friday 40k humor

friday 40k humor

Monday, November 18, 2013

How You Beat Dem Now:

 Space Marines Part 1: Bike Armies

original posted on 40k Daemons 

Two colons in the post title! Screw you, grammar!

Space Marines are starting to come into their own. While they haven't made a lot of noise on the tournament scene yet, they have proven themselves capable to dealing with the top tier stuff out there. Once people get the army figured out, I expect it to be right up there with Eldar, Daemons and Tau.

Space Marines have so much variety that it's kind of tough to write a blanket article about defeating them, so I'll split this into installments. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, it's all about killing T4 models with 3+ saves, which is fairly easy. Unless you're facing a bike army, and then that's not what it's about.

So lets' start with bikes as my guess is White Scars will be the strongest SM template in the current meta. At 2k points, you can expect 30-40 bikers in units of five. One will probably be a very nasty command squad. Most will have two grav guns because that's the friggin' point of running a SM bike army, but smart players will have at least four meltaguns and maybe a couple flamers in there as well. A typical list will be Khan on Moondrakkan, a command squad, 5-6 bike squads depending on points level, and however they decide to support it, whether it be allied Tau, Storm Talons, Thunderfire Cannons, etc...

Grav guns are what make White Scars armies work because they're useful against many targets in most armies, and salvo weapons on relentless platforms are made for each other. Wraithknights and Riptides go squoosh, Wave Serpents get immobilized early, Tyranid MC's die fast. In a Daemon army, only Daemon Princes and Bloodthirsters need worry about grav weapons for the most part, which is nice. However, if you are playing flying circus and one of your dudes gets grounded early in the shooting phase, it's all over for his ass. That said, the bike still has a TL bolter for your other stuff, so you're not off the hook. However, compared to Ravenwing with a dakkabanner, White Scars are much less of a threat to Daemons.

I will digress a moment to discuss White Scars vs. Ravenwing. In my area, there is this one dude who plays Ravenwing, and he is outstanding with it, having won both Nashcon and the Redstone Rumble GT in Huntsville, AL. He doesn't live near me so I haven't had the chance to play him, unfortunately. He beats you by having more scoring units than you can kill because he makes liberal use of assault bikes, which are two-wound single model scoring units that you have to waste firepower on. He also takes advantage of Ravenwing's ability to combat squad in units of six instead of ten (Ravenwing has some shit going for it.). White Scars can't do that, but they cost less and get grav weapons. If playing Daemons, I would be much more worried about Ravenwing. In fact, I think a properly-constructed Ravenwing army might be better than White Scars despite the points advantage the Mongols enjoy. I'm not qualified to give an opinion on that, but suffice to say, bike armies are solid.

Bikes are best dealt with using vector strikes, baleflamers, psychic shriek and overwhelming charges because if even one bike gets away, that's one pissant scoring unit that may come back to bite you when the game ends. If you're like me, you'll wish you ran two baleflamers when facing bike armies, but then you'll realize how much it will help you shoot down the Storm Talons with their two HP and you won't mind so much. Psychic Shriek ruins bikers' days, since they're usually LD8 and the average roll on 3d6 is 12. Combined with a second shooting attack or vector strike, that's a dead squad per turn.

Always vector strike a five bike squad with two things in the same turn if you can so you have strong odds of wiping it out in one pass, allowing you to shoot different targets. A weakened bike squad is not a threat, but it is a problem you'd rather not have to worry about.

Bikes tend to be able to spread out fairly well, but a pair of twin-linked blastmasters should be able to whittle them down quickly so that they pose less of a threat. They can also pick off stragglers. Bike armies don't deal well with attrition. As they lose models, they get weak fast, so anything that quickly removes bikes from the board is a big help.

If you are playing horde, you'll want to plan out how you will box them in because if they break out, you probably can't chase them down. Keep in mind that if they roll high enough on 3d6 they can hit and run right through you and be 24" away or more in the next turn.

Because of grav weapons, the Land Raider and the Maulerfiend are non-starters against a bike army. Any TAC list you build for a tournament had better have a plan to deal with White Scars if you include either of these. Since I haven't figured out a way to run a Land Raider that has proven worth it yet, I don't suggest bringing one of those at all.

While I don't recommend them in a TAC list, Fiends are great against White Scars at it puts them at I1 for their hit and run checks. It is worth mentioning.

The weakness of White Scar bikers is dealing with hordes because their volume of fire is pathetic relative to Tau or Eldar. However, smart players will recognize this shortcoming an supplement with Tau or a Thunderfire Cannon. Perhaps even two. We'll deal more with the Thunderfire later, but suffice to say, it presents target priority decisions.

The most general advice I can give against bikers is to go first, kill what you can in the first turn. In turns 3-4 attack hard enough to wipe out entire squads at once, then pick off the stragglers in the late game. Box them in if you're playing horde and go after the Thunderfires quickly or you're in big trouble.

Next time, on a very special episode, we'll talk Drop Pod armies.
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