Tau Codex Review: Elites: XV25 Stealth Suit

If you got a caper then you know who to call/It’s the Sneak, it’s the Sneak!/Who’s the dapper swindler out of Jannity Hall?/It’s the Sne~ak!

Click to read the updated version of the article for CA2018, or check out the Tactics Corner for more reviews and strategies.

Overview

Stealth Suits are the lightest battlesuit fielded by the Tau military in large numbers, although this is actually somewhat misleading as the name technically refers to two different battlesuit variants. The XV25 version is the most commonly seen and is the larger of the two, having most of the features that are commonly expected of a battlesuit and standing significantly taller than a space marine in stature, roughly equivalent to Terminator armor. XV15s, on the other hand, are essentially a powered exoskeleton equipped with jet thrusters, allowing a single infantryman to carry significantly larger weapon loadouts than are normally possible as well as incorporating the various baffling and distortion systems common to the Stealth Suit. XV15s seem to have been largely phased out by the Fire Caste, although presumably some legacy units are still in operation.

On the tabletop, Stealth Suits (regardless of their mass designation) have a statline somewhere between basic Tau infantry and those of the larger battlesuits such as Crisis. They are, however, still infantry models and thus can benefit from cover (and stratagems) in the usual fashion, which is well worth remembering. With an 8″ move they are reasonably fast, especially as they have the Fly keyword and can thus pass over most obstacles they encounter. Strength and toughness of four give them a pretty decent basic array, and with two wounds and 3+ armor they are pretty resilient overall. Weapon Skill 5+ is standard for Tau, if a bit trashy overall, and ballistic skill 4+ isn’t as high as we might like but isn’t unusably bad. Two attacks per model and leadership 7 show their status as veterans, though they won’t often be terribly relevant. One model per squad can be upgraded to a Shas’vre for free, gaining +1 attack and +1 leadership. At a basic 28pts per model with their standard gear, Stealth Suits aren’t exactly cheap, but as we’ll see they are priced well within the affordable range.

Special Rules and Options

Like most Tau units, Stealth Suits have the For the Greater Good rule, allowing them to support nearby allies with overwatch fire. They also have Bonding Knife Ritual, which lets them pass any morale check if they roll a natural ‘6’ on the die- though this won’t typically be relevant due to the small squad size, it’s still nice for when you take larger units or if the enemy is penalizing your leadership somehow.

Camouflage Fields is perhaps the most iconic rule of the unit, forcing the enemy to subtract one from all hit rolls that target the unit. Note that this is all hit rolls, whether in shooting or in melee, and thus is a very versatile ability that will protect them in almost every situation. Combined with their other defensive stats and whatnot, it makes them a surprisingly hard-to-deal-with unit. This is magnified by their Infiltrators ability, which allows them to be deployed anywhere on the field that is not within 12″ of an enemy unit and is outside of the enemy deployment zone; this lets them get to very inconvenient places on the first turn of the game and start scoring various positional objectives right away, rather than having to wait until later on as is typically the case.

Stealth Suits normally come armed with a Burst Cannon (18″ S5 AP0 Assault 4) on each model in the squad, which makes them a bit unremarkable; in other armies such a gun might be considered above par, but for Tau it’s really just two Pulse weapons strapped together, which isn’t a blowout. Still, it’s a fairly reasonable weapon, so we can’t complain about it too hard (although the short range is certainly vexing on what should be a skirmisher unit.) One model in every three can upgrade to a Fusion Blaster (18″ S8 AP-4 DmgD6 Assault 1) for +10pts, which gives the unit the rare capability of toting its own anti-tank weaponry- something almost unheard of in the Tau codex. I don’t think that it’s a blowout option, but for an army that can often struggle to bring anti-tank firepower in multiple slots, it’s very useful to have.

Any member of the squad can also take a single support system from the normal Tau list, even mixing and matching between the members of the team if you want; this can get pretty expensive pretty quick if you aren’t careful, but judicious choices can really boost the usefulness of the unit and some of the options are even cheap enough that you can feasibly put them on everyone without completely breaking the bank. A Drone Controller is arguably the premiere choice here, since you probably don’t need multiples of them (as you can always pull other models as casualties if you want) and unlike most other suits where you can get it XV25s don’t really need any support systems to do their job well, so the opportunity cost is quite low. Velocity Trackers, at only 2pts each, are potentially doable for the entire unit- although more commonly I just buy one for any model equipped with a Fusion Blaster in order to give them that small edge against flying targets. The Shield Generator is perhaps the least obvious choice for the unit; although a tad expensive (8pts per model), it turns the unit into a real hassle to deal with overall- minus one to hit, 2+ armor (thanks to cover), and a 4++ with two wounds is a lot of layers to break through, though I’m not sure it’s worth the price overall. Advanced Targeting System is borderline usable, since unlike many other suits you don’t give up a weapon to get it; if you’re taking a large squad and intended to use buffs to maximize their performance, it might be worthwhile.

