Friday, March 12, 2010

The best way to get Markerlights in your list

Lately I've had a stroke of bad luck. In my last few games, my dice rolls have come up short and my enemies have been rolling over me. Not that I have been playing badly, my strategies seem to be getting in great positions but what I've noticed is that with an army that relies on shooting to destroy the enemy, there's just too many dice being thrown. While good luck got me by for while, it's caught up with me. It's like I had been joy-riding with lady-luck in the passenger seat, only for the law of averages to pull me over and revoke my license.

Roll to hit, roll to wound, roll for cover save or armor save. Too many chances to fail. I need to eliminate that last roll. Tau are amazing at putting wounds on all things and making armor penetrate rolls but my army's lack of Markerlights is beginning to show. Last night's game against Pete clearly showed to me that I need to incorporate Markerlights and start negating cover saves. I also need to consider getting some more low AP weapons into my list - plasma rifles, fusion blasters and heck maybe even some seeker missiles.

The Skyray is the first item for me to consider. While I am loath to remove a Railgun from my army, but I think it be needed. I may have to swap out a Hammerhead for the Skyray. The Skyray provides two Markerlights at BS4, that can be fired even when the vehicle is moving at cruising speed if armed with a 'tracker. On top of that they can be fired at different targets due to its built-in Target Lock. This seems the best candidate right now. I've got a Skyray Turret so I will only have to paint one up and swap it on my Hammerhead. Still not enough Markerlights though.

With the couple points saved on that and the fact that I building up to a 2000 point list from 1850, I feel the next step is re-introduce pathfinders into the army.

Pathfinders are the cheapest way to get Markerlights on the table. While they are are sSure they do get shot at a lot, but that can only be a good thing, as my opponent is spending shots fring at 12-point models rather 47-65 point Battlesuits. The added bonus of the Marker Beacon on their Devilfish means my deepstriking will be more successful as well. I am thinking I can fit in about 6 of these guys. I want at least 5, so that if I lose one of them to shooting, I won't have to take a morale check. I may upgrade their Devilfish to a Warfish so I can assign it to a fighting role, as it will be starting the game on the board.

Markerlights should help me stack the odds in my favor and blast opponents out of cover and remove the benefits of smoke launchers. Thought? What are you doing to improve your shooting?


DaRkViPeR said...

I too have noticed the almost necessity of taking marker-lights in my Tau list. I have been running with 5-6 minimum pathfinders with much success. At fewer points even, I've been playing alot of 1000(team) and 1750 point games recently. And yes, I agree that the Pathfinders tend to get shot up right away.
I like your thought on the Pathfinder Warfish.

B.R. said...

I have yet to purchase any pathfinders so I haven't incorperated them into my list, but I took the marker drone that comes in the box set and thrown him into my command squad. I've found this to be a great addition to say the least. Because the markerlight is networked and doesn't exceed the reach of any battlesuit weapons my command team as been getting great benifits by having a markerlight that comes straight into the frey with them (any in an emergency can soak up a wound for them)

After seeing first hand the benefits of markerlights in my most recent game against an Eldar army, I'm definitly thinking about throwing in some cheap pathfinders.

Oh, it's you, Bob... said...

I recently fielded a 6-man team of pathfinders w/ EMP grenades just for a giggle. Out-flanked and took out a Predator. They even managed to get a few markerlights on target and pin a tac squad before their inevitable doom :-) It was played as a one-off, goof kinda thing, but there may be some potential in there somewhere.

Fonkin said...

I bought too many pathfinders back in the day, due to the oooh factor back in 4th ed. Well, they weren't so hot back then but they sure pay the rent in 5th! Now I'm thinking that it's time to bust out my Tau Laser Light Show army once more. I'll put some Pink Floyd on and proceed to remove one third of the game from my enemy (i.e., cover rules).

Anonymous said...

I typically run 2 squads of 5 in my 1500+ lists. It also helps that I don't have to buy a Devilfish for my fire warriors any more, so you can save more points there. The only problem is that they can't start in it, but that is something to work around.

Pete W said...

I think a squad of pathfinders would really work well with your list so far OSH. It would give that extra bit of killiness for the critical turns when something just HAS to die.

I'm not sure the best option to get them in. I think one pathfinder squad would probably be enough but adding a skyray as well could be cool. If nothing else it gives you a bunch of seekers to use the spare markers tokens with. Also, getting mobile markerlights could be really useful.

I posted up our batrep though I should have brought the camera for pictures. Instead I stole one of sidestriker from you, sorry :-)

Michael said...

I played the vast majority of my Tau games with tricked out Shas'Els and bodygaurds, so I never used markerlights.

After reading on the interwebs, I thought I would shift the points around and I found that I could get in more suits with included pathfinders.

So the pathfinders were really doing pretty well for me, but on turn 4 when they bit the dust, my shooting really dropped off. I was having a hard time killing the space wolves getting into my face.

I still don't know what I liked more, hitting on 2's and 3's all the time with less suits, or hitting on 3'a snd 4's for half the game after my Pathfinders bite the dust.

