Guide / Tutorial Scouting for Beginners : Thargoid Scout combat



What are they?

Scouts are the small Thargoids, introduced in 3.0. They appear in packs, and do caustic damage. They are relatively easy to fight, though some modifications are recommended. They are very different from Thargoid Interceptors, which are far more difficult to fight.

Where are they?

Scouts scan be found in the Pleiades Nebula, the Witch Head Nebula and the bubble. From the Q4 release they can also be found (less reliably) at Wrecked Megaships.

In the Pleiades / Witch Head

Non-Human Signal Sources (NHSS) - Threat Level 3-6 tend to be increasing numbers and variants of scout. Levels 5 and 6 can also get a Thargoid Interceptor jump in. Their may also be NPCs present, which will help you in the fight. Any system in the Pleiades within around 160 Ly of Merope can spawn these NHSS, and they are more common closer to Merope. Witch Head activity is centred around 75 Ly around Witch Head Sector IR-W c1-8.

It should be noted that killing scouts in the Pleiades / Witch Head does nothing to help save systems from incursion.

In the Bubble

Thargoids are attacking the Bubble (locations in this thread). Systems attacked each week change on Thursday. NHSS 3-6 are more likely to be only scouts when found in the bubble. Kills in attack targets do help save systems from incursion (see more about incursions below).

Scouts can also sometimes be found via missions from Aegis Megaship and Rescue Ships near attacked systems. If the target is in the same system then this will help protect the system from further attacks.


In Systems with Incursions

These can be found via markers on the Galmap (may need to be switched on as they are off by default) or via the 2nd Galnet article in-game. Note that the galmap will show incursions even after they are defeated, so the galnet article is preferred. If the Galbet article says 'No presence' then you will not find AX CZ (though there will still be NHSS). Incursions tend to appear on Thursday, and be cleared in a few days, so are not always present.

Incursions have the usual NHSS, plus AX CZ (Combat Zones). These are a great source of scouts as new Thargoids will continually jump in. There also tend to be NPCs present who will help with the killing. AX CZ also get Interceptors jumping in, and unless you are outfitted to survive them it is best to leave when they appear. There is a trick to getting the Interceptors to not appear - if when you get the notification they are appearing you boost away from the AX CZ they will sometimes jump back out, leaving you free to kill the scouts (which continue to spawn). This technique may take a while to get right :D

AX CZ are great fun with multiple players, though they also tend to be 'somewhat bugged'.

Rewards for killing

Scout killing pay is poor - only 10k CR per kill. There are other benefits - scouts act as Elite foes, so combat rank gain is high and scouts are a recommended way to gain the Elite combat rank. You can also take missions from Aegis Megaships / Rescue Ships to get better CR rewards. Scouts also drop Thargoid mats, which can be collected and allow premium ammo synthesis.

You will also rank up with the Pilot's Federation, and can eventually become Allied, though there is no known benefit to this.

Variants

There are four variants : Marauder, Berserker, Inciter and Regenerator. The Xeno Scanner will allow you to detect which type(s) are present, and you can also see when they apply their special effects.

Scouts are fast moving, so an agile ship is ideal.

All scouts do caustic damage and can fire caustic missiles if you do not kill them fast. Caustic damage from missiles causes your hull to take constant damage until repaired, or the damage is burnt off by exceeded 180 degrees.

When they die the scout leaves a caustic cloud - flying through this will also cause constant damage, similar to the missiles.

Marauder

The original scout type - no extra special effects.

Regenerator

Can fire a green pulse that increases health of all scouts within range

Inciter

Can fire a white/purple pulse that causes all scouts in range to synchronise attacks and fire caustic missiles at foes (i.e. you). These will go through shields and cause constant damage until removed.

Berserker

Causes more damage than regular scouts. Can fire a red pulse that causes all scouts in range to do extra damage for a time. This stacks with the Inciter effect.

Ship Outfitting

These are some basic fit-out suggestions. People will have their own preferences - scouts are not that difficult to kill, and so many builds will work. There is no need to unlock any broker tech, everything you need is available from Outfitting as it was unlocked via Community Goals back in 2.4. If you want to unlock Guardian Tech then the Gauss Cannons are useful.

Xeno Scanner

Useful as it will tell you what type of scout you have targeted, and also gives you the percentage health so you can avoid the caustic cloud on death. Find it here. (Note that you don't need a scanner, but they are helpful.)

AX Multicannon

These do good levels of damage against scouts. You are limited to a total of 4 AX weapons. They are available in fixed and turret (no gimbals). It is a matter of personal preference whether you use fixed or turret, though as usual fixed gives improved damage, and will be useful if you want to fight Interceptors later on. Find them here.

Decontamination Limpets

These will repair the caustic damage caused by scouts, and also repair the hull slightly (larger size limpet controllers are much better at hull repair). They are only practical after conflict has ended, as scouts seem to destroy them. Find them here.

An alternative is to overheat your ship to > 180% as this will burn off the corrosive material - people often fit railguns to make use of this side-effect. Overheating can be done as part of conflict, so is better for keeping the corrosion minimal.

Military Armour

Scouts do absolute damage, so thicker armour is better. If possible also engineer for Heavy Duty with the Deep Plating special.

Biweave Shields

Scouts do damage to shields, fitting Bi-weave will get the shields back as soon as possible. Engineer for fast recovery.

Ships

Use whatever ship you like. Bear in mind that you cannot fit more than 4 AX weapons, so a ship that can fit more is not necessarily better.

