Stealth information guide
The Stealth suit has two designations the XV25 and XV15. The XV25 is the new version used in the new codex and has the option to take a support system. The pre new codex version is the XV15 and some think is the better looking model.
However both models can be used using the new stealth rules it just depends on which please you the most aesthetically.
Anyway lets have a look at this unit.
The Stealth team has a lot going for it as a unit. It has the stealth field which basically means the opponent has to pass a test to spot the team (more on this later).
They have Burst cannons or the option to take Fusion blasters (maybe that’s not a benefit). They also have all the movement bonuses of the XV8 and can infiltrate in missions which allow its use.
Additionally they also have the option to take a single item from the Tau support system armoury and if a team leader option is taken he can take Hard Wired gear up to the normal limits.
So all things considered they are not a bad little unit. However they have a few drawbacks starting with t he fact that they are not cheap at 30pts per model. Losing one model means you lose three shot. When you consider that the maximum team size is 6 then losing 3 shots really impacts on the team’s effectiveness.
Stealth teams do not have a lot of casualty absorbtion having only 6 wounds.
So lets go through the rules/weapons and wargear one by one.
Now this has caused more stealth team deaths than possibly any other factor. Why? because it leads to over confidence. The rule basically states you roll 2D6 and multiply by 3; now this sounds brilliant until you realise that the maximum stand of distance a Stealth can obtain (if it use its weapons) is 24 inches (Burst Cannons range plus 6” assault move).
24 inches is surprisingly easy to achieve on 2D6 X 3 with only a total of 8 on two die needed, and remember that’s the maximum distance if the weapon is used.
However if it is failed the Stealth unit is safe and the unit that failed cannot shoot at another unit.
The following was posted by Aussiedave and I think illustrates this point beautifully. Also includes is an example of how to use the spotting rule as a tactic.
A newcomer using this unit will inevitably move the unit in to shoot and then put faith in the stealth field to protect the unit. Usually he will end up surprised when half the team goes down after a successful spotting roll.Originally Posted by aussiedave
The Key to the correct use of this unit is to use the unit as if it does not have the stealth field. Basically just act as if it does not exist and treat the Stealth’s exactly as you would an XV8.
This means using cover, other units as target priority screens, the assault move to get distance and lastly the stealth field itself.
You must also get very good at estimating ranges because you need to keep the Stealth unit as close to maximum BC range as possible.
If you remember the 'golden rule' that the stealth field is a bonus and not a panacea to avoid all shooting you will not go far wrong.
One more thing to remember; Stealth teams cannot be used to force target priority tests. They can be ignored in favour of shooting at another unit without having to take a priority test if the targeted unit is the next closest.
A 6 man team with 18 shots sounds good doesn’t it? Only it is not so good against tougher opponents. Do not get me wrong its Ok, but when you crunch the figures one thing becomes obvious BS3 is not the friend of Stealth teams especially against tougher opponents.
18 shots at BS3 = a 50% hit rate. This gives a return of 9 hits a turn; a TGH of 4 will give 6 wounds and, if the target has 3+ saves this means a casualty rate of 2 on average per turn.
Now at 180pts for the unit that’s to put it bluntly ‘not confidence inspiring’. 12 casualties over a 6-turn game (given a 100% team survival and 100% hit rate) it works out at 15pts a casualty.
TGH3 and 4+ SV = 3.75 casualties a turn
TGH3 and 5+ SV = 7.50 casualties a turn
So against Marine type armies the Stealth’s really struggle. however against less god like opponents (Nids, Eldar, Imperial Guard etc) they do considerably better.
The question is how do we up the efficiency of the Burst cannon against Marine standard opponents? Well the best way is the trusty old marker light. Just 1 ML hit will improve the efficiency up to 2.6 average kills a turn, 2 ML hits = BS5 = 3.3 kills on average.
However as can be seen the kill rate is not brilliant.
