I've not had the Orks out on the table for a while, due to Battlefleet Gothic and generally being a bit bored after hammering them out at Britcon again. I was drawn to the fact there's not been a Waaagh Nobrot article for a while, due to a comment from a reader on the post about my Big Mek trio.
So, I checked through the articles to see where I was up to and thought since it's been a while I'll give you two articles for the price of one, covering both types of Bikers in the Ork codex - Warbikers and Nob Bikers.
First up, let's establish the common facts. What a Warbike gives to Warbikers, Nob Bikers and your bike mounted Warboss:
Extra Toughness and a 4+ Armour Save: This makes bikers a lot more survivable. Lots of people forget that the bike gives them the 4+ armour save and for months, I was still paying for 'Eavy Armour on my Warboss and Nob Bikers. This combination just makes them a heck of a lot more survivable to small arms fire such as bolters.
Smoke Clouds: This a is a Gork-send. Constant 4+ Cover save, even when in the open. Whilst it's not as brill as one may first think, due to the fact we already have a 4+ armour save, with the amount of High S, Armour save denying weapons, that are floating around, this will come in handy. The amount of times I've frustrated an opponent by explaining the smoke clouds rule to them and seeing lascannons, meltas and plasma guns vanish into the fumes, it's so, so handy.
Twin Linked Dakka Guns: This mitigates one of the major Ork weaknesses, while providing you with the firepower of a big shoota (although much shorter range). The fact this is twin-linked bypasses your poor Ork BS and allows you to weight of fire the enemy unit to death. A full squad of 10 Warbikers with a Boss (or Nobz) can be horrible through sheer weight of fire thanks to 3 shots each.
So - bikers can be pretty tough and pack a punch outside of assault to boot. So what choice of Orks do we have to sit on top of these 2 wheeled death machines?
Warbikes are a fast attack choice in the Codex, meaning they're not competing with your heavy hitters in the Elite section, although it depends on your personal preference of Fast Attack slots.
When I started out with Orks, I had 6 Warbikes as a fast attack choice, which were used to harry the flanks of the enemy force, whittle them down through hit and run style attacks and support Boyz units in assault thanks to their increased toughness, better armour save and mobility.
Unfortunately, I always felt that the Warbikers didn't pack a hard enough punch for my taste and for their cost. A stray flamer or two could really dent the unit and then suddenly it was crippled and easy to pick off.
However, they are a good unit, coupled with a Power Klaw nob or even a Big Choppa, they can happily get in the back of a transport, pop it and assault the inside unit, backed up by a Boyz mob. Another good use for them is to take out long range Ordnance vehicles like Basilisks and Whirlwinds that can really make a mess of your Boyz mobs.
Not troops? Not a problem!
One weakness that the Warbikers have initially is their lack of being a scoring unit. To me, that means they're left on the shelf since in my Ork force I like everything that's going to get stuck in, or speeding across the table, to be scoring.
So how do we do this? The big man Wazdakka. He allows Warbiker mobs to be taken as Troop choices, which then frees up your fast attack slots and provides you with up to 6 fast moving, punchy units. You'd also have Wazdakka himself in with one of the units to give that extra punch thanks to his special rules.
So Warbikers don't hit hard enough or can't take a good enough beating you say? I introduce you to the world of Nob Bikers, something the internet spawned and subsequently despised for a period in late 4th / early 5th edition.
What are the bonuses of Nob Bikers? We''re all the same as a normal Warbiker, with +1S, +1W and a whole host of upgrade options that can make the unit a nightmare.
I like to run with the following:
8 Nob Bikers - 1 w/ Power Klaw, 1 w/ Bosspole, 1 Painboy, 1 w/ Waagh banner
It's not as mental as some people go, but I'll cover wound allocation in a sec. This gives me an absolute ton of attacks on the charge, following the Dakka Gun shooting, combined with the increased strength from the Nob and Furios Charge combo. It generally means they can go toe to toe with the biggest, baddest and meanest Mo-Fo's in the 40k universe.
What's even better is when taking a Warboss, he allowed a Nob unit to become a Troop choice, meaning that him added in the mix, means this is one scary, albeit eggs in one basket, unit.
Being Nobz also gets around the dreaded heavy flamer approach. Having a Painboy on board not only gives you Feel No Pain to contest this, but access to an Invulnerable save, which after playing against Daemons with Breath of Chaos, is invaluable for a 50pt model.
Another handy option, which I'm thinking of incorporating is the humble Big Choppa. For a mere 5pts, this boosts the weilders Strength by 2. Meaning on the charge, your Nobz are hitting at a hurty S7. Ouch! For what you're already spending on the unit, I think this is definitely points worth paying.
Wound Allocation Hell
One thing people got hung up on with Nob bikers was the ability to mix and match cheap upgrades in the unit to make a Wound Allocation tarpit. This would mean that each of the bikers would be able to allocate wounds separately. Meaning there could be something along the lines of 12 wounds allocated to the unit (1 on each biker, 2 on the Warboss) before a model was even removed.
Personally, I don't go for this approach since I feel it's a bit OTT, but the option's always there if people want to go that way.
So - what do Bikes offer to the Ork Warboss? They offer an extremely mobile, fast moving unit, that can shrug off small arms fire and hold it's own against heavier firepower. They can create either an excellent support fire and assault unit to help with Boyz, or a mega hammer unit capable of holding the line on it's own.
If I could afford more bikes, I'd happily give a Wazdakka centric army a try, with Warbikers and Nob Bikers as my troop choices.
What do you guys think about Bikes in the Ork army? Especially any horror stories against Nob Bikers!