Revisiting the Droneport

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Arka0415
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Revisiting the Droneport

Post#1 » Nov 06 2017 01:02

So, I'm not a supporter of the Droneport, but there has been a lot of talk about Markerlights recently, especially with how to avoid getting your Markerlights alpha-struck off the field.

By and large, it seems that people are devoting about 10% of their lists to Markerlight firepower. So, let's make some theoretical Markerlight groupings and see how they perform in two categories- Markerlight efficiency and durability.

-

Group #1: Standard Markerlight Group
Fast Attack - 6x Pathfinders w/ 3x Ion Rifles, 3x Markerlights (60)
Fast Attack - 6x Pathfinders w/ 6x Markerlights (48)
Fast Attack - 6x Pathfinders w/ 6x Markerlights (48)
Total: 156

-

Group #2: Marksman Droneport
Elites - Firesight Marksman w/ Markerlight (24)
Fast Attack - 9x Pathfinders w/ 9x Markerlights (72)
Fortification - Tidewall Droneport w/ 4x Marker Drones (120)
Total: 216

-

Group #3: Fireblade Droneport
HQ - Cadre Fireblade w/ Markerlight (42)
Fast Attack - 9x Pathfinders w/ 9x Markerlights (72)
Fortification - Tidewall Droneport w/ 4x Marker Drones (120)
Total: 234

-

Output:
1. Avg. 7.5 hits, 3 Ion hits
2. Avg. 7.9 hits
3. Avg. 8.7 hits

Efficiency:
1. 20.8pts/hit
2. 27. 3pts/hit
3. 26.9pts/hit

-

Now, let's multiply the number of hits in Group #2 by the optimal efficinecy of the Pathfinders, and subtract that sum from the points cost of the units themselves. This will give us a "durability" rating.

Durability:
2. 51.7pts
3. 53.1pts

So, for Group #2, you're essentially paying 52 points to make our 7-8 Markerlight hits more durable. For Group #3, you're paying 53 points. Seems like these groups are just about equal in terms of efficiency! Let's see what we get:

-

Group #1: Standard Markerlight Group
18 T3/Sv5+ wounds

Group #2: Marksman Droneport
10 T7/Sv4+ wounds (remember the Drones are destroyed if the Droneport is)
3 T3/Sv4+ wounds
9 T3/Sv5+ wounds

Group #3: Fireblade Droneport
10 T7/Sv4+ wounds (remember the Drones are destroyed if the Droneport is)
5 T3/Sv4+ wounds
9 T3/Sv5+ wounds

-

In all honesty, is that extra durability is worth 52 or 53 points to you, the Droneport might not be such a bad idea after all.
Last edited by Arka0415 on Nov 06 2017 01:53, edited 1 time in total.

Nymphomanius
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Re: Revisiting the Droneport

Post#2 » Nov 06 2017 01:39

Sadly your mathematics is incorrect.

The fireblade droneport is 234pts not 244
It's pts/hit is 26.8 not 28.2
So it is actually more efficient than marksman droneport

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Arka0415
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Re: Revisiting the Droneport

Post#3 » Nov 06 2017 01:55

Nymphomanius wrote:Sadly your mathematics is incorrect.

The fireblade droneport is 234pts not 244
It's pts/hit is 26.8 not 28.2
So it is actually more efficient than marksman droneport

Thanks, I reflected the post to include that information. Remember the Marksman Droneport is 27.2pts/hit, so the Fireblade Droneport is only 1.1% more efficient and costs 18 points more. Sounds like they're just about even to me!

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Ozzie_prime
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Re: Revisiting the Droneport

Post#4 » Nov 06 2017 02:53

i think the main issue of the drone port was when you activate it (improving BS of the drones) the drone have to disembark the droneport.
Did GW faq this part ?

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Re: Revisiting the Droneport

Post#5 » Nov 06 2017 03:03

Ozzie_prime wrote:i think the main issue of the drone port was when you activate it (improving BS of the drones) the drone have to disembark the droneport.
Did GW faq this part ?


