Space Marines Reviews: Troops Part 2: Scouts

raven guard scout

Space Marine Scouts are up for review! The often underestimated “other” troop in the Space Marine codex are on deck to get the once over. As always, check out the Tactics Corner for more reviews, tactics and battle reports!

Scouts are those recruits to a Space Marine Chapter that have survived the initial stages of becoming a Space Marine and are being groomed for full Battle Brother status. While lacking a true Space Marine’s skill, they are just as physically powerful and form the eyes and ears as well as vanguard of a Space Marine Chapter.



Space Marines  Scouts are an excellent, flexible troop unit. At a very low price point–weighing in at 3pts under a Tactical Marine–they come with a host of fantastic special rules that make them an incredibly efficient, versatile scoring unit able to fill a variety of roles on the tabletop.


  • 4+
  • Bolter
  • Bolt Pistol
  • Grenades
  • Lots of options! The unit can be given Sniper Rifles at 1pt per model, or exchange their Boltguns for either a Shotgun or Close Combat Weapon at no additional cost. They can also take Camo Cloaks (granting Stealth) for 2pts per model.
    • 1 Model may be given a Heavy Bolter with the option for Hellfire shell or a Missile Launcher with the option for Flakk Missiles
    • The Sergeant may be upgraded to a Veteran Sarge for 10pts, and either the Vet or normal Sarge may take options from the Melee or Ranged weapons lists.
      • Sarges may also take Melta Bombs (5pts) or a Teleport Homer (10pts)
      • Can upgrade one Scout Sarge to Telion
      • Can take a Land Speeder Storm as a dedicated transport.

Special Rules

  • Chapter Tactics
  • Combat Squads
  • Outflank (via Infiltrate and/or Scouts)
  • Infiltrate
  • Move Through Cover
  • Scout


Let me preface this by saying that I love Scouts and always have. I feel that they have been one of the most underrated units in the Space Marines codex for editions. The reason why I feel this way is that they are such an incredibly flexible scoring unit for an extremely reasonable price point. The combination of USRs they get makes them–easily–one of the most versatile units on the table.

Scouts scout. Duh! But in addition to this they also have Infiltrate, which means they essentially always deploy second. This in and of itself is incredibly beneficial to the skilled player. You can debate lists and points efficiency till the cows come home but when the dust settles, the better player wins the game through movement and a unit that Infiltrates, Scouts and therefore Outflanks which also has MTC gives you a lot of advantages in that regard which means tactical flexibility. By seeing where your opponent deploys, you can counter deploy or outflank to gain an advantage before a die has been tossed.

The addition of Scouts to this cocktail of rules means you can get these little bad-asses into a great position by being able to move even close than Infiltration alone typically allows to apply pressure based on a deployment mistake your opponent made or help to mitigate a deployment mistake you made. It also means you can stop enemy Scout moves due to infiltrate (great in the current meta of Khorne Dog rush and White Scars biker scout moves) and possibly infiltration moves, too if you win the role off. They also rock in everyone’s favorite mission: the Relic. It’s always fun to start the game on the objective!

As stated, Scouts are also a scoring unit and as such, they win games. In an edition when 5 of 6 missions are all about taking objectives, you can’t have too many scoring units. Combat Squad also means that they can split up to go for multiple objectives when that is advantageous. Being able to double the amount of objectives you can grab and the amount of targets your opponent must deal with is extremely useful.

The thing people get hung up on with Scouts, in my experience, is the fact that they have lower armor, BS and WS than Marines. While yes, this is a disadvantage, it isn’t crippling. Remember, they are 23% cheaper than Marines but come with Scouts and Infiltrate and still retain Frag and Krak Grenades which make them a threat to almost any target on the table. Also, with the huge increase in weapons that will obliterate an MEQ model whether it be in cover or not and the domination of Monstrous Creatures currently, having a 4+ really isn’t that much of a detriment anymore. But, most importantly, they retain And They Shall Know No Fear; arguably the best rule in the game. This means that often, Scouts are a game winning force to the last model. That is so incredibly useful as points invested into them are often a very safe investment.

Let’s take a look at a few ways to run Scouts.

Sniper Scouts

This is probably the most popular use for Scouts you see in the game. Typically this comprises 5 Scouts with Sniper Rifles, sometimes Camo Cloaks and either a Missile Launcher or Heavy Bolter. Sometimes a Vet Sarge for the Ld boost.

Why you take this unit is because it is cheap, it puts wounds on Monstrous Creatures fairly reliably regardless of the target’s toughness, and they hold an objective. All that for a very low points investment. Not bad at all.

