Tactica: Reaver Jetbikes - Warhammer 40K Fantasy
 

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  1. #1
    Son of LO kevin vanrooyen's Avatar
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    Tactica: Reaver Jetbikes

    Reaver Jetbikes, a defining image in the minds of players all over the world when they think of Dark Eldar. Yet many DE players pass over these as a viable choice, looking instead to Wytches or other units to do their job.

    However Jetbikes are a useful unit, and I owe a number of victories to them. They are one of the fastest, most manoeuvrable units in WH40k. I hope to share my experience and thoughts on this unit in an effort to help other Dark Eldar players get the most out of their Jetbikers.

    Now, before I begin this tactica I must say, Reaver Jetbikes are NOT Wytches. “I don’t think comparing them (Reaver Jetbikes) to Wyches is really that fair the only similarities they share is using combat drugs, both are completely different unit types, in different slots of the army, I take Wyches and Jetbikes and I find they work great for me” –Collins254 This quote illustrates exactly the thing that many DE do when they consider Reaver Jetbikes, they compare them to Wytches at their effectiveness in performing the Wytches role. They have different strengths and weaknesses, while the Wytches are more of a combat kill the enemy unit the Jetbikes are a support unit.

    Phase by Phase Overview
    Movement
    As jetbikes Reavers will ignore terrain that they don’t land on and can move over impassable terrain and enemy units. They move 12” in the movement phase, and may make their 6” assault move weather or not they are in range of assaulting an enemy. This move may also ignore terrain it does not start or end in. Alternatively they may turbo boost, moving up to 24” in a straight line, (but you don’t have to turn to avoid terrain, which takes away the disadvantage of this). If you do turbo boost you will even gain a 3+ cover save, allowing your bikes to survive a moderate amount of firepower. However you if you should start or end your move in difficult or dangerous terrain you will have to take a dangerous terrain test, so be careful where you land and only do so if it is really important.

    Shooting
    If your Jetbike unit does not turbo boost it may shoot. Each bike is armed with a splinter rifle, which is not very effective, but because they are relentless they may fire it at full range even if moving 12”, and may assault after firing. You may also upgrade 2 bikes to have either blasters or shredders, these are great weapons and I will talk about them later.

    Assault
    Reaver Jetbikes are alright in assault, but their real power comes from a succubus. If you have a Jetbike squad you want in combat you should always take the succubus, if not she’s expensive and I’d leave her at home, she won’t help their shooting after all. If you do not assault an enemy unit your Jetbikes can do another 6” jump, you should almost always do this unless you really think that they are in the best possible position.

    Tactics
    So now that we’ve gone through some of your Reaver Jetbikes’ basic abilities how can you put these into effect on the table?

    Distraction
    The point of a distraction unit is a cheap unit that can threaten your opponent and disrupt his battle plan. There are a few ways to do this

    If there is not much cover then turn 1 you can turbo boost them out in front of your opponents units. If your army has a large number of raiders and your opponent has a devastator squad with 4 missile launchers turbo boost your Reavers so that next turn they can shoot and assault the devastators unless the devastators shoot them or move away. If they move away they sacrifice a turn of shooting, and might still be caught out of LOS. If they shoot the bikes they are only likely to kill 1 at most, then you will move up, rapid fire splinter rifles, fire special weapons and charge, ending their threat. If they ignore the bikes they get shot and charged, again ending their threat.

    If there is a lot of cover move your Jetbikes behind something that blocks LOS and is close to the enemy. Your opponent will be unable to shoot them and may move a part of his forces or vehicles away trying to avoid being charged. If they stay there your bikes will be able to spring forth and attack, if your opponent commits units to deal with them he is ignoring the other parts of your army and attacking your jetbikes.