No but if you didn't bring the Pathfinder just fireblade you can activate the drones then embark them on the droneport where they can safely fire their BS2+ markerlight lol

Alternative take would be take a shieldline to put the Pathfinders in but then points per hit will skyrocket, but shieldline does demand heavy firepower to bring down, if your opponent fires a bucket of ap0 weapons at it 1/6 will kill the model that shot it :D

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Harkus959
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Re: Revisiting the Droneport

Post#6 » Nov 06 2017 03:11

Another block to consider is the marker drone block. I really like these guys, and they've proven to be fairly effective, and durable, so I'm going to try and do a comparison and see how it turns out.

Group 4: Marker Drone Block (Mixed)
Fast Attack - 5x Marker Drone, 2x Shield Drone (66)
Fast Attack - 5x Marker Drone, 2x Shield Drone (66)
Elites - 2x XV25 with BC, 1x XV25 with BC and Drone Controller (95)
Total: 227

Group 5: Marker Drone Block (Pure)
Fast Attack - 7x Marker Drone (70)
Fast Attack - 7x Marker Drone (70)
Elites - 2x XV25 with BC, 1x XV25 with BC and Drone Controller (95)
Total: 235

Output:
4) Avg. 5.34 hits, 9.2 BC hits (after the 5 markerlights)
5) Avg. 7.51 hits, 9.2 BC hits (after the 5 markerlights)

Efficiency:
4) 42.5pts/hit
5) 31.29pts/hit

Durability (edited now that I know how it works)

2) 216 - (7.9*20.8) = 51.68pts
4) 227 - (5.34*20.8) = 115.93pts
5) 235 - (7.51*20.8) = 78.79pts

So, you're paying considerably more points for "durability" but I think this actually for the mix of durability and mobility, as even a drone port forces you to remain static if you want efficiency. That said, mobility won't be too helpful against alpha strikes, just in avoiding damage from standard engagements.

As for wounds comparisons, here's we go:

Group 4:
10 T4/Sv4+ wounds
4 T4/Sv4+/4++, FNP5+ wounds
6 T4/Sv3+, -1 to hit wounds

Group 5:
14 T4/Sv4+ wounds
6 T4/Sv3+, -1 to hit wounds


So, those are our stats for marker drone groups. Now, looking at efficiency, these are by far the most expensive ways of getting markerlights (apart from taking multiple fireblades) but before they're dismissed out of hand, let's take a look at what the "hidden" benefits of using drones are. Apart from slightly increased toughness and armour compared to pathfinders, drones also have several advantages in terms of mobility.

Shield drones can further increase their durability to keep your markerlights alive even if targetted by weaponry like lascannons which could easily wreck a droneport.

Drones can't be tied up in CC thanks to having the fly keyword. Pathfinders can be put out of action for an entire turn even if they aren't killed in melee, but drones are both more likely to survive a charge (better toughness and armour) and they can leave the combat and still shoot, without even having a modified accuracy.

In terms of accuracy, pathfinders are more efficient, but drones are more reliable. The drone controller on the stealth team means that marker drones will always hit on a 4+, whereas pathfinders suffer movement penalties and as has been mentioned can easily be tied up in melee. When moving, drones are actually more accurate than pathfinders.
The weak link is that it requires the drone controller, but with all those drones flying around (especially if you included shield drones) saviour protocols, coupled with the natural survivability of the XV25s should keep it alive.

Finally, movement. Apart from retaining their accuracy on the move, drones also have an extra inch of movement, and they can fly. This allows you to make better use of terrain to shield you from charges and shooting, and also allows them to dance around in that ideal 30-36" away sweet spot where their markerlights can paint a unit while remaining out of range from the majority of return fire. 8" movement also means they outdistance most infantry who might be trying to advance toward them, so they can maintain that safe distance for several turns.

So, overall, drones are less efficient, but they are more mobile, and arguably more durable, for the same points cost. Just thought I'd add that here to make sure we're considering all our options.
Last edited by Harkus959 on Nov 06 2017 03:28, edited 1 time in total.

