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Monday, June 7, 2010

Fixing Stealth suits?


There’s been a few comments over on Warseer about Stealth suits and a specific question asked of me on how to make them better. So let’s look at Stealth suits and see if we can’t fix them up. Stealth suits first problem is they are Elites. This means they are battling Crisis Suits for spots and Crisis suits win hands down. Tau have no other options for high volume, medium strength weaponry which Crisis suits bring whilst Stealth suits bring the same old S5 AP5 the Tau army lives on.


This is a huge knock in their general direction and basically makes them unusable in a coemptive environment with the current Tau codex but let’s look at the unit in isolation. They bring some pretty good dakka to the table and can bring a very impressive number of S5 shots to the table. Add in their stealth field w/JSJ and they can be very problematic. However, S5 doesn’t cut it against vehicles so it’s duality is somewhat lacking. This can be mitigated with Fusion blasters but you lose quite a bit of dakka and these guys aren’t exactly cheap. The Stealth Field also has the problem of being too “unstealthy.” If the Stealth Suits are shooting at you, especially with Fusion Blasters, then you can most likely shoot them when you move next turn. It may protect them from static heavy firepower but they die just as easily as a Marine to torrent.

Stealth suits have decent mobility w/JSJ, infiltrate and deep strike options so they can get side-armor and flanking shots but again their stealth field is a bit weak to take full advantage of this and are too expensive to get a bunch for multiple Fusion Blasters. They however can bring in some “fire support” with marker lights (1 + 2 drones). This takes advantage of the 36” range and JSJ/relentless special rules allowing the Stealth teams to actually utilise their stealth ability and fire from range whilst generally unaffected. However, it is a pretty expensive endeavour and most of the unit is just bullet catchers for the inevitable drive-by to wipe them out.

Back into comparing them to the Tau codex…they offer nothing which cannot be found elsewhere for cheaper. PF are the most cost efficient marker light source for Tau and S5 comes all over the place but mainly in Warfish for the current Tau army. Again, Crisis suits are also so important it’s criminal not to take them.

So how to fix Stealths? First they need a massive point drop. 3 pts more for a Crisis suit w/1 BC and the suit has more wounds but no stealth field? Um pass on the Stealth suits. They also could use a buff in their stealth field (think Veil of Tears; 2D6x2) and have a potential FoC change to make them scoring (though then we’d see Crisis, Stealth & Broadside lists 24/7). If the Stealth Field was kept the same or minorly improved, give them more options for long-ranged guns even if it is marker lights. This actually allows the unit to take advantage of their stealth ability and impact significantly on the battlefield.

What are your opinions on improving the Stealth Suits? Are they always going to be inferior to Crisis suits assuming the same codex style next edition (I.e. not much S6/7 outside of Crisis) or are there conceivable changes which could be made for them to be considered?

19 pinkments:

Brother Loring said...

I think they suffer from the 'ol pretty-model-syndrome (PMS). Just like BT sword brethren... poor fellas.

I think moving them to troops will have the fluffy bunnies losing all of their hair. Some invis/infiltrating melta that doesn't die straight after would be nice. Would a 12" movement in the assault phase coupled with some buffed stealth ruling help? Maybe even a buffed BS?

But 30 points for a T3, one wound model is horrifically expensive, no matter how much he can JSJ or pop BS3, S5 shots!

So many codices to update, so few patient little nerds waiting for them... hurry hurry hurry!

MagicJuggler said...

Fast Attack w/ Fleet is an option. Giving them the option to take Rail Rifles would be another. Buffing Tau guns (Burst Cannon as Assault 4, making the Fusion Blaster 18") would be another.

I need to get back to playtesting ;-)

Chumbalaya said...

Give them Stealth and something similar to the Harlequins' Veil of Tears or the Shrouding. On top of that, let them ignore terrain with their jet packs. I think making them actually stealthy and maneuverable would go a long way towards improving them.

Anonymous said...

If I were to modify them without much changes to the codex I would do this:

Change the stealth field to 2d6"

Give them skilled flyer USR

Let them cost 25 points.
Let every model in the squad buy fusion (3 pts) or plasma (8 pts)

Let 1 squad be taken as troops for either each stealth commander (new unit, however Shadowsun is a precedent) or for each stealth unit already taken as elites.

And in the rest of the army(optional):

Allow access for vehicles to some kind of ranged defense, (like d-pod now but more interesting and reasonably pried)so that you could do an all stealth army.

Let marker drones cost like 20-25 points

Kirby said...

I like Anons ideas especially with fusion/plasma but think the points still need to drop though rail rifles might also be an option though I'd like to see BS4 then. Silly one shot weapons.

