Optimised Stealth Cadre Tactics

A review of past Tactics by commanders during the First, Second, Third & Fourth Phase Expansion.
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NoobPwner84
Shas'La
Shas'La
Posts: 192

Optimised Stealth Cadre Tactics

Post#1 » Mar 07 2016 10:36

After having run the OSC at my last two big tournaments, and having been asked about it a lot both online and through my own meta gaming groups, thought I'd make a tactics thread with the use of this excellent formation. I realise there is a thread discussing semantics about the OSC rules, but that is not the same thing. For the benefit of discussing the units involved I will ignore the ongoing debate about the poor ITC rulings regarding holophoton countermeasures, as the tournaments I attend use ETC rather than ITC rules.

If you'd like to check how my OSC has got on in quite competitive environments you can check -

here for Caledonian Uprising:

http://www.advancedtautactica.com/viewt ... 43&t=24246

and here for Dark Millenium:

http://www.advancedtautactica.com/viewt ... 43&t=24391

Special rule - The Wall of Mirrors

I wont infringe on GW IP by copy/paste, but in case you didn't know all ghostkeels in the formation ignore cover when firing add 1 to their BS, and hit vehicles on rear armour. Any stealth teams from the formation also benefit from these buffs as long as they are within 6'' of a ghostkeel - and therefore not one of the stealth drones - so its worth keeping them close.

Unit Composition
- Ghostkeels

We'll start with the Ghosts, as lets face it not many people would take this formation for the stealth teams (maybe!). Now the ghostkeel in a regular Tau elite slot by itself is an excellent choice for its points value and damage output. Reasonably resilient as well with the stealth and shrouded benefits, along with the ability to pop the countermeasures that make your opponent snapfire. A solo ghost is a great harrassment unit that can take some heat to distract away from the rest of your army's big hitters such as ritpides, stormsurges etc by using it aggressively up a flank of your opponent's army.

However, in a Optimised Stealth Cadre I think it's fully worth the points investment (up to you if you feel its worth the monetary investment) to go for a fire team of three ghosts. With the combination of fire team and wall of mirrors special rules your ghosts weapons will be BS5 ignoring cover, hitting vehicles on rear armour. That makes a full strength OSC ghost unit possibly the rarerest selection in the Tau roster - a fully independent and deadly unit that does not need support from markerlights or any other units really. This can't be overstated, as how many times have you heard non-tau players state their tactic is remove the source of markerlights and you can neuter the Tau firepower. Well there is really no achilles heel to this unit - it goes by itself, it is extremely durable with the use of 3 countermeasures and the stealth and shrouded and can put out the pain in close combat if required.

Ghostkeels weaponry -

Primary Weapons

This is where it comes down to preference, you can do a number on many units taking either of the primary weapons for a ghostkeel, however I find that three cyclic ion rakers (CIR) on a fire team of ghosts that hit on 2+ and ignore cover put out a disgusting amount of firepower that is hard to ignore. I have considred swapping in the fusion collider onto one of my three, but I would find it very circumstancial and as its even shorter range than the CIR it would be hard to get it into position often enough to be viable. Also - the ghost is one of the Tau's best platforms for a velocity tracker, and a CIR does horrendous damage to FMC's and flyers alike with no jink ability with Wall of Mirrors. The CIR kills next to everything - transports, MC's, infantry, bikes flyers etc etc, only not touching the likes of land raiders or monoliths (av14 all round tanks).

Secondary Weapons
I am of the opinion that either the twin-linked burst cannon (BC) or twin-linked fusion blaster (FB) options are worth it on the ghosts. The flamers I can't see me using much, as I'd like to be medium range but not point blank range with them. On my unit I run one ghost with a twin FB, CIR and a velocity tracker, whilst the other two have target locks, CIR and BC's to just spit a torrent of fire towards their target. Having an ignoring cover BS 5 FB certainly comes in useful for heavier tanks, but I find that the grand majority of the time any armour or MC is dead by the time that the CIR's from the 3 ghosts have fired anyway. The burst cannons come in handy against mass infantry to chuck out extra wounds. But secondary weapons are pretty individual choice compared to the primaries IMO.



Unit Composition
- Stealth Teams

On the OSC discussion thread there is plenty of debate over stealth suits - actually more about that than composition of the ghost unit. For me, I would advise keeping them cheap as you can and not giving your stealths any extra wargear. At 90 points for a team of three T3 models with middling ballistic skill they are expensive enough, and wont survive much when your opponent targets them. However, keeping within the 6'' bubble of a ghostkeel will make buff their BS and make them ignore cover, so you can begin to do some damage with 6 BS4 ignore cover burst cannons. In fact, I'd suggest using these guys to attract heat to take it away from other more important units.

