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So my space marine army is coming together very quickly and I will soon have a post on my progress, but for now I must ask: What should I do with my scout squad?
I just bought a sniper box and made 5 snipers and 1 Missile launcher (I had an extra pair of legs for the 6th guy). A friend of mine who plays SW gave me his scouts since he doesn't use them. As of now I have the possibility of making 6(7 but I want to make my own "Telion" model.) How should I gear them?
I know a large part has to do with what I want them to do but even that I'm not exactly sure. Should I give them all combat blades and pistols? 3 CBs and 2 combat shotguns? All bolters? I was thinking 3 bolters and 2 combat shotguns but frankly I have no idea.
Also I have the option of two heavy bolters.
Any and all advice comes to eager ears! Thanks.
Eternity Guard (SM) W-15/L-5/D-3
Lizardmen w16/ L1/ d2 :On hiatus since new rules... =/
it's a shame you asked so soon: I am currently writing "Tactica: Space Marine Scout Squads" on how to equip and use scouts. That would be really helpful, but I fear I'll need some more days to find the time to finish it (you know: busy weekends and all those summer festivities).
Just to clarify: you have already built four sniper scouts and one missile launcher, you are going to build your own Telion, and you have another six scout models which you don't know what to do with - is that correct or incorrect?
Don't ever use shotguns: they suck. Here's why...
Shotguns and bolt pistols have much in common: same range, same strength, and you can assault after shooting either of them. The difference is that the bolt pistol has one shot less, but has an AP value, and can be used with a close combat weapon for an extra attack. Now if you use shotguns you very likely plan to assault after shooting. Now consider this: the extra attack in close combat (with bolt pistol and close combat weapon) is S4 AP- (just like the shotgun) but will sometimes even hit on a 3+ instead of a 4+ (though this is very rare, granted), so it sort of makes up for the one S4 AP- shot you lost. Remember, though, that the one shot you had was S4 AP5. Also consider that the shooting could cause the target unit to break and flee, denying your assault (you don't want that). And also consider that the extra attack in close combat counts towards the combat resolution, helping you win the assault!
This is why bolt pistols and close combat weapons are superior to shotguns and bolt pistols. Really.
Bolters: you don't want them on your scouts. Scouts either sit back guarding an objective and snipe from afar (I will refer to them as "chicken squads" in the tactica, and these, obviously should have far-ranged weaponry like sniper rifles), or are meant to get close and personal in the assault (in which case you should gear them up with bolt pistols and close combat weapons, I call those "hornet squads").
The problem with the bolters is that they are rapid-fire (either shoot or assault), and scouts are just too few and too unreliable in terms of ballistic skill to mow down an enemy squad with their bolters. And since you don't want them to get assaulted, it's better to assault yourself. Sure, bolter scouts could still shoot their bolt pistols and assault, but with bolt pistols and close combat weapons you get that one extra attack.
Since the scout transport (land speeder storm) is open-topped you can always assault, even after disembarking (which is the time tactical marines make the most of their bolters because they can't assault).
So either go sniper rifles and bolt pistols or close combat weapon and bolt pistols. Chicken squads should always have a heavy weapon (preferably a missile launcher, such squads have decent chances stopping AV10 and AV11, and thanks to infiltrate they can easily catch the enemy in a cross-fire and target side armor), hornet squads needn't, but it hardly hurts to have the flexibility (unless you plan on making a first turn alpha strike assault, in which case your unit very probably will never ever get to shoot its weapon, so you can save those points): even close combat squads are much scarier if you can also decide to stand still and shoot that tank way over there into side armor with decent chances of hurting it.
Camo cloaks are more or less a must for chicken squads (unless you have Telion with stealth in there), and they are a good addition even for hornet squads. Really consider them, even if they seem to make the scouts more expensive than tactical marines on a model basis.
Power fist is a must on hornet squads (unless it's a "last minute" squad, see below, where I still recommend it, but it's not a requirement) and a waste on chicken squads.
