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Detailed Deck Guide: Scouts

Leer breaks down the card choices, mulligan strats and matchups for one of the strongest decks right now: Scouts.

Scouts’ playstyle can be described as somewhere between aggro and tempo-based. Its unique interactions with Miss Fortune allow for clever out-plays and powerful win conditions. Let’s dive into the matter!

Regions
Demacia
35 cards
Bilgewater
5 cards
Rarities
28 100
champion
6
epic
3
rare
17
common
14
Mana cost
0
0
10
1
11
2
6
3
7
4
3
5
3
6
0
7+
Champions
6
3
Miss Fortune
3
5
Quinn
3
Followers
21
1
Cithria of Cloudfield
1
1
Fleetfeather Tracker
3
1
Penitent Squire
3
2
Brightsteel Protector
3
2
Marai Warden
2
3
Vanguard Sergeant
3
4
Vanguard Bannerman
3
6
Genevieve Elmheart
3
Spells
13
1
Ranger's Resolve
3
2
Blinding Assault
3
2
Sharpsight
3
4
Golden Aegis
3
4
Relentless Pursuit
1

Deck Breakdown

Our game plan starts at turn one. We want to develop the board with cheap units, but unlike other aggro decks our followers are not low-quality units . Our goal is to build a lasting board with which we can attack several times over the course of the game.

Miss Fortune (MF) allows for some pretty nasty mechanics. While she serves in more burn-oriented decks like Pirates just as a strong unit with a strong one-time AoE attack before dying, this deck aims to level her up.

We do this by attacking with Scout units twice a turn and playing Rally effects, oftentimes leveling MF in just two rounds. For this reason, we will rarely attack with her before she levels up!

Even though MF is the heart of the deck and we win up to10% more games if we draw her (link), the deck can do well without her. We want to keep our low-cost units alive and buff them up throughout the game -- more on this below.

Here is a breakdown of every card in the deck:

Cithria of Cloudfield and Penitent Squire are 1 mana 2/2 units that help us take over the board early on. With 2 health, they have a good chance at surviving trades once we start buffing them up throughout the game.

Marai Warden fulfills a similar role, summoning a random 1-drop on play. More often than not, those units only have 1 health and are weak to any ping effect. We either attack with them aggressively to push damage early on, or wait for AoE buffs later in the game.

Fleetfeather Tracker is another high-quality one-drop. While it lacks the health to survive trades and is susceptible to ping effects, we have different ways of gaining value from this unit:

  • We either grant it Barrier and challenge any enemy unit that would otherwise block our allies, or
  • We pull a 1-health enemy that dies to MF’s Love Tap.

This is what makes Penitent Squire so strong, by the way -- if we happen to behold an Elite, we create a Tattered Banner in hand to later grant Challenger to a unit.

Valor fulfills the same role, just with the Scout keyword. Since Blinding Assault is a spell, we can oftentimes get away with passing early turns as to not present him on a silver plate early on.

Brightsteel Protector is exactly the valuable Barrier-giver we talked about above. With a 3/2 body, it’s also a strong unit that trades well into most 2-drops.

Since we run several 1-health units and overall are interested in our units surviving early trades, Ranger’s Resolve perfectly shores that weakness and supports our game plan. 

It’s no news that Sharpsight is one of the strongest 2-mana spells in the game, and we can even make use of its buff twice with our Scout units.

Miss Fortune is truly the centerpiece of our game plan. While all our cards synergize inherently well, MF is the breaking point that makes this deck so strong. The ability to challenge units and force them into Love Tap is incredibly powerful, and our Scout units maximize the number of times we can fire at our opponent’s units and Nexus.

Remember us talking about AoE buffs later in the game? Well, here they are!

Vanguard Sergeant’s payout is two-fold: he’s a high-quality body that survives most trades at round 3, and he creates a For Demacia! in hand, our highly demanded board buff!

Vanguard Bannerman, on the other hand, is more straightforward, (hopefully) granting all allies +1/+1 on summon. Since we want most of our early drops to stay alive ‘til turn 4, he will most of the time buff 3+ allies!

It must be difficult for the two Vanguards to be in the same room. Imagine someone asking “Is there a Mister Vanguard among us?” and both answering. Awkward moment.

Genevieve Elmheart does the same as Vanguard Bannerman, except that her buff only lasts one turn. Since we usually want to close out the game around this time, the temporality of her buff is not as fatal as it looks. For that, we also get a better 5/4 body with the Scout keyword on top.

Quinn is our final unit that… well, she is a little underwhelming for a champion. Her level-up condition is the same as MF’s, she wears the Scout keyword and summons Valor - she fits neatly in our deck. It’s just that she doesn’t really have a strong body for a 5 drop and isn’t as impactful as other cards earlier on.

This is not to throw shade on Quinn -- she earns her spot in the deck -- but our game plan doesn’t revolve around her, she’s just there because she supports it.

Her two Scout bodies fit well into our finishing idea of For Demacia!. Since Scout units can attack twice a turn, they maximize any buffs they receive.

