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The deep down truth
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been thinking about the Stealth team I take as normal in my Tau list. Now I love my Stealths but they are expensive, so I have been giving them some thought and came up with a unit idea.

A normal unit costs 180pts and for this you get:

18 BS3 shots
Stealth field
6 Wounds
Jump shoot jump goodness
Infiltrate

I am going to use the standard MEQ kill rate comparison, and in this case for 18 shots we get 2 casualties a turn (normal 3+ SV and TGH4)

So 12 kills per 6 turn game works out at 15pts per kill.

Now for my unit.

Three Stealths with Drone Controllers and 6 Drones, cost 150pts and for this we get
9 BS3 shots
6 BS2 twin linked shots
9 wounds
Jump shoot jump goodness
Stealth field (Drones are covered as well)
infiltrate (Drones are classed as the unit type they belong to)
Pinning
Superior close combat abilities of the Drones
a 30pts saving

Now we get a casualty rate of 1.74 MEQs per turn (equates to 10.44 per 6 turns). So only a measly .26 difference in casualty rate. Not bad at all and 14.37 points per kill means they basically perform the same for the cost of the units (identical efficiency as near as dammit).

However lets look at the other advantages to this unit:

Six wounds have to be caused before the XV25's are even allocated a wound (mixed armour).
More wounds make it harder to force the unit to fall back due to 25% casualties (2.25 casualties).
Only one shot is lost per casualty not three, this means the unit inflicts more damage for longer.
Pinning, now I know not many will think that is much of an advantage but it is there none the less.

Superior performance in CC, make sure the Drones go in base to base and they use their better initiative. This can make all the difference to the unit surviving when caught out.

If you make sure the Drones are the only ones in B2B there is a good chance that the Stealths will survive if forced to fall back and the assaulting unit will only be able to consolidate. If done properly this can leave all the Stealths alive. It should also be noted that the number of attacks goes up from 12 to 18 and at a better INT for 6 of them.

When you consider that the Drones have the stealth field benefit and the JSJ rule, it is going to be practically impossible (if played well) to lose the Drones through the loss of the Drone controller on a Stealth by shooting. This is however one of the few drawbacks of the unit (but a very minor one in my opinion).

The unit also remains scoring for longer, even if the opponent is lucky enough to:

(a) Get past the stealth field
(b) Cause 9 wounds and get torrent of fire

The Stealth still has a 3+ save to beat, so usually it is single Drones that are going to be lost and this means 5 Drones have to be killed to lose scoring status (as opposed to 4 or a Stealth squadron but they lose 4/6ths of their fire power, while the Drone/Stealth squad only loses a 3rd of theirs).

Back to the pinning, now I know many do not rate pinning, but with Marker light help this can be an effective benefit. I use a Drone squad with my Shas'El and they often pin units that have been forced to disembark from transports popped by the El.
When you consider that the range of the Stealth and Drones weaponry is only 18" (remember that to be truly effective the unit has to be in range to cause casualties among the full enemy unit so this range is reduced to probably 12 to 14 inches), then any additional aid to survival is a boon.

It should be remembered that not every army is LDS 8, 9 or 10, plenty of units are LDS 7 or worse and with casualties of 50% the LDS is reduced by -1. If we add this -1 to even one Markerlight token we have a LDS of 5 or 6 and that is easily failed.
When you consider that low LDS units are often low armour save units as well, the odds for damage and pinning are quite high and a pinned unit does nothing.


Lastly is the 30pts saving, may not sound much until you consider it is:
3 Fire Warriors
4 Kroot
2 Shield Drones
2 Pathfinders
30pts of upgrades for vehicles
Nearly enough to upgrade a Devilfish to a Warfish
6 Bonding Knives
3 Shas'Ui upgrades for Fire Warrior squads
3 Markerlights
30pts of upgrades for your XV8 suits

The list is long and extensive and every one of these additions can make a big difference to a unit or list.

I am even considering taking this unit

Stealth team leader with Targeting array, HW Drone controller and HW Target lock 55pts
2 Stealths, Drone controllers 60pts
6 Drones 60pts
175pts

My reasoning behind this unit is that I at present use a Shas'El Helios with a Drone unit to target transports and passengers. The idea is the El pops the transport and the Drones shoot and with luck pin the passengers. This unit costs 193pts, now it is a fantastic unit but it does have one drawback, both units are doing one job.

Edit removed due to error pointed out by Skars.

