Kill Team: Salvation comes with two new kill teams – the Aeldari Blades of Khaine and, more importantly, the long-anticipated release of a Space Marine Scouts Kill Team! Between the sweet models, sweet new rules, and a heavy dose of nostalgia I’m sure these will fly off the shelves. In this article we’ll be looking at the new team, their rules, how they stack up to other teams, and how they’re likely to fit into the current meta.
Before we dive in we’d like to thank Games Workshop for providing us with a preview copy of the Kill Team Salvation boxed set and rules for review purposes.
While scouts may not be the fully-fledged warriors of their veteran Astartes brethren, as a team they have a ton of flavorful tools to work with. Frankly I’m just happy to be moving past 7-8 wound human-ish teams that coast on high AP to play the game. Clocking in at 9 operatives, the Scouts are more likely going to be better compared to chunkier Ork teams than their human counterparts.
Faction Ability – Forward Scouting
Scouts have a doozy of an ability, in Forward Scouting. This ability grants them up to 5 battlefield options at the end of the Set Up Operatives step, which is step 11 in the matched play sequence. Each option has a maximum number times it can be selected. The options are:
- Redeploy (Maximum 5 times): Change the setup of an operative wholly within your drop zone. Deploy into a clump to draw an opponent into getting a blast, then change up. Alternatively you can effectively always set up as the attacker. Plenty of flexibility here for players of all skill levels.
- Recon (Maximum 2 times): Additional Recon scouting options, ahead of the normal scouting phase. Useful to get your multiple Heavy weapon options into position, but probably not the most useful option to select.
- Infiltrate (Maximum 2 times): Same as above, but with the infiltrate option of scouting. This one will probably be a favorite of many players early on their Kill Team journeys, and will remain useful long term.
- Trip Alarm (Maximum 2 times): Place a trip token anywhere more than 6” from the opponents drop zone. The first time an enemy operative on a conceal order moves within 2” of the trip token they are treated as having an Engage order. This is some incredibly powerful area denial against all opponents. Players who know how to screen objectives well are going to get a lot of benefit out of this. However players can pop the trip token, and continue moving into full visibility obscurement!
- Booby Trap (Maximum 1 times): Place a Booby Trap token more than 6” from the opponents drop zone, and not within 2” of an objective marker. When enemy operatives move across the 2” bubble of this token, you get a chance to stop that operative’s movement action. On ITD this seems incredible, on Open this seems harder to use. On the Salvation terrain these traps are going to be incredible at controlling space.
- Diversion (Maximum 1 times): Select any enemy operative and give them -1apl. Truly an incredible scouting option against more elite teams. Forcing elites to play around 2apl, and gimping any potential big shooting threats on 8-10 operative teams.
- Devise Plan (Maximum 1 times): One bonus CP. Start a game at 5 CP, as a former Starstrider player I expect to use this regularly.
- Designate Target (Maximum 1 times): All friendly operatives gain Balanced for all shooting attacks against a target. Another scouting option that I suspect will almost always be used. The team definitely needs the ability to punch up against harder targets.
Scouts have a relatively simple roster compared to the Eldar half of the box set. With only seven kinds of operatives, I suspect the best Scout players will be getting big use out of Forward Scouting. You get 9 operatives, with 10 wounds, and 4+ saves, which puts us firmly chunkier than elf teams. We lose out on the activation counts of human equivalents, but those 10 wounds over 9 operatives compare poorly to Ork Kommandos. One wonders if the 2023 meta menace will come down, or scouts eventually go up.
The only full marine on the roster, the Sergeant comes with 3 different weapon loadouts, but importantly comes with 3 APL! Similar to the Kommando Nob, the sergeant can pass out an APL, however he can do it to any operative visible. We’re expecting that keeping this operative alive is going to be critical to this team’s success. However, the sergeant is one of the few operatives on the team with a real melee profile with 5 attacks with the chainsword. The astartes shotgun does look particularly juicy with 4 attacks 2+ 4/4, AND balanced!
You can take two of these guys with the classic Heavy Bolter, and Missile Launchers. The profiles are nothing new to veterans of the game. Suspensor systems are only given to full Astartes warriors, so the Heavy Bolter will have to settle for its Heavy Weapon Bipod instead. The missile launcher will just have to huff it into the field alone.