Some folks feel the temptation to take the Flakk Missile upgrade but unless you’re extremely lucky, this weapon is pretty terrible for the cost and only if taken en masse will it reliably do much of anything against enemy air assets. If you take a Heavy Weapon at all, the Heavy Bolter with Hellfire shells (Poison 2+) is much better as it complements the Sniper Rifles quite well and the blast weapon isn’t impacted as harshly by the Scouts’ middling BS3.

Either way, this unit really isn’t going to contribute much in the way of offensive output, but they will win you the game by camping an objective. Again, being able to Infiltrate, Scout and thus, Outflank, makes them very versatile in finding a great hiding place from which to strike at an objective at game’s end. That’s what they do!

The downside is that they are a bit of a liability in Purge the Alien (Kill Points) and are easily killed if the enemy focuses on them, even with potentially having stealth. The sheer volume of things in the game that ignore cover now and can blow a 5 man Scout unit to bits is a bit depressing, but is what it is.

Ultimately though, this is a unit that will be very useful more often than not at a criminally cheap price.

Assault Scouts

In my opinion, this is the best way to run this unit. Why do I say this? In assault, WS 3 and a 4+ aren’t so bad. You still hit most things on a 4+ and less units have AP4 assault weapons than shooting weapons meaning you will more frequently get your save. You also hit dang near as hard as more expensive Assault Marines. Yes, you are more frequently hit on a 3+ by your opponent but Scouts should be attacking soft targets and vehicles when possible.

For a really modest price point of 115pts, you can take 10 Scouts with Melta Bombs on Sarge. That’s incredibly cheap for a mobile scoring unit that can take down any vehicle in the game, toss grenades on MCs, and kill backfield units reliably. With some support, they can even be used to tie up dangerous units for a few turns, freeing up the rest of your army to focus on other targets. Psychic powers like Endurance, Forewarning, etc. all help a ton to keep a Daemon Prince/Wraithknight/dedicated Assault Unit/etc. from sinking their teeth into your more valuable units for a few turns.

Running these units en masse is also not a bad idea. For 690 points you can take 60 Scouts equipped as above. That is not a lot of points for such a volume of scoring units that are decent in a fist fight and while some may scoff at that, think about how many points that leaves for pure offensive units to occupy your opponent! They simply won’t have the turns in the game needed to kill the Scouts and deal with your high pressure units meaning you will almost always have a huge advantage in an objective based mission. Plus, again, Scouts do just fine at killing soft targets and vehicles. Dog Pile enough of them on even a tough target and they will drag it down through weight of numbers.

These type of Scouts also do well with a Teleport Homer if you plan on bringing down Terminators frequently (Dark Angels Deathwing allies are awesome for this)as Assault Scouts will often be in a forward position to make best use of the homer.

A Combi-weapon is also a solid choice for the same reason: you often start the game close enough to your opponent to make best use of it immediately. You can also toss a Power Weapon or Fist on Sarge (I run these little guys with a P.Fist Sarge all the time and routinely he is an all star for me) as again, when facing things like Monstrous Creaturesl who cares if they only have a 4+? They won’t be getting their save, anyway. I find myself facing a lot of Riptides/Broadsides/Firewarriors and these units go down like punks to Scouts! Wave Serpents too, who are most easily destroyed in assault, have reason to fear Scouts that almost always counter deploy after seeing where they will start and in better position to get their hands on them.

You can also take the Land Speeder Storm to transport this unit (well, 5 of them) and we will cover all of the uses for this vehicle when we come to the Dedicated Transports of the book.

Suffice it to say, Assault Scouts are a very useful unit that gives you a versatile scoring asset at a very reasonable price point.

Shotgun and Bolter Scouts

While I really want to like these models as particularly Shotgun equipped Scouts look boss, they have never performed for me. BS3 on a dedicated shooting unit that you are paying higher points for largely combat oriented attributes (higher strength and toughness) just isn’t a recipe for success. You can’t charge after double tapping a Bolter which is the kiss of death in my eyes for this configuration (with one notable exception, which we will touch on in the Chapter Tactics section). The Shotgun Scouts are actually slightly better than Assault Scouts on the charge (an extra Str4 attack at essentially imitative 11 due to the Shotgun’s higher RoF) is notable but not worth the loss of AP5 on the Bolt Pistol and the extra attack for every round of combat thereafter.

Check out this tactica using Bolter Scouts for a more in-depth review!

