Thursday, April 09, 2009

Can Stealth Teams win the game for the Greater Good?

My buddy Norau started playing 40k Tau about six month ago. He's having mixed results in learning to play both a new game and a new army, so I've tried to think about some builds that will work well in 5th edition.

Most of the time, we play the three standard missions in the main rulebook, so both Kill Point denial and controlling and contesting objectives are important aspects of our meta game.

The army he uses is based on these principles:
  1. Placing large amounts of the army in reserve
  2. Using the Positional Relay to control when reserves arrive
  3. Using the Pathfinder's Devilfish transport to increase the accuracy of Deep Striking units
He has been using a 6-man Stealth Team (one Hard Wired Target Lock and a Fusion Blaster) in the last few games, but their performance has so far been unimpressive. The standard method of delivery has been Deep Striking them next to a tank and a weak infantry unit, trying to destroy both in a single blow. Unfortunately, the odds are heavily against them, as they are often very unsupported at this stage in the game. They are always annihilated the turn after. See how they performed in our last game.

I am starting to think that they can be used better in another role: Outflanking harasser!

Using the Positional Relay, we can control which turn they arrive from reserve. Coming from the flank in the later stages of the game can be a game-winner. Let's say that the opponent have placed a relatively weak unit, for example Guardians or a combat squad of Space Marines controlling an objective far away from the action. Six Stealth Suits can unleash a torrent of fire, severely weakening the unit. They can also take out Razorbacks or Wave Serpents sitting on the objective.

Due to their Stealth Field Generators, they cannot be dealt with at long range. The opponent has to send units to deal with them at close range. This can also help at the front lines if the opponent gets confused and tries to send units back to support the defenders at home.

Get more for free
To make the unit even more dangerous, we can give every model a Drone Controller for free, even the Team Leader. This gives us the ability to take 12 Drones for 120 points, which gets Stealth Field Generators for free (see Tau Empire Codex, page 27). They can also Outflank with the Stealth Team (see Tau Empire Codex, page 35). Compared to Drone-only units, you get two nice upgrades for free.

This unit has 18 wounds, is highly mobile, and can unleash overwhelming amounts of fire power against the relatively weak defenders. In objective-based scenarios, this can win the game for the Tau. In Kill-Point missions, the unit is difficult to kill due to its size and Stealth capabilities. At 312 points, it is fairly expensive, but the offensive and defensive capabilities should mitigate this somewhat.

If they fail to take out all troops on the objective, they can even assault if needed. Yes, Tau are fairly weak, but these guys will operate far away from the thickest action. 42 attacks on the charge should be able to kill about two Space Marines. Not much, but maybe just enough. All they really have to do is get within 3" of the objective and not die.

What do you guys think? Is this a workable unit tactic? Will it perform better than Deep Striking close to the action?