getting to five markerlights

Discuss tactical and strategic development for 40K/Tau.
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shasocastris
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getting to five markerlights

Post#1 » Nov 04 2017 11:20

Something I've been thinking about for a while is how to consistently get to five markerlights on a target over more than one turn. Something we've repeatedly come across is loosing a squad of pathfinders or marker drones to a turn of dedicated bolter fire. I know that often times I've resigned myself to getting a single markerlight hit on a few units and not trying to get to that oh so powerful five hits.

Recently, however, I've been experimenting with getting four or five markerlights on a single target more consistently over the course of a game. Below are some thoughts on this topic. Note: For the course of this article, I'm ignoring the difficulty of getting five markerlights hit when facing an army that has -1 to hit. For me, that is its own topic.

My first thought was to take a supreme command detachment of five Cadre Fireblades and a Firesight Marksman. This is five BS 2+ and one BS 3+ markerlights which is pretty reliable. Another upside is that they are all characters and thus relatively survivable. The downside is that it's six drops and a 234 points dedicated more or less solely to markerlights.

I've also just taken multiple ten man units of Pathfinders. That has a certain appeal, but they ultimately suffer from the original problem of getting shot off the table.

My current solution is a more combined arms approach. One of my favorite units is the XV84, both for the look and its networked markerlight rule. By taking two missile pods, I have the same range as a standard markerlight and four chances to hit. I lose some of the flexibility of a standard commander weapons wise, but gain the utility of placing a markerlight token on essentially any unit within 36".

Afterwards comes two Cadre Fireblades, which have a 35/36 chance of hitting (if they don't move) or 7/9 chance (if they do move). In general, since I tend to leave the fireblades stationary, getting both extra hits usually happens.

The next part are pathfinders deployed from Devilfish. After considering various ways of protecting them (bunkers, bastions, etc) I think our transport is the way to go. What's more, since there are already three markerlights on the target, they don't suffer the penalty for moving and shooting heavy weapons. So even with three pathfinders, there is a decent chance of getting up to five markerlights. And since the minimum unit is five, it's very likely that this will occur.

And to keep doing this, one can simply take another small unit of pathfinders in the same devilfish or (my preferred method) take multiple devilfish with pathfinder teams in each. Over the past few games, it's meant that I've been able to have a single unit with 4 or 5 markerlights on it consistently for at least three turns.

For those wondering about the firepower of a list that does this, don't discount that pathfinders can get some pretty mean special weapons. I've found that six man teams with three railrifles/ion rifles, provides both the markerlight support and punching power needed, even after moving thanks to having three markerlights already on target. I tend to fill the other six spaces with breachers.

Thoughts to ponder.

Cheers!

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Lostroninsoul
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Re: getting to five markerlights

Post#2 » Nov 05 2017 03:29

Mathhammering hit rolls should show 9 bs 4 shots on average will get 5 lights(slow roll until you get your first markerlight for max effect). That's 72 points of pathfinders, or 90 points or marker drones with a drone controller (crisis suit manta strikes protect them in reserve)

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Harkus959
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Re: getting to five markerlights

Post#3 » Nov 05 2017 04:25

If the problem is survivability of pathfinders, it might be worth taking two units of tactical drones instead.

They're a little more expensive than pathfinders, but have better armour and don't suffer the accuracy penalty for moving and firing heavy weapons. Plus you can include shield drones as part of the unit to add an extra level of protection and survivability for your markerlights.

A nearby model with a drone controller makes marker drones just as accurate as pathfinder markerlights too, do the trade-off is that you're losing the firepower of the pathfinder special weapons in exchange for a more durable, mobile blob of markerlights for slightly more points per model.
In fact, depending on special weapons and whether or not you put the pathfinders in a devilfish, a blob of marker drones with some shield drones for protection may well end up being a cheaper squad too.

I'll have to check the details, but I think it might work surprisingly well for a consistent source of markerlights.

Orion7
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Re: getting to five markerlights

Post#4 » Nov 05 2017 06:18

Is it not worth getting a pair of tetras with the special triple strength marker lights and mobility?