So Stealth’s are really best used in a different way when facing Marine stat equivalent armies (I will discuss this later)
However the kill rate is much better against hoard type lists and Guard stat type lists (Eldar etc) at BS3 against TGH3, 5+ SV units the hit rate goes up to 7.5 kills. While at BS4 the average is 10 kills and at BS5 the rate is 12.5 kills.
These kill rates are pretty spectacular by anyone’s standards.
So it is pretty clear that the Stealth unit is best used offensively against the lower TGH, lower save type unit. Fortunately these are very common in 40K and this is what makes them so good to use
Just 1 ML hit can make this unit a real threat to any Eldar, Ork or IG player
So now we come to the Fusion blaster, at first glance this seems a good option.
However with some thought it becomes apparent it is a bad idea to take this option.
For one the range of the thing is lethal, but lethal in all the wrong ways (I/E its lethal for the stealth’s).
To be truly effective it really needs to be within 6”, and this means the Stealth unit is going to be left 12” away from the opponent’s lines.
Now do not be lulled into thinking the stealth field will help. It most definitely will not. All your opponent needs to do is roll 4 or more on 2D6 and you have dead some Stealth models.
Also unless the model using the Fusion takes a Target lock then the team has to decide to (a) shoot the vehicle (not good with BC’s) or (b) shoot something else. Usually the Fusion will probably be out of range or will kill 1 model.
The Target lock also means a target priority test has to be taken to ensure the unit can target different targets and on LDS 8 it is no certainty it will be passed.
Stealth’s are best used as harassment and flanking units and they are best used to bolster anti infantry and not as anti armour.
In fact unless a Targeting array or Marker light token is used the Fusion will miss 50% of the time so it is just not an efficient way to use a Stealth team member.
You should also consider the figures above for kill rates and remember that every burst cannon lost reduces that hit total by a sixth (or 3 shots). Which means 6.25 kills per turn at BS3, may not sound a lot until you total it up over say 3 turns.
Over 6 turns that’s 37.5 as opposed to 44.9 kills. So that is 7 models left alive in your opponents units. The most you are going to kill with one Fusion is 6 (more likely is 2).
The fact is you are probably not going to get in range to be effective with the Fusion against vehicles. Plus the Fusion is inefficient against the Stealth’s preferred infantry targets.
The one use it could have is against TGH4 characters but usually these are in units and cannot be singled out for targeting by the Fusion, and things like Monstrous Creatures are usually TGH5 or 6 so will only lose a wound.
So I would have to say really consider all these downsides before taking the Fusion.
Now we come to the support systems that the Stealth team can take. I say team because if this option is taken all members of a team must take a support system though they can all take different choices So what’s good and what’s not so good?.
Personally I do not rate this option if marker lights are taken in the list.
The main problem is the cost; if all the members take them that’s 60pts to find. Now that’s increasing the units cost by a quarter for a +1 gain to BS.
If you look at the figures above that is a gain of 2.5 kills on TGH3, 5+SV units and only a 0.66 increase against Marine type opponents.
Put bluntly the 60 points can be better used elsewhere by equipping other units.
Whenever an upgrade is taken for a unit it should always be assessed how it could impact the rest of the list. 60pts is a big chunk of points to find from the other parts of a list.
Take for instance my own 2000pt list which runs at 1998pts and has been refined and tuned to give the best return for those points (including a unit of 6 Stealth’s). Now it would be impossible to give the Stealth team the Targeting arrays without compromising at least 2 or 3 units.
Now 2.5 SV5 infantry models a turn is not in my opinion justification enough to compromise those other units. To me the targeting array does not offer enough of an advantage to justify the points cost (in my list).
If Markerlights are taken I can see no reason for paying those extra 60pts.
Again this upgrade is not of much use. The stealth team works best when they concentrate fire on a target unit. The only real use for this is if a Markerlight is taken by a team leader, but this is not a good idea (explanation later). Also as Fusion has also been shown to be a poor option this is really not a good option to take.
Much has been said about the 6 man, 12 Gun Drone uber squad of death. Well believe me it is not as good as it sounds. For one it is expensive (380pts basic). Secondly it’s a complete pain to use because the footprint of the squad is massive and its almost impossible to use cover.
