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Marker Drones... actually useful? (I've found a use!)
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Old 05 May 2007, 05:18   #1 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Marker Drones... actually useful? (I've found a use!)

Yes. It's true. I have actually found a use for the usually underestimated Marker Drone.

How, you ask?
Here's the situation:

I was playing a game against 2 friends of mine. The "scenario" was that I was assaulting a fortress held by Tau forces and allied Gue'La. My normally loyal puritan Tau force was posing as a simulation renegade assault force, to justify the Tau vs Tau fight. The terrain looked like this:


As you can see, most of their d-zone was a 3+ cover save, and they took advantage of that, deploying most all of their units into it.

Now, I would have normally had a huge problem with so much enemy cover. Then again, I decided to try out some Marker drones. Here's one of the Firewarrior units I used:
12 man FW team
1x Shas'ui (markerlight, drone controller)
2x Marker Drones.

Now at first glance this unit may look extremely inefficient (which it likely was, but it served well for my play style.)

I had a total of 8 markerlights in my 1150 point list (which may seem like a lot, but against so much cover, I thought it a good idea. From what I experienced, they helped. A lot.)

Here's the gem of the squad: at least 2 of those markerlights hit each turn, and when combined with the 2 markerlights from my Sniper Drone squads in the area, I could bring that annoying little 2+ cover save (stupid chameleoline..) up to a nice, manageable 5 or 6+ cover save.

My other 11 Firewarriors and the 6 Sniper Drones, along with a Deathrain unit to finish things off just in case, would then proceed to reliably kill 1 full squad a turn.

That evens out to be one less Heavy Bolter per turn to worry about.

On the enemy Tau side of the board (left side of the top),
I had a unit of FW the same as the one above, -1 Marker Drone, along with support from my 3rd Sniper squad.

These markerlights would reliably take 1 or 2 points off of their cover save, but I used the networked 'light to increase the BS of the team, as reducing their cover save beyond 4+ is redundant when shooting at them with pulse rifles.

I think that I may have now found a home for Marker Drones, a unit which I have never fielded before, in my static FW squads under the correct conditions.


Marker Drones, when included in such a squad, are perfect for adding just a little bit of oomph to a squad.
I know that for the cost of the Marker Drones I could have gotten a minimized FW squad with a Shas'ui and a markerlight, but that's not my play style.

Just as a closing thought, I'd like to include this little bit of info:

When I shot 5 markerlights at the enemy players command squad 1st turn, he laughed, saying "2+ cover save, a medic in the squad. Good luck." My reply? "Well... how about a 6+ cover save and no medic, because I just blew up your whole command squad with missile pods and rail rifles because of a few expensive laser pointers?"
What came after was an interesting mix of "Wait... what?" and "Lame!" on his face.
Fun stuff.

*edit*
Well, I figure I should talk a bit about the platform itself.
Marker Drones are a quick way to add a markerlight to nearly ANY Tau squad.
Plop one on a squad of Broadsides with A.S.S.'s, and you've got yourself a broadside unit with its own personal semi-mobile markerlight.
Put one or two into a Firewarrior squad to add in an extra laser pointer that your enemy won't expect. What do I mean by this? Here's an example:
If I set down 5 pathfinders on the board, my opponents will realize very quickly (if not immediately) that those 5 markerlights can create a very large threat, and all of the sudden the pathfinders are staring down the barrels of 3 heavy bolters and a Hammerhead. With the Marker Drones, you may spread the 'lights out through your list.
I know that you can buy ~2.5 pathfinders for the price of a single Marker Drone, and I know that many people dislike Marker Drones, so I'm going to admit that when under most circumstances, a Pathfinder unit would help you out more than a few Marker Drones.

*/edit*


I know that by this time my thread has turned into somewhat of a markerlight worshipping thread, but I honestly really do like markerlight quite a bit, so yes, it is a bit of a bias. They've served me well in the situations where I have decided it would be beneficial to put them in my list.
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Old 05 May 2007, 05:23   #2 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Re: Marker Drones... actually usefull? ( I've found a use!)

Your 8 Marker Drones cost you 240 pts. 8 Pathfinders run you 176 points... and you get a Devilfish for free. I'm still not seeing it. What do the Marker Drones do that the Pathfinders can't do better and/or cheaper? It sounds like your post is more applauding Markerlights in general rather than Marker Drones in particular?
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Old 05 May 2007, 05:34   #3 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Marker Drones... actually usefull? ( I've found a use!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by T0nkaTruckDriver
Your 8 Marker Drones cost you 240 pts. 8 Pathfinders run you 176 points... and you get a Devilfish for free. I'm still not seeing it. What do the Marker Drones do that the Pathfinders can't do better and/or cheaper? It sounds like your post is more applauding Markerlights in general rather than Marker Drones in particular?
Well, there were actually only 3 marker drones in the list. 2 in one Firewarrior squad and 1 in the other. There were 2 from the FW Shas'ui and 3 from the sniper drones.

I was seriously considering Pathfinders, but I needed to be able to divide the markerlights to about 40% on the enemy Tau side and 60% in the enemy Guard side (because of the +1 to cover). Pathfinders are 100% in any direction unless you count a Shas'ui w/target lock. The decision to split my fire was more to not anger the kids I was playing against (both my friends), as one of them thinks I play to win and not for fun already. I don't need to reinforce this by wiping out one enemy this turn, and another the next.