The other benefit is I have a Shas'El that I can use elsewhere and a Drone squad that I can use to DS or as a nuisance unit (they can even tag along with the Stealths if needed), or I can use both units to transport hunt.
I can still use the Stealths to annoy the opponents infantry if needed, but I can also pop any armour, Dreads, MCreatures etc and I have the additional benefit of more flexibility for the Shas'El and Drone squad (I would still take them)

I think this gives the Stealth/Drone unit a bit more versatility (but obviously the shot volume is reduced and the points savings are not as good, so it is swings and roundabouts)

The Stealth unit also has a much better chance of surviving if the pinning is not successful (and the Drone squad is not just reduced to a meat shield for the Shas'El when things go wrong). The Stealth field and JSJ makes it much harder to hit back for the opponent if the passengers are not pinned.

Now this unit is not for everybody but I am used to transport hunting with the El/Drone unit and I think I could use the Stealth/Drone unit effectively (with enhanced survival as a bonus).

One last point 'footprint' the unit is only three models bigger that a standard Stealth unit, so I do not think this would be as much of a problem as it is for the full Stealth/Drone unit usually put forward.

Opinions please
 

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Riki... this is weird, because I was just thinking the same thing yesterday and today... Well, a similar thing. I was thinking that for the same points (180), you can have 4 stealths and 6 drones, total of 10 wounds and still have 18 shots (6 of which are twin-linked). If you boost BS with a markerlight, then the drones benefit even more than the stealths. As you said, such a unit has more wounds and will get more kills. The only drawback I see is that it has a larger footprint and the unit can't regroup if it starts to run. Maybe this can be helped with a bonding knife on a team leader...

I like the idea, I think it makes the stealth unit even stronger for the same points, or just as strong for less points.
 

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I suck... Maiden neck...
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I think it is a good point (even though I don't like the idea of mixing fusion blaster in there). It's hardly a new idea, but I do think there is one flaw in this mathhammer. I firmly believe that each part of an army should have a battlefield role neatly outlined (NOT jack-of-all-trades), and I wouldn't use the stealths for MEQ fighting if I had a choice.

Stealth suits work wonders when you have 4-6 of them and fires at Orks or Eldar with a bad save. Even imperial guards are nice. such a unit (of 4 stealth) kills about 5 men in a volly.

Six stealth suits who is shooting at a markerlight-hit unit would kill 10 men average (That's an IG infantry squad for you)!
 

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The deep down truth
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I think it is a good point (even though I don't like the idea of mixing fusion blaster in there). It's hardly a new idea, but I do think there is one flaw in this mathhammer. I firmly believe that each part of an army should have a battlefield role neatly outlined (NOT jack-of-all-trades), and I wouldn't use the stealths for MEQ fighting if I had a choice.

Stealth suits work wonders when you have 4-6 of them and fires at Orks or Eldar with a bad save. Even imperial guards are nice. such a unit (of 4 stealth) kills about 5 men in a volly.

Six stealth suits who is shooting at a markerlight-hit unit would kill 10 men average (That's an IG infantry squad for you)!
I used the MEQ example because it is a widely used comparison for unit effectiveness (kill ratio's). I am not putting forward the unit (non fusion) as a "jack of all trades" unit, I would use them for exactly the same use as I do my normal fusion unit (nuisance, flanking, points denial etc).
The unit would be just as effective as a normal Stealth team at killing an IG infantry squad.

The battlefield role idea works to a point, but I find that in practice this never really happens, my Deathrains for instance are supposed to be my transport killers, but more often than not they are dealing with anything other than transports, purely and simply because the opponent did something unexpected.

The fusion unit is as I said a purely personal choice, it would be used as a replacement (and to free up my Shas'El and Drones) for the Shas'El as a transport hunter/killer. I realise that fusion is not a popular choice and is one I would not take on a normal Stealth squad ever. This unit however is not meant to be used as a normal Stealth squad.
 

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Firefly
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Three Stealths with Drone Controllers and 6 Drones, cost 150pts and for this we get
9 BS3 shots
6 BS2 twin linked shots
9 wounds
Jump shoot jump goodness
Stealth field (Drones are covered as well)
infiltrate (Drones are classed as the unit type they belong to)
Pinning
Superior close combat abilities of the Drones
a 30pts saving

Would you consider a teamleader with bonding knife?



Superior performance in CC, make sure the Drones go in base to base and they use their better initiative. This can make all the difference to the unit surviving when caught out.

