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Reaver Jetbikes Unit Introduction

Submitted By: Date: August 8, 2005, 05:35:01 PM Views: 2017

Reaver Jetbikes: Unit Introduction
Scribed by: Incubi Master RumblebellySugarmedo

Ahh, the Reaver Jetbike? merely the thought of them sends visions of happiness through my mind.  I will hold nothing back in this article and plainly tell you what I think.  However, to start with, let?s take a general look into the unit itself.

 StatisticsBeing the most expensive single wound model in the DE book, it is right for the player to ask, ?what does that 30 points get me??.  How does this sound: 4s for WS, BS, S, T, AS and a 6 initiative and 8 leadership.  Armed with a splinter rifle, the Jetbike gets all the usual benefits to moving and shooting (ie may fire at full range and rapid fire even if it moved).  In addition to all this you are allowed a combat drug roll for the squad which will 50% of the time result in a statistic increase.
You may notice at this time that the basic stats are awfully similar to a tactical marine.  The only difference is a higher armor save for a marine and a high initiative for the Reaver.  So why do they cost twice as much?  I believe the answer is two-fold.  1) The Reaver?s most promising attribute is it?s turbo-booster.  This booster allows the bike to move up to 24? in it?s movement phase (though you may not shoot or assault).  In addition, this turns it?s save into an invulnerable save.  When we get down to the tactics section you will see how this can be employed. 2)  The tactical role in the DE army as a whole warrants the high points cost.  More on this in tactics.

I can only call the Reaver Jetbike boxed set a rip off.  I know it?s not very nice to say, but when I pay $40 for 3 models comprised mainly of plastic (though there are some very cool metal pieces) I feel like I have been kicked where the sun don't shine.  The models themselves are the reason I fell in love with the DE army though.  The massive amounts of blades and the stepped canopy of the bike combine to make a treacherous and wicked foe.  In addition, the splinter rifle can be mounted in such a way to be reminiscent of a scorpions tale or a bee sting (over and under respectively).  The HUGE jet on the back of the bike eludes to their speed.  The models are just awesome. 
Conversions are made easy on these beauties as even the average modeler could achieve striking results.  The gun mounts, blade mounts, and riders themselves can be twisted, tweaked and teased out to make an unlimited combination of different looking bikes!

Okay, here is what I have been waiting to write.  I have read many articles on how the Reaver Jetbike is not worth the points.  I think, strictly speaking, that would be true.  However, in the context of the DE army I believe they are so invaluable that their points cost is worth it!  In most of the tactics below I would like to remind the reader that when using the Jetbike, ?Speed is Your Armor.?  Repeat after me, ?Speed is My Armor, Speed is My Armor, Speed??  very good.  What I mean is this? the ability to jump from cover to cover using 24? of movement combined with toughness 4 and a 4+ invulnerable save means it will take A LOT to kill an entire unit.  As far as upgrades are concerned, take blasters for the most part (unless you know exactly what you are fighting and will need shredders) and always upgrade one bike to a succubus with an agonizer or power weapon.  I have found that in most cases a power weapon does just as well (sometimes better) in close combat than an agonizer.  Also take haywire grenades just in case you need to speed up to some armor and take it out.  You could think of a terrorfex too, but I abstain from that for cost reasons.  As an aside, when choosing a unit of Reavers make sure you take upwards of five models.  Any less and they won?t be a force to be reckoned with.  I would size my squad between 5 and 8.  Any more than 8 and we are looking at near 300points.  Too pricey for the tactics I will be advocating? and here they are:
Guard the Raider:  Run intercept for your Raiders filled with all kinds of close combat goodness.  In my games I often take 15 Jetbikes divided in 3 squads protecting my Raiders filled with Incubi and Wyches.  Send the 3 squads on turbo-booster out in front of the Raiders outside of assault range of the enemy.  Use cover when available first for your Raiders (which come up behind the bikes) and then for the Reavers.  Here is how they protect the Raiders? the enemy has a choice to shoot your bikes or your Raiders.  Most of the time he will be unable to do both.  If he chooses the Raiders, then the Reavers hit home and at the very least tie up the enemy unit for a couple of turns allowing your close combatees to engage (remember they are already halfway across the board!) when they get there.  If they shoot down the Reavers they will find their shooting very ineffective against an untypical (remember what I said about their tactical value!) toughness four for a DE and 4+ invulnerable save.  Chances are under the weight of fire even from Imperial Guard, you will have a squad or two left!  Then in the next turn you unload your close combat troops and attack with your remaining bikes.  Also, remember that any army that will stick it to you in the shooting phase will most often crumble in the assault phase (Imperial Guard and Tau are two examples) and vice versa. 
Kill The Devastators (as seen above):  Or equivalent thereof.  Take a unit of five to eight and send them streaking up the flank with their turbo-boosters on.  The Devastators, Dark Reapers, Tau Crisis Suits, etc will be forced to deal with the Jetbikes in the shooting phase or suffer an almost certain defeat in close combat.  If they shoot at you, you will probably lose two or three bikes.  However, they are not shooting at your warrior squads and Raiders!  In addition, there should still be a few bikes left to assault the following turn.  For about 165 points (5 man squad) you can take their shooting away for at least two turns and possibly kill them by turn two!  If you know your opponent will be fielding his heavy shooters, I would plan on taking 8 to make sure they are dealt with.  With regard to points, this is a pretty good trade off as you will be winning the unit vs. unit battle and spending about 60-150 points less than your opponent on your bikes. 
Redeploy:  This works wonderfully with the turbo-booster.  Deploy all your Raiders and fast movers on the opposite side of your bikes.  Then in turn one, move your bikes all the way across the board to join the other elements in your army and set up a refused flank.  A similar tactic was used in White Dwarf 241 by Mr. Sawyer and Mr. Thorpe who used their Eldar army to do it.  However, the DE are far superior at using this tactic. 
Armor Hunters (as seen above):  Equip your bikes with two blasters and a succubus with haywire grenades.  Send bikes straight at the nastiest tank out there using your turbo-booster.  After the tank has piddled on your bikes and has not destroyed them ( I have even stood up to a Leman Russ Exterminator with a five bike squad) you shoot your blasters and assault with the haywire grenades.  This tactic is not as points savvy as the others.  However, take into account that you should still have some of your squad left after you destroy the tank or disable it to your liking. 
Claim the Objective: Just how it sounds.  If none of the above tactics can be used, keep them behind cover or your lines and then speed the full 24? to claim the objective in the last turn.  If the enemy tries to shoot them down, chance are they will survive. 
One Man Wrecking Machine:  Another option is to put a Drachon on a bike with a power weapon and his own combat drugs.  Make sure you can get behind cover and then unleash him on literally anything in turn two and watch it die!  This is quite expensive but extremely rewarding when your opponent doesn?t take into account the amount of armor penetrating attacks he gets!

 Finally allow me to mention a few things not to do with your bikes.  1) Do not assault large units unless you have rolled crazed on the combat drugs table.  2) Do not treat them as you would marines or any other infantry, these are bikes.  3) Beware of nasty Ordnance weapons!  4) Do not exchange fire.  Firefights will are not good ideas.  To summarize, if you are not assaulting, you should be turboing.

 I believe the points cost for the bikes and the price of the models themselves have been a deterrent to many DE generals who would otherwise use them.  I would hold that, tactically speaking, they are the best role players in a DE army.  Good luck and remember 'Speed is Your Armor!'

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