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This week we're discussing Markerlights and their role in the Tau army. From delivery methods (Pathfinders, Skyrays, Fire Warriors, Stealth Squads, Marker Drones - what do you use?) to strategies, everything Markerlight related can go here! Share some experiences, brainstorm some new tactics and discuss the old ones.
How important are Markerlights in 5th edition? Are they better/worse off than in 4th? How many do you use in your army list?
In my experiences, Markerlights don't have much of a place in my army lists, though I'm trying to give them more and more of a chance. Commanders, Deathrains, Railheads, Skyrays and Broadsides can all be at least Bs4, and often twin-linked. The only units in my lists that have a mediocre hit rate are: Fire Warriors, Kroot, and Stealth teams. One way that I've begun including Markerlights into my list is by giving my Fire Warrior Shas'ui team leaders a markerlight and hard-wired target lock. This allows them to target separately from their unit and support other squads without forcing the squad to ignore a good target. Also, with a Sky Ray in my list, I can get some extra anti-tank called in should I need it. The Sky Ray itself is quite a handy tank, great at supporting other units and picking away at infantry squads with its secondary weapon system. I've yet to use Pathfinders regularly, as dedicating a squad to markerlight hits seems a bit... useless in my eyes, and I'm not yet at the point where I find I need that many markerlights. The mandatory Devilfish is also a double-edged blade in my eyes, as their Gun Drones will give your enemy a free kill point, and they're no longer as effective as Warfish as they were in 4th edition. Stealth Markerlight teams are great, but far too expensive, and Sniper teams take up a valuable slot in the Heavy Support area of our lists.
My gaming group's new motto: That army you're using is overpowered because it hurts my guys, codex is broken and needs a rewrite.
Personally i love my pathfinders, I put or run them into cover and most of the people i play agianst will just pour fire into them because they are afraid of markerlights. They dont always get thier points back but they always tie up more then thier points worth for a few rounds. The markerlights i field usually make some impact on my games, but ever since i negated the cover saves of a devestator squad in a bunker then killed them all with railguns and plasma/fusion, the biggest use of markerlights for me is fear of markerlights.
The new rule for dedicated transports has definitely turned me back on to Pathfinders. Before, you had to waste points on a nearly useless Fish, but now the unit choice seems like a steal by comparison.
Our jump jets getting Relentless is quite a boon for Stealth markers. I'm becoming a fan of team leaders with TA and MLs. A BS4, JSJing ML is nothing to scoff at.
Also, I think MLs may be even more necessary than before for stripping cover saves, considering the abundance of the 4+ variety...
Last edited by psichotykwyrm; August 21st, 2008 at 14:02. Reason: spelling
"It takes a vast amount of self control to be this dangerous."
---Ogvai Ogvai Helmshrot, Jarl of Tra, VI Legion Astartes
A lot has been made over the new stealth marker team, and while the mobility of the squad, combined with the stealth gens make the unit quite a hard nut to crack, I have to say that I am not that big a fan of it.
I am so used to having a squad of five or six stealths with BC's that go hunting enemy troops that the loss of this excellent offensive unit, in replacement for a support unit really messes up my regular tactics. Also for me it is a bit of a points sink.
A three man stealth squad with Team leader upgrade, markerlight, MT and two Marker drones will cost you around 170 pts and this only provides you with three ML's. My regular six man stealth squad is only ten more points than that.
So for me the best way to get markerlights in the list is still Pathfinders. A squad of 8 with a Shas'Ui with Target lock only costs 111 pts. You get 8 markerlights that can fire at two different units. Or for 150 pts (twenty points less than the stealth marker team) you can get two units of five Pathfinders with Shas'Ui w Target lock, and you have ten ML's that can fire at four different units. This is of course with the understanding that you were going to buy a 'fish for your FW's anyway. Therefore it is not included in the points cost.
I agree with the above statements, with the fifth ed. rules on cover, I feel that Markerlights have become even more important for the Tau to bring to battle, so bring as many as possible. I have been play testing the two squads mentioned above, plus the markers that come with my skyray. Seems to be working out really well.
The only thing that limits use of markerlights in my lists is points cost. I use to think they were way overpriced (X pts for a single markerlight in a squad?! 3X pts for marker drone?! Saddling Pathfinders with an expensive Devilfish they rarely used themselves?!)
