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Hey guys, I have been playing blood angels for a while and have recently thought about diversifying. Anyways I have been thinking that playing a bike heavy army would be a good change of pace,and have encountered the following problem:
I can use three HQs to create a bike heavy army
1) Master of the ravenwing
2) Captain on a bike of some description (equipment recommendations highly appreciated
3) Khan on moondraken
Now initially this boils down to a Ravenwing vs Codex marine discussion, and I can see merits for both sides
Ravenwing can scout and pack a ton of speeders in each list, also the bikers are fearless I believe.
While codex marines have access to badass Biker command squads, and in general can fit more into each list due to the lower points cost.
Khan also presents some interesting options, his furious charge and hit and run special rules would really help the above mentioned biker command squad (Feel no pain/furious charging marines, sounds like biker death company to me) although khans cost could be detrimental.
The biker captain is vanilla and generic, but is also cheap and customizable.
So I implore all the seasoned bike heavy veterans of the forum to enlighten a potential wannabe biker, rep for the best response!
I have used a force with the following to great success.
HQ squad tooled
Master of Forge, conversion beamer, bike
Sternguard + pod
Siege Dred + drop pod
Iron clad Dred + drop pod
8 bikes, PF, Flamer x2, Trike MM
8 bikes PW, Plasma, Melta, Trike MM
Iron clad Dred + drop pod
Dred + drop pod
Dred + drop pod
Worked really well as the dreds dropped in and flamered/assault cannoned everything in sight and made the enemy focus on them whilst the other elements moved to objectives or into shooting range. With the new FW rules for their dred pods the dreds will be even more lethal as they will also assault straight out of them! Sterguard bailed out and demolish whatever is in sight.
Bikes come in from the flanks whilst Khan and squad boost about until an opportunity to cc presents itself.
Typhoons keep well out of range putting down loads of templates or tank hunting.
Not lost with this list.
I realise its not total bikes but one can only buy so much.
welcome to the realm of speed!
Bike armies are so awesome. I just have to emphasize that right from the beginning.
Ravenguard is just wow. Especially in combination with Deathwing. I used bike armies combined with terminators that teleported down to homers to big success in fourth edition. But the problem is that Ravenwing is just ultra expensive. This definitely matters in low points games. You will have very few models, very few guns. Scout move is a gamble. If the opponent steals initiative you are pretty much lost. Against close combat weak armies you will probably still rock, but the few models are definitely a problem against Tyranids and others...
Vanilla marine bikes are much cheaper. That's a whole lot more models.
While Master of the Ravenwing is awesome, so is Khan. And with vanilla marines you can run the latter as well as a generic captain on bike. Khan's outflanking can win games, though I do not recommend it below 1,500 points (too few squads to reliably get enough of them in on the right side at the right time). For the generic captain: all you need is a relic blade and a bike, really.
You probably shouldn't worry about deciding all that much. You can play any set of rules you like (saying that your bikers are either of a Dark Angels successor chapter using their rules or of any other chapter using the space marine codex and a generic captain or a Khan-equivalent), so you'll get to try it all out anyhow!
As for bike armies in general I recommend an attack bike in each and every squad. They are superior to two bikers not only by points but also by firepower (while the only having the drawback of possible instant-kill which can be avoided by proper wounds allocation and that of losing a single non-power weapon attack on the charge). This really gives you an edge against anything you don't necessarily want to be in close combat with.
Captain should have a bike and a relic blade, as I said.
Your sergeants should have a power fist. (Maybe a teleport homer if you plan on using some terminators in your army.)
When equipping the squads you should assign each of them a role on the battlefield. Two meltas and a multi-melta attack bike make a wonderful tank hunting squad, flamers and heavy bolter attack bike make a wonderful anti-horde squad. Plasma guns are expensive a somewhat risky but give you a lot of flexible and far-ranged firepower, able to take out elite units and small vehicles. These can be combined either with the heavy bolter or the multi-melta attack bike.
Attack bike squads are very important. Multi-melta attack bike squads make the best tank hunters. But never underestimate the standard heavy bolter attack bike! They rock and kill a lot of models, I can tell.
Speeders are a good complement to bike armies. Scouts, assault marines and terminators can be too. But you should be careful when adding in other units. Not everything goes well. Don't put in anything that can't keep up and will slow you down. That unit would be totally lost in most games... A problem with other units in bike armies is that the best fitting (speeders and assault marines) need those precious fast attack slots your attack bikes take up.
On biker command squads: feel no pain combined with T5 and those saves is plague marine standard. That's tough to kill. And the extra power weapon of the company champion or of a veteran will very likely make your assaults very much more deadly. But a command squad is also very expensive. The bikes alone cost as much as the base cost of anther bike squad. So be careful, this can be a big points sink, especially in small games.
