Let's Go Back to Bikes

Yes, I'm still working on my Tyrant. I have made some small steps forward (base coating his talons and claws in a golden tan color), but I wanted to jump back over to Marines for a day.
My wife is awesome and switched some shifts around at work to allow me to attend the FLGS's Big Spring Event, the Fratris Salutem. When the date was first announced, I couldn't go, then I could, then it got moved to June 1st and I couldn't, and now I can. It's all very confusing.
It's a 1500 point event, and I obviously don't have a Nid army of any points value done yet. My Tyrant won't even be done for the painting competition (I'll have it for the Standish Standoff 3 instead). So, I'm bringing Marines.
The exact list I'll take is still rattling around in my head, but I'm leaning towards bikes, as that is the easiest for me to run as a "themed" list. My evolving back story for the force is that it's an Ultramarine rapid response and recon strike force. When I run it at events, I like to write up a little one-page short story as a lead-in to the list. The list is always focused on speed: bikes, jumpers, and speeders. My Biker Captain has always been this guy, Captain Equos.

I built this model back int he dawn of 5th Edition, and you can tell. Not only is he not up to my current painting standards and abilities, but he's armed in 5th Edition style.
In 5th Edition, the relic blade was king. S6 power weapon ate most everything for lunch, and at full initiative value. Because bikers were T4(5), you wanted that Captain swinging early to keep power fists from one-shotting him. Storm shields were popular for the same reason, helping the Captain survive those S8 hits a little better than his basic iron halo save. But due to personal preferences, I never ran with a storm shield.

Now that the relic blade has been changed (not nerfed, changed), I'm seeing a need for a new Captain Equon model. In many of the recent tourneys, I've replaced the above model with the one I've used as a Company Champion on a bike. That one has a sword and shield, and I tend to give him artificer armor, a storm shield, and the relic blade. The load out makes him a house in melee against anything that's not a Terminator or monstrous creature.
But now that sixth edition is here, the relic blade is not the best option any more. It's still serviceable, but there are better options: a lightning claw or a power fist.

All three options result in the same number of attacks on the charge (four), but they differ in stat line.
The claw is nice because it's AP3, and rerolls wounds at S4 and I5. Against basic unit leaders like Marine Sergeants or Chaos Aspiring Champions, it does the job admirably for the fewest points. But, it won't scratch artificer armor, Terminator armor, or high-toughness monsters.
The relic blade is double the points, wounds more reliably, but at the same AP value. This wasn't a problem when power weapons simply ignored armor, but nowadays the AP3 is a liability for such an expensive investment in points.
The power fist runs at S8, AP2, but is Unwieldy and swings at I1. As I mentioned before, this was a death sentence in 5th Edition. But the change to biker toughness to a flat T5 makes it far less risky in 6th. It's not as expensive as the relic blade, but more expensive than the lightning claw. The nice kick here is that it can cause instant death to T4 models, like generic Marine HQs.
If you want to go back down to lightning claw points levels, you can go with a generic power weapon.
A sword is ok, but the single extra attack it'll get you from having a pistol alongside really isn't worth the swap from rerolling wounds with a lightning claw.
The axe is S5, gets the extra attack for a pistol, but attacks at I1. Not bad against something like Tactical Terminators, but it really requires investment in a storm shield and a bucket of luck to make sure you don't get punched down in return by the Terminators.
Staves and mauls are for Librarians and Chaplains. It's got the same strength attacks as the relic blade, can get a bonus for a pistol, but is a lowly AP4. MEQ models are going to laugh at you. You don't even get the chance to cause instant death from Force like a Librarian, or Fearlessness and rerolls to hit like a Chaplain.
Lances attack at I5, S5, and AP3...on the charge. After that, they drop to S4 and AP4. The only people who should be carrying power lances in a bike army are Command Squad members attached to Kor'sarro Khan, and only because he has Furious Charge and Hit and Run.

After all that, I feel like the power fist is my best bet. The lightning claw is a close second, but is intended for cutting down large numbers of chump models or basic unit leaders. It tapers off fast when faced with better armor saves or higher toughness. A Bike Captain in artificer armor can weather the attacks of those types of units by virtue of his 2+ armor and Toughness 5. Marine Bikers have no real problems dealing with the chaff of enemy armies. It's the leaders and monsters they struggle against, and the power fist is the answer in my opinion.

So after all that rambling, I think I want to build a new model to represent Captain Equon. He needs new armament and some of the fancy, new Marine bitz that have become available since I built the original. He'll end up on a bike with more decorative and stowage bitz courtesy of the new Ravenwing Command box, a powerfist, and artificer armor. I'll skip the storm shield, as the number of S10 melee attacks available on characters is small, and the mobility of bike armies can help to simply avoid those tough fights.

Time to get shopping!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome you can be at the Fratris Salutem. Ultramar really needs you! When you list build, I think we both need to be able to handle the T5+ enemies that we saw at last month's tournament. Fast moving demon and chaos marine lists (or similar bug constructs). I am also planning on a reaction force, the 1500 points really starts to contrain what might be viable.