Grapnel launchers have always inspired some cool action scene moments, and the Hunter will be no stranger to that. With his Grapnel Assault he can gain Lethal 3+ on a charge as long as he interacts with movement rules such as climb, drop, traverse, and more! Considering his grapnel counts as a free climbing rope, I suspect his Combat Blade will be paired with the Extra Blade equipment to really let him make mince meat.
Coming in with a free Camo Cloak for extra retains defensively, the sniper isn’t here to make any waves. With a pretty predictable 4 attacks, on 2+, for 3/3 damage, and 3 mortal wounds the sniper is a safe choice. His Advanced Scope action lets him ignore Obscurity which will be powerful on the new maps and on ITD. The big issue with this guy, is with 9 operative selections, and 3 Heavy weapon operatives that is quite a few static operatives. I suspect taking that amount of heavy will end up being a detriment so maybe one of the three won’t be as common.
The boltgun wielding Tracker is here to flip concealed operatives to engaged and strip obscurity from enemy operatives. He does want to be within 6” to Track Enemy’s that are concealed. However his Auspex Scan works much as the intercession squads auspex works. Having both abilities means he is a great holder of APL, while being a solid support operative for the whole team.
We’ve got 3 flavors of warriors. Boltgun, Bolt Pistol + Combat Blade, and Astartes Shotguns. Shotguns look to be the stars of the show here, clocking in with 4 attacks on 2+ with 4/4 damage. Of course you need to be within 6” to fire, but that level of consistency is going to be great into almost anything. The bolt pistol and combat blade combo will be alright against 7 wound models, especially when you get some extra blade equipment for balanced. Similarly to Hand of the Archon kitting out our warriors with equipment is going to be critical for approaching different matchups types.
3x Scout Sergeant
- One of each type
2x Scout Heavy Gunner
- Missile Launcher, Heavy Bolter
1x Scout Hunter
1x Scout Sniper
1x Scout Tracker
4x Scout Warrior with Astartes Shotgun
4x Scout Warrior with Boltgun
4x Scout Warrior with Bolt Pistol, Combat Blade
Grabbing one of each unique operative, then filling the roster with warrior types. We’d expect that not every match up will want us taking 3 Heavy weapons, so we’re taking four of each warrior type. Allowing us to swap out heavy operatives for ones who can keep mobile.
Scouts feel like a mix of Phobos and Intercession squad. With a focus on some of the sneakier aspects of Phobos while staying the smaller brothers of the Intercession. It might not be clear what I mean, but the tactical ploys really drive home those similarities.
- Astartes Training 1CP- An operative fights twice, or shoots twice with a shotgun/bolt-weapon. Scouts are in-training and as such can only do what their more elite brothers do once a turn. Powerful especially on someone like the hunter if you can get the grapnel assault off.
- Raw Physiology 1CP- Until the start of an operative next activation, it ignores APL modifiers and injury. Again scouts can only hope to one day be true Astartes!
- Emboldened Aspirant 1CP- During the first friendly fight or shoot action of a turn, you can retain a normal hit as a critical hit. Additionally you can trigger this if your scout is targeting an enemy operative with more wounds than the scout. Basically you blitz an opponent, or take a play out of David and Goliath. Either way this helps your weaker four attack weapons punch up when necessary.
- Covert Position 1CP- An operative gains super conceal while it is on a conceal order until the start of its next activation. Useful when boards force you into unsafe objectives, especially with the new rider of staying on until you next activate. Letting you score those unsafe objectives early, or forcing an opponent to commit on a bait piece.
- Guerilla Engagement 1CP- While friendly operatives are in cover and more than 6” away from enemy operatives, they can re-roll one defense dice. Against high AP this will be useless, but against volume fire this could be useful.
- Gunfire Ambush 1CP- When an operative switches from Conceal to Engage, you can re-roll one dice during a shooting attack. Targets that aren’t ready get the weird re-roll any one dice result rule from Warpcoven, and Wrymblade. This can definitely let your heavy weapons and snipers punch way above their weight class.
- Blade Ambush 1CP- Very similar to the gunfire ambush, but for melee attacks. However you start with the re-roll any one dice result, and move up to Rending against un-readied operatives. Between the two ambush ploys, if you can dictate first strikes against enemy operatives the scouts can punch well above their weight classes against non-elite teams.
