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Markerlights in the Detachment
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Old 08 Sep 2013, 01:27   #1 (permalink)
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Default Markerlights in the Detachment

So, I've been mulling this problem over for awhile and have been having some difficulty finding a solution.

There are many, many ways to get markerlight support but this has more to do with mobility and reliable (high BS) sources. To me the most intuitive way to make this happen is with a mark'O commander. Joining the commander with a drone squadron is pretty easy, although it prevents the commander from bombing vehicles with a team of sunforges, or making that deathrain team go from mediocre to fantastic. As I've designed and played more lists, I've come to realize that that trade off is sometimes not worth it.

So then, the only other high BS source of markerlights in a non-HQ unit is the sniper team. Marksman can provide up to three AND sport a drone controller, meaning that joining an independent character with his drones to that sniper team gives the BS5 to those marker drones as well for a potential total of 5. Not bad, but limited by the fact that marksman are infantry and thus are possibly the least mobile source of markerlights. Better than getting them through a Shas'ui in a firewarrior squad, but only for the higher BS.

There is always the venerable Skyray, providing 2 markerlights at BS4. But they are rightfully eaten up to fire it's own missiles and due to the Skyray's somewhat mediocre reputation and the fact that it eats up a badly needed heavy support slot, I've been avoiding using it.

It seems one of the easiest ways to remedy this is to use a commander bomb WITH marker drones, joining a crisis team with drones as well. This can pull up to 8 markerlights at BS5 so long as the commander is around and attached, which works just fine and dandy for this purpose. My only concern is for what said commander bomb is used for. The up close and dangerous nature of targets leads me to believe that the markerlights would in all likelihood be killed of rather quickly and be engaging at fairly close range. Additionally the only way this makes sense is if this team is engaging targets positioned where other units can use the markerlights in the first place, not so difficult but still prevents the team from using it's own markerlights. Since a 4 suit team can cost near 400 points, that seems like a big waste to me. Additionally in order for this to allow markerlights to be put on a different priority target while the team fires on a separate one, every suit HAS to take a target lock, costing another 20 pts and eating up very valuable hardpoints. Signature systems that can give this team some punch can be shunted to the commander if need be, but the whole idea just seems limited.

Similarly if the commander isn't joined or dies, all markerlights revert to BS2, which is a rather unhappy turn of events. Using a drone controller with a crisis team would give 6 markerlights at BS3, but that doesn't even seem particularly fantastic either.

To get back to my point, the conundrum is the limited nature (and often numbers) of high BS markerlights compared to the variety and flexibility of lower BS ones. Is it generally worth the points to flood the field with lots of low BS lights with many, many sources? Or would having a few specialized teams of very reliable markerlight sources be the better way to go? If you have any experience with either side or have had to make a choice like this yourself and had if effect the result in a match, I'd very much like to hear it.
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Old 08 Sep 2013, 03:13   #2 (permalink)
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i prefer running teams of 5 pathfinders, like 3 or 4 of them, its about 150-220 points and gives you nice cross fire and lots of targets, so if one unit dies you have more, they are also scoring in the scouring and at BS3 your getting 2.5 hits a turn. add one more guy that 3, that +1 bs for a unit and ignores cover for all their guns, plus their helmets look so badass! honestly its a really reliable choice, just keep the teams small, otherwise there big targets and they only have a 5+ save. i would at least try them out if i were you
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Old 08 Sep 2013, 07:08   #3 (permalink)
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pathfinders a good

The main way i get lights is with my commander bomb: everyone has target locks so the drones can all shoot one target at BS 5 while they shoot something else. the unit is surprisingly resilient and due to the high accuracy, you can afford to lose one or three drones
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Old 08 Sep 2013, 08:51   #4 (permalink)
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Would a similar tactic be possible using the missile pods to take advantage of the 36" range? Sending a Mark'O commander attached to a broadside team carrying 6 marker drones. It would accomplish the same weight of firepower, and let the broadsides use the commanders PEN or other equipment. The only disadvantage being that the broadsides would slow the commander and drones down being standard infantry. That could be offset by dropping the broadsides for a deathrain team of similar composition, but that's been thoroughly proved to be less effective. However for the mobility and 36" range it might just be a good compromise.

