Stormseers and the Black Tide (Death Company style)

Looking at Kor’Sarro Khan’s “Master of the Hunt” special rule, it specifies that, as long as he your Warlord, ALL friendly White Scars models that have the Biker unit type have the Scout USR.

This means that White Scar Independent Characters, as long as they are equipped with a Space Marine Bike, have the Scout USR. In turn, this means they they convey Scout to any unit they are joined to in deployment, per the wording of the Scout rule.

One way to capitalize on this ability is as follows:

1 – Take Khan with Moondraaken as your Warlord (either in a CAD or GSF)

2 – Take a White Scar Librarius Conclave made up of (3) Librarians (Stormseers, in White Scar lore), all equipped with SMBs and using the Divination Discipline.

3 – Take an allied Blood Angel Baal Strike Force with (4) full squads of 15 Death Company each, all equipped with Jump Packs and PWs/PFs “to taste.”

Now, attach Khan and each of the three WS Stormseers to a separate Death Company squad. Prior to turn 1, use the Scout move to have all four Death Compay squads get a free 12″ move toward the enemy battle-line. Turn 1, move another 12″ and run a further D6″.

At this point, your horde of 60 superhuman, blood-thirsty (literally), raging, Jump Pack-wearing Death Company maniacs should be on top of pretty much any enemy unit they are targeting, even sneaky Eldar Jetbikes. Turn 2, move another 6″, then charge (with re-rolls for distance from Jump Packs) and rip apart the enemy lines with your 300!!! S5 I5 attacks on the charge (plus all Hammer of Wrath attacks)

To make this combo even more potent, the White Scar Librarians can cast Prescience on their units for Re-rolls to Hit. Khan and the Librarians also add some power weapon attacks into the mix and can, if necessary, break off and charge separate units if the tactical situation calls for tying up as many enemy units as possible.

Overall, this is a very specialized, assault-focused build, but for those looking for a fun, competitive, and unique list built around massed Death Company, I think this battle group could be a decent option.

Dark Angel Grav Command Squads (or “Centurions Lite”)

Dark Angels recieved several buffs to the units in their codex, in particular the Land Speeder Vengeance (extra HP, Plasma Storm Battery gaining +12″ range), the Nephilim Fighter (Black Sword Missiles becoming S7 AP3 and regaining Missile Lock), and the Dark Talon flyer (Stasis Bomb forcing Initiative tests, Rift Cannon increasing to S10 AP2).

Dark Angels also got point decreases for many units, new improved rules (e.g. Ravenwing rule allowing units to re-roll failed Jink saves, improved Grim Resolve allowing Overwatch at BS2, etc.), and access to Grav Weapons that they did not have in the past codex.

Finally, Dark Angels continue to have access to excellent units that no other Space Marine faction has, such as Deathwing Knights, Ravenwing Black Knights, Dark Shrouds, Sammael and his Jetbike, Ezekiel and his +1A aura, etc. Overall, I would rate the Sons of Lion as getting a SIGNIFICANT buff to their capabilities.

That said, Dark Angels lack some of the better toys that their Space Marine cousins have, including Thunderfire Cannons, Land Speeder Storms, Sternguard/Vanguard Veterans, and of course, the much feared Grav Cannon Centurions which dominate competitive games these days.

Lacking Grav Cannon Centurions, Dark Angels do have an alternative: the Grav Gun Command Squad with Sacred Standard. Now that Sacred Standards do not give out Counterattack, FNP, or Salvo2/4 Boltgun auras, they instead give re-rolls to Morale checks for all units within 12″ and give the squad carrying them Counterattack and Relentless. This is obviously a very large nerf, but they did go down in points and there is no limit to how many Sacred Standards you can take in army. This means that you can potentially spam Relentless Command Squads with maxed out Grav Guns.

