White Scars- Bikes in the new codex

Hi everyone, Michael here to take a look at some of the bonuses that the White Scars Bikers get from the new Space Marine codex. For more reviews and analyses, check out the Tactics Corner.

The White Scars are my main Marine army, and are a lot of fun to play. I was excited to see what new changes the Space Marine codex would bring to my force, and oh boy, did they get a lot of strong bonuses to boost the army further in 9th edition. I’m going to take a look at the iconic White Scars unit, the Bike Squad.

Old School Marines

One big boost in the 9th edition Space Marine codex is that regular Space Marines gained an extra wound. This means that your Infantry units went up to two wounds a piece, while most Bikers went up to 3 wounds each. This boost in durability for your standard Marines means that some units that were struggling in 8th edition might see some more play in the new version of the game.

For the White Scars specifically, I am excited to see what Bike Squads bring to the table.

Bikes are one of the iconic units for the White Scars army, and I think this unit can now be a pretty effective addition to a White Scars force. Going up to 3 wounds a model gives them a big boost against small arms fire, as well as making 2 damage weaponry a bit more survivable. Bike Squads can now give you a very fast unit for getting to grips with the enemy army, or for grabbing objectives and secondary objective points. They are also a bit more durable, with T5, 3 wounds and a 3+ save, it is going to take a fair amount of firepower to shift them off on an objective.

They also put out a fair amount of firepower with their Twin Bolters. They can always rapid fire at full range thanks to Bolter Discipline, and at AP-1 in the Tactical Doctrine, giving them a way to deal with tougher enemy units. They also have the benefit over Outriders in that you can take a couple of Special Weapons in the squad, as well as a Heavy Weapon if you take an Attack Bike, further boosting their firepower. The ability to advance and fire assault weapons without penalty, thanks to being White Scars allows them to quickly storm an enemy position and get the most out of their special weapons.

Being able to move 20″ and fire Meltaguns gives you a huge threat range for getting into the Melta range for boosted damage shots. In addition, the Multi-melta can be a potent tool for the White Scars Attack Bike. They can move and fire it without penalty and the extra shot gives you more damage potential. They can also use the Hunter’s Fusilade stratagem to make their Heavy and Rapid Fire weapons count as assault when they advance. This allows you to fire your Bolters and any attached Heavy Weapons without penalty. Using this stratagem with Born in the Saddle allows you to have two Biker units advance and still fire to some degree in your shooting phase.

This allows the Bikers to generate a huge amount of board presence and control, as well as keeping up a decent rate of firepower.

The Bikers can also be armed with Astartes Chainswords for some added punch in combat. While they don’t have as many attacks as Outriders, getting three attacks each on the charge at AP-1 is a big bonus against a number of enemy units.

Stratagems

A big unit of White Scars Bikers with Adaptive Strategy is going to be a potent threat in both the shooting and assault phase. They have the mobility to get a first turn charge off in most cases, especially if buffed by a Chaplain. All their ranged weapons will be firing with an extra AP point, making Bolters, Flamers and Heavy Bolters pretty punishing. Not only that, but they will be a potent assault threat, with 3 attacks on the charge, at AP-2 and 2 damage each. A great way to deal with the Marine meta. A Chaplain on Jump Pack or Bike can boost them even further, giving them re-rolls to hit and/or +1 to wound, ensuring that they will shred a number of enemy units in combat, as well as proving to be a threat that your opponent will need to deal with.

Thanks to the overlap with the Space Marine Codex and White Scars supplement, the White Scars bikers can double up on a number of useful stratagems.

Ride Hard, Ride Fast and Skilled Riders both give you -1 to hit against a White Scars biker unit that has advanced. This gives you some added protection against the enemy firepower, now that you have lost the invulnerable save available to Bikers from the previous version of skilled riders.

Hit and Run Warfare and Feinting Withdrawal allows two Biker units to fall back from combat and still shoot. Added to the Chapter Tactics, a Biker unit can fall back from combat and pretty much act as normal. This stops your opponent from shutting down your firepower or combat ability on your Bikers by tying them up in combat.

Wind-swift is another fantastic stratagem for the White Scars Bikers. At 2 CP, it is expensive, but could be very useful. The ability to move twice gives the Bike Squad a move potential of 34″ in a single turn. This is great for getting into position to steal an objective or score secondary points (such as Behind Enemy Lines or Engage on all Fronts). The durability of the Biker squad means they are more likely to survive the enemy fire in the following turn as well.

Overall

The Bike Squad has received a big boost in the new Marine codex. The extra wound does open them up to being a more durable squad, and the White Scars are well poised to take advantage of this, getting a number of bonuses and useful stratagems for their Bike Squads.

I look forward to dusting off my Bike Squads and getting them back on the table when I can finally play games again.

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About Michael Corr

An avid 40k player and blogger from Scotland. I started in 3rd edition and have been playing ever since. I detail my adventures in my own blog "St Andrews Wargaming", highlighting my mediocre painting skills, regular battle reports and my occasional random ramblings.

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