Finally, there is also one other unique option available to the squad that can’t be bought by any other units in the Tau codex, although if we’re thinking about it’s really more of an upgrade for another unit rather than the Stealth Suits. For 20pts the squad can be equipped with a Homing Beacon, which can be placed at the beginning of the movement phase and allows one unit arriving via Manta Strike to instead make a Low-Altitude Drop (which is the same thing, but they have to be placed wholly within 6″ of the Beacon and don’t care about proximity to the enemy.) The Beacon doesn’t need to be used immediately, but it does short out of the enemy moves within 9″ of it, so you will typically want to be doing so. This used to be a much more powerful option when it could be placed at the end of the movement phase (allowing your Stealths to move over and place it where you wanted it) rather than the beginning; it’s still not wholly worthless, but all things considered it’s probably not an exciting option. Also keep in mind if you’re trying to do some Crisis alpha strike shenanigans that a Low-Altitude Drop is not a Manta Strike, and thus will prevent you from using the Farsight stratagem to get that +1 to hit.

Uses

Stealth Suits, though they have a lot of other text written into their unit entry, really come down to two very simple factors- Infiltrate and Fly. The other stuff certainly doesn’t hurt, but those two basic abilities are what really matter at the end of the day, and they tend to define the role that they play in most Tau armies in 8th edition. Even with the beta FAQ limiting first turn arrivals of reserves, there are still lots of ways to bypass this (e.g. Forward Operatives, Upon Wings of Fire, etc) and there are many armies that use such tactics to push forward powerful aggressive elements in the first turn or two of the game, and Tau need a way to deal with these things.

Enter Stealth Suits. Although other solutions definitely exist (Kroot and Pathfinders being two good examples) and they tend to be cheaper, these other units have some failings. First and foremost is the lack of the Fly keyword, and this is absolutely critical to understanding why Stealth Suits are so useful. Many melee armies- in fact, most good melee armies, I would argue- have perfected ways of “tri-pointing” models in order to trap them in combat and prevent them from falling back. (For those who aren’t familiar- this means getting three or models to surround an enemy in close combat such that there is no direction it can move to fall back without running into one of the models, leaving it trapped.) For a pure shooting army like Tau, it is imperative that this prevented from happening, because even just a single turn locked in combat and immune to your firepower for a unit such as Genestealers, or Khorne Berzerkers or the like can spell the end of your army. Since Stealth Suits have fly, the tri-point tactic does not work on them- they can simply pass over the enemy so long as there is at least one open space somewhere within 8″ of their position, which is all but guaranteed.

So a screen of Stealth Suits can push back enemy reserve units (and potentially even units that simply move across the field normally as well, depending on numbers and positioning) while remaining immune to being entrapped- that’s very important, and it’s probably the main reason you’ll be looking to take them. But if that was all they could do, they wouldn’t really be worth your time, nor the additional points cost above something like Drones. In many matchups, you won’t need that screening role because there are a fair number of armies that simply don’t bring those kind of units, so it’s important that they can do something else in those games; and oh boy, can they do things! With the ability to get anywhere on the field turn 1, Stealth Suits are amazing at grabbing distant objectives as well as scoring various positional secondary objectives such as Recon or Behind Enemy Lines. This is especially true because most Tau units are quite bad at these jobs, so Stealths look exceptionally good at them.

But it’s not just that they can get to the far corners of the field that makes them so great, because other units can do that- Tau have access to plenty of reserve units and quick-moving aerial options, after all. But what’s different about Stealth Suits is that they are so durable for their points, in several different ways. The built-in minus one to hit works in both shooting and melee, making them quite resilient to a lot of the BS4+ firepower out there and even degrading the BS3+ stuff down significantly; add in that they come with a 3+ armor save and are Infantry, allowing them to get cover almost trivially easy, and you have a unit that is pretty resistant to small arms fire but also to larger weapons, thanks to that hit penalty. Two wounds per model also helps, although with many of the multidamage weapons with high rates of fire out there (such as Armiger Helverins and Knights Castellan) you can still be in for a pretty bad time if they decide to focus on you. Still, if your dinky little 84pt unit of objective-grabbers is getting attention from your enemy’s 600pt Knight, there is a pretty good chance that they aren’t going to be nearly as much damage to rest of your list, which is good for you regardless. And though they are generally in a prime position to be assaulted, the penalty from their Camouflage Fields along with their natural resilience generally means that they will be able to scoot away with 1-2 squad members still alive and continue doing their job; they can even put out a surprising amount of damage in combat if you get lucky, as a basic squad gets seven S4 attacks.

