Pathfinders: Ion Rifles or Rail Rifles (or none)

Discuss tactical and strategic development for 40K/Tau.
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Unusualsuspect
Kroot'Ui
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Re: Pathfinders: Ion Rifles or Rail Rifles (or none)

Post#19 » Jul 18 2017 02:26

Drones are viable ablative wounds, as always, and often well worth killing in the place of a Rail Rifle pathfinder... but that's going to get very expensive in Drones very quickly.

First, the enemy is targeting the pathfinder, so the pathfinder's Toughness is the one used for wounding purposes. Wounds are going to be applied very, very easily to Pathfinders with just basic infantry firepower.

Second, a pathfinder squad is not going to be able to tank the non-armor-penetrating shots for very long, and you'll eventually have to decide between potential unsaved pathfinder wounds and mortal wounds with a one-to-one ratio... Against anything more than the lightest of anti-infantry shooting, you're going to be forced to go through drones at a horrific pace to keep those RR pathfinders alive.

Meanwhile, Ion Rifles are expensive, but not sacrifice-8-points-per-successful-wound expensive, so you can let them die without as much of a worry (and save those ablative drones for more worthy targets, like Commanders).

Don't get me wrong, I do still like RRs, but the Saviour Protocols seem more like a trap than a benefit for a squad like pathfinders, IMO.

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Panzer
Shas'La
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Re: Pathfinders: Ion Rifles or Rail Rifles (or none)

Post#20 » Jul 18 2017 02:43

nic wrote:Rail rifles are only as frail as your supply of gun drones. As expensive infantry they can and should off-load wounds onto their AI buddies. Castled up with a big units of Drones and a Battlesuit with a Drone Controller they present a far greater threat than just the drones because the units that want to distract the dumb drones and make them shoot ineffectively - such as meganobz or terminators - are the exact same units that Rail Rifles are built to kill.

I generally agree with that observation. Just a litte something from me: Pathfinder are as cheap as the cheapest Drone so unless you expect the enemy to get within 18" (for the Gun Drones) I'd simply go with a bigger Pathfinder unit which also provides more Markerlights for the enemy to get rid of. ;)
However if they are positioned near a Broadside or some other backfield Battlesuit who already wants some Drones it's definitely a great advice though.

nic wrote:Ion Rifles by contrast are just good medium range firepower at a cheap cost. You might off-load wounds from them onto drones or sometimes the gun drones will be more valuable in the late-game and you just let the pathfinders soak it up. I find the Overcharge good for just getting more shots at 15-30" but the S8 does come in handy against vehicles. Sadly my Krootox are mostly getting retired to the shelf because these pathfinders are just so much better.

I pretty much agree.
Ion rifles never really do anything worth mentioning, however since they are so extremely cheap it doesn't hurt much to take them anyway (seriously, only Seeker Missiles are cheaper. Even Flamer cost 2p more).

Jburli
Shas'La
Shas'La
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Re: Pathfinders: Ion Rifles or Rail Rifles (or none)

Post#21 » Jul 18 2017 03:11

There are two types of pathfinder unit I'm looking to play:

Squad type A - scout loadout: 6 pathfinders: 3 with ion, 3 with marker/carbines.
Pros:
+ super cheap at only 60 points
+ can punch well above their weight
+ threat radius of 30"
+ good against many targets, including light vehicles
+ work fine independently
Tactics:
Put them near the corner of your deployment zone to deny deep strike.
Put them on a building so they get cover and a good vantage point.
Remain stationary and use MLs and overcharge (if needed)
Or move and use rapid fire ion and carbines.
Why 3 markerlights? It's enough to (fairly) reliably get 1 ML hit, to protect you from overcharge.