There are a few options all with various degrees of merit:

1) Basic
x 3 XV25, burst cannons
x 3 XV25, burst cannons
- cheap and cheerful, can still put out some firepower enough to cause problems. Useful for maelstrom and small enough they may get ignored. My recommmendation. And if you did want to use more stealth models, I would potentially use up to 5 or 6 in a unit and just leave them with their ignore cover burst cannons.

2) Marker Stealths
x 3 XV25, team leader with target lock and markerlight, drone controller, x 2 marker drones
x 3 XV25, team leader with target lock and markerlight, drone controller, x 2 marker drones
- has been widely discussed around ATT as a decent source of markerlights. Advantadges are that this unit is quite hideable, however to be reliably hitting stuff with those markers you are going to have to keep them close to the Ghosts which in some cases may leave them quite exposed. Also makes this unit reasonably expensive, and reduces their primary role of shooting stuff whilst ignoring cover. If I elected to use a drone controller with stealth teams, I would perhaps use two gun drones instead to give moar dakka.

3) Fusion Stealths
x 3 XV25, x 2 burst cannons, x 1 fusion blaster
x 3 XV25, x 2 burst cannons, x 1 fusion blaster
- reasonably good choice and not too much more expensive and gives you utility. However I generally feel that the Ghosts will be destroying all armour before them so the fusion blasters aren't really required. But - ignoring cover fusion shots can't be sniffed at.

As regards other upgrades a positional relay is not a bad shout, but not convinced on the others.

Tactics & Strategy

Dependent on the opponent of course, this really starts before the battle. More often than not I will roll on Strategic warlord traits from the rulebook, and be looking to get 'infiltrate Warlord and 3 units'. Because the Ghosts don't have infiltrate and are relatively short range, this is golden for getting your all-destroying unit in place quickly, and attracting all sorts of heat that still wont be able to kill them. In general, 3 options from that table are pretty good in my opinion. The infiltrate one is what I aim for, the stealth: ruins one is obviously awesome for every other unit in your army that isn't in the OSC, and I always rate Strategic Genius, were you can seize on a 5+ (4+ if you take the Mirrorcodex Farsight Enclaves signature system) for messing up your opponents plans - there are few things more devastating in 40k than a Tau army seizing the initiative against an opponent that has set up aggresively.

Note: Whilst the infiltrate warlord trait is very useful for the OSC ghosts, don't use it exclusively. It wont be great to use it against Marine Bike Deathstars or well placed Wraithknights unless you want a country style beating, or mass grav destroyer spam AdMech craziness.

Now - Once the game is underway, don't hold back with the ghosts. You want to be as aggresive with them as you can whilst avoiding nasty melee units (moderate and small melee units are not a threat, but be careful). Pick your targets well in the first couple of turns and it will end the game for your opponent. For instance - ghostkeels with target locks and CIRs will destroy space marine gladius armies that spam rhinos and razorbacks, leaving marines stranded in their own deployment zones facing a long walk into the rest of your army's firepower. Ghosts are ridiculously good at most vehicles from Dark Eldar venoms to Imperial Knights and killing monstrous creatures very quickly. Press the advantadge and exploit the fact that just standing in terrain gives you a 2+ cover save, and even getting a great cover save in the open from more than 12'', which will make your opponent try to run away and end up bunched up for some lovely Ion Accelerator shots from your riptides. As the unit is composed of monstrous creatures, it is very useful for squashing troublesome Warp Spiders in combat if they come too close as it is well known that if they do multiple jumps in your shooting phase it can be very difficult to kill them in shooting.

Poor match ups can be Necrons, where the mass shots but little low ap shooting may do little damage to Decurion/Canoptek formations, and the ghosts will get cut to ribbons in combat by wraiths. I think Necrons is one of our hardest match ups if the LifeStar build is taken and weilded by a good player.

Units to be ware of for quickly tapping out your countermeasures can be:
Double firing riptide wings shooting SMS/Burstcannons
Dark Eldar Venoms
Scatter laser spam Eldar
Grav Mechanicus (tend to have only limited units of these, so pound them as quick as you can as your ignore cover AP4 shooting will decimate them back)

The stealth teams -
For me, these should be used primarily for scooting about to collect maelstrom points. Though a great tactic I've found for them is when playing the Relic the stealths infiltrate right on it to pick it up, and rush the ghosts up to envelop them. No doubt your opponent will try to take them out and probably achieve it, but as suits can move in the assault phase you can be moving them too.

It is also worthwhile sometimes just infiltrating the stealths in front of the ghosts and advance firing using Wall of Mirrors to attract attention to them rather than other units. Bullet magnet for the Greater Good!

