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Monday, September 27, 2010

Marine codex 'review' (#13): the 'other' fast attack.

Thanks to all who helped dig up pics of the elusive scout bikes and storm speeders.

Landspeeder storm: bad.

A speeder variant that somehow manages to be less durable, worse geared, but still priced like a real speeder.

"So what's the deal here? The internet tells me this is a 'finesse' unit, that's really powerful." The internet is very wrong about this thing.

Unsurprisingly, storms cost 50 points base, and have the 'scouts' universal special rule. For these 50 points, you get a bastardized version of a landspeeder, with two pieces of special gear. The storm itself is armor 10, which doesn't shock anyone. Normal speeders drop quickly enough to fire, but not as quickly as, say, an ork buggy, ork trukks, sentinels, and eldar vypers, because speeders are blessed with not being open topped. Storms, however, are.
This is bad for your health, and storms aren't 35 points each, like buggies.

So yeah, durability. The storm has none.
For 'fluffy' reasons, it's got an impressive ballisticskill of 3, and only ever has one gun, starting with a heavy bolter, that can be swapped for a heavy flamer, multi-melta, or assaultcannon.
Like the weapon options, and the storm itself, its 'special gear' isn't very impressive. One piece makes deep striking within 6 inches of the storm a lot less reliable, and the second piece lowers peoples' leadership if the carried scouts win a combat.
Yes, the storm is a transport, and transports are good. Transports that consume fast attack, thus directly competing with real, actual speeders, attack bikes, and rhino assault squads, are not good. Not one bit. The real kicker is the capacty - 5 passengers, and it can only ever carry scouts.

Maybe if it had been a dedicated transport.
If only it had come with a locator beacon.
If scouts were less bad at killing people.
Maybe, just maybe if the jamming beacon had been range 12.
'If's' and 'maybe's' are cute, but don't make bad units good. Storms are horrible, yet people suffering from forumitis declares it to be good. Why?

For the low, low price of 175 points, you get a scouting storm with a multi-melta, carrying a squad with a combi-melta and a powerfist. Execution is simple enough.
Deploy forward, scout move within 12, and slag a vehicle during the first turn, or get a first turn charge on something. So for the cost of a plasmaback squad, and a fast attack slot, you can maybe kill a vehicle, or perform a futile assault on infantry with your 5 scouts.
This is known as 'the melta torpedo,' and it's feared by scrubs and n00bs everywhere. It's such a reviled move, it's known to be 'cheesy.'

Of course, the move fails horribly, because people can use their own infiltrators or scouts to make it impossible for the storm to get close enough, deploy their armor further back, use tiny squads and cheap stuff to draw the storm out, and etc.
Not hard to beat, at all. So easy, in fact, the previously mentioned scrubs figure it out after the first time. Strictly one-use only.

"But -2 leadership if I win against your infantry!" Squads that fear scouts aren't gonna be in range, no matter what you do, and if they fear you, that's because they poof if you reach them. This means the cerberus launcher never comes into effect, and is a useless piece of kit.

What makes it good: it can scout.

What makes it bad: fast attack that's not a real speeder, an attack bike, or a rhino assault squad. Overpriced and impotent. Not suited for competitive play, and only slightly better in 'fun' games.


Scout bike squad: good.

An infiltrating unit of bikes. Yeah, marines are crazy like that.
Also comes with the 'scouts' rule, and happen to be ridden by scouts.

Scouts, infiltrate, and bike combine to give you a unit that's always going to be right on top of the enemy. This makes scout bikes useful, and one of your book's unique units.

For the price of almost nothing, up to three scouts can replace their bikes' linked bolters with rapid fire grenade launchers. With these, scout bikers become highly effective anti-infantry units, capable of shattering pretty much any squad of light infantry, and rapid fire krak grenades are effective against both heavy infantry and light armor.

Scout bikes are the only thing related to marine scouts that's truly useful.
We've already established that you're never, ever going to take regular bikers as fast attack, which lessens the competition, but do the scout bikes have what it takes to compete with speeders and attack bikes? In a surprise twist of faith, they actually do - but this is because they do something no other unit at your disposal's capable of.

Are you ever in actual need of their services? Depends on your build, really.
Squads of scout bikers chew up light infantry at a very quick pace, much like predators. If you don't have predators for some reason or other, this is a very handy unit to have.
Because they're actually cheap and toughness 5, you can use them as make-shift combat units. Still not a good one by any stretch of the imagination, but they're effective enough at cleaning up weakened infantry, and get to charge after shooting, too.