- Stealth Relocation 1CP- Starting from turn two you can have a scout operative more than 6” away from enemy operatives take a Dash while switching its order. On turns where you’ve committed operatives like the missile launcher you can reset them. Allowing you to break activation parity in shooting match ups, or resetting your ability to ambush players. Phobos changes over time have shown that the 6” bubble is harder to maintain, luckily the reward of repositioning during strat ploys is veeeery useful. Especially when heavy weapons carriers with climbing rope can climb onto vantage points with this relocation.
The scout squad gets a reasonable equipment selection including lots of grandes, and options to adjust the expected roles of your 2-4 warrior operatives. We’ll go over each in detail.
- Climbing Equipment 1EP- The standard climbing rope rules, which remain great. I suspect this will be one of the more common equipment on Open boards to keep those shotguns mobile.
- Camo Cloak 2EP- While in cover, you can retain an extra success as a result of cover. A solid survivability upgrade to boltgun wielding warriors, and heavy weapon weilders camped out on terrain.
- Extra Blade 2EP- Combat blades gain the Balanced special rule. This means your basic warriors can tango against 7-8 wound operatives, but probably not much else. Pretty disappointing that this is 2ep.
- Heavy Weapon Bipod 2EP- If the equipped Heavy Bolter Gunner has not moved yet, you can re-roll any of one dice result. Similar to the ambush strategic ploys. This does allow a nested Heavy Bolter to strike more efficiently than its datacard looks. On maps where you can be more static this will probably be a strong pick, on maps where you need to move, less so.
- Targeting Ocular+ 2EP- Ranged weapons the operative’s datacard has gains the No Cover special rule. The ocular can only be taken once, and is an easy inclusion against 5+ save operatives. Its effectiveness decreases as opposing saves get better, but a warrior with a targeting ocular will make short work of most 7-8 wound operatives.
- Smoke Grenade 3EP- Classic smoke grenades. The ability to get into melee, kill an operative, and hide from shooting remains powerful. Especially when your sniper can line up a shot through smoke afterwards. It’s not always going to be good since most of your operatives have 2APL, but when your Sergeant needs to kill a guardsmen safely the smoke has your back.
- Frag Grenade 2EP – Classic, no need for explanation.
- Krak Grenade 3EP – Classic, no need for explanation.
Scout Squad has the choices of Infiltration and Recon firmly cementing their play style in the world of strategic sneakiness. Their Tac Ops reflect this while also providing the team an aggressive outlet and new kinds of positional play. Luckily I do think the team has the tools to play these plans well, and score well.
- Sudden Strike – If more enemy operatives are incapacitated than friendlies on turning point one, score 1 VP. Then do it again on another turn. 12 wound operatives count as two operatives. Incentivizing you to do some incapacitation where your normal tac ops do not. I suspect this will be a solid choice on most maps as Forward Scouting should provide the team lots of room for asymmetric gunplay. Then you just need to have one good turn. This is first revealed at the end of turning point one, which means opponents may also just walk into it. Another boon.
- From All Angles – Split the board into quarters and inflict damage with operatives wholly within at least 3 unique table quarters on two different turns. Interestingly this would be a way that our mass of heavy weapons ends up being a scoring benefit. Since we only need to inflict wounds it may end up being more consistent than Sudden Strike.
- Gather Reconnaissance – Get within 6” of an opponent’s drop zone and spend 1AP for the first point. Then keep an operative who did that action alive through the end of the game for the second point. A solid enough positional tac op. However with us taking either infiltration or recon, we’re likely to be full up on that kind of play. I expect the first two tac ops to be much more popular than this.
I am bummed that there isn’t a bit more juice in the operative selection of the Scout Squad. The stat blocks and faction abilities do seem like they’ll be solid, giving most horde teams a run for their money with how much control you can keep of the turn one board. You’re given the tools to play the secondary objective game well, with plenty of equipment for both ITD and Open. Against the opposing Blades of Khaine your melee profiles and shotguns represent true threats to their squishy Eldar bones.
Unfortunately the chunkier Astartes teams will likely be a big issue for our boys in training. With no real AP to speak of and a poor melee profile compared to their chunkier brothers in arms I expect scouts to struggle into those more elite teams. Luckily for early investors I think the team would be an easy one to grab buffs and until then the forward scouting play looks to be very fun. Keeping matches unique and interesting.
Have any questions or feedback? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.