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I'm happy with my army and am not really looking to change it i like the models and the way it looks However within reason small changes can be made.
What i really need is some advice on the best way to play it. I just never seem to get deployment correct and end up with m y bikes geting assaulted by deep striking units or justy ineffective against the units they come up against. So i guess what i'm asking is what philosphy should i use for deployment, do i want first turn? and how best to manouevre and play to make the most of what i've got. It's been a long while and am just returning to the hobby after 2nd ed.
Space Marine Captain
(with full bike squad)
2 x 5 Bikes
Attack Bike Multi Melta
Attack Bike Heavy Bolter
2 x 5 Scouts
SGT PW, Melta bombs
3 Land Speeder Typhoons
2 Land Speeder Storm
Thanks for your help
I must admit, this is a very different list from mine, and i would imagine Red Archer would be the man to talk to about a bike list relying on speed.
However a few general tips should help, such as:-
Do not spread out to thinly, as you have so few men you will suffer for it. Pick a point on his line that you dislike, and smash it (or pick a point on the board that you want to defend like objectives and base SOME of your deployment around this)
Decide what units of his will give you problems, and if possible set up a unit that can kill it in a good position to deal with said enemy unit quickly (you have a stupidly quick army however, so this isn't so much of a problem)
Never take your eye off the prize. If its an objective based game, never forget that they are what you need to take and hold. Turn 4 and 5 are when you should really focus on clearing the enemy off the objectives you want (never get greedy...if there are 5 objectives, focus on getting at least 3. Also you can turbo boost onto an objective on the last turn to contest it, but this requires luck as you dont really know when the end will come). If it's an annihilation game, try not to let any unit get isolated and unsupported, and focus your fire.
Never judge someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes...by that time they'll be a mile away, and have no shoes
For the list it seems to be lacking AT, maybe attack bike with multi-melta would help. Just more AT.
Tactic wise remember that your bikes don't like S8+ or Ap3-, try and stay away from these or kill them. As mentioned above, attacking one point of the enemy is good and will also do this.
The main thing is to remember your extra mobility and toughness, This runs a bit like an eldar mech list: all squads support each other, fast, strike at weak points. Maybe it'd be worth having a look at their tactics. Also remember you're 3+ cover from turboboosting, as this saves you from the aforementioned missile launcher equivalents. One of the hardest things to do with a bike army is to choose where and when to go somewhere. You're often tempted to turboboost to the place and then shoot/charge next turn, however this isn't always effective.
With shooting armies (not very common), go full pelt towards them and smash through their line (they can't stop your T5 with 3+ cover, even with their whole army.
With assualt armies circle them and make them dizzy so they cna' charge you whole army, remember to keep your squads fairly close together as if one squad dies, thats a lot of points.
Finally, the 5th ed list, the mech list. With this pick off one transport at a time so they have to footslog after you, splitting your force in half is viable here as they are then seperated when you pop their transports but you can regroup and kill half their army at a time.
All these are easier said than done and it requires finesse rather than brute T5 3+ armor.
Hope this helps
The list is very strong and thanks to having your entire army vehicles or bikes your opponent will be overwhelmed for targets with his high strength weapons. By having your entire army tailored to one weakness your opponent cannot have another high strength stuff to fully exploit it thus removing the weakness. As for tactics, with this list I would really like to take that white scars captain with outflank for all your bikes if possible, it would allow you get behind the opponents line and cause some real major damage.
Ye Old Necrons (R.I.P.) (7000pts) W52 D5 L9
New Crons!!! (5000pts) W1 D1 L1
Blood Angels (2500pts) W4 D0 L1
Hello ottesoac, welcome to LO and its Space Marine subforum! Good to have another bike army among us.
You are looking for tactics with special regard to deployment, and yet you do not mention what enemy you seek advice against. There is no omnipotent deployment scheme that will serve you best in any and all situations, and there is little advice that can be given generally. One type of deployment, though, is very potent with fast moving forces such as yours, and its magic will help in many situations: reserve everything. Especially when going second, this can be of great advantage. The question as to why this is especially effective is partly answered in my posts about the three standard missions: Annihilation, Seize Ground, and Capture and Control. (Speaking of this, the Topic of the Week threads are a good place to look for advice, you will also find a thread about landspeeders, one about bike squads, one about bike armies, and so on. Whereas you may also want to join the Realm of Speed social group and talk to its members for additional advice on fast armies.)