In addition to your 3 mandatory grenade launchers, you can bling the sergeant with everything you'd expect (still only gets to pick one weapon), and he can even take a locator beacon. That's a fairly big plus, and makes many less than stellar builds possible.
Squads can be up to 10 men strong, but start a 3, for an initial 70 points. Nice and low, and combat squads let you split huge squads into two small ones - conserving fast attack slots, while still putting many of them on the table.

Of course, it just wouldn't be scouts if you couldn't take a 'fun' option. Enter: cluster mines. These are cheap, and make a single piece of terrain inflict a lot of hits on the first unit that enters it. Good, bad? Ineffective? Powerful? Mostly very ineffective. Still, the mines cost almost nothing, and are sometimes handy.

When not used to destroy large mobs of light infantry, scout bikers run disruption, and sometimes perform the classic stand-off biker role.
All things considered, effective at what they do, and cheap.
Their one true weakness is 4+ armor save. Entire squads can and will poof to massed enemy heavy flamers and equivalents, and combat against units that get to strike before you isn't smart. Out in the open, you're risking a quick death by autocannons and heavy bolters, too.

An important thing to note is the shotgun. Some (most) gaming groups house rule bikes of all types to be capable of shooting two guns. Normally, you get to shoot one gun for 'every rider,' but if you're in a house ruled gaming group, the squad's shotguns give scout bikers a lot more dakka.

Speed, instant jump on any enemy, disruption, very heavy anti-infantry capabilities, and all at an affordable cost. Ravenwing wish they were scout bikes, but as the codex declares 'you'll never be as good as vanilla.'

What makes it good: supernaturally fast. Destroys light infantry. Mobile, fast, and annoying for the opponent to deal with, like all bikes. Combat squads let you field up to six 'units.' Massed blast templates for cheap.

What makes it bad: carapace armor is a weakness. Not quite a combat unit. Only ever gets max of one meltagun. Not effective at all against heavy armor or elite infantry.

26 pinkments:

Marshal Wilhelm said...

I had hopes for the Storm. I read the rules. My hopes were rained on.

I assume that some dude of mid to low level skill beat a dude with low to no level skill and thus, the legend was born.

I think I'd be barely getting to mid-level and yet at the clubs I play at, am just surprised at what people think is okay or solid. I beat them down and feel like a champion ~ lol

I don't know about the Scout Bikes as I am new to bikers in general.
Do they only work when used with Bike TROOPS or also when Tacs are used?

VT2 said...

They always work, pretty much, but most will have predators doing their job.
However, some players prefer taking dreads as heavy, or swear by vindicators instead.

Even if you have predators, you can load up on scout bikers for more anti-infantry.

Marshal Wilhelm said...

With a Bike TROOP list, are you looking at taking as much AV out of your list as possible so your foes Las Cannon, Rail Gun and Multi Melta type weapons are ineffective
though LC, RG and MM only kill infantry/bikes slowly, because they are hitting 25 pt models, those weapons do kill them quite well even though at a slow rate and so still make a good living from killing expensive [compared to Marines] bikes
you would actually take some AV stuff to draw away the HW fire from the bikes?

Marshal Wilhelm said...

This is a BA question but has anyone made a Vindi sandwich using two Razors on either side of it?
Razors can have tlHF or tlAC.
They drive at a target. The Vindi's side AV is hidden. The enemy shoots at the Vindi's front AV ~ good!
or they shoot at the Razors and get quite a few s10 5" chucked at them ~ good!

Once they get close to the target, the Razors can HF whilst the Assault squad volley and charges them.
Objective taken.

If you are fighting against an enemy that you don't wish to rush in against, you can use the sandwich to advance into range with the target and pepper them with 24" shooting, going forwards if they retreat and circling or falling back if they advance.

I think people need to use the BA like the Eldars, a bit cowardly and sneaky. People want to chaaarge! with them like Bretonnian knights because they do have that quality. I think they need to be used like Mongol horse archers. More finesse less I'm a Marine and I'll smash you down.

What do you think?

Mal said...

There are ways to make the new-ish scout gear really work for you, my brother has been working on a tactica for all scout armies, and has even taken them to tournaments with a great deal of success.

I can't really explain the tactica myself as scouts kind of bore me... personally i;d rather take guardsmen than scouts... but thats just personal preference.

Just so as you know, there are some very very effective uses for the storm and the bikes.

If you want know know more, then look up a guy with the internet handle GreatCrusade08, he tends to hover about on bolter and chainsword.

VT2 said...

Winning with subpar units doesn't mean they're magically good in your hands, or that you're a tactical genius.
It merely proves that you're better than the competiton. Oh, look! I wipe out horde orks and mech orks with my pure grey knights. I must have discovered a magical build.

