Friday, 17 January 2014

Bikes for Preferred Enemy

I’m off to a 1,650pt tournament next weekend. I’m bored with Tau (gasp!), so I’m taking my bikes.

I took them to a team tourney a couple of weeks ago and really enjoyed playing them. Very different from Tau. Boiling it down to its most fundamental – with Tau you win the game in the shooting phase, with the bikes I think you win the game in the movement phase. Makes for a very different play style.

At the team tournament my list was basically Khan, a Chapter Master, 3 full bike squads, 2 Scout Squads  in Land Speeder Storms, and a couple of Thunder Fire Cannons. I went 3-0-0, but due to the “match up” mechanic, I was able to avoid some horribly bad match ups (Demon FMC spam and Dark Eldar venom spam!). I played mech elder (4 Serpents, 3 Fire Prisms and 2 Crimson Hunters), Orks (I think 4 battle wagons), and Tau (Farsight with double Riptides some Broadsides and a bunch of suits). 

For the singles tourni I need to build a more balanced list, in particular I need to build in some anti air. In the past I’ve used twin Stormtalons, but I’m going to try something a little different. Here’s the list I’m taking

Clan Raaukan Primary

Chapter Master, artificer armour, Bike, Power Fist, Lightening Claw, Chain of the Gorgon

5 Scouts in a LSS with Heavy Flamer
5 Scouts in a LSS with Heavy Flamer

Thunder Fire Cannon
Thunder Fire Cannon

White Scar Allies

Khan on Moondraken

Full Bike Squad with 2 Grav Guns and Combi Grav on the Sergeant, Multi Melta attack bike.
Full Bike Squad with 2 Grav Guns and Combi Grav on the Sergeant, Multi Melta attack bike.


Inquisitorial Detachment

Ordo Heriticus Inquisitor, Psyloccum, 3 servo Skulls, Psyker with psychic communion (Warlord)
Ordo Heriticus Inquisitor, Psyloccum, , Psyker with psychic communion

Running through the list

The Chapter Master is of course a beat stick. He will usually lead a combat squad of bikes, typically one with 2 grav guns and the combi grav. Scout confers, so he can scout forward with the White Scar bikes, and also benefit from their Hit and Run USR. He has a 2+ armour save, a 3+ invulnerable save, 5+ FNP and 5+ It will not die and (until he loses 2 wounds) eternal warrior. He has 4 wounds, 5 attacks base (+1 to the normal 4 because he takes 2 specialist weapons), and he can chose to use either his lightening claw or his power fist. A tough nut to crack!
To be honest I suspect he is a bit of a points sink, but we’ll see.

The Scout Squads will almost always start in reserve and come on via outflank. They’re primary role is to deal with back field scoring units and snatch objectives. They’re super mobile and the 6+ FNP from IH Chapter Tactics makes them a little more durable. However, the LSS also brings Deep Strike protection against, for example, a Drop Pod list (the pods scatter 4d6 because of the LSS Jamming Beacon), and the Heavy Flamer is great at clearing out objective campers with 4+ saves. The Scouts are close combat scouts (bolt pistol and chain sword). They’re OK in Combat, especially if you hit the squad with the Cerebus Launcher, blinding them before you charge.

Thunder Fire Cannons are pretty amazing with barrage, BUT, if their first round doesn’t hit, they can be really bad! Which is why, 9 times out of 10, I plan to attach an inquisitor to each TFC and roll on the divination table for prescience. Making them twin linked really helps.

The reason I’ve made Clan Raaukan the Primary detachment is so I can take 2 TFCs with Iron Hands Chapter Tactics. The plan is to have them close to the Stalkers so the Tech Marines can repair them. They do this on a 3+  i.e. 5+ normally, plus one for the servo harness and +1 for Iron Hands Chapter Tactics. As I read the rules they can do this and fire the TFC. With luck they’ll also be in a bolstered ruin. So 2  AV12 vehicle, with a 3+ cover save, one of which has “It Will Not Die”, and both of them recovering hull points on a 3+. Unless you kill a Stalker outright, they’re going to be pretty resilient!

