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Markerlight Support Doctrine [updated]
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Old 18 Jul 2005, 20:24   #1 (permalink)
Shas'Saal
 
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Default Markerlight Support Doctrine [updated]

Abstract
Many people on these boards complain that the Tau by and large only have a Ballistic Skill (BS) of 3, even though the 'fluff' show them as being quite a bit more accurate. As it turns out, the Tau are 'extremely' accurate once they deploy Markerlight solutions.

The point of the 'Doctrine' is to define the role of each type of markerlight-equipped squad that maximizes its effectiveness. It's a bit of a "Know your role" or "Do one job, but do it well" discussion. I've seen discussions about whether Pathfinders/Markerlights are 'useful', but as of yet none discussing in depth how best to field them from a tactical/strategic standpoint.

Genesis
While making my last list, I was debating with A'u'nat whether I should keep my Tetras or swap them out for more firepower. In his experience, he found that Tetras simply weren't worth the expense - and that having no markerlight capability at all is better than having Tetras in your list. In many cases, I believe he is 100% correct.

However, in my case I was concerned about my list's ability to tackle both heavy armour and massed troops (IG): In short, I was looking for a way to get the most out of my Hammerheads. After much contemplation, I concluded that the little Tetras are ideal for supporting the Tau mobile heavy weapons platform (Railgun equipped Hammerheads), but perhaps not so points-efficient when trying to mark for other units (such as Stealth Suits).

Naturally, when a particular type unit has such a drastic swing in utility, there should be some guidelines to help determine how best to use (or not use) such a unit.

So, I've come up with what (for now) I'll call:

Markerlight Support Doctrine:

Goal
Markerlights are a support option, which make them only truly effective when paired with an appropriate Weapons Platform. The goal is to find the most efficient pairings to bring fiery death to those who threaten the Greater Good.

Pathfinder Team - 4-8 Pathfinders + Devilfish
Pair with Stealth Suits. A full-strength Pathfinder squad will land on average 4 marker hits on a single unit; which is absolutely devistating when paired with a Stealth team (12 shots at 2+ to hit, 2+ (usually) to wound, and denies cover saves! )

Tetra Squadron - 2-4 Tetras per squadron
Pair with Hammerheads - 1 Tetra per 'head. At BS 4 (with Targetting Array) and 'Fast' movement speed, the Tetra is as fast (and can mark) or faster (without marking) as the Hammerhead it's assigned to. Like the tank, it can move and shoot a fill 12" every turn - at the same accuracy. If the Tetra missed, then so too would have the tank. In a way, it's almost like adding twinlinking to Hammerheads - one that negates cover saves for all those caught under the ordinance blast. Brutal.

Pathfinder Variant: RailFinder Team - 3 Rail-Rifles, 1 Shas'ui, 4 Pathfinders + Devilfish
Pair with a 'regular' Pathfinder squad. This is an odd case. While this is actually one squad, it has the functional characteristics of 2 discreet units: Rail Rifle Team & Markerlight Support Squad (all in the same Devilfish).

Rail Rifle Team: At the points cost, these need to hit on a regular basis to make them worthwhile, but with BS 3 this is hard to do. If the Markerlight half could mark for the Rail half, this unit would make an outstanding self-sustained combat unit. Alas, this is not possible, thus the need to pair it with a squad that can reliably supply them with at least 3 marker hits (any extras would be ideal 'Seeker' targets).

Markerlight Support Squad: These may seem to be along for the ride, but 5 added ML are 2-3 added hits. Very handy for Seekers, Hammerheads, Crisis, and (to some degree) Stealths.

Firewarriors & Human Auxilliaries w/ Markerlights
Pair with Broadsides. Broadsides need close support troops anyway, why not add a markerlight to the mix? That gives them 3 chances to hit on a BS of 3. How can you go wrong?

Stealth with Markerlights
Pair with... Seekers?. I can't really come up with a good role for this setup, unless the plan is to have less aggressive stealth taking positions further back at the start of the game. This way you can at least still attempt to snipe with seekers at long range.

FAQ
So, why no dedicated marker squads for Crisis Suits? Perhaps it's just how I build my suits, but I usually build them with maximum accuracy in mind from the beginning. Twinlinked Deathrain are plenty accurate on their own. Shas'o hits at 2+ without a 'light, etc. Plus, just because a Markerlight system is assigned to a particular weapons platform doesn't mean you can't repurpose those hits.

What about Seeker Missiles? When I first looked at Tau, these seemed like the only reason a person would include Markerlights, yet I haven't even mentioned these little beauties. In my mind, these are gravy; an extra 8/3 hit when you need that extra firepower and you're not too concerned about missing with the weapon to which your marker was assigned. Your odds with the one weapon may be reduced, but the payoff for both hits could be large indeed.

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Old 19 Jul 2005, 16:13   #2 (permalink)
Shas'Saal
 
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Default Re: Markerlight Support Doctrine

What about the use of markerlights supporting crisis suits with multi trackers? I should say, how many?
Such as fusion/plasma or missle/plasma or missle/burst cannon.
Do you reccomend hw target locks for pathfinders?
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Old 19 Jul 2005, 17:41   #3 (permalink)
Shas'Saal
 
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Default Re: Markerlight Support Doctrine

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trick
What about the use of markerlights supporting crisis suits with multi trackers? I should say, how many?
Such as fusion/plasma* or missle/plasma or* missle/burst cannon.
Do you reccomend hw target locks for pathfinders?
Sadly, a markerlight only marks for a single weapon. So even if you did want to use your multi-tracked Crisis, you would still have to pick which weapon you'd rather use. So, a Fusion/Plasma suit, for example, would still require 2 marker hits to get the 2+/no cover bonus for both weapons.

