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Tip of the Week #95 - Effective Bike Strategies

By Svizcy - 30th March 2010 - 03:35 AM

Bikes are a part of practically every game you see that involves any of Nod factions. Why? Because they are the one unit that can cover the most amount of the map in the shortest time, can anti-scout lone units because of its speed, range and weapon damage output. A single Attack Bike only costs 600$ and is therefore an extremely spammable unit. It is also very fragile on its own but can be deadly in large numbers and even deadlier when mixed with some buggies.

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The fastest ground unit in the game.

Date: March 30, 2010
Game: Kane's Wrath 1.02
Author: Svizcy
I will tell you today the strategies that involve Bike usage.


The most obvious strategy is rushing. There are a couple of different rushes, and here is a short list and description of them:

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A good starting number of Bikes ready to rush and kill some eco.

The Three-Bike Rush

Training three Bikes before any Harvesters out of your War Factory and sending them undetected to your opponent's base to do some early eco harassment. The advantages are that they don't hurt your economy much and can usually be en route before any of your opponent's scouts reach your base. The disadvantages are that there are only three Bikes, and being so fragile they are pretty easy to scare off or defend against, but even then you have forced your opponent to make units instead of Harvesters and therefore delaying his eco growth.

And even if you cannot harass his Harvesters effectively, you can still use the three Bikes for early map awareness and as early anti-scouting units, as they can effectively stop lone Pitbulls or Seekers trying to scout your base. This rush is a good opening versus Scrin factions, especially if you are the Black Hand.

Five Bikes or Four Bikes + Buggy

Training five Bikes out of the War Factory before building a Harvester is expensive, so this requires a little eco-managing. One method is to delay your second Power Plant. Since we will be on low power after placing second Refinery we need to power down the second Refinery. The advantages are that 5 Bikes or 4 Bikes and a Buggy will give us the ability to 2-shoot a Harvester. The disadvantages are that anyone decent will scout this rush before we send our Bikes + Buggy on their way and therefore probably prepare themselves before we reach their base. Still, we see this rush used more extensively nowadays than the classic 3-Bike rush because it has the potential to contain the opponent in their base to protect their Harvesters.

Again, this opening is similar to the three-Bikes opening in that is good versus Scrin factions, especially if you are Black Hand, allowing us early anti-scouting. It is also good in mirror matches because you will force your opponent to make units and if he doesn't make units you win. Basically he has to make units to fight your units and stay in the game.

The 6+ Bikes or 6 Bikes, 2 Buggies Rush

This is a heavy rush, it costs us lot of money, and if we fail to inflict some damage to the opponent, then it can cost us the game. One man who made this rush more workable was Technique, who found out that if we sell one of 2 Refineries, it will give us enough funds with a 1-Refinery/2-Harvester economy that consequently we can spam Bikes or Bikes and Buggies for some time before we run out of cash. So basically we start the three-Bike rush, then add units as needed for the situation on the field. When we need more firepower, we add more Bikes; when we need a meat shield, we add Buggies.

All this can't go on forever but in my testing it is possible to train around 11 Bikes all together before we run low on money and want to stop Bike producing and start building our Refinery again. The advantages are early map control, heavy economic harassment possibilities, good anti-scouting possibilities. The disadvantages are low economy at the start, and if you fail with harassment and lose your units early on to counters it will most likely cost you the game.

Still, this is very good versus Nod if your opponent cannot scout your base and goes for only a few Bikes and then economy. This tactic is also very good against Scrin if they cannot scout it, and even against GDI, but then it is very costly economically and borderline all-in. All in all, this rush is better against Nod and Scrin factions. In general, it is best against Nod factions, but will fail if your opponent manages to get a decent economy (around 4 Harvesters) and then just spams Scorpions and/or Buggies and defends.

Anti-cheese rush (invented by vOddy)

Basically a rush most usable for Nod mirrors that was invented for a need to counter the Black Hand during the early game in Nod mirrors. This requires two Scorpion tanks being trained from War Factory together with 2-5 Bikes and one Buggy. Scorpions are there to counter the counters that are built by your opponent when he sees the rush coming. It is advisable to hide the two Scorpions out of your opponent's line-of-sight. If you manage to do that, the rush will be even more effective. The number of Bikes and Buggies will again vary depending on what you scout in your opponent's base. As already said, when we need more firepower, we add more Bikes; when we need a meat shield or infantry killer, we add Buggies.

Again, this rush is pretty heavy on your starting economy, so it is advisable to sell one of your first two Refineries after you get the Harvester out. The advantages are basically that if you manage to hide the Scorpion Tanks, there is a chance that the opponent won't counter this rush correctly, so this may result in an early win or at least inflict heavy damage on the enemy economy. The disadvantages are the same as in the previous rush; this one is also very expensive, so you better do some damage with it.

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Effective harassment!

