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Situation: A squad of (jet)bikes has several Markerlights on them. The tau player is about to shoot at them with some Plasma or other weapon w/ low enough AP to punch their armor.

Does the Tau player have to declare Markerlight usage before Bike player Jinks? Or do the Bikes have to declare Jink before finding out whether the Tau player is going to use the Markerlights to ignore cover?

I am ONLY concerned with 7th Edition rules. 6th Edition was clear cut as Jink was automatic.

ETA: Jink (7th Edition):

When a unit with any models with the jink special rule is selected as a target for a shooting attack, you may declare that it will jink. the decision must be made before any of the to hit rolls have been made. If the unit jinks all models in the unit with this special rule gain a 4+ cover save until the start of their next movement phase, but they can only fire snap shots until the end of their next turn.

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After 6 months is there still no clear answer to this question? –  Red_Shadow Jan 30 at 20:14
    
Nope. And GW has even updated the Tau FAQ in the meantime, toclarify a Markerlight question that no one is really asking. –  aslum Jan 30 at 20:35
    
@Red_Shadow While there are numerous viable answers to the proposed question, it appears this post will go stale from in-fighting, as it appears those involved get serially downvoted...and without constructive criticism. –  hexparrot Feb 23 at 21:22
    
Well, he put his own answer up, I assume that's the answer he feels is correct. Can he not accept it if it's below 0? (I don't know who did the downvoting, it wasn't me). –  Michael Campbell Feb 23 at 23:07
    
@MichaelCampbell If he feels his answer is correct, he can indeed accept it as an answer. Or... he can just log on to downvote me. –  hexparrot Feb 24 at 5:27

5 Answers 5

In the interest of forging the narrative and through a step-by-step playthrough of the shooting phase, I believe it is unambiguous that Jink must be declared before Markerlights.

  1. Tau player enters the shooting phase.
  2. Tau elects a unit to attack with the Markerlight, a ranged weapon with the special rule "Target Acquired". This attack may not be saved against (p.68).

    Tau player might say, as an example, "this unit is attacking your jetbikes with my markerlights"

  3. Tau player rolls and completes the attack(s) applying markerlight tokens to the jetbike unit.

  4. Tau player declares a new shooting attack against the markerlit unit.

    Tau player might say, "this unit is attacking your jetbikes with these plasma weapons."

  5. Tau player asks if the defending player has any response

  6. Tau player, having given the defending player a chance to declare jink, can then declare usage of markerlights and how they are spent specifically.
  7. Tau player may then make to-hit rolls and resolve the attack.

Some may point out that per the jink special rule, targeting occurs then opting for jink, then declaration of weapons. In my experience, games never break up attacks into individual steps, asking for acknowledgement after each step; it is more natural (and time-saving...and fun) to make more complete declarations--always giving no less than the amount of information required at that point in time.

To put in a more concrete example, the Tau player does not say "this unit is attacking your jetbikes with these plasma weapons and I'm expending 2 markerlights for Scour (ignores cover)". The Tau player simply makes his intent clear while giving an opportunity for the defender to make his tactical response.

Nor does the Tau player say "this unit is attacking your jetbikes, do you jink?" The Tau player consolidates the first 3 steps of Nominate, Target Unit, Select Weapon.

The fact that declaring the plasma weapons (step 3 of the Shooting Sequence, BRB) occurred at the same time as step 1 and 2 may be technically "out of order", but the attacking player doing so does not put the defending player at a disadvantage by doing so. On the contrary, the defending player now has more information on which he can decide whether or not he wishes to jink, while still retaining the option to jink or not, because Jink simply must just occur before To-Hit rolls.

Forging the Narrative

A unit of jetbikes has been markerlit. Then, the markerlit squad recognizes plasma weapons from a distance unit re-orienting and pointing right at them.

In response to the incipient barrage of plasma, the Jetbikes make a split decision to Jink or not to Jink.

Seeing that they jinked (or didn't jink), the plasma cannons--exploiting this new advantage--Pinpoints, Scours, and/or Seeks and completes their attack.

Does the attacking squad with plasma weapons call out "Hey, we're ignoring your cover!"? No, it doesn't seem likely that they literally could know; thus, they must make their decision which happens before shots are fired.

Since 40k emphasizes Forging the Narrative so much, it seems apparent that from FTN standpoint, Jinking must occur before Markerlights.

Rule-as-Written

Even if one were to laboriously go through each step of the rules with each player having their turn, in turn, Jink optioning occurs before markerlight expending.

  1. Tau enters the shooting phase
  2. Tau elects a unit to make attack with, waits for acknowlegment
  3. Tau elects a unit to attack, waits for acknowlegment
  4. Defender decides whether to jink
  5. Tau selects a weapon, waits for acknowlegment
  6. Tau expends markerlights
  7. Tau makes to-hit rolls.

Going through the shooting sequence one at a time still ends up with the same result: markerlights can be spent knowing whether the defender jinked or not.

