Pathfinders... Not worth thier points?? What do you think

A review of past Tactics by commanders during the First, Second, Third & Fourth Phase Expansion.
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Mephet'ran
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Post#37 » Apr 09 2006 08:00

I agree, the danger of "over-loading" our units is very high. However, in my case I want ML support from turn 1 onwards to help with those critical first turns. So it needs to be in the right place from the word go and not get killed in the process. Thats why I use Stealth instead of PFs.
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Post#38 » Apr 09 2006 08:10

El'Flashman wrote:Finally I'd like to pick up on the point of 'needing' to get the Pathfinders working from the first turn onwards. I'm slowly coming around to the idea of avoiding their deployment pre-game and instead deploying them in the first turn.


Exactly. The key to getting good use out of Pathfinders is managing their "perceived threat level". Warhammer is a very instinctual game. Players tend to focus most on what did them the most damage in the previous turn. Only the most experienced of veterans have the stick-to-it-ness to keep focused on a target that hasn't yet attacked them while the remainder of the army has been pounding them to bits.

Furthermore, a Mech Tau army really doesn't have much that can take substantial benefit of 4+ Markerlight hits on turn one anyhow. Mech Firewarriors aren't in position yet, XV8's aren't in rapid-fire range yet, deep-strikers haven't arrived yet, the only thing that's potentially in range are infiltrated Stealths.

To quote this article on Markerlight carriers that was posted on MTT 2 months ago:

Pathfinders have the potential to do so much for your Cadre, but the fact remains that they are but a handful of T3 models with a mediocre 4+ save, easily wiped from the table with a few bolter rounds. It's often the case that if they survive the first two turns, you will by then have engaged your opponent with enough of the rest of your army that he will be too preoccupied with other things to worry about a few laser pointers who, after all, don't actually kill anything anyway (you should remind your opponent of this as often as possible). It's therefore entirely reasonable to keep your Pathfinders loaded up and/or behind some LoS blocking terrain while the rest of your army goes out and gathers attention to itself. It's not until turn 2 or 3 just before your Firewarriors are ready to unload that you can quietly move the Pathfinders into position to support them.

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P'Shar's Rifles
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Good stuff, this.

Post#39 » Apr 09 2006 08:27

Great discussion, guys. I like the stealth markerlight team concept, but I've also enjoyed using my pathfinders. Seems to me that the stealths are perfect for the "alpha strike" game, where you want to hit the enemy with as devastating a first turn as possible. I could see two or three marker-stealth teams and a skyray (or a bunch of seekers on fish) putting down a wicked first turn volley with almost no chance of return fire. The pathfinders, despite having more markerlights, seem better for a long-term combined arms approach.

From the positions presented so far, I can see a definite use for either of these units, depending on your general strategic inclination. Love that.

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Post#40 » Apr 09 2006 08:37

This is all nice and good, but I still can't get over the lack of mobility with PFs. If you deploy them, then they can only shoot the turn afterwards, so they spend a turn where they could be shot. Once they're deployed, and then you want to move them somewhere else then they get back in, move 12", deploy next turn and shoot the turn after that. In order to move a measly 12" 2 turns have passed. It is hard, if not impossible, to tell what things will look like in 2 turns, by that time things could have changed so dramatically that the PFs would have been better off somewhere else.

Stealth on the otherhand need only one turn to move 12", or two turns at moving 6" per turn with no loss of fire.
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Post#41 » Apr 09 2006 09:02

Mephet'ran wrote:Stealth on the otherhand need only one turn to move 12", or two turns at moving 6" per turn with no loss of fire.



Presuming ofcourse that moving after firing heavy weapons is indeed allowed.

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Post#42 » Apr 09 2006 10:04

Mephet'ran wrote:Stealth on the otherhand need only one turn to move 12", or two turns at moving 6" per turn with no loss of fire.


Sure, Stealths are more mobile and slightly more durable. That's their benefit. Pathfinders are almost half the price and include the utility of an extra 'fish chassis (a mess of S5 shots, assault blocking, anti-tank dilution, a homing beacon, and... transport capacity every once in a great while). That's their benefit. It all depends which is more valuable to your playstyle.

For me, the extra 'fish chassis is a huge benefit. Against fast assaulters, my Broadsides occaisionally find themselves being assaulted, even with ASS... unless I have at least 2 skimmer chassis to make a wall. Since I can't abide spending points on more than the 1 obligatory squad of Firewarriors, I feel naked without the Pathfinder 'fish on the table as well.

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Post#43 » Apr 09 2006 10:19

Ah, well thats the difference. You want the extra Skimmer, I don't need it as I field 2 MechFW squads even in 1250pts. I agree, having another skimmer wouldn't be bad, but it ins't worth it to me.

Where did you get half the price from ? A PF unit costs the same as a Stealth unit, about 240pts. As for shooting, the PF's DF get to shoot about as much as the Stealth do as it has to stay near the PFs. 3 Stealth have more Firepower than the DF, ok no LOS ignoring, but that usually isn't a problem.