Excellent point as long as the drones remain in majority.

If you make sure the Drones are the only ones in B2B there is a good chance that the Stealths will survive if forced to fall back and the assaulting unit will only be able to consolidate. If done properly this can leave all the Stealths alive. It should also be noted that the number of attacks goes up from 6 to 9 and at a better INT for 6 of them.

Stealthsuits have 2 attacks each. So the original unit would have 12 attacks for a 6 man unit. 18 attacks if they assault. The gundrone unit will have 12 attacks also, 21 attacks if they charge, albeit 12 of those attacks are at lower strength. This makes it very viable to charge init 3 units with the gun drone unit.



The list is long and extensive and every one of these additions can make a big difference to a unit or list.

I am even considering taking this unit

Stealth team leader with Targeting array, HW Drone controller and HW Target lock 55pts
2 Stealths, Drone controllers 60pts
6 Drones 60pts
175pts


So if I take a BS4 Fusion toting Stealth with target lock, he can target the vehicle and the rest of the unit can target the passengers. The Drones can still pin the unit (it only takes one casualty) and I am still getting 12 shots at the passengers.

You might have to check this. As all firing from the unit is simultaneous.


One last point 'footprint' the unit is only three models bigger that a standard Stealth unit, so I do not think this would be as much of a problem as it is for the full Stealth/Drone unit usually put forward.

Opinions please
Footprint is not really an issue.

I think it's a great idea riki, it provides a lot of benefits and I will certainly be trying it myself.
 

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The deep down truth
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Would you consider a teamleader with bonding knife?
I do not think the unit would really need it, if played properly the Stealth field and JSJ should be enough. If I did start losing the unit consistently I would consider it though.

Excellent point as long as the drones remain in majority.
You would have to lose 4 Drones for majority on the Stealths and by judicous removal of Drones you can avoid losing both the last two Drones if a Stealth was killed (simply leave two suits with a drone each).

Stealthsuits have 2 attacks each. So the original unit would have 12 attacks for a 6 man unit. 18 attacks if they assault. The gundrone unit will have 12 attacks also, 21 attacks if they charge, albeit 12 of those attacks are at lower strength. This makes it very viable to charge init 3 units with the gun drone unit.
Good point I forgot the Stealths have two attacks each, as you point out this makes them even better.


You might have to check this. As all firing from the unit is simultaneous.
Damn your right, I am so used to using the commander being able to shoot the vehicle and separate Drone squad being able to target the passengers I just take it for granted. It just never occurred to me about the target lock equipped model firing at the same time as the rest of the unit. Thanks for pointing that out,(glad you read the post dude) the fusion unit would still have its uses though.
See I am not perfect after all dang nab it :|;)
 

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Gone
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It sounds great, but AP4 weaponry would be very harsh if it managed to get a shot in.

I think it has potential, especially because I have lots of extra drones and stealth teams.

When you think of it, regular drone squads are vulnerable to AP4, so this unit being vulnerable to AP4 isn't as bad as it sounds. Maybe we are looking at this the wrong way. It is a drone squad that gained 3 stealthsuits and stealth fields, not 3 stealths that have a bunch of drones.

Elite drones!

Yeah, I'll try it before passing final judgement.
 

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Nice idea, but I feel this SS variation is too large to actually be, well, stealthy lol.
 

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I suck... Maiden neck...
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I used the MEQ example because it is a widely used comparison for unit effectiveness (kill ratio's). I am not putting forward the unit (non fusion) as a "jack of all trades" unit, I would use them for exactly the same use as I do my normal fusion unit (nuisance, flanking, points denial etc).
The unit would be just as effective as a normal Stealth team at killing an IG infantry squad.

The battlefield role idea works to a point, but I find that in practice this never really happens, my Deathrains for instance are supposed to be my transport killers, but more often than not they are dealing with anything other than transports, purely and simply because the opponent did something unexpected.

The fusion unit is as I said a purely personal choice, it would be used as a replacement (and to free up my Shas'El and Drones) for the Shas'El as a transport hunter/killer. I realise that fusion is not a popular choice and is one I would not take on a normal Stealth squad ever. This unit however is not meant to be used as a normal Stealth squad.
I know the MEQ if often used as a standard for killing ratio, so it isn't your doing, but I still think it is a weird way to handle Mathhammer. There are so many different races, and I think it removes the point of mathhammer if one only looks at MEQ. So really it isn't criticism of you but of the standard that people use.

