Markerlights and the Stormsurge

A review of Rules of Engagement from earlier encounters.
frezik
Shas
Posts: 10

Markerlights and the Stormsurge

Post#1 » Oct 07 2016 02:15

I was reading over the rules for Pinpoint on Markerlight and found some odd interactions with Gargantuan creatures like the Stormsurge. The closest thread I could find on the issue only touched on this in terms of Target Lock/Split Fire, which isn't quite the same as what Gargantuan creatures do.

From the Tau Empire codex, page 123 (emphasis added):

Pinpoint: All models firing at the target as part of this shooting attack gain a bonus to their Ballistic Skill for the duration of the shooting attack.


The increase in BS or Ignores Cover affects the model doing the firing (Scour has similar wording to the above). This is not a complication with Target Lock or Split Fire models, since they still have to fire all their weapons at a single target. It is an issue for Gargantuan creatures, however.

Let's say an Imperial Knight has 5 markerlight tokens, and a unit of Space Marines with no markerlights is also in range. The Stormsurge takes 3 tokens on the Knight for Pinpoint, and 2 for Scour. It then fires the Pulsecannon at the Knight and all other weapons at the Marines. In addition to the affects on the Knight, the Stormsurge still gets +3BS and Ignores Cover against the Marines.

Silly? Yes. But it is Rule as Written.

This is a double-edge sword, however, when we look at the Stormsurge's rules for Stabilizing Anchors (Tau Empire codex, page 104, emphasis added):

In the Shooting phase of your next turn, and in each subsequent Shooting phase, a Stormsurge with its anchors deployed can fire twice. Make the second shooting attack directly after the first has been resolved.


The wording of Pinpoint and Scour only affect the current shooting attack, but with anchors, the Stormsurge is considered to be making a second, separate shooting attack. That means the BS increase and Ignores Cover does not carry over into the second attack.

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Vector Strike
Shas'La
Shas'La
Posts: 955

Re: Markerlights and the Stormsurge

Post#2 » Oct 07 2016 04:12

If you still want to have friends, do this way:

- BS and Ignores Cover only apply to the attacks against the target which ML tokes were expended (so the +3BS in your example wouldn't affect the marines)
- BS and Ignores Cover to apply to the second attack, in the same way of the first attack (i.e. if the enemy with ML tokens is still alive).

pilky
Shas'La
Shas'La
Posts: 249

Re: Markerlights and the Stormsurge

Post#3 » Oct 07 2016 04:15

The rule you quoted clearly states it only affects units shooting at the target. So all the weapons you fire as the Knight get the bonuses, but not the ones against the Space Marines (as while they're fired in the same shooting attack, they're not fired at the target on which the markerlights were located)

Rathstar
Shas'La
Shas'La
Posts: 77

Re: Markerlights and the Stormsurge

Post#4 » Oct 07 2016 04:56

Hi,

Also the draft FAQ, although talking about Split Fire clearly shows the intention that only shooting at the unit that had markerlights on it gets the bonus, and in your situation the marines would not be affected.

Q. Markerlights in Codex: Tau Empire - it seems to be the case that you can only fire at the target you used the markerlights on, but if you have a unit with Split Fire, people sometimes argue that you can split your attacks and spread the benefits of the markerlights. Is this correct ?

A. No. Each markerlight counter is spent to provide a specific bonus against a single unit. A model in the firing unit using Split Fire special rule to fire at another target would not benefit from any markerlight counters expended against the unit's primary target.

Rathstar

frezik
Shas
Posts: 10

Re: Markerlights and the Stormsurge

Post#5 » Oct 07 2016 05:07

pilky wrote:The rule you quoted clearly states it only affects units shooting at the target/


That's correct, and the Stormsurge did shoot at that target. It just happened that it also shot at other targets. As written, the model still gets the bonus for the duration of the shooting attack.

Rathstar wrote:Also the draft FAQ, although talking about Split Fire clearly shows the intention that only shooting at the unit that had markerlights on it gets the bonus, and in your situation the marines would not be affected.