The jury is still out for me . . .

Pearlygates said...

OSH, I sometimes field pathfinders, sometimes field stealthsuits accompanied with marker drones; But lately (as I have mentioned before) I field a Skyray instead of a hammerhead, due to fact that I will already have broadsides in my list armed with Railguns.

Pathfinders are good, as you stated, are cheap(ish) come with a devilfish that allows re-rolls for deepstrike (LOS needed).

Stealthsuits however, allow your squad to shoot Markerlights even if you move (god bless the relentless rule) aswell as the stealthteam shooting.

Being stealth your markerlights have a higher likelyhood of surviving longer too!

The on negative is fielding stealths that take up an Elite spot that could be used for crisis suits.

As you are also aware, I am fielding Shadowsun, who comes with a network marker drone.
Deepstrike her in later behind enemy vehichles and use that marker drone to pop a seeker up your opponents exaust while she fires her fusions up the rear of another enemy transport and you're laughing! (worked many times for me! but she is best used with a pathfinder devilfish to get that re-roll for deepstrike)

Anonymous said...

You could take a stealth suit team of three each with a drone controller and two marker drones. Since drones take on the movement type of the model unit, they become jump infantry and thus relentless. Since they do not wear tau suits, they are not affected by the pseudo-relentless rule where you can't fire heavy weapons and move. Now you have six mobile markerlights with stealth fields. Unfortunately, that totals 270 points. I've been trying to convince myself to add this to my army list.

The Fabulous Orcboy said...

I'm a big fan of using Pathfinders, and have tried to use two units in 1500+ pt games, as with Iceheart above. The ability to take away cover saves really helps in the first few turns when trying to take out enemy transports; in subsequent turns, they either are still alive b/c my opponent is trying to shoot other things, in which case those other things are still very nasty, or they are dead b/c my opponent shot them, in which case all my firepower is still up and active.

Plus, they have transports for the Fire Warriors.

Pathfinders also make the old 12xFW+Devilfish army work in most 5E games, too. 24 disembarked Pulse Rifle shots hitting on 2+ will vaporize most units. 48 Pulse Rifle shots hitting on 2+ is even nastier. :)

But mostly, taking cover saves away from vehicles so that your Suits can blow them up = priceless.

Firewasp said...

I've had mixed results with using pathfinders. In the games where they actually hit anything, they perform well and my army suffers when they inevitable die.
However in other games they underperform. Railrifles seem a bit hit or miss as well. Been great against guard heavy weapon teams though.

Anonymous said...

I too enjoy Pathfinders- but 5 in a 1500 point list is enough for me. This still allows for a uber-killy HQ unit of doom, and some quality stuff elsewheres. Hiwver, it's often best to bring Maekerlight in seprate squads, as they enemy cab't focus on one unit to rid you of your markerlights.

Old Shatter Hands said...

@Pearly, watch out with Shadowsun, she doesn't have a markerdrone, she has two shield drones and one command-link drone. She's ok I guess. I used to field her for a bit and I might bring her back out for fun. The Stealth Marker Team is pretty cool. I used to use it but I began to think how expensive markerdrones are for a BS3 markerlight. I mean 30 points? Really? GW what is up with that. Should be 10 points.

@Fab Orcboy, ahh, the old FoF used to be so much fun. yes you need markerlights for it to really work but I love tossing that many dice at S5. Works really well at rear armor too.

gimmefour said...

OSH, I'm glad to see it's not just me - I took an 1850 list with no markerlights to a tournament, and just had to sigh when landraiders and fast-moving valks shrugged off my penetrating hits.

My thought was dropping 'fish from my firewarriors, using the points for 2 five-man squads of pathfinders (making them more survivable) and starting their 'fish on the table next to the firewarriors.

Anonymous said...

I tried pathfinders for the first time yesterday. 6 of them in a 1500p list. They worked out great! :)

NockerGeek said...

You've inspired me to try to squeeze a 5-man Pathfinder squad into my own mechanized list. I have to admit that I'm getting a bit tired of having half my pulse rifle/plasma rifle shots miss, and with my dice-rolling luck I can use all the help I can get. :)

Old Shatter Hands said...

Yeah, it's becoming painfully obvious to me that the Tau army was meant to have at least 5 markerlights in every list.

Let me know how you fair with them.

Lo-Pan said...

Pathfinders- don't leave home without 'em.

I plow a minimum of 6 into a 1500pt list...8 if I can. Light up a priority target to increase your BS then remove the enemy cover save. There's nothing quite so satisfying as dropping a sub munition on a huge squad of orcs or guard that could have rolled for cover due to a Force Field or obscurement that you just removed.

Using the Pathfinder Devilfish to re-roll scatter is also wonderful. This often means Shadowsun can get parked within 6" of a Land Raider and not 13" away. I never start my Pathfinders in their Fish- I tend to put my smallest Firewarrior squad on that bus as soon as possible to keep them safe and mobile.

Stealthlights are just far too expensive to get the sheer number of lights you need to insure effective use.