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Panzer
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Re: Revisiting the Droneport

Post#7 » Nov 06 2017 03:12

Ozzie_prime wrote:i think the main issue of the drone port was when you activate it (improving BS of the drones) the drone have to disembark the droneport.
Did GW faq this part ?

No FAQ since it's intended to work like that.

Nymphomanius wrote:
Ozzie_prime wrote:i think the main issue of the drone port was when you activate it (improving BS of the drones) the drone have to disembark the droneport.
Did GW faq this part ?


No but if you didn't bring the Pathfinder just fireblade you can activate the drones then embark them on the droneport where they can safely fire their BS2+ markerlight lol

No you can't. Only Infantry can embark on the Droneport or Shieldline.

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Harkus959
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Re: Revisiting the Droneport

Post#8 » Nov 06 2017 03:22

Panzer wrote:No you can't. Only Infantry can embark on the Droneport or Shieldline.


I had actually never noticed that drones don't have the <INFANTRY> keyword, does that mean they can't use cover either? What's the logic behind that?

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Re: Revisiting the Droneport

Post#9 » Nov 06 2017 03:31

Panzer wrote:
Ozzie_prime wrote:i think the main issue of the drone port was when you activate it (improving BS of the drones) the drone have to disembark the droneport.
Did GW faq this part ?

No FAQ since it's intended to work like that.

Nymphomanius wrote:
Ozzie_prime wrote:i think the main issue of the drone port was when you activate it (improving BS of the drones) the drone have to disembark the droneport.
Did GW faq this part ?


No but if you didn't bring the Pathfinder just fireblade you can activate the drones then embark them on the droneport where they can safely fire their BS2+ markerlight lol

No you can't. Only Infantry can embark on the Droneport or Shieldline.


Well that's ******* stupid and makes no sense at all.

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Panzer
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Re: Revisiting the Droneport

Post#10 » Nov 06 2017 03:33

Harkus959 wrote:
Panzer wrote:No you can't. Only Infantry can embark on the Droneport or Shieldline.


I had actually never noticed that drones don't have the <INFANTRY> keyword, does that mean they can't use cover either? What's the logic behind that?

They can use cover. Everybody can. They just have the additional restriction that they need to be 50% obscured while being in/on the cover giving terrain just like other non-infantry models like Crisis and vehicles.

Nymphomanius wrote:
Panzer wrote:
Nymphomanius wrote:
No but if you didn't bring the Pathfinder just fireblade you can activate the drones then embark them on the droneport where they can safely fire their BS2+ markerlight lol

No you can't. Only Infantry can embark on the Droneport or Shieldline.


Well that's ******* stupid and makes no sense at all.

It's most likely for balance reasons. Nobody wants to see Shieldlines with tons of Gun Drones on it. I really don't mind that or else you can see people doing dumb stuff like circumvent things the way you mentioned.

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Arka0415
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Re: Revisiting the Droneport

Post#11 » Nov 06 2017 03:43

Harkus959 wrote:Another block to consider is the marker drone block. I really like these guys, and they've proven to be fairly effective, and durable, so I'm going to try and do a comparison and see how it turns out.

Group 4: Marker Drone Block (Mixed)
Fast Attack - 5x Marker Drone, 2x Shield Drone (66)
Fast Attack - 5x Marker Drone, 2x Shield Drone (66)
Elites - 2x XV25 with BC, 1x XV25 with BC and Drone Controller (95)
Total: 227

Group 5: Marker Drone Block (Pure)
Fast Attack - 7x Marker Drone (70)
Fast Attack - 7x Marker Drone (70)
Elites - 2x XV25 with BC, 1x XV25 with BC and Drone Controller (95)
Total: 235

Output:
4) Avg. 5.34 hits, 9.2 BC hits (after the 5 markerlights)
5) Avg. 7.51 hits, 9.2 BC hits (after the 5 markerlights)

Efficiency:
4) 42.5pts/hit
5) 31.29pts/hit

Marker Drones are definitely good- however, they have the same issue as Pathfinders in that alpha strike can remove them pretty easily. Right now we're trying to think about units that are resilient to alpha strike.