Sergeant Telion

Some folks love him. I am not one of those folks. He’s very expensive–more points than the basic unit–and adds meager punch to the unit. He grants Stealth, Acute Senses and BS6 shooting which is nice but not amazing. For what you pay for him, I’d rather just take another 5 scouts. He does have the potential to be amazing with precision strikes and a high BS for a character kill, or his ability to buff a Scout’s BS for a key shot, but again, for me he flat out isn’t worth the points. YMMV.

Chapter Tactics

Like Tactical Marines, Scouts are strongly impacted by Chapter Tactics and as such, bear special mentioning.

Ultramarines: Scouts benefit greatly from UM Combat Doctrines. All of them are useful and especially the Assault Doctrine can be absolutely fantastic on the right turn. Rerolling 1’s to hit or Snap Fire can also, obviously, be extremely useful on the right turn. Ultramarines Scouts become better at everything you already want them doing.

White Scars: Arguably the best CTs for Scouts. Hit and Run is just so incredibly good and if you are taking a large number of Scouts you can have an army that puts a lot of pressure on the enemy right away that is also slippery as hell (able to get out of bad combats or tie up units and then Hit and Run out, allowing you to blast them in your turn only to charge them again!) and reliable with ATSKNF. Plus, Scout Bikers enjoy Str5 Hammer of Wrath and H&R also, if you’re running a Scout themed force.

Imperial Fists: Also a great set of CTs for scouts and one that makes a good argument for Bolter Scouts, particularly in the Sentinels of Terra expansion that allows you to twin link your Bolter weapons at close range. As Scouts start out in close proximity, Twin Linked Bolter Scouts with Heavy Bolters could bring a devastating amount of small arms fire to the enemy turn 1 for an extremely reasonable points investment. This is a list with a lot of hidden power, IMO, and when backed up by pure power offensive units you can put together a cool and unique list that will catch a lot of people off guard.

Black Templars: Black Templars make for great Scouts, also. And yes, they can take them. BT Scouts get Adamantium Will which is always good, and Crusader. As Scouts are usually on foot, they will make very good use of these rules. Also, if you are running Assault Scouts, re-rolls to hit plus Rending in a challenge is just gravy! It makes these already cheap units even more points efficient. Swarming Scouts with these CTs makes for a surprisingly good core to your army.

Iron Hands: Unsurprisingly, a 6+ FnP for free is good. Haha, not much to add here that isn’t quite obvious: they’re more resilient than other Scouts.

Salamanders: As with other infantry units that benefit from Sallies CTs, Scouts enjoy that free Master-crafted weapon a great deal. As with Tacticals, the Plasma or Grav Pistol is a solid choice here as is any assault weapon you may be considering for the increased efficiency. They unfortunately benefit from the increased defense against Flame weapons less than MEQs as many of them will outright ignore their armor, but it is still better than nothing.

Raven Guard: Ironically, the Chapter famed for the skill of their Scouts benefits them the least. They already Scout and Stealth is good, but a one turn benefit that many armies ignore isn’t bad, but not really that awesome particularly if you are running Camo Cloaks on your Scouts. Raven Guard Scouts bring the least to the table when compared to the other chapters.


So there you go! Scouts are a fun, flexible and effective unit that I am finding great utility in using this edition.


About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

21 Responses to “Space Marines Reviews: Troops Part 2: Scouts”

  1. Avatar
    Tucha November 6, 2013 4:58 am #

    Great review! I also find scouts one of the most versatile and useful units in the dex.

    Just one small thing… camo cloaks give +1 to cover saves not stealth. So these two bonus will stack, making Raven Guard CT and Thelion much better.

    • Reecius
      Reecius November 6, 2013 7:42 am #

      Excellent point, thanks for bringing that up!

  2. Avatar
    anonymou5 November 6, 2013 7:13 am #

    I really, really want to try the 60 assault scouts Army. You sold me on it for sure.

    • Reecius
      Reecius November 6, 2013 7:43 am #

      I have been toying with it! I think it has serious potential. That or 50-60 Sentinels of Terra Bolter Scouts.

  3. Avatar
    Bigpig November 6, 2013 7:25 am #

    I’m a big fan of scouts and try to put them in every space marine or dark angel list I make. They are just so resilient for their cost. Park them in area terrain on an objective and go to ground for a 2+ every turn. People quickly stop shooting at them. Up until the last few months I’ve mainly used them as back field objective campers with cloaks and rifles. Recently I’ve been toying with the the assault version to outflank or take forward objectives along the flanks, but need more work on that.

    What is your take on the land speeder transport? Safer delivery system or just a big sign that says shoot me?

