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I have a white scars bike army but have recently been bought some assault terminators as a present. Having never used this type of elite unit before I'm unsure how to equip them. Are lightning claws better than the thunder hammer storm shield combo?
Is deep striking better than sending in a landraider?
Any ideas anyone?
Assault terminators: LC or TH/SS - which is better? That depends on the situation.
If I'd have to make a definite call, I'd say that overall the TH/SS terminators are better. But they are just different, actually.
Lightning claws are better for killing infantry, generally. They have one more attack while having approximately the same chances to wound T3 and T4 (slightly better than thunder hammers versus T3, slightly worse versus T4). Plus - which can be a big advantage - they attack in initiative order, that means at I4: this enables them to kill some enemy models before those may strike or at least strike simultaneously, meaning that even the models you lose will still do damage before they die.
Thunder hammers, however, can impose instant death on multi-wound infantry (they eat swarms or Ork nobs or Tyranid warriors / lictors / zoanthropes for breakfast), they have better chances at killing monstrous creatures, they really mess up vehicles against which lightning claws really have a hard time. Though they strike last in combat, they have the additional bonus of the storm shields' protection, which means that only half as many of them will die to power weapons or monstrous creatures or two thirds as many against AP1 or AP2 shooting even when the lightning claw terminators have 4+ cover.
As you can see, the thunder hammer is a lot more versatile a weapon. It hits late, but it hits hard. Hordes can be taken care of by other units, terminators should strike down the enemy elite - meaning number of attacks isn't that important. I would go thunder hammers, also because your terminators will very likely be targeted by armor-ignoring weapons and the higher survivability by means of the storm shield really gives them an edge. Also note that - unless charging from a land raider crusader or redeemer - the lightning claw terminators will also be reduced to I1 on the charge when assaulting through cover.
But fortunately we don't have to pick only one of the two: squads of assault terminators can be of mixed weaponry, ans this is what I usually do. Three TH/SS and two LC assault terminators is the combo I usually use. If you boost the squad number to six I'd suggest going TH/SS on the sixth as well. (3/2 in a squad of five, 4/2 in a squad of six, 4/3 in a squad of seven, 5/3 in a squad of eight,... you get the idea.)
This usually worked best for me, though sometimes I wished I'd used 4/1 or even 5/0, to be honest. Those storm shields can be quite life-saving, and the thunder hammers pack quite a punch... remember that vehicles are at least stunned by them, and monstrous creatures that survive a hit are reduced to I1 for the next assault phase as well. Neat bonuses!
As for deployment: do not deep-strike them. The land raider definitely is the better option!
Deep-striking them means that they will not be present for the first turn, and even if they arrive as early as second turn (which is usually only a 50% chance) they can't do nothing but spread out a little (running 1d6") for that turn, plus you have the danger of losing the unit to a deep-striking mishap, which is a pretty nasty loss considering their points value. If they come in early and survive, they will still be foot-slogging and slow: the enemy can too easily move away and avoid them, reducing their immediate threat to zero.
The land raider is an assault vehicle: the passengers may disembark and charge into close combat in the same turn. Since you can go 12", disembark 2" (winning the 2" plus the terminators' base width, which together is [almost] 3"), then assault. Much bigger threat range! The land raider is expensive, but it is also a threat on its own, and it makes your assault terminators mobile.
I am not very much a fan of the redeemer. Though its flame cannons are awesome on paper, they rarely get used and are too close-ranged. The crusader has several advantages, including being able to transport up to eight terminators, and is very viable, but honestly I like the standard godhammer-pattern land raider best. Its lascannons are superb transport and artillery killers even on the move.
Another way to deploy terminators (a little cheaper but without the awesome land raider) is using Shrike and infiltrating them. Shrike also gives them fleet, which adds to their threat range and even makes foot-slogging viable, considering that they already start from an infiltrator's position. But in a bike army you're probably better off with the land raider.
Hope that helped. Good luck and lots of fun, mate!
[Sorry, didn't see the thread at first and replied via PM. Now everyone can read my reply here as well.]
This is great info thanks. Red Archer does it again. You've made me reconsider my own plan of 4 LC and one TH/SS on the sarge. This was the option suggested by another gaming buddy who said really pound for pound LC were the only way to go.
Mobility is pretty critical to you so I'd consider the following idea.
Take a librarian (power or termie armour) and put him with your terminators. Then use 'Gate of Infinity' to move around 24" a turn. Be aware you can't assault from this move though. Use scout bikes with locator beacons to stop deviation. I think it could be a good tactic.
I'm with Justice For All on that one. Use some locator beacons are things arround the board to hop arround far and bring the termies into the fray, but at that point it may be worth it to spend the points and take either an assault cannon or a cyclone missle launcher.
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Unfortunately Codex: Space Marine Assault Terminators (unlike Codex: Dark Angels Terminators or Codex: Space Wolves Wolf Guard Terminators) can't take ranged weaponry.
Personally I do not recommend gating terminators. I've tried them, and while they dictated the entire game (the enemy always having to move out of their threat range again), they did nothing else. The enemy didn't have to waste any firepower on them (he knew moving away suffices because they can't do anything at all beyond their 12") and he managed to completely avoid any assaults.
Moreover, I was very close (maybe a millimeter) to suffering a mishap with them twice that game. You may think this problem can be solved with scout bikers, but honestly: they are not a very points-effective unit, especially for bike armies, and they can really easily be killed as well. And beware of thinking gating terminators have their mobility for sure: you can fail the psychic test, your psychic powers can be blocked (good luck versing Eldar with Runes of Warding, e.g., or Space Wolves with a Rune Priest, etc), you scatter without locater beacons, and - very importantly - the librarian can be killed. He is very fragile in comparison to the terminators he is with, and chances are - especially in close combat where he can be singled out - that he'll get munched.
So the "fragility" of the land raider (the chance of it being destroyed and your terminators losing their mobility) isn't an argument for gating, which is just as unreliable. Also remember that the librarian and scout bikers have their points cost as well, and they add little offensive capability while adding easy kill points. You can either use Gate of Infinity to teleport 24" and then stand there (or spread out a little by running in the shooting phase), or you can assault 21" in a single turn with a land raider. The land raider also adds quite some offensive potential.
Just my thoughts on that.
Are Terminators practical in a bike army then?
They are not optimal as they slow you down quite a lot and take away a lot of flexibility: you lose many points that would else have bought you more mobility and firepower. Nonetheless, they are viable, because they are one mighty tool! They can fend for their own, being extraordinarily tough as they are, and do not necessarily force your bike army into supporting them.
I don't really want to recommend them because they chew up lots of points, but there's not too much wrong with taking them in bike armies. This has been discussed in the Tactica: Space Marine Bike Armies, please reference.
The way I use them in my bike army is to drop them on a spot where you know where there will be heavy fighting by the end. Driving up and ploping down 5-10 assault termies on an objective turn 2-3 with a locator beacon will cause pain, and hopefully crush or soften up any resistance before your scoring bikes swoop in on turn 5-6, not to mention drawing fire away form the relatively squishy bike squads. Another fine way to do things, is to land them right in front of a gunline such as a hill full of devistators, or a basalisk park, or even an angry mob of brezerkers, and let them do over two or three turns what your bikes would struggle to accomplish in one decisive strike.
In a bike list I use I take a 10 man sternguard squad to do a similair job that sniperjolly has mentioned. Tends to work well with lots of combimeltas and a couple of heavy flamers. Can really neutralise units that would cause your bikes issues. May be more useful than the termies.