Wednesday, November 10, 2010

40k: Space Marine Bike Army Evolution pt2

Hola amigos.

I have a tentative 2k list that I like for my bike marines.  It has the things I want in it: Rifleman dreads and a tooled out command squad on bikes.  As you'll see, I have some extra points.  If I cut 20 more points somewhere, I can make each bike squad 7 strong instead of 6, which I think has definite merit.  I know how fragile this army will be, what with AV12 being the highest armor in the list and only 18 scoring bodies.  I think going to 21 scoring bodies might be worth it.  On the other hand, I could use those points to add power fists or combi-weapons to the Sarges in order to make the scoring bodies I have already more useful.

And I already know what the advice will be: ditch the command squad and go up to 8 in each squad and add three dakka preds.  That's probably good advice, but I have learned never again to play a firepower list that doesn't have a close combat element.  I could add a thunderbubble, but that's even more points than the command squad and arguably less resilient.  So rather than to advise me to throw the baby out with the bath water, indulge me my uber unit of death.


Space Marine Captain                    195
-Relic Blade
-Storm Shield

Command Squad                           320
-4x Meltaguns
-4x Storm shields
-3x Lightning Claw
-1x Powerfist

Librarian                                         135


5x Bikes                                           205
-Attack Bike with MM

5x Bikes                                           205
-Attack Bike with MM

5x Bikes                                           220
-Attack Bike with MM

Fast Attack

3x Land Speeder Typhoons            270


3x Dreadnoughts w/ 2x TLAC         375

Total: 1925

So like I said, I have 75 points to play with.  3 more bikers is 75 points.  That 75 points could  alternatively buy me combi-weapons and leave me points to spare.

Where do I go from here?  More bikers?  Combi weps on Sarges?  Fists on Sarges?


  1. More bikers! BTW- thanks for the post yesterday. I appreciated it.

  2. I think... it's more helpful to have your biker squads to have double special weapons rather than a flamer/melta combo. Your army is small enough that you need the redundancy on the flamers to combat hordes- a single flamer, 2 melta shots and 6 (8?) TL bolter shots aren't going to do much to 30 boyz (or 20 boyz, for that matter) and 2 melta weapons won't do much to a 6-wound MC.

    I'd suggest making them more specialized, or if you're stuck on keeping them 'diverse' then add a combi-weapon (preferably a flamer). A list this size really does need more punch in the anti-horde department, and you've already got reasonable enough anti-MC/light armor with your speeders and dreads. All you really need is a squad or two to take out Land Raiders (your command squad) and the rest should probably be dumped into anti-troop stuff.

    Just my take.

  3. Definitely not stuck on keeping them diverse.

    So one squad dual melta, one squad dual flamer, one squad dual plasma? That's fine by me. Should I go combi-weapons with the extra points, extra bikers, fists?

  4. Ok, as someone who has played a bike army extensively, let me toss my hat in the ring and throw down some suggestions.

    1. MELTA > everything

    With bikes, you need melta. You NEED it. It is your most reliable means of killing tanks. Otherwise, you're relying on Riflemen and missiles off Speeders. Neither one of those are particularly durable.

    Plasma sucks because bad rolls = dead bikes. That costs you men and takes away your weapons. With bikes, you have the speed to run rings around hordes and pepper them with bolter fire from out of charge range. You don't need flamers like you need melta.

    2. I don't recommend Preds.

    They are too slow for your army. Riflemen fit because they can move and fire every turn.

    3. Bigger Squads are better

    SM Bikers pay out the ass for sarges. Every squad you take have to have one, whether you want him or not. You want to maximize the bang for your buck and go for the big squads that can be split to give you more melta platforms firing independently.

    4. You need to decide what kind of bike army you want

    Some may disagree, but I think there are a couple of different bike builds and you're trying to make a combination that doesn't necessarily work.

    There are fast and slow lists (with bikers + dreads = win) and command squad lists.

    In fast and slow, you end up with shooting superiority at the cost of close combat expertise. You have a quick part that rushes towards the enemy and breaks things while your slow guys suppress the remainder. You can get a captain and a really stripped down command squad, but you lose shooting to do so.

    For the command squad route, you really almost want to go pure bikes (or as close as possible). Your big nasty rock of a command squad costs almost as much as TH/SS Termies in a landraider, so you have to squeeze the rest of the list for efficiencies. Because bikes don't have a high body count anyways, you have to scrape to get as many as possible. You usually end up with just bikes and speeders because everything else is too damn expensive and cuts into your ability to score.