I understant the each to his own idea, in fact my saying in 40k is "there is no "perfect" in warhammer, only that which works well with you."
However, I still do not understand how PFs could be better unless you're running a DS army.
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kai'lore
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Post#44 » Apr 09 2006 10:24

Thanks Flash but I don't want the extra pressure, I can only come up with a good idea every couple of years or so!

that's right Meph and I am glad to see that you are very excited about the Stealth ML team.

Do go back and check, nowhere did I make the blanket statement that either is superior or a better allocation of resources, they both have their own unique attributes.

PF Pros- Cheaper ML. Pre-Game move. Concentration of Force Multiplier. DF (c'mon, who's not a fan!?!), Marker Beacon. FA Slot not as competitive.

Cons - Weak individual models. Mandatory Transport. Largely static. Difficult to use. No Rapid Fire.

Stealth ML's Pros; Stealth Fields at range make them immune to most return fire. Move and shoot. Good anti-infantry firepower up close and hit first in cc. Perhaps better match for Mech Tau philosophy.

Cons - expensive ML, might relegate Team to ML duty and not do much with BC's. Mixed role difficult to play - max range for ML's or up close for BC's?, take up a valuable Elite slot that we need for heavy hitters with a 'support unit'. Models not out yet. Lol, just had to add that!

I think that sums it up? Please feel free to add more.

Now I don't see either team really better than the other, just an interesting choice. Most of the Stealth teams downsides can now be made up for in other parts of the list too. Gun Drone Squadrons are a little better so could be taken to augment the mobile pulse fire as could Piranha Squadrons.

More SMS in a list could also take some of the pressure off the Stealth team needing to perform the critter horde duty if you get the Hidden Spider Network going.

A Skyray would compliment the Stealth ML well by also being move and shoot, from range. Very Mech Tau, I like that. Being able to glide around and make pinpoint attacks without taking so much fire back really appeals to me in the way an IG Commander really couldn't understand! :D

PF's shortcomings can also be overcome, or at least mitigated. No matter how I look at them they are weak models so I don't expect them to weather much. Position them in cover, move them and use their Carbines -shock horror it's true, some players seem to forget that they also have carbines ;) Funny this, if I walk them people seem to forget about the ML's. Don't use them every turn, use their carbines too and take away the focus of the ML's. Then stay put and laze!

Change the timing of dropping them out of the DF. They only need to be out one turn before you spring the trap, as P'Shars said it doesn't always need to be during the pre-game. That can be very disconcerting for some opponents whom don't know/forget they are heavy weapons. To know that ML's are lurking their way up a flank.

Last one, they are still Mech FW's in a way -they are very good at keeping themselves out of harm's way when tucked up in the DF. Yes, they are not shooting at this is not an advantage but more of a mitigation of a weakness. Spring them at the right time and use them to support your attack. Then zip them up again and away. Sure, they may only be out of their DF for a couple of turns but it's another way to get something out of them. It's not only about what we destroy in our opponents list, but what we keep in ours.

Random late night ideas... :roll:

kai

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kai'lore
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Post#45 » Apr 09 2006 10:26

man, I'm just too slow! You guys snuck those last two posts in there as I was pecking out my gibberish. Sorry if there is some overlap, and there is :sad:

kai

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Post#46 » Apr 09 2006 10:57

Mephet'ran wrote:This is all nice and good, but I still can't get over the lack of mobility with PFs.[/i].


Should the lack of mobilty really be a deciding factor? Granted Pathfinders have a Heavy weapon, but that weapon is of 36" range! Unless your hugging the board edge for dear life (or playing on a table that is bigger than 8'x4') than that profile should give you more than enough influence over half or more of the game board. Sure if you wanted to move them due to poor early deployment (pre-game and 1st turn in my mind) then your gonna lose a turn of fire, but you shouldn't need to move more than once or you really have messed up...

Mephet' having read your arguments against Pathfinders. I understand your feelings are strong, but I can't help feeling that maybe Tetras might be more your thing. Have you ever tried using them? I'm tempted myself now to buy them (especially with the new markerlight rules) and they'd seem to fit well within your philosophy. I remember when writing the first list for my Horror on 4x4 piece one of the first critisisms I received was for my 'Do-it-All' Crisis team. I took it on board (or the chin) and decided to optimise my list. The result was an improvement.

Which comes to root of my niggle regarding your Stealth team marker approach. It is ingenious, but I don't feel it's the optimum use of a Stealth team. My heart say's the point's could be better spent elsewhere and the Stealths could be better employed in the role(s) they were designed for. However it's all swings and roundabouts, like you've said Mephet', "there is... only that which works well (for) you". If Stealth-Marker teams work for do it.
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Post#47 » Apr 09 2006 11:08

I quite like the idea of the stealth team with marker drones... my only problem with them, isn't the points cost, but the fact that the whole squad (excluding the Target locked Team leader) have to shoot the same unit... therefore you cannot, light up an enemy tank for your railguns and shoot infantry with your Burst cannons... this is the bit that worries me... you either loose the Burst cannon fire, or are limited to targets that your BC's can hurt.
I think i wll give them a try in my Mech force, although I've gone all static at the moment and it seems to be working ok...
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Post#48 » Apr 09 2006 11:31

Mephet'ran wrote:Where did you get half the price from ? A PF unit costs the same as a Stealth unit, about 240pts.


