Welcome to Librarium Online!
Join our community of 80,000+ members and take part in the number one resource for Warhammer and Warhammer 40K discussion!
Registering gives you full access to take part in discussions, upload pictures, contact other members and search everything!
The bike squad, one of the most popular units on this forum. Fast durable and deadly, reminiscent of the knights of old, charging into battle atop their mounts, but are they worth it?
Do you use bike squads? How well do they do for you? What weapons do you give them? How many guys do you put in the squad? Do you include an attack bike? What enemies do they work well against? What enemies do they not do well against? Discuss anything and everything about bike squads.
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
Durable, both in toughness and with the turbo-boost save. Fast. Very powerful shooting, with multi-melta attack bikes probably being the best anti-tank option in the codex. Probably the best list you can make with Marines is an all-bike list but they're costly dollar-wise so you don't see too many of them.
Red Archer plays a bike list IIRC, so he should be dropping in any time now to give us some of his crazy smart German advice.
The above poster = Totally a member of the Fluff Masters Clan. Click here for fluff pwnage.
Come, sons of LO! Kneel before Poodle!
Mr_Wayne: "Some people believe that the World Eaters do not field any ranged weaponry. Those people often die at a distance."
Indeed a fine topic.
Some people are reluctant to take bikes, fearing that having few models would make them more vulnerable.
This is true to some extent, because heavy weapons still kill bikes as easily as they kill tactical marines. But the tacticals (unless within a fortified ruin and therefore out of range to do any good) do not have access to a 3+ cover save and they can not deal with enemy heavy weapon threats as easily as bikes. Bikes will melta-pop that tank or cut down that heavy weapons squad in close combat more quickly than any other unit.
Against weaker guns bikes are by far more durable. S6 and S5 guns are still pretty much effective, but most of the standard squad guns and their close combat attacks (S3 and S4) suffer from greatly reduced effectiveness (66% with S4, 50% with S3) against bikes. That makes up for the lack of models (probably something around two thirds of what you'd have in marines for the points).
So you get fewer models, but these are a lot tougher, a lot shootier, and a whole lot more maneuverable, which is the biggest boon of all. Bikes have a hard time in terrain (at least if you keep rolling 1s on your special models like I do) and can't go up ruins, but it's a small price you pay for the awesomeness you get.
Bike squads are best taken as troops with a captain on bike. A fast attack slot is just too precious to waste for normal bikers, because if you are looking for a good complement to your non-biker army you are probably much better off with attack bike squads, speeders, or even assault marines. (Same is true for biker armies, but they don't face that problem. They will have all their fast attack slots free for those other units...)
So: normal bikes either as troops or don't take them (and use attack bike squadrons instead). In the latter case you are probably well advised in taking a pair of multi-melta attack bikes as heavy tank hunters, they work very well. I'll leave it at that, because attack bike squadrons are not the topic of this thread...
When putting together a bike squad the first thing you should add is always (!) the attack bike. It costs less than two bikes and is inferior to them only by having one attack less on the charge and the danger of losing both wounds through instant-kill, which can be easily avoided in a bike squad by proper wounds allocation. On the plus side you get a very powerful weapon upgrade and the option of suffering one wound on your squad without reducing effectiveness at all.
The heavy bolter is not to be underestimated, especially because it grants bike armies to do some damage from 36" away, which you sometimes need as a safety buffer. The multi-melta is a very powerful weapon too with an entirely different function. Which weapon to take shall be discussed later.
How many models to put in a bike squad is a difficult question to answer in general. If you want to take bikes as troops you are obliged to have five models per squad, which is probably also a good minimum number for a bike squad: four bikers and an attack bike. Since usually you will want to keep your sergeant and have two expensive upgrade bikers that you want to live it can seriously increase the survivability of your bike squad to add a sixth model. These are the two squad sizes that have served me well.
Taking less won't let you have them as troops and would also force you to waste upgrades or have an extremely vulnerable squad comprised only of expensive upgrade models. Taking more is usually a waste and becomes difficult to handle, because bikes need space to move around - this is what keeps them alive and effective. I do not recommend taking full bike squads in order to combat squad them, because a biker combat squad is just a bit to small, and therefore vulnerable, for my taste and since both combat squads have to share the maximum number of allowed upgrades they are very much less effective.
How to arm bike squadrons is an interesting issue.
Bike squads are usually associated with meltas in most people's heads, and that is for a reason. Bike squads can deliver deadly melta fire to any hard target on the board within the first two game turns and they can have a lot of melta weapons to make sure they get their job done. Tank hunting is one of the things they excel best at and therefore the melta bike squad is and should be one of the most common. Two melta guns and a multi-melta attack bike, possibly upgrades on the sergeant (melta bombs or power fist - let's talk about that later).
Another popular squad combo seems to be the flamer squad. This squad should have two flamers and I definitely recommend leaving the heavy bolter on the attack bike and not upgrading to multi-melta. This squad is a very effective hordes killer (because the flamers can be positioned almost perfectly thanks to the movement range, and the many bolter shots plus the charge thereafter is usually enough to take out large squads of cheap enemy models). Since this tends to get close-up and personal the sergent might want to have close combat upgrades (power weapon or fist).
The plasma guns seem to be a little less popular, maybe because they seem expensive. But with relentless on bikes they are an awesome fire support option and I usually try to field a plasma bike squad - and to good effect. I usually leave the heavy bolter on the attack bike in this squad too, but it would probably work as well with the multi-melta, for more medium tank-hunting and MEQ infantry-killing power. Upgrades on the sergeant are usually unnecessary in this squad as it is supposed to be used at range.