    My personal favourite way to distract your opponent with your Reavers is by placing them between one of your other units and a dangerous enemy assault unit. If done correctly the enemy will not have the movement to reach the unit you are protecting and will have to spend their turn killing the Jetbikes, he could either shoot them dead denying his unit the ability to assault or he could assault the Reaver Jetbikes, eliminating the unit. Whatever happens this should give you an extra shooting phase, alternatively you could use this to stop him from contesting/grabbing an objective, move away while his assault unit is held up, or even reposition your forces for a counter charge in your next turn. Make sure that you do not charge, if you do you run the risk of your bikes being killed in your turn leaving your opponents unit to move and assault in his turn.

    Jump Shoot Jump
    JSJ allows your units to shoot without much fear of retaliation

    The problem with DE special weapons is the range, usually when you are within 12” you are either charging, or going to be charged/rapid fired on. Jetbikes may move 12”, shoot at full effectiveness and them move 6” again in the assault phase. This is indescribably useful when you take account of the special weapons Jetbikes can have. You may begin the turn 24” away from an enemy vehicle, then move 12” towards it, putting your blasters in range, shoot then jump back. Jumping back can put you on top of a 24 story building where you are out of range from just about everything your opponent has. It can put you out of LOS, assault range from what you just shot at, or just get you in cover. JSJ will infuriate your opponent so much that they will almost always focusing on killing your jetbike unit, ive been on both sides of this, on the receiving end by elder, DE and tau and have done it with DE and Tau, trust me it works.

    Objectives
    Another reason many players prefer Wytches over Jetbikes is that with the inclusion of a Archite or by using a Dracite as your forces leader your Wytches units will become troops, while Reaver Jetbikes are always fast attack. Wytches are a glass cannon, no DE player would disagree with this. Now why would you want all of your fragile, low in number expensive scoring units to do the majority of the fighting? Besides in 2/3 missions some of them will be stuck away from the enemy sitting in cover on objectives, (you cant expect the raiders to last the game and ferry them around).

    Reavers however can never capture objectives, and leave you free to take the 5-6 troops choices you should be taking in 1500+pts. The Jetbikes can also maintain their mobility for the entire game, while most of your raiders will have been destroyed and then make that last turn move to contest or take your opponent of an objective. The threat of them doing this can allow them to serve as a great distraction unit.

    Assault
    With Reaver Jetbikes S4 I6 and combat drugs they can hold their own in assault, but when baked up by a tooled up succubus they can deal with many elite assault troops or non-assault troops. Since you won’t even have to worry about their transport blowing up, (they don’t have one) they keep their speed and manoeuvrability down to the last remaining bike. This means you can still jump and assault over impassable/difficult terrain, while Wytches would rely on their raider to get them this charge.

    One thing should be said about Jetbikes assaulting, know your limits. I6 will allow you to strike first but hordes will still bring you down through weight of attacks, and you will have a lot of trouble scratching the hull of a dreadnought while it and other MCs can bring down your small squad without breaking a sweat. Jetbikes should be sued against small assault units, like whittled down Khorne Bezerkers, and could even get knocked around by a 10 man squad of marines.

    Upgrades
    Special Weapons:
    Reaver Jetbikes have 2 weapon upgrade options, the shredder and the blaster, and each squad may have 2 of these. Whichever you use you should not mix them within a squad, now lets take a closer look at these weapons:

    The shredder is an anti infantry weapon, it lays down a high strength blast that will always allow your opponents their armour saves. Furthermore it is the more expensive of the two. Sure it can glance AV10 on the roll of a 4 but it is not a tank hunter. The shredder was also made at a time when you rolled to see if a blast would hit the same as with any other weapon, so now it does not hit on a 3+, it should be noted that since bikes are relentless it fires as if it was stationary, so you will always be able to subtract 4 from the distance scattered. Even with this I do not recommend you take a shredder, there is a cheaper and more effective option out there…

    The blaster is a tank killer. It is S8 lance so will always glance on a 4+ or better and inflict instant death on most things in the 40k universe. Its AP of 2 will ignore all armour saves allowing it to crack open mighty space marine terminators with ease. Even against Tyranid monstrous creatures they will wound on 2’s and deny saves, then they can jump back out of assault range!