Stealth Suits are also an excellent support piece for a variety of other reserve units; with a Drone Controller they can be an excellent spot to bring in a large block of Gun Drones in order to put some firepower in the enemy backfield and with a Homing Beacon they can also bring down Crisis dangerously close to the enemy, though this tends to be limited by the natural weaknesses of Crisis themselves. They also are great for screening your Coldstar Commanders that go leaping forward to hit a hard target, since they can deploy heavily forward and are fairly hard to get rid of; the two can complement each other nicely, with the Coldstar bringing the anti-tank and the Stealth Suits the anti-infantry needed to ward off different types of units.

We haven’t talked a lot about how to equip your Stealth Suits themselves, and honestly there aren’t a lot of options in that respect- the real question basically comes down to “do I take a Fusion Blaster or not?” I generally don’t- it’s expensive enough that it’s not a trivial cost, but the real loss tends to be in the mixed role that the unit ends up performing. Most of the targets that Stealth Suits will be running into on their position on the field are gonna be enemy troop units, and against those the Fusion just doesn’t have the numbers that the Burst Cannon does. That won’t be true if you see a lot of Custodes or Primaris Marines, but those aren’t typically your tournament mainstays, so I don’t think I would worry too much about them. On the other hand, Tau also tend to lack a lot of good platforms for heavy firepower if you are specifically avoiding bringing big suits and tanks to the table, so you may find it necessary to run some Fusions in your unit in order to have those couple of extra guns around. It also gains a lot more utility if you’re running Sa’cea Sept, which makes landing that one shot vastly more reliable.

It’s also worth remembering that as Infantry, Stealth Suits are able to benefit from a number of stratagems and abilities that aren’t available to most battlesuits. They can shoot twice with the Vior’la stratagem, get +1 to wound with Darkstrider, and even embark onto fortifications (but not Devilfish.) And of course, they can also benefit from all the battlesuit-specific stratagems as well, including ignoring cover, rerolling wounds, and inflicting mortal wounds on melee combatants. Don’t underestimate the utility of the many stratagems available to them- while most of them aren’t overtly powerful, they are quite cheap in most cases and sometimes it is those small bonuses that can give you the edge you need to tip things over.

Countering

Stealth Suits can be very annoying to deal with, but at the same time they can also be laughably easy as well. The first question to ask yourself when facing them is “how much do I care about getting rid of these?” Sometimes it may be extremely important to do so, in order to deny the enemy victory points or to clear sections of the field you need your reserves to arrive in. At other times, they may be fairly ignorable- the enemy isn’t getting points off them, or you don’t need to control those sections of the field. So understanding early on how much effort you’re willing to dedicate to them is pretty important, because if they’re not a priority you can just kinda sideline them pretty easily- a single squad of Stealth Suits brings less firepower than a minimum Strike Team for almost triple the cost (12 S5 shots vs 15 from the Strike), so if you’re just looking to degrade the enemy’s shooting they are probably one of your lowest-priority targets. They can, of course, get into your backline and harass you just like any mobile unit and which you should be prepared for, but if you have some vaguely-competent melee in the area they probably are not going to take the chance and will likely just sit about trying to pip wounds off your objective-campers.

If they are a priority for your army, though, then we have to start looking at ways to handle them. As already mentioned, many of the multidamage multishot weapons out there (including but not limited to Avenger Cannons, Disintegrators, Impaler Cannons, etc, etc) can be a pretty bad time for Stealth Suits, especially if they also come with good AP values as well- and many of them do. Weapons that can ignore cover also get a lot of mileage against Stealth Suits, since they drop them down from that all-important 2+ save; for similar reasons, melee attacks can do a pretty decent job on the unit, although you potentially have to eat overwatch in order to get the opportunity to do so. Still, that’s often not a huge issue (1-3 casualties, except in outlier situations) and it can often achieve some dual purposes.