Also when the Drones are reduced (they will be because they will be the majority armour) to 5 models then the Stealth members become the majority armour type and have to be allocated wounds first. Remember every time Stealth dies its Drones have to be removed. That means three casualties for every dead Stealth suit.
Users of controlled Drones often forget this point and it can result in a unit dying fast. Remember that Drones are counted for casualty testing even when removed because of the loss of the model controlling them.
So the loss of 2 models can result in a unit running of the table because 2 dead Stealth’s results in 6 models removed. This also means the remaining half of the unit are testing at –1 for fall back.
Now this has also been put forward as a use for a Stealth team. Basically this consists of a 3 man stealth team. Comprising of a team leader with Targeting array, HW Target lock, marker light and the two Stealth team members with Drone controllers and 2 marker light drones each (one if points are tight).
Sounds good, well I for one am not a fan and I would not advise its use. However it has been gaining in popularity and its weaknesses can be some what overcome by careful deployment and a constant awareness of the opponents movement of his/her units and tactical intentions.
I am going to give as honest an appraisal of the units performance as I can .Unfortunately it will be seen as pretty negative, but as I have said the unit does have its fans and if you fancy a change and a challenge then it is worth a try
The game is about fun as much as anything after all (thanks to eiglepulper and Onlainari for reminding me of this important fact).
The unit above costs 230pts and if the team leader takes Drones it goes up to 290pts, which is 230 pts for a BS4 marker light and 4 BS3 marker lights.
So that is 4 ML's with a 50% miss rate and 1 with a 33% miss rate. Now we have 16 marker light hits over 6 turns if every model gets to fire every turn, but realistically this will not happen.
The unit has one over riding problem. If the unit gets shot what do you do? You either take the wounds on the Drones (they are majority armour type anyway) and lose a 30 pt model? Or do you take a Stealth and lose either an expensive team leader or even worse a Stealth and one or two Gun Drones?
The unit cannot move and shoot either; however the unit can move in its assault phase which gives it limited ability to avoid danger. There is some argument put forward that the stealth field protects the unit. Well yeah it does if the opponents stay at range, but they don’t and this unit will be targeted. Which means they either get shot and lose models or move and do not use their ML’s either way they are negated.
The other option is for the team leader to take a HW Drone controller and 2 Drones and two Stealth suits. However this is just as bad, the other Stealth suits are relegated to 30pt extra wounds. Also given enough shots the opponent can have the team leader take a compulsory wound, and if he dies the Drones go as well.
Also remember the Stealth suits have to take the first few wounds as they are the majority save type.
To be quite honest the 200 plus points are best spent on a Pathfinder team or Skyray and let the stealth team do the job they are meant to do.
The other support systems are not really of any use to Stealth teams so I will not discuss them.
As can be seen the use of support systems on Stealth teams does not really reap any rewards worthy of the points outlay.
So how do we best use these units?, well there are a couple of ways to get the best out of them.
(1) Fast flanking units. Stealth teams can infiltrate and have the benefit of the stealth field so they can set up at 18” in reasonable safety.
Put them in cover if possible to be doubly sure of surviving if they get shot at first. They then have the movement to be able to get to the sides and rear of units.
This can be used to really frustrate an opponent’s plans because a unit behind his lines forces him to devote resources to countering it.
So using the Stealth’ team as a diversionary unit in conjunction with a frontal attack can leave your opponent with some very difficult decisions.
They can also be used to flush out those hard to reach units like Devastators or Sniper units and also are good at taking down HQ units that tend to hang back like Farseer units or Imperial guard HQ units.
(2) Another use is as the straightforward infantry killer. Use the Stealth team to support other units of infantry killers (Fire Warriors, Drones and, Kroot).
The combination of a rapid firing FW unit and Stealth unit can decimate a unit of say Orks in one turn of firing (especially if guided my Marker lights).