Let me tell you something about fast armies. They are usually rather fragile, have few models, have less firepower overall, and are inferior in the assault overall. All that my seem very disadvantageous. The great upside, though, is that fast armies have superior mobility, and thus can bring the firepower they have to bear where it is dearly needed, escape engagements where they would be overtaken, and so on. You have fewer trumps, but the speed -as your ultimate trump- enables you to play yours at fare more opportune situations and to far greater effect. This is why swift armies prevail on the battlefields. They can adapt to every situation. This is what you need to do.
In case you ever have regarded bikes to be a means of making your tactical marines faster: discard that way of thinking immediately. Bikes are not just delivery systems for tactical marines. They are an entirely different unit that offers entirely different possibilities and requires an entirely different style of play. Space Marines usually excel at advancing towards the enemy and taking it apart at close range. This is not what bike armies excel at, always do keep that in mind.
The biggest strength of fast moving armies, as stated, is their ability to gain superiority locally, while being globally inferior. Your speed must dictate the game play, it enables you to pick your fights. And because Space Marines are all-rounders, you can always pick that kind of fight that is least advantageous for your opponent. The main aim is best summarized by the old latin proverb "divide et impera", divide and prevail/rule. You need to get your opponent to spread out, isolate some of his force, and bring your entire force down on the isolated enemy units, quickly redeploying to safety when reinforcements arrive. Hit and run. The latter is often more important than the former.
You will always lose a game which you do not focus on your enemy's weaknesses. If you use your bikes and transports to rush up to the enemy and throw everything at him as quickly as possible, you will die. You may win against Tau, Necrons or even Imperial Guard with this approach because close combat is their weakness, but most of the other armies will take you apart. The reason: you have "wasted" points for mobility, while they have those points invested in close combat prowess and guns. You must -this is imperative to being significantly successful with mobile forces- move on from trying to destroy the enemy army, to winning the mission. In an objectives game, for example, you needn't shoot a single enemy unit in order to win. You have superior objective grabbing and contesting abilities and can employ them last turn. Your opponent, however, has to commit his units to the objectives he intends to claim at a much earlier time, thus spreading his army about the battlefield and leaving you with the opportunity to pounce on a part of his force with your entire army, gaining local superiority.
Without knowing what opponent you will be facing, let me say something about versing a mechanized army. The key to vanquishing it, is to turn it into a foot-slogging army. Force them out of their transports. Then they will be slow to react and at your mercy. For this, you need a lot of long-ranged medium-strength weaponry. You have three typhoon landspeeders which suit this role just perfectly, unfortunately you have them all in one single unit. Therefore they can only engage one single target. Your melta bike squads have weaponry well suited to take out vehicles, but they are not long-ranged, and that is the problem. If you melta a transport, you are probably unable to escape close combat. Sure, you can just pull off the charge yourself, better than being charged, but the fact remains, that bikes are by far no dedicated assault unit and are thus do not perform overly well. Which brings me to weaknesses in your list which I do feel need to be addressed before we can discuss tactics. You do not want your bike squads to get close unless you can really overwhelm an isolated part of the enemy force. You don't want to be your bike squads to be the working horses of your army. They are the ones that provide a little aid here, a little aid there, but in general stay at a distance and wait for the game to end where they will be securing victory by grabbing objectives. Keep them alive until then, this is very important!
Your scouts are foot-sloggers. Yes, you have them in fast skimmer transports. But seriously: what is their role in your army? Scouts are very fragile. You can melta bomb something or assault something, true. But it is a suicide mission: they won't survive the rebound! And the way you equipped them they need to get into close combat in order to at least do anything. This does not go well with fast moving armies who have to be able to adapt to every opponent. Same for your landspeeder storms, by the way. The heavy flamer is nice, but it can only do damage when close, and proximity is that which will get your landspeeders killed the quickest. The concept of the landspeeder storm is compelling. A fast skimmer transport that carries scouts? Awesome. But frankly game-wise the unit sucks. The scouts are unable to accomplish much on their own, and the storms take away your precious fast attack slot which you desperately need for your support units. Read my breakdown of the landspeeder storm here. Drop the scouts and storms. Trust me, you will do better without.