Golden Aegis and Relentless Pursuit support the same finisher: buff your wide board and attack more than once with powerful (temporary) buffs. 

The Rally effects can come in hand long before that, though. Imagine the following situation:

  • You play MF turn three and Blinding Assault alongside her.
  • You attack turn three twice, challenging 1 health unit or attacking an empty board.
  • On turn 4, you play Golden Aegis on Valor… and MF flips!

I don’t know of a single deck that can combat seven rounds of Love Tap by round 4 (two on turn 3, one on turn 4, and three on turn 4 with leveled MF).

Tech Cards

I’d say there are two versions of Scouts -- one with Monsieur Bannerman and one without.

Since we run 35 Demacia cards and keep the 5 Bilgewater cards in the mulligan, we likely trigger Allegiance. But that leaves us with only Blinding Assault as a Scout unit before turning 5. 

Island Navigator is the alternative to Bannerman, providing us with two Scout units that benefit later from board-wide buffs. They are great alongside MF if we don’t have a Blinding Assault at hand or Valor died already.

I tried out both versions, and enjoyed the Bannerman one more. The body from Island Navigator is horrible - it dies against almost anything on turn 4 or 5 without trading back due to its low attack. If this unit was a 4/2, we would play it. 

Her high health means that Island Navigator works well with For Demacia and the likes, so she is more of a wait-for-buffs kind of unit. The 1 drop she summons is great for sacrificing to level MF or Quinn. In my experience, she makes you win more games if you draw MF and lose you more if you don't. I personally prefer the more robust approach of Vanguard Bannerman!

If you decide to abandon the Bannerman train, there are a variety of cards you could tech:

Pool Shark is a tech that evoked the following reactions in me, in this order: 

What?! 

Wow, that’s 5Head. Only a true genius could think of this!

Meh.

We never want to keep the card in our Mulligan and… we also don’t want to draw it. The idea is to thin our deck and potentially give us a “comeback mechanic” when we’re out of cards. But instead of Pool Shark… we could just draw a useful card in the first place!

Still, sometimes the card can be useful as it also gives us a ½ body to receive an AoE buff, but the tempo-loss makes it less appealing.

Fortune Croaker falls in a similar category, just that it’s better than Pool Shark. We immediately draw a card and usually have a unit on board to use the play effect on… but wait. 

While the card advantage is great, there is an underlying issue with this card: We want our early units to survive. Since we play many 1-health units, we don’t want to kill them with Fortune Croaker. And we also don’t want to weaken our 2-health units and make our deck even weaker to ping effects.

This means that we usually don’t want to keep him in the mulligan phase and only play him later on, on higher health units like Vanguard Sergeant. Unfortunately, we usually want to play Quinn or Genevieve on turns 5 and 6, and thus don’t have left-over mana to play Fortune Croaker. I suggest you try this card yourself and see how it goes!

Jagged Butcher is a hit-or-miss card. If you see him in your mulligan phase you're happy and if you don’t he becomes a dead draw. Since we don’t need to rush our opponent down we can wait for an opportunity to trigger his plunder effect, but I think having a 2/2 body on turn 1 is more often better than not. For this reason, I like Cithria of Cloudfield more like tech as she also is an Elite that might activate Penitent Squire!

Independent of the Bannerman discussion, there are several tech cards you can add with or without Bannerman:

The right ratio of Cithria of Cloudfield and Marai Warden is something that I'm still experimenting with. On the one hand, Cithria is an Elite that triggers Penitent Squire, on the other hand, she is the same as Jagged Butcher - if you draw her round 1 or 2 - great! If you don't - it sucks. I run her currently as a one-of to hit Allegiance more often, but it is definitely thinkable to replace her with a third copy of Marai Warden. If you don't play Bannerman, you might want to play more copies of Cithria as you're missing the Elite cards from Bannerman for Penitent Squire!

Grizzled Ranger is a valuable 4-drop that also wears the Scout tag. While it can be shut down if your opponent pings it down before it can attack, the unit is overall just very efficient and a solid inclusion. Switch one copy of it for Relentless Pursuit or Cithria of Cloudfield.

Since Rally effects can be lethal in this deck, we can think about including more of them in our deck. Although our small Challenger units prefer that you give them the Barrier from Golden Aegis, rather than a +1/+1 buff, the idea of including an additional rally effect is attractive. 

Most lists run no copies of  it, but if you’re feeling courageous you might push it to two Relentless Pursuit -- cut a Genevieve for it.

Cithria the Bold does the same as Genevieve - it buffs your board. The cards fulfill slightly different roles though: Genevieve has the Scout tag, utilizing our champions more, while Cithria has a better body and the potential to buff our board several times.

Our list runs three Genevieves since we don’t have Island Navigator and consequently lack the Scout units, but in different lists (or with more Rallies) Cithria might certainly work better. Swap the number of those two cards as much as you like and find the formula you’re happy with!