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Arka0415
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Re: getting to five markerlights

Post#5 » Nov 05 2017 06:28

Orion7 wrote:Is it not worth getting a pair of tetras with the special triple strength marker lights and mobility?

Sadly, I don't think so- you get triple-strength Markerlights but almost always hit on 5+. For the same points you could get a much more reliable bunch of Marker Drones.

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Panzer
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Re: getting to five markerlights

Post#6 » Nov 05 2017 06:36

There are only few ways to ensure having enough Markerlights after the initial alpha strike from your opponent:
1. Redundancy. Spam as many small Pathfinder units as possible and hope some of them survive.
2. Marker Drones that come in later with a Crisis unit.
3. Hiding Markerlights on Characters like the Marksman and the Fireblade. Markerlights on Shas'Ui go in the same direction but no Firewarrior unit will survive a serious alpha strike unless there are better targets left and they still only have BS4+.

DancinHobo
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Re: getting to five markerlights

Post#7 » Nov 05 2017 07:04

I like the idea of multiple Fireblades. Do their volley fire stack?

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Arka0415
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Re: getting to five markerlights

Post#8 » Nov 05 2017 07:18

DancinHobo wrote:I like the idea of multiple Fireblades. Do their volley fire stack?

Sadly no, if they did they would be the best units in the game probably! :D

However, a second Fireblade can be good for all sorts of reasons. You get two solid Markerlights and two buffs that can be in different locations; so you can have one in your gunline and one with your Gun Drones if you like.

More than two Fireblades is really just for Markerlight shenanigans though.

DancinHobo
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Re: getting to five markerlights

Post#9 » Nov 05 2017 08:06

Arka0415 wrote:
DancinHobo wrote:I like the idea of multiple Fireblades. Do their volley fire stack?

Sadly no, if they did they would be the best units in the game probably! :D

However, a second Fireblade can be good for all sorts of reasons. You get two solid Markerlights and two buffs that can be in different locations; so you can have one in your gunline and one with your Gun Drones if you like.

More than two Fireblades is really just for Markerlight shenanigans though.

Thanks! I was thinking if they don’t. No big deal. I run 3 5 man fire warriors a lot. Put a fire blade near each. Almost a guaranteed 3 lights. If they focus the same target you eliminate penalties for moving with heavy weapons. And then you would only need 2 more lights for that last buff. I think I might try this my next game.

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Arka0415
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Re: getting to five markerlights

Post#10 » Nov 05 2017 08:35

DancinHobo wrote:Thanks! I was thinking if they don’t. No big deal. I run 3 5 man fire warriors a lot. Put a fire blade near each. Almost a guaranteed 3 lights. If they focus the same target you eliminate penalties for moving with heavy weapons. And then you would only need 2 more lights for that last buff. I think I might try this my next game.

If you do this, you're really just doing it for the Markerlights. For 42 points you're buying 5 extra Pulse Rifle shots... for 40 points you could have had 10 more Pulse Rifle shots. You need at least 10 Fire Warriors to make a Fireblade worth it, and more than 10 is even better.

However, if you're doing it for the Markerlights... who knows, maybe it's worth it. Here are two possible small gunlines:

-

1x Fireblade
6x Fire Warriors
6x Fire Warriors
6x Fire Warriors
5x Pathfinders
5x Pathfinders

Total:
266 points
Avg. 5.83 Markerlight hits

-

1x Fireblade
1x Fireblade
1x Fireblade
6x FIre Warriors
6x Fire Warriors
6x Fire Warriors

Total:
270 points
Avg. 2.49 Markerlight hits

-

If you get 6 Fireblades you can arguably/statistically get 5 Markerlight hits per turn; this will cost you 252 points. A corresponding number of Pathfinders would get you 16 Markerlight hits.

Frankly, I just don't know which is better.

My guess is that characters armed with Markerlights can be viable for getting single hits on a few enemy targets, but the full suite of 5 hits seems like an expensive investment indeed.

