Reivars and Scouts fill important roles in our army, target saturation, and projection of threat. Reivars alongside their older cousins, Assault Marines, also function as bully units. I refer to these three units as Flank Line Squads, sometimes also rarely as projection after their primary role in an army.
Target Saturation - If you have only 4 Shots but 5 Targets, well your gonna run out bullets. Is the same concept of the rule of two, put enough targeted out your opponent cannot possibly destroy or kill them all. These units are cheap to use in mass, alongside more expensive traditional lines, to saturate enemy firepower.
Project - Other key category, it’s why they project your firepower. Being able to threaten your opponent with six plasma shots then following with a charge, forces your opponent to keep themselves either spread out or centered. In the first case you can do a denied flank and claim half the board with your main force. The second case you can use your projection units to claim board.
Bullying Units- Not necessary high kill count but just enough, that if they drop by the enemy. A unit like devestators or a gaurd heavy team will be rendered ineffective or killed. They are vital for forcing enemy to delegate resources to defending their high priority anchors or accepting only getting a couple of shots from them.
First up are the Reivars are only a hundred points. With 10 Bolter Shots on drop, and 12 Bolter Attacks on Charge, or 1 Mediocre Heavy Bolter, 2 Bolter Shots and 16 Bolter Shots in melee, they can punished backfield MSU Anchors, and then win the following slapfight.
The Reivars leadership debuff ability when used versus Scout-teir Units (Scouts, Scions, anything with a 4+ Save base) or versus horde Units, enables to get another 2-3 Dead from battle shock. Combining that rule with Angel of Death gives -2 leadership debuff for minimal investment. That will threaten even leadership 8 models after 2-3 dead (an LD 8 Squad that lost 3 models and has -2 LD debuff, fails battleshock on a 4+). If you don't wish to force that, they are cheap enough, to be dropped midfield to act as combat support for Crusader and Intercessor Squads. Filling the saturation and support role.
Or if prefer more solo acting Reivars, the squad can act as flankers, with Carbines. The squad can move, advance and shoot. I.e they can kite. The ability to advance is important keep up with slingshotting melee Crusaders (a successful charge easily adds 6-8 inches between the Crusaders and their support elements). However for all this, they are best versus Scouts, Hordes and can fight Power Armor, what Reivars cannot do is take down 2+ Save Units like Terminators, lacking high damage and high AP Weaponry, while they can do appreciable scratches, by reducing 2+ saves to 3+, they won’t win with pistols. In general all Bully and Projection Units suffer vs Terminator for the same reason.
However, the versatility in Reivars is pressing the engagement, pistol or carbine they want to be constantly moving and constantly applying pressure. Lacking ranged AP with Carbine, they cannot engage in long term firefights, and lacking range with Pistols, they cannot exchange fire with more traditional firefight units. And like Intercessors, but even worse, tanks make a squad of Reivars really sad. Taken together, Reivars are one of the best examples of a ‘Flank’ Lines, able to project, bully and cheap to be taken in mass. However like Intercessors, how good they are depends on if you agree with the second half “Jack of All Trades Master of None, better than Master of One”.
Now the second style line, is the good old reliable Scout Squads. While flavorfully anti-Templar, the six edition codex, said some initiates would rarely allow their charges to act independently. That and I’d model the heavy and sargeants as initiates. Scouts are similar to Reivars, cheap versatile and able to fill a variety of roles.
Scouts also one of methods we have to deny turn 1 warp times, if we don’t manage to get first turn. And in filling the three roles of flank squads, are excellent at saturation and projection. Saturation wise they are cheap, a 10 Man Squad is only 110 Points. 10 Points more than Reivars and 20 Points cheaper than Full Tactical. However unlike Reivars, if they go shotgun (or even Bolter), they lose ability to effectively bully.
And it should be noted they have only a single heavy and special compared to Tactical-equivalent, 2 specials and single heavy when trying to firefighting. Heavy Bolters are cheap, and enable hellfire, but scouts would rather they be camping with snipers (for around 15 Points a Model!) or in midfield acting as denial. Here taking a small 7-8 Man Squad with shotgun and a heavy bolter, enables hellfire and threatens low Squad count Marines and even Units like Bikers and Plague Marines.
That squad is comparable in price and function to 5 man Intercessors with Power Sword. They lose a few wounds and 3+ save but gain the ability to forward deploy and immediately threaten the enemy in melee. You want Scouts to be able to threaten but not necessary lock the enemy while deny’ing board. The reason you don't want to lock the enemy, is slingshotting units, but also because if that scary terminator squad munching your scouts you cannot shoot them. While you can choose to flee, you'll be running back into your lines, risking having your Crusaders and Intercessors tripping over the fleeing scouts.
Which is why they cannot Bully, sense they start on board the enemy will know their location before turn one. That method deployments allows your enemy to avoid putting something near the unit that can be bullied by Scout Marines. Taken together, Scouts have reasonable range, appreciable melee and can secure a flank. They are similar to Reivars but they are actual operational perimeters are different.
They are primary units on flanks to gain early board prescence while soaking early wounds that would otherwise go at your traditional line Squads instead. And due to to their alternative deployment make bad Bully Units. Finally the last of three, Assault Marines.
Assault Marines are the worst of the flank line units. Not to say they are bad, but just have a weird position where they don’t really fit. A 7 Man with Triple Special is 130-140 Points. And if it wasn’t obvious you need larger squad for flank lines because they need to be able to take wounds. Its more so the other units are better, and other purpose of assault marines are being a line squad of chainbros for vanilla marines. The latter we obviously do not need because our Crusader squads do that already.
At 130-140 you are starting to price traditional line level points. A classic Crusader Line, 6-4, Double Special, and Heavy is gonna run 150-160. And once you get them without packs and in direct competition Crusaders outshine them even more. If you are simply going for deep striking shooting they is scary for similar cost and being to Deep Strike out of auspex comes Inceptors at similar points level.
That said Inceptors cannot Bully effectively because they are unable to charge effectively due to low wound and attack count. While Reivars lack the proper weaponry to bully high armor and Scouts cannot Bully because of their preferred setups. So if you want an all target bully unit. Assault Marines with Jump Packs are here for you.
Next and final week, I’ll be looking at Grey Hunters the other gold standard for line Squads and then Chaos Marines alongside Tactical Squads, to help demonstrate why Crusader Squads are amazing as they are.