Squad type B - fire support loadout: 10 pathfinders: 3 rails, 7 marker/carbines, pulse accel and grav inhib drones
Tactics:
Consider this the back of your tau gunline firebase.
Combine with stuff like multiple strike teams, fireblade, commander with missile pods+dc, lots of gun drones, ethereal/aun'va (optional).
Use the fireblade to get the first ML hit, then get as many extras as possible with the pathfinders.
Pros:
+ rail rifles scare even terminators.
+ overwatch for others with FTGG. Shoot with the pathfinders first - you should get one ML hit with those 7 MLs, making the overwatch of the rest of the army a bit more accurate.
+ pulse accel and grav inhib drones can make your strike teams shoot further and get successfully charged less often
+ soak wounds with the gun drones as needed
Downside:
- 153 points, if my maths is right

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Overheal
Shas'Saal
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Re: Pathfinders: Ion Rifles or Rail Rifles (or none)

Post#22 » Jul 18 2017 03:13

I'm more or less just miffed that the PF rifles are difficult to swap. I still have some half completed models bc I haven't decided what to glue in.

Jburli
Shas'La
Shas'La
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Re: Pathfinders: Ion Rifles or Rail Rifles (or none)

Post#23 » Jul 18 2017 03:18

Panzer wrote:I pretty much agree.
Ion rifles never really do anything worth mentioning, however since they are so extremely cheap it doesn't hurt much to take them anyway (seriously, only Seeker Missiles are cheaper. Even Flamer cost 2p more).


And if you factor in the removal of the markerlight from the pathfinder that takes it, the ion rifles are only 4 points each!
I doubt any army has any weapon as strong for as few points as a pathfinder with an ion for 12 points :D

That might just be my lack of experience with other armies talking though..

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Panzer
Shas'La
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Re: Pathfinders: Ion Rifles or Rail Rifles (or none)

Post#24 » Jul 18 2017 03:21

Jburli wrote:
Panzer wrote:I pretty much agree.
Ion rifles never really do anything worth mentioning, however since they are so extremely cheap it doesn't hurt much to take them anyway (seriously, only Seeker Missiles are cheaper. Even Flamer cost 2p more).


And if you factor in the removal of the markerlight from the pathfinder that takes it, the ion rifles are only 4 points each!
I doubt any army has any weapon as strong for as few points as a pathfinder with an ion for 12 points :D

That might just be my lack of experience with other armies talking though..

That's not how you do math lol. It's 7p still. It loses something it gains something. The DIFFERENCE to Pathfinder without rifle is 4p, but the Ion rifle still cost 7p no matter what.

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nic
Kroot'La
Kroot'La
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Re: Pathfinders: Ion Rifles or Rail Rifles (or none)

Post#25 » Jul 18 2017 04:45

Unusualsuspect wrote:Drones are viable ablative wounds, as always, and often well worth killing in the place of a Rail Rifle pathfinder... but that's going to get very expensive in Drones very quickly.

First, the enemy is targeting the pathfinder, so the pathfinder's Toughness is the one used for wounding purposes. Wounds are going to be applied very, very easily to Pathfinders with just basic infantry firepower.

Second, a pathfinder squad is not going to be able to tank the non-armor-penetrating shots for very long, and you'll eventually have to decide between potential unsaved pathfinder wounds and mortal wounds with a one-to-one ratio... Against anything more than the lightest of anti-infantry shooting, you're going to be forced to go through drones at a horrific pace to keep those RR pathfinders alive.

Meanwhile, Ion Rifles are expensive, but not sacrifice-8-points-per-successful-wound expensive, so you can let them die without as much of a worry (and save those ablative drones for more worthy targets, like Commanders).

Don't get me wrong, I do still like RRs, but the Saviour Protocols seem more like a trap than a benefit for a squad like pathfinders, IMO.


All of that is true - but if my opponent has moved into rapid-fire range to take out my pathfinders with bolter fire I may well decide that my pathfinders have successfully baited the trap and let them take their chances on the saves. That way i keep the drones alive to deliver massed-dakka retribution on anything daft enough to get within their 9" kill range when my Cadre Fireblade is with them.

If on the other hand it is terminators (or similar) in close trying for the kill then the gun drones are not the best unit against that sort of opposition so I will sacrifice them to keep the rail rifles alive because that is the weapon which will best punish them for coming into my rapid fire range.

Because i can choose which unit takes the casualties it becomes a sort of reactive list tailoring in the middle of the game - the army I take into the late-game is one i have tailored to defeat the exact opposing forces and disposition that I see.