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shasocastris
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Re: getting to five markerlights

Post#11 » Nov 05 2017 10:48

Panzer wrote:There are only few ways to ensure having enough Markerlights after the initial alpha strike from your opponent:
1. Redundancy. Spam as many small Pathfinder units as possible and hope some of them survive.
2. Marker Drones that come in later with a Crisis unit.
3. Hiding Markerlights on Characters like the Marksman and the Fireblade. Markerlights on Shas'Ui go in the same direction but no Firewarrior unit will survive a serious alpha strike unless there are better targets left and they still only have BS4+.

Regarding pt 2, putting pathfinders in a Devilfish is similar to this tactic. The reason I don't use marker drones is because people remember their 7th ed incarnation and kill mine with prejudice.

Cheers!

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Panzer
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Re: getting to five markerlights

Post#12 » Nov 05 2017 11:17

Yeah, putting them in a Devilfish is basically low key reserves for Pathfinder. Just hope you don't roll too many 1s when it gets destroyed (I once lost half of my Breacher that way lol) and the problem is that if it doesn't get destroyed the turn you disembark you only hit on 5s so you'd need more pathfinder than normally (at least until you hit the third Markerlight).

It also begs the question...why not just take 4x4 more Pathfinder instead of that one Devilfish as long as you have enough Detachments available. ^^

Nymphomanius
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Re: getting to five markerlights

Post#13 » Nov 05 2017 11:29

Panzer wrote:Yeah, putting them in a Devilfish is basically low key reserves for Pathfinder. Just hope you don't roll too many 1s when it gets destroyed (I once lost half of my Breacher that way lol) and the problem is that if it doesn't get destroyed the turn you disembark you only hit on 5s so you'd need more pathfinder than normally (at least until you hit the third Markerlight).

It also begs the question...why not just take 4x4 more Pathfinder instead of that one Devilfish as long as you have enough Detachments available. ^^


Minimum Pathfinder squad size is 5? But 3x5 and you'd still have points left over (hand out a couple ion rifles or something?)

Also I don't know about you guys but pathfinders are the only thing I take in fast attack and you get 3 in a Battalion and 2 in a vanguard so 5 squads plus fireblade to get ML 1 should be more than enough :D

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Panzer
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Re: getting to five markerlights

Post#14 » Nov 05 2017 12:18

Nymphomanius wrote:
Panzer wrote:Yeah, putting them in a Devilfish is basically low key reserves for Pathfinder. Just hope you don't roll too many 1s when it gets destroyed (I once lost half of my Breacher that way lol) and the problem is that if it doesn't get destroyed the turn you disembark you only hit on 5s so you'd need more pathfinder than normally (at least until you hit the third Markerlight).

It also begs the question...why not just take 4x4 more Pathfinder instead of that one Devilfish as long as you have enough Detachments available. ^^


Minimum Pathfinder squad size is 5? But 3x5 and you'd still have points left over (hand out a couple ion rifles or something?)

Also I don't know about you guys but pathfinders are the only thing I take in fast attack and you get 3 in a Battalion and 2 in a vanguard so 5 squads plus fireblade to get ML 1 should be more than enough :D

Right, my bad. 3x5 then. :P

I take tons of Pathfinder, Drones and Vespid in Fast Attack. But I was obviously talking about detachment restrictions and in case you already filled your slots with other detachments (LoW, HQs, etc.)

Nymphomanius
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Re: getting to five markerlights

Post#15 » Nov 05 2017 12:44

Panzer wrote:
Nymphomanius wrote:
Panzer wrote:Yeah, putting them in a Devilfish is basically low key reserves for Pathfinder. Just hope you don't roll too many 1s when it gets destroyed (I once lost half of my Breacher that way lol) and the problem is that if it doesn't get destroyed the turn you disembark you only hit on 5s so you'd need more pathfinder than normally (at least until you hit the third Markerlight).

It also begs the question...why not just take 4x4 more Pathfinder instead of that one Devilfish as long as you have enough Detachments available. ^^


Minimum Pathfinder squad size is 5? But 3x5 and you'd still have points left over (hand out a couple ion rifles or something?)

