Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Scouts: First stop, meat and potatoes!

Just a quick article today to get some thoughts flowing on scouting units. I want to  concentrate tonight on what options to take in the unit. I will be playing Sisters of Battle Dominions and Space Marine Scouts, so these two will take up my thoughts...

The unit that started my whole line of thinking is the Sisters of Battle Dominions. In the new White Dwarf codex they received the special rule scout. So what is scout? Here is the USR straight from the BBB...

Scouts- scouts are used to reconnoitre ahead and are always in the vanguard of the army. To represent this, after both sides have deployed (including infiltrators), but before the first player begins his first turn, any scouts may make a normal move. This is done exactly as in their movement phase, except that during this move, scouts must remain more than 12 inches away from any enemy.

If both players have scouts, the players roll off and then alternate moving these units.

If a unit with this ability is deployed inside a dedicated transport vehicle, it confers the scout ability to the transport too.

This rule also confers a special outflank move to units of scouts that are kept in reserve.

So units get to make an extra move before everyone else. They can also outflank if held in reserve. Their vehicles can also do it if they are dedicated transports. What can this do for your force?

You can use it to get close and blow up vehicles. You could use it for first turn assaults if in an open topped vehicle or if you deployed in the scout move. This is extremely useful vs a vehicle heavy army, or an army with few "key" vehicles.

You could use it to eliminate light infantry units. A couple flamers in the units and a power weapon for assault vs light infantry would be useful, but would be unsupported.

You can also use the "threat" of scout to compel your opponent to deploy or not deploy in certain areas. The mear presence of a scouting unit or more could force him to deploy away, position tanks behind cover, or even "bubble wrap" units. (bubble wrapping units is taking a cheap, usually infantry unit, and surrounding a vehicle or other unit you wish to avoid it from getting assaulted)

Outflanking is also an option to get units across the board while reserving.

So you have some idea about what your "scouting" unit can do. Now the first question is how to arm them to carry out the mission. I am currently looking at two different armies with different scout units. One is very good at shooting and destroying tanks while the other has the option of the first turn assault.

First up is the Dominions of the Sister's of Battle. They can take 2 assault weapons per 5 guys and the sargent has options for combi weapons and/or a power weapon. They can also take a rhino or immolator as a dedicated transport.

Flamers, meltaguns, and storm bolters are options for assault weapons. Flamers would be nice vs light infantry but useless vs heavy infantry and vehicles. Meltaguns are good vs heavy infantry and vehicles but not as good vs large numbers of light infantry. The question becomes to specialize in one type or take both but not be optimized vs either.

With an immolator, I have the option for a twin linked heavy flamer or a twin linked multi melta.  The rhino gives me the option to keep my unit inside the vehicle and fire out of the top.

Currently I'm leaning towards 2 meltas in the squad with a combi flamer on the sarg. 5 man squads in immolators with twin multi meltas. My reasoning behind this is vehicles are more of a threat to the rest of my army. heavy bolter Retribution squads and Battle sister squads should finish off light infantry. The exception to this is Green Tide orks. Superior numbers of orks require more templates. In this case scouting towards large units of light infantry is probably not the best strategy, but killing the kan wall might  be.

So questions I'm looking to readers for is "How do you deal with scout units?" and "What if any scout units do you use?". Do you think scout units are important or just a gimmick only usable in few scenarios?

Next article, I will look at Space Marines and their scout units. I will focus on units, options for those units, and initial plans for what I want them to do.

So their is my 2 cents. As always comments are welcome and encouraged.

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