Storms are never useful, because everything they can do relies upon the scout-max-get-into-action-first-turn-gimmick. Already said why that only works once, and then never again.
Their cargo is 5 scouts. 5 scouts can make lootas go poof, but lootas won't be within the magical range of your scout move - ever.

Regular scouts are pure disruption. They can't kill anything reliably, not even ork boyz.
If you take an army full of disruption, you get what GW did to 3rd edition catachans.

Mal said...

Sorry to disagree with you, but every opponent he faced said the same thing... then lost to his scout army.

To be honest im in the same boat as you, I don't personally feel them to be all that effective, but a near perfect win record, even against some regular throne of skulls players leads me to realise they they are a long way from useless.

That being said, nobody is saying they are a super uber build, they are not... the point here is they are more effective than most people give them credit for.

Kirby said...

Throne of Skulls sucks. next!

Tell us how he works this magical tactic or give us a link please because normal bikers are better than scout bikers in terms of durability and output. Astartes nade launchers are awesome but not worth the unit especially when AB and Speeder squads are the opportunity cost. As Vt2 points out, 1st turn scouts to damage your opponent are cute but not a reliable army wide tactic and unlike Air-Cav as a supplement to an army, Scouts + Bikers don't get to pack lots of melta.

When DA get re-vamped and their normal Bikes get scout, ya that's scouting bikers.

Mal said...

You can find his tactica on bolter and chainsword... and again I have never, nor will I ever say the unit is a uber unit... all im saying is don't underestimate their effectiveness.

You won't be winning any mainstream tournies with a scout force, but that doesn't mean you can't be competative.

VT2 said...

I've taken 100% scouts. It fails, because it's a gimmick.
Yeah, I beat face with my scouts/terminators, all-infiltrate/first turn stuff, and so on, but I beat face with pure grey knights on foot, too. It doesn't prove anything, other than that I'm a better player than those I'm playing against.

Then I fight someone who knows the game, has mastered deployment, and isn't sfraid of WS/BS 3 guys in carapace, and end up getting destroyed, because I can't breach 8+ rhinos and 3 exorcists with my 3 melta torpedoes.

The point of being competitive is so you can compete. Scouts cannot compete, because they're horrible, and using massed numbers of them mean less melta, less AP2, less effective army as a whole, and less points to put into other things.

Scout bikers, yes. Regular scouts and storms, no.
If I write a tactica about grey knights owning orks, does that magically make them good, or mean people are 'underestimating their effectiveness?'

VT2 said...

Actually, there's a handy battle rep by Dash of pepper, where he's got his dark eldar versus a scout heavy army, and he destroys the guy in two turns.

Artemi said...

I just can't wrap my head around why the Storm isn't a Scout dedicated transport. It's a transport, that can only carry one type of unit. So why isn't it bundled with that unit!? It's not like I can put Power Armor in it, and Temies are right out, soo.... why...?

It almost seems like a typo to me, honestly. How did GW not see this?

Artemi said...

Also, I forgot to ask. What's the justification of house ruling bikes to fire two guns? I've heard this around the 'net before, to the point where some people don't seem to know that's not actually how it works, but... it says clearly in the book that you get one shot per rider.

VT2 said...

Because the way things are written, if you convert a bike to have two guys on it, it can now magically fire two weapons.
One for each rider.

The only bike in the game with two 'riders' is the attack bike, and people think this is, well, silly - which it is.
In reality, you brace your gun against your ride, and use your steering hand to shoot the weapons bolted onto the bike's front.

Mal said...

The multimeltas are not the only weapons in a scout army capable of destroying tanks.

You also need to consider that the scouts don't have regular deployment so you can expect your tanks to get side and rear shots on them making even the missile launcher an excellent tank hunter.

The one exception to this is the AV14, but then a lot of armies have trouble with AV14. The scouts do have answers for the AV14 problem, they consists of multimeltas (which usually get at least 1 shot before being taken down) and meltabombs... Now I don't play scouts, I don't even have scouts in my marines armies, but I use exactly the same weapons to kill AV14 as the scouts do... granted I have a few more meltabombs, but I also have less multimeltas. (IMHO meltaguns are not a reliable anti-tank weapon on anything that doesn't deepstrike, troop transports are easy to kill and the meltagun needs to be within 6" to be really effective... not many units live long enough to get that close footslogging.

There is a solution to every problem, and scouts have access to a lot of them, a lot more then most people realise at first glance.
Don't take it personally, when my brother first suggested the scout army as a viable option, I was one of the first to ridicule him for it.
But extensive research and tweaking has lead him to know the armies strengths, you say winning with a subpar army just m,eans your a better player, yet isn't that the point, my brother has learnt the best ways to use scouts in almost any situtation so shoudn't he win?