Let’s compare the following two options, which have almost odentical points costs:

Option 1 – White Scars Grav Cannon Centurion Squad

-3 Centurions with Grav Cannons, Hurricane Bolters, Sgt Upgrade, Omniscope

-Fast Attack Drop Pod

-TOTAL POINTS: 295

Option 2 – Dark Angel Grav Gun Command Squad

-5 Command Squad Veterans with 5 Grav Guns and Relic Banner

-Dark Angel Librarian with Force Sword, Auspex, and Divination discipline

-Drop Pod

-TOTAL POINTS: 295

Now, both of these options allow you to drop in turn 1 and release 15 Grav shots at a target of your choice. Let’s compare the pros/cons of each:

— White Scar Centurions —

Pros:

*Have Grav Amps, so better chance of wounding

*Have 24″ range, so better range for Grav weapons

*Have Hurricane Bolters, so more firepower and versatility against hordes

*Have T5 and 2+ armor, so much more durable

*Have S5 attacks if they are in combat and have Hit and Run (from WS Chapter Tactics) to jump out of combat and get back to shooting

*Can Split Fire, due to Omniscope

Cons:

*Cannot fire overwatch or run (due to Slow and Purposeful)

*Do not have the ability to Twin-Link their shooting organically, so if they have a bad dice roll for rolling to Hit when they Drop Pod in, they are left hanging in the breeze

*They compete for very valuable Heavy Support slots (or require using a Demi-Company, if part of a Gladius Strike Force) in order to bring them in your army list.

*Ld 9, so pretty good for morale checks, but still vulnerable compared to the Fearless DA Command Squad

— Dark Angel Command Squad/DA Librarian —

Pros:

*Have Librarian with Prescience, so more accurate and have insurance against bad to Hit rolls when the Drop Pod in turn 1

*Have 7 wounds total, so one more than “equivelant” Centurion squad

*Can Overwatch at BS2 due to Grim Resolve (or at full BS4, if part of a Lion’s Blade Strike Force), so very dangerous to assault them, unlike Centurions

*Can reduce enemy cover saves by -1 with Librarian’s Auspex, so able to deal more damage against enemy relying on cover saves to protect them

*Are Fearless, due to attached Librarian, so cannot be defeated with morale shenangians and are better at holding objectives

*Have 15 x S4 AP- and 4 x S4 AP3 Force Weapon attacks whenever they charge or ar charged, so more versatile in combat than Centurions.

*Have increased Deny the Witch ability, due to attached Librarian

*Have access to other Divination powers via Librarian, which can be quite useful (i.e Ignore Cover, 4++ save, overwatch at full BS4 even when not part of Lion’s Blade, etc.)

*Are an Elite choice, so do not compete for extra valuable Fast Attack or Heavy Support slots

Cons:

*Range of Grav guns limited to 18″ (vice 24″ for Centurions)

*Only have T4 and 3+ armor saves, so much more fragile than Centurions

*Lack any form of shooting outside their Grav guns (i.e. so no Hurrican Bolters to deal with lightly armored foes)

*Do not have access to Chapter Tactics like Hit and Run (outside of their BS2 Overwatch)

*Cannot Split Fire like Centurions can (so potential for “overkill” shooting)

Overall, the Centurions are two MBs cheaper, have slightly better range/ firepower, and are definitely more survivable. That said, the Dark Angel Command Squad is slightly more mobile and versatile in close combat, has 100% better Overwatch abilities to protect itself against assaulting enemies, and has the versatility of an attached Librarian and his powers to make them useful all game long.

In summary, while a Drop Podding Grav Gun Command Squad with attached Librarian may not provide all the benefits that a Drop Podding Centurion Squad has, it is very close and has its own strengths to make up for it.

Given that Dark Angels can’t take Centurions, except as allies, I think this is a very viable alternative for their army when building competivie task forces for the Tabletop and complements the other elements of Ravenwing/Deathwing/Greenwing quite handily.

Analysis: Black Knights in the new Dark Angel book

Well, it looks like Black Knights recieved a slight, 2 point cost reduction per model in the rumors that are our so far for Codex : Dark Angels.

Other than that, they appear almost exactly the same in terms of rules and Wargear, except for the addition of the Ravenwing special rule (i.e. allowed to re-roll failed Jink saves) and the nerfing of the Rad Grenades on the RW Grenade Launcher (no longer reduceds T by -1; instead, causes 2W for each to Wound roll of 6).