Split Fire is clearly different with Rule as Written, even without the FAQ. But Split Fire and the shooting rules for Gargantuan Creatures are subtly different things. Split Fire means one of your models in a larger unit can shoot at a different target. Gargantuan Creatures have their own rule that says a single model can shoot at different targets. The subtle distinction is what's being exploited here.

(While we're on it, the Target Lock system isn't strictly Split Fire, either. It just has very similar wording to Split Fire.)

I agree that this likely goes against Rule as Intended, but it's not what's written.

I also agree with Vector Strike, that this probably isn't the right interpretation for keeping friends :D

tehlegend
Shas'Ui
Shas'Ui
Posts: 524

Re: Markerlights and the Stormsurge

Post#6 » Oct 07 2016 05:21

This idea has been tried many times in the previous editions by way of target locks in crisis suits squads.

It was never legal then and it hasn't changed since then. Marker light bonuses may only be claimed by a unit for weapons targeting the unit that has the marker light tokens.

On the flip side, there is no limit to the number of units you can spend marker light tokens from. you may spend 5 from target unit A, 5 from target unit B... target unit C, D, E, etc. to boost individual weapons targeting each respective unit.

in our current iteration of the rules it states (... with emphasis in bold by me) :

Codex: Tau Empire (2012) p68 wrote:
Pinpoint: Markerlight Cost: 1
All models firing at the target as part of this Shooting attack gain a bonus to their Ballistic Skill for the duration of the shooting attack.




Codex: Tau Empire (2012) p68 wrote:
Scour: Markerlight Cost: 2
All weapons fired at the target as part of this Shooting attack gains the Ignores Cover Special rule


frezik
Shas
Posts: 10

Re: Markerlights and the Stormsurge

Post#7 » Oct 07 2016 10:42

This idea has been tried many times in the previous editions by way of target locks in crisis suits squads.


Again, this isn't Split Fire/Target Locks. The special shooting rules for Gargantuan Creatures have a different wording.

All models firing at the target as part of this Shooting attack gain a bonus to their Ballistic Skill for the duration of the shooting attack.


Exactly--the Stormsurge is a model, firing at that target. They also happen to fire at a different target, with the same model doing the shooting attack. That doesn't happen with Split Fire/Target Locks. Totally different part of the rules.

Edit: Scour actually is a little different wording. The current wording would only apply to a specific unit firing at a specific target. The above is still valid for Pinpoint.

pilky
Shas'La
Shas'La
Posts: 249

Re: Markerlights and the Stormsurge

Post#8 » Oct 08 2016 02:24

frezik wrote:
pilky wrote:The rule you quoted clearly states it only affects units shooting at the target/


That's correct, and the Stormsurge did shoot at that target. It just happened that it also shot at other targets. As written, the model still gets the bonus for the duration of the shooting attack.


Sure, but the second target is not the target which had the marker lights on, which breaks the rule on markerlights and therefore the firer gets no benefit. The rule as written is pretty clear that you get the bonus, for the duration of the shooting attack, for any attacks against the target. The duration part is only there as Tau models often have multiple weapons.

You can certainly try to play it the way you want, but it requires ignoring parts of the RAW, and going against the very clear RAI

frezik
Shas
Posts: 10

Re: Markerlights and the Stormsurge

Post#9 » Oct 08 2016 07:22

pilky wrote:Sure, but the second target is not the target which had the marker lights on, which breaks the rule on markerlights and therefore the firer gets no benefit.


In the current rules, there is nothing that says that.

The key in Pinpoint is "for the duration of the shooting attack". Since the Stormsurge's anchor rule specifically says it can make a second shooting attack, a "shooting attack" must include all the weapons being fired by the model. This normally wouldn't apply outside of Gargantuan Creatures and their special firing rules.

If a "shooting attack" covered only a single weapon at a time, then I would agree. In such a case, though, the Stormsurge's anchor rule would only allow firing a single weapon twice. That's generally not how it's played.