Rule as written, it almost would be more clear had the rulebook left out one sentence, as it adds very little to the clarity of the intended rule.

When a unit with any models with the jink special rule is selected as a target for a shooting attack, you may declare that it will jink. the decision must be made before any of the to hit rolls have been made. If the unit jinks all models in the unit with this special rule gain a 4+ cover save until the start of their next movement phase, but they can only fire snap shots until the end of their next turn.

The crossed-out line is redundant (as "selected as a target" is always before to-hit rolls), but adds the ambiguity (to some) that Jinking can happen any moment up until the dice hit the table. This does not seem to be the case: the timing is exact, after the target has been selected and before the Tau has even selected a weapon. And if defenders choose to Jink before the weapon has been selected, then certainly markerlights come after Jink, which happens immediately before firing.

Or put another way:

  • Action must happen at step 2. (target)
  • Action must happen before step 4. (rolling dice)

They are not contradictory, but the latter is unnecessary.

Sequencing, BRB

If any of this is not convincing enough, the BRB states:

While playing Warhammer 40,000, you’ll occasionally find that two or more rules are to be resolved at the same time – normally ‘at the start of the Movement phase’ or similar. When this happens, and the wording is not explicit as to which rule is resolved first, then the player whose turn it is chooses the order.

In this case the dispute is about "immediately before shooting" and "before to-hit rolls are made." In the event the players agree that both should be resolved at the same time, but it is uncertain which would then be resolved first, the Tau player may choose the order. To his best advantage, "before to-hit rolls are made" can be chosen to resolve first, then "immediately before shooting"--once again allowing the expending of Markerlights to occur after Jink optioning.

If the players do not agree they should be resolved simultaneously (and be subject to the acting player's whim), the players involved should roll-off to settle rule-disputes.

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1  
-1 because ignoring part of the rules (or calling them redundant) doesn't actually help answer a question. –  aslum Feb 24 at 14:40
    
And the rest of the answer contributes nothing to answer the question? Note, I didn't ignore the rule, I marked it out to signify that the rule is very unambiguous without that line. And if the rule added a third line "the decision must be made before the game is over"--wouldn't change the fact that it was explicitly meant to happen upon targeting. Your personal bias against me hurts the community. –  hexparrot Feb 24 at 14:45
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There's nothing personal about it. You mention Forging the Narrative which isn't actually a rule, it's great for resolving situations between you and a friend, but I'm looking for an actual rules answer. Additionally, your explanation is kind of all over the place and you ignore some of the rules to arrive at your conclusion. By your second numbered list, if you DON'T ignore a whole sentence of the rules, Jinking happens at step 6.5. –  aslum Feb 24 at 15:36
    
I welcome you mentioning what rules I "ignore." I already told you that I didn't "ignore" a rule to make my point--but instead I marked it out so that people can see the clarity of wording without that line. Then, upon adding it in--(do you need me to do so visually?)--you can see how adding additional rules that do not say anything more specific than what has already been said does not make it suddenly "whenever you feel like jinking"--it is upon targeting. –  hexparrot Feb 24 at 15:40
    
In addition, you seem to look at a specific part you don't like and then dismiss the WHOLE thing. "Forge the narrative isn't a rule" therefore the other 70% of the post which is rules-based and rules-cited is invalid? Again, you provide little to advance the conversation. –  hexparrot Feb 24 at 15:41

The reason its important is not for the jinking itself, because you don't "roll" jinking, you are simply given a 4+ cover, which doesn't even come into play until you take potential damage. The defending player can't avoid it, Scour doesn't remove jinking or strip cover saves directly, it simply gives all weapons shooting the "Ignores Cover" rule. It doesn't matter if the jinking player declares it before or after, he ain't getting his cover save.

This is why you can't get Cover Saves from Markerlights because they don't inflict wounds and you only get cover saves from inflicted wounds/pen or glancing hits.

But its still important because Jink makes you fire Snap Shots. So if the defending player knows he's not getting Cover Saves anyway, he can wait for you to use the Scour ability -2 counters and then let you waste it by not Jinking at all. That way, if the unit survives, it isn't on Snap Shots.

I agree that the word MAY for Jink specifies that anytime within the Select Target steps does the player determine Jinking in effect so long as it is done before rolls are made, even waiting until after the first weapon is selected.

Markerlights are more restrictive, and specify "immediately" before a unit shoots their use must be declared, but how they are expended is declared before the shooting attack, which I agree is before the first weapon is selected (which is part of the shooting attack).

So before you state the weapon you are using, those counters must be used. Markerlight declaration is very clearly before that and the defending player can choose anytime before To Hit rolls.

Tau are my primary army so I'm hurting myself by honorably letting my opponents know before I nominate anything to shoot.

