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Made in gb
Death-Dealing Ultramarine Devastator





MANCHESTER

So ladies and gents, I am branching out into a new project of building a Tau army as my group doesn't have a Tau player as of the moment.

The idea is to build the army around a core of fire warriors (a mix of strike teams and breacher teams in devilish) with the hard punch coming from the smaller suits (nothing bigger than a broadside) so crisis, stealth and broadsides.

I haven't owned and played Tau since 3rd edition and haven't faced them in some years so am relatively unfamiliar with them.

The question I have is what is the best use of my drones?

I initially thought that mass msu marker drones would be a good use but looking at the codex I'm not sure now whether to get my marker lights from elsewhere. If so, what're peoples opinions on maximising drones?

All input welcomed.

Thanks

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/09/04 14:24:53


1st, 2nd & 10th Co. 13000 pts
Order of the Ashen Rose - 650 pts
The Undying - 1800 pts 
   
Made in us
Da Head Honcho Boss Grot




The best and most reliable sources of markerlights are Cadre Fireblades and Firesight Marksmen. Their high Ballistic Skill typically means they can land a single marker easily (The first one being the most impactful) and in situations where you need one of the others, you use the 1CP stratagem to add an extra D3 markerlights to the same target. CHARACTER keyword makes them basically impossible to kill efficiently, they completely invalidate the existence of other markerlight sources. Bonus Points if you field them as a Vanguard Detachment from the Sa'Cea sept, which allows you to use the Orbital Marker Distribution Uplink stratagem and gives each of them a single re-roll to hit (which is all they need as they fire a single shot). Also lets you field another Commander if you want one, as Commanders are the best small suit unit by far.

Shield drones are best drones.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/09/04 16:21:07


 
   
Made in us
Stubborn Dark Angels Veteran Sergeant





Marker drones near a drone controller are good option for markerlights if youre dead set on thematic battlesuit/drone only army. Otherwise, fireblades and dark strider are your best source of the first markerlight hit for the ensuing ML cascade. I don't recommend marksmen due to it's lack of utilities (as sniper drones are rather meh) compared to the other two choices.

As above, shield drones are the best drones.

On a side note, you're largely gimping your army by not including at least 1 ghostkeel or riptide.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2019/09/04 17:19:56


 
   
Made in us
Ultramarine Chaplain with Hate to Spare






All you need are marker drones and markerlights inside of your warrior squads and your fireblade. This will get you 2 targets marked at 5 no problem. Great place to put a drone controller is on your stealth's suits.

If we fail to anticipate the unforeseen or expect the unexpected in a universe of infinite possibilities, we may find ourselves at the mercy of anyone or anything that cannot be programmed, categorized or easily referenced.
- Fox Mulder 
   
Made in us
Shrieking Traitor Sentinel Pilot




USA

Shield drones are the only drones worth taking IMO. For Markerlights, I recommend Cadre Fireblades and Firesight Marksmen in a Sa'cea detachment. Maybe one or two units of pathfinders.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 skchsan wrote:
Marker drones near a drone controller are good option for markerlights if youre dead set on thematic battlesuit/drone only army. Otherwise, fireblades and dark strider are your best source of the first markerlight hit for the ensuing ML cascade. I don't recommend marksmen due to it's lack of utilities (as sniper drones are rather meh) compared to the other two choices.

As above, shield drones are the best drones.

On a side note, you're largely gimping your army by not including at least 1 ghostkeel or riptide.


Ghostkeels aren't really that good, and I expect riptides to be nerfed, so betting on them isn't a great idea imo. Especially if you don't like how they look. Sa'cea Railsides and T'au Missilesides are both fun use of broadsides, as are missle crisis suits.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/09/04 17:34:40


"For the dark gods!" - A traitor guardsmen, probably before being killed. 
   