    • Reecius
      Reecius November 6, 2013 7:44 am #

      I agree, they’re such a good troop for winning the game. The Storm is cool and can be incredibly useful but it is asking to give up First Blood due to its fragility and often starting close to the opponent. It has a lot of nice utility though, and I think a clever player can get some miles out of it.

      • Avatar
        cruzcontrol39 November 12, 2013 5:31 pm #

        I plan on using a ton of scouts in my Alpha Leg…errr chapter marines with White Scars CT… Allied with renega….errr Imperial guard units…

        • Reecius
          Reecius November 13, 2013 3:03 pm #

          yes, my Night Lords seem to be moving back towards the Imperium, too….

  4. Avatar
    Salamanders4lyfe November 6, 2013 7:25 am #

    Dare I say, the true marine horde build?

    • Reecius
      Reecius November 6, 2013 7:45 am #

      Particularly with allies, it is 100% doable!

  5. Avatar
    Hotsauceman1 November 6, 2013 9:11 am #

    I plan on running my scouts behindmy main force. With grav guns and the blind from the cerberous, it will allow me to have alot of fun with them. I tried it once. The scouts wiped out swarmlord on the charge. It helped that swarrmlord was initiative one and WS 1.
    But yeah, scouts are awesome and versitile. Now if only the heads didnt look like they where constipated all the time

  6. Avatar
    Daking November 6, 2013 3:54 pm #

    I’ve been running 25 scouts lately. 10 snipers with Telion, 10 assault, and 5 in a multi melta storm with combi-melta, melta bombs.

    Fantastic units all around. The assault scouts pair really well with assault marines as both units will hit the enemy lines at the same time.

    • Reecius
      Reecius November 6, 2013 3:55 pm #

      Nice! Yeah, I love Scouts.

  7. Avatar
    FuriousFurball November 6, 2013 4:43 pm #

    How about Mantis Warrior scouts? Hammer of wrath for them and if they assault out of terrain, Furious charge? Could be quite hard hitting.

    • Reecius
      Reecius November 6, 2013 5:42 pm #

      Yeah, that would be really, actually. I think that is a theory that bears investigation.

      • Avatar
        Daking November 6, 2013 6:30 pm #

        Did I mention my 25 scouts are mantis warriors…?

        • Reecius
          Reecius November 6, 2013 8:06 pm #

          Just be aware that you can only use Telion if you are using UM CTs.

          • Avatar
            Daking November 6, 2013 9:35 pm

            Yeah since the FWtactics dropped Telion has been swapped for a combi-plas+sniper scout serg. By taking a tech marine in the list you essentially get the cover save boost that Telion would have granted the unit.

            Also a little numbers break down to show why Telion is worth the investment if added to a 10man unit.


            Vet upgrade-10pts
            Stealth (or 10 camo cloaks)-20pts

            This means he is only 20pts more than what a 10 man unit should have invested. So what does that 20pts give you? Essentially 2 sniper shots that always precision hitting on 2’s. taking one extra sniper scout would be 13pts for that extra shot, so he is therefor only 7pts over normal cost. I think he is worth it.

            NTM that since he has stealth you can also take camo cloaks givin the unit an easy 2++ save in ruins. The other way to do it would be to take a 50pt tech marine; so it’s a wash.

            End rant on Telion! If you are going to take 10ultramarine sniper scouts I think he is an auto take.

      • Avatar
        FuriousFurball November 7, 2013 12:43 am #

        Not to mention they all get move through cover, reroll seize the initative… and the librarians get divination too.
        Lots of synergy between camo cloaks, cover, their bonus for charging out of cover and move through cover.
        Not sure about the wording but… if you charge out of terrain, are your hammer of wrath hits strength 5 due to furious charge?

  8. Avatar
    WarlordEXE February 13, 2014 5:29 pm #

    I know this post is a tad old, but with the forge world chapter tactics I think it should be mentioned that assault scouts would greatly benefit from mantis warriors. Move through cover + furious charge out of terrain. At strength 5 scouts are now even scarier for back line troops with the added efficiency in both getting to there targets hiding in cover, as well as doing more successful wounds. And while they probably weren’t the main target for red hunters buff in that marine/marine army that took second at LVO, i’m sure there are times shooty scouts could benefit from monster hunter, interceptor, or tank hunter (if packing a missile launcher and/or manning quad gun).

    • Reecius
      Reecius February 13, 2014 5:46 pm #

      Very good points! I think both of those CTs would really benefit Scouts quite a bit.

Leave a Reply