From infiltrating assassins to infiltrating scouts to infiltrating 12-ish foot tall Primaris commandos, stealth is an integral part of the grim darkness of the battlefields of the far future.
In the Grim Darkness of the Far Future, stealth is an interesting place. Pretty much every faction has access to some kind of stealthy unit–be they units who know how to blend in and infiltrate behind enemy lines, or units equipped with some kind of stealth fields that allow them to slip in undetected. Whatever the unit, Stealth in 40K usually ends up meaning one of two things:
You can set up your troops wherever you want (with all the usual restrictions)
They have some kind of defensive bonus. Enemies targeting them have -1 to hit, or they get an extra bonus if they’re in cover.
Whichever the case, Stealth in 40K is definitely a one-shot kind of affair. You infiltrate your units before the battlefield, and then your stealth guys show up–and that’s it. They’re on the board and will probably be shot/overrun because they infiltrated too close to the enemy, OR they’ll end up too far from the bulk of the fighting to do anything meaningful. At least that’s what I assume happens to everyone, because it can’t just be me.
But should stealth mean something other than just a deployment option/defense boost? Because even if you’re not using stealthy troops, there are plenty of ways to accomplish the same thing. Whether you’re Craftworld Aeldar setting up a Wraithknight in the Webway, Ynnari setting up a Wraithknight in the Webway, or Thousand Sons setting up some Sorcerers in the Webway, plenty of armies can get units out of their normal position. Stealth is basically just another way to get units in from reserve.
And maybe that’s fine–after all, you’re abstracting the chaotic conditions of a sci-fi future space battle with magic wizards and daemons onto a tabletop. At some point you have to start drawing lines and saying, ‘yeah we’re abstracting this’ but–maybe there’s a way to capitalize on stealth a little more. How do you accomplish the ‘unit hidden in the shadows, striking and fading back into the shadows, only to wreak havoc again?’
There are a few units that can accomplish things like this. Warp Spiders can jump, basically giving themselves a redeploy–so there’s precedent for that in the game. Maybe it’s even a Stratagem or an ability that a Stealthed unit could activate, representing them hiding back in the shadows or activating a cloaking field or a psychic illusion–essentially give up your shooting in order to benefit from character targeting rules or something. So we decided to put the question to you.
Is stealth fine? How would you change it? Also, how crowded do you think it is in the Webway before a given battle?