Monday, June 6, 2011

Space Marine Scouts: A Three part Unit review and tactical walk through

Originally for the WhiteScar's.Part 2: Space Marine Scout Snipers

I am breaking the Single Troop choice of scouts into two separate posts due to their almost Bipolar uses.

Everyone knows these commonly unused little brothers to Space Marine Battle Brother… Being newer to the hobby all I hear is how much better Space Marine Scout Snipers used to be in previous codices and versions of the 40k rulebook. As a result, in general most people ignores them… Forgetting the previous incarnations of these mainstays of the Codex: Space Marines let’s take a new look at them.

They appear expensive when compared to their fully grown brothers at only 15 points cheaper for a 5 man squad and only 3 points cheaper for each additional man; Low weapon skill; Low BS; Limited Anti-Vehicle Options.

Combat Squads; Infiltration; Scout move; move through cover; Rending, Pinning, Great cover save; good range; They are scoring troops; Sergeant/HQ Sniping.

Tactical Uses:

In a White Scars or other highly mobile army most people would think these don’t fit for “fluff” or flow reasons…. I say bullshit! Modern highly mobile armies currently use scouts as forward spotters, targeters, suppressors and finally as SNIPERS. Sniper Scouts can serve an important roll for holding objectives, which really represents the majority of games played in 40k.

Infiltration anywhere on the board outside of 18 inches from an enemy unit, but of course the further the better right? Maybe not… Read the advanced tactics. Infiltrate to limit the scout moves from BA, IG, Grey Knights and other Scout heavy armies. Infiltrate onto objectives and force the enemy to burn you out.

If you like heavy weapons (Devastators, TFC’s, etc) you can deploy them to effect allowing cover saves.

Sniper Scouts need to only cause ONE unsaved wound to cause a Pinning Check! Going with the more is better tactic, a full 10 man squad will cause 1.39 wounds (Thanks to the Heresy Combat Calculator), 2.074 if you add Telion. Besides the fact your killing marines using them to thin down Heavy Weapon squads and force them to test every turn you’re bound to suppress a unit or two over the course of a game. Cause a couple rending wounds and you might find your foe going to ground by choice.

Advanced Tactics:

Upgrade to Telion:
A ten man squad commonly spends 30 points on Camo-Cloaks, 10 points on a missile launcher, both of which are a waste IMHO. For 50 points you get a Sergeant with a wealth of skills the two best being Acute Senses and most importantly Stealth! According to the most recent Games Workshop FAQ if a Sergeant or IC has a skill like Stealth he passes it on to the whole squad. Both of these are small potatoes to Telion’s true Strength.. Eye of Vengeance allows the controller of Telion to assign wounds caused, and considering he has a 36” STR 4, AP 5, Rending, Pinning Bolter that means you CAN snipe out those Sanguanary Priests, Librarians or better yet Lord Commissars! Paired with a TFC and your looking at 2++ cover saves in Fortified Cover.

Alpha Strike:
Deploy closer to your Enemy then anyone would consider…. Heck deploy just outside of his first turn assault on one of his flanks after deployment during the Infiltration phase. Even if your scouts are not a great threat to that side of the board you can draw off enough of their forces to give your main force a better chance. If he ignores the scouts your getting Rear/Side armor on vehicles, free shots on squads etc. If he commits to killing them make your enemy pay by keeping in cover several elevations up to reduce the chance of getting assaulted. Go to ground if needed but keep them alive long enough to frustrate your enemy.

Aggressive Screening:
Deploy a Devastator squad, TFC, or Predator in a vulnerable position away from the majority of your forces, wait for the enemy to take the bait and commit part of his army to take advantage of your mistake… Then Deploy the Scout Snipers during the Infiltration phase to screen the vulnerable unit. Properly done the Scouts are in cover by stretching them out. And for the doubters remember Vehicles your Devastators or TFC shoot at will only get a cover save if it’s 50% obscured, deploy well and that won’t be a problem!


Sniper Scouts may not be as strong as their full fledged battle brothers, but they offer an affordable troop option for Bike heavy armies that will not suffer from taking a static position. They have a good deal of flexibility, but it's up to the general to take advantage of them.


  1. I use bikes/scout combo all the time (Khan list with Libby Tigurius for rerolls of outflanking). I usually put him with the scouts with shotguns so he can get folks in the Gate and shoot.