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Monday, October 13, 2014

A How To Guide • Playing White Scars • Part 1

I'm sure there are lots of ways to win with White Scars... They have some really fantastic rules:

— S5 Hammer of Wrath (HoW)
— Skilled Rider
— Hit and Run (H&R)
— +1 Save when jinking

These are four very advantageous rules. First the S5 HoW is great for popping Wave Serpents and second you'll never lose a biker due to steering into a tree. H&R is simply phenomal... I'm sure there are lots of dark Eldar players hating on losing the Baron and for good reason. Finally most of the time you'll have a 3+ save since most weapons which ignore cover have a high AP (e.g., serpent shield) so you'll still get your 3+ armor save.

If you take the Khan then your army can scout and outflank. I started off with Khan on Moondrakken - he is great to learn how to play White Scars and gives you access to the command squad. Over time I stopped using Khan as having gained experience I don't feel I need him plus the points are better invested in a Librarian which also gives you access to the command squad. Bikes can turbo boost which equates to covering a lot of ground fast so the scout move is actually not all that important - especially since you can't assault the first turn with any unit that scouts. Outflanking is really good for the right list such as rhinos and scouts in land speeder Storms. I play a pure biker army though and what I've found is that you need to start with all your squads on the table — otherwise you are very susceptible to an alpha strike and if your reserves come in piecemeal they'll get picked off as well.

I run mine on a bike with a force axe, Melta bombs and the relic Indominitus Armor for the 2+ save which one player turn grants a 2++ invulnerable save. Mine is a Level 2 psyker which combined with Admantium Will (i.e., Chapter Master with Shield Eternal) is fantastic for denying enemy maledictions — I also run a Rune Priest with my Space Wolf allies. The Rune Priest has a special rule Ward which adds +1 to your Deny the Witch rolls so often you'll be able to roll a 3+ to deny the witch if you attach your Chapter Master, Librarian and Rune Priest to the same unit (i.e., command squad). They all have access to a 2+ armor save which makes your BikeStar that much harder to kill... Remember that a 2+ armor save is twice as good as a 3+ armor save !

The Librarian is a jack of all trades and can add a lot of support to your army. The force axe is an excellent means of sniping big hard to kill behemoths including warbosses, Riptides and even Wraithknights. I choose my psychic lore depending upon which army I'm facing. Insta-Gizz (aka Invisibility) is the most sought after if you can roll it up but it's not all that reliable since it requires two warp charges to cast. Psychic Shriek is the Primaris power from the same lore (Telepathy) and is great for sniping tough to reach enemy units like Guardian Jetbikes and Path Finders. Biomancy can be good but is more situational - this lore is a mixed bag as there are some good spells (Endurance, Iron Arm and Life Leech) but also some bad ones such as Warp Speed since it doesn't do much for a biker using an unwieldy weapon. I like Pyromancy too which is great versus horde armies such as Orks and Tyranids. Spells chosen from Pyromancy only require one warp charge so they are very reliable. The combination of the Librarian and Rune Priest buffs your psychic mastery level up to four total which is quite good versus a lot of armies such as Necrons and Tau.

This is the stock Chapter Master on a bike with artificer armor, the Shield Eternal and either a power fist or thunderhammer. BikeXander is greatly feared and for good reason—currently he is the Eternal Warrior of choice. There's really not much to say since it's all been said. The Chapter Master is must take as the hub of BikeStar.

Command Squad
Here is how I run mine:

Bikes - 4x Grav Gun - 4x Stormshield - 3x meltabomb - thunderhammer - Chapter banner

This is a super squad and can do it all - Mobile, shooty and quite choppy as well... Especially with all the characters attached. Note that the chapter banner allows any unit within 12" to re roll failed morale checks which will help prevent your bikers from running off the table. I move mine up the table as fast as possible to keep them away from their own table edge. You really don't want to lose an expensive unit to failed morale check when they fall back. The meltabombs are anti Knight and Monstrous Creatures... They make them go BOOM real quick. Combined with the characters they are just as good in mėlee as when they are shooting if not actually better. Like BikeXander there's not much to say that hasn't already been said else where.

You can split off characters as the game progresses to tackle weak units although I'll say be careful as you certainly don't want to lose one of your bosses to a lucky enemy Overwatch. it's best to split off versus small eneny units that can't muster a lot of shooting during Overwatch. It's always best to hit a big eneny unit with full force whenever possible.

Biker Squads
My army is all grav gun, twin linked boltguns and multi-meltas. Boltguns suppress horde while the grav guns take down nasty units such as Wraithknights and vehicles. The attack bikes add survivability too since they have two wounds.

Here is my typical build:

4x biker - 2x grav gun
Sergeant - combi-melta - meltabombs
Attack Bike - multi-melta

I like to run three of these squads and they are the core of your army. Six per squad makes them more survivable plus they hit harder.

Next Up
I'll discuss strategies and tactics.

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