If you’re less worried about killing the unit and more worried about the objectives they’re holding, the job becomes even easier. With a low model count and no Objective Secured, Stealth Suits are easily overwhelmed by another unit crowding onto the point they’re on and stealing it away from them; forcing them out of a table quarter (or deployment zone) can be more difficult, but it’s certainly possible to do by virtue of making it unattractive to stay there- they are tough but not invulnerable, and even just the threat of 2-3 units’ worth of Boltguns or the like can put pressure on them that they can’t ignore. Eventually they will have to make a choice between continuing to stand their ground and escaping with their lives, either one of which you’re probably okay with overall.

The real key with Stealth Suits is not to grant them undue importance. Yes, they can be annoying if they are harassing you from the flanks or rear, but they are generally going to be a lot less important than most other elements of the Tau army that you should be focusing on- as said, they have one of the lower firepower-per-point ratios for the army, since they pay quite a bit for their survivability. If you can safely ignore them, do so until other units are gotten rid of and you’re cleaning up the remainders of the little blue fishmen, at which point it shouldn’t be hard to finish the job.

Final Thoughts

Stealth Suits are a great example of a specialist unit- excellent at their particular niche and able to do several different useful things, but outside of that role somewhat lackluster and thus not automatically a feature of every army. However, for competitive Tau players the role they fill is a very important one, so you can expect to see them on the table pretty often when it comes to the more experienced generals out there.

As always remember that you can get your wargaming supplies at great discounts every day from the Frontline Gaming store, whether you’re looking to expand an existing army or start a new one.

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About abusepuppy

AbusePuppy is the one who has been ruining 40K for everyone this whole time. He is also searching for the six-fingered man and is one of the three people who know the secret recipe for coke (not the soda, the illegal drug.)

44 Responses to “Tau Codex Review: Elites: XV25 Stealth Suit”

  1. Charlie A. September 12, 2018 6:16 am #

    Something else to be aware of that I didn’t see you mention is the Wall of Mirrors stratagem. Which allows you to, at the beginning of your Movement phase, (the same time as when a Home Beacon is placed, so you choose the order of operations) pick a Stealth Team within 6″ of a Ghostkeel and redeploy anywhere within 12″ of the Ghostkeel but more than 9″ away from an enemy unit. This could result in redeploying a Stealth Team such that it places a Home Beacon up to 3″ away from an enemy unit and would allow for Flamer Crisis Suits to come down within range – quite devastating.

    Admittedly, this is a tactic that will only see an opportunity ~10% of the time (stat pulled right out of thin air) and requires a Ghostkeel. Due to the resilience of a Ghostkeel, I’m not convinced that’s necessarily a tax though. Not being aware of this sort of shenanigan could really ruin your day and it breaks the normal deepstrike rules so much I feel it’s worth pointing out.

    Have you experimenting with trying to get all the moving parts of this tactic to work in a game?

    • abusepuppy September 12, 2018 6:48 am #

      Given that Wall of Mirrors effectively requires a unit of XV25s, a unit of XV8s, and an XV95 to use to much real effect, I considered it too niche to mention here. The article was far from short already, and I generally only mention strategies and effects that have direct relevance to actual play. (I also did not, for example, talk about the use of most of the support systems on the XV25, only the handful I found to be important.)

      I have used all three of those units in games before, but never had the stratagem actually come up as particularly important. I did use it once, but more in a “I guess I can do this thing!” sort of way, rather than a “oh nice this can win me the game” sort of way.

      • Charlie A. September 12, 2018 7:08 am #

        Maybe it is too theoretical to see much practical use. I suspect that’s the most likely case, but I want to believe it could be powerful (wishful thinking perhaps).

        • abusepuppy September 12, 2018 7:22 am #

          I think it’s just too many moving parts to really do what you want most of the time- too easy for the enemy to disrupt it. But Wall of Mirrors itself is an alright thing to have in your back pocket if you’re running both Stealths and Ghostkeels, you just shouldn’t rely on it to do anything most games.

          • Charlie A. September 12, 2018 7:23 am
            #

            Yeah I think that’s the right way to go about. Good point.

          • Dakkath September 13, 2018 11:04 am
            #

            Speaking of Ghostkeels, what would you say is the best setup? I’m right now waffling on triple-fusion+shield vs ion+burst+ATS

          • abusepuppy September 15, 2018 7:19 pm
            #

            Generally speaking, I find that Ion + Burst + ATS + TLock is my default. Flamers sometimes have value over the Burst, though (especially in septs other than Tau) and triple Fusion is fairly decent for Sa’cea or if you’re going heavy on Markerlights but don’t otherwise have a lot of tank-busting. TLock is still mandatory in those cases, but Shield Generator is a decent second slot; I often go with Drone Controller as well, since finding platforms for those is hard.