No battleplan survives contact with the enemy! But if I have a specific battlefield role for each unit, and one unit then has nothing to do, I often find that I can manage without them, as all the others do their job. (PS: I was reffering to the Fusion-squad as the jack of all trades)

I hope to see some more varied math here on LO when examples like these come up. I do agree it is good against MEQ, but just look at those stealthsuits able to take down a whole infantry squad a turn with the help of just ONE markerlight hit. That is effective!
 

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RAWR! KROXIGOR!!
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I know the MEQ if often used as a standard for killing ratio, so it isn't your doing, but I still think it is a weird way to handle Mathhammer. There are so many different races, and I think it removes the point of mathhammer if one only looks at MEQ. So really it isn't criticism of but of the standard that people use.

No battleplan survives contact with the enemy! But if I have a specific battlefield role for each unit, and one unit then has nothing to do, I often find that I can manage without them, as all the others do their job. (PS: I was reffering to the Fusion-squad as the jack of all trades)

I hope to see some more varied math here on LO when examples like these come up. I do agree it is good against MEQ, but just look at those stealthsuits able to take down a whole infantry squad a turn with the help of just ONE markerlight hit. That is effective!
Burst cannons and Pulse Carbines have the same strength and AP. Therefore they have the same chance of wounding/getting past saves of things. Ergo, only hits matter. Number of hits don't change from unit to unit. So any unit will work for a comparison between burst cannon and pulse carbines. The ratio between the number of kills caused by a normal stealth squad and this stealth squad will be the same for every single unit in the game (except units that cannont be harmed by either).
 

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Burst cannons and Pulse Carbines have the same strength and AP. Therefore they have the same chance of wounding/getting past saves of things. Ergo, only hits matter. Number of hits don't change from unit to unit. So any unit will work for a comparison between burst cannon and pulse carbines. The ratio between the number of kills caused by a normal stealth squad and this stealth squad will be the same for every single unit in the game (except units that cannont be harmed by either).
Except for the little fact that you can make stealths hit on 3+ with a markerligt, and they have 3 shots each, unlike the drones who have 1! This makes them very effective pr. model, and when you do the jump-shoot-jump tactic it is rather important that you need not move 10 models instead of 5.
 

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The deep down truth
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Except for the little fact that you can make stealths hit on 3+ with a markerligt, and they have 3 shots each, unlike the drones who have 1! This makes them very effective pr. model, and when you do the jump-shoot-jump tactic it is rather important that you need not move 10 models instead of 5.
The whole unit benefits from a Markerlight +1 BS boost, the Drones go to BS3 with a re-roll (just as good as the Stealths BS4), so the unit is just as effective with ML help as a Stealth unit.
Also the unit size is 9 (3 Stealths and 6 Drones) not 10 and a normal Stealth unit is 6 strong, so the footprint increase is not that bad (especially compared to the 6 Stealth 12 Drone uber unit).

Also if using Pathfinders the extra ML hits can be used to improve pinning chances thus avoiding the waste of precious Ml tokens.

Finally 3 shots from Stealths sounds great until you lose a Stealth and all of a sudden you are down 3 shots. I love Stealths but I hate this aspect of them.
 

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I suck... Maiden neck...
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The whole unit benefits from a Markerlight +1 BS boost, the Drones go to BS3 with a re-roll (just as good as the Stealths BS4), so the unit is just as effective with ML help as a Stealth unit.
Also the unit size is 9 (3 Stealths and 6 Drones) not 10 and a normal Stealth unit is 6 strong, so the footprint increase is not that bad (especially compared to the 6 Stealth 12 Drone uber unit).

Also if using Pathfinders the extra ML hits can be used to improve pinning chances thus avoiding the waste of precious Ml tokens.

Finally 3 shots from Stealths sounds great until you lose a Stealth and all of a sudden you are down 3 shots. I love Stealths but I hate this aspect of them.
Indeed, but I do see the 5-9 as a really big problem! 9 men aren't nearly as easy to hide, and when using cover, the size is everythig. They certainly kill not kill a stealt suit when they can't see them, and that is the whole point.
 

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The deep down truth
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Indeed, but I do see the 5-9 as a really big problem! 9 men aren't nearly as easy to hide, and when using cover, the size is everythig. They certainly kill not kill a stealt suit when they can't see them, and that is the whole point.
I use a six man Stealth team and I have no problem denying LOS, I can see no problem hiding an extra three models. Also you can hide the Stealths and just expose the cheaper Drones if pushed. This is not the case with a 5 man Stealth squad, if one model is exposed you lose a three shot 30pt Stealth not a 10pt Drone.
 