Altogther, with the point drop and addition of Ravenwing special rule, I think the Black Knights went up in relative combat power, even in spite of the significant hit due to the nerfing of Rad grenades. First of all, with Skilled Rider and re-rollable jinks, if they choose to give up shooting at full BS, they suddenly have better than Terminator Armor protection in terms of their cover saves (only an 11% chance to fail their Jink saves and they can only be ignored by Ignore Cover weapons, which are significantly rarer than AP2 weapons). Combine this this with their 12″ move, T5, Scout, Hit and Run, and ability to Turboboost and they are easily one of the more versatile units in the game. Additionally, they still have 4 S5 AP- Rending attacks per model on he charge, they still have TLed Plasma Talons on every bike that doesn’t take a RW Grenade Launcher, and they have excellent synergy possibilities with other units.

Some examples of these possibilities are:

-Dark Shroud — The obvious one, but nevertheless excellent. Giving nearby Black Knights Stealth means that they then have a 2+ re-rollable Jink save, which makes them near impossible to kill with non-Ignore Cover shooting. Addtitionally, if they declare an Assault while within 6″ of the Dark Shroud, enemy units cannot fire Overwatch on them… quite a signficant bonus there!

-Allied Biker Sanguinary Priest — With the ability to basically attached an IC Apothecary from allied Blood Angels, this makes the Black Knights even more durable with the addition of FNP and, if properly equipped, some Grav Pistol shooting (to potentially knock a target down to I1, due to the Concussive rule, before the Black Knights charge), an Auspex to reduce enemy cover saves, and/or some Power Weapon attacks from the Sanguinary Priest to supplement the Black Knight Corvus Hammers and Huntmaster’s Power Weapons.

-Dark Angel Rhino Primaris — With the ability to to, once a game, dispatch a Targeting Data Servo-skull to a unit within 12″ in the shooting phase, the Rhino Primaris can allow a squad of Black Knights to fire Snap Shots at full BS for a turn. This means they can Scout and move up turn 1, then Jink to get 3+ (or 2+ with Dark Shroud support) re-rollable cover saves against enemy shooting, and then STILL shooting their Plasma Talons at full BS the next turn, suffering none of the disadvantages of jinking. Finally, the Black Knights can also be used with the Rhino Primaris to engage an enemy Deathstar unit protected by the Invisibility power. Imagine a squad of 10 Black Knights moving with 9″ of an opponent’s Centurionstar with Invisibility successfully cast on it…. using the Targeting Data Skull from the Rhino Primaris, the Black Knights can rapid fire with 20 S7 AP2 shot at BS4 and with re-rolls to hit, getting an average of 17-18 hits — wounding on 2+s, this yields an average of 14-15 AP2 wounds, which means the entire Centurion squad should be wiped out, unless it has some sort of cover or Invul save (and even then, it is possible that they whole Deathstar will be destroyed in a single volley).

Needless to say, I think that Black Knights will feature prominently in Dark Angel list for the upcoming codex, given the buffs they recieved and the synergistic possibilities that are out there for them.

Astra Militarum and allied Librarius Conclave… Rending to the max!

While Astra Militarum are one of the many armies that still has not recieved the “Decurion” treatment of the most recent 7the edition armies, they still have plenty of tricks up their sleeve, especially when combined with the Librarius Conclave formation from the new C:SM book.

For those who aren’t familiar, the Librarius Conclave lets you take 3-5 Space Marine Librarians (with the option to swap out one of them for Tigurius). It also allows one Librarian in the formation to “channel” all the abilities of other Librarians in the formation within 12″ of him (i.e. he can use any abiltiies they know, but they cannot cast any abilities that turn). The advantage to doing this, if one other Librarian is within 12″ of the “designated caster” Librarian, then he harnesses Warp Charges on a 3+; of two of more other Librarians are within 12″ of the “designated caster,” then he harnesses Warp Charges on a 2+!

Combine this with Tigurius and his ability to re-roll failed Psychic Tests (thank you, Hood of Hellfire) and the total of between 7-11 Warp Charges generated by this fomation alone (provided you get the PML(2) upgrades for everyone) and you can see why people are saying this is such a Powerful formation.

