Chaos Bikers: My Experiment and Results

Khorne IconI have not said much lately regarding the latest Chaos codex. Mainly that’s because I do not see myself as an authority on it. There are those better at hammering out competitive lists and fine tuning point efficiency. So, I shied away from anything remotely resembling strategy and tactics for Chaos. However, despite there being those who are better suited to the task, it does not diminish my experiences and the lessons I’ve learned; so what the hell.

With 6th edition making Bikers better and then the Chaos codex allowing for units to be marked, instead of the old icon method that you could lose, Nurgle Bikers were an obvious choice for me. What’s not to love about T6 Bikers zooming around?

So, I bought Bikers and ran them for a while with MoN (mark of Nurgle). The problem was that the unit was doing very little for me. There was definitely the learning curve involved in their lack of performance as using Bikers was something I seldom did and only with my Orks. There was something more going on though and I couldn’t put my finger on it so I took them out of lists in favor of more reliable units (reliable to me).

I decided to try running a Lord with mark of Khorne (MoK), on a juggernaut and with the axe of blind fury. A pretty common choice these days it seems and for obvious reasons. I wanted to put him in with Spawn, who prior were always running around with MoN for that T6 goodness. Since marks can’t be mixed I dropped the Spawn mark and left them bare. Giving Spawn MoK is pointless. MoK grants rage, which Spawn already have, and it grants counter-attack but putting the Lord in there with MoK gives the unit counter-attack.

Anyway, I put up the list and Hippie suggested giving my Bikers MoK so that my Lord had another worthwhile unit to join if needed. I was skeptical but decided to try it. The points I saved by dropping from MoN to MoK let me also give them the Icon of Wrath (furious charge). Instead of a T6 Biker unit I had, for the same points, a unit with rage, counter-attack and furious charge. Obviously the nature of the unit went from a more defensive approach to a more offensive one.

Unsurprising to some, it worked. My hesitancy prior was due to the mark of Khorne itself. I have always favored Nurgle and always looked at MoK as my least favorite mark. I saw the increase in offense from the mark more-or-less being wasted as your unit was more easily destroyed, compared to Nurgle anyway. What I was blindly overlooking was the nature of my list. My lists with Chaos are very aggressive and very fast. This is why the Nurgle Bikers were not working for me and why Khorne Bikers have fit right in and performed well. It was the missing key for the unit.

I run my Bikers with dual meltaguns. The idea is simple, take out the transport and charge the unit. This approach is unchanged from before but whereas Nurgle let me just sit there stuck in combat, Khorne allows me to go through the unit, comparatively. Since my lists are fast and focus on tying up as much of the enemy as I can, Khorne aids me to that end. Instead of being stuck in a combat through endless phases, I can get in and get out and hit the next unit in line.

Don’t get me wrong. Khorne Bikers are not close combat monsters. They’ll edge out your standard units like Tactical Marines but get smashed by anything remotely resembling a close combat unit. You have to choose your fights but at least now I can choose a fight and be more than a tar pit.

  • TheRhino

    I forget, do your Bikers have 2A base? That’s the big falling down point of Codex Marine bikers…lack of attack volume. The other is the inability to take more than one melee upgrade (sergeant) and the fact that the sergeant doesn’t have pistol/blade to get up to 4 attacks on the charge. He’s always stuck with 2 base and 3 charging.
    Never forget Hammer of Wrath attacks and grenades, as well. You will find that basic, naked bikers can pop open AV10 pretty well on the charge.

    • They are 1A base but come with pistol and CCW. So, MoK will get the basic Bikers up to 4A on the charge (rage). It also gets their Champion up to 5A on the charge. Overall it’s not bad. Good enough for the targets I’d willingly throw them at.

      If I don’t pop it with melta I charge it. My Champion has meltabombs as well. I’ve had little luck with hammer of wrath but I do try and remember it.

  • In paragraph 4 you refer to the MoK as MoN. Other than that, good article.

    Given your tendency toward highly aggressive lists I’m surprised you haven’t been leaning more toward Khorne from the beginning. Nurgle is your tank, not your DPS ;)

    • Thanks for the editing catch.

      You’re right. I was indeed tanking units instead of smashing them aside. It has me looking at Khorne anew. I love Zerkers too, the one unit I’ve always liked even with a Nurgle tendency, but I need a delivery system to work them back into my lists. Rhinos fail at that job now and I’ve no Land Raider. Likely going to rely on a large foot unit.

      • They could make a decent second wave unit, moving up behind your CSM rhinos and faster units to join combats in progress or overwhelm non-CC units.

  • JustHippie

    Glad to hear you’re finding some success with an aggressive melee list.

    • It’s hit or miss, unsurprising really. Both times I’ve gone up against Dark Eldar I’ve been destroyed. Trying to round it out a bit more so I don’t have such game extremes, while retaining a core melee element.

      • JustHippie

        DE are rough with all their poison and open topped massive firepower. Alpha strike is the only chance I have and that’s just if I go first to avoid jink saves.

        Have you still been running the forgefiend and Oblits with your fast assault units?

        • Haven’t been using the Forgefiend but going to try the Forgefiend some more though, get more fire power on the field. Forgefiend with two squads of Oblits is a ton of fire power.

  • kharn

    Just woundering how many biker do you need and what’s the best weapon loadout for the champ??

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