  2. Charlie A. September 12, 2018 6:18 am #

    Follow up question: You mention a Homing Beacon being useful for deepstriking in Gun Drones. Do you regularly invest the 20 points required for the Beacon and the points for Drones to do this? I haven’t really touched Gun Drones since their price hike despite them still being decently point efficient.

    • abusepuppy September 12, 2018 6:49 am #

      I think the Beacon is only useful for bringing in Crisis Suits (and maaaaaaaybe Hazard Suits, if they ever fix the price/statline on the Fusion Cascade.) Gun Drones don’t typically need to arrive right next to their target, so it doesn’t affect them much.

      • Charlie A. September 12, 2018 7:10 am #

        What about Gun Drones coming in within 9″ to take advantage of half range combined with a Cadre Fireblade? Getting the CFB that far forward might be a challenge, but if possible, the firepower would be worth it, even with the change to the “extra shot per model” versus “extra shot per weapon”.

        • abusepuppy September 12, 2018 7:24 am #

          Plausible, although not terribly likely; Fireblades usually want to be inside the bulk of your forces, whereas Stealths usually want to be pushed forward somewhere. If the Beacon were just a free feature of the unit it might be one thing, but the fact that you have to invest 20pts into it means I don’t think I would be willing to sink that much on the offhand chance the situation would come up.

  3. Charlie A. September 12, 2018 6:18 am #

    And a extra bonus question: When would you NOT take Stealth Suits? I feel like they’re too good to pass up in nearly any list. They don’t do everything but they do a lot really well.

    • abusepuppy September 12, 2018 6:52 am #

      I mean, points would be the obvious reason not to- most of the Tiger Shark lists don’t use them at all, though not for lack of want of the unit, I just don’t have enough room in 2K to fit them in alongside everything else I need. Lists that make good use of Pathfinders or Gun Drones as a screening unit can also potentially drop them, and some of the very focused builds (e.g. triple Stormsurge) can also do without them. Lists that run other deep striking units to score later in the game also can potentially ignore them. Vespid are actually a surprisingly-competent replacement for them in many ways (though I think not good enough to make the cut in a “true” competitive list.)

      • Charlie A. September 12, 2018 7:23 am #

        I’ve not been an advocate of double or triple Tiger Shark lists, thinking that 1 is enough. Maybe that’s because I only have 1… Stealth Teams and a Tigershark seem to pair well in my mind due to their access to -1 to hit. I think these units (as you originally pointed out in your article) can form a great wall for Commanders.

        I can’t wait to read your Stormsurge article because I don’t think we agree on its value. I’d love to be wrong about it since I have one on the shelf gathering dust.

        I’d be running quite the pack of Vespids if I could find them on eBay at a reasonable price. I think they are a sleeper that, while are not an auto-take, are worth looking at in a few circumstances.

        • abusepuppy September 12, 2018 7:40 am #

          Double Tiger Shark is probably the strongest Tau list in the absolute sense right now, but it suffers badly from the Castellan meta- everyone is either bringing a giant shooty war machine or building to beat giant shooty war machines, and that’s bad news for the Tiger Shark. But if that shifts in the near future here, the Shark may be back in business. And yeah, I think you need two of them- two means you can block off movement/charge routes and provides you that saturation of targets that is so important. One of anything can be killed; redundancy is key in competitive play.

          I’ll have a lot to say about the Stormsurge for sure; I think it’s better than people give it credit for, although certainly not without some significant weaknesses.

          (I… might have come into the possession of about two dozen Vespid by accident.)

          • Charlie A. September 12, 2018 9:22 am
            #

            Don’t get me wrong, if I had two, I’d be using two. Your comment about blocking lanes is a great point that might not be apparent at first. Is there a standard size of base for the Tiger Shark Fighter Bomber? I’m under the impression it’s not sold with a base and I got mine in a trade, badly damage (since restored) so had to base my own. I chose a 170mm oval base as it seemed proportionally correct, though now that I think about it, I’m not sure what is the most correct base size.

            If they need a good home, I’m all ears 🙂

          • Ethan September 12, 2018 12:16 pm
            #

            Wait… how many people are actually running one (let alone multiple) tiger sharks?

          • Reecius
            Reecius September 12, 2018 12:37 pm
            #

            It’s a common competitive T’au list at present.