Also I don't know about you guys but pathfinders are the only thing I take in fast attack and you get 3 in a Battalion and 2 in a vanguard so 5 squads plus fireblade to get ML 1 should be more than enough :D

Right, my bad. 3x5 then. :P

I take tons of Pathfinder, Drones and Vespid in Fast Attack. But I was obviously talking about detachment restrictions and in case you already filled your slots with other detachments (LoW, HQs, etc.)


I've never used Vespid I may have to proxy some see if it's worth buying a few and I bought my army 2nd hand initially and came with 2 drones total appart from the 2 glued to the Devilfish :D

I've bought more stuff since then including a start collecting so have a workable amount of drones, after codex drops I may get more but all pathfinders atm :biggrin:

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Lostroninsoul
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Re: getting to five markerlights

Post#16 » Nov 05 2017 01:17

Yesterday I played a 1500 point , 3 game event. I was happy with pathfindersx10 , crisis suit markerdrone x9. Game one: pathfinders tanked damage from units I cared about from a unsuccessful alpha strike. Marker drone team proceed ed to give me one valuable turn of marker lights to delete problematic units. In the other two games had limited marker light support the full game. Pathfinders are great when left alone but I think are better at distracting our enemies from our good stuff. I am happy with crisis suit markerlight team pairing with pathfinders.

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shasocastris
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Re: getting to five markerlights

Post#17 » Nov 05 2017 01:47

Panzer wrote:Yeah, putting them in a Devilfish is basically low key reserves for Pathfinder. Just hope you don't roll too many 1s when it gets destroyed (I once lost half of my Breacher that way lol) and the problem is that if it doesn't get destroyed the turn you disembark you only hit on 5s so you'd need more pathfinder than normally (at least until you hit the third Markerlight).

It also begs the question...why not just take 4x4 more Pathfinder instead of that one Devilfish as long as you have enough Detachments available. ^^

To answer the first part, the XV84 and the 2 cadre fireblades negate the movement penalty for the pathfinders when the disembark.

To the second, it's largely my play style. I like having the choice of whether to go first or second so minimizing drops is key. I also put special weapons in the pathfinder team, so mobility is often required.

Also, the tactical utility of having a devilfish charge a unit not really equipped to kill a vehicle in melee (and without fly) is truly spectacular. I've won a fair few games because I've kept things like hormagaunts, chaos terminators and land raiders. And if they are a melee unit, even if they have fly, they can't fall back and charge. Bwahaha!

I fully understand the 'take more pathfinder units' philosophy. My approach is simply different.

Cheers!

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AnonAmbientLight
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Re: getting to five markerlights

Post#18 » Nov 05 2017 02:18

You could save points and get a Shieldline or a Droneport instead of the Devilfish.

Devilfish (Gun Drones) - 127pts

Droneport (Four Marker Drones) - 110pts

Shieldine - 70pts

The Devilfish has T7, W12 and a 3+ save. The Droneport is T7 W10 with a 4+ and the Shieldline is T6 W10 with a 4+ save.

You could take a single Cadre Fireblade and one Droneport with four Markerdrones at the cost of 152pts. This would give you 5 BS2 Markerlights a turn, but would require your Markerlight Drones to detach from the protection of the Droneport. It would be a good source of BS2 Markerlights though.

You could then use this source of BS2 Makrerlights to assist the shooting of other dedicated groups like your XV84 Commander or other Pathfinder teams. With lucky dice I would imagine you could get three or so +5 markerlight groupings a turn.

I guess it would look like this.

XV84 Commander - MP, DC, with 2 Markerlight Drones. **Side note here. Battlescribe says that I can only select two wargear options for the XV84 Commander. Is that right?**
Cadre Fireblade

Pathfinder Team x9

Markerlight Drones x4

Tidewall Droneport with 4 Markerlight Drones (Cadre and Pathfinders go here).

This would cost you 399 points. With the XV84 you have six BS2 markerlights, and thirteen BS4 markerlights with the Pathfinders and Drones.
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