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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
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"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Blood Rodeo - the 6th edition transition

I think I've gotten more e-mails about this topic than anything else ever (yes, even Draigowing). Apparently it's a popular concept which has been brought into further light with 6th edition and...Allies. Everyone's favorite topic lately.

Blood Rodeo is about using a screen of biker models to protect the FNP/FC Assault Marines of a Blood Angels army for any unwanted assaults/attention and basically ferry them into combat. Concept and tactics for 5th edition outlined here.

In 5th edition this looked at bringing Bikes from the Blood Angels army who had the benefit of FNP but as we all know, bikes aren't cheap and bikes without combat tactics are bikes stuck in combat, particularly when they are a screening force. The ASM + heavy units (TH/SS, Sanguinary Guard, etc.) were used to try and break that stalemate and the Bikes gave the ASM some extra ranged dakka and the ability to get off charges against their opponents. What if those Bikes were scoring but didn't get FNP? What if they had Combat Tactics and what if we could squeeze the points for a Biker Command Squad? Something which can keep up with the army and smashes face? Sounds good actually...

So first things first, let's get our core down. 30 ASM + Libby should do nicely. We also need some Priests and at this level, that's a bit annoying unfortunately as you're sitting on the cusp of wanting two Priests but not going to get the maximum out of them since you're using Allies. Bite the bullet and take them.

Librarian w/Bike, Shield of Sanguine, Unleash Rage
2x Priest w/Jump Pack, Power Weapon
3x10x ASM w/meltaguns, PFist

That's 1020 so we've got plenty of room for the Bikes, Captain & Command Squad. We'll start with the Bikes + Captain...

Captain w/Bike, Storm Shield, Relic Blade
2x8x Bikes w/2x meltaguns, Attack Bike w/MM

That's 725 for a total of 1745 - going to be close for a Command Squad. The Bikes don't have PFists here as they have combat tactics now and without ever being escorted off the table, Combat Tactics rocks. The Captain is keeping with the old SS + Relic setup though the addition of Artificer armor or taking a PFist instead might be a good idea with the new way combat and challenges works in 6th edition. Points to try and keep in your pocket...

Anyway, we have 255 points for the Biker Command Squad which isn't enough for a full out tooling (generally 300+). Let's see what we can do and then look at the points we need to shave.

195 points gives us the basic squad with Bikes & FNP, so only 60 points left. Yikes. They cannot get any armor upgrades so storm shields to avoid death to power weapons is pretty important. There goes all 60 points. A Lightning Claw is what was used previously and they are still probably a good bet as the storm shield takes away the advantages of the power weapon for getting +1A. The Librarian is also giving them Unleash Rage which will be helpful in making sure those hits count. I'd stick with Lightning Claws at this point - without the +1A you're not going to benefit at all with power weapons, Lances without Hit & Run are risky, particularly with the fearless units abound, Axes you're just better off getting the Thunderhammer or Powerfist for and Mauls will have issue punching through Marine armor though could be usable for simple torrent. However, this unit is being run to deal with Terminators and the like in combat so running mass Power Axes might be a good idea - leave the anti-infantry/Marines up to the ASM.

Regardless, I'd pay the extra 15 points per model for a power weapon of some type - if you end up using all Lightning Claws change the 4th one to a Thunderhammer/PFist and if you end up using Power Axes, you can forego the last (but grab some melta bombs in combat).

Command Squad, Bikes, 4x Storm Shields, 4x Power Axes

At a minimum this puts you 60 points over. Time to shave some points and we'd also like to buff our Captain a bit. We want to keep our ASM core - 30 ASM is the minimum you really need to break things open and that's only the case because we have some other scoring units + the Command squad. We'll look to trim from one of the Bike squads then and turn one full squad into a half squad. A full squad costs 280 whilst a half squad costs 205 giving us the 60 extra we needed for the Command Squad and 15 to play with. Perfect...

Librarian w/Bike, Shield of Sanguine, Unleash Rage
2x Priest w/Jump Pack, Power Weapon
3x10x ASM w/meltaguns, PFist

Captain w/Bike, Storm Shield, Thunder Hammer, Artificer Armor
Command Squad, Bikes, 4x Storm Shields, 4x Power Axes8x Bikes w/2x meltaguns, Attack Bike w/MM
5x Bikes w/2x meltaguns, Attack Bike w/MM

We can drop a final Bike from the small squad (still five strong with AB so counts as a Troops unit) to get some extras here and there on the characters or Command Squad (like plasma weapons, melta-bombs, etc.). Otherwise, that's Blood Rodeo taken to 6th edition.

There's still a bit of inefficiency with the Priests + ASM and potentially running this with the Marines as the parent list with attached ASM and then some Hybridity with Dreadnoughts/Predators running around wouldn't go amiss. Playtesting required - and no, this list hasn't been used yet so drop any feedback you get. I'll endeavour to do some myself this week.

The theory still works and as we looked at before with Jumpers in general, they should fare fine in 6th edition. Bikers as a pure army probably aren't going to work any longer - low model count with reduced cover hurts, particularly with more AP2 weapons out there but should still work fine as a Hybrid army - as is the case here. There are 50+ T4/5/3+ models out there and most of them have FNP, so even mass plasma isn't going to chew through them. All platforms are fast so mass melta is still an excellent option, particularly as they are looking to engage the enemy though some Plasma might not got amiss on the Bike platforms. Impact hits from both units can help raise the damage in combat but it's still important to take down MCs/Dreads before engaging them, particularly with the ASM who do not have combat tactics. Flyers will be an issue and you could replace something on the Libby for Blood Lance but even then, that's only one option and this lack combined with a general increase in power for 2+ saves in combat will probably see this specific Jumper build be less viable than it was in 5th. Anti-infantry is again mostly combat related outside of the Bikes bolters and with large fearless units coming to play, this may end up being an issue for such armies in 6th.

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