So, how does this mesh with the Astra Militarum? Well, first off, taking Tigurius and 2-4 other PML(2) Librarians and rolling hard on the Divination table means you are all but certain to get the Misfortune malediction power i.e. target an enemy and all subsequent attacks against it have Rending. Since Tigurius in this formation will basically have a 97% chance to harness each Warp Charge he rolls for (and he only needs two Warp Charges to get Misfortune off), you should be able to Misfortune a selected enemy unit with a VERY high degree of reliability.

This is where the Astra Militarum come in. Perhaps more than any other army in the game, the AM have multiple options to put out a very high volume of shooting, which synergizes very well with the Misfortune power. Say you are targeting the infamous Eldar Wraithknight… here are some options for killing it with relative ease, with Misfortune cast on it:

I – 3 LR Punishers with max Heavy Bolters — Cast Prescience on the Punsiher squadron (should be easy to do with Tigurius and his Conclave buddies) and you get re-rolls to hit for everyone. That’s 87 S5 shots. At BS3 with re-rolls, you get about 65-66 hits and, of these, 10-1 Rending hits on average. Even after FNP saves, that is 7-8 unsaved wounds and one dead Wraithknight!

II – 50 man blob squad, firing at 24″ with “First Rank Fire, Second Rank Fire” and Prescience cast on them — That’s 100 shots at 24″, averaging 75 hits, 12-13 Rends, and again, one dead Wraithknight.

III – 10 man Ogryn Squad with Prescience-enhanced shooting and charging — With 30 shots from their Ripper Guns, they average 22-23 hits, 3-4 Rends, and 2-3 unsaved wounds. If they follow the shooting with a successful charge, the Wraithknight will statistically kill 2 of them, meaning the remaining 8 have 32 attacks, 24 hits, 4 Rends, and 2-3 unsaved Wounds, which is potentially enough to kill the Wraithknight outright with the loss of only two Ogryns (or 80 points of models) in exchange).

While this definitely requires some synergy and careful coordination, the Librarius Conclave’s amost guaranteed ability to get the powers it wants (mainly Misfortune and Prescience) and also almost surefire chance of getting the powers off means that these combos have a very respectable ability to take one whatever enemy units they are up against.

Sentinels of Terra Lascannon Centurions — “Broadsides” for the Astartes

Remember the old version of Tau Broadside Battlesuits… i.e. 3 Battlesuits, all with S10 AP1 TLed Railguns and either Smart Missile Pods or Plasma Rifles? Deployed in multiple groups of three along the Tau back line and upgraded with Advanced Stabilization Systems (to give them Slow and Purposeful and, hence, the ability to move and still fire), these provided the backbone of most 4th/5th edition lists and truly were feared by most other armies.

With the change in points cost for Lascannon Centurions (-10 points each, plus no mandatory Sergeant tax) and the “Siegemasters” portion of Imperial Fist Chapter Tactics providing Devastator Centurions with the Tank Hunter USR, I think IF Lascannon Centurions can quite handily mimic the same tactics as the old school Tau Broadsides.

Imagine the following task force, taken from the Sentinels of Terra supplement (Imperial Fist Chapter Tactics, but allows Devastator Centurions to be taken as both Elites and Heavy support):

-4 x 3 man Devastator Centurion squads with Lascannons, MLs, and Omniscope each (three squads are Elites Choices and one squad is a Heavy Support choice)

-Aegis Defense Line with Comms Relay

-2 x 10 man Tactical Squads with Grav Cannons/Amps and Grav guns (they use Close Range Bolter Drill from Sentinels of Terra supplement instead of normal Bolter Drill for their Boltguns)

-2 x Stormraven Gunships with Locator Beacons, TLed MMs and TLed Lascannons

-2 x Techmarines with Conversion Beamers

Tactical squads go in Stormravens, come in from reserve to help seize objectives, provide extra shooting (both Grav and Bolter fire) and Stormravens provide anti-air and anti-tank support.

Techmarines attach to two of the Centurion Squads (gaining both Tank Hunter and Slow and Purposeful for their Conversion Beamer shooting) and all/most Centurions set up behind the Aegis line for built in 4+ cover saves to supplement their T5, 2W, and 2+ armor.

