It’s Like Tactics: Warbikers Review
It’s Like Tactics is rated theory hammer because these are general observations and assumptions based on only few tested games.
Orks of Anarchy…
Another iconic Ork unit, Warbikers have been a quintessential Ork unit since the early 90s. It has only been over the last 10 years or so the unit has been overshadowed by the bigger and better Nob Biker. The Warbiker second fiddle status is the main reason keeping it from greatness, but now with some important changes in the newest Ork codex can the Warbiker finally turn the corner?
Before we start dissecting, lets take a quick look at the past and present Warbiker rules.
(Click to Enlarge)
Warbiker Rules 2014
FA: Warbikers – 18 Points
UNIT TYPE: Bike. Boss Nob is Bike (Character). UNIT COMPOSITION: 3 Warbikers WARGEAR: • Slugga • Choppa • Warbike SPECIAL RULES: • ’Ere We Go! • Furious Charge • Mob Rule OPTIONS: • May include up to twelve additional Warbikers…18 pts/model • One model may be upgraded to a Boss Nob…10 pts • The Boss Nob may take items from the Melee Weapons list. • The Boss Nob may take a bosspole…5 pts
Warbikers lost a big part of their utility: no longer able to become a Troop choice, worse GW still saw it fit to make sure their favored son the Space Marines not lose the option. As it is Warbikers, did gain a distinct advantage by becoming exceedingly cheaper, at 18 points their cost effectiveness shot through the roof. If you cannot afford using Nob Bikers Warbikers are a fantastic alternative.
Warbikers are some of the fastest Ork units, able to engage most enemies by turn 2. As Bikers they are also not impeded by difficult terrain and along with ’Ere We Go! making long assaults shouldn’t be a problem. It is once you get into Assault though can be another story.
Warbikers benefit from a better Armour save and higher toughness than your average Ork, but at double the cost of try not to take unnecessary risks. You do get Hammer or Wrath attacks with Warbikers adding to their potency. If you lose an Assault the Mob Rule! isn’t the end of the world as any hits struck against your Warbikers will have a tough time wounding and you still get a decent Armour save.
This is where Warbikers really do some work. Twin-linked Deffguns are a brutal weapon with enough shots. Warbikers can take out most infantry units and light vehicles. Most opponents will be thrown off by the range and shooting potential of Warbikers, and it is a good way to keep your Warbikers while still doing damage. Warbikers are even serviceable anti-monstrous flying creature shooting.
The Warbiker second fiddle status is the main reason keeping it from greatness, but now with some important changes in the newest Ork codex can the Warbiker finally turn the corner?
The Zhardsnark Phenomenon
In all my Ork Tactics articles I have avoided one unit specifically, Zhardsnark. Zhardsnark is by far the best Ork HQ in the game, but his only problem is being from Forge World with rules written for 6th edition. I try to keep all my tactics to the main GW line, because Forge World still isn’t used by the majority of players. Zhardsnark needs mentioned though he is primary HQ for almost all successful competitive Ork lists. As it pertains to Warbikes, Zhardsnark makes them Troop, giving them back what they should have anyway. He also boosts jink saves and has a non-unwieldy Power Klaw.
He makes Warbikes easily on par with Space Marine bikes and close to the abilities of Eldar Jetbikes. It is easy to see why you find him almost every Ork list. Good thing too is Zhardsnark rules are free, easy to find, and if anything he is a great stand in for Wazdakka until GW gives him some proper rules.
Putting it all Together…
Warbikers are much improved, mostly due to the six point drop in cost, but cost them ability to become a Troops. It means typically only three units of Warbikers will ever be fielded. They are more effective as shooting platforms than Assault units, unless you load up on Independent Characters. They cap out at a 15 mob size, up from 12 in the previous edition, this is great boost considering the Mob Rule! That is also five more models than a max size Nob Biker unit and almost 100 points less the cost. This unit size is also bigger than any Space Marine bike unit, with a higher damage potential.
Warbikers as only a Fast Attack choice firmly puts them in the support category. The best combat role for Warbikers is go opponent Troop hunting. Warbikers can destroy most transports and still be position to assault anything that happens to stumble out. Warbikers speed also means they can re-position depending on shifting priorities. Warbikers are great roadblocks, especially denying assaults on more vulnerable units when spread out. Don’t forget Warbikers have an effective threat range of 30″ when it comes to shooting, this means you can hold them back if necessary. You don’t have to automatically throw your Warbikers forward; the combination of speed and resilience means you can save them for critical late game strikes when need be.
— Warbikers Army Templates–
Sadly, Warbikers have no dedicated Formation.
Ork Horde Detachment: If you want to run a Biker Boss heavy list, but lack the points for Nob Bikers taking a unit of Warbikers is a good alternative with this Detachment. As ablative wounds you can do a lot worse, combo with a Painboy and two Warbosses and you have formidable unit that can take on almost any opposing unit.
Great Waaagh! Detachment: If you really just want a chance to Deep Strike some bikes than this is the Detachment for you, but if you are sane you are better off passing on using this Detachment for Warbikes.
Overall, Ork Warbikers are better than before; with much of the game reliant on speed and toughness, they fit right in. It is too bad GW didn’t see fit to move Warbikers to the Troop slot or give them a way to become Objective Secured. Warbikers could have used a specific Formation as well, these missed opportunities are the only blemishes on an otherwise good unit.
For tactical articles feel free to email me to continue the discussion or if you discover an inaccurate interpretations of the rules– edits will be made accordingly. Also check out other articles in this series…
- Chaos Space Marine Tactica Link Page
- Chaos Daemons Tactica Link Page
- Ork First Impressions
- Breaking Down the Ork Codex
- Warboss Review
- Weirdboy Review
- Mek Review
- Big Mek Review
- Painboy Review
- Mad Doc Grotsnik Review
- Kaptain Badrukk Review
- Boss Zagstruk Review
- Boyz Review
- Gretchin Review
- Burna Boyz Review
- Tankbustas Review
- Nobz Review
- Meganobz Review
- Kommandos Review
- Trukk Review
- Stormboyz Review
- Deffkopta Review
- Ork Flyer Review
- Warbikers Review
- Warbuggies Review
- Mek Gunz Review
- Battlewagon Review
- Deff Dread Review
- Killa Kans Review
- Gorkanaut & Morkanaut Review
- Lootas Review
- Flash Gitz Review
- Ghazghkull Thraka Review
- Stompa Review
- Final Ork Codex Breakdown