Hornet squads are much much more effective with the speed of the awesome landspeeder storm. If you have the fast attack slots available: buy them for your hornet scouts.
"Last minute squads" are scout squads that outflank not with the purpose to launch a surprise attack and mop up some enemy fire support unit or the like, but rather with the purpose of claiming an out-of-the-way objective. Those should be kept as flexible as possible: camo cloaks, a heavy weapon, power fist. Those can have bolters, though I would personally still go with bolt pistols and close combat weapons...
I don't want to go into very much detail here because I'm reserving this for the tactica, but maybe this is giving you an idea already.
It comes down to: take the heavy weapon (this is what makes scouts cheap: their lower resilience and damage output is not made up for by 3 points in difference per model compared to tactical marines but rather by the fact that you can take a heavy weapon without being required to take a full ten men squad), really consider camo cloaks, and use either sniper rifles for a sit-back squad or close combat weapons for an offensive squad. The latter should also have a power fist and probably a landspeeder storm, if possible. No shotguns (though they look cool), and rather no bolters either.
Archer this post was perfect. Ironic that you're making the tactica for it too! So since I have my sniper squad I believe I'm going to make 5 cc and one with a heavy bolter for variation among my scouts. I would give you more rep but it's telling me I already gave you too much and need to share with others ahhahaha. Can't wait for the tactica though because all your other ones have guided me well.
Eternity Guard (SM) W-15/L-5/D-3
Lizardmen w16/ L1/ d2 :On hiatus since new rules... =/
Go to be honest but i am not longer a big fan of scouts with Sniper Rifles, since they no longer hit on a two up i have dropped mine and if i start using them again i will give them bolt guns over anything else. I always found that they died to quickly in close combat so i don't like charging them in to fight. (always thought it was funny they would throw away the future of the chapter like that, why i used to give them sniper rifles was to make them survive a battle) I think i would have taken them but with the reduced weapon skill and ballistic skill i would take the chance on the boltgun that wounds on a 3+ against anything that is toughness three.
Sniper rifles don't hit on a 2+ anymore, they use BS. Scouts' BS has dropped by one from fourth edition to fifth. Sniper rifles must be useless now! False.
Why are sniper rifles still the weapon for scout squads sitting back on an objective? Let's be honest: bolt pistols, bolters, or sniper rifles... the only scout model whose shooting cuts in is the heavy weapon anyway. This is fact. So what is the lesser evil?
While sitting back, a very decisive factor is weapon range. 36" sniper range is key and defeats the 24" bolter range.
Damage potential is another important factor: the bolter will dish out a single shot beyond 12", as will the sniper rifle. While the bolter wounds T3 models on a 3+ and is therefore better than the sniper rifle, the sniper rifle wounds any models on a 4+, which means it is as good as the bolter against T4 and better against T5+. Also: while the bolter's AP5 beats the sniper rifle's AP6, this is hardly an issue because AP4+ means nothing: the armor save that is ignored is made up by a 4+ cover save most of the time anyway. On the other hand, every third sniper rifle wound is AP2, something that really makes a difference piercing elite units' armor and also denying those nasty feel no pain saves! Also: while bolters can glance AV10, sniper rifles have the chance to even penetrate AV11 and still glance AV12.
And another important factor to consider is the potential of pinning. This is often neglected as far too many armies are fearless these days or have very high morale. And yet against all-comers there are still enough armies that are susceptible to pinning and can be devastated by that weapon effect. Many times have I, for example, simply pinned mobs of Ork nob bikers instead of spilling all my army's firepower into them trying to kill them off.
So what I am trying to say is: you have to make the best of your scouts. And obvisouly they are few in number and unreliable: they can't deal with hordes. Equipping them with bolters makes little sense because they aren't able to deal with situations in which bolters excel, like shooting Tyranid termagaunts. Scouts just simply force too few casualties.
