Thursday 25 April 2013

Tau marker lights: Review of options.

Where did I leave my flashlight?

The Tau marker light, we equally love them and hate them depending on which side we are on. I personally think that the changes that have occurred are a move in the right direction by GW. Being able to ignore cover with only two lights is a massive advantage for players using the Riptide or plasma-suits (or any other low AP weapon for that matter). Furthermore, being able to increase Snap-shots means we have a some-what possible option for broadsides becoming mobile (this will be discussed in another thread).

Up until the Tau were updated, the rumour threads were full of people endlessly complaining that Tau should not be BS3. I don't know who these people are but I would not want them writing any of my army books. It is relatively simple to gain a bonus to your BS, but where you get these lights will change how you play. Let us look at the options:

Marker drones.
Come in as companions or squadrons. Being Relentless and T4 makes these little guys a good choice. Add in the ability to jump pack in the assault phase and you have a winner.  The only downside is the BS2 of the drones. I see there being three main options for these guys. The first being put into a unit of suits that have target locks (thankyou Lee), secondly as a squadron with a drone controlling commander and thirdly as a squadron with prescience. All of the options have their merits and downsides but overall these guys are a decent and manoeuvrable options. 

Cheap and have scout. These guys will die pretty quick unless put in some cover, even then with the number of Ignore cover weapons going around, they will still die pretty quick. I feel MSU with these guys will be the way to go. 2-3 units of five will survive longer than 1-2 units of ten.

The reason why the Skyray is great is the fact that it's marker lights have BS4 Skyfire. If you move it however, you are stuck with only firing a single light. Great for force multipliers to give a unit pseudo skyfire. 

Sniper drone team.
Stealth, sniper drones and BS5 marker lights. Pretty nasty. A small unit with 3 BS5 lights is cheap enough to be a great option. Stealth and an aegis line (and the drones themselves) makes the unit far more survivable than a pathfinder unit of the same size. If you have a slot free for these guys, then take them.

I'm not really impressed in using this as a marker light source. It is a bomber and should stay a bomber. The BS3 light isn't very reliable either so it's a pass on this (as a source for lights). 

Hand held marker light.
Infantry held marker lights. Better options elsewhere but there are some decent options. Personally, I see these guys as being force multipliers. Fire the single light from a fire warrior unit (that has target lock with the upgrade), hope that it hits and then increase the BS of a larger marker light unit such as Pathfinders or drones. 

Tetra (FW).
Well if FW is allowed then great, these guys are a steal. They lose the ability to have BS4 (as the rules for target array do not exist anymore) but can still get an extremely cheap disruption pod. I would easily take at least two in most games and as more and more tournaments allow FW, these guys become a great choice for a long term investment.

Game play:
Once more play testing has been done, I will bring an updated version of the opinions of the authors of this site. With a 2,000 point tournament around the corner, Lee (who plays Tau competitively) will surely be able to give some feedback on what he thinks is the best options in tournament play. 

Until next time. 



  1. That option is what made me think of getting a Tau Battleforce. I think strategically has a lot of potential and makes the game more interesting...

  2. Cheers for the shout outs.
    My Tau did brutally well, virtually tabling 3 GK players.
    Building markerlights into your force, you really need to consider who will be benefiting and what order you plan to fire.
    At times I felt like I had too many lights, then others, not enough.
    My killing power was 2 big sniper squads (they are just terrific) and a lot of AA missiles.
    BS 5 snipers and skyfire missiles meant lights weren't so critical.
    I do plan to build more lights into my next list, as I will run more fire warriors and Plasma Rifle suits.
    Bs5 markerlights in the sniper squads are golden, likewise if you have a commander with drone controller. Ethereal bringing relentless marker drones to the sniper squad was a fantastic choice (however there wasn't usually much of that squad left to shoot at).
    Tho I plan to run a small sniper/spotter team I'd like to, on my next post, introduce a concept I've termed Marker Chain Effect (MCE), it will catch on!


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