Made in gb
Regular Dakkanaut




So first question to ask yourself is what missions do you generally play. MSU drones coming with your squads are really nice and fluffy and actually are pretty darned good but they can really limit your options in ITC/ETC missions with their element of old-school kill point VP. Do not disregard the power of MSU even in ITC missions, it is still a powerful option but you need to understand how to mitigate the drawbacks in that mission format (see interviews with Richard Seigler for instructions on this).

Then who is going to carry the drone controller - because marker drones without a drone controller will make you sad. Once you have a drone controller they will do you good service unless/until you hit one of the armies with stackable penalties to hit, which tend to make anything BS4+ rather sad. Commanders make the safest drone controller caddy but losing a valuable slot on one of your few BS2+ platforms is a big opportunity cost, Stealth Teams make a pretty good carrier for that drone controller being frustrating for most things to shoot at.

Then let's think about Sept choice. With MSU you may want to go Sa'cea sept and in that case you can also get great value from a markerlight on the Shas'ui in each fire warrior squad, although less so on the Breachers as they always want to be moving.
   
Made in us
Stubborn Dark Angels Veteran Sergeant





 Sir Heckington wrote:
Ghostkeels aren't really that good, and I expect riptides to be nerfed, so betting on them isn't a great idea imo. Especially if you don't like how they look. Sa'cea Railsides and T'au Missilesides are both fun use of broadsides, as are missle crisis suits.
Sure, they're not a curb stomp unit, but Ghostkeel is a strong choice if you're not going for a riptide spam. They have great staying power and good at clearing screens and threatening vehicles in a single package.

As for the riptide comments - if we were basing our army comps based on any future nerfs and buffs, we shouldn't buy any models at all.

As for the marksman - I've never found 25pt BS3 markerlight to be a compelling choice. Care to elaborate? Is it because its a character?

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2019/09/04 18:50:33


 
   
Made in us
Da Head Honcho Boss Grot




 skchsan wrote:
 Sir Heckington wrote:
Ghostkeels aren't really that good, and I expect riptides to be nerfed, so betting on them isn't a great idea imo. Especially if you don't like how they look. Sa'cea Railsides and T'au Missilesides are both fun use of broadsides, as are missle crisis suits.
Sure, they're not a curb stomp unit, but Ghostkeel is a strong choice if you're not going for a riptide spam. They have great staying power and good at clearing screens and threatening vehicles in a single package.

As for the riptide comments - if we were basing our army comps based on any future nerfs and buffs, we shouldn't buy any models at all.

As for the marksman - I've never found 25pt BS3 markerlight to be a compelling choice. Care to elaborate? Is it because its a character?


Basically. And with Sa'Cea it's better than BS2+, not BS3+. Rerollable 3+ is an 88% chance. And it being a character means it is basically immune to the philosphy "kill the markerlights first"

The top NOVA list seems to use Cadre Fireblades instead, but, pohtayto pohtahto, they just get Drones I think.
   
Made in us
Ultramarine Chaplain with Hate to Spare






That's cause fireblades are better than marksmen lol. Plus you just play tau sept all around and you get more out of +1 to wound stratagem. In tournaments they just play trip tide but its not the only way to play. 3 sept batallions is beast with +1 to wound strat. Even your fire warriors really dish it out.

If we fail to anticipate the unforeseen or expect the unexpected in a universe of infinite possibilities, we may find ourselves at the mercy of anyone or anything that cannot be programmed, categorized or easily referenced.
- Fox Mulder 
   
Made in an
Shrieking Traitor Sentinel Pilot




USA

Yes it's because they are a character. I actually like to take 3 fireblades and 3 marksmen. Lots of markerlights that are generally safe.

And the reason for him not getting riptides is a choice of looks, and I'm saying because rules are subject to constant change, if you don't like the way something looks, you shouldn't get it.

"For the dark gods!" - A traitor guardsmen, probably before being killed. 
   
Made in us
Stubborn Dark Angels Veteran Sergeant





 Sir Heckington wrote:
Yes it's because they are a character. I actually like to take 3 fireblades and 3 marksmen. Lots of markerlights that are generally safe.

