Infinity Tactics 101: Using Stealth and Silent
Following up on my previous article of often conflated rules, this week I'm going to talk about Stealth, Silent, and how they work together for extreme awesome.
This automatic skill can be found in many unit profiles, additionally, it can be granted by having Martial Arts, Natural Born Warrior, Protheion, or almost any level of Camouflage (including Ambush Camo, but not Mimetism). It's only used in your active turn and can be used to let you move around enemy models, without triggering any AROs, or only allow specific AROs to enemies you do enter base to base contact with.
Some important notes on Stealth is that if you perform any skill besides a Short Movement Skill, or Cautious Movement, you will trigger AROs like normal. You can also enter base contact with an enemy without causing an ARO, meaning you can sneak up into contact and wait until their turn to attack (assuming they activate giving you the ARO opportunity).
One big thing to be aware of when using Stealth is that it doesn't work against models with ANY level of Sixth Sense. That means that links with 4 or more models will totally nullify the ability to sneak around them. Additionally, being in a Hacker's ZoC, or Hacking Area extended by a repeater, Stealth does protect you from a hacking ARO, as per the FAQ v 1.2 doc, unless that Hacker has Sixth Sense.
Does Stealth stop Hacking AROs if the Hacker doesn’t have Line of Fire?
Yes, it does. As stated in the rule, a trooper with Stealth that declares a Short Movement Skill or Cautious Movement Skill within the Zone of Control but outside LoF does not grant an ARO, so that prevents the Hacker from using any program, because that would be declaring an ARO.
Silent isn't a skill like Stealth, instead it is a trait that is attached to some weapons (notably the Knife and the Tactical Bow). It's main function is to allow you to declare an attack, without causing Warning, and possibly preventing any ARO from the target model.
Silent. If you use this weapon or piece of Equipment to make an Attack while outside the target's LoF, that target cannot react by Changing Facing or apply the Warning! rule unless he survives the Attack (that is, isn't in a Null state after the Attack is resolved).
A fun note about Silent is that you could Coup De Grace with a Silent weapon, and it will not provoke an ARO or Warning. Definitely worth remembering, it may save your bacon, or at least score you an easy Classified Objective.
Stealth by itself is unsurprisingly used to get through guarded areas, or to close in on enemies to blast them with short-ranged weapons like a boarding shotgun.
In this example, instead of performing a Cautious movement in Step 2, if the Authorized Bounty Hunter had a shotgun or chain rifle, it would have been a fantastic opportunity to blast the two blue models to pieces, both of which would be dodging at -3 (closest model is out of LOF, while the furthest model has it's LOF blocked by the closer one).
Using Stealth + Silent BS Attack
There is a single ranged weapon in the game with the Silent trait, and it is only found on two models in the entire game, the Hard Case and the Ninja. It's rare to see used effectively, but in the right circumstances can be amazing. Lets talk about that circumstance.
As you can see, it's a risky maneuver, if the enemy survives the attack they'll set off a Warning and allow his nearby allies to turn to face you. If they die however, you'll be free to pick off the next target with impunity. For the Hard Case, it's far more likely that you'll succeed in killing your foe with the tactical bow than the knife (even with Surprise Attack), while with the Ninja will almost always be better off sticking a knife in the enemy's back (provided they aren't close combat specialists).
Using Stealth + Silent CC Attack
The most common use of Silent is in close combat. By sneaking up on an enemy and avoiding triggering ARO's from their comrades, you can silently execute opponents, one at a time, JUST LIKE IN MOVIES!
After killing the first enemy, the Airborne Ranger could move into either one of the others safely, without triggering AROs, and repeat the process. I've never pulled this off in sequence, but I'll be damned if I don't try every time I get the chance.
So Stealth and Silent are both very different rules. The former is an automatic skill which helps you maneuver quietly, while the later is the trait of a weapon which lets you attack without triggering AROs. Combining the skills can make for some incredibly cinematic moments in-game, so put down the DA CCW and start using that Knife!