    Succubus:
    The succubus is a squad leader for Wytches and Reaver Jetbikes. She is a fairly expensive upgrade but has full access to the armoury.

    The first question many of you will ask is should she get an agonisor or a punisher? Normally I would suggest you go with an agonisor but since Reavers already have an upgraded S value so you might as well grab a punisher, you’ll then wound T3 on a 2+ and T4 on 3+. If you take this you should also grab a tormentor helm for the extra attack. Plasma grenades are a must, and if nobody already has one you might as well take a goblet of spite, if you have a squad of Wytches though they should get it instead. Finally many people give their jetbike succubus character combat drugs, I don’t do this because since your succubus has only 1 wound you have a 1/6 chance in killing yourself even when using only 2 effects! Using 3 or more is nearly suicidal. Besides I believe that the extra bike is more effective than an expensive, dead succubus.

    Jetbike Setups
    So now that we’ve seen an overview of the bikes, different options for them, and some ways to use them the next step is finding squad setups that work. Here are some I like:

    Budget Shooters
    Jetbike Squad 3 jetbikers 2 blasters 95pts

    This is a nice cheap squad. It is a threat to heavy infantry, it can still do well against enemies like IG and tau in an assault and it kills tanks, characters, and monstrous creatures. It has few ablative wounds so every kill against them will count but since they are a small squad they are easily hidden. This squad is good at JSJ, and can distract and contest objectives, it will however not perform very well in assault.

    Budget Combat
    Jetbike Squad 3 jetbikers succubus w/ punisher tormentor helm plasma grenades (goblet) 118 (123)

    This squad is cheap and can threaten most infantry squads found in smaller point games. The first point cost is if you give them the goblet, the second is if you don’t. They lack the ablative wounds to take blasters, which is a pity considering they are great weapons. This squad can distract, assault, and can contest, however they are not as good at JSJ and it would be better to just turbo boost if you don’t plan on assaulting. That said if you over shoot their target and it flees they can still jump out of harms way.

    Multi Use
    Jetbike Squad 6 jetbikes 2 blasters succubus w/ punisher tormentor helm plasma grenades (goblet) 213 (21

    This squad is one of my favourite setups; it is basically a combination of the other two squads. It can do all of the Jetbike tactics well, it is a great distraction unit, it can do well in combat especially with the goblet, it can JSJ with 2 blasters and 4 splinter rifles, and it has enough survivability that it might last the game and contest an objective, especially with the extra bikes your opponent would need to kill.

    So why would I be showing the two halves on their own and in one squad? Well the two halves on their own can be used without taking the other, so if you only need one small squad in a low point game you can take it. Also they can split their fire. The larger squad however has more ablative wounds so the better models will survive longer. Lets say for example you have to remove 3 jetbikes, that would either take out 1 small Reaver squad, including the important upgraded model(s). If however this same thing happened to your 6 man squad you would ideally remove the 3 normal jetbikes first. Finally the two small squads are more kill points, which can penalise you in annihilation games, especially since we already struggle in these missions due to our number of fragile units and transports we need all the help we can get.

    I advise that in games of under 1500 you take the two small squads, while in games of over 1500 you take the one larger squad. In games of 1500 points you could take either.

    Characters on Jetbikes
    Now many of you will be wondering weather or not you should take characters on jetbikes. These characters will have many of the advantages and disadvantages of jetbikes but will cost a large amount of points, they can even cost more than the unit they are in.

    These characters can do all of the normal roles of jetbikes, they have multiple wounds and are a huge threat in assault. This can make them great at fighting and distracting your opponent, as they will be a high priority target they may not survive to the end of the game to contest objectives, and the character generally wont add much to the squads ability to shoot, although a Haemonculus has a few interesting guns that can get into better position on a bike.

    Archon
    An archon can be an expensive character, especially when on a jetbike. I’m not a huge fans of Archons on jetbikes because they are an expensive character that can be singled out in combat. Sure their increased T helps but a retinue would do much better at keeping him alive. I don’t advise you take a jetbike archon in games over 1000pts, in 1000 or under he and a succubus should be able to deal with most combat units, large ones should still be thinned down before the charge.

