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I was playing a campaign versus my Dread Wolves friend the other night, and the game was stalled for fifteen minutes or so as we tried to figure out...
Why do Space Marine Bikes and Attack Bikes have Bolt Pistols? It seems to be an entirely redundant bit of wargear, as Bikes grant the Relentless USR and are already fully equipped with a better weapon (weapons in the case of Attack Bikes).
My only conclusion was so that they could trade it for other weapons.. but that's just silly, why not save some ink and rewrite it as "two models may take", etc...
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Normally I'd say "Close Combat" but plenty of other models can fight perfectly ok without a CC weapon!
I've actually used them before when I was within 12" and didn't want to risk breaking the squad I planned on charging. Yes, I know I could only have fired half of them instead but I'm not going to deny my boys the chance to shoot some filthy xenos
Bolt pistol is the official back up weapon of the marines and everyone gets one!
Bolt pistols at 12" will soften up unit to be charged with less chance of killing off al those in charge range.
Arch Overfiend & Grand Despot
I currently play:
Doom Eagle Space Marines
Hive Fleet Omega Tyranids
Goff Ork Boyz(dead)
Tau of O'me
Inquisitorial Xeno Hunters
and my attempted foray into fantasy
'Dark Angel Green' Dark Elves in need of fluff
Plus they're Astartes! Thinking outside the game system for a second, imagine a small squad gets separated from their bikes for some reason. They'd just be walking around naked as a power armored babe!
It also matters in the sense that the sergeant can take a power sword for instance which gives him an offhand bonus with the bolt pistol when charging.
It does sound a little weird saying you get an offhand bonus on a bike but technically it works.
He swaps the pistol for the sword though doesn't he? So if by "offhand bonus" you mean "extra attack" then he doesn't.
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