It sounds like your post is more applauding Markerlights in general rather than Marker Drones in particular?
I guess I was, but I felt like posting my first use of the Marker Drones, and Marker drones have markerlights (duh?), and that kind-of made me end up talking more about the weapon than the platform. Adding a little extra to talk about the drone itself now....

*edit*(ok, I've now added about a paragraph of info in an effort to make the topic a bit more relavant ) */edit*
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Old 05 May 2007, 06:26   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Marker Drones... actually usefull? ( I've found a use!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by T0nkaTruckDriver
Your 8 Marker Drones cost you 240 pts. 8 Pathfinders run you 176 points... and you get a Devilfish for free.
You most defiantly do NOT get a devilfish for free! it says you MUST TAKE a devilfish. so you still have to add the 80 points from the fish
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Old 05 May 2007, 07:12   #5 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Marker Drones... actually usefull? ( I've found a use!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Funshade
Quote:
Originally Posted by T0nkaTruckDriver
Your 8 Marker Drones cost you 240 pts. 8 Pathfinders run you 176 points... and you get a Devilfish for free.
You most defiantly do NOT get a devilfish for free! it says you MUST TAKE a devilfish. so you still have to add the 80 points from the fish
The pathfinders are 96 points, the devilfish 80, for a total of 176 points.

However, there are two items about pathfinders that always get me: survivability, and adaptabilty. The pathfinders will lay down massed markerlights like nobody's business, but you have to take large squads to get the most efficiency out of their point-sink devilfish. That, and if the enemy recognises the threat the present, their lifespan can be measured in dice rather than turns. All it takes is 2 casualties on a maximum-size squad to force leadership, and with a 4+ armor save that's going to be pretty easy to pull off.

Imbedded markerlights, however, are nigh impossible to disrupt. The units can be larger, have better overall armor, and the markerlight is guaranteed to be right where you need it when it goes off, rather than focused on that ONE unit you were able to hit with your pathfinders that isn't even significantly worth the VP's, because your opponent was smart enough to avoid the team. Survivability should always be a primary issue. Those embedded markerlights could very possibly still be shooting well into turn 5 or 6, while the pathfinders will be lucky to survive the 2nd and 3rd turn.
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Old 05 May 2007, 07:13   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Marker Drones... actually usefull? ( I've found a use!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Funshade
Quote:
Originally Posted by T0nkaTruckDriver
Your 8 Marker Drones cost you 240 pts. 8 Pathfinders run you 176 points... and you get a Devilfish for free.
You most defiantly do NOT get a devilfish for free! it says you MUST TAKE a devilfish. so you still have to add the 80 points from the fish
Tau Codex pg. 38 (Am I allowed to quote this?)
"Pathfinders must select a Devilfish troop carrier at an additional cost of 80 points"
BUT, if you add up Tonka's math, 12*8=96+80=176, so what he meant was, for 176 points (64 less), you get as many marker lights, and the devilish. The "free" just meant that you happen to get it along with the 8 markerlights, included in the point cost.
Your witness.

But seriously, I've been looking at my list (mostly mech hybrid) and I'm not seeing ways to fit in markerlights other then Pathfinders. Tetras are nice, but forge world, and I don't like to venture down that path. Someone had an epic markerlight tactica (I think on tauonline) which had markerlight hits per point cost. Pathfinders had by far the best ration, so good that adding marker drones to a pathfinder team made them less efficient. Those marker drones are so damn spendy, 30 points if I'm not mistaken, the only advantage to them is spreading them out more, were pathfinders are all one unit.

Edit: Damn you Damian_Alpha! You took my line... and if you look at the timestamp, you beat my by 1 minute and 3 seconds... ouch.
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Old 05 May 2007, 07:20   #7 (permalink)
Shas'La
 
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Default Re: Marker Drones... actually usefull? ( I've found a use!)

176 points actually includes the cost of a stock Devilfish, without any modifications... Though in truth, the cost would likely be higher, probably 200+ with all the additional support options. Personally, I'd never take the Pathfinders without a "Warfish" model transport, with the SMS missile pack.

Adding the Markerlight Drones to Fire Warrior squads gives two benefits:

The first benefit to embedding the Markerdrones is the ability them to survive the punishment Markerlight carries inevitibly face. A single squad of Pathfinders has to throw most of its Markerlight fire at a single target, ans is titanically effective as a result; naturally, this means the Pathfinders are usually first on "Things to Terminate" by opponents. Scattered 'Lights, while diffusing the number of lights brought to bear on one target, also provides for their surviability. By the time the Markerlight ability has been crushed to nothing, the rest of the Tau force has been eliminated along with it.

The second reason is to divide the mass of Markerlights among multiple targets. The Pathfinders do their job fantastically well, but can't divide their fire as well, to support attacks against two or more units. Scattering the lights among multiple Fire Warrior squads means that the Markers can be used against multiple enemy units, rather than losing unused marks to overkill.

An expensive trick for certain, but one to keep in the toolbox just in case.

Cheers!

(Edit: And naturally, late on the draw. Kudos, DA!)
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