Monday, March 14, 2011

Bike Squadrons

Bike squads are a rarity in Blood Angel armies, but they can fulfill important roles in certain list builds. In general, you can think of Bikes as really good Tactical squads. They’re faster and tougher, and they can carry two special weapons as well as a heavy weapon that can fire while moving. However, our Bikes fight in combat just as well as our Tactical Marines. This means they won’t kill much, but they are great at holding up enemy units. If you combine their toughness 5 with Feel No Pain from a Priest, a Blood Angels Bike squad will tie up all but the most dangerous enemy squads.

Most Marine players use Bikes as fast and durable Troops, to provide excellent anti-infantry firepower, or to provide fast special weapons. However, we can’t take Bikes as Troops and our Assault squads are better at dealing with infantry and can take mobile special weapons. This means we can’t use Bikes the way Codex Marines use them. However, our Bikes can be even tougher than standard Marine Bikes.

As you may have gathered by now, Blood Angels really need to get the charge into close-combat. Furious charge makes our marines dangerous enough to take on their counterparts in other armies, but they’re not very dangerous without it. Your enemies will know this and they will do everything the can to take the charge away from you. I’ll discuss many other ways to deal with this once I’m done with the unit reviews, but Bikes present an excellent way to guarantee your squads the charge.  You can simply get your bikes in front of squads that you want to charge, turbo-boosting to make them as invulnerable to enemy shooting as possible, while your assault forces move up behind the bikes. Most squads will not be fast enough to get out of the Bike’s assault range, and they won’t be able to charge your assault forces because the Bikes are in the way. In almost all circumstances, your assault forces will be able to charge next round.

In general, Bike squads used in this way should be large and equipped with enough firepower to make them a serious threat, generally both special weapons and an Attack Bike. They’ll also need a Priest to give them Feel No Pain, either on a bike with the squad or hanging out with the Assault forces behind them. A power fist is a worthwhile addition if you have the points, but isn’t required as this squad isn’t supposed to cause casualties in close-combat, just stay alive.

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