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22 March 2013

Army List Clinic - Biker Hybrid Help

Rob speaking,

Thank you to everyone who has submitted their army lists to our Clinic, we hope that our responses have given you some pointers and have been useful. In today's post we will have a look at a list submitted by our reader Paul and his Space Marine Biker Hybrid list.
Email in:

Hi guys,

Looking to build a multiple points level tournament (1,500 and 2,000) list with a strong theme which is fun to play with and against. Competitiveness is important, but theme and character rank higher.

First the list;



Bike, Power Fist, Combi-Melta, Artificer Armour

Bike Squad
4 Bikes and Attack Bike with Heavy Bolter,
2 x Plasma Guns, Plasma Pistol, Melta Bombs

Bike Squad
4 Bikes and Attack Bike with Heavy Bolter,
2 x Plasma Guns, Plasma Pistol, Melta Bombs

Bike Squad
8 Bikes and Attack Bike with Multi-Melta
2 x Melta Guns, Melta Bombs

Attack Bike

Sternguard Squad
7 Sternguard, 2 x Plasma Guns, Drop pod

Terminator Squad
5 Terminators with Assault Cannon, Chainfist

Thunderfire Cannon

Storm Talon
Typoon Missile Launcher


5 Scouts with Sniper rifles, Heavy Bolter
Camo Cloaks

Tactical Squad
10 Marines, Plasma Cannon, Plasma Gun
Storm Bolter, Drop pod

Firstly, the 1500 point list ends at the Thunderfire cannon, the 2,000 still has 15 points to play with.

The list is based on a successor chapter of the Dark Angels, who form part of my overall Imperial Apocalypse force (Sisters and Guard total about 10k between them). The chapter is in penitence at the order of the Sisters, in an attempt to redeem both theirs and their parents chapters sins against the emperor in their quest to hunt the fallen at the expenses of the ‘greater good’ of the Imperium. As such, it needs to fit the feel of a ‘Rapid Response’ force which can be called to the aid of the Sisters at any give time. I.e. not a gun line.

As for tactics, it’s very much a synergy list. Individual units perform poorly on their own, but in unison have the speed and offensive capabilities to overwhelm individual units. Large bike squad combat squads to give me three melta delivery platforms to deal with heavy armour. Plasma bike squads then dakka the occupants of opened transports. Terminators Deep Strike to provide fire support to the bikes where required and then attempt to die glorious deaths in an attempt to soak fire power away from the bikes. Captain is my all star, starting in the bike squad mostly likely to come under fire, his principle job is to tank with his T5 W3 2+/4++, and jump between units as required. His secondary function is to break free from his unit, nuke a transport with his BS5 Melta shot and then assault the occupants, hopefully tying them up whilst he Donks a couple each turn. The Thunderfire cannon is again, able to provide fire support anywhere on the table thanks to its insane range, and also pick out troublesome special weapons, banner bearers and Sanguine Priests and the like. It also add’s horde control and allows me to ‘slow’ down units I want to keep out of the fight, adding to the overall plan of isolate and destroy (and if you’re thinking how’s a Thunderfire cannon fit in with a rapid response force, well you haven’t seen my awesomely cool Tow bar and trailer conversion on the individual attack bike!) The Sternguard are their to capitalize on poor deployment decisions and create a ‘deal with me or die’ distraction to allow the bikes to get into position on turn one. Moving up to 2,000 points, the inclusion of the Storm Talon is to help with flyers, the scouts to help the Sternguard in dealing with MC’s and the tactical squad allow me to hold back the Sternguard when required, and also to create sever problems for people in the Relic mission (Drop Pod screens the relic and they grab it turn one whilst falling back the rest of the game)

In principle, this army should be able to hit small sections of the enemy hard and fast and wipe them completely out thanks to the synergy in the units and its overall speed. Its weak point is obviously model count. Not quite being a glass hammer with T5 3+, it’s certainly not going to grind out any victories in a sustained fire fight.

Main issues are at 1,500 points; No flyer defence. There is no way I can justify any fortification, so emplacements are out. The list just doesn’t work if I drop any of the bike units to squeeze in the Storm Talon, and the Sternguard and Termies are too valuable for their ability to drop in and support the bikes by adding volume firepower. I see no way round this. I feel much more confident in the list at 2,000 than I do at 1,500 due to this fact.

