A Short Tau Tactica: Stealth Suits

Hello there. My names Reece and Phil has kindly let me be a contributor to The Shell Case (the poor, poor fool). I’ll mostly talk about topics in the wargaming industry that interest me, along with the odd review, interview or tactica.

To get things off to a flying start, I’m going to post tacticas over the next couple of weeks which look at the usage of one of my favorite armies; the Tau Empire. Each tactica will focus on one unit and how they perform within the framework of a balanced tau force.

The first tactica will look at a unit that may have as well have been invisible (ha) in the last codex and I still think gets over shadowed by the more flashy units: Stealth Suit teams.

XV15 Stealth Armour painted by Dark6LTM of DeviantArt

In the last codex, I can understand why. They were in Elites, when Tau needed Crisis suits to give the army flexibility. Their stealth rules were a bit naff and they seemed a bit too expensive to be worth it, despite being toughness 4 with a 3+ save and a range 18″ strength 5, Ap5 weapon. But this has all changed in the new book for 3 reasons:

1.Improved Rules
We got a glimpse of how the designers were approaching Stealth Suits with the Tau Empire 6th edition FAQ last year, when instead of having the old Night Fighting rules, they were given Stealth and Shrouded for a total of a 4+ cover save even when in the open. This was, much to my joy, carried over to the new codex along with all tau suits having Night Vision as standard. Their Burst Cannons are also now Assault 4. This means that 3 guys are now putting out as many shots as a 12 man fire warrior squad and are more maneuverable  and capable of surviving return fire to boot.

The tau army is almost spoilt in what to do with many of its units, which can lead to rather unfocused army. Stealth Suit teams don’t have that option. They can take a few fusion guns to allow for tank and monstrous creature killing duty, but they are primarily all about killing infantry. Which is wonderful. The unit doesn’t really require much support either, so you can send them off to complete an objective on the battlefield confident that if you play well they will achieve it. Add Commander Shadowsun (so they can infiltrate) and watch them carry out a few sneaky tank kills followed by annoying the hell out of your opponent for the rest of the game.

Tau Stealth Suit Team painted by Burkhard of dhcwargamesblog

3. Surprise
Most opponents I have played in the past have never encountered Stealth Suits before due to their past unpopularity and certainly aren’t used to lots of units with jetpacks. They also tend to get overlooked on a battlefield when more flashy units are in play like Riptides or Crisis suits.

Use this to your advantage. Keep mobile and near cover, just off of an opponents main path of advance. If your opponent ignores them, then expect a wailing and gnashing of teeth when they suddenly find their important units gunned down and tanks blown up from the rear – because strength 5 rocks! If they choose to target them, a 2+ cover save and 3+ normal should mean they can shrug off the most determined shooting or assault, which means less heading for the rest of your army. Either way you win.

In summary, Tau Stealth suits are a great addition to your army and greatly aid its ability to disrupt and interrupt your opponents plans. They are not an over powered unit, but one I think opponents will underestimate at their peril.

Give them a try sometime and see you soon.