Mini Tactica: Scouts by Inkaras
Note: This tactica is now old and needs an update. Many facts will not be correct for current game. However the general gist is pitched right.
Your second and only other troops choice, and yet they are often over looked on the battlefield. Hopefully this tactica will bring out their usefulness as I see them.
The Scouts in my opinion can be used successfully in two ways. For close combat or for shooting. I'll start with shooting as when I do see them used it's mostly for this. Scouts have a number of useful upgrades available to them. Some of which will cost you nothing, and other cost you a little. Though none are really expensive as compared to their tactical marine brothers. The shotgun and bolter both will cost you nothing; it's a free upgrade. I don't recommend the shotgun for a shooty squad as it's lacking compared to that of a bolter, however it will be more useful in a close combat squad which I'll explain later as to why.
Scouts also have a single heavy weapon available to them, either the heavy bolter or the missile launcher. Typically you'll see the heavy bolter in these squads, for two reasons, it's the cheapest and they actually make a model for it. However that should not deter you to take it. Personally I like the missile launcher, as it's good versus armour and troops. However the usefulness of a heavy bolter cannot be overlooked either.
Another reason heavy weapons is a good option for scouts is they are not likely to move much, the reason for this is the sniper rifle. It's a heavy and so you'll not be able to move and shoot, so why not bulk out on an extra heavy weapon right? Almost every scout squad (and every shooting scout squad) will have a few sniper rifles. For the cost of a marine plus 3 you get a weapon that hits on 2 and wounds on 4's always. No matter the toughness etc. Greater Daemons, Nids and the like will be easier targets with such weapons at your disposal, and your opponent will think twice before coming in range of them.
Setting up your Scout squads
My personal choice for a shooty squad
Sergeant with bolter
2 with bolters
1 missile launcher
This gives me 8 scouts my ideal squad size.
Other variations will work just as well; this is just typically what I would take. If you need to save some points, take the heavy bolter or perhaps a few less scouts. Or maybe there are a lot of big monsters on the table, take more sniper rifles. Whatever you need to fulfil your needs can be accomplished with the scout squads.
Remember to Infiltrate when possible, and when deploying get yourself some good cover, because of their weaker armour it may come in handy, besides covers always good for a [deleted BY THE INQUISITION] and shoot squad. You also need good LOS, without it these guys become useless and then you've got to move. If you move you can't shoot effectively with them. Hence move as little as possible, the better your deployment the more successful they will be in the game. Hills and wooded area work best for me, as well as barricades. All your weapons have a good range as well, and so try to be looking into open ground. You'll not be too effective if you can see a mere 6" in front of you. Other than that there isn't much more to say. These guys will sit and shoot most of them game. Find targets that are the most dangerous or could be in the near future and pop them off one by one if necessary.
On the flip side of these guys you've got close combat scouts. These guys are the cheapest assault squad the space marines have, perhaps not the best but certainly the cheapest. While most might argue the use of the shotgun, for cc scouts I like it. I'll tell you why. It gives them added firepower, where there bolt pistols would be in lack of it. However it's not go great AP, but it is an assault weapon meaning you can always move and fire, something useful for CC scouts. You'll loose your knife but if you keep a couple of these guys in the back it won't matter too much anyway. And they will add quite a few more shots to the throw of things. Vet sergeant are also a plus in this group, I didn't mention them before because I felt they really weren't worth their points. However here they will make use of not only extra war gear but also the extra attack and leadership they gain. Also I like to use a homing beaker on these guys, with their infiltrate ability they should be up in things by round two and so my terminators or whatever will have a good place to land. Give something like this a try you'll be surprised on the effectiveness of it, I know I was.
My typical scout close combat squad
Sergeant. (Perhaps a Veteran)
4 with cc/bp
3 with shotguns
again 8 men with the majority with cc and BP.
You may prefer fewer shotguns; I find that getting those extra 3 shots a turn then I would normally get is worth it in the long run. And will run you less then 120 pts.
Always and I stress always Infiltrate when you can; there should never be a time you don't unless the mission says you can not. Also get them to the enemy as soon as possible. Do not leave them in the open and use as much terrain as cover as you can. Remember after all that they move through difficult terrain at 3D6 and choose 2. This also goes for assault, don't forget you get three dice and not two, believe me it makes a big difference. They can also be used either as clean up, or the hold a unit in place to the harder boys get to town. They won't hold a tough opponent or a massed one forever but they are resiliant at holding their ground, leave them alone though and you'll find out that they are not super human warriors of the future just yet.
Thought I would also list a few cons of theirs, after all no unit is perfect right? Leave not for what these guys cost you. The largest con I always hear complaints about is their 4+ armour save. While it's true they are no power armoured Space Marines they still are as good if not better in a lot of cases then most other troops out there. And you've still got a 50/50 shot on you side, really not that bad when you think about it. How would you like to be a guard with a 6+ save? Huh? To balance this of course they cost less then a regular marine and still you could give them a bolter for nothing. You also get to infiltrate when allowed, and move through difficult terrain 1D6 better then regular troops. Overall the pros outweigh the cons. So don't worry so much about that 4+ it's not that bad.
Hope you enjoyed the MT.