          • abusepuppy September 12, 2018 12:56 pm
            #

            I had my bases made custom, but I believe that the FW standard one is a 5.5″ circular base, or somewhere right around there?

          • Ethan September 12, 2018 9:04 pm
            #

            Huh, so what (if anything) does that say about the balance of the faction internally and against other factions if a lot of “competitive” lists are running multiple stormsurges, yvahras and other big FW units?

            If I own at least one of most units in the Tau range, but feel like I have to buy multiple big kits to be competitive, that kinda leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

          • NinetyNineNo September 12, 2018 9:33 pm
            #

            Tau balance definitely needs work, but Stormsurges aren’t FW and Y’vahras aren’t quite as good as they seem.

          • Charlie A. September 13, 2018 4:16 am
            #

            > Huh, so what (if anything) does that say about the balance of the faction internally and against other factions if a lot of “competitive” lists are running multiple stormsurges, yvahras and other big FW units?

            That’s not really the case. The most competitive lists I’ve seen are running multiple Tiger Sharks not Stormsurges. Though multiple Stormsurge lists have been seen, they haven’t placed highly to my knowledge. Not as highly as the Double Tiger Shark. And while Y’vahra’s are not weak by any means, they’re more of a gatekeeper than a top table unit, imo.

            > If I own at least one of most units in the Tau range, but feel like I have to buy multiple big kits to be competitive, that kinda leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

            Has this not pretty much always been the case with competitive play? Find the best units and take as many of them as you can? Clearly it’s not always that simple, but multiple of a really strong unit is still a thing and a reason why the Rule of 3 was introduced.

          • abusepuppy September 13, 2018 6:23 am
            #

            Redundancy always has been, and always will be king in competitive play. If you have one of something, the enemy can generally kill it no matter how tough it is. If you have three of something, that becomes a lot harder.

            That said, not all Tau lists just run maximal numbers of the “good” units, because in 8E you need to have a balance of different types of firepower. I have seen some strong lists that run two or even one Riptide, for example, because having more beyond that has a decreasing utility.

  4. Draaen September 12, 2018 7:23 am #

    Nice article I love these guys and you really covered all the major points. The only thing I would add though is that for countering these guys I have found psychic powers that cause mortal wounds to be a massive pain. It ignores their hit modifier and cover saves. The wound pool is low enough too at 6 for a min sized squad it’s not a ton of powers to get rid of them.

    Are you planning on doing a piranha article? I wish they were a bit better but I love that model.

    • abusepuppy September 12, 2018 7:37 am #

      Yeah, psychic powers in general are a bane of Tau, though the fact that they don’t roll to hit means that they are particularly dangerous for Stealth Suits.

      I will try and get a Piranha article done- they’re one of my favorite Tau units and I own like eighteen of them. They… aren’t awful this edition, but they’re a long ways from great, sadly.

      • Draaen September 12, 2018 8:37 am #

        Yeah I typically run 1-2 Sa’cea piranhas in friendly games. They aren’t amazing but they aren’t a waste of points either just not optimized. 2 Seeker missiles and a fusion blaster is a decent amount of T1 firepower. The transition to the new stat line hurt them. Compared to a land speeder to which they had a higher front armour but were open topped there was a bit more granularity. Now though the Piranha is just weaker with the same stat line but a worse save. I’d liked to have seen some other buff to reflect the 11 front armor. Something like 7 wounds instead of 6 so a single lucky shot wouldn’t take it out.

        That codex homing beacon change was the change that most affected my Tau list. The removal of it, and then the no more T1 deep strike, killed the aggressive crisis suit drop list I was playing. I’ve though about using homing beacons to guarantee I can deep strike in cheaper units T2 like gun drones or vespid. Since my stealth suits want to be in cover at the start of turn 2 I could almost guarantee if my stealth suits are alive the vespid will get cover making them reasonably durable. I’m not convinced it’s really worth the points but that is the best strategy given the current restraints I could come up with. Crisis units are just too expensive to leave off the table until turn 2. If you have crisis suits and your opponent knows the stealth suits are the delivery system you can almost guarantee the stealth suits are dead T1/T2 before they do their job. A smaller vespid squad will fall lower on the threat level and hopefully let the stealth as a delivery system be ignored until after you deliver the unit and it can trade up.

        • Charlie A. September 12, 2018 12:38 pm #

          What sept are your Stealth Suits? The benefit from Vior’la Hot Blooded stratagem, but not the sept trait. I’ve been toying with Dal’yth sept Stealth Suits just so that I could infiltrate them where ever the heck I wanted to and know they’d get a cover save assuming I didn’t go first.