I don't intend to play this way at all. It's the sort of thing that will make more people hate Tau even more. But it is RAW.

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Unicornsilovethem
Shas'Saal
Posts: 278

Re: Markerlights and the Stormsurge

Post#10 » Oct 08 2016 08:25

The rules do not actually define what a "shooting attack" is. We ran into some problems with the Hailfire rule in the Riptide Wing for that reason. It is not entirely clear whether a participating Riptide can shoot 2xHBC at target 1 and 2xMissiles at target 2, or if it must first shoot HBC+Missiles at target 1 and can then shoot HBC+Missiles at target 2. The most natural interpretation imo is that one "shooting attack" equals shooting once with all normally allowed weapons, at a single target unless special rules allow otherwise.

frezik
Shas
Posts: 10

Re: Markerlights and the Stormsurge

Post#11 » Oct 08 2016 08:56

Unicornsilovethem wrote:The most natural interpretation imo is that one "shooting attack" equals shooting once with all normally allowed weapons, at a single target unless special rules allow otherwise.


I agree with this, and Gargantuan Creatures do indeed have a special rule otherwise. But let's explore an alternative, where a "shooting attack" is just a single set of named weapons from a unit firing at a target.

If that were the case, it wouldn't make sense for Pinpoint to say "for the duration of the shooting attack". Since only one set of named weapons in the unit is being fired, it doesn't have much of a duration.

It would also mean the Stormsurge's anchor rule would let it fire a weapon at one unit, and immediately fire it again at the same or a different unit. I believe the current ruling in FAQs and the ITC is that Gargantuan Creatures must declare all attacks and resolve them. In the case of the Stormsurge's anchors, it declares the first set of attacks, and then can declare the second separately once the first has been resolved.

Edit: In addition, "for the duration of the shooting attack" means that Pinpoint only affects one set of named weapons for the unit. Other weapons shot don't get the bonus, even if they were firing at the same unit. That does not seem to be RAI.

It's not a slam dunk, but it does appear to fit better if '"shooting attack' equals shooting once with all normally allowed weapons". Circling back, this means Pinpoint's bonus applies to all weapons on a model fired at any target, as long as at least one of them was fired at a unit with markerlights to remove. It also means that bonus does not carry over to the Stormsurge's second set of shots.

Further edits:

After looking over the latest draft FAQ:

[spoiler=]Image[/spoiler]

Each markerlight counter is spent to provide a specific bonus or affect against a single unit


The question being answered was about Split Fire, but this sentence would clearly affect how Gargantuan Creatures shoot with markerlights. So if the draft FAQ is in effect, then you can't boost the Stormsurge's attacks on other units this way.

Interestingly, it would still mean the Pinpoint bonus does not carry over into the second shooting attack by a Stormsurge. This ruling nerfs the Stormsurge.

pilky
Shas'La
Shas'La
Posts: 249

Re: Markerlights and the Stormsurge

Post#12 » Oct 09 2016 03:22

frezik wrote:
pilky wrote:Sure, but the second target is not the target which had the marker lights on, which breaks the rule on markerlights and therefore the firer gets no benefit.


In the current rules, there is nothing that says that.

The key in Pinpoint is "for the duration of the shooting attack". Since the Stormsurge's anchor rule specifically says it can make a second shooting attack, a "shooting attack" must include all the weapons being fired by the model. This normally wouldn't apply outside of Gargantuan Creatures and their special firing rules.

If a "shooting attack" covered only a single weapon at a time, then I would agree. In such a case, though, the Stormsurge's anchor rule would only allow firing a single weapon twice. That's generally not how it's played.

I don't intend to play this way at all. It's the sort of thing that will make more people hate Tau even more. But it is RAW.


You mean except the bits in both the Pinpoint and the Scour marker light abilities that state they only affect the target? RAW matches the way you intend to play, it's just for some reason you're choosing to ignore parts of the RAW to make some unknown point ;)

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