    Archite
    An archite suffers many of the disadvantages of an archon on a jetbike. She has a few things going for her. The first is her increased survivability, her Wytch weapons will make any opponents with a WS of 4 or less hit on 5+ while her dodge rule will keep her alive after the shadowfield (which an archon or Archite should always take) has run out. However she has some disadvantages, she costs more, and your jetbike characters already cost a lot. Also if you run an Archite your force is a Wytch Cult. This is not necessarily a disadvantage but Kabals are generally more competitive than Cults.

    Dracon
    A Dracon is not very good for a jetbike that already includes an archon. The Archon is just a bit more expensive and is much better, so you should only really include a Dracon in a list that is really thin on points, and if you’re that thin just go with an archon on foot.

    Dracite
    Dracties are much better than Dracons. Their wytch weapons will allow them to be hit on 5+ by enemies with a WS of 4 or less and since you should already have an Archon or Archite with a shadowfield in your list their 4+ invulnerable save in combat should help keep her alive. The Dracite is one of the best HQ choices to give a jetbike, especially since if you have an Archon or Dracon a Dracite will not automatically make your force a Wytch Cult the way an Archite would.

    Haemonculus
    Hamonculi can be an interesting unit in most forces, but they really excel when taken on a jetbike. He will get a toughness value of 5!This makes him the best option for a force that wishes to take a nightmare doll as it will only wound him on 6+. Scissorhand will allow him to wound his opponents on 2+ in combat, and with his higher S value from the jetbike he will often be able to re-roll those dreaded rolls of a 1 to wound. A destructor or stinger can help a Haemonculus thin out an opposing squad before you charge, and while it is often a fear that you opponent could flee before you assault after hitting them with something like this jetbikes could always try and jump away in your assault phase. Finally he is the cheapest of all options to put on a jetbike, which is another benefit to him.

    Suggested Setups
    Dracite jetbike punisher tormentor helm combat drugs plasma grenades 112
    Relatively cheap this Dracite can add a fair amount of combat support to any jetbike unit, and can make them a much better distraction, even splitting off to engage multiple weak units or joining another unit if need be.

    Haemonculus jetbike scissorhand destructor plasma grenades 82
    This is just about the cheapest jetbike character you can get. Since he is not very good at combat the drugs aren’t a very good choice. He only has a 5+ save so he’s relying on his T5, 2 wounds and low threat level to keep him around for long, and losing one of these due to drugs can really cripple him. He should go with a smaller jetbike squad, as he is more of a support character than a front liner. It might even be a good idea to keep him back and join him to warrior squads or raider squads out of their transports, and intercept threats to your scoring units.

    Archon (Archite) jetbike punisher tormentor helm combat drugs shadowfield plasma grenades hell mask 177 (187)
    This is one of the most expensive HQ choices you can get, and is a significant investment in any points level due to the jetbike squad you’ll have to take with him/her. The punisher, tormentor helm, and combat drugs will help him dish out some serious damage. The shadowfield jetbike and hell mask can help him/her survive longer in combat. Wytch cult lists are generally less competitive than Kabals but if you want to take a wytch cult go for it, an Archite would perform better than the Archon due to her 4+ invulnerable after the shadowfield and her wytch weapons, and easily be worth the extra few points.

    The Emperor Protects

    IG Best Gen 1st overall of 10 DE 4th overall of 6
    Eldar 3rd Overall/Best General of 26--2nd Overall/Best General of 7--1st Overall/Best General of 11

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Collins254's Avatar
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    very good tactica, well stuctered and extremely useful was very pleasureable to read
    Fantasy : Empire, Chaos Warriors, Chaos Daemons, Vampire Counts, Beastmen, High Elves, Lizardmen( but i have opinions on every army just not the money)
    40k: Black Templars, Imperial Guard, Dark Eldar, Tau (thinking of Eldar)

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    Really interesting to read, gives an in-depth perspective on the RJB and for the part where you put a Haemonculus on a RJB, I tried it and maybe it's simply because I wasn't lucky but it just managed to get distraction for 1 turn, as soon as I said their was a Haemy on the RJB it was target of choice against a massive shooting from CSM... but it let me move the rest of my army for 1 turn...