Which brings me to the Stalkers. Essentially I’ve re thought my anti air,  swapping the 2 Stormtalons for 2 Stalkers. This is the big experiment in the list. On paper they look reasonable. They’re probably not quite as effective against flyers as Stormtalons, and are certainly much less effective against ground targets, but then again they are on the table turn one, and should be pretty resilient. Two of them are also 100pts less than 2 Stormtalons.

The points saving is attractive, but the main reason is I felt the ‘talons didn’t really synergise well with the Scouting Bikes, particularly when playing against flyer armies. Mostly I want to go first with this army to capitalise on a scouting alpha strike. However, with Stormtalons, against e.g. Helldrakes, I want to go second. With luck, that means the ‘drakes are on the table first, and my ‘talons shoot the ‘drakes down when they come on from reserve, after only one turn of BBQed bikes.  However, with Stalkers, it doesn’t matter.  I can go first and still have a chance of killing the Helldrakes, and also give my bikes 2 turns to cause carnage, before the  Helldrakes come in.

The other synergy I like with the Stalkers is their ability to split fire. So, rather than fire 4 twin linked shots at one target, they can fire 4 normal shots at 2 targets, albeit at BS2. However, if the inquisitors prescience the Stalkers those BS2 shots are twin linked … which is OK. So against  weaker targets (i.e. non AV12 flyers) I can hit 4 targets with 2-3 strength 7 shots, rather than 2 targets with 4 S7 shots. Might help against flying MC spam, or Venom spam, or even Night Scythes.

The big problem of course is that against anything other than flyers, FMC’s or skimmers they’re snap shooting. Casting prescience on them, and Splitting fire to give 8 BS1 twin linked shots helps, but they’re still not great. What I need to work out is what to do with them against armies with no flyers and no skimmers. Moving cover for my bikes? Tank shocking infantry into clumps for the TFCs?

The Khan is there to give the bikes scout, and to “lead” (read tank wounds for) the other combat squaded grav gun unit. Having played a few games with this list now I think he’s worth the points for “Scout” … but only just!

The Bike Squads are pretty self explanatory. They need to be protected, and used reasonably conservatively, but they hit hard with their grav guns, and the Attack Bikes give me more options against heavy armour. They can be pretty devastating if I get first turn and a good Scout move!

Finally, the inquisitors are there for a number of reasons.

First, the servo skulls should ensure I get to scout, or at least nobody scouts against me. Second, prescience boost the TFCs and the Stalkers, if I decide to split fire, or fire at ground targets. Thirdly, they are my answer (sort of) to screamer stars and other psychic death stars. Combined with the TFCs, and the Psyloccums (BS10 against Psykers) I can hopefully barrage snipe the key models that make the units work e.g. the Grimoire Herald in the screamer star or the Fortune Farseer in the Beast pack, or Seer Council.

However, I might not always take prescience. If I’m playing an army where I might want to reserve units and bring them on from outflank. I can use psychic communion to bring on my reserves on a 2+.

Finally, the inquisitor is my warlord which allows me to cast caution to the wind with the Chapter Master and Khan, without risking “Kill the Warlord”. I expect to get the Chapter Master and Khan killed every game! And the Ordo Hereticus Warlord table is pretty good. At the team tournament I rolled a “3” twice, which is an additional orbital bombardment. Two S10 AP1 large blasts as an opening salvo is nice!

So that’s it – what do you think?



  1. I like your plan for the stalkers, honestly I'd dismissed them and have been using 2xStormtalons...but you logic is impeccable...and they can't be intercepted like Stormtalons!

  2. Nice list, There are many ideas I find interesting ^_^
    Unfortunately, Khan HAS to be your general in order to give his units the Scout :/
    May I suggest a change with a bunch of RG tacticals+rihino? :)

  3. Hum..."general"... Warlord XD

  4. Ahhh... never spotted that. Damn. Makes me wonder yet again, whether Khan is really worth it!

    Back to the drawing Board!