Controversial points; Plasma Pistols? I hear you cry. Well, yes is the answer. For the 15 point premium (taking the plasma squads from 190 to 205) I go from 4 to 5 Str 7 AP2 shots, which lets face it, is the reason this unit is there. That’s an 8% increase in cost for an increased offensive output of 25%. It’s a no brainer. Add in Precision shots and you’re on to a winner. Tactical Termies? Again, these fit better in this list. I need the Termies to drop in and help me out at the drop of a hat. Assault termies don’t help me with this at all, Tacticals do. They also offer duality in the fact they can, in later turns, engage in assault and shoot. They also have the ability to drop in behind vehicles and smoke them. Helpful with so little ranged Anti Tank.

So, thoughts? Changes? Tactical amendments? I’ve all but built this list now, so I’m nearly ready to get some games in with it. I’ve played two so far @ 1,500 points. Vs Guard/Orks and Necrons. Both games were comfortable wins. Vendetta’s and Dakka jets are not a problem for me, my worry is Helldrakes. 

Firstly Paul, this is a fantastic list request, we really appreciate the time and effort you have taken to go into detail about why you have chosen each unit, this really helps when giving feedback.

Right, onto the list;

Taking into account the last paragraph, where you stated you have just built the list, I won't be suggesting any changes at either points level. I believe both of your list to be very solid, I would prefer to see another troops choice at 1500pts as I think 3 troops (2 of which are fairly small) could struggle to claim objectives, but on the other hand you have 2 strong denial units at 1500pts, which imo can be just as important, because this allows your army to win games by inches. By that, I mean you’re denying your opponent objectives with the Sternguard and Terminators, then you can jump on 2 objectives knowing if you get shot off one, you should still be able to claim the other and win by the one objective.

You’re completely right about the regular Terminators over Assault Terminators in the deep striking roll. Terminators in general have got better due to the drop in AP2 weapons and lack of combat units with the ability to get past 2+ armour, even my squad of 10 Grey Knights Strikes would hesitate charging 5 man Terminator squad, so they make a great distraction unit as they cannot be ignored and will easily go through MEQ units.

As for the 1500pt flyer problem, well, there is nothing much that can be done, but try to ignore them and position yourself in such a way that they only get 1 turn to shoot at you, then they have to go off board or reposition for a turn with no real targets. Helldrakes will ruin this army, as they do many armies, being able to hover also will cause problems because they should have a target each turn… and there is pretty much nothing that can be done other than invest in an Aegis (which you said you didn’t want) or a couple of Dreadnoughts and hope to get lucky… I’m still struggling to deal with Helldrakes myself, the only way I can see feasibly beating Helldrakes, is by taking a flyer yourself and as I said before I don’t want to suggest dropping units you’ve only just purchased/made. If push comes to shove and you want that flyer defence, you can drop the 2 Heavy Bolter Attack Bikes from the Bike squads and the lone Multimelta Attackbike for 150 odd pts and get yourself and Storm Talon, for the loss of 2 Heavy Bolters and a Multimelta it’s not a great loss.

At this point I open the list clinic to the readers, what are you opinions on the list, what would you suggest to help Paul's anti-helldrake predicament? If you would like to submit one of your army lists to the clinic, you can do so here:


  1. For the Space Marine Captain he should take a Relic blade instead of the powerfist and a storm shield. Take a command squad on bikes with him for the FnP from the apothecary and also then pair up a Chaplain on bike to run with this. That's a fast unit that rerolls hits on the charge and has FnP and dishes out a tone of attacks. If he would take them as white scars you would take Khan on hos bike for even more nasty giving furious charge to the unit also.

    For the helldrakes he could take a pair of storm talons but only in pairs or three. Taking them singly is good for casual play but for competitions u need more of a threat and increases their survivability. Hope this helps

  2. I've considered the command squad and have one built up, but that's 260 points before you add the chaplain, and they need to get into combat to be effective, and with only 3+ saves they get minced by power weapons. I have two storm shields but if you add them to everyone the points cost goes through the roof. Which brings me to my next point which is what to drop to fit them in. Neither the terminators nor the sternguard would free up that many points, so then your dropping further units too. All for a unit with no duality and a few targets.
    Relic blade doesn't instakill MEQ characters so is not good enough for the points, and 15 points to upgrade from a 4++ to a 3++ isn't value for money.
    Doubling out on Storm Talons would be nice as I personally think they're pretty decent, although the loss of deep strike hurts them. But again, its a points issue. The loss of the terminators makes the army considerably less durable, and the loss of the firepower of the sternguard isn't worth it.
    Appreciate the comments tho!!


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