Also Stealths as Troop for each Stealth Commander sounds good but wouldn't do it for each unit already taken in Elites. This allows you to take both Crisis & Stealth but you're losing out on Crisis HQs.

AbusePuppy said...

They either need to make the stealth field better (2d6 x 2 or something) or give them longer-ranged weaponry (missile pods, etc.) Sitting at the edge of visibility with low survivability just doesn't cut it.

Skilled Flier would help a lot, it's true.

I think, as it stands, they just don't bring anything to the table that a Crisis doesn't do better. They need a unique role.

Surreptitious Muffin said...

I'd like to see FBs more available. If the unit had the ability to reliably nuke isolated vehicles then they'd be still tricky to use (organising the enemy so there's no chance of retaliation) but amazing in the right hands.

Buff to the stealth field seems like the easiest solution though. Right now it may as well not exist for all the use it is on an 18" unit.

Karnstein said...

I would like to see them getting cheaper and having access to railgun rifles. Reminds me of Battletech Inner Sphere battle-armor.

Anything else depends on how the rest of the tau dex works out. Making them troops would be over the top. 3 Possible solutions:

a) create a shadow-sun styled commander, which can take a stealth suit retinue
b) change the tau army, that you won't need x3 crisis teams
c) distribute markerlights cheaply through the whole dex, thus making pathfinders a "one squad is enough" choice and move them into FA.

Hypnox said...

I dont agree on the useless stealth field idea, you just need to use it right.

If you are hitting you opponent from about 17-18" and then jump back, they either have a ~55% chance to miss need a 8+ or even a 9+, think of it as a 4+ save against all shooting, or more closer to increase chance of spotting them, but them giving up on rapid fire and heavy weapons.

So to quote Kirby "any tactic use wrong is bad"

But yes unless restricted in some way crisis are better, maybe move stealth teams to fast since they are recon units looking at the fluff.

Kirby said...

@Hypnox; where's that quote?

A stealth field which is on average worse than the gun the unit carries (18" compared to 21")...well it needs fixing. Even with JSJ, well 5th edition is a mobile game and I wouldn't want to waste my static heavy weapons on these guys anyway (S8 is much better into crisis & tanks) so JSJ isn't going to help in reference to the stealth field. Jumping out of LoS...well Crisis have the exact same ability and weapons which are actually useful in the context of the Tau army.

Moving Stealths to fast doesn't fix them either. The unit needs fixing, not it's slot.

Hypnox said...

Well maybe the quote is a little free interpretation, it is from the bubble wrap article, at the buttom.

"Anything is bad when used wrong."
is the correct quote.

Kirby said...

Ah, that's in reference to good units not being good by simply being there. If you take TH/SS termies and run them away from the enemy, well they aren't great are they? Same with Crisis suits deep-striking, etc.

Hypnox said...

I must say that after playing a turnement last week that stealth suits DO NOT WORK!!!

I bow to the master...

AbusePuppy said...

Yeah. One of my Tau opponents the other week had a squad of them in my backfield when I was playing my Tyranid army. He was putting shots into my Termagants all game long, trying to push me off objectives. My solution was to... ignore them. He spent four turns trying to kill one Termagant squad and never managed it thanks to liberal use of Going To Ground, poor guy/

Kirby said...

^ bowing is appreciated. *wink*

Kris Keillor said...

Allow more weapon options. Flamers, plasma rifles, and rail rifles would do the trick nicely. Points drop. I don't know hat else...

Borkai said...

flamers would be nice, and a boosted stealthiness, of course Fbs would fit too. I wouldn't like to see plasma/missile or rail rifle on them(crisis have that role), but an assault marklight would be cool (with free target lock).

Gunn Bot Mk IV said...

The problem with the "if you're right at 18" and jump away after the stealth field works" idea is that the game has rhinos. Not only do stealth suits have a hard time doing anything significant to a rhino at 18" (especially if it's smoked), but even if you jump to perfectly 24" away, the rhino dumps marines with bolters on your doorstep at about 9-10" away, and then blasts your T3 ass with bolter fire.

As has been mentioned elsewhere in the article and threads, stealth suits not only suffer from being in the wrong slot, but having wargear that largely works at counter-purposes. Night Fighting+short range guns= bad. Night Fighting+long range guns= good.

I think an earlier idea was a good one: let stealth suits take rail rifles. Call a standard, burst-cannon armed suit 25 points, offer the rail rifle as a 5 point upgrade, put them into fast attack.

-willydstyle

Cyklown said...

A points drop would be nice, as would be allowing 1/3 of them to take missile pods... in addition to the 1/3 that takes fusion guns.

That plus, say, marker drones becoming cheaper would take care of it, I'd say.

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