Harkus959 wrote:
Arka0415 wrote:Now, let's multiply the number of hits in Group #2 by the optimal efficiency of the Pathfinders, and subtract that sum from the points cost of the units themselves. This will give us a "durability" rating.

Durability:
2. 51.7pts
3. 53.1pts


I'm not sure how you're getting your durability ratings, but I think I'm just misreading something here, as when I multiply the hits by the efficiency, I just wind up with the original points cost of the unit.

2) 216 - (7.9*27.3) = 0.33pts
4) 227 - (5.34*42.5) = 0.05pts
5) 235 - (7.51*31.29) = 0.01pts

However, since I'm doing this wrong, these are useless stats right now. DId you mean "multiply the wounds by the efficiency?" Or am I just missing something completely obvious?

I see where you're confused. To clarify, I said to multiply the number of Markerlight hits of Group #2 and Group #3 by the efficiency of the Pathfinder group, then subtract that product from the cost of Group #2 and Group #3 respectively. That will help us isolate the point value of just the durability, ignoring the points costs of their Markerlights.

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Harkus959
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Re: Revisiting the Droneport

Post#12 » Nov 06 2017 04:50

Arka0415 wrote: I see where you're confused. To clarify, I said to multiply the number of Markerlight hits of Group #2 and Group #3 by the efficiency of the Pathfinder group, then subtract that product from the cost of Group #2 and Group #3 respectively. That will help us isolate the point value of just the durability, ignoring the points costs of their Markerlights.


Oh, right. The pathfinder group was group 1. Thanks for the clarification. A drone port is still vulnerable to alpha strike from melta weaponry or other weapons that deal multiple points of damage though. Our QFC for example could very conceivably wipe it out before it can get a shot off.

I'd say shield drones are a more reliable counter.

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Panzer
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Re: Revisiting the Droneport

Post#13 » Nov 06 2017 05:05

Harkus959 wrote:
Arka0415 wrote: I see where you're confused. To clarify, I said to multiply the number of Markerlight hits of Group #2 and Group #3 by the efficiency of the Pathfinder group, then subtract that product from the cost of Group #2 and Group #3 respectively. That will help us isolate the point value of just the durability, ignoring the points costs of their Markerlights.


Oh, right. The pathfinder group was group 1. Thanks for the clarification. A drone port is still vulnerable to alpha strike from melta weaponry or other weapons that deal multiple points of damage though. Our QFC for example could very conceivably wipe it out before it can get a shot off.

I'd say shield drones are a more reliable counter.

Nothing that's on the board is immune to alpha strikes. The point is to make it harder for the enemey to get to the juicy parts of it. If he wants to kill the Pathfinder, he will do so. But with the Droneport he will have to do dedicate more serious shooting to it which would otherwise be directed at Battlesuits and tanks.

Also despite T'au being rather weak currently, it doesn't mean everything is bad or just mediocre. The QF Commander is possibly one of the best anti-tank/monster alpha strike units in the game. So comparing things with him is kinda difficult. ;)

Shield Drones are fine for Battlesuits and Character. For Pathfinder they do very little. Better just take more Pathfinder instead in that case.

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Arka0415
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Re: Revisiting the Droneport

Post#14 » Nov 06 2017 05:06

Harkus959 wrote:A drone port is still vulnerable to alpha strike from melta weaponry or other weapons that deal multiple points of damage though. Our QFC for example could very conceivably wipe it out before it can get a shot off.


Certainly. That's why a Droneport would need to have a different role than Pathfinders normally have. 5-model or 6-model Pathfinder squads like to hide in cover; however, a Droneport likes to nestle in a larger gunline hopefully containing Fire Warriors and Gun Drones. Targets are certainly concentrated in a small area, but the Droneport can be easily bubble-wrapped without losing tactical viability.

