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The Tiger Roars
Guest Commentary

Bikes Arenít So Bad  by Mathieu Roy
This article is in response to What to Do About Bikes. I've used bikes since I started playing Space Marines, mostly because they were included in the army box, and I have had some good success with them.

Whereas some people use bikes to engage infantry, I use mine to hunt tanks and tie up enemy Heavy Support squads. I thought that bikes, with their rapid movement, and turbo boost rule, were a natural choice to get the dangerous but brutally short-ranged melta weaponry into position to do some damage; furthermore, I figured that while they would be hard-pressed to scare up as much firepower as other anti-personnel units, bikes can load up on melta guns, which represent significant anti-tank firepower. Much to my surprise, however, while the melta guns have been useful, the bikes have done equally well in assault.

My bike squad is configured in this manner: 

  • Bike w/ twin-linked bolters;
  • Two bikes w/ melta guns
  • Veteran Sergeant with a power fist, bolt pistol, and teleport homer;
  • Attack bike w/ multi-melta
It's an expensive unit, certainly, but it's done quite well for me. Perhaps not as well as another similarly-priced Fast Attack unit might, but I haven't had cause to complain. I have to admit they have been a little hit-or-miss: I've had serious trouble using them against horde Tyranids, which cover the board from one end to the other, denying them the ability to flank, but I suspect my overly aggressive play with them has been partly responsible for my woes against that type of army.

I think the main benefit of bikes over units such as Land Speeders is their ability to assault, and that the bikes are fairly resilient and surprisingly deadly in close combat thanks to the Veteran Sergeant's power fist. They've been excellent at tying up and even eliminating shooty units such as Necron Destroyers and Devastator squads. They also give me a psychological edge in that an opponent will hesitate to deploy tanks where the bikes can reach them, and will even move his vehicles away from them rather than fire.

Another useful role for them is to call down Terminators in the enemy's backfield. With the Veteran Sergeant's ability to pack a teleport homer, I've had my bikes-and-Terminator-squad tag-team cause a good deal of havoc where the enemy least expects it. 

I've recently been re-jigging my army and am planning to add some anti-tank firepower, so I may find the bikes could be replaced by other Fast Attack units which are better against infantry (Land Speeder Tornadoes come to mind). However, my bikes certainly haven't been "worthless" in my (admittedly limited) experience, and they are going to stay in my compositions for the foreseeable future.

Related Pages
What to Do About Bikes

© copyright Mathieu Roy, January 2006. Used with permission.

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