Finally

That's it - start on NHSS3 and 4, then try 5 and maybe 6 for more challenge - being prepared to run if an Interceptor appears. Oh, and if you want you can scan scouts with the Composition Scanner to help fill out your codex, but that's optional :D

Anything missing? Let me know in the comments ;)
 
Last edited:
gimbaled short range thermal vent beam laser.
if you are not a fan of multicannons, like myself, they are the best option i have found,

(you are either freezing cold when you hit, or you can overheat to burn off the caustic effect by shooting into space)
side effect is the reduced maintenance cost, because they don't need ammo.
 
gimbaled short range thermal vent beam laser.
if you are not a fan of multicannons, like myself, they are the best option i have found,

(you are either freezing cold when you hit, or you can overheat to burn off the caustic effect by shooting into space)
side effect is the reduced maintenance cost, because they don't need ammo.
I use 2med LR2 Gimballed Pulse lasers with phasing, 1 small LR2 gimballed pulse laser with scramble and 1 small LR3 Gimballed Beam with vent.
Hits everything within 3km and keeps my KB nice and cold. Get hit by caustic go silent and fire all weapons off into space to quickly burn it off.
 
I use 2med LR2 Gimballed Pulse lasers with phasing, 1 small LR2 gimballed pulse laser with scramble and 1 small LR3 Gimballed Beam with vent.
Hits everything within 3km and keeps my KB nice and cold. Get hit by caustic go silent and fire all weapons off into space to quickly burn it off.
thats a nice setup too, but not specialised for scouts, since all your secondaries are not working on them.
i go for maximum raw DPS - aka any secondary that increases damage (Rate of fire or damage per shot)
 
thats a nice setup too, but not specialised for scouts, since all your secondaries are not working on them.
i go for maximum raw DPS - aka any secondary that increases damage (Rate of fire or damage per shot)
Yeah the setup works well. I use the lasers often as secondary weapons on other ship builds which is why the secondaries at set like that. I'm tempted to build a set of dedicated weapons for scout hunting though....if I can be bothered to get around to it :)
 
If it is a beginner player as opposed to a veteran player new to Scout combat then I think a Vulture with two large AX Multicannon turrets is their best bet as they may be short on credits and combat skill/experience. This is a video of that Vulture (Theo) in an AX Conflict Zone. It is fairly inexpensive ~20M credits, flies very beginner friendly against the agile Scouts without needing any engineering, is fairly durable without needing engineering, can accommodate all the modules, and is suitable for both NHSS and AX CZ combat.

Other small ships struggle to keep up with DPS output when a Regenerator is in the mix (even the Vultrue struggles a bit) and anything larger costs a lot more and/or needs some engineering to fly as easily/effectively.

Scouts can be very dangerous under the right circumstances, if you pull an NHSS 4 with a full spawn (7) and get unlucky with the special Scout mix and they all get their special attacks to coordinate they can be more deadly than an Interceptor with a swarm. However it is fairly rare in my experience to get a full swarm in NHSS 4 and even more rare to get such a mix of special Scouts and coordinated attacks all coming together. Here is a list of what you can expect to encounter in NHSSs:

Threat 32-3 Scouts + 0-3 Human ships
Threat 44-7 Scouts + 0-3 Human ships
Threat 51 Cyclops OR 4-8 Scouts
Threat 61 Basilisk OR 1 Cyclops + 4 Scouts OR 12 Scouts

It is usually possible to decontaminate or repair without leaving the instance. If the Scouts are busy with the NPC allies in an AX CZ just move off a bit and fire the limpet. If a Scout is locked in combat go Flight Assist Off (FAO), pips 2/4/0, and boost away from it in a straight line till out of it's weapon range. On the final boost fire the limpet just as the ship speed starts to decay. The limpet should attach almost immediately, if not throttle back a bit till it catches up then boost again when it attaches to maintain distance to pursuing Scout. Same tactic works in NHSS except the only option is to FAO and boost till clear of weapon fire before firing the limpet.

Also for AX CZ the Shutdown Field Neutralizer (SNF) can be an invaluable tool but is not very user friendly to learn. In the beginning I would suggest just going FAO, pips 2/4/0, and boosting while the Frameshift Drive is charging. Even if the Shutdown Field hit your ship it has a good chance of drifting clear of danger in FAO. If using the SFN then do pips 4/2/0 instead of 2/4/0. Either way get out when the 100K Voucher displays or when the incoming Interceptors message plays if you miss the Voucher being displayed. Have a pre-selected high wake set because if you get caught by an Interceptor it can mass lock a small ship from low waking.

With a full load of AX ammo in an AX CZ the Vulture can collect enough 100K Vouchers and Scout bounties to add up to 700K-900K range before running out of ammo, depends a lot on luck. I have been as low as 380K and as high as 1.8M credits. If you collect mats dropped by Scouts in NHSSs the basic ammo for AX Multicannons is very inexpensive to synthesize, in which case running out of hull will probably be the limiting factor.

If there are special attack Scouts prioritize Berserker, Regenerator, Inciter, then Marauder unless your ship can not output enough DPS to overcome Regenerator healing pulse, in that case swap Regenerator and Berserker order.
 
Refreshed a bit - added stuff about AX CZ, crossed out the bubble stuff as ... they aren't there, and added the basics of how to get scout-only AX CZ - just in time for this week's AX CZ :(
 
I just found a station selling advanced multicannons and advanced missile racks. I can equip them in addition to the 4 AX slots and engineer them. Are these any good when loaded with AX ammo?
 
They work fine for scouts; Ammo for the adv mc does cost materials tho. Should make killing them a little faster.

And do not grind :)
 
I just found a station selling advanced multicannons and advanced missile racks. I can equip them in addition to the 4 AX slots and engineer them. Are these any good when loaded with AX ammo?
Just remember if you have these part loaded with synthesised AX ammo don’t hit restock all at a station as that will top them up and change the ammo to ordinary.
 
Top Bottom