This is why it makes the most sense to equip scouts such that they can take on those targets where every single casualty matters a lot! If five bolter scouts kill three termagaunts when rapid-firing it's a drop in the ocean (not to mention that they will be assaulted and wiped out immediately thereafter), but if five sniper scouts kill one terminator, that hurts the enemy army (and they can do that from a safe distance). And if those terminators then fail their pinning check, you've effectively already made your points back manyfold. Same goes for shooting vehicles: five bolter scouts can kill three guardsmen if they have no cover, but the sniper scouts have a decent chance of getting lucky and blasting a chimera through side armor! Or they may put fewer wounds on the guardsmen unit but instead force it to go to the ground.
The sniper scouts just are the best available complement to the missile launcher. They have the range, and they have the ability to seriously hurt MEQ, monstrous creatures, and light vehicles.
That is for scout squads that camp on an objective and use a heavy weapon. More aggressive scout squads should seek to do damage in the assault, where bolt pistol and close combat weapon are by far the better choice than boltguns.
Like i said it's a preference thing. I still have not found the sniper rifles as usefull now as i used to. So i have found the mobility provided by the boltguns to be much more useful now than they where. If they where Balllistic skill four i would take them but with ten scouts with sniper rifles only 5 are hitting and only causing 2.5 wounds *shrugs* don't think that's worth the points even with the ability to occasionly pin.
Giving away more from the tactica: scouts will never be points-efficient when counted on to cause any serious damage and judged by their potential to accomplish that. They just can't do it. But scouts are very cheap and effective objective-grabbers. This is what you pay points for, this is what makes scouts worthwhile. Their weapons are just a little bonus: shoot them and see if you get lucky and actually kill something.
Boltgun scouts get close and then get annihilated. They didn't cause any damage and didn't do anything else for me either. Sniper scouts stay out of trouble. If you're lucky they kill a transport or two, put a wound or two on a monstrous creatures, kill some MEQ or maybe a terminator or two, or maybe even pin an elite unit. But all that doesn't matter. What's important is that those sniper scouts live to hold your objective! This is the purpose of scouts. Cheap scoring units.
[Just in case: I am not attacking your point of view, Mikhail. It's perfectly fine that you found boltguns being more useful in your games, and I have no problem accepting that. I'm just elaborating on my own point of view so that it is easier to comprehend.]
It's cool i know it is not an attack. We are sharing our experineces using them. Honestly if they had the same rules that they did in fourth i would have kept them even paying the extra points for sniper rifles was worth it. You would be causing five wounds in a ten man squad and i used to run mine with a Heavy bolter as well it was a great unit for going against even MEQ's. Fluff wise i have never thought that giving them close combat weapons made sense and when i started playing with them back in third they died to easy so i changed to snipers and kept them that way in fourth but for fifth i decided to stop using them when the rules changed for sniper and then when they dropped them to be hitting on fours i found they where not worth it. My use for boltgun scouts is to move and contest/grab objectives while the rest of the army is used to do the fighting.
The way I see it, (this basically agrees with Red), scouts have two purposes, Red reffered to them as the chicken and the hornet (which makes me picture a weird mutated beast for a mixed squad) which are in game terms objective-sitters and alpha-strikers (they can also be used as last minute but I find it doesn't fit with space marine tactics well).
Red has discussed how to equip the scouts, but Mikhail, you seem to be questioning their uses, so I'll answer to the best of my ability.
The objective-sitter's job is obvious, sit on a home objective and don't die, maybe fire a few lucky shots. As red said, camo-cloaks giving you a 3+ cover (and considering this squad shoudn't get assualted if you play well) this may as well be an invulnerable save. Now space marines only other objective sitter is the tactical marine himself. This is where sniper scouts excel though. Tactical marines have 24" range, but are only really effective at 12". You can combat-squad them to get a heavy weapon in there, but then one of your squads at the front is down by 5 men, which can make all the difference. The tactical squad at 5-men is cheaper, but it is easier to kill (armor save not cover), and has less effective range. The sniper rifle has 36", can rend and always wounds on a 4+. Surely the latter weapon is more effective at picking wounds off squads than the bolter's swarm control. A sniper rifle can wound from Toughness 2 to Toughness 10; from AV10 to AV12 and this gives it versatility. Versatility is a space marine players only strength, its the only area where we beat other races, and so we must maximise it.