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Some early-middgame bikes with few buggies prepared to press opponent into his base and assure a map-control for a period of time.

Map control

In my opinion, this is the most important Bike role: to take map control as early and as fast as possible. Bikes mixed with some Buggies on open maps like Dustbowl or Rift can hit your opponent with devastating effect. They keep them in their base, and while they are preparing a counter or just a strong mid-game push, you adjust your strategy perfectly to counter the units and plans of your opponent because of your awareness advantage. Of course, this involves a switch in unit production, but it is exactly what Bikes are supposed to be used for, that is, as a cover, so that you can change your strategy without your opponent knowing of it or at least delaying him while you keep an eye on his plans. The results can be devastating. All the time while you are preparing your new strategy plan, you also look for gaps in opponent defenses to smoke a Harvester or two.

Use Bikes as counters

This means exactly what the title says. Bikes are also good as a counter to some units in the game. Bikes counter Pitbulls as long as you have a superior number of Bikes and the Pitbulls aren't running around in large packs. If they are, avoid them if you can. The same is true for Seekers. You can use Bikes to counter any aircraft in the game, especially once you get to tier 3 and research Tiberium Core Missiles. You still have to watch out, since if your Bikes are small in number, some aircraft like Orcas may actually counter your Bikes cost-effectively.

So basically Bikes can counter all light vehicles as long as your numbers exceed theirs. Additionally, with tier 2 and the Decoy Army support power, you can use large numbers of Bikes to counter low numbers of slow-moving medium armor vehicles like Devourers, Predators, Scorpions or even Mechapedes, but only when you have greatly superior numbers that allows you to one-shoot your target and/or with help of Decoy Army; otherwise countering would not be cost-effective.

Note that if your opponent techs up, you should also do same, while driving around the map with your mix of Bikes and Buggies usually in a ratio 1:3 in favor of Bikes, looking for lone units that you can smoke. Once you get your Tech Lab up, research Tiberium Core Missiles and EMP Coils in that order. When those are researched, you will have some serious firepower at your hands. It requires some amount of micro to use, but nevertheless this combo alone can take care of armies that would usually need heavier and less mobile counters, such as Avatars or some other heavy armor vehicles.

Keep your Bikes in one group and Buggies in another, and when the opponent engages, drive in the Buggies first. They will give us two things: first they will provide cover as meat shields for our Bikes, and second, they will EMP a few of the opponent's units. Once the first Buggies engage in the fight, order your Bikes to attack while trying to EMP as many enemy units as possible with your Buggies.

Once Bikes get their Tiberium Core Missile upgrade, they can cause some serious damage and therefore become the counter unit against units which they struggled to take down before. They can now much more efficiently counter all light armor vehicles, all aircraft, and can pose a serious threat to medium armor if they are used in combination with Buggies as described above.

In mirror matches, Bikes, and later Tib-Core Bikes, can also be used very efficiently to counter artillery units such as Beam Cannons and Specters, or to hunt down Stealth Tanks, since Bikes have superior speed and stealth detection. Outside mirrors, Bikes are good at countering other Artillery units as well, such as Juggernauts or Devastator Warships or any other slow-moving, heavy units with a low rate of fire. Just make sure you keep moving!

Countering Shatterers can be tricky if you use a large number of Bikes. The Shatterer's splash damage, together with its high base damage, can easily kill many Bikes in one shot if you aren't careful. You have to use the speed and mobility of the Bike against the low rate of fire and slow speed of the Shatterer. If you use a smaller group like 3-6 Bikes, which you can micro efficiently around the Shatterers, then you have the perfect counter.

Just a note: While doing so, try close on the Shatterers a little, because if your radius around them is too large, then the Shatterers might actually have enough time to aim and force-fire at your Bikes, which you don't want to happen. The same can be also done against Sonic Emitters, but you will need to be careful with micro-managing your Bikes. Timing is crucial, and again the Tiberium Core upgrade helps a lot in both situations.

Keep in mind that in Bike-versus-Bike battles you should keep Bikes in groups of two, since two Bikes one-shot another Bike, and therefore your force will be most effective if you fire in pairs to take out one enemy Bike with each salvo.


All in all, Bikes are in my opinion the best economic harassers that Nod has at their disposal. So they should always be built, no matter what match-up you are facing. You will always want to have at least three of them that you can use for economic harassment, or at least as a distraction to divert your opponent's attention from the real attack.

And here you have some statistics of how many volleys a bike needs to kill few units that you will be engaging the most:
  • Harvesters: 8 volleys
  • Shielded and Heavy Harvesters: 9 volleys
  • Attack Bikes: 2 volleys
  • Pitbull: 4 volleys
  • Seeker: 6 volleys
  • Orca: 3 volleys
  • Mechapede head: 6 volleys
Good day, Svizcy

Special thanks to vOddy for his contributions.

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