I still think the Droneport isn't a very good option though- I'm just opening up the possibility for discussion since we seem to be talking about alpha strike recently.

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Re: Revisiting the Droneport

Post#15 » Nov 06 2017 05:59

Panzer wrote:Nothing that's on the board is immune to alpha strikes. The point is to make it harder for the enemey to get to the juicy parts of it. If he wants to kill the Pathfinder, he will do so. But with the Droneport he will have to do dedicate more serious shooting to it which would otherwise be directed at Battlesuits and tanks.

Also despite T'au being rather weak currently, it doesn't mean everything is bad or just mediocre. The QF Commander is possibly one of the best anti-tank/monster alpha strike units in the game. So comparing things with him is kinda difficult. ;)

Shield Drones are fine for Battlesuits and Character. For Pathfinder they do very little. Better just take more Pathfinder instead in that case.


Yeah, if your opponent really wants them dead, they can do it. We should just try and make it as difficult as possible.

For pathfinders I agree that shield drones are superfluous, but largely since they're separate units, forced to rely solely on FNP for survival. With drone squads, they can be included in the same unit as the markerlights, meaning you get a save, and FNP, which your opponent can't bypass

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Harkus959
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Re: Revisiting the Droneport

Post#16 » Nov 06 2017 06:05

Arka0415 wrote:
Harkus959 wrote:A drone port is still vulnerable to alpha strike from melta weaponry or other weapons that deal multiple points of damage though. Our QFC for example could very conceivably wipe it out before it can get a shot off.


Certainly. That's why a Droneport would need to have a different role than Pathfinders normally have. 5-model or 6-model Pathfinder squads like to hide in cover; however, a Droneport likes to nestle in a larger gunline hopefully containing Fire Warriors and Gun Drones. Targets are certainly concentrated in a small area, but the Droneport can be easily bubble-wrapped without losing tactical viability.

I still think the Droneport isn't a very good option though- I'm just opening up the possibility for discussion since we seem to be talking about alpha strike recently.


That's true I guess. In a sense, the droneport is only truly survivable if you surround it with additional units, not included in the original block. It also needs to remain stationary for the embarked pathfinders to maintain their efficiency (or your drones need to secure you three markerlights beforehand, but then it seems like we're devoting markerlights to markerlights instead of too shooting).

That said, droneport is great for durable markerlights in a static gunline list.

I prefer mobility, so I'll stick with the drone squads with shields as they strike what I find to be a good balance between mobility, reliable accuracy, and durability.

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Haechi
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Re: Revisiting the Droneport

Post#17 » Nov 06 2017 06:37

The most reliable way to have your markerlights survive an Alpha Strike is to bring 12 of them, accompanying 6 Crisis in manta strike with one DC in the mix. But the cost...

You could also keep them inside a Devilfish and have a Coldstar with DC ready to manta strike when they disembark.

To me, there is no good way to save your markerlights but to multiply them. I hate how easy they are to dispatch, and I love that +1 BS so it's really hard to balance. Yesterday I had a tournament where I fielded 2x 10 Pathfinders, a Cadre, and 2 markers inside Strike Teams. I usually lost one squad of Pathfinder turn one (never got the first turn), and had the second one as back up. But in all honestly I'm starting to give up on the 5 markers hit and I'm going to settle on the rerolls of 1 like everybody else.

In the end though, out of all options, drones, pathfinders, skyray, etc, my favorite is still the pathfinders, because they can also shoot. Yesterday, a Tyranid player was setting up Genestealers to charge my Pathfinders next turn, and instead of shooting my markers, I shot the carbines at them, and killed 8 out of 15 just like that.

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Re: Revisiting the Droneport

Post#18 » Nov 06 2017 06:39

What about the shieldline? 9 pathfinders + fireblade / marksman.

Due to its shape it seems that it would be easy to conceal >50% of it for 3+ Sv and on 5+ would cause MW on whoever shot at it.

It's still mobile if you want it to be, ok you lose the BS 2+ drones but they die to a handful of bolter shots anyway.

Just food for thought.

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