getting to five markerlights

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

Post#19 » Nov 05 2017 02:29

Yeah I think depending on how the Codex looks like I will aim to put my Pathfinder in Drone Ports sooner or later.

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Re: getting to five markerlights

Post#20 » Nov 05 2017 02:50

I tend not to obsess about absolutely positively getting all 5 markerlights on a target. I only aim for 1 markerlight. It's such an investment in resources to get to the magic 5, I don't feel it's worth it. Re-rolling "1" is a reasonable return I find.

And I don't bother with seekers as they do so little damage.

I've taken to using units of drones: 6 gundrones and a single marker drone, with a drone controller of some sort within 6"
Marker drones not getting -1 to hit for moving is worthwhile. And I get to chose which drones dies when shot at so the marker drone dies last.

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Re: getting to five markerlights

Post#21 » Nov 05 2017 05:20

shasocastris wrote: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.

Multiple fireblades is probably the best way of getting accurate, survivable markerlights, but that's quite the points sink for the benefit of a character's targetting immunity and increased BS. If it's worth it, go for it, but I'd like to examine whether it's possible to make "squads" of markerlights more survivable while still including some firepower in them too.

The two blocks of units I'd propose are the marker drone block, and the pathfinder block. Now, these units both seem to suffer from getting shot off the board easily by standard infantry firepower, so let's see if we can make either block more survivable. I'm only going to be looking at making them more survivable against standard infantry weaponry, as anything else shooting at them means an opponent is actually dedicating his army's firepower to wipe them out, and if you try hard enough, you can shoot ANY source of markerlights off the board. What we're looking for, is how to make the enemy work for it and not just have one infantry squad casually blow them away.

Marker drones seem to have the immediate advantage here, with a better toughness stat, and better armour, but they are more expensive than pathfinders. That said, all out units require support to operate effectively, so I don't want to compare single units against each other, but rather the blocks of units that make them effective.

The two general blocks would need to include the following units for optimum efficiency:

Pathfinder block:
Pathfinders (multiple squads ideal, and the block proposed in the original post included some special weapons)
Devilfish (for mobility)
Fireblade/Firesight Marksman/XV84 (the high accuracy markerlight to start the chain)

Marker Drone Block
Tactical Drone (Mix of marker and shield drones)
Drone Controller Unit
Markerlight Unit to start the chain

So, let's build a sample pathfinder block, 2 8-man pathfinder teams, 3 ion rifles each, each in a devilfish, with a Fireblade to start the chain. I chose the Fireblade despite the marksman being cheaper, since he's more accurate, and I don't feel like I'm wasting a bunch of drone support abilities. He can also buff the pulse carbines in the event of overwatch, or if the pathfinders ever need to gun things down instead of lighting them up. Otherwise, the block is pretty bare bones, no seeker missiles, no special drones.
In total, that brings us to 440 points for a reliable accurate batch of markerlights (thanks to the fireblade) that have mobility and survivability (thanks to the devilfish) and can also put out some decent firepower if needed (ion rifles and fireblade buff to carbines).
Removing the devilfish would bring us down to 186 points.

Here is the marker drone block I propose that I think can do that job better, although I will need someone with more mathhammer skills than me to actually crunch the numbers I'm afraid.

Two squads of tactical drones, each with eight marker drones and four shield drones. The drone controller and initial markerlights can be provided by a stealth team. In my opinion this is the best unit to accompany the drones due to their survivability (toughness 4, power armour, the ability to use cover, 2 wounds each, and -1 to enemy to hit rolls is a very nice combo) and their mobility, since their jetpacks will actually allow them to keep up with the drones.
If the accompanying stealth team is equipped as follows: 2 Shas'ui with BC and ATS, I Shas'vre with BC, Drone Controller, markerlight and target lock, the combined block will come to a total of 344 points, and provides you with some firepower in the markerlight block.
Alternatively, the XV25s can exchange their ATS for EWO if you want an insurance policy to weaken deep striking enemies and add to your survivability.