I recommend vanilla marine bikers. Take many bike squads with as many attack bikes as will fit. Take a cheap captain with bike and relic blade.
You can still try out all the different HQs and codex rules. And you will see that one way or the other bikes just rock the game. I have so much fun with them. Speed is everything.
Hope that helps.
But probably won't work as well at lower points limits, I fear. And it's more of a dreadnought list than a bike list. But I'd definitely like to see that list in a game. (If you have a video camera please tape one of your games! )
I'd run a vanilla list, you can do more with it. Bikes can take all the guns you need to solve most problems, only ranged armor and MC busting is outside of their abilities. That can easily be solved with some tanks, or a stay at home Dev squad if you're okay with them.
To piggyback something Red Archer said (as I often do) I would love to see any battle report taped. I actually have a camera and may do this, it had never occured to me before. A simple tri-pod and uploading to Youtube or something could create amazing battle reports. A few guys have done this, but they edit it heavily so it's kind of like "this happened, now it's his turn and this happened".
Whichever flavour of Bike List you opt for the basic tenets are "Melta up", "avoid CC at all costs", and "watch out for that tree".
Regardless of what weapon upgrades you give them each Bike in a squad has a twin-linked Bolter, and as such they have few problems torrenting infantry; vehicles, however, cause huge problems, so Melta weapons wherever you can take them are definitely the way to go.
You avoid CC like the plague because being locked in combat robs you of your two biggest assets; firepower and speed. Plus, considering the Bikers are the equivalent of Tactical Marines in CC they're really not altogether impressive, and since Bike armies tend to be even smaller than regular Smurf armies having even one squad locked in CC for a full turn is a very bad thing indeed.
Watching out for trees is also a big thing, because dangerous terrain tests will kill you. Since the Bike Squads have to choose between their 3+ Turbo Boosting save or shooting they still need to make use of cover to improve their chances of surviving AP3-2-1 weaponry, but because they can't enter it safely you need to rethink the way in which you move your models to take advantage of tree bases, buildings, walls and suchforth. It comes second nature once you've been doing it for a while but it's difficult to grasp at first and can be quite frustrating.
As to which flavour of army you should go for, I like them both. I normally run mine as vanilla Smurfs, although I've run them as Ravenwing a couple of times and they're pretty cool too. There are some differences between them; for example, vanilla Bikers (without Khan) can escape from CC whereas the Fearless Ravenwingers can't, but Ravenwing squadrons can be taken as Troops with just 3 models in each squad allowing more supporting units like Preds, Dreads and Speeders to be squeezed in alongside them. Personally I find Ravenwing more fun to play than vanilla Bikers, but the vanilla Bikers are a lot more dependable when it comes to winning games.
Biker armies tend to have even fewer models than marine armies on foot, that is very true. But unlike them they also tend to have a higher density of power fists and they needn't give up on shooting if they want to charge. You will definitely want to avoid _being_ charged -I would readily agree on that, and it's fairly easy to accomplish with bikes- but not going for any charges yourself is giving away potential.
You can shoot all you got and still assault. That's usually a very devastating blow that is perfect for finishing off any "work in progress". You have to be very careful what you assault, I'll definitely give you that, because you don't want to be tied up for long and you don't want to hit on something superior. But since the maneuverability of your bikes facilitates picking the assault target you want to pick and also concentrating your forces onto it.
This enables you to pick targets you can win combat against reliably and very probably also slaughter in a sweeping advance, as most such targets won't cause any unsaved wounds against your bikers high toughness. I exploit such vulnerabilities in enemy squads regularly and have good success with it.
Take the example of Necron warriors. Your firepower is good, but they are tough. You won't take down many of them, and a lot of those will get back up at the start of their next turn. Sweeping advance is key here. So you just run a bike squad into each warrior squad in the phalanx. That's a good enough chance to probably take them out in your assault phase or the enemy's thereafter, and even if some of your bike squads are sitting vulnerably in the open on the Necron player's turn he won't have all too much shooting at you - nothing you couldn't probably assault with the concentrated force of several bike squads in your following turn. If you engage enough of them at once they stand no chance.
Avoiding close combat at all costs also gives away your full firepower because you won't go into rapid-firing range (else you are susceptible to enemies assaulting you). But on the right targets it pays off to rapid-fire and then assault them - something only your bikes can do.
I agree with the rest of Frank Fugger's advice. But I don't recommend being so harsh with close combat. You just have to be very sure of what, when and where to strike, but only then are you playing to the bikes' full potential.
The trick with CC is to know when to charge, I wont enter combat until turn 4 or five and only then against weakned opponents. But thats just me.
Lets go massacre something
I am a sexy shoeless god of war!
I'd charge earlier if it's IG or Tau or something you REALLY need to tie up.