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Stealth Suit Tactica
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Old 20 Apr 2009, 20:34   #1 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 740
Default Stealth Suit Tactica

Stealth Suit Tactica

The Tau Codes states in its fluff that XV25 Stealth Suits are the ‘lone wolves’ of the Tau army. This is very true. They are one of our few units that can act completely independently from the rest of the army. Before I go into their uses, however, let’s take a look at the reasons why, or why not, to take Stealth Suits.

Pros and Cons

Pros
High number of shots
Even a 3-man unit of stealth suits with no upgrades puts out 9 shots. That is effectively 10 points per shot, the same as Firewarriors outside of 12”.
Stealth Field Generator
The average distance people will be able to see the team from is 21”. This means the enemy must get very close in order to damage them. Also, 21” happens to be under the range of our guns (18”) plus our assault phase movement (6”) meaning you can shoot a unit, jump back, and not be shot. It’s Jump-Shoot-Jump without the need for line-of-sight blocking terrain.
Tactical Flexibility
Stealth Suits are one of the most tactically flexible units in our arsenal. Naturally, they come with a burst cannon which can take down most targets (a single stealth suit should get .33 MEQ kills a turn). Also, they can be outfitted for tank hunting with a fusion blaster, and can support your army with markerlights.
Infiltrate
The Stealth Suit is one of two units in our army that can infiltrate. This means that it can also outflank. Kroot can just be too squishy to hold objectives for longer than one turn. Stealth Suits, on the other hand, can sit on an objective for several turns, soaking up enemy fire with the stealth field generator and fend off any enemies trying to capture it until your Firewarriors arrive.
Cons
High Point cost
30 points per model (22 if you take the gun into account) is fairly high.
Redundancy
S5 weaponry is not something we lack and is far from hard to get elsewhere in our lists.
Short Range of Effectiveness
The stealth team functions best in the 21”-24”, well within range of enemy fire and in range of any fast assaulters.

Equipment analysis
*note, I will not take special issue wargear into account as Stealth Suit ‘vres are not able to take them
Advanced Stabilization System
It may have had some use in 4th edition if you took a markerlight on the ‘vre but is useless with the advent of Relentless. Don’t take it
Black Sun Filter
As the range of our weapons is 18”, it is fairly useless unless you take a markerlight on your ‘vre. Only take it if you take the markerlight and/or have an extra 3 points you need to spend.
Drone Controller
This really belongs in it’s own section but I will attempt to summarize it here.

Gun Drones: Can take advantage of the stealth field and has the same strength as the stealth suit. Also, 3 gun drones put out the same number of shots (at a slightly higher accuracy) and cost the same as a stealth suit and they're pinning to boot! Gun Drones are usually worth taking.

Shield Drone: Not worth it as Stealth suits already come in large unit sizes and don’t need no more bodies that don't do nothing (yes, that was a quintuple negatic :P ).

Marker Drone: There are two main ways to use a marker drone on a Stealth team. The first is only advisable on units of 6 shooting models or more. You take two marker drones hardwired on the ‘vre (statistically) making the teams BS 4. (This works very well when you take gun drones too as they profit greatly from the markerlight.)
The second is to give all (or most) of your suits a drone controller and marker drones. This turns them into a SMT (stealth marker team), which will be discussed in the tactics section.
Multi Tracker
Only useful on a ‘vre/team leader with a markerlight as other models will only have one weapon.
Shield Generator
While 6 stealth suits all with a 4+ invulnerables save would be a very hard to kill unit, the points can be better spent on other things. Skip it.
Target Lock
Useful if you take fusion cannons and/or markerlights. Otherwise, it’s a poor choice of points.
Targeting Array
This upgrade is great. First of all, its fairly cheap and second, each model gets a 33% increase in effectiveness and 33% increase in points making it a fair deal. Take it when you can, though at 7 men and up (and 5 men and below), drones are more effective.
Bonding Knife
Very useful, as you are functioning in big units. Take it whenever possible in units of 5+ models.
Fusion Cannon
While they can be useful in a 4-man unit (allowing you to take 2 fusion cannons), they bring down your operating range to 18”, well below the safe zone (21”-24”) and in any fleeting unit’s assault range.
Markerlight
It can be useful if you want to use your team as a SMT. For anything else, though, I’d skip it.

Tactics

Stealth Marker Team
This might be the most famous of all stealth team tactics. To put it simply, you fit as many markerlights as you can into the unit and place it 30”-36” away from the enemy. You are able to make great use of the stealth field this way and (with 5th edition) can remain mobile while generating markerlight hits. The only draw back to this tactic is the gargantuan cost (90 points per 2 markerlights).

Tank Hunter Stealth Team
The main idea of this tactic is to take full advantage of Infiltrate and the Stealth Suits movement to get within 12” (6” if possible) of the enemy and use the fusion cannon. This tactic works best in units of 4 as you can take 2 fusion cannons and yields the highest fusion cannon : stealth suit ratio of any other combination. The drawback (as I previously stated) is that the fusion cannon works too close to the enemy to take advantage of the stealth field.