Hope you get something out of reading this, and anything you wish to add or discuss I'm keen to hear it.
The true warrior engages only the worthy opponent

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Lord Mayhem
Shas'Ui
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Re: Optimised Stealth Cadre Tactics

Post#2 » Mar 07 2016 02:06

A nice informative article. One minor quibble though; under Ghost keels Primary weapon you say "only not touching the likes of land raiders or monoliths (av14 all round tanks)"; technically in the Blast mode it does have the ability to hurt even AV14, although that is not the way to bet, and makes sense only if no better target is available.

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NoobPwner84
Shas'La
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Re: Optimised Stealth Cadre Tactics

Post#3 » Mar 07 2016 03:22

Yeah that's true, though as you say there will always be better targets than shooting the pie plates at land raiders. In general I would always have the likes of Riptides or fusion blaster XV8's to take out such problematic units and leave the OSC ghosts to handle everything else really.

Thanks for the read and nice feedback.
The true warrior engages only the worthy opponent

Commander Skyfall
Shas'La
Shas'La
Posts: 64

Re: Optimised Stealth Cadre Tactics

Post#4 » Mar 08 2016 06:19

Fab article, Noobpwner. Definitely going to use this for guidance with my OSC when I go to my next events over the next few months.

As a follow-up query: how do you make use of the MV5 drones? Have you found them of any use as ablative wounds, or do you feel that this is too risky? Or simply using them for helping keep unit coherency for stringing out the Ghosts when they need to reach different targets with their Target Locking?

I've had thoughts to that effect but not managed to try these ideas out on the field. I'd be keen to hear your experiences.

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NoobPwner84
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Re: Optimised Stealth Cadre Tactics

Post#5 » Mar 08 2016 02:34

Hey Skyfall

Yeah I have used the Stealth Drones as ablative wounds, as long as the drones are in terrain to benefit from the shrouded buff, then its fine. Remember to mix at least some of the drones behind the Ghosts, as you really don't want to lose them all or you will lose shrouded. From analysing the shrouded, stealth drone and the electrowarfare suite rules, I'd say that you need to have the Ghosts in front when not in terrain as the double effect of the cover saves does not apply to the drones as it says in the electrowarfare suite rules that it only applies to the model bearing it.

Also - should have said, but I'd always go for bonding knife ritual on the Ghost unit exactly for these reasons, as if you start taking wounds on the drones thats when your likely to start taking leadership tests.
The true warrior engages only the worthy opponent

Entil'zha
Shas'Saal
Posts: 89

Re: Optimised Stealth Cadre Tactics

Post#6 » Mar 08 2016 04:02

Thank you for posting this now I think I understand how to use ghostkeels

Commander Skyfall
Shas'La
Shas'La
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Re: Optimised Stealth Cadre Tactics

Post#7 » Mar 09 2016 11:29

NoobPwner84 wrote: I'd say that you need to have the Ghosts in front when not in terrain as the double effect of the cover saves does not apply to the drones as it says in the electrowarfare suite rules that it only applies to the model bearing it.

Thanks Noobpwner, good point there. I had overlooked that.

NoobPwner84 wrote: I'd always go for bonding knife ritual on the Ghost unit... if you start taking wounds on the drones thats when your likely to start taking leadership tests.

Again, a good point that I would have otherwise not considered. I normally only take bonding when I have to i.e. Farsight Enclaves. For this build I agree that I'd likely choose to do so, now that you've prompted me to think about it. Thanks for the tips! :D I'll keep you posted on how I get on.

Entil'zha
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Re: Optimised Stealth Cadre Tactics

Post#8 » Mar 09 2016 12:29

Do you have to bring 2 ghostkeels to get the ignore cover and other perks for a ghostkeel? The book is a little vague on this

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Raverrn
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Re: Optimised Stealth Cadre Tactics

Post#9 » Mar 09 2016 01:25

Entil'zha wrote:Do you have to bring 2 ghostkeels to get the ignore cover and other perks for a ghostkeel? The book is a little vague on this


No, it works on all Ghostkeels in the formation regardless of other factors.

Entil'zha
Shas'Saal
Posts: 89

Re: Optimised Stealth Cadre Tactics

Post#10 » Mar 09 2016 02:15

Thank you I'll make a note in my codex

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NoobPwner84
Shas'La
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Re: Optimised Stealth Cadre Tactics

Post#11 » Mar 09 2016 02:20

Entil'zha wrote:Thank you I'll make a note in my codex


Pretty sure it's in the codex/Kauyon book entries. At work just now but I'm sure it's something along the lines of 'any ghostkeel in this formation...' no?
The true warrior engages only the worthy opponent

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boomwolf
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Re: Optimised Stealth Cadre Tactics

Post#12 » Mar 09 2016 02:22

Raverrn wrote:
Entil'zha wrote:Do you have to bring 2 ghostkeels to get the ignore cover and other perks for a ghostkeel? The book is a little vague on this


No, it works on all Ghostkeels in the formation regardless of other factors.