Finally, here are some common tech choices I would consider meme status that I won’t explain in detail. =)

Crackshot Corsair, Make it Rain, Cataclysm (gives you the attack token if you use it on a Scout ally in your opponent’s turn), Yordle Ranger

General Gameplay Tips

Keep your early units alive

As we discussed in the deck breakdown, we want our small chumps to see another day to receive our AoE buffs from the likes of Bannerman and Genevieve.

You don’t need to attack every turn to win with this deck!!

Think about MF

… not only in your dreams because of her beautiful body. Jokes aside, it’s crucial to plan out how to level MF as fast as possible. This is the winning formula for this deck. 

Do you have Blinding Assault in hand and can wait until turn 3 or 4 to play it with MF on board?

Can you bank mana instead of playing a two-drop to protect MF with Sharpsight against removal?

Can you wait with MF one turn to play her on a key turn of your opponent where they would like to play their threat instead of spending mana for removal?

If you have MF and Blinding Assault in hand, can you mulligan for a Rally effect to level MF on turn 4?

Basic Mulligan Guide

If Dr. LoR’s stats (link) teach us anything, it’s that we keep MF. We’re statistically 11% more likely to win a game if we draw MF. I can’t stress this enough: MF. wins. games.

If you should ever not keep MF in hand, I will haunt you in your dreams.

Besides that, Blinding Assault is a surprisingly good keep. I've talked enough about how nuts this card is with MF (keep her!!), but it also works with Brightstell Protector, Sharpsight, etc.

Worst case, it trades with a unit they didn’t want to trade. Or it attacks an empty board and deals 4 damage.

Besides that, it’s only really one-drops we keep and not even always. I've learned from MajinBae that you should be aggressive with your Mulligan, and search for the winning cards. If it’s a control matchup, then keep your 2 health one-drops that don’t die to ping effects. If not, be more daring when searching for MF.

If you already have your key cards in hand (MF and Blinding Assault), it’s usually a good idea to keep Ranger’s Resolve or Sharpsight to add a layer of protection for them!

Matchups

Ahri Kennen Shurima - slightly favored

One of the reasons Scouts is so strong right now is due to its favored matchup into Ahri Kennen. Our cheap Challenger units and MF are perfect for whittling down their one-drops. 

Another reason this matchup tends to be in our favor is their inability to deal with MF. Ahri Kennen is great at stopping single units from attacking, but MF doesn’t need to attack herself to activate Love Tap.

Ahri Kennen Shadow Isles - favored

This is similar to the Shuriman one but better because they lack the early drops to contend the board with you. Keep Ranger’s Resolve and Sharpsight back to block Go Hard and you should be looking good.

Since we are not playing for the long game anyway, their infinite draw engine with Sai'nen Thousand-Tailed is not very scary. Make sure to challenge Kennen when possible as that is their only key threat.

Darkness - even

This matchup can be very draw-dependent. If they draw their Vile Feasts, 2 drops, and Senna the matchup can be rough. On the other hand, If we draw MF and Blinding Assault and can block their Vile Feast we can overrun them.

Make sure to play around The Box and… don’t play around The Ruination. Most lists run 1 copy max and you can seldom realistically play around it without throwing the game.

Iceborn Poros - favored

They don’t have much interaction with us and we tend to out-tempo them. Their means of removal are Get Excited! and Mystic Shot, so keep them in mind. Using their few burn cards for removal though means that they slow down their game plan, so don’t be afraid to drop some units unprotected and let them die.

Lurk - even

We want to keep all the early drops we can get as their early units can hurt quite a bit if they go unblocked. MF is not key in this matchup and we can keep more early units like Marai Warden. Overall this matchup is very dependent on how they draw and who gets the attack token on turn one - good luck out there. =)

Trundle Tryndamere - favored

Besides Ahri Kennen, this is the money matchup that makes this deck so successful. They have no easy way of dealing with MF, though her value in this matchup doesn’t come from damage to enemy units but to the enemy Nexus.

Ranger’s Resolve and Sharpsight can come in handy if they try to AoE wipe your board with Avalanche for example. Make sure that you don’t overextend into The Box or Blighted Ravine and this matchup should go well for you.

Spider Aggro - heavily favored

If we draw MF in this matchup we win. And we can flood the board as well as they can, but we are better at keeping our units.

MF is devastating for their low health one-drops, and even if she should die to a Noxian Fervor they have to sacrifice one unit and a burn card to remove her. 

Don’t be afraid to block their attacks and sacrifice your units -- once they run out of cards to flood the board the game is over.

Conclusion

Scouts have an incredibly strong matchup table in the current meta and almost no popular counters. This makes it the perfect deck to play on the ladder!

If you want to bring it to a tournament environment, you could pair it with Fizz Lulu (link to guide by me) and Ahri Kennen (link to guide by Wamuu) to be solid into most lineups and favored into aggro ones. 

You could also pair it with Akshan Sivir (link to old deck guide by me) and Lurk (link to old deck guide by Jasensational) to target control matchups.

In the end, I hope you enjoyed reading this guide as much as I did writing it. Thank you for reading and please ask me any question about the deck in the Reddit comments or on Twitter

Also, if you have anything to add to the guide or just want to give feedback/say hi, I would be delighted to receive your message! =)