Flank Harassment Stealth Team
This idea works best on long tables where the enemy is forced to spread out his or her forces and is my personal favorite. The main idea is you take a large number of stealth suits and deploy them inside the enemy’s deployment zone and on one of their flanks. You then engage one unit at a time; forcing your enemy to either ignore the stealth suits and lose many units, attack them with their entire army, or split their forces (a bad idea in most situations). Any of these options are bad for them. The icing on the cake is that to engage your stealthsuits, the enemy must move very close to them, giving you ample opportunity to deal a lot of damage.

The 33% Increase Triangle

*skip to the bolded So if you don't want to read the math behind the logic
As you may have noticed, 6 Gun Drones, 2 Marker Drones, and 6 Targeting Arrays all increase the output of a 6 suit unit by 33%, and the cost by 33%. The question many of you are wondering, however, is when to take each. We know that they have the same damage output when in 6 suit units, but what about when in 3 man units?
3 stealth suits average 4.5 hits
3 gun drones add 2.25 hits
3 targeting arrays add 1.5 hits
1 Marker drone adds 1.5 hits half the time so .75 hits
As you can see, the gun drones win here. Lets change the numbers to 5 and see what happens.
5 stealth suits average 7.5 hits
5 gun drones add 3.75 hits
5 targeting arrays add 2.5 hits
1.66 Marker Drones add 2.5 hits 83% of the time making it 2.075
Once again, the gun drones win out. We already know that at 6 they are all equal, but what would happen if we could take 7 stealth suits?
Well we can. 3 Gun drones have the same cost and number of shots as 1 stealth suit. So to have the equivalent of 7 stealth suits, we could take 6 and 3 gun drones.
6 suits and 3 gun drones average 10.5 hits
9 targeting arrays add 3.5 hits
2.33 Marker Drones add 3.5 hits 116.5% of the time so 3.9 hits
The problem with this math is very simple. Its impossible to take 9 targeting arrays as the gun drones can't have them so we must make it 6 Targeting arrays and 2 Marker Drones for the costs to be equal. This changes the numbers to 3 hits and 3.5 hits. The difference between the numbers keeps going up as you add more Gun Drones.
So, lets summarize. When you take a number of suits between 3-5, take gun drones. When you take exactly 6 suits, all the options perform evenly. When are taking more than 6 suits (3 gun drones counting as a single suit), take marker drones instead of adding more gun drones. Of course, it is important to remember that the more models you take in a unit, the harder it is to keep them all in that 22"-24" safe zone.

How 5th Edition effected the Stealth Suit
Like the disruption pod, Stealth Suits really benefited from 5th edition. Not only does the prevalence of cover saves make having lots of shots important, but it added great viability to the Stealth Marker Team. The reason is, now stealth suits have relentless, and can move while firing their markerlight. This effectively makes them our most resilient and mobile (excluding the Skyray) markerlight carrier. Also, they can now outflank. While it is not all that useful, it can be nice to get behind your opponent and get shots at that vulnerable rear armor, even if you lack a fusion cannon in your team. Honestly, the only two ways I can think of that Stealth Suits got worse are that A) Units can now run, making it harder to keep our stealth suits out of assault and B) The stealth field generator now has no effect on charging enemy units.

Math
Just for fun;
3 Steath Suits with no upgrades kill: .5 Teqs, 1 Meq, 3.75 out of cover Geqs, and 1.875 in cover Geqs.
3 Stealth Suits with targeting arrays kill: .7 Teqs, 1.33 Meqs, 5 out of cover Geqs, and 2.5 in cover Geqs
6 Stealth Suits with no upgrades kill: 1 Teq, 2 Meqs, 7.5 out of cover Geqs, and 3.75 in cover Geqs.
6 Stealth Suits with either two marker drones or 6 targeting arrays kill: 1.4 Teqs, 2.66 Meqs, 10 out of cover Geqs, and 5 in cover Geqs.
6 Stealth Suits with 2 marker drones and 10 gun drones kill: 2.233 Teqs, 4.7 Meqs, 16.25 out of cover Geqs, and 8.125 in cover Geqs.

Summary

In conclusion, the stealth suits are a very versatile unit that can either help, or act independently from the rest of your army with great success. With a tactically adequate commander, they can destroy (or, in the case of the SMT, help destroy) many times their point cost. Also, they are one of the few units we have that actually benefit from 5th edition (they gain relentless and outflank). It’s a unit that, while not necessary, can be a great help to your army.

+1
~Bone


*edited for funky format (curse you microsoft word) and some info on the gun drones
Thanks Bone
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Old 20 Apr 2009, 20:43   #2 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: Stealth Suit Tactica

Excellent work.

One thing I would say is under the drone controller in gun drno you didn't mention their fire power is the same as a stealth suit if you count the to hit ratio from the two and it gives a chance of pinning. all for much less points!
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Old 23 Apr 2009, 08:48   #3 (permalink)
Kroot Warrior
 
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Default Re: Stealth Suit Tactica

You incorrectly wrote that a 4 man squad could have 2 fusion blasters, you can only have one fusion blaster per 3 models
Also, the range of a fusion blaster is 12", not 18"
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