See this is why the commander attaching to a drone squadron was a good middle ground. But if the commander bomb with marker drones works well then who am I to argue?

As for the pathfinders, I've been avoiding taking them for a few reasons. First and foremost I must admit is that I don't want to buy and paint anymore goddamn infantry models (HATE :P). But also, they have a reputation for dying horribly, well deserved given the battle reports I've read. And, that it would mean yet more boots I have to move with very expensive devilfish, should they ever need to be re-positioned should they actually live. No, I think I'm pretty solidly in the anti-pathfinder camp.
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Old 09 Sep 2013, 20:32   #5 (permalink)
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pathfinders are best in small unupgraded teams, because you get crossfire and lots of targets, but if they arent your thing thats cool.marker drones in theyre own squads work well witht eh help of fireblades and firesight marksmen too, because bs 2 on its own is no way to win (unless you play orks) so hitting with a bs5 mark to boost 12 (or however many) drones' markerlights can be very effective. especially for mecha lists (suits) for a gunlin you only reall need a few markerlights though, and for mech i like pathfinders because its small controlled groups that can act alone (unlike drones which you have to baby sit)
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Old 10 Sep 2013, 02:24   #6 (permalink)
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All very good points. I definitely see the merits of pathfinders and they fit their roll well. However, considering their difficulty surviving even with cover saves, it's kind of hard to kit them out with stuff that would let them hold their own well. Especially if they're the target of every battlecannon and plasma weapon on round one. My concern is not that I find pathfinders incapable, my concern is that firewarriors are vulnerable enough and pathfinders while better in cover don't do well because they have to be in range and on foot.

However considering the costs point-wise to make a high BS drone-based markerlight team happen, I might just be defeating my own argument. That said, I can see a use for pathfinders in my armies. It's possible that the solution to this is drawing on several different sources of markerlights. They would be easy enough to fit into a hybrid list, supplementing the slower or more mobile contingents as needed or when available. You've given me something else to try and cram in my lists.
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Old 10 Sep 2013, 03:46   #7 (permalink)
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honestly my biggest problem with pathfinders is that you only have 3 fast attack slots, which means that no matter how little of a threat you try to make them look, theres just not usually enough teams of them. this editions tau are awesome in that theyre based on units helping each other though, so you just have to try some stuff out and see what you like, honestly the drone/sniper thing could be pretty beasty
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Old 10 Sep 2013, 08:10   #8 (permalink)
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My largest problem with sniper drones is the fact that they eat up a valuable heavy support slot
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Old 10 Sep 2013, 08:42   #9 (permalink)
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Indeed, but the farsight supplement would provide tau models as allies thus rendering a fourth slot available should you need it and / or build your army the right way.

This is really only a problem below 2k matches anyway, and really only above 1000 - 1250 because I know I've rarely felt I needed another slot at any army list smaller than that. Besides possibly a 1750 or 1500 pt army without farsight supplement maybe, but combined with an ethereal I'd say it's a damn good way to get 5 BS5 markerlights for a gunline or vehicle mobile unit that also get stealth AND sport some damn impressive in unit firepower.

If you need it mobile, cut the sniper drones down to 6. Plus 3 marksman the Ethereal and his two makers and bam, 12-man fish mobile unit. Don't need them to move? Use up to 9 of those snipers and gun down anything short of Abaddon or (I should completely admit) anything that has an AV value, lest the rending wound gods grant you a bountiful harvest. As far as a gunline or anything else after hearing about sniper teams I don't think there's anywhere else I'd want to attach an ethereal I had a choice, short of leaving him in a fish.
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Old 12 Sep 2013, 02:52   #10 (permalink)
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you brought something up i should make a seperate thread for, but am to lazy to do so, and that is: how do you guys deal with abbadon? do you focus on him and his squad, or do you just kinda, run away?
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