Saturday, November 28, 2009

Chaos Space Marines Units and Tactics: Chaos Bikers


It is now time to cover Chaos Space Marine Bikers! First off, I would like to show off this lovely model posted on Dakka by FU 2000 here: http://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/229484.page Superb Work!
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Alright, with the photo credit out of the way, it is time to cover Chaos Bikers.
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I feel the need for speed: Chaos Space Marine Bikers like all bikers can turbo-boost for a 3+ cover save. This means that they can take a lot of turn 1 fire if you go first, they can contest objective for a little "Turn 5, I win" action as well as a few other tricks they have up their sleeve. With their points cost being a little on the steep side, it is important to make sure your bikers have a dedicated role in your army so they do what you paid them to do!
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Vehicle Hunters: Chaos Space Marine Bikers can field 2 melta-guns in their squad regardless of the size. Combined with a good turbo-boost and you can start frying vehicles on turn 2 with extreme prejudice. This squad taken at the minimum points cost weighs in around 119 and has one benefit over the minimum termicide and chosen units (Chosen outflanking): You know that they are on the table and you know where they are going to be (if they live). This unit will draw a lot of fire and the 3+ save is no garauntee that you will get there, so try to get into a good spot and avoid massed fire when approaching your target and if they die, make sure the units that didn't take all that fire that was dumped on the bikers, make it worth the effort.
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To make this unit a little more survivable, I pump up the squad number to 5 and either leave it at that or take an icon of Chaos Glory. I really try to keep it cheap as I do not count on them surviving long.
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Daemon Bomb: A common tactic for Chaos Bikers to make them a mobile Daemon delivery system. This works well due to the turbo boost that could possibly put a Greater daemon or a squad of Lesser Daemons into the enemy ranks on turn two. The cost of the GD is 100 points, add that to the 48 points you will pay for the bare champion and ask yourself if it is worth it. If you think it is, then try the tactic out. If you pull it off it can be devistating.
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The vehicle hunter unit works very well for the daemon bomb. If you are using lesser daemons, then crack a transport or two turn one and have your bikers in position. Hopefully you will get your daemons in for a charge, allowing your bikers to roll off to pop more vehicle. The Greater daemon will allow you move and maybe use him to pop a big tank or at least cause the tank to move and sacrifice its shooting for a turn.
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My thoughts on the daemon bomb is that it is very situational and requires some finesse. It also often means that you are putting weaker units (I consider the GD a weaker unit) ahead of your army and out of mutual support range. You are also counting on those daemons coming in and when you count on dice going your way, the Dark Gods laugh at you! At least that is my opinion.
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Bikers as Assault Troops: I have the same problem with using Chaos Bikers as assault troops that I have with using regular Space Marine bikers for that role: There isn't enough of them to put out enough damage to survive combat. Sure they can cut down straglers and should do so, but assaulting full squads will often end badly for you. If you want them to be dedicated assault troops, then you will have to pay for it!
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To properly kit them out for CC, you will need to powerfist (to do enough damage to help you in combat resolution), you will need 5+ bikers (to have a volume of attacks on the charge and for survivability) and I recommend the Icon of Nurgle. The Nurgle Icon will make you T(6) and will make you that much more survivable in close combat and to shooting on the way there. This unit can also be pretty nasty with some flamers and either a lord or a sorceror. A lord with a Daemon Weapon or lightening claws can make a nice damage sandwich with the powerfist involved and will help you win combats very well.
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A fluffy sorc would be a nurgle sorceror with either Nurgle's Rot (could be a CC beast) and a very unfluffy choice would be a Lash Sorceror. This would allow you to push and pull units all game and he would be insulated in a decent meat shield. For the Lash Biker squad, I recommend just taking the nurgle icon, no champ and maybe the meltaguns or flamers.
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A note on Icons: Note that I left the other Icons out of the tactica so far. Let's take a look at them;
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The Icon of Tzeentch is probably the worse choice in Icons for the bikers as it gives them a 5+ invule (a hail Mary shot if you ask me), which you can do better that with a boost save in most cases. The Icon of slaanesh will give you I5, which seems like it would help you in combat, but the problem they have is model count; there just aren't enough bikers doing enough damage to really make that I5 worth it. Volume of attacks leads us to Khorne: This is a runner up behind the Icon of Chaos Glory and the Icon of Nurgle for me. The thing is that the model count is still a little low and I would only take it if I knew I was fighting an enemy with weak troops who couldn't handle T5 very well and would die to W4 S4 easier than a basic space marine.
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This leaves us with two choices for icons in a take all comers environment, both of which I covered above.
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Overall: I like Chaos bikers for either a cheap and disposable anti-tank unit (3-man, 2 melta and spammed) or, in large point games played for fun, I like the CC version with lords and sorcs for the fast assaulty feel of them.
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If you haven't used them yet, playtest them and see what layout works for you and if you have some good experience using them, share your sage advice with us, feedback is always welcome.

5 comments:

  1. I'd think that the disposable melta-gunners would be the way to roll, if you were going to use 'em.

    The biggest problem they have is morale. 3 guys can't take casualties, and it gets pricy to kit them out to the right size. PLus, the nurgle icon is pricy.

    I cannot say I've had experience with the Daemon Bomb version, but I think that I'd take 2-3 biker units if I wanted it to work out.

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  2. I think there are better ways and tactics for getting daemons on the board, but I wanted to address it since there is a crowd who touts the tactic like it is the gem of their arsenal.
    I like bikers for small melta units most.
    The expensive, tough, assaulty unit is only really good if you and your opponent are just fielding fun stuff against each other in a really big game. It is no fun when you are using it against a comp player.

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  3. At their current point value the small melta squad is the best use for them.

    -Jim

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  4. BTW, Curse you OST for showing me this fantastic conversion. Now I'm obligated to use the concept and attempt to take it to the next level!

    Grumble, grumble....


    :P

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  5. TormDesNom Chaos VetJuly 21, 2011 at 8:26 AM

    I love Chaos bikers to no end. Doing the whole Daemon Bomb thing (I love that name) has given me victory over Tau, Imperial Guard and enemy Space Marines time and again.I'm surprised you'd consider them a weaker character because the complete abandon my opponents use while trying to take it down once it crops up is just laughable. Lazcannons, Autocannons, melta shots, it all goes Thar. Win or loose it buys the rest of my army valuable time and a Monstrous Creature assaulting out of a sacrificed champion onto an unsuspecting enemy Anything is invitation to a lot of damage provided the target is right.

    And I intend to try utilizing a Lord of Slaanesh with the Blissgiver on a bike to follow my Nurgle bikers out and try using them as something akin to fast moving assassins. Taking out targets of resistance or great interest on the battlefield. All this and more in the 2011 40K Ard Boyz :p

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