Now, if you compare the TLed Lascannons (S9 AP2) on the Centurions with the oldschool TLed Railguns (S10 AP1), at first they seem quite wanting. On clsoer look, against infantry the only advantage the old Railguns had is the ability to double out T5 units and the ability to wound Wraithknights/Wraithlords on 2+ (vice the 3+ from a Lascannon). Otherwise, the BS4 Centurions are more accurate, wound pretty much all non-vehicles on 2+s, are tougher than Broadsides (T5 vs T4), and have better leadership/staying power with ATSKNF.

Against vehicles, except for the AP1 factor, Lascannon Centurions with Tank Hunter are actually better tank hunters than Railgun Broadsides of yore.

Against AV12 tanks:

-A squad of 3 Sentinels of Terra Centurions with MLs and TLed Lascannons shooting at 48″ gets 3 lascannon shots/3 krak missile shots, 2-3 lascannon hits/2 krak missile hits, and 3-4 stripped hull points

-Comparitavely, a team of 3 old school Broadsides with TLed Railguns and TLed Plasma Rifles shooting at 24″ got 3 Railgun shots/3 Plasma Rifle shots, 2-3 Railgun hits/2-3 Plasma Rifle hits, and 1-2 stripped hull points.

Against AV 14 tanks:

A squad of 3 Sentinels of Terra Centurions with MLs and TLed Lascannons shooting at 48″ gets 3 lascannon shots/3 krak missile shots, 2-3 lascannon hits/2 krak missile hits, and about stripped hull points

Comparitavely, a team of 3 old school Broadsides with TLed Railguns and TLed Plasma Rifles shooting at 24″ got 3 Railgun shots/3 Plasma Rifle shots, 2-3 Railgun hits/2-3 Plasma Rifle hits, and about 1 stripped hull point.

As you can see by the Mathhammer, Tank Hunter Centurions (i.e. Sentinels of Terra or Imperial Fist variety) are measurably stronger against vehicles than the old Broadside teams.

Combined with the Aegis Line and T5 for enhanced survivability and adding in Conversion Beamer shooting from the Techmarines and the fire support from the Tac Squads/Stormravens, I think you can produce a very effective, shooty-focused Sentinels of Terra list built around a foundation of Lascannon/ML Devastator Centurions.

Thunderfire Batteries and the Land Raider Excelsior

Now that Thunderfire Cannons can be taken in batteries of up to three TFCs each and gain BS6 for their Techmarine Gunners if they have a full battery of 3 artillery peices (as per the “Convergent Targetting” rule), they are significantly more accurate than in their old iteration from the 6th edition Codex: Space Marines.

Specifically, a battery of three TFC can put out 12 Small Blasts per shooting phase, all at BS6, which means that the average scatter is 1″ and the max scatter is 6″. Combine this with the versatility of the firing modes available (TFCs are basically the Sternguard of the Heavy Support section in the Space Marine book) and the relatively low cost for each artillery piece (only 20 MBs each, or 60 MBs for a battery of three TFCs) and what was a competive unit in the old book is downright super-charged in the new codex.

To take this to an even more potent level, imagine a battery of three TFCs supported by a nearby Land Raider Excelsior. The Land Raider Excelsior, in addition to having a Grav cannon/Amp replace its Heavy Bolter and a 6++ save, is basically a normal Land Raider with the ability, once each Shooting Phase, to confer a special rule on a friendly unit from the same faction within 12″ of it (or 18″, if you buy the correct upgrade). The special rule can be chosen from the following list:

-Counter-attack
-Hit and Run
-Skyfire
-Fearless
-Split Fire
-Preferred Enemy
-Tank Hunters
-Interceptor

Regarding the TFC battery, the first three on this list (Counter-attack, Hit and Run, Skyfire) have limited to no use for a TFC, which should not be in close combat and cannot shoot at Flyers/FMC because it is a Blast weapon.

Fearless can be useful to ensure that the TFC battery doesn’t run/continues shooting/holds objectives and Split Fire has good utility in allowing the battery to engage two separate targets and not waste its considerable firepower on overkill for a single enemy unit.