Aggressive use can reap rewards. I often use my Stealth teams in conjunction with a 10 Kroot 8 hound unit; I infiltrate both units and then aim to get within 12” of an enemy unit.
The stealth’s pour firepower in and depending on the result the Kroot will either rapid fire or assault. Either way the unit is badly damaged and if the targeted unit is still viable, and still a threat the Stealth teams can jump behind the Kroot who offer both protection from shooting (the enemy unit has to pass both a target priority and a spotting test to shoot the stealth’s) and assaults.
(3) As victory point denial: Now this is the use I mentioned earlier when the Stealth’s are used against marine type lists. The Stealth team will not perform well in an offensive capacity against Marines because their shooting is just not up to it.
So the best way to use them is to hide them and by using their movement, stealth field and cover it easy to avoid 90% of shooting. If you get the chance to shoot at an exposed unit then do so but just make sure the chances of retaliation are minimised.
The idea is to keep the unit intact and to use them to:
(a) Deny victory points to the opponent:
(b) Take objectives, this is easily done with the speed of the Stealth suit
(c) Gaining VP’s in missions like ‘The field of battle’, ‘Enemy lines’ and Annihilation
(d) Help to win scenarios where scoring units remaining are important like ‘Enemy lines’ etc
(4) As a harassment unit: Just use the Stealth team to nip and nibble away at valuable units. The opponent will be faced with a problem because the valuable units are usually the most effective offensively he will either have to use the unit to try and chase down the stealth teams or use other resources to attempt to eliminate them, or ignore them (not really an option).
Also just moving a unit of stealth’s near to an objective or loot counter for instance can disrupt a player’s whole game plan, and make him divert resources to dealing with it. This can also serve to divert attention from other units.
The Stealth team is also better equipped to deal with this intended attention by virtue of its superior mobility and stealth field. Some other units do not have these benefits so it is dangerous for them to act as a diversion.
A point about unit size: . It is common to see units of 3/4 stealth’s deployed. While this may make some sense in smaller points lists (500, 75 it really is not such a good idea in larger lists.
The main problem is casualty loss. Just 1 loss in a team of 3 means the unit is immediately testing for fall back and two means the unit is at –1 LDS and cannot regroup The remaining model will also be taking last man standing tests even if it has a bonding knife and manages to regroup.
4 man teams alleviate this slightly by needing to lose 3 for 50% testing to commence. However I would always recommend full squads not only are they more resilient but their firepower is also maximised.
It should however be noted that small teams of Stealth’s do have their fans One of the main proponents on this forum is Onlainari and hie reasons are detailed below.
As can be seen the main reasoning behind these small units is that they are easier to keep safe by best utilising whatever cover is available or even to minimise the need for it. This also makes it easier to preserve the unit for victory point purposes and also to keep safe in preparation for last turn objective claiming.Originally Posted by Onlainari
The smaller unit does benefit from the inclusion of the Targeting array to maximise the reduced volume of shots. In fact a TA equipped 4 man stealth unit will get slightly more hits per turn than a full 6 man non TA equipped squad.
The question is what is preferable the casualty absorbtion of the 6 man squad or the compact easy to hide nature of the smaller squad.
It should also be noted that obviously small squads benefit as much from Markerlight BS enhancements as the larger squad and in smaller points games (especially 1000pt) the smaller squads are a viable choice. For larger points games though I would always recommend the larger squad size.
Lastly assaults: Many players think that because the Stealth teams have the benefit of always counting as in cover if assaulted this makes them somehow decent in assault. Well not really weapon skill 2 does not make for great results in an assault and after the first round of assault (If they survive) they are also at a worse initiative than just about any other unit in 40K. If they charge they do not get the cover bonus either.
So if they get charged they get 12 attacks which will result in 6 hits and 2 wounds against WS4, TGH4 models so basically they will lose.
Stealth’s + assaults = bad idea.
So that’s a little guide to stealth’s hope it helps in some small way.
Edited to amend math to remove minute percentage differences and present more rounded calculations, clarify some points and add content.