The full bike squad, by the way, isn't very effective. As a single unit it is much too large. The extra bikes don't do much. In fact you will only have problems moving that large unit around and finding the space to maneuver really well. And split into combat squads you will lack upgrade weapons (which are one of the main things that make bike squads effective) and just a tiny bit too few wounds. Four or five bikes per squad, plus the attack bike. That is the optimal number. And always maximize on your upgrade weapons. At least give a squad two flamers if nothing else. You don't need power weapons on the other hand, because your bikes shouldn't be seeing close combat, they aren't very effective at it against opponents they would need power weapons for. If something goes bad and you end up in an unwanted assault: drop out voluntarily using combat tactics, and then auto-regroup with ATSKNF. Melta squads may have a power fist if you can spare the points, flamer squads may have a power weapon if you insist. In most other cases it's a complete waste.
What you need as the working horses for your army are landspeeders with guns. Long-ranged guns are better - in fact the typhoons you have are perfect. But you need three seperate squads. Read more on landspeeder tactics here (Tactica: Landspeeders). Against MEQ armies these will get the enemy on foot for your vindicators to clean up the battlefield. The captain, by the way, is most effective with a relic blade. The extra strength helps a lot and is far superior to the extra attack.
Ditch scouts and storms for three more typhoons to have three squads of two. Drop the surplus bikes on your full squad and buy more upgrade guns. Give your captain a relic blade. Now you have a consistent army that is able to adapt to any playstyle.
As for deployment: consider reserving anything, works wonders against many opponents. You can always see where your opponent has deployed and react to it. You can come onto the board and are guaranteed first shots. You can come onto the board on the flank that is weakest. You can come onto the board in such angles as to target side armor. And very importantly: you have superiority in movement, which means that if you survive you have very good chances at winning. Since your biggest weakness thus is your fragility, reserving everything saves your army one or even two turns of being shot at and really helps you stay up and running.
A more detailed discussion of deployment and tactics is only possible with more detailed information (about terrain, the opponent force, the mission).
Wall of text, but maybe some of it is actually useful advice. Search the forums as I have suggested. There is much already typed out, hidden in other threads. Much to be read, much to be learned. And now most importantly: have fun! Always good luck with your dice.
Thanks for all the advice guys. It seems apparent that my method of deploying by trying to cover the entire deployment does leave my troops rather spread out and now it's been pointed out to me it really does make sense to deploy in concentration and go after one flank/scary part of the enemy. This would probably also help the problem with my typhoons as they destroy transports but then get taken down by bolter fire as there are no other units close to support them. I probably don't take advantage of the turbo boost rule enough as i'm paranoid about trying shoot every turn. I do try and concentrate fire on enemy units with my bikes, someone always seems to pod right behind them though.
As far as the armies that i've been playing they are space wolves, orks, daemons and eldar. In fact my only victory has been against deathwing/ravenwing. The space wolve psychic power with dangerous terrain tests just seems to ruin me. A first turn assault by a trukk and stormtrooper ork army with waagh just seemed to be a slow death for the bikers in close combat.
The landspeeder storm and scouts are there because i love them as models but i do find them usefull out flanking and taking out other scouts/rangers. I have also used them to get my bikes out of trouble in assaults and as a pair to take on other units. The vindicators never seem to get chance to fire before they are shaken/stunned but on the positive side they do keep my typhoons alive which seem to get transports and predators quite happily especially with 3 in a unit. Would three more instead of the storms/scouts really give me that much more of an edge.
You've given me a lot to think about and i'm kicking myself for obvious mistakes. Thanks for the advice.
Especially against drop pods and deep-striking Daemon armies, reserving everything is very potent. They will have to put at least half their army down before they even you where your units will come from, and if you go second it will even be 75% of their army on average. Without the proximity, deep-striking units are often lost, and at the very least deprived of a dangerous alpha-strike.
Keeping your units together at all times isn't necessary, only when they are close enough to get into trouble, then they are definitely required to be able to support each other. But the nice thing about such very mobile forces is that you can pull your forces together in virtually no time, meaning you can go ahead and make a feint as long as there's still some distance between you and the enemy. Against opponents that have not versed me before I often deploy one unit on a flank where it can be hidden. The enemy will move towards it in order to take it out and will commit to that flank. Then when your force comes onto the table you put your units on the table on the other flank and turboboost your feinting unit over there. Just an simple example.
