Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Help with the bikes.....

I really haven't been playing my Storm Lords bike army lately. They don't seem to have what it takes to win consistently around here with the rise of Dark Eldar, Grey Knights and Blood Angels in my area. My bike army used to do very well and was consistently in the top five of most tournies but now seems like the knife being brought to the gun fight. I know that any army can win on any given day but I just can't seem to come up with lists I like any more. As a case in point there is a 1500 point tourney this Sunday and I have been playing around with lists but haven't found one I think will do well. I am hoping our readers can give me some inspiration and ideas to redo my bike army.
I just want to talk about why I feel that way and take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of a White Scars army and why they I feel they have dropped in power.
The number one strength with a White Scars army is speed. We used to besides Eldar be the umatched kings of maneuverability. With fast troops we could redeploy on the fly and take objectives in late game turns and extend our threat bubble accordingly. However with the rise of Blood Angels, DE and GK we are just one of the fast armies. BA can be fast all their vehicles can move 12 and shoot or go supercharged and go 18". Plus they have a lot of jumpers and precision deep strike to get where they need to be. Dark Eldar are ridiculously fast. No comment is even needed on how fast they are. Even GKs can be fast. Stormravens, personal teleporting interceptors and dread knights plus the teleportation of strikes, termies and paladins.
This has all combined to negate or blunt our speed advantage. Plus a lot of armies now have ways to put units in difficult terrain. Tremor staves, murderous hurricane, sanctuary, thunderfire cannons are all murder on bikes. All those dangerous terrain checks can really but a hurt in your units plus it doesn't allow for turbo boosting to get the all important 3+ cover save.
The second strength of the White Scar force is toughness five troops. This makes up for the limited quantity of guys. However DE don't care about T5. With poison all toughnesses are the saem and you will be making a ton of armor saves. In combat with BAs everybody is usually in the furious charge bubble making your toughness five not nearly as effective especially with then going at int 5.. GKs are shooting you with psycannons and autocannons which laugh at your toughness five, plus when you do get into combat they are also going ahead of you and all have power weapons and hammerhand at the very least.
With these two strengths neutralized or at the very least marginalized it seems like the inherent weaknesses of low numbers and dearth of long range firepower are even more magnified. The tournament scene in the Chicago area seems to be dominated by Wolves, BA, GK and a smattering of DE (Especially GK). Just wondering what your fixes for these armies you have implemented so I can steal er I mean gain inspiration from....


Massawyrm said...

Staying competitive with bikes is all about maximizing melta these days. Run bikes in five man units comprised of 1 sgt, 1 bike marine, 2 melta and 1 MM Attack Bike. Run several 3 man MM Attack Bike squads. Run Vulkan as your named HQ and a standard bike captain to make your bikes troops. The amount of TL Melta this army can deliver anywhere on the board is incredible.

Black Blow Fly said...

To be honest I never thought biker armies are all that great. They just have some really bad matchups.

swanson4969 said...

A few years ago Bikers were very competitive. At the last big waaagh I won best general, finshed in the top 15 at Adepticon and did well in the last round of GTs and RTTs. Just now the landscape has changed drastically. Sure you can deliver a lot of melta but at most it is only 4 melta shots MM 2 x MG and CM and then you had better be able to finish whatever you shot off because you are going to eat them next turn. Yo have to have some HtH which entails either termies or bike command squad and now a days you need psychic defense which eats up points with a libby.

Aldonis said...

I love my Bike army and enjoy the heck out of playing it. But you hit on a lot of the inherent problems that it has in today's meta-game world. I think you have to have Assault terminators or some other core unit to soak up the firepower. Khan is a must as well. A Command squad is a must have to provide additional cc power - LC/SS dudes are needed. I don't know about the libby - lot's of points for a "maybe" nullify. Think the Chaplain a better option or maybe Shrike to infiltrate the Termies.

Tough army to run nowdays. I ran all bikes at Adepticon last year - and was the worst showing I've ever had at any tourney.

Maybe Sabote can give you some ideas.....

Aldonis said...

And thanks for doing the article man!

Black Blow Fly said...

At the time biker marine armies provided a viable troop choice.

Bikeninja said...

Something that I would look at including in a bike list is plasma. I know it is not popular but plasma pistols and rifles have been great to me for awhile. Both of my games against Tyranids 2 years ago at Adepticon my plasma payed off 4 times over. When I get into 12 inch range with those plus some melta....not alot can stand up to that.

swanson4969 said...

I always include plasma in my biker lists. I usually run one sqad with combi plasma 2 x plasma gun and multi melta in every list.

Josh_theMexican said...

I can understand your frustration with the current meta. I normally play Blood Angels but have been drawn to bike armies. I've working with my dad on a bike army for him, and it's been a lot of fun play testing. You mentioned a 1500 point limit, and I'm currently building him toward a 1500 list that has:

Captain, Bike, Relic Blade
Command Squad, 4x LC, 4x SS
Rifleman Dread
4 Bikes, 2 Meltaguns, MM Attack Bike
4 Bikes, 2 Meltaguns, MM Attack Bike
4 Bikes, 2 Plasma guns, MM Attack Bike
Typhoon Speeder with a MM
Typhoon Speeder with a MM
Predator with Lascannons

I haven't tried it in a competitive environment, but the mix of weaponry has proven useful thus far. The list usually plays out so that half the army takes out dedicated transports at range for turns 1/2 while the bikes turbo-boost forward to focus on high priority targets later.

I hope you find something that works for you.