And honestly, that's freakingly absurd.
From a design standpoint, the formation would be far better as 2-3 units of stealth and 0-1 units of ghosts and to trigger the power you'd need tow units of the formation to be within 6" of each other.
That way you can go around without ghosts, and the ghosts are not so freakishly self-sufficient.

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KaptinKrocodile
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Re: Optimised Stealth Cadre Tactics

Post#13 » Mar 10 2016 09:18

How do you feel about using Commander Shadowsun as your Warlord? She has A Ghost Who Walks Among Us as her default trait and could join one of the Stealth teams to get in on the fun with her two fusion blasters. You'd have to really abuse that Jump infantry thing to keep her out of trouble, obviously, but she's hardly the worst choice of HQ for this formation, right?
We are the Tau. This is our time. For the Greater Good!

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NoobPwner84
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Re: Optimised Stealth Cadre Tactics

Post#14 » Mar 10 2016 10:12

I have only limited experience running Shadowsun in a competitive environment - ironically, since I've just seen where you are from it was a tournament in Ireland a couple of years back.

I realise that background-wise she is created to lead stealth teams, however I would be wary of running her in units that have one wound T3 models as she would take heat very quickly. Whilst it would be fun to get her fusion blasters that can target seperate units in the action quickly, I would probably go for deep striking her with XV8's and getting the benefit of 'A ghost that walks amongst us' buff on T4 two wound models instead, and the fact she passes on shrouded too.

Having said that - can she work well with stealth teams? Of course she can. Just that it's not the most durable platform to have her jump around in.
The true warrior engages only the worthy opponent

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NoobPwner84
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Re: Optimised Stealth Cadre Tactics

Post#15 » Mar 10 2016 10:15

boomwolf wrote:
Raverrn wrote:
Entil'zha wrote:Do you have to bring 2 ghostkeels to get the ignore cover and other perks for a ghostkeel? The book is a little vague on this


No, it works on all Ghostkeels in the formation regardless of other factors.



And honestly, that's freakingly absurd.
From a design standpoint, the formation would be far better as 2-3 units of stealth and 0-1 units of ghosts and to trigger the power you'd need tow units of the formation to be within 6" of each other.
That way you can go around without ghosts, and the ghosts are not so freakishly self-sufficient.


As I stated at the start of this thread - wasn't intending to steal the thunder of the thread that appeared to be discussing the OSC rules, this one was just for tactics, but I am curious as to why you appear to dislike the fact that our army can make use of such a strong unit? From a gameplay perspective - what is wrong with the OSC ghost unit? It's not like you don't pay a premium for it (points and cash!).
The true warrior engages only the worthy opponent

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AnonAmbientLight
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Re: Optimised Stealth Cadre Tactics

Post#16 » Mar 10 2016 02:50

It is good manners and very sporty to take a moment to explain EXACTLY how the ghostkeel works as well as the formation. This unit is new and slightly confusing. You'll have a better experience with your opponent and game if you take the time to specifically explain how it works.
Sky IS Falling, T'au WILL Suck, Sell Me Your Models

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KaptinKrocodile
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Re: Optimised Stealth Cadre Tactics

Post#17 » Mar 10 2016 08:00

NoobPwner84 wrote:I have only limited experience running Shadowsun in a competitive environment - ironically, since I've just seen where you are from it was a tournament in Ireland a couple of years back.

I realise that background-wise she is created to lead stealth teams, however I would be wary of running her in units that have one wound T3 models as she would take heat very quickly. Whilst it would be fun to get her fusion blasters that can target seperate units in the action quickly, I would probably go for deep striking her with XV8's and getting the benefit of 'A ghost that walks amongst us' buff on T4 two wound models instead, and the fact she passes on shrouded too.

Having said that - can she work well with stealth teams? Of course she can. Just that it's not the most durable platform to have her jump around in.

I see. I just wondered since her having AGWWAU as her default Warlord Trait seemed like a safer bet than leaving it to a die roll to decide, especially since it fits this €102 bundle of fun so well. :smile:
We are the Tau. This is our time. For the Greater Good!

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NoobPwner84
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Re: Optimised Stealth Cadre Tactics

Post#18 » Mar 11 2016 04:29

AnonAmbientLight wrote:It is good manners and very sporty to take a moment to explain EXACTLY how the ghostkeel works as well as the formation. This unit is new and slightly confusing. You'll have a better experience with your opponent and game if you take the time to specifically explain how it works.


Hey

Not quite sure I understand your comment in the current context, as I haven't had to deceive anyone on how it works. Almost every one of my opponents are regular tournament players and know the rules well. And any queries come up I have the Kauyon book there with me and can explain what they do.

And as regards experience with my opponents -haven't had any arguements as regards my play as far as I can remember. Suppose that makes me very sporty - as you say :D
The true warrior engages only the worthy opponent

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