Meaning: especially at the initial deployment (if you don't reserve everything) it is perfectly okay to spread out. It may provoke your opponent to do the very same thing, only that he can't correct that mistake within a second's notice. And even if he doesn't spread out: he will have to make some kind of commitment, then you can see where he is heading and pull your units together in a favorable position to best counter the enemy movement. Keep your force together during the game, but not necessarily at the very beginning.
Turboboosting and moving flat out is very important. As I said: in objective games your army is better suited to win as long as it stays intact. So you are supposed to rather stalk the enemy, move away, evade, take some easy shots without endangering yourself too much. Playfully avoiding being killed is the key to success with mobile armies.
Three more typhoons would definitely give you an edge. Why is that?
Think hard about your scouts. The models are awesome, but killing off other scouts/rangers? Your bike squads can do that too, if need be, or the typhoons. Your scouts serve no real purpose. The typhoons on the other hand do not only add ranged firepower (so that you can stay at a 47" distance, retreating 12" if the enemy comes closer and still shooting it) such that you may gain superiority at range. It forces your opponent to react to you, play your game, come towards you, close in with you. Instead of you with your short-ranged weapons having to close in with your opponent and giving up the great freedom provided by your mobility. If you use mobility only to rush towards the enemy it wasn't worth it.
But more important than having three additional typhoons is the fact that you would have three squadrons of typhoons instead of one. Isn't three typhoons shooting at one rhino pretty much overkill? Two will do a fine job stopping it. And now imagine you can stop three rhinos a turn instead of only one. Does that make a difference? Oh yes it does. And typhoons can not only kill rhinos. They kill everything but 2+ armor save infantry and AV14-all-around vehicles. Frag missiles are awesome in such density (believe me - it's quite annoying to work out all the scatters of six typhoons meaning twelve missiles, but the result is usually well worth it), as are krak missiles for killing MEQ infantry or vehicles or monstrous creatures. Nothing kills monstrous creatures like typhoon speeders. They are so versatile a unit and so long-ranged and mobile... pure awesomeness.
Well as much as i'm loathe to drop the storms i can always keep them as an option for more relaxed games. Also dropping the size of the bike squads and maxing out the upgrades on them, how about this for 1750. 65pts to spare by my math, however i just worry the bike squads are a bit slender now.
HB attack bike
2 Plasma Guns
MM attack bike
Can just about make these changes without too many extra purchases.
Awesome. You'll do much better.
Options for the extra points: an extra bike for a squad or two, power fists in the melta bike squads if you want, artificer armor on your captain (always nice for wound allocation shenanigans), hellfire ammo and/or combi-weapon (preferably plasma) on the captain, combi-flamers on the sergeants. Much to choose from!
You should always use the vindicators in a wall so that they can shield each other and really hit hard. Same for the typhoons: you can easily detach them from the rest of your army and use them as an independent wing (they pack enough firepower to take on an entire flank of the enemy on their own), but always keep them at a distance and always keep them reasonably close together (until turn four, where you will start getting ready for objectives contesting). The bikes should stick together too and stay in the vicinity of your vindicators to support them and be supported by them. If there is a land raider to be destroyed, sacrifice one melta squad on a suicide mission to kill it. When things get ugly, jump the attackers with multiple bike squads, you should easily be able to take out a unit when shooting and assaulting it with two bike squads, thus annihilating two enemy squads should be possible in a single sweep. Just don't do it if there's more nearby - then rather retreat and shoot them up some more from afar.
Deployment: play with reserves. If you want to bait your opponent, start with one or two of the plasma squads on the table. These are able to take some annoying heavy bolter shots with the attack bike from behind some cover at extreme range or hiding entirely, to lure the opponent. Turboboosting along a short table edge will appear like an attempt to outflank your opponent while granting you a 3+ cover save. That way the enemy force will already have abondoned its defensive positions when your reserves arrive and the typhoons are almost guaranteed shots on side armor, while the vindicators are guaranteed to get off a shot without being shaken before they can try.
Remember: get the enemy on foot and try to stay alive and intact. Then victory will be yours. High-output high-strength weaponry is a priority target, so if there's any hydras on the board, for example, kill them with your typhoons. Probably better to start with nothing on the board, in that case, so that the enemy can't bring its firepower to bear. When your typhoons come onto the board they can kill the hydras (or whatever equivalent) and you're one step ahead. Try to go second if you reserve.