I said almost half the price ;) The relevant number is points per Markerlight hit.


8 Pathfinders in Devilfish (191)
- [Shas'ui]
- [Decoys]

3 Stealths (235)
- [Team Leader, Markerlight, Target Array]
- [DC + 2 Marker Drones]
- [DC + 2 Marker Drones]


I didn't include the cost of the Multitracker, SMS, or Target Array that you might (likely) add to the Pathfinder 'fish since this isn't related to the Markerlight cost... buying those upgrades is essentially independent of the Pathfinders, you're just paying points to add S5 shots to your list, they just happened to be mounted on the 'finder 'fish that you're required to buy.

Pathfinders cost 191 and get (on average) 4 Markerlight hits giving you 47.8 points per Markerlight hit. Stealths cost 235 and get (on average) 2.7 Markerlight hits giving you 87 points per Markerlight hit.

Justyn_Lyons
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This is just my opinion

Post#49 » Apr 09 2006 12:05

I just want to start by saying I haven't read all the other posts, and for those of you speed reading who might have missed it I'll say it again I didn't read all the other posts.

Edit by kai - Justyn_Lyons, please don't do this. What you are telling me is that what you have to say is more important than what the others before have taken the time to write. If you are going to bask in the glory of making a post, please do pay the price of reading the ones that came before it.

Yes sir, my apologizes, I will comply with this in the future, though that was not my intent or thought, if I offended I am sorry, I would have been better understood if I had said I hadn't read every other post.

Edit by kai- Thanks for taking it well, all the best with the discussion!

That said this is my take on PFs. I personally like them, not to mention that all this 'dying to easily' is a obvious result of leaving them too far forward without support. I mean with 4th edition you mostly play on the long table edge meaning there is less than 4' between your and opponent even if you are set up on the very edge of the table, MLs have a 3' range. I realize many here are Mech Tau players, and I will conceed if you are a MT vs a Hybrid yes PFs proabably aren't good for you. However, if you have a hybrid force, or even some FW carbine teams on foot (2 teams work best though not necessarily against MEqs) and maybe a Sniper Drone team or three, just some extra units to draw fire then they should be fine. Last time I played (and lost :/ ) my PFs were one of the last units to go down, but we also have a lot of area terrain where I play, so a PF team sitting 6" in doesn't move and can still use MLs out, and gets a cover save to boot. Or I place them behind some Kroot who are mostly in area terrain (since the cover save is given as long as most of the models are in AT pg.25) leave enough of them out to provide a 'wall' to place PF teams behind, instant Kroot shielding with a 4+ cover save if you happen to have woods :) . Personally I'm looking forward to getting my Sniper drones finished and using them with my PFs to keep my SOB friend's 20 sister squads pinned down while slowly killing them each turn with the sniper rail rifles, I realize that I'm using 680 pts (2 PFs and 3 SDT) to get rid of 440+ (2 SOB 20 girl squads), but in games it is those huge squads that are my undoing, everything else I can kill consistently, though I'm sure a Vespid squad will speed their deaths along. So if you are a Mech player then there are probably better options for you, as a Hybrid player I don't really have any problems with my PFs.
Last edited by Justyn_Lyons on Apr 10 2006 10:10, edited 2 times in total.
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Post#50 » Apr 09 2006 01:11

Ok, here is my stand on the PF / Stealth debate. I understand the arguments brought for PFs, I understand the pros of PFs as well. I will remain by Stealth as I have played both in a number of games and Stealths (in my case) way outperform PFs.

In the end one must just use both and see which works best for you. Theorizing only works so far, after that the only true factor is experience. So for all those following this debate I say try them both out. Prox the models you don't have and play 5 games with each, then you'll know which you prefer.

And yeah, I did roll Tetras for a while, but they require the opponents consent and I was massacring my opponents even more with Tetras, so I figured I was stretching their patience a bit too much.
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Post#51 » Apr 09 2006 02:06

Mephet'ran wrote:I will remain by Stealth as I have played both in a number of games and Stealths (in my case) way outperform PFs.


Of course Stealths outperform Pathfinders. They cost almost twice as much! The real question is whether or not they have twice the performance.

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Post#52 » Apr 09 2006 02:15

I still don't understand where you get twice as much from. I'm saying Stealth outperfom PFs and their DF together.
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Justyn_Lyons
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ML Stealths

Post#53 » Apr 09 2006 03:48

Mephet'ran, I must admit after reading though all this and seeing what you field as a ML Stealth team I find the prospects interesting and am looking forward to trying that out in a future game, mainly because I dislike PF teams using up slots that could be filled with Vespid and Piranhas.
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Post#54 » Apr 09 2006 03:49

Haha ! A convert ! :) :)
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