I've managed to get over my 40k fatigue a little today, although all I have to show for it is a repaired Drop Pod. I'm still considering what I'll take to Throne of Skulls, I may bring the Orks back out of retirement and throw my 5th edition list straight into it, alternatively I may dust off my Rainbow Footdar and see how they fair, although the latter would require a huge amount of painting. I'll try to get that done this week though so that come Friday I will at least have a choice.
None of that matters though, up for analysis today are the Scouts.
So, as these are the 2nd of 2 base troops choices I think it best to compare these to the Tactical squad, whether or not a unit is worth its points is all relative, as you can get more from your points from one unit than another. This is why I like to compare things, it is very difficult to discern whether a unit is a good choice when you aren't also looking at the other options.
So, compared to the Marines, they have 1 less Ballistic and Weapon skill, no surprise there. And they have a 4+ save. They also lose Grim Resolve, but gain infiltrate, move through cover, and scout. I'm sure that some rules lawyer, somewhere will try to claim that they don't have scout as it actually says scouts in the book but any reasonable human being won't get caught up on plural in this instance. They are also 2pts cheaper than a Tac Marine, so not bad.
Onto their options. Again, you can take up to 10 models in the squad. I probably wouldn't though, as scouts aren't the most 'hitty' unit in the book and piling more models on top is just increasing the redundancy. But you can then take 10 and combat squad them into 2 for objective missions, whilst keeping them together to kill point deny in Purge the Alien. It's a difficult choice because you want to fill up those compulsory Troops slots but having 1 squad of 10 that can combat squad gives you more options than 2 squad of 5.
The squad can then take Camo cloaks. This is ok, the problem that I have with it is that it makes you just as expensive as a Marine. Yes it's a cover save and it's more difficult to cancel out and yes you can have the potential to gain a 2+ save going to ground in ruins but then you're lacking that little bit of damage that the Marines can cause with their special and heavy weapons without having to go to ground. It's ok if the purpose of this squad is to purely be a deckchair, but I don't like having a deckchair that isn't able to do damage that isn't also extremely cheap, say, under 50pts.
Speaking of liking everything to cause damage, the results for Perils of the Warp 2 came in yesterday evening, and I came 18th out of 20th. That said, on victory points scored I came joint 10th, so middle of the pack for that despite not winning a game. Speaking of which, the Target Sighted tournament at the Outpost is now full, although you can still get on the waiting list as it's still quite short. However, there is another event the month after, which will be a 1,750pt tournament, and there are still 19 places remaining. It will be held on the 23rd March. I may or may not be there depending on when I get a University break.
Anyway, back on track. The next option is to swap out your Boltgun. Scouts aren't the best unit to be pushing forward with a Boltgun with, and with only BS3, they don't make an excellent firebase with it. So you might as well swap it out.
You can take a Shotgun. Why? Boltguns have an AP and can shoot a shot between 12” and 24”, this is a pointless swap. You could have a close combat weapon. You're not going to be doing much damage from range anyway so you might as well just go for the close combat attack, but then you're not going to do anything in close combat either so no joy there, although I can understand why you'd take it.
The Sniper Rifle would probably be my choice, simply because yes you're getting less hits but at least the hits actually standing a chance of doing something with Rending and Precision Shot. Plus you're not going to be moving around a whole lot with the Scouts anyway as there isn't much point in doing so.
On to the heavier weapons now, you can have a Heavy Bolter for 2pts less than Marines can, or you can get a Missile Launcher, with further options for Flakk Missiles. Heavy weapons aren't really points worth spent on Scouts, and there are a few reasons why.
Firstly, you're making your Scouts a bigger target, and that's not what you want from your deckchair, as the last thing you want is for them to be shot at too much.
Secondly, it will deter you from going to ground. Your first priority with your deckchair is to keep it alive, and this is giving you an incentive to take a risk. Yes Snipers come with the same problem, but they're free, and you aren't losing too much if you only snap shot them.
Thirdly, you're only BS3, and you would be getting more use out of such weapons from other units for the same points cost.
Finally on to the Sergeant. Again you can make him LD9 for the same points cost as giving 10 Chaos Marines Veterans of the Long War. Not a bad choice when you want your tarpit to stick around but a little pricey considering how much you paid for the squad in the first place, and that if you combat squad only one of them gets that bonus. He can also take Melta Bombs, again, unlikely that he'll use them as not many vehicles will get that close. The combi weapons aren't bad on him though, just to churn out those few extra shots if you need to, although that's unlikely to save you from whatever has got that close and for that many points.
So that's it for the Scouts. In a nutshell, don't use them to push forward, other units do it better, like Tactical Marines. Yes, they can be a good unit to Linebreaker with but often they are there for so much of the game that they will often be killed before it ends, I had the same problem with Wolf Scouts. Use them as a cheap deckchair unit to keep hold of home objectives, whilst firing off pot shots where they can. But remember that the priority here is to keep them alive, don't take risks which could compromise that.