  5. #4
    Son of LO kevin vanrooyen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maxmig View Post
    Really interesting to read, gives an in-depth perspective on the RJB and for the part where you put a Haemonculus on a RJB, I tried it and maybe it's simply because I wasn't lucky but it just managed to get distraction for 1 turn, as soon as I said their was a Haemy on the RJB it was target of choice against a massive shooting from CSM... but it let me move the rest of my army for 1 turn...
    Thats a good turnout, jetbikes main purpose is a distraction unit, thats why the distraction section of the tactics is first and the longest. If your RJBs were able to distract your opponents entire army for a turn they proved to be more than worth their points.

    The Emperor Protects
    IG Best Gen 1st overall of 10 DE 4th overall of 6
    Eldar 3rd Overall/Best General of 26--2nd Overall/Best General of 7--1st Overall/Best General of 11

  6. #5
    Scourge Lord Krovin-Rezh's Avatar
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    Well done kevin. This is a great tactica.

    It covers an under-represented unit completely and accurately, showing that it does have much worth.

    --•-My 40K projects-•--

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    Son of LO kevin vanrooyen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krovin-Rezh View Post
    Well done kevin. This is a great tactica.

    It covers an under-represented unit completely and accurately, showing that it does have much worth.
    Thanks for the support, i'm thinking of doing more of these for DE or other armies, to help shine some light on other useful although under represented units, but most of those units are either complete crap or I haven't used them enough to write an in depth tactica.

    I might do one on an IG psyker battle squad when my models come in, they seem to have some nice uses but it probobly won't be as in depth as this one, and i'm yet to try them out.

    The Emperor Protects
    IG Best Gen 1st overall of 10 DE 4th overall of 6
    Eldar 3rd Overall/Best General of 26--2nd Overall/Best General of 7--1st Overall/Best General of 11

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    Great tactica it has really inspired me to try reaver jetbikes again.

    Just checking but can a punisher be used with a reaver? I thought it was a two handed weapon and the jetbike needs one hand to steer.

    Would you be willing to write a tactica on Hellions? They're too fragile for me and I've never managed to use them successfully.

    Rep for the tactica on its way.
    "The nature of Mon Keigh was irrepressible!"

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    Senior Member Collins254's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sigelus View Post
    Great tactica it has really inspired me to try reaver jetbikes again.

    Just checking but can a punisher be used with a reaver? I thought it was a two handed weapon and the jetbike needs one hand to steer.
    the faq allowed jetbikes to be able to use 2 hands for weapons, so punisher and tormentor helm is indeed allowed(and a very good combo)
    Fantasy : Empire, Chaos Warriors, Chaos Daemons, Vampire Counts, Beastmen, High Elves, Lizardmen( but i have opinions on every army just not the money)
    40k: Black Templars, Imperial Guard, Dark Eldar, Tau (thinking of Eldar)

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    Member Sigelus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Collins254 View Post
    the faq allowed jetbikes to be able to use 2 hands for weapons, so punisher and tormentor helm is indeed allowed(and a very good combo)
    Thanks Collins254 for some reason I just kept in my mind that we could not use a 2h weapon when I read the faq. I look forward to using the combo!
    "The nature of Mon Keigh was irrepressible!"

  11. #10
    Senior Member Collins254's Avatar
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    no problem, i have been thinking of writing a tactica or 2 myself, but i need more gaming experience first, im alot more knowledgeable about WHfantasy than 40k atm
    Fantasy : Empire, Chaos Warriors, Chaos Daemons, Vampire Counts, Beastmen, High Elves, Lizardmen( but i have opinions on every army just not the money)
    40k: Black Templars, Imperial Guard, Dark Eldar, Tau (thinking of Eldar)

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