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According to RAW the decision is to be made before ANY to hit rolls are made. So the decision is to be made before the first (any) to hit rolls are made, so the decision were made when markers were fired

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The shooting sequence:

  1. Nominate Unit to shoot
  2. Choose a target
  3. Select a weapon
  4. Roll to hit
  5. Roll to wound
  6. Allocate wounds and remove casualties
  7. Select another weapon

If you read the full text of Jink it says that the target MAY Jink before Markerlight usage is declared, but they don't have to declare until right before dice are rolled. This suggests that Jink must be declared after step 2 (can't Jink before you are targeted) but before step 4.

Shooting at a target involves cycling through steps 3-7 until all weapons have been fired. That is to say, if you have 2 weapons, once you have fired one, you are already shooting at the target. Markerlights happen immediately before you shoot; so once you have fired one weapon, it is too late to use Markerlights in that shooting attack. Therefore Markerlights must be used before step 3.

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I dont think you count as having fired once you pick a gun. I feel you have not "shot" until you have rolled to hit. Yes steps 3-7 get repeated, and they should not be allowed to fire half their guns before choosing to use markerlights, but choosing a gun isn't firing a gun. –  Michael Campbell Oct 9 '14 at 5:02
    
I'd say that choosing a gun is definitely part of shooting at a target. You can't shoot at something without picking which gun you are going to shoot (when you have multiple options) therefore picking is part of shooting. So you must spend markerlights before you pick (since you have to spend them before you shoot). –  aslum Oct 16 '14 at 18:33
    
I'd say that choosing a target is definitely part of shooting at a target. You can't shoot at something without picking a target you are going to shoot (when you have multiple options) therefore picking a target is part of shooting. So you must spend markerlights before you pick a target (since you have to spend them before you shoot). –  hexparrot Feb 24 at 5:31

Well, first off, lets establish the sequence of shooting in 7th edition.

According to the rulebook the Shooting Sequence is:

  1. Nominate Unit to shoot
  2. Choose a target
  3. Select a weapon
  4. Roll to hit
  5. Roll to wound
  6. Allocate wounds and remove casualties
  7. select another weapon

As you say, Jink states that it is used "when a unit with any models with the Jink special rule is selected as a target for a shooting attack".

Markerlights state that "Immediately before a unit from Codex: Tau Empire shoots at a target that has one or more markerlight counters, it can declare it is using one or more of the markerlight abilities listed below." (Codex Tau 6th Ed, pg 68)

To me, this suggests that the Markerlight abilities are declared between section 3 and 4, after the target and weapon are selected, but just prior to rolling to hit.

As such, the unit of jetbikes must choose whether they will Jink when they are selected as a Target in section 2 of the Shooting Sequence, and the Tau player does not need to declare what (if any) Markerlight abilities they are using until just prior to section 4 of the Shooting Sequence.

Yes, the Eldar player should declare the Jink when they are targetted, which is before the Tau must declare whether they will use their Markerlight counters or not.

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As @aslum states in his answer This suggests that Jink must be declared after step 2 but before step 4. (which I agree with), what precludes the possibility of declaring jink "before any of the to hit rolls have been made" but after the Tau declares markerlight abilities? Both would occur before step 4. –  hexparrot Oct 8 '14 at 15:33
    
For example, imagine the scenario where the Tau player is able to summarize his intention of 1-3 all in one fell swoop (as is common in normal gameplay): "This unit is attacking this unit with their Plasma weaps...using these awesome markerlights!" While the rules are unambiguous that they resolve in a specific order, what matters most is that the instruction can be PARSED in the specific order without having to be split up into 3 separate tasks. Therefore, such an instruction can be given and the target can still reply 'I'm jinking' without any breach of protocol or tactical dis/advantage. –  hexparrot Oct 8 '14 at 15:37
    
Put another way, you're putting the target unit at a disadvantage that they may not jink unless it occurs before the markerlight declaration, which pretty much means playing at the table must progress like this (even if not verbatim), in order to be fair: "I'm nominating this unit <wait for reply>" "I'm shooting this unit <wait for reply>" "I'm using this weapon <wait for reply>" This is patently ridiculous. So long as the attacking unit gives sufficient time for his opponent to reply before rolling, jink may be called any time before 4 occurs, but after 2 (which could be 1-3 together) –  hexparrot Oct 8 '14 at 15:42
    
I don't think it's near that bad. Tau player says "This unit will shoot at that unit using X markerlights to Y." If cover is being ignored Jink is irrelevant. If it's not then the defender's last chance to Jink is after the first weapon to fire is chosen but before the to hit roll dice are rolled. –  aslum Oct 8 '14 at 17:10
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The point I'm trying to make is that the attacking player should never need to prompt what the response will be. "I am targetting Jetbikes, do you jink?" is telling them options they may not even be considering! The appropriate way to naturally address it is that you simply don't roll without their affirmation they have no further actions. So "this unit will shoot at that unit using X markerlights to Y. Do you have any response?" is a way to compress steps 1-3 together simultaneously while giving complete and valid opportunity for the target to consider his options and declare jink. –  hexparrot Oct 9 '14 at 14:57

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