He has even beaten what I would consider hard core tournament lists with it (used by good players, not newbies). Does this not mean that his scout army is competative?

Yes the army is not for everyone, yes he spent months working on them to be as good as he is, but is this not what makes an army competative?
I do not agree that simply having the biggest gun means the army is competative, powerful yes, competative no. What I class as competative is an army (and general) with the abality to take on all comers and stand a good chance of success. His scouts meet that critera.

Now all this aside, the point I was trying to make with my first post is that the scout options can be more effective than most people give them credit for, its simply a matter of using them properly.

Kirby said...

ML against av10/11 =/= exceptional. Good? Yes. Exceptional? No. Now take 20+ of them like Loganwing and sure. Scouts get 6 which are immobile. 3 MM pales in comparison to the melta/S10 most armies can bring. Meltabombs rock against static tanks and you're going to have a hard time making tanks static with Scouts as your core/FA. You complain about meltaguns...but not meltabombs? Come again?

Scouts don't pack good anti-tank. Scouts don't pack good anti-infantry (though HB + MotF w/CB is very nice). Scouts aren't good at combat and are only survivable in terrain. As Vt2 said, they can run disruption. Disruption is a not an army-wide tactic and running it so means you're going to get beaten by armies with actual firepower.

If I take a rock, and keep throwing it a tank. And the tank blows up on throw 1 million. Is the rock now a good anti-tank weapon IRL? No. The point of this post and these arguments is there are better options. You want to handi-cap yourself, go ahead but this blog doesn't say handicap yourself and win then you can go around beating your chest. It points out what's good and how to use it. What's bad and why. How the game works and how to play in it, etc.

Scouts cannot take on all-comers and have a good chance of success and are therefore, not balanced or competitive. Again, they are pretty much worse in every sense to Tactical Marines and only a couple of points cheaper. Moderately expensive models with WS/BS3 suck. Ask Blood Claws. They still don't pack good anti-tank or anti-infantry yet they stand a good chance of success against what exactly?

The point we are making is they are not as effective as people wish to believe. They are disruption pure and simple. Disruption is good and will win you games when used correctly but 40k does not allow for pure disruption armies and when you take the core of your army as a disruptive force, you need to maximise your firepower in every other FoC yet with SM you can do that with Tactical squads in RBacks or Rhinos and have more firepower, mobility but less disruption.

Heiko said...



Mal said...

I will have to disagree with you on this Kirby... but then your going from your experience, and im going from mine.. and nary the two shall meet.

You don't believe the army to be competative, and at first, neither did I. But I was proved wrong by months of research and gaming (not against bad players either).

I will add no more to this subject as I can see I will not change your mind, I only hope people have taken what I have said to heart and don't underestimate the scouts. As the old saying goes 'Never underestimate your opponent'.

VT2 said...

WS/BS 3 and carapace translates to 'more expensive guardsmen.'

There's nothing to underestimate. Scouts do exactly what you think they'll do, always.
I've played the army, and I've toyed with every single unit in the codex since release. You can roll scrubs 100% with scout builds, but they can't do anything versus real opponents.

Greatcrusade08 said...

wow ive met some blinded people before, but you guys own the cake..
BS3, WS3 makes guardsmen.. what are you smoking, how about S4 T4, scout, infiltrate.. are these guardsmen traits too?

10 ccw scouts with fist and comi-flamer is about 175 points, taken against a ten man tac squad at about the same points and the scouts win.. with ouflank and infiltrate they stand a good chance of having a go to.

bolter scouts = useless i agree on that, there are one or two occasions when they suit a specific army build, but usually leave them at home.. now snipers with 2+cover saves and telion.. now thats worth a look.
storms arent useless, they have many uses, the dual flame build is great for outflanking ob grabbing, and ive made the dual melta build work against opponents with a good idea of how to counter first turn charges.
Sure getting hit by one is easy to counter.. now face a list that can have 80% of its units in your face turn one and tell me they are useless..

a scout on its own isnt great, but then neitheris a tac marine.. give him plenty of mates with the right wargear, and then use a HQ choice that complements your army/units.
thwe two best for scouts are IMO shrike and ouflanking Khan.
vulkans not a bad choice either, sudenly those BS3 meltas arent so made of fail.

This iw what i laugh about people who write definitive reviews.. your not factoring in the x-factor.
an army should always be greater than the sum of its parts.. you can be blind if you wish, but i make people like you cry.

like all armies scouts need support, i use t-fires.. everything else is scouts.
as Mal says ToS players take notice.

just becuase you think ToS sucks doesnt suddenly make the players newbs.

