatever backup and you've got a very good army.

3 pinkments:

Smurfy said...

Reasoning behind pure bikes is it's easier to coordinate and support everything in the list. Nothing is slower, nothing is substantially different, and you need to protect your normal bikes from assaults, so Command Squads help with this.

Kirby said...

Synergy.

Chumbalaya said...

You'd go all bikers because they work well together. Throw in a vehicle here and a foot squad here and you end up diluting your force's effectiveness and make target priority easier for your opponent.

Mixing in other elements is fine and dandy, but it all has to mesh together to create a cohesive army.

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