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Unusualsuspect
Kroot'Ui
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Re: Pathfinders: Ion Rifles or Rail Rifles (or none)

Post#26 » Jul 18 2017 04:55

Absolutely, and as I mentioned myself in that post, under the right circumstances the sacrifice is totally worth it.

But its always worth counting the costs of sacrifice, to make sure you end up gaining more than you lose. Pathfinders have the worst potential exchange for the protection received of any T'au unit in the codex (that can receive protection at all), and its worth keeping that in mind when you start putting such expensive guns on such a relatively fragile platform.

pilky
Shas'La
Shas'La
Posts: 249

Re: Pathfinders: Ion Rifles or Rail Rifles (or none)

Post#27 » Jul 18 2017 05:28

Personally I've found Rail Rifles pretty fantastic. They're doing serious damage to any infantry who would dare get close. Yes it makes them more of a target, but I find people are still in a 7 ed mindset anyway of "take out markerlights first". Given the reduced need for markerlights I 8th, I'm perfectly fine with them shooting at my pathfinders rather than my crisis suits, hammerheads, or riptides.

I would say that if you don't want rail rifles, ion rifles are a no brainer. Either way, the fact that out pathfinder special weapons are finally worth taking is one of the greatest things about 8th!

Jburli
Shas'La
Shas'La
Posts: 120

Re: Pathfinders: Ion Rifles or Rail Rifles (or none)

Post#28 » Jul 18 2017 07:01

Panzer wrote:That's not how you do math lol. It's 7p still. It loses something it gains something. The DIFFERENCE to Pathfinder without rifle is 4p, but the Ion rifle still cost 7p no matter what.


Of course it is, technically, but I like to keep things simple when I'm brainstorming ideas for lists so I just consider pathfinders to be 8pts each.
(It's not like you can just pay 5pts and not bring a markerlight, anyway)
So to my mind, upgrading to an ion rifle costs 4pts and bringing a rail rifle is +19pts.

In the same way, I consider a basic stealthsuit to be 30pts, or a sun shark to be 167pts.
Is it just me?

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StealthKnightSteg
Shas'Saal
Posts: 88
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Re: Pathfinders: Ion Rifles or Rail Rifles (or none)

Post#29 » Jul 19 2017 03:34

Jburli wrote:There are two types of pathfinder unit I'm looking to play:

Squad type A - scout loadout: 6 pathfinders: 3 with ion, 3 with marker/carbines.
Pros:
+ super cheap at only 60 points
+ can punch well above their weight
+ threat radius of 30"
+ good against many targets, including light vehicles
+ work fine independently
Tactics:
Put them near the corner of your deployment zone to deny deep strike.
Put them on a building so they get cover and a good vantage point.
Remain stationary and use MLs and overcharge (if needed)
Or move and use rapid fire ion and carbines.
Why 3 markerlights? It's enough to (fairly) reliably get 1 ML hit, to protect you from overcharge.

Squad type B - fire support loadout: 10 pathfinders: 3 rails, 7 marker/carbines, pulse accel and grav inhib drones
Tactics:
Consider this the back of your tau gunline firebase.
Combine with stuff like multiple strike teams, fireblade, commander with missile pods+dc, lots of gun drones, ethereal/aun'va (optional).
Use the fireblade to get the first ML hit, then get as many extras as possible with the pathfinders.
Pros:
+ rail rifles scare even terminators.
+ overwatch for others with FTGG. Shoot with the pathfinders first - you should get one ML hit with those 7 MLs, making the overwatch of the rest of the army a bit more accurate.
+ pulse accel and grav inhib drones can make your strike teams shoot further and get successfully charged less often
+ soak wounds with the gun drones as needed
Downside:
- 153 points, if my maths is right



Thanks this is some sound advice and show of use I can apply my self!

Also great to see how all the people here are now brainstorming about how to use them!

Now any ideas on using the Ions/ Rails mixed in a unit or would that just be making the unit less optimized for use?

