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Scout Tactica

Submitted By: Date: June 24, 2007, 12:00:00 AM Views: 2257
Summary: Introduction: On first glance, Scouts seems like a pretty bad deal. For only two points more, you’ll get a regular Tactical Marine instead, who has a better save and more options for special and heavy weapon. But there’s more to the Scouts than just a bad armour save and few weapons – thankfully. It comes with two handy skills: Move through Cover and Infiltrate. Infiltrate can be achieved by Tactical Marines as well, but not without the use of traits. Also, Scouts has the ability to wield Sniper Rifles, a very handy weapon. More on this later though.

The choices:

As this article will reflect on competetive Scout squads, there are mainly two directions where you can take your Scouts. If you look at a non-competive perspective, there are countless ways to equip the Neophytes of your chapter. These two however, will be cost-effective and can be quite powerful if used correctly.

The shooty variant:

The shooty Scout squad is simple, but effective. It relies on Sniper Rifles and heavy weapons to save the day. It can be used to take down tanks, high-T creatures such as Canifexes and Wraithlords or ligher vehicles. It looks like this:

Scout Squad
6 Scouts
5 Sniper Rifles
Missile Launcher/Heavy Bolter

The sergeant does not need any upgrades for this squad. The choice between Missile Launcher and Heavy Bolter is up to you. Look around in your gaming club. Are there a lot of horde armies? Go for the Heavy Bolter. Are there a lot of Carnifexes and Wraithlords? Go for the Missile Launcher. Remember that the Heavy Bolter squad is quite effective at taking down light vehicles too, such as Raiders, Piranhas, Land Speeders and so on. I personally prefer the Heavy Bolter set-up. One third of the missiles will miss anyway, and the Heavy Bolter is more versatile in my opinion. Also, it’s cheaper.

The tactics using this squad is basically to infiltrate it into cover. A static squad like this will draw lots of AP 4 and better fire from the enemy. Your opponent will most likely know that if they ignore the squad, it will cost them more points than it’s worth. Use it to take down foes with high toughness, lighter vehicles or just start picking off small critters like Gaunts, Guardians, Dark Eldar Warriors, Slugga Boyz and similar units with bad armour saves. The Heavy Bolter-variant is obviously better off here. It can also be used to force pinning checks on units with low Leadership, to incapacitate a squad that the Scouts wouldn’t be able to handle for a turn or two if you’re lucky. In this case, several Scout squads can be used to fire at a single enemy squad, preferably the most threatening one, to force more pinning checks.

Sadly – or thankfully, depending on how you look at it – the unit is not flawless. Since the squads are small, they are also fragile for massed firepower. It will remain in cover for most of the game, so don’t fear the high-S, low-AP, single-shot weapons as the medium-heavy ones. Heavy Bolters, Scatter Lasers, Starcannons and similar weapons are ideal of dealing with these types of units, and if your opponent is experienced enough, he will know that. The squad will not work as a hammer role, but as support for other squads, so I wouldn’t build a list around these.

The assaulting variant:

The assaulting variant is a bit more difficult to use, and it requires a little more skill. It can be taken down almost as easily or easier than the smaller shooty squad, since it spends less time in cover. If you roll badly for a Massacre!-roll, the assaulting squad may just end up in the middle of nowhere and die horribly in your opponent’s shooting phase. It looks like this:

Scout Squad:
8 or 10 Scouts
Bolt Pistols/Close Combat Weapons, Frags
One Scout upgraded to a Veteran Sergeant with Power Fist

On first notice, the Sergeant looks very expensive, since he’s not very likely to last an entire game, but that power fist will help out a lot. Frags are mandatory. You won’t be able to charge shooty squads without losing assaults without them.

The tactics for this squad is to set it up using infiltrate close to an enemy shooty unit that is lousy in close combat. It’s almost the same rule that apply to Assault Marines: assault their shooters and shoot their assaulters. Due to the fact that this unit will be deployed almost last (if not last) you can pick between your opponents more expensive, fragile unit. A unit of 7 Scouts and a Sergeant will be able to dish out 25 attacks per turn - 4 of them Power Fists -at best, but it’s a rare occasion. Against foes with S/T 3 it will be able to slaughter it with few losses though.

If used correctly, this unit can make up its points more than once. If used incorrectly, it will be meat shields and fire magnets at best.

Other uses for Scout squads:

A Veteran Sergeant in the Scout Squads obviously has access to the armoury as any other Veteran Sergeant in the Codex. The armoury contains a nifty little tool called “Teleport Homer”. You can build a list with Terminators as the real punch of it, and just use Scout Squads as Troops to carry Teleport Homers into battle. I prefer to use the shooty variant here. Deploy your Scouts in safe cover, shoot at whatever is coming at you and wait for the back-up Terminators to arrive. When they do, the Scouts will act as fire-support. There is a notably nasty variant of this list - using Imperial Fists as chapter. Two small scout squads to fill the mandatory Troops, both with Teleport Homers and then Lysander and Terminators for the rest of the points.

Also, a list can be made using nothing (almost) but Scouts. Here, the assaulting variant would probably be the better one, with fire-support from Land Speeder Tornados and Predators. There are people who have tried lists using nothing but Sniper Rifle-Scouts, but I fear that those lists – although powerful – would be boring to play with and play against.

Rare variants:

Both Shotgun Scouts and Bolter Scouts are lesser variants in most peoples eyes. The Shotgun Scouts are viable in Dark Angels due to their strength increase, and the Bolter Scouts are viable in just about any army. They are mainly used as bait, so move up and doubletap your weapon, and let your opponent deal with your Scouts in his turn. Thereby, they will soak shots for your other more precious units. The trick is to not charge your opponent after firing Shotguns.

Finally, I have to mention the Space Wolf Wolf Scouts. They are unique really, as they are able to take Meltaguns and can enter play from your opponent's table side. In my opinion, at least one pack of Wolf Scouts is mandatory for any Space Wolf player.


Scouts require more work than Tactical Marines to perform well on the battle field. But when they do, they are a blast to use and frankly, I think all the opponents of the Emperor’s finest would like a break from those 3+ armour saves. Scouts will reward you for using them correctly via a full pay-out in raw power. They are one of my personal favourites in the codex.

Rating: **** by 1 members.


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