And the reason for him not getting riptides is a choice of looks, and I'm saying because rules are subject to constant change, if you don't like the way something looks, you shouldn't get it.
With danger of derailing the thread into a bit of tactics discussion, I've found redundancy reigns supreme over quality.

3 marksmen cost 75 points - that's the price of 7 marker drones + drone controller.

3 Sa'cea Marksmen (stationary) @ BS3 nets 2.67 ML hits (88.9% accuracy)
3 Sa'cea Marksmen (after moving) @ BS3 nets 2.25 ML hits (75.0% accuracy)
7 Marker Drones @ BS4+Drone Controller nets 4.67 3.50 ML hits (66.7% accuracy)(50% accuracy)

Defensively, ignoring character targeting for the sake of direct comparison:

Against S3/D1 @ BS4:
3 Sa'cea Marksmen in cover @ T3/W3 w/ 4+/+2 Sv takes 216 hits.
3 Sa'cea Marksmen outside cover @ T3/W3 w/ 4+ Sv takes 72 hits.

7 Drones in cover @ T4/W1 w/ 4+ Sv takes 126 hits.
7 Drones outside cover @ T4/W1 w/ 4+ Sv takes 84 hits.

Against S4/D1 @ BS4:
3 Sa'cea Marksmen in cover @ T3/W3 w/ 4+/+2 Sv takes 162 hits.
3 Sa'cea Marksmen outside cover @ T3/W3 w/ 4+ Sv takes 54 hits.

7 Drones in cover @ T4/W1 w/ 4+ Sv takes 84 hits.
7 Drones outside cover @ T4/W1 w/ 4+ Sv takes 56 hits.

We can see a vast improvement on staying power as long as the Marksmen can maintain cover. However, while less accurate, marker drones on average net more ML hits - and with ML's its the quantity that matters.

So I suppose it would come down to the playstyle of your army - if your army is mobile, marker drones fare better due to stable platform rule. If your army is a static gunline, marksmen may be a better choice but it boils down to match up whether your opponent can render your character rule useless (mobile enough to reduce the distance/has enough firepower to de-screen the marksmen/has good sniper weapons) and/or cover useless (have cover ignoring mechanics).

To me, marker drones seem like the more flexible/reliable choice. Plus, it serves as ablative wounds in desperate situations.

Also, Tau is elite/heavy support reliant army so that's another thing to consider. But as always YMMV.

This message was edited 4 times. Last update was at 2019/09/05 21:01:09


 
   
Made in an
Shrieking Traitor Sentinel Pilot




USA

 skchsan wrote:
 Sir Heckington wrote:
Yes it's because they are a character. I actually like to take 3 fireblades and 3 marksmen. Lots of markerlights that are generally safe.

And the reason for him not getting riptides is a choice of looks, and I'm saying because rules are subject to constant change, if you don't like the way something looks, you shouldn't get it.
With danger of derailing the thread into a bit of tactics discussion, I've found redundancy reigns supreme over quality.

3 marksmen cost 75 points - that's the price of 7 marker drones + drone controller.

3 Sa'cea Marksmen (stationary) @ BS3 nets 2.67 ML hits (88.9% accuracy)
3 Sa'cea Marksmen (after moving) @ BS3 nets 2.25 ML hits (75.0% accuracy)
7 Marker Drones @ BS4+Drone Controller nets 4.67 ML hits (66.7% accuracy)

Defensively, ignoring character targeting for the sake of direct comparison:

Against S3/D1 @ BS4:
3 Sa'cea Marksmen in cover @ T3/W3 w/ 4+/+2 Sv takes 216 hits.
3 Sa'cea Marksmen outside cover @ T3/W3 w/ 4+ Sv takes 72 hits.

7 Drones in cover @ T4/W1 w/ 4+ Sv takes 126 hits.
7 Drones outside cover @ T4/W1 w/ 4+ Sv takes 84 hits.

Against S4/D1 @ BS4:
3 Sa'cea Marksmen in cover @ T3/W3 w/ 4+/+2 Sv takes 162 hits.
3 Sa'cea Marksmen outside cover @ T3/W3 w/ 4+ Sv takes 54 hits.