The real stars, however, are Preferred Enemy, Tank Hunters, and Interceptor. Let’s take a look:

1 – Preferred Enemy — When used in conjunction with the Surface Detonation mode of shooting (S6 AP5), this can incredibly devastating to massed Guardsmen, Gaunts, Orks, Cultists, Tau Pathfinders, etc. With AP5 ignoring their armor and wounding on 2+s, Preferred Enemy gives them re-rolls of 1s to Wound, meaning that almost every hit translates to an Unsaved Wound. With 12 Small Blasts and BS6, the TFC battery should get quite a few hits, especially against a tightly packed horde formation. Even against MEQs this shooting should cause a very high number of wounds, forcing a lot of 3+ saves and grinding down even troops in Power Armor. If you are going up against light troops in cover, then switch to Airbust firing mode (S5 AP6) and, combined with Preferred Enemy, you should have an equally potent effect on whatever the TFCs target.

2 – Tank Hunters — While most people do not think of the TFC as an anti-vehicle unit. with 12 x S6 blasts and high Ballistic Skill, a battery can threaten light to medium armor reliably. Throw in the Tank Hunters USR and suddenly TFC batteries become a genuine danger to anything with AV12 or less. Imagine a TFC battery targeting a Wave Serpent or a Chimera or a Dreadnought. With BS6, the TFCs would likely get about 10-11 hits. Glancing on 6+s, with re-rolls from Tank Hunter, that translates into 2-3 HPs stripped, which enough to critically damage our outright destroy any one of these targets. Against less armored targets, like Rhinos, DE Raiders, Eladr War Walkers, Tau Pirahnas etc etc., then TFC shooting with Tank Hunter becomes even more dangerous.

3 – Interceptor — Perhaps the best rule to use with a full battery of TFCs, this gives Space Marines the ability to combat deep striking enemy threats that would otherwise be unstoppable until at earliest the next player turn. Imagine a squad of Eldar Wraithguard ith D-Scythes DSing in with a DE Webway Portal. Normally, the only defense against this is “bubble-wrapping” your important units and deployment shenanigans. With TFCs at BS6 and having the Interceptor USR, you can potentially get as many as 25-30 hits on a DSing Wraithguard unit (remember, they have to be bunched up when they come in, per DSing rules)… at S6 vs T6, this translates into 12-15 wounds, with the Wraithguard failing about a 1/3 of their armor saves, resulting in an average of 4-5 dead Wraithguard. While this might not be enough to completely kill the unit and prevent them from unleashing their D strength templates on your army, it can eliminate a signficant portion of their combat power, allowing them to be destroyed easier later on and also lessening the impact of their shooting on your forces.

In summary, you can see how well a Land Raider Excelsior combines with a TFC battery (by the way, the TFC Techmarine Gunners can still Bolster Defenses for terrain in your DZ and, in a pinch, repair your vehicles if they can’t shoot their cannon that turn). While not a cheap option, taking a TFC battery of 3 artillery pieces and Land Raider Excelsior (and a Rhino Primaris as well, since you have to have one when taking a LR Excelsior; they come as a singel HQ choice) provides a versatile and deadly “firebase” battle group for your army.

Raven Guard Scout Bikers, 10th Company Task Force, and Nemesis Strike Force allies…

Like the other Scout units in the new Codex: Space Marines book, Scout Bikers got a boost to BS4/WS4, with no additional points cost (and basically no change to their profile, wargear, and rules).

What Scout Bikers did gain, though, was the ability to be chosen as part of a new formation, the 10th Company Task Force. You can choose up to 3-5 units of Scout Bikers (plus Telion, if you want him; Scout Bikers must upgrade with Cluster Mines though) if you take this formation and gain access to two rules:

1 – Concealed Positions — Free Stealth until the unit moves, turbo-boosts, charges, or falls back, then loses it entirely.

2 – The Trap is Sprung — All Scout Bikers gain Precision Shots for the first game turn.