I mentioned sergeant upgrades: a lot of people like power fists on their tactical sergeants so that these can deal with any threat. I am one of these people, yet my biker sergeants rarely have power fists. Why is that?
A lot more so than tactical squads bike squads can choose where and what to fight. They are not as easily caught by an enemy threat they would rather have avoided, because they are very effective at avoiding threats. Moreover whilst tactical squads can opt to break from close combat they usually can't regroup because they don't fall back far enough with the enemy consolidating in their direction. But bikes do. That extra D6" makes all the difference.
Still, bike armies need some power weapons against heavy infantry. In the squads that have to get close (flamers and melta guns) those upgrades can be very useful indeed. So melta squads with power fists are fine (though I don't upgrade all my melta squads in this way, it is just too expensive and really not necessary), as are flamer squads, though those usually choose to combat more numerous and less tough enemies and therefore are fine with a power weapon.
Melta bombs may be a good back-up option on non-powerfisted melta sergeants. If you shot your melta guns effectively you are probably within 6" and therefore assault range of your target. If you really somehow managed to fail to hurt it you can put your luck to the test with the melta bombs once more. But this is more of a points filler.
Combi-weapons on sergeants are viable options, but for one shot this is more than I wish to spend, personally. Two weapon upgrades plus the attack bike is usually enough firepower in one unit anyways.
I will not talk about biker captains, biker command squads, or attack bike squads, since these are not part of the topic of the week. The biker captain is probably really not worth his own topic, but I imagine a topic on command squads in general might yield an interesting future discussion?
Thanks for the thread, Kevin.
Phew Red that's a lot to absorb, I'll read it all when I'm less tired!
Are they worth it? Hell yes. I make it my purpose to run my bike squad in every list I've played so far. I give one biker a meltagun and attach an attack bike with multimelta. They have performed well every game, their higher T and occasional 3+ cover save is gold. A tough, fast, hard hitting unit. I can't wait to finish my second attack bike and bikes to complete my second squad.
Thanks for the insight Red Archer! I'm slowly changing my force over to a bike orientated one and with one squad of them right now i'm already really happy with them. I run 6 bikes with one flamer, one melta gun, the sergeant with a power fist and an attack biker with multi-melta. This squad did wonders with the land-speeder spam Ravenwing list I faced last weekend and I have big plans for them.
I've also got some great ideas for attack bikers, if we're going to open this to them too i'm happy to share, but i'll see where this thread goes.
I would say they are the best what a marine player can have. One of the most competitive themed army can be built on them. Quick, hard hitting. Good at shooting and cc.
I have only 850 pts yet so I need three multimelta attack bikes to get my proper 1000pts biker list.
Attack bikes are awesome esp. they are cheap two normal bikes and have better weapon, two wounds etc.
I use PF sergeants just in case (maybe it is because the orks I have need Klaw as many as possible).
PS.: I just forgot to mention that my SM supposed to be converted to CSM but I loved the bike so much that I wnated to play biker army! So, no conversation made. That`s how I love them!
I, for one, am angry.
While my #1 favorite original Legion is obviously the Thousand Sons, my #2 has long been a toss-up between the Raven Guard and the White Scars.
So a day or two ago, I found Lost Nemesis' excellent Raven Guard guide and I thought, "Ah! It's decided, then; I now know that the RG are not only very fluffy but can be quite crunchy too! When I (eventually) make a loyalist army, I'll go RG!"
And then I find this beautiful piece by Red Archer! Now it's back to being a toss-up!
For this you shall suffer a punishment most dire... You will be forced to carry a Rep Point! No, no, it's too late for tears or apologies; you've earned your fate! That Rep Point will weigh you down for the rest of your life, and you will eventually get a hernia! Bwa ha ha ha ha!
Heh, if I wasn't a BA fanatic I'd definitely go Scars or Ravens. In fact my painted army is going to include a lot of bikers so I can mix and match between the 3 chapters at will.
Back on topic, I love my bikers! They're awesome against Tau, and very good against everything else. If I run bikers I always have a Captain on Bike (no point not making them troops when it's an option), with 4 + AB in each squad. Powerfists on each serg (as I do in every squad when thunderhammers aren't an option), the rest of the squad will go equipped for either anti-tank (melta) or anti-infantry (flamers + heavy bolter).
Usually I'll have 2 AT squads and 1 set up for AI, with any extra bikers being of the scout variety. For large point games I'd pair this these with Command Squad bikers bearing plasma guns.
And when I thought my day was towards its end, what do it get huh? A giant wall of text that my Vangards would be hard pressed to jump over
I digress. . .
Great job Archer. I have been planning on increasing my low number of bike marines and this only makes me want to do thta even more! Their speed and power are purely amazing!
"Basically don't imagine rules that aren't there, you'll only hinder yourself." ~realitycheque
Still new to 40k sp please have patience.
Can I request we open this up to Attack Bikes also? I'm itching to hear people's thoughts on these as well!
I am a noob, but my 1k list contains a rhino rush with 1-2 MultiMelta Speeders for my anti-tank, can someone with experience discuss how these would compare to 1or2 attack bikes instead?
Going off-topic even further, how do captain's and other HQs on bikes perform as independant characters?
If we need to stick to the stated topic, I request these topics for future weeks discussions!