Monday, 19 September 2011

Troops: A talk of Bikes

A long awaited sequel has finally arrived!

Today we will be discussing the 3 bike troops choices available (imperials of course).
The 3 Codexes that have the ability to field bike troop armies are as follows:

-The Dark Angels, The First Legion, The Sons of the Lion
-The White Scars, The Hunters of the Wicked, The Riders of the Hunt
-The Space Wolves, The Wolves of Fenris, Children of Russ

So lets start by looking at the stat line:


These 4 are common to all 3 codexes, with the usual 4 Weapon skill and Ballistic skil
l. The toughness is 4(5) which means that for intensive purposes the marines on bikes are a bit tougher then their foot slogging counter parts. This however does not apply to instant death special rule, as a S8 weapon will still instantaneously take you out of the game. The wounds for all bikes are a steady 1, and a steady 2 for attack bikes.


All 3 codexes are limited to the base Strength 4 of a space marine, which as we will see later in this post can be changed through war gear and special rules.


Same as above , but only special rules may help the space marine bikers, no equipment in any codex increases their initiative beyond a 4.


-The Angels come with a classic 1 attack, 2 attacks on a Sgt. and 2 attacks on an attack bike. Their equipment is single pistol or chainsword.
-The White scars mimic their Angelic Brothers in this aspect.
-The Wolves of Fenris are quite special in this aspect as each Wolf Guard riding a bike receives 2 attacks base which is improved by him carrying 2 CC weapons giving them a 3 attack base on a turn that they did not charge.


-The Angels have a base LD of 8 and 9 on a Sgt, however they are not affected by LD checks so much as theyre all Fearless.
-The White Scars are also LD 8 and 9 on a Sgt. However they are not fearless and are subject to LD checks as normal
-Wolves are all LD 9 due to the fact that they are the veterans of the Space Wolf chapter.


Each bike has a 3+ save, which means that anything with an AP of 3 or lower is a very real threat. They however make up for their relevantly low Armour save, with the ability to turbo boost and claim a 3+ cover save.

Unit Composition

-The Angels start out with 1 Sgt and 2 bikes, this however can be upgraded to +3 bikes, as well as an attack bike and a land speeder. Keep in mind that due to Sammael being the HQ of your army, the land speeder counts as scoring if taken this way.
-The Scars may start the same as the Angels, however they differ in the way that they may take up to extra 5 bikes AND and attack bike, giving the squad a maximum size of 9 models with 10 wounds. Add to this the fact that every one is T5 and you have very powerful and survivable unit.
- The Wolves are unique in their own way, due to the fact that they may take 10 bikes, but no attack bikes or speeders in that unit. A 10 man unit of bikes with wolves will throw out 40 attacks on the turn they charge.


-The Angels suffer greatly here , as the only wargear that they may take is a single power weapon or fist for the Sgt. and up to 2 meltas or plasmas or flamers in the squad. The AB may choose either a M.Melta or a H.Bolter where as the speeder must have a HBolter and an assault cannon.
-The White Scars are limited to 2 special weapons in the squad, however they have the ability to give their Sgt. a combi weapon increasing the shootiness of their squads singnificantly. Imagine having 6 Plasma shots, 1 multi melta shot and 14 twin linked bolter shots in a 12 inch range, oh and you can ssault anything that survives that!
-The Wolves are the winners of the wargear segment im afraid, as each wolf guard has the ability to take absolutely anything he wants. The wolfguard may take Frost Weapons that will increase their Strength to 5, or they may each take a combi weapon, or even a storm shield. Were looking at a potential 10 man unit of doom here. Imagine a 10 man guard squad with 4 storm shields, 4-5 power weapons and maybe 2 combi meltas while wielding 4-5 Frost Axes. Wound allocation will definitely be able to help you out here.

Special Rules

-The Angels rely on their second company "Ravenwing" to act as scouts. Hence each unit has the Scout and fearless special rules. Now things get tricky here, as the codex states that units may not turbo boost in their scout move, however the recent FAQ rectifies this issue and says that they can, so depending on your local scene, were talking turn 1 assaults with a full biker army. Or even a 3+ save in the rare case that you dont go first but want to get close to the enemy.
-The White Scars if taken with the Khan have the ability to outflank, this means they come from reserves and may either come from the right or the left, with a 33% chance of you choosing which side they come in, this is acceptable. Theres a 66% chance that they come in exactly where you want them. Keep in mind that should you stick the Khan in a unit with bikes, you will be giving them Furious Charge and Hit and Run, S5 and I5 attacks all around ladies and gentlemen! As well as the ability to get out of combat as your opponents turn is ending so that you may charge him in your own turn.
-The Wolves have 2 special rules, acute sense and counter attack. The former lets them actually ignore night fighting rules, this is useful but will only be available 33% of the time in games. The Latter is where all the moneys at. Counter Attack means that if they pass a LD test they will receive the bonus of charging, even if they did not charge that turn.


Legally i cant state point costs for each piece of wargear, so il just give you a fully loaded out squad from each codex and show you how much it costs. This build is by no means the most optimal or viable game wise, it simply exists to show you the cost of a fully kitted bike troop unit

- Ravenwing Squad with 6 bikes, 1 AB/MM ,Landspeeder, 2 Meltas and 1 Power weapon 405
-Space Marine Squad with 8 bikes, 1 AB/MM, 2 Melta and 1 Power Weapon 300
-Wolf Guard 10 strong with Bikes, 2 Combi Meltas, 3 Storm Shields, 3 Frost Axes 645

As we can see from the above, currently the white scars are the most point efficient and game wise viable army. This of course is at the 1750-2000 point bracket, because as the point limit increases so does the viability of the other 2 troop choices. How ever we must remember the Ravenwing are an Alpha Strike army that can launch multiple Turn 1 assaults if played correctly

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