Sniper scouts also give you the option of Telion, who can be game-changing by taking out that hidden powerfist and don't forget that the sergeant is BS4.
To sum up, sniper scouts only comparison is the tactical marine, and when holding an objective, the sniper scouts out-do the tacticals in almost every aspect.
Just to be thorough, I'll also cover close combat scouts.
Now these are IMO worse than sniper scouts, because these are attacking models, but they're not as good as others in our armylist. They can't take transports so get mown down in a mech list. In a drop pod lsit there 4+ but troop status makes them viable targets.
However, combat scouts have two advantages over their comparisons, which are the tactical marine and the assualt marine. The first advantage is infiltrate/scout. This allows them to enter game-play a lot nearer where they want to be, and can take an objective or hold a vital point instantly. This squad will usually die as it is closer to the enemy than the rest of your army, so I usually don't "waste" points on camo-cloaks, however if you want them to steal an objective then it comes in handy. At shooting, the bolt pistol is merely meant to soften the enemy squad up. In combat, lets consider the statistics. Now the main competitor here is the assualt marine (as the tactical marine already loses by ahving less attacks). Assualt marine squads and scout squads can both take powerfists, and have the same number of attacks. Scouts have one less WS, but that only makes a difference against a model with WS 7+. This means they are equals in combat when attacking (in the alpha-strike), however scouts are slightly worse off when taking hits (where there lower armour and WS make a difference) but then they are less points. This vulnerability allows this squad to be a suicide squad: run in, kill something, and then probably die. Your best chance is that they'll run away from the enemy after having done their job and regroup near an objective. A squad best suited for this is 5-man strong with either a powerfist or meltabombs.
This is not the only use of the "hornet" scout squad, at 10-man strong they are more resilient and can use their infiltration (as mentioned above) to sit on an objective, and then use camo-cloaks against shooting and an extra attack against enemy combat units.
Bolter scouts are tactical marines that take less effective heavy weapons, miss more, are easier to kill and can't take dedicated transports.
Shotgun scouts don't deserve recognition.
To sum up, the tactical marine is the backbone of the space marine army, the main attacking force, grouping together to eliminate the enemy, but when a man needs to sit back to hold a vital object, or a cheap distraction units needs to infiltrate enemy lines (they're not a distraction if they're not close) a scout can be a useful addition to a list.
And finally my personal accounts of scouts (despite my list having none of them but thats because I like plasma cannons):
Playing necrons, a bare 5-man scout squad takes two wounds of the deciever. Now this is luck but its cool.
A 7-man scout combat squad holds up a seer council for 2 turns.
A master of the forge upgrades some terrain, giving the scouts a 2+ cover safe (this is nasty).
Combat squadding scouts opens endless oppurtunities.
Sorry for my rambling, I find that I have all this knowledge I've learnt and it kind of pours out, normally I'd edit but I don't have much time left. I also apologise that you asked what best to equip them and I've more shown their viability in a space marine army list but then again that is their use. Hope this helps.
p.s. red's enthusiasm for tacticas is encouraging me to write one. Red covers units equipment and uses, maybe I could write how best to synthesise them (I'm just thinking in type here).
Anyway hope I added information.
Last edited by Sancraer; July 25th, 2010 at 02:05.
Thanks for the input I still don't think they are worth it now with sniper rifles. If I take any now I take them with Bolters but yeah to be fair for the moment they are pretty much dropped. With Bolters i use them to go and capture objectives hoping the enemy ignores them over the far better space marines on the table.