So, how does all this work on the tabletop to best effect? Well, if you take Raven Guard Chapter Tactics, that means that turn 1 all non-vehicle models/models not embarked get Shrouded. Combine that with the “Concealed Positions” rule and the Scout Biker’s ability to Infilitrate/Scout into terrain within 18″ of your opponent’s army and the Scout Bikers have a 2+ cover save that first turn.

Additionally, they have the ability to use their TLed Bolters (and Astartes Grenade Launchers) with BS4 and the Precision Shots rule (from “The Trap is Sprung”) to target key enemy units/characters on the frontline. Additionally, they can use their Locator Beacons to precisely bring in allied units… such as GK Terminators, Strike Squads, Interceptor Squads, and Dreadknights from an allied Nemesis Strike Force.

Imagine bringing in 2 GK Terminator squads and 2 Dreadknights turn 1 right in front of the Scout Bikers… you can basically apply blitzkrieg principles (i.e. overwhelming force at the critical point) with this tactic and outmass your opponent at exactly the place you want to.

So, what does 3-5 squads of Scout Bikers do once they bring in their Ordos Malleus allies?

Well, if you look at it, for only four points more than a normal Tactical Marine, Scout Bikers have the following advantages over an equivelant Tactical Marine:

1 – Mobility — With Scout, Infilitrate, 12″ move, and 12″ turbo-boost, Scout Bikers are EXCEPTIONALLY more mobile than Tactical Marines. This is especially important for seizing objectives, setting up rapid fire shooting, charging enemy vehicles with Krak grenades/MBs, and using their Locator Beacons to bring in reinforcements precisely throughout the game.

2 – Firepower — With BS4 and TLed, Relentless Bolters, Scout Bikers are accross the board more accurate than Tactical Marines. Additionally, they can take up to the three Astartes Grenade Launchers, no matter the squad size, giving them very decent anti-horde and anti-light vehicle options. The only advantage Tactical Marines have here is their ability to take a Special/Heavy weapon or, if they have 10 members, one of each. Scout Bikers cannot take Grav weapons, but other than that their 3 Astartes GLs should be quite versatile and mesh well with the TLed Bolters of the rest of the squad.

3 – Durability — While Tactical Marines have a better armor save, Scout Bikers have better Toughness. When you do the math, against anything from Bolter Fire to Plasma shooting to krak Missiles, Scout Bikers and Tactical Marines end up basically having identical survivability odds. Better yet, Scout Bikers can choose to Jink, giving them a 4++ cover save if they need it, which is generally superior to Tactical Marines’ option to go to ground, especially since Scout Bikers can still move and charge (and even shoot Snapshots) if they Jink.

4 – Combat — While neither Scout Bikers or Tactical Marines are great in assault, Scout Bikers have the advantage on a couple of fronts. First, being much more mobile, they have a significantly improved chance of getting the charge (instead of being the charged themselves). Second, they have Hammer of Wrath attacks, which Tactical Marines do not, and with Raven Guard tactics, they also get to re-roll failed to Wound rolls for those Hammer of Wrath attacks. Finally, because they are Relentless, Scout Bikers can double-tap their target and still charge that same tunr…. all told, a Scout Biker can potentially inflict 5 x S4 attacks on the turn they charge… two Rapid Fire Bolter shots, one S4 HoW attack, and two S4 normal attacks.

5 – Force-multiplying — As already referenced, Scout Bikers have access to Locator Beacons, which is quantitatively superior to Teleport Homers since they work on ALL forms of Deep Strike (not just teleporting Terminators) and even on Gates of Infinity “jumps.” Additionally, while not a major item, their mandatory Cluster Mines allows each squad to make a peice of terrain into Dangerous Terrain to enemy units, which can give a slight edge to your army.

So, why take all this effort to outline how Scout Bikers are superior to Tactical Marines? Well, when used as allies to Grey Knights, Scout Bikers from the 10th Company Task Force can support the initial GK entry into the game, but then for the rest of the battle can serve as a very mobile, durable, and versatile “counterpart” to the much more elite (and expensive, points-wise) Grey Knight units. Overall, I think Raven Guard Scout Bikers and Grey Knights from a Nemesis Strike Force make for a balanced task force in a competitive, all comers list.