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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Armies in 5th: Tau Part 5: Markerlights & Commander

This is the final part before I do a summary post. I've also heard a couple of rumors running about that Tau could be re-done after the BA but shall see what happens...

The forums like to debate on the best way for makerlights. I will disabuse you. It's pathfinders. They are easily the best buck per point for markerlights (plus give your FW a ride). You can argue all you'd like about Skyrays and Stealth suits or Marker Drones (which are too expensive) but Crisis Suits, Broadsides and Hammerheads are far, far too valuable to waste slots on markerlights (remember those units are the units that are most likely to utilise markerlights to help them).

8 pathfinders is ideal. This gives you on average 4 ML hits which allows you to raise BS to 5 and limit cover to 6+ for one squad or two squads to BS5 if the squad is in the open. So how to utilise markerlights? In the first couple of turns I prefer to use them on my Broadsides against mech or hybrid lists. This allows you to disable ranged anti-tank, fast melta or midfield transports (depending on list). Remember it's better to shoot for weaker targets and get a higher ratio of a kill than shooting at a Land raider and do nothing. Later on I prefer to use them with my Crisis suits to damage the infantry which has made it to midfield or is threatening my defensive lines. Against non-mech or Deep Striking lists however Crisis suits usually get the markers from the get go.

Another good use for markerlights which no other army has is breaking up a mech train (I will do a post on this later). By stripping the manufactured cover the initial chasis relies on, the rest of the mech train is far more vulnerable to the rest of the Tau army's shooting as it is generally stripped of cover (or at least cover is reduced to 4+ from 3+).

An army can of course operate without its markerlights (or not take any). However because they are a unit which draws so much attention and is so few points it is almost another turn of shooting for your tanks as your opponent focuses on taking out 8 infantry (which should be in cover, don't be afraid to send them to ground either). However, the markerlights can really be a force multiplier as the game goes on so it can sometimes be worth it to hide them the first turn or two (put a tank in front of them) to maximise their usefulness with your suits.

So the final part of Tau, the commander. The commander for me generally runs as a support unit for my Broadsides or Pathfinders by giving them a higher Ld and extra wounds. Equip him with a target lock a missile pod and whatever else you'd like. A plasma gun is in keeping with the rest of the suits but I may often include a flamer as a simple tack-on for throw away situations but his primary use is extra wounds in whatever squad needs it most.

Anyways I believe that is the essentials for Tau as they currently stand. I still think the most important articles are 1, 2 & 3. I'll write a summary post tomorrow if I have time but hope you've enjoyed them so far.

5 pinkments:

JRV said...

Thanks for the post. Definitely informative, as my Tau have become my 3rd 5E army. I am looking to bump the lists up to 5E effectiveness =)

HolyCause said...

How are pathfinders kept survivable? They are on foot and are extremely prone to getting shot up with their T3, it's easy to put lots of wounds on them.

Disclaimer: I'm not a Tau player, just something I've always wondered about.

Chumbalaya said...

Cover is their friend.

Kirby said...

Glad you liked it JRV.

@HolyCause; as Chumbalaya said cover but you're never going to make them super survivable. As I suggested you can hide them behind a Tank and move it later to make them last longer into the game (this obviously doesn't work against armies with lots of barrages/blasts) but I'd only really do that for a first turn protection unless you are very confident in taking out the initial enemy army which you need to.

Anonymous said...

The good thing about pathfinders hiding behind a tank, is they can shoot from behind the tank without any penalties. Since tau tanks are all skimmers and there are no cover saves against markerlights.

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