    Right now, you're balanced between the two rather precariously. You've got a big, nasty rock and some shooting. What I don't think you have is enough scoring bikes. I run 3 full squads (split into 6 combat squads) at 2k and rarely have more than remnants left if I face someone competent. Even keeping the squads big won't save you against someone with enough shooting.

    Maybe I'm wrong, but I think you either need to cut the command squad (or reduce it to merely bad ass instead of super bad ass) to get more regular bodies OR cut the other elements and go all bikey + super bad ass command squad.

    Sorry that I wrote like a whole book here ;)

  5. Kennedy, you make some great points. Now I'm thoroughly at a loss.

    I won't even bother with the list if I can't use the command squad, because that's the part that appeals to me.

    I was thinking about cutting out the Typhoons, which would free up a ton of points for more bike bodies and melta at the expense of long range firepower. But then I have three dreads hanging out there like a sore thumb ready to suck up lascannon shots all day.

    I've also pondered cutting the Librarian, adding a MotF and going to 6 dreads.

  6. If you're gonna go with the command squad, drop the dreads and try to spam as many bikes as possible. The speeders work with this because they are fast and small. You can also save a few points by making them MM/HF and using them as movement blockers/deep strikers.

    If you're gonna go with the dreads, take a look at my Space Cops list... It ain't exactly what you're going for, but it's what you end up with when you spam the dreads.

  7. The command squad as you have it at the moment costs 375 + meltabombs, your Captain costs 180.

    Another route is going min. squads: 4bikes+AttackBike-tri melta

    gives the max of special weapons.
    I would mix full and min squads if you go single-command squad.

  8. I disagree with Kennedy, saying that melta is everything, and that the speeders/dreads suck vs. tanks. They'll do just fine against the majority of armies, and you only really need melta around to take out Land Raiders/pred spam.

    What happens when this list runs into 180 boyz? Gonna shoot 16 melta guns at them, kill a couple, then die a sad death to Power Klaws, due to the low number of attacks bikes put out- their T5 isn't going to help much vs. S8 Power. This army isn't a combat army- you need a way to win against high-model count armies that doesn't involve close combat.

    I'd also recommend not going to route of plasma on bikes- they're cool in theory but like Kennedy says, they end up killing you eventually, and guys on bikes are expensive! Rather, I'd personally go the route of 2 bike squads with 3x flamers (w/ MM Attack bike), and one with 4x melta. This way each squad is somewhat anti-tank (got the MM attack bike) but can also REALLY hurt horde units- even marine squads are going to flinch when you dump 3 flamer templates on them, as well as all your other shooting.

    I just don't see how a pure-melta army can win every game in a competitive setting. You're too likely to find an army that you can't deal with, and auto-lose. Two melta squads is more than enough, combined with the dreads and speeders.

    Think of it in these terms: if you don't take any melta, at least you'll have 12 TL Auto-cannon shots and 6 S8 shots every turn to kill tanks. If you don't take any flamers, you'll ONLY have 12 TL Auto-cannon shots, and 6 S8 shots/turn. Enough to kill a high-model count army? Not really...


  9. Command Squad o Bike Should have Plasma gun all the way. If the over heat, you have the feel no pain if you miss your armor. The more points you spend on command squad, the less you have for the rest.The plasma command biker squad is not reliable for combat, a few power weapon attack and there out. They should attract firepower and use interfering cover to his advantage.

    Your Hq Should hang around with a Regular Biker troop, mostly one with a powerfist and all melta. Basic strategie: you open a tank and charge its content. Or since you have dreadnought with 2 TLAC, they can open light armor, and a biker squad with 2 flamer and captain will do so much damage, that the player will have to allocate wound on sergeant and other weapon holder.

    I agree with most people about versality. ALWAYS put 2 of the Same soecial weapon in a squad.

    Personaly, since your not playing your librarian in termi armour with S.Shield, pay the cost to make him an epistolary. Being able to reroll succeed ++save and inflict an instant psychic strike is always a nice option. Charging termi (Not ligntning claw) while holding a segeant with power weapon and castin null zone, you will have a huge smile on your face!!! Do not charge Termi squad of more the 5 Termi strong, They are usualy hard to chew on.

    I would change the fast support choice (Land speeder Typhoon) For Predator with heavy bolter sponson and MAYBE a hunter seeker missile. Thery 13 front armore make them a lot more reliable then the extra lighted armor from land speeder. You sacrifice speed and a bit of penetrative power, but you add a lot more resilient and anti-troop power.But I have to admit that i'm not used to Land Speeder.

    Anyway, hope that help. Sorry for the long post. Good Luck!!