Adas
Shas'Saal
Posts: 21

Re: Pathfinders: Ion Rifles or Rail Rifles (or none)

Post#30 » Jul 19 2017 07:07

What About this combo:

Darkstrider
10xbreachers
2x5xpathfinder with 6 rail rifles
2xpathfinder drone

2x devilfish

Breachers goes in first line and pathfinders second.

This looks only good when there is no kill points.

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Panzer
Shas'La
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Re: Pathfinders: Ion Rifles or Rail Rifles (or none)

Post#31 » Jul 19 2017 07:38

I still don't get why Pathfinder should drive as close as Breacher to do their job, but sure why not. :D

Ted the Tau
Shas'La
Shas'La
Posts: 53

Re: Pathfinders: Ion Rifles or Rail Rifles (or none)

Post#32 » Jul 19 2017 08:16

Panzer wrote:I still don't get why Pathfinder should drive as close as Breacher to do their job, but sure why not. :D


Well, they shouldn't. Breachers want to be within 10" (or even 5", if you're feeling particularly lucky) while Rail Rifle Pathfinders want to be within 15". Make sure you have a throwaway unit of Gun drones somewhere inbetween the two units and you are good to go.

leo1925
Shas
Posts: 11

Re: Pathfinders: Ion Rifles or Rail Rifles (or none)

Post#33 » Jul 19 2017 08:21

Jburli wrote:
Panzer wrote:That's not how you do math lol. It's 7p still. It loses something it gains something. The DIFFERENCE to Pathfinder without rifle is 4p, but the Ion rifle still cost 7p no matter what.


Of course it is, technically, but I like to keep things simple when I'm brainstorming ideas for lists so I just consider pathfinders to be 8pts each.
(It's not like you can just pay 5pts and not bring a markerlight, anyway)
So to my mind, upgrading to an ion rifle costs 4pts and bringing a rail rifle is +19pts.

In the same way, I consider a basic stealthsuit to be 30pts, or a sun shark to be 167pts.
Is it just me?


No it's not just you, I do the same thing.

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Yojimbob
Shas'Saal
Posts: 299

Re: Pathfinders: Ion Rifles or Rail Rifles (or none)

Post#34 » Jul 19 2017 09:43

Panzer wrote:I still don't get why Pathfinder should drive as close as Breacher to do their job, but sure why not. :D


I use them in the same transport and have them disembark with breachers in the face and the pathfinders 6" away to get FtGG while also not getting wrapped into plus I still get RF range on the rails. 2 of these seem expensive but I love my one unit so far.

Jburli
Shas'La
Shas'La
Posts: 120

Re: Pathfinders: Ion Rifles or Rail Rifles (or none)

Post#35 » Jul 19 2017 11:21

Adas wrote:What About this combo:

Darkstrider
10xbreachers
2x5xpathfinder with 6 rail rifles
2xpathfinder drone

2x devilfish

Breachers goes in first line and pathfinders second.

This looks only good when there is no kill points.


This looks fun, but the price of all those rail rifles make such fragile units very risky to play.
You've gotta remember they have the same toughness/armor as guardsmen, and no-one struggles to kill 5 guardsmen (especially when those guard are carrying more than their own points worth of special weaponry!)

I thought about running 2 10x breacher devilfish, but feel there could be a compromise.

Devilfish 1: 10x breacher, darkstrider.

Devilfish 2: 6x breacher, 6x pathfinders (with whatever markerlight/rail/ion combo you feel appropriate)

?

Kilazar
Shas'La
Shas'La
Posts: 42

Re: Pathfinders: Ion Rifles or Rail Rifles (or none)

Post#36 » Jul 20 2017 08:51

Panzer wrote:I still don't get why Pathfinder should drive as close as Breacher to do their job, but sure why not. :D



In my 5breacher 5pf w/3 rail rifle single fish, I abuse the way you can exit the vehicle. Breachers exit and get within the 5 inch range (so exit front) and the PF's exit rear and get to max rapid fire range for the rails. The recon drone sits inbetween the two units if it gets out as well.

So yes the fish is flying "breacher close" but you have 9 inches worth of movement and the fish itself is 5 inches long. So you can keep a decent distance from the enemy.

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