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I've heard several opinions on this topic. As I'm working on my chapter's Dispensational 2nd Company (Be Swift as the Wind / Death before Dishonor) I'm beginning to be more interested in the basic mechanics of the bike-marine.
Particularly, does every bike mounted sgt require a powerfist the same as ever tac squad sgt?
I fear the answer will probably be yes, which will involve me having to track down at least five more power fists.
I don't think they require powerfists, so to speak. But they are helpful. I would use them if I were you.
Turtles For the Turtle God!
Shells For the Shell Throne!
Imagine all those tanks and MCs just sitting there invulnrable to your standard bike squads... unless of course you took the fist...
for tanks 1 Fist > 1 Meltagun IMO
-SONS of RUSS member-
Exiled until 5thED redo...
I have found that running my (5) bikes with a multi-melta attack bike, 2 flamers, and a standard sgt is a good balance, if not a bit pricey.
My reasoning on this is:
Vs MC: the multi-melta can safely deliver some lovin' from a distance as can the bolters without setting myself up for a combat that will quickly deliver the pain to my beloved (and expensive) bikers. The majority of the MC's out there have sufficient strength that T5 might as well be T4, and no save, so the bikers die just like regular marines, but at a much more painful cost. Sure, a fist would get to swing last and likely score a wound or two, but at that point I have lost alot of points, and unless I get lucky and grease the thing in a single round of combat, I'm gonna lose more the next round when it goes before the PF again. There aren't alot of MC out there with sufficient toughness to be immune to bolter rounds, it just feels that way after you shoot at them to no effect.
Vs Tanks: the multi-melta has sufficient range, combined with the manuverability of the bikes, to get in side and rear shots, which only get easier to penetrate if you are within 12" for the extra dice. Against alot of vehicles, twin linked bolters to the rear is still a significant threat.
The flamers: 12" move, and strong close range supporting fire from the rest of the squad makes the bikes ideal to assist an assault squad with softening fire on a target before the jump-pack boys vault in and mop up the rest. If used in this fashion there is a strong chance that you will get to fire the flamers more than once per game, as opposed to 6" movement marines which tend to flamer/rapid fire and then get charged or spend the rest of the game shuffling towards another unit.
Personally I just don't find the bikes have enough melee punch for prolonged combats, even with a fist in their midst. Sure, against the remains of a squad of fire warriors or guardsmen after they bbq /blast them at close range, the bikes can hold their own and win, but if they get bogged down and counter-charged then you stand to lose alot of points. Putting a fist in the unit will increase the melee potential, but I just don't feel that the bikes should be in melee in the first place, better to keep them moving and harrassing enemy forces.
I believe Chaosbyrrn (not sure about the spelling) has a good bike tactica in the forums, if it wasn't him/her then I apologize for not crediting the OP.
Games Workshop is the Wal-Mart of hobby products, except for the low prices. The lack of respect and profit mongering is there in spades.
Power fists work best in big squads. You want a bunch of meatshields protecting the fist. In the case of bikers, this is very expensive meat. Similarly, plasma guns are suboptimal on bikes because they will often rapid fire them, but die just as easily to overheats as normal marines(but cost way more).
I would keep it cheap: small 3 man bike squads with 2 flamers or 2 meltaguns, no sarg. These are excellent short ranged weapons, perfect for a super-mobile shooty unit like bikes. Just my thoughts.