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Well after reading RedArcher's tactica on bikes I really wanted to make a bike army. But realizing I didn't want to get back into vanilla marines, I decided to look somewhere closer to home(space wolves codex). Since i have a copy of the vanilla book I did a side by side comparison. Right off the bar you notice they have lower BS and SW, and more attacks in CC(plus berserk charge). Based off RedArcher's explanation on how to use bikes properly, it doesn't seem like they work exactly the same. Their a little cheaper, and i think you could accomplish the same task as there counter parts. What do you guys think about them and has anyone even use them?
So first off, I love bikes. So much so I converted 7 GK to GK bikers so they fit in my GK army.
Swiftclaws and regular SM bikes would be used in very different ways. Previous editions of the SM codex had bikes that could be used in similar ways to assault marines, but the new version of SM bikes are meant to be a very mobile firebase. Attack bike plus all those TL bolters and up to 2 special weapons, they're often used with 3 metlas and to absolutely make sure some vehicle that has to die does. The only vanilla marine bikes that can assault well are a command squad on bikes, they're similar to wolf guard on bikes but even better for the points, actually. More limited conditions in which you can purchase them, however.
Swiftclaws though, are almost pure assaulty. So any tactica you read on regular bikes would be fairly useless to them. THey can actually still be alright shooty, not great, because of the TL bolters, but they only get one special weapon, and the attack bike will miss a lot. They're much better off assaulting.
So pretty much just shoot while you get there then charge. They dont seem much more effective as any other unit besides being fast and tougher.
Well hey, fast and tougher can be pretty damn good thing.
Swiftclaws are made of fail, sadly. All the benefits of Bikes (high mobility independent of transport, lots of good shooty weapons, resilient against most shooting, embedded heavy weapon and free ablative wound) are pretty much lost on them. BS3 is a killer, but beyond that they aren't even that good in combat (WS3 ftl). Attack Bikes are even worse, they have no redeeming qualities in a Space Wolf army.
If you want Bikes, go vanilla, avoid the furry biker wannabes.
I understand their supposed role, but the price you pay (both in points and the opportunity cost of FA slots not used on Speeders or TWC) in addition to their own problems just isn't worth it. To make them worthwhile, you have to get a WG or HQ to babysit them, whatever shooting they have beyond bolters is wasted on BS3, and after all that, they really aren't that effective themselves, just like normal BCs really.
If you want a mobile assault unit that doesn't need a tank to carry them, Thunderwolf Cavalry are the best.
I've pwned or seen pwned thunderwolf cavalry with a command squad on bikes, assault termies, and my buddies BT crusader squads, all at lower cost than the wolves cost. They have their place, but they're overcosted.
blood claw bikes on the other hand, have about the same impact as the jet pack version, yes are more expensive but are significantly more durable. They cost the same as a regular SM bike but have about twice the CC punch. They're bolter shooting,a s you alluded to, is fine with the twinlinking. Don't buy special weapons or an attack bike for them, duh.
You compared them with thunderwolves which barely have any shooting, either. Can you please start making sense sometime?
im not too well read in the new SW stuff, so my opinion may be invalid, but i think that dissing the shootiness of bike units that are supposed to get into cc is a little off target.
that being said, C: SM does still seem to do bikers best as the mobile firebase version has better anti tank capabilities and arguably does more for the points, though if the blood claw bikers could take PF's, and are reasonably cheap (to allow for redundancy) then i dont see why they could work to some degree, or even better if your army doesn't need more anti armour and they can simply charge enemy units to make use of all those juicy special rules.
lastly i would say that if you think any army would be very fun to you personally id say go for it and dash it all!