As for putting HW Target Locks on your Pathfinders, I believe that only Shas'ui and Rail-Rifle equiped 'finders can equip such gear - which quickly makes the squad quite points-heavy. This has been discussed elsewhere, but conventional thinking has it that a 'standard' configuration 8-man pathfinder squad is the most 'efficient' in points utilization - give them one job (mark for Stealths) and they'll do that job very well.

However, that does beg the question: How best to field Rail Rifles?
I'm far from an expert on this one (don't have any in my list), but looking at the options, if you fully upgrade the Pathfinder Squad for max RR and TL, you basically get 2 squads in 1; a 4 man pathfinder squad and a 4 man Rail-Rifle squad - all attached to the same transport.

Your 4 man Pathfinder component will be hobbled for Stealth marking duty (again, 2 (average) ML hits don't go all that far in assisting a stealth squad), but they may will have a role in marking for your crisis suits and calling down missile strikes. Now, say you have another squad of pathfinders, you have the flexibility to either mark for your Stealth team, or give your Rail-Rifle squad really good odds of crippling high-armour infantry.

So... Imagining the Fast Attack portion of a high ML, high point list:

Railfinder Squad <-- Very points-expensive unit with heavy weapons punch - protect it at all costs
4x RailRifles w/ TL - Taking down Heavy Infantry and Light Vehicles
3x Pathfinders - Mark for Seekers & Crisis Suits
1x Shas'ui - help keep unit from breaking, aid in target acquisition
1x DevilFish
Options: Gun Drones & attach Ethereal/Aun'shi HQ

Pathfinder Squad
7x Pathfinders - Mark for Stealth Team or Railfinder Team
1x Shas'ui - help keep unit from breaking, aid in target acquisition
1x Devilfish
Options: Gun Drones

Tetras 2x - Mark for Hammerheads (granted, with 2 Pathfinder squads on the table, these probably aren't necessary)

Seekers 4+ (as many as you can afford)

Suddenly, your Fast Attack choice takes up a good 30% of your army, but as a trade-off you become very accurate and hit super hard.

Again, the above is not tested (at least not by me), but I'm looking forward to fielding this configuration in a high point game (2000+) just to see if it works.

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Old 19 Jul 2005, 17:44   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Markerlight Support Doctrine

Shas - I read your thread before I went to sleep last night, and I didn't reply because I didn't really understand what you were getting at. What is the value of this doctrine? What does it do to help the Tau army? I really didn't understand the core of your statement.

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Old 19 Jul 2005, 18:11   #5 (permalink)
Shas'Saal
 
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Default Re: Markerlight Support Doctrine

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadowDeth
Shas -* I read your thread before I went to sleep last night, and I didn't reply because I didn't really understand what you were getting at. What is the value of this doctrine? What does it do to help the Tau army? I really didn't understand the core of your statement.
Fair enough. I concede that I do need to refine and reformat the original post.

[Abstract]
People complain that the Tau by and large only have a 3 BS, even though the 'fluff' show them as being quite a bit more accurate. Well, it turns out that Tau are 'extremely' accurate once they deploy Markerlight solutions.

The point of the 'doctrine' (or perhaps 'Theory' at this stage) is to define the role of each type of markerlight-equipped squad that maximizes its effectiveness. It's a bit of a "Know your roll" or "Do one job, but do it well" discussion.

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Old 19 Jul 2005, 18:17   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Markerlight Support Doctrine

not to be a kill joy but you may only have 3 RR in a squad otherwise it is excellent.
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Old 19 Jul 2005, 18:25   #7 (permalink)
Shas'Saal
 
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Default Re: Markerlight Support Doctrine

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shas'el'caff'ukos
not to be a kill joy but you may only have 3 RR in a squad otherwise it is excellent.
My bad. (Don't have my books with me at the moment). Thanks for the assist.
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Old 19 Jul 2005, 18:46   #8 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Markerlight Support Doctrine

your welcome
Thismight make the lights hit harder with 1 more of them
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Old 19 Jul 2005, 19:15   #9 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: Markerlight Support Doctrine

If I'm reading it right, you propose two PF squads of four in a single DF? This is not allowed. the PF squad must have a dedicated DF as per codex. Wish it weren't so...

I think what you are getting at is valid to an extent. The single biggest problem with the markerlight is that the PF are just going to take a beating if infiltrated in order to shine the light for a turn (read everyone in the squad has to shoot at the same target vehicle or not shoot at all in order to use the light). This means death comes quick. Knowing the PF were lighting up my armor, I'd kill them off quick if the opponent.

Marking with FW is also problematic for the same reason. You sacrifice much needed shooting. Our boys have great weapons but can't shoot for diddly, so volume of fire needs to make up for it some how.

Seekers are just difficult to get functioning.

Wanax
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Old 19 Jul 2005, 19:35   #10 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Markerlight Support Doctrine

Wanax I think that it is two squads of PF in two DF. Each squad has 8.
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