Now, in terms of survivability, I really think the drone block has the advantage. Not only do their base stats give them an advantage, but the ability to include shield drones within their unit means that you get an additional layer of defence thanks to FNP, and that invul save could come in handy if the enemy does decide to target the unit with heavy firepower.
Sticking the pathfinders inside devilfish does give them added survivability, but at a steep points hike, and it also reduces their accuracy as they will have to disembark to fire, thereby incurring the penalty for moving and firing heavy weapons, so their survivabilty comes with the drawbacks of increased cost, and reduced accuracy.
Both can make use of cover, so that doesn't change the status quo, drones are still ahead.

In terms of accuracy, the drones are the same accuracy as the pathfinder's thanks to the drone controller on the Stealth Shas'vre. However, the drones don't suffer a penalty for moving and firing heavy weapons, so they will always hit on a 4+, whereas mobile pathfinders will only be hitting on 5+ unless you already have three markerlights on the target. This means, that as long as the drone controller is in range, drones are actually more accurate than pathfinders, and with the cloud of drones hovering around that stealth team, saviour protocols should ensure its continued survival, and the presence of 8 shield drones means that this might not even result in a casualty to you at all, thanks FNP.

Mobility is key here too, as not only are drones accurate on the move, with a drone controller that can keep up with them to ensure their accuracy remains undiminished, but this mobility can also keep them alive.
Bear in mind, we're trying to make these squads survivable against enemy standard infantry, like tactical squads or guardians, and the general range we can expect from them is either an 18" assault weapon, or a 24" rapid fire weapon. We can also assume a 6-7" move stat (this is strongly based on marine equivalent with a bit of buffer for eldar), so if we can remain 31" away or further, we're completely immune to return fire from the standard weapons of these squads. Fortunately, markerlights have a 36" range, so we still have a good 5" buffer to work with, and the drones can just move back in our movement phase to get out of range again if the enemy does move towards you as their movement of 8" should outdistance the enemy infantry.
Pathfinders could do the same thing, but their accuracy would suffer as a result. Intercessors and enemy fire warriors are still going to give you trouble, but at least you can ensure you're well outside of rapid fire range and thereby mitigate the damage somewhat, hopefully enough that the shield drones can take the hits and keep your markerlights alive.

As to leadership, pathfinders are Ld 7, Drones are Ld 6, and pathfinders can be further buffed by the inclusion of a shas'ui, so that's one point that the pathfinders win for sure. There's not much you can do here, except add in an ethereal (which would aid pathfinders too, so not really a point to the drones there) or perhaps take smaller drone squads (4 markers, 2 shield) at the expense of Force Org slots. If you include fireblades here, you can use this to your advantage to fill out more detachments for bonus command points, but I'm not sure if I'm willing to count that as a win as it might be too much investment for too little return.

Finally, firepower. This one once again goes to the pathfinders thanks to those rail rifles and the fireblade buffs. When they need it, they do have firepower. The devilfish burst cannons and gun drones should be taken into consideration too. By comparison, the drone block just has the XV25s. You can include an additional three BC/ATS stealth suits to bring the drone block up to 448 points (only 8 points more than the pathfinder block including devilfish) and 20 S5 Ap-1 shots is nothing to be sniffed at, however the pathfinder block will definitely put out more dakka, even without overcharging the ion rifles.

That said, it might be better to tool up the stealth suits with EWOs for the same points in an attempt to safeguard your drones from deepstrike assaults. This is debatable though, as the drones will probably be bubbled around your stealth team to benefit from the drone controller, so an enemy can very feasibly deepstrike within a reliable charge range of your drones, but well outside the 12" bubble provided by EWO.

In terms of assaults, the pathfinders have devilfish to tie up enemy units in CC after they disembark, which is very useful. If they are charged themselves, they aren't very durable, and even if they do survive the combat, if they fall back, they can't fire. Drones don't have the devilfish to engage problem units, but they are tougher, and they have fly, as well as shield drones. This means they are more likely to survive a round of combat, and falling back doesn't impair their usefulness in any way.