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I use a six man Stealth team and I have no problem denying LOS, I can see no problem hiding an extra three models. Also you can hide the Stealths and just expose the cheaper Drones if pushed. This is not the case with a 5 man Stealth squad, if one model is exposed you lose a three shot 30pt Stealth not a 10pt Drone.
Could just be me, but I tend to not want a crowd. maybe its because I play smaller battles for the most part, but maybe it is because I have a habbit of wanting to hide well and we use small terrain... TO me it just works better when everything has a battlefield role and I keep things one way.
 

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The deep down truth
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Could just be me, but I tend to not want a crowd. maybe its because I play smaller battles for the most part, but maybe it is because I have a habbit of wanting to hide well and we use small terrain... TO me it just works better when everything has a battlefield role and I keep things one way.
Well I would hardly call 9 models a crowd (I regularly infiltrate 10 Kroot and 8 Hounds with no problem) and 9 is pretty much the average unit size in 40K.
Like I said the Stealths and Drones would perform the same role my normal Stealth squad does, however this does not stop them performing other roles. I really think it is impossible to assure any unit is only ever performing one role in a game, there are just to many variables (for instance when your Devi squad has to shoot a unit that is threatening your fragile HQ).

However what works for you is fine, and if it does work why change it eh?
 

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Indeed. one needs to adapt during battle and sometimes use less-than-adequate units to do more important things. That is fine, I just have the best results with specific roles, even though they may not work that way in reality.

I think it's a matter of playing style.
 

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I remember a thread loooooooooong ago about all the ways we could trick out our stealths, and this one came up. It's a very good idea, and a very good practice, but your biggest problem will be size.

I playtested this, and though I admittedly use a full stealth squad with two drones per stealth suit, it's important to keep in mind how much space three drones take up versus one stealth suit. More models with larger bases make it harder to move about, harder to not move through cover (dangerous terrain or difficult terrain tests for the squad) [on that note, can drones "walk"?], harder to gain LOS for the whole unit, and harder to have the entire unit within firing range. To have the whole unit in firing range requires your squad, overall, to be closer to the enemy, and if you spread your models to form a firing line they are not as versatile; if you clump your models to minimize overall movement space and retain versatility, your unit is significantly more vulnerable to blast weapons (Whirlwind anyone?)

Basically, what I'm saying is that a unit that takes up this much table space is hard to move tactfully. It looks wonderful on paper, but many shadowy variables come into play on the tabletop.

Personally, I prefer my 6man squad with their 1" bases and Bs5 thanks to markerlight support over larger squads with majority 1.25" bases.
 

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The deep down truth
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I remember a thread loooooooooong ago about all the ways we could trick out our stealths, and this one came up. It's a very good idea, and a very good practice, but your biggest problem will be size.

I playtested this, and though I admittedly use a full stealth squad with two drones per stealth suit, it's important to keep in mind how much space three drones take up versus one stealth suit. More models with larger bases make it harder to move about, harder to not move through cover (dangerous terrain or difficult terrain tests for the squad) [on that note, can drones "walk"?], harder to gain LOS for the whole unit, and harder to have the entire unit within firing range. To have the whole unit in firing range requires your squad, overall, to be closer to the enemy, and if you spread your models to form a firing line they are not as versatile; if you clump your models to minimize overall movement space and retain versatility, your unit is significantly more vulnerable to blast weapons (Whirlwind anyone?)

Basically, what I'm saying is that a unit that takes up this much table space is hard to move tactfully. It looks wonderful on paper, but many shadowy variables come into play on the tabletop.

Personally, I prefer my 6man squad with their 1" bases and Bs5 thanks to markerlight support over larger squads with majority 1.25" bases.
I cannot see how getting 9 models into firing range is really any harder than for 6 models. Having Drones also has its advantages in that you can place the Drones in front to soak up any fire or assaults.
The footprint would add an extra 2 to 3 inches to unit footprint and with JSJ and the Stealth field I do not think it would be a problem. The big 6 man 12 Drone squad is a much different proposition, I mean it is a huge unit and double the size of the unit I am contemplating.
As I said earlier the BS boost is just as much available for this squad as for the 6 man Stealth squad and with a possible pinning boost is probably a more efficient use of a Pathfinders marker light tokens.
 
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