          • abusepuppy September 12, 2018 12:58 pm
            #

            The Vior’la Sept trait actually works fine for Stealth Suits, since they use assault weaponry. It’s not a blowout or anything, but it’s perfectly functional.

            As infantry, though, I don’t think they need the Dal’yth trait at all. They really want to be moving around most turns and it’s usually pretty easy to get cover for them anyways.

          • Charlie A. September 13, 2018 4:18 am
            #

            Whoops, misspoke. It’s not that they don’t benefit from the sept trait, it’s that it’s not a huge boon for them.

            Most turns yes. Really the rationale extends only to the first turn, to give them a little more defensiveness in any situation.

          • Draaen September 13, 2018 5:30 am
            #

            I run my stealth suits either Sa’cea or T’au sept. Sa’cea for the fusion blaster re-roll and because I don’t own riptides so I need a more democratic approach to anti-tank. I run enough fire warriors so pulse rounds so I have enough of them and I need to make sure my fusion shots count. I usually run a Sa’cea detachment with firesight marksman and the main body of my list T’au. Since the stealth suits are often on their own the loss of 5+ overwatch is not a big deal.

            I run them T’au occasionally if I’m running a more aggressive list, or I have enough other anti-tank firepower, so that I can pre-seed some shield drones up the field. That way my ghostkeel/aggressive cold star commander can have some additional drones to dump wounds off on. Additional drones are not an entire waste since the squad becomes 2 drones and 3 stealth suits. This squad configuration makes it very easy to tri-point a tank. Assault with the stealth suits first then the drones tie up the tank so it can’t fall back and you create an area in a good chunk of the enemy army where your stealth suits are closer then any of your commanders and unable to be shot. Maybe not T1 against a good opponent but the threat has to be respected and is realistic in turns 2/3.

  5. Ujayim September 12, 2018 8:11 am #

    Holy shit, GOOD comments?!

    • Charlie A. September 12, 2018 9:23 am #

      You get your optimism out of here, we’ll be having none of that D:<

  6. Dylan September 12, 2018 10:51 am #

    Okay, so I’ve read the last three articles you’ve published on the Tau, and you’ve left me with a sort of conundrum. You see, I haven’t played since 5e, which is a long time. I’ve been thinking about dusting off my Tau and getting back into 40k, because I love the Tau so much, but it would take a lot to get them table ready again. Should I do some refurb work and get them out there, or sell them off in favor of my other army, Orks?

    • Charlie A. September 12, 2018 12:13 pm #

      What drew you to T’au in the first place? What to orks? Orks are about to get a new codex and potentially some more units. Both armies are vastly different, so knowing what draws you to each would be helpful 🙂

      • abusepuppy September 12, 2018 1:07 pm #

        I would largely echo Charlie’s questions here. Tau are a good enough army that you can most certainly succeed reasonably well with them if you put your mind to it, as you can with most armies in 8th Edition; presumably Orks will be as well once they get their codex, although we don’t actually know anything about them yet. But the real question would be what you want out of the game in general and from the army you play in particular.

        If you enjoyed playing during 5th Edition, I think now would be a great time to get back into the game; a lot of what made the game good back then (vibrant competitive scene, quick codex releases, good variety of high-end builds) is also very true now, even though the actual game rules themselves are fairly different. So if you still love Tau and want to play them again, I can say with certainty that they can still be an army that is good in many of the same ways- you have powerful shooting, lots of tricksy special abilities, and an absolute abhorrence for the psychic and assault phases. (Do be aware that many of the models have been updated since you last played, though that doesn’t invalidate the older ones.) Tau tend towards medium-high model count armies with a mix of big and little stuff.

        Orks, on the other hand, are 100% a horde army and a melee army; if you pick them, be aware that you are going to need to paint a LOT of little green dudes. On the other hand, no other army has more possibilities for conversions and you could easily turn all those Tau suits and vehicles you have into Ork units with a bit of work using a razor saw, glue, and some bitz. They are a ton of fun to collect and play and can make for some hilarious stories.

        There’s no wrong answer in terms of what to collect, but I might spend a little time looking over the model ranges and getting an idea how you feel about both armies and what you can do with them before choosing.

      • Dylan September 13, 2018 10:28 am #

        Well, I always liked the massed firepower you get with Tau (I always ran mass fire warriors, even when it wasn’t optimal), and the models have such fantastically clean lines and gentle curves. Painting them is an absolute joy. But the Pens are just so brutal and hilarious. It’s really a hard choice.

