Hunter-Killer Battle Group: Tau Commander and Marker Drones

I think this is one of the most underated Tau combinations in the game right now. Everyone (both Tau players and their enemies) is focused on Broadsides with Toolbox Commanders, Riptides, Farsight Crises Suit spam lists, and even massed Fire Warriors buffed by Ethereals and/or Fireblades.

While all those units are quite potent, especially when backed by the Tau Relics and Special Issue Wargear, I think people tend to forget what makes Tau so crazy good… Markerlights!!! When this comes up, though, players automatically think Pathfinders, or sometimes even Tetras (from FW), or Crises Teams led by a Commander with a pair of Markerlight Drones.

If 40K is nothing else, it is a test of concentration, massing combat power, and providing reliability in a game where chance plays such a big role. Enter the Tau “Hunter-Killer” team:

-Tau Commander with Command and Control Node, Drone Controller, and two Marker Drones

-Drone Squadron with 12 Marker Drones

This unit can put out 14 Markerlights a turn, all with Jump-Shoot-Jump (so punch out of cover, paint your target, then jump back), hitting on 2+s (thank you, Drone Controller and BS5 Tau Commander) with re-rolls to Hit (thank you even more, Command and Control Node!). That means that the 14 markerlights have 97% chance to hit, meaning you are VERY likely to get 13-14 Marklight hits a turn.

Now, what to do with them? Well, first off, 2 Markerlight counters take away the cover of whatever you are shooting at. Blob Squad going to ground behind an Aegis Line… Nope, only Flak Jacket save for you! Jinking Eldar Skimmers with a 3+ cover save… Nope! Just AV12 and a Serpent Shield! Hordes of Tyranids with a Venomthrope Shrouding…. Gone! Eat a blizzard of Pulse Rifle fire!

So, that’s just the the cover save…. you still have about 11 marker counter left…. how about buffing multiple units of Crises Suits to BS5? Or how about that Riptide having BS10 so that its Blast scatters 2″ at the very most? Or how about the TLed HYMPs of your Broadsides basically auto-hitting?

The options are varied and almost endless. Whatever else happens, the “Hunter-Killer” team ensure a Tau player gets, maintains, and exploits target priority like none other. Even the toughest units in the game will fall apart when hit by massed long range shooting that ignores cover and it hitting on 2+s or better.

This entry was posted in Tactics and tagged .

2 comments on “Hunter-Killer Battle Group: Tau Commander and Marker Drones

  1. Anonymous says:

    Sure, but all those marker light hits are on one enemy unit unless you give target lock to the commander which lets you put two on a different unit. I find that to be a bit of a waste since you are rarely in a position to use all those marker lights.


    • greysplinter says:

      Good point and it definitely can be overkill. That said, there is nothing like focus-firing (or in this case, “focus-marking” in order to better support focus-firing) to surgically remove one critical enemy unit per turn.


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