7 Drones in cover @ T4/W1 w/ 4+ Sv takes 84 hits.
7 Drones outside cover @ T4/W1 w/ 4+ Sv takes 56 hits.

We can see a vast improvement on staying power as long as the Marksmen can maintain cover. However, while less accurate, marker drones on average net more ML hits - and with ML's its the quantity that matters.

So I suppose it would come down to the playstyle of your army - if your army is mobile, marker drones fare better due to stable platform rule. If your army is a static gunline, marksmen may be a better choice but it boils down to whether your opponent can render your character rule useless (mobile enough to reduce the distance/has enough firepower to de-screen the marksmen/has good sniper weapons) and/or cover useless (have cover ignoring mechanics).

To me, marker drones seem like the more flexible/reliable choice.

Also, Tau is elite/heavy support reliant army so that's another thing to consider. But as always YMMV.

Right. The only reason I find ML drones useless is that I find they just die T1. Remove the markerlights. That's normally step one. Then I find that I have less markerlights overall then if I had taken marksmen. Mind you, I don't play competitively, so take my word with a grain of salt.

"For the dark gods!" - A traitor guardsmen, probably before being killed. 
   
Made in us
Stubborn Dark Angels Veteran Sergeant





 Sir Heckington wrote:
Right. The only reason I find ML drones useless is that I find they just die T1. Remove the markerlights. That's normally step one. Then I find that I have less markerlights overall then if I had taken marksmen. Mind you, I don't play competitively, so take my word with a grain of salt.
Few ways to mitigate Marker Drones from blowing up too early is:
1. include a few shield drones in the unit to tank some hits.
2. keep a unit or two in reserves to replenish your marker drones on turns 2+.
   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut




 skchsan wrote:
 Sir Heckington wrote:
Right. The only reason I find ML drones useless is that I find they just die T1. Remove the markerlights. That's normally step one. Then I find that I have less markerlights overall then if I had taken marksmen. Mind you, I don't play competitively, so take my word with a grain of salt.
Few ways to mitigate Marker Drones from blowing up too early is:
1. include a few shield drones in the unit to tank some hits.
2. keep a unit or two in reserves to replenish your marker drones on turns 2+.

How do you find your marker drones fair against minus to hit shenanigans? As that would be one of my main concerns as it's the one time I tend to want to stack markerlights though if the FAQ changes that it might be less of an issue.
   
Made in us
Stubborn Dark Angels Veteran Sergeant





Ice_can wrote:
 skchsan wrote:
 Sir Heckington wrote:
Right. The only reason I find ML drones useless is that I find they just die T1. Remove the markerlights. That's normally step one. Then I find that I have less markerlights overall then if I had taken marksmen. Mind you, I don't play competitively, so take my word with a grain of salt.
Few ways to mitigate Marker Drones from blowing up too early is:
1. include a few shield drones in the unit to tank some hits.
2. keep a unit or two in reserves to replenish your marker drones on turns 2+.

How do you find your marker drones fair against minus to hit shenanigans? As that would be one of my main concerns as it's the one time I tend to want to stack markerlights though if the FAQ changes that it might be less of an issue.
Generally, I tend to target those that are most vulnerable first (the low priority targets that aren't buffed) to thin out opponent's army in general and then play objectives. There's really not much you can do as a BS4 army against stacked - to hits except for weight of dice. There's no point of wasting ML's against things that has less chance of getting hit by it.

Alternatively, even if you got a ML down with a BS2 HQ ML against a -2 to hit unit, the rest of your army wont really benefit much from it anyways.

If the target just needs to be downed, the only way is to hope for a lucky 6 on a ML and Uplink that ML, then start unloading seekers onto it.

Railsides with velocity trackers do pretty well against -2 to hit alaitoc flyers too.

This message was edited 5 times. Last update was at 2019/09/05 20:44:30


 
   
 
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