Mini Tactica: Attack Bikes by Inkaras
Note: This tactica is now old and needs an update. Many facts will not be correct for current game. However the general gist is pitched right.
What can be said about Attack bike squadrons? Besides super small? They are hard a nails!! And while these are support units mainly you can be pretty confident that they will survive most onslaughts.
You've got two, heavy bolters, or multimeltas. This makes them super deadly and of course as always you can mix if you see fit. Normally I encourage using a little of this and a little of that, especially with speeders, however effectiveness is the key to attack bikes. And to get the best effectiveness I recommend using them as either anti-assault or anti-armour, not both. You can take up to three in a squad or as few as one. And they can be a little expensive, but no more then a speeder really. However what they lack of the speeders movement they get in saves, and don't have to normally worry about small arms fire.
So then we know to either equip them with heavy bolters or multimeltas but how to really use them. You have to "specialise" these guys to do one thing, (this will depend on the weapon of course) and you also have to remember that they are support units. Or rather they work best when they are support another unit. Either taking out tanks and the like, or harassing troops so that your Assault squads can deal with hordes much easier. Attack bikes do both very well. And while before I recommended that occasional run through the woods with other bikes, with attack bikes I don't recommend this at all. You're toting a heavy weapon and unless you really need to there is no reason for you to go driving through cover.
Also remember to always move, you've got a 12" and you can still fire ALL that heavy weaponry. This makes them one of the most agile weapon-carryers out there, easily out-maneuvering almost all other armour, and a good deal of troops. All in all they make great flanking forces and will make you enemy think twice about protecting that side of his. If they get loose in his backfield here they can cause a whole world of hurt.
While they do fare pretty well in close combat they are not really built for it. Their lack of numbers will mean that almost always you'll be out numbered. And when you loose even one if can mean something really devastating, especially until the assault rules really change. While most won't be able to run you down, there are those occasions where it would really hurt to loose a 50+ point model. So I am not a big fan of really getting these guys into hand-to-hand. However that's not to say I haven't used them for this. If I really need something rock hard to turn the tide I'll send them in. Your opponent seeing this will almost always go for them before your squad simply because of their sheer effectiveness in the game. With T5 and 2+ you'll last for a while and this can be enough to give you the edge where you really need. They aren't Terminators but they are awfully close!
I have also found that Attack bikes while not only great back-up, they can also hold a table quarter reasonably well, or any ground for that matter. To a defender I can honestly recommend that these guys are a great choice. Not only mobile platforms for a heavy weapon, but you've got a super great save and a high toughness, what more could you want in a defender? To top it off you can out-maneuvre almost all other choices.
I also recommend attaching these to regular bike squads, though this has already really been covered, I wanted to mention again they can be incredibly useful and can really add to the survivability of a Bike squadron as a whole.
You've got a super fast, heavy weapon (not to mention the twin-linked bolters) that has incredibly high Toughness and a near god-like save to boot. And starting at only 55 points.
Plus you can — and should — specialise it to fit a particular need: heavy bolter if you are facing a ton of troops, or just massed hordes altogether; or the multimelta which will not only make most units rethink getting too close, but are really awesome tank killers, especially when you are using more than one.
The down side? Small units which can lead to problems when you do start to take casualties. Also the largest mistake I see being made is that these guys are left on their own. While I can see why I can't stress enough that they work better when they are supportED or are supportING another unit. They also make meaty targets, as most opponents I've faced will direct a good deal of attention to them.
Hope you enjoyed the MT.
Feedback and comments
There's a particularity in Attack Bikes that does not seem to have been covered, here goes:
Though one usually associates bikes with speed, we must also keep in mind that the Attack Bike is basically a Devastator (i.e. heavy weapon) with a good T/Sv and a 12" move. They can be screened and protected from harm (unlike Land Speeders), they can stand and fire quite a reasonable amount of heavy weapons — redeploy 12" and still get to fire said weapons (unlike a Devastator squad).
They are also deployed last in most missions (VERY important point). Have you ever wished you could have an extra Heavy Support choice in order to gain (even) more hitting power at range? Well… with Attack Bikes, you CAN and dead effective they are too.
So remember folks… even when on the move they can pump out lead with the best of them — used as a "mobile Dev" of sorts — ponder on the possibilities.