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Mathhammer: White Scar Bikes vs. Ravenguard Assault Marines

After number crunching through the best assault troopers of the Adeptus Astartes, I briefly wondered about the other Fast Attack option of the Demi-Company; the biker squad.
Right now they are quite rightly used as a double special weapon platform (usually grav-guns), and the best Chapter without question for them is the White Scars. You could argue Iron Hands makes them a much better defensive unit, but ignoring difficult terrain and a 3+ jink save is hard to beat.
By the way, strongly consider biker Black Templars. Bike squads tend to be tough enough to only lose one biker in a round of over watch, and raging Templars can lay a considerable smack down on the charge. Also: power armoured Teutonic knights!
The traditional wisdom is that bikes are for shooting, and Assault troops for assault (hence the name). But White Scars have a bonus to Hammer of Wrath attacks, indicating that maybe they should be getting into assaults too.
A biker unit is able to double tap twin-linked bolters into an enemy before charging, meaning they can soften them up considerably before getting stuck in. Like the Ravenguard jump troops, they're guaranteed a Hammer of Wrath. It's strength 5, meaning they are better against vehicles, if not quite as good as re-rolling wounds against Toughness units.
So lets see if the maths works out. Again, assumptions are:
  • Making the charge
  • Surviving over watch
  • Getting all models into base-to-base for Hammer of Wrath
  • Keeping unit prices relatively similar
Unit White Scars bike Ravenguard Assault
Price 84 85
Unit count 4 5
No. shots 8 5
Hits 7.1 3.3
Wounds vs. Toughness
3 4.7 2.2
4 3.6 1.7
5 2.4 1.1
6 1.2 0.6
7 1.2 0.6
8 0.0 0.0
Average 2.2 1.0
Attacks 8.0 15.0
Hits 4.0 7.5
Hammer of Wrath
3 3.3 4.4
4 2.7 3.8
5 2.0 2.8
6 1.3 1.5
7 0.7 1.5
8 0.7 0.0
Normal Wounds
3 2.7 5.0
4 2.0 3.8
5 1.3 2.5
6 0.7 1.3
7 0.7 1.3
8 0.0 0.0
Total Assault
3 6.0 9.4
4 4.7 7.5
5 3.3 5.3
6 2.0 2.8
7 1.3 2.8
8 0.7 0.0
Average 3.0 4.6
Total Average wounds 5.172839506 5.648148148
Points/wound 16.23866348 15.04918033

Well... it's very close, but the Ravenguard win again.

This time though, I'm not sure we can give them the clear victory. As the bikes are Toughness 5, they have greater survivability that the Assault marines. They also can jink against special weapons, giving a better save than the Turn 1 Ravenguard Shrouding. And finally the White Scars can Hit and Run out of combat for another point blank charge... and round of shooting.

It's a close match up, but I have to give the White Scars the victory here, despite the mathematical advantage. There's simply too much that's better for the bikers from Chogoris, not the least of which is easier access to Objective Secured through a standard CAD.

This is not to say that bikers are the only unit you should take. In fact, the maths here show how neatly balanced the codex units are with each other, as there's barely a points worth of efficiency between them. I just like a bit of spread-sheeting every now and then.

As always, pick the units and models you like. Rules change over the years, and your models will be spending more time with you than any edition of Warhammer 40K.

Until next time!

Thanks for reading.

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