        • Dylan September 13, 2018 10:30 am #

          Orks. Not pens. That doesn’t make any sense.

  7. BK September 12, 2018 2:41 pm #

    I never leave home without mine! (when playing 40k..obviously..)

    They always seem to score their weight in achieving objectives or doing something useful such as screening or even just some plain old movement blocking.

    As they have the fly rule, one situational trick you can use vs weaker backfield units and the like is charging into combat (ideally surrounding a model). Gains you extra movement and keeps you safe from enemy shooting. Even better if you can use those combat rules to tie up extra stuff by piling in and consolidating.

    I think the T’au sept or Vior’la are the best sept tactics for them. T’au just helps out in their screening role and adds some extra oomph if they do use focused fire.

    Vior’la makes them pretty mobile and the double tap strategem can turn a full unit into a non trivial annoyance.

    • abusepuppy September 12, 2018 3:53 pm #

      I charge them into combat reasonably often as well, since as you note they can always just kinda leave thanks to Fly and there are a lot of enemy units that would rather not be locked up with you (e.g. fire support units, vehicles, etc.) Tau Sept is good for them, though they often don’t have a buddy unit nearby to get the bonus; Sa’cea and Vior’la are both pretty fine as well. I do want to try out a unit of nine with Vior’la at some point to see if they can really clean up, but I’m kinda expecting that it won’t be as good as it seems.

      • Kevin Lantz September 13, 2018 12:01 am #

        Problem as usual is the points vs efficiency issue. If the squad is worth alot of points, it goes up in target priority and the unit its self isn’t that hard to remove sadly.

        • abusepuppy September 13, 2018 12:47 am #

          Well, I mean, Stealth Suits _are_ reasonably tough; not invulnerable, obviously, but with 2+ armor, -1 to hit, and multiple wounds, they’re about as tough as units can generally be overall. If you take some effort to hide them, they shouldn’t be dying in the early turns of the game without the enemy spending basically their whole turn on it.

          • Kevin Lantz September 13, 2018 1:40 am
            #

            If you want to assume cover sure, normally 3+ armor though. The issue is most the competitive armies have an assault component that isn’t shooting at it, this would be fine if the tau army had other tools to help but they don’t. Add in the cost compared to what it does, it’s just not worth it.

            Stealth suits are either tar pits or forward damage. This role is filled by Shield drones or gun drones (or firewarriors really) The idea that these guys do much other than soak fire is silly (and that idea is a bit silly too) Let us just remember that they cost the same as four firewarriors. Four + kroot, nearly 5 hounds…

          • abusepuppy September 13, 2018 6:20 am
            #

            Stealth Suits are infantry, they should never have any trouble getting cover if they want it.

            I’ve already explained, in the article and elsewhere, why Stealth Suits are very resilient for their cost. They compare very favorably to Strike Teams and other units in terms of durability, in both melee and against shooting.

            Tarpit and forward damage are not the two most important roles of a Stealth Suit; in fact, those two are probably the _least_ important jobs of the things I’ve talked about using them for, well behind their main jobs of screening and/or scoring unit. The only reason I mention using the Vior’la stratagem on them is because their unit size cap is so high, and they are more easily able to position themselves to get maximum shots early in the game compared to a Strike Team- in terms of output per point, they are of course vastly inferior.

      • BK September 14, 2018 12:42 pm #

        Just a couple of small points.

        The max unit size is 6, not 9. Which I think is plenty to be honest, as it is small enough to hide behind some terrain pieces without getting unwieldy. I have used Vior’la stealth suits a few times in units of six. Other units such as full fire warrior teams / breachers put out more bang for your buck in ideal situations with the stratagem, but have the downsides of morale and having to get into their more deadly ranges 15’/5′ respectively.

        I have found it easier with the stealth suits to plug and fire twice with the stratagem. 48 st5 shots is nothing to sniff at. They can benefit from the suit unit stratagems as well such as ignore cover.

        I have not used it, but for a small price per suit the velocity tracker could be a useful way to spend some points. In addition, I saw a neat use of the Markerlight, target lock and velocity tracker combo on a Stealth Suit Shas’vre. Not too many units can use the velocity tracker and a markerlight.

        Regarding T’au sept and a buddy unit, unless I am mistaken, T’au Sept units should overwatch on a 5+ and not require a buddy unit.Like a self aura, wouldn’t they count themselves and thus get the benefit?

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