So, at the end of the day, the marker drones seem to win on survivability and mobility, as well as mobile accuracy, while the pathfinders have more firepower, and can be more accurate if the Fireblade starts the chain, and they're stationary. In my opinion, the drones make better markers, as they're just more reliable overall, but that comes at the cost of not being able to do anything else. Pathfinders can be impaired too easily by movement or assault, but they do allow for devilfish assaults and superior firepower.

That's my (rather long) two cents.

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Re: getting to five markerlights

Post#22 » Nov 05 2017 05:55

I'm looking into making a list that avoids using regular troop infantry. I want to run 3 nine man teams of pathfinders in a 2000 point list, with these "saved points from no regular infantry". It's an investment of 216 points that gives 3 ways to get an average of five markerlights. Unfortunately it means I would have to 'give up' certain formations like battalion. But that's fine. I don't like our small arms fire power regular troops put out, anyways. So pathfinders can shoot like a firewarrior in a pinch but will be primarily focused on adding support to delete problems. If my opponent focuses on removing the pathfinders early. Then I probably ahead anyways since that's less guns on the stuff I care about.

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Re: getting to five markerlights

Post#23 » Nov 05 2017 06:01

Lostroninsoul wrote:I'm looking into making a list that avoids using regular troop infantry. I want to run 3 nine man teams of pathfinders in a 2000 point list, with these "saved points". It's an investment of 216 points that gives 3 ways to get an average of five markerlights. Unfortunately it means I would have to 'give up' certain formations like battalion. But that's fine. I don't like our small arms fire power regular troops put out, anyways. So pathfinders can shoot like a firewarrior in a pinch but will be primarily focused on adding support to delete problems.

I honestly wouldn't make them this big. They die fast and then have to do morale checks. Especially with Pathfinder MSU is the way to go. The only exception I make there is with Rail Rifles (then I aim for 8 model units or 2x6 in a Devilfish).

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Re: getting to five markerlights

Post#24 » Nov 05 2017 10:33

I would also say a 9 man in a drone port with a markerlight character is Acceptible. Now im assuming darkstriders or fireblades ablilties don't work inside?

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Re: getting to five markerlights

Post#25 » Nov 05 2017 10:52

AleksandrGRC wrote:I would also say a 9 man in a drone port with a markerlight character is Acceptible. Now im assuming darkstriders or fireblades ablilties don't work inside?

They don't work inside, but, I’d say that 9 Pathfinders and a Marksman in a Droneport is a better choice than the same units in a Devilfish, as a Markerlight unit. The Devilfish has tactical viability in other ways, but for Markerlights the Droneport is better.

I still wouldn't say the Droneport is good, but it has decent value as long as you keep the points down.

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Re: getting to five markerlights

Post#26 » Nov 05 2017 11:35

I read up a list on dakka dakka some guy was raving about three gunrigs with marksmen and pathfinders with rifles n stuff. though i have many differences his list set the tone for what My current list looks like.
Even though deep down i really want to play a riptide coldstar pirhanna and vespid type force, i guess thats littered with Markerdrones and breachers?

I don't own gunrigs so i went droneport and three hammerheads w longstrike then commander and 3 flamer suits w stealths. as many markerlights as i could spam over firwarriors fireblade marksmen and more pathfinders.

I get what he is saying about gunrigs but until i own some im going to enjoy the mobility of our MBTs.
And their seeker missiles killing a in cover devestator squad for 30 pts. I enjoy moving 12" and hitting on 2+ eith heavy weapons.
And if hammerheads do get to fire twice once the codex comes out... anyways. My vote is if you spam anything. Spam markerlights.

And ill try switching cadre out from the port.

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Re: getting to five markerlights

Post#27 » Nov 07 2017 05:15

AnonAmbientLight wrote: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.

I've tried this before and I have to say it was excellent, but only in larger scale games (1500pts+). I only have a single unit of Pathfinders, so in a bigger game, getting extra Markers (especially BS2+) is fairly critical, plus factoring in the fact the Droneport is open-topped, so you can shoot out of it. The only issue is you don't get the Fireblade's Volley Fire ability, as it's technically a transport, but that's a small price to pay for 5 near-guaranteed markers.
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