However, as my experience with the army grew, I came to realize just how effective markerlights were, and continue to be. They are a force multiplier unique in 40K, and we should pack in as many as we can afford. If I field fewer than 8 markerlights or so, I start to get worried. They do so many things! And having a bunch means that you can do more than just increase the BS of your fire warriors. I'm finding the ability to reduce/remove cover saves absolutely crucial to success on 5th edition tables, where 4+ cover is everywhere.
The skyray is my single favorite markerlight platform. Mobile, resilient, BS 4 if you include a targeting array (and you really should ), able to mark two disparate targets ... and it comes with a complement of seeker missiles to boot! What's not to love?
I used to dislike pathfinders, because of the devilfish anchor, but now that dedicated transports aren't so dedicated anymore, virtually every list should have a squad of these guys. Maybe even two....
I used stealth marker teams in the past, often in preference to pathfinders, and they only got better thanks to the clarifications on jump packs. However, I now strongly prefer pathfinders to these guys (because of the overall expense), but still use them in large games where I have the points. In a pinch, they can take the benefits of their marker drones for themselves, which is handy in enough gametime situations to be worth consideration.
Speaking of marker drones, I would want to have a pair in every unmounted fire warrior squad (if I could afford it, of course). This would allow the squad to mark targets even while on the move. But if you can spare 15 pts for a markerlight and HW target lock on the shas'ui, that'll do in a pinch as well.
I'd use sniper teams -- for the BS 4 markerlights! -- except that I prefer all the other heavy support choices so much more. (I've always wondered why they weren't elites.) However, I shall never forget israfel's army lists, built around sniper teams and multiple piranha skimmer teams. It's a style of play I'm eager to try some day; seems just as viable under the new edition of the game as it ever was in 4th.
ninjabackhand: point and click, again, really? even after i give you an military term "shock tactic" you still call it point and click.
RIP Warhammer 40,000: 21 Sep 1998 - 24 May 2014
I'm hot and cold on markerlights. Sometimes I take them, often I don't. They have never made an appreciable difference to the end result of a game.
The way I see it, to include markerlights you have to loose something else. So it balances out, what markerlights let you do is have a small, elite force.
Markerlights are now much more useful and valuable than they used to be. With new movement abilities for any Markerlight on a jetpack unit, the preponderance of cover saves and the bonus to BS the ML gives, just why is anyone not going to get anything but positive results taking them.
The new rules’ regarding the Devilfish has meant I can take a unit of PF's and use their Devil Fish to transport my Fire Warriors, this means I do not have to pay for an extra DF, this leaves me with 85 pts to use on ML Drones.
I take 13 ML's in my 2000pt list and I can target 7 units a turn, this means I am usually able to get ML boosts against 4 or 5 units a turn. Just consider that fact, I am able to either up the BS of the unit targeting the opponent, reduce cover saves, launch seekers or reduce LDS for pinning (I take Gun Drones). This is a massive advantage and I also have the advantage of having MY ML's spread throughout my army. This spreading out means my opponent cannot effectively nullify my ML contingent.
I have my Ml's on unusual units like my Deathrains and the Stealth unit, I also have a Skyray that is very tough and to top it of a unit of PF's. With this spread I can cover the whole field but my Deathrain and Stealth Ml's are extremely tough to target.
Another bonus is that I can infiltrate my Stealth’s and the Pathfinders and get early shots away with Seekers; I find this to be extremely effective against things like Basilisks.
As I have mentioned before high volume accurate fire is going to be vital to countering cover saves and the ML's are key to this. Just +1 to BS and -1 to cover can make a massive difference to the damage inflicted on a unit and with the run rule the quicker a unit is taking maximum damage the better.
Anyone who does not consider Marker lights as the key to victory for Tau in 5th are to be frank fooling themselves. True a fine balance has to be achieved between paying for ML's and how that payment is detrimental to some other part of the list but to be quite honest a decent ML presence in a list can make all the difference, so determining that correct balance is worth the effort, I am not quite there yet but I am getting there and ML's will be in my list for sure.
By the way Skyrays rule.
Last edited by Rikimaru; August 22nd, 2008 at 14:59.