Kirby said...

Isn't it nice to meet new people?

cc scouts are meh at combat. Sure they'll punch up Marines thanks to the fist but anything even halfway decent at combat, even non-BA ASM trump cc scouts for not much extra in points. Want to compare to other MEQ troops? BA ASM and GH laugh at the thought of CC scouts and can actually do more besides that. Scouts are good at disruption. This is what they get with good cover saves, infiltrate, Telion, etc. but they are not a mainstay of a significant army. 1st and 10th lists are the best example of a competitive list but they still have issues.

Storms are meh compared to real Speeders. yay you get outlfank and can carry a tiny squad of scouts. I'd rather 2 speeders capable of damaging whatever I need and not needing vulkan to make their shots count. Again, they can be somewhat decent at disruption but speeders are so much more flexible and can provide their own disruption through deepstrike. Don't need outflank where 33% of the time I come in where I don't want to.

Let's see your list then. We are factoring in the 'x-factor', they are disruption not shock troops. No matter how many you throw at the enemy doesn't change this. If you're running Storms, Scouts, T-fires I'd love to see how you deal with an actual mech list.

Throne sucking may not make the players noob, but using as a reference doesn't do anything. You can take lists like this to Throne of Skulls and 'win' just like you can at comp'd tourneys.

Greatcrusade08 said...

So kirby, you think scouts cannot be the mainstay of an army.. and this would come from your extensive experience would it?

scouts are good at disruption, in most SM armies this is what they are used for.. in a scout army they are not.

but hey, im not sure if i want to convince anyone of scouts potential.. i win alot of games becuase people underestimate me..
lets hope we meet over a game table ;)

Kirby said...

Yes it would. Come to Australia anytime and we can meet over a game table with beer.

Marshal Wilhelm said...

G'day GC08,
Nice to see you over here. *waves*

I do disagree with you. I have not run a Scout army, nor faced one. I base it off using Neophytes and Fire Warriors.

I did a heap of calculations on Neos vs Initiates after running all Marine squads. These were done against Ork Boyz.
What surprised me was that point for point, Neos were almost identical Initiates is kills for shooting and mêlée. Mêlée?! That meant those greenhorns were actually *superior* than GH, CSM and AM in terms of output. [Initiates are the killiest loyal Marines in mêlée]

Any downsides? Yes. When I mathhammered the Neos taking the damage against themselves via shooting or mêlée, something interesting came up. They went down like scythed wheat. Save4+ and ws3 meant they actually died very quickly, point for point, when compared to the Marines.

In BTs, I get the killiness and shootiness of the Scouts, without having their flaws of being easy to hit and kill exposed. And they eat Krak missiles for me.

I can see that by not being in the minority of a squad [like Neos are in a Templar squad] those weaknesses will see the Scouts get cut to ribbons.

Another thing. As you probably know, 3+ is not just 1/6 better than 4+
There are many popular weapons with ap4.
Heavy bolters, Auto cannons, Assault cannons, Heavy flamers, WW missiles, Krak grenades, Inferno cannons, Incinerator, Plasma missiles, Prism burst, Railgun burst and Guass cannon and blaster.

Marshal Wilhelm said...

What is ToS?

In playing against Orks, I know just how shabby AV 10 open-topped is.
Even bolters can glance-destroy them and Las cannons become as good as Railguns against Rhinos. Very good.

That Scouts don't get them as dedicated makes it even worse. FA slot has good things for a Marine list.

Whilst I won't say Scouts are made of fail, I do believe that besides people not knowing their potential as you do [which is an advantage for you] they are also dismissive of them of pooh-pooh them [which is another advantage for you. Plus you seem to have them running like a well-oiled machine.

How do you think you'd go against someone who did know what Scouts could do and didn't treat it like a comedy army?

You don't have Long Range firepower for anti-tank. The TFC is just AI.
Which seems backwards to me. You need your Scouts to pop Mech for your gun to start killing men.
Your Scouts are within Melta range and then you start lobbing 4 templates around....?!

I think a Dakka Pred would be happy to dual a TFC, and is cheaper too.

If you designate a unit as Objective campers [ones who mind your home one] you are reduced to firing one bs3 krak missile to help against Mech.
Or sniper shots. But your sniper shots only work when your other Scouts have opened Mech....
With Tacs, they can bring a bs4 Las cannon and whatever the Razor brings.

Marshal Wilhelm said...

Maybe you guys could Vassel it up?
Unless either of you is yella.... :P

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