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Pathfinder Squads
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Old 23 May 2006, 23:28   #1 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Pathfinder Squads

Just curious if 2 squads of Pathfinders is good for mechtau? They can be scoring units and their warfish can go about doing the same job the FW fishes do but they can also lay down marker lights on multiple squads instead of just one. What do you guys think?
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Old 23 May 2006, 23:39   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Pathfinder Squads

One team is good, 2 is just a major points sink. Pathfinders are a rather large commitment of points as is with their mandatory fish. Add to that their relatively small numbers and the fact that most opponents make them a very high priority target and 2 just probably wouldnt be worth the points spent on them. Maybe in 2500-3000pt battles where you have the points for such things but even then its a really large chunk of your forces devoted to entirely support roles without much offencive capability. The markerlights could be useful but with good target priority you shouldnt need to be marking more than one squad a turn and if you really need to you can use rail rifles to try and pin a second squad and your shas'ui can take a HW target lock if you want.
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Old 23 May 2006, 23:47   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Pathfinder Squads

It sounds like an option for a many-points list with the DF a bit on the expensive side, so yes, I might take it if the game was large enough.
Otherwise I'd use marker FW's in each squad to add to my single DF pathfinder squad. And if you're good enough to let the Skyray play lasertag that's another option...

My main point is that, in smaller games, you risk wasting a transport that might come with the dakka you need to take out a key unit.
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Old 23 May 2006, 23:55   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Pathfinder Squads

2 in a big game is a good idea. It allows for some redundacy and it prevents the game to dissovle into a "shoot-the-pathfinder-or-I-die" senerio.
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Old 24 May 2006, 02:19   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Pathfinder Squads

If I play a game of 1500 or more points I always take a second pathfinder squad. At that pts level your opponent is always going to try to kill off the pathfinders as fast as possible, and with 2 squads you have an advantage. since I bumped up from one squad to 2 I have yet to lose more than half of either squad. plus you can make their devilfish a warfish and have it run off on its own. and never forget that if you have to make a run with your pathfinders, they still have the pulse carbines. it might not be as good as a markerlight, but its a damn shade better than not being able to fire at all.
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Old 24 May 2006, 02:52   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Pathfinder Squads

I'm glad to hear that, Howl. I've recently bought some more pathfinders to try out the double-squad, but I don't have quite enough yet (plus that list includes other things I don't have, like Vespid.)

It struck me, as a big fan of warfish, that the transports are actually legitimate gunships in their own right - if I simply look at them that way instead of as a crappy half-measure points sink stuck to the pathfinders, the finders actually become cheap! 106 points for a squad + 'ui is not too shabby for 8 markerlights. 126 for some ablative wound gun drones, 136 for shield drones that let them operate in the open.

AND the carbines, you're right. They're useful occasionally and once in a great while can save the finders by pinning their assailants.

24 points to give the whole squad EMP grenades. I know, I know. But if the pathfinders use their scout move first turn, and are deployed across from a big tank, they can get out of the fish 2", move 6", assault 6", plus the 12" scout move... AND deploying last as a fast attack squad... you can reach most any vehicle, as long as the opponent has one that is worth 140 points or so. Might be fun. =D

I dunno... I'm just hoping that pathfinders really turn out to be as good as I make them sound. Not just because I paid some $50 for the models, but because they're cool.
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Old 24 May 2006, 03:15   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Pathfinder Squads

the only real problem is that the pathfinders have the scout special rule, not the devilfish. they can either move before the game starts independently of the devilfish, or be mounted inside without the ability to move before the game. but even with that restriction I still find them to be indispensable to my army.
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Old 24 May 2006, 03:37   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Pathfinder Squads

That's ridiculous. The devilfish doesn't have scout because there is only one DF entry for the whole army.

If the devilfish didn't have scout, how on earth would pathfinders deploy in an escalation mission? They start on the table and the fish comes later? That doesn't make sense, and I don't think anything else in the game operates that way.

What are they using to get to their "forward position", if not the devilfish? They just get out and walk while the tank sits there watching?

On the other hand, I guess a tank is hard to scout with. Still, it could have been made a lot clearer. Easily. Can I write a codex?

By the letter of the law, you are right. We can't assume something has abilities that violate the standard rules unless they're explicitly written in. Stupid though.

And it makes emp grenades less useful, again. Fantastic.
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Old 24 May 2006, 04:02   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Pathfinder Squads

I thought GW cleared this up in an FAQ that the pathfinders if they choose may make their scout move either on foot or in the fish and deploy there after.
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Old 24 May 2006, 04:21   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Pathfinder Squads

As much flak as I would expect to see after a few comments like above, I too might as well wave the flag of "I've been using two pathfinder teams lately..." simply because a few things have really made them worth while.

1 - Two warfish that are always on the table in escalation matches help, even if they die, they help.
2 - The Pathfinders can remain within the boats for protection, against armies that do not shoot much.
3 - The Pathfinders tend to live longer when there are several squads, but in small numbers.
4 - Pathfinders themselves are great scoring units.
5 - Warfish for pathfinders are practically "another unit" in and of themselves.

"Deux c'est mieux"

Two warfish on the board have advantages and drawbacks. You'll find right away that your warfish spend most of their time stunned/skaken by your opponent, if not outright destroyed from just multiple glances. However, this is a good thing. It means your opponent is wasting all their firepower on a non-scoring unit. It also means, that later on, your opponent is already dealing with the warfish as a pair, while your hammerheads are arriving. If the warfish survive, the hammerhead will be the new target and the fish my just make it a bit longer. Warfish really do work better together, providing twice the damage on two different units. That's important when it comes to anti-tank shots which come from one unit who cannot split up fire very easily. So, right away, especially in escalation matches, you have two pretty potent sources of firepower coming at your opponent fast. And this scout unit is going to be doing more damage than typical enemy scout vehicles and/or units. Instead of thinking of them like Devilfish, think of them like lesser-Hammerheads. These particular fish also benefit the deep striking units in your army. And thanks to scout rules, they're already on the board starting turn two, and thus trigger your arriving deep striking units to opt to re-roll. Kind of a swiss army knife feature of an otherwise "ugly redhead stepchild" of a unit from previous doctrines.

"Please keep all limbs inside the vehicle at all times."

Pathfinders don't always have to be used for their markerlights. They can remain within their boat and float around with it. If you're facing a particular army which doesn't have any outstanding particular anti-tank support on the board, you can hold back a bit and possibly reserve your unit inside as a scorer, in the same manner that you would have done with firewarriors in a normal devilfish as a troop selection. In effect, you can do the same thing. And you get to do it with a unit which doesn't have to be huge. You can do it with a tiny little squad. Or, as a small unit, you can easily drop them off. 4 and 6 man Pathfinder teams are not very attractive targets while there are 3 or 4 other Fire Warriors teams around. Also, smaller teams are easier to sit in areas where total line of sight may be denied or remain outside of area terrain. Regardless, you can have smaller teams inside the boats for protection if you want to guard some points.

"One with the land."

Small teams of Pathfinders aren't worth squad to your opponent if you don't pump them full of upgrades. Start by doing this: forget the cost of the warfish, it's got nothing to do with your scoring unit. The fish is an add-on cost. It's non-scoring and doesn't effective the scoring status of your Pathfinders at all. None of your fish are scoring, yet no one complains about taking them freely for their troop selections. Anyhow, think of Pathfinders in the same light. Think of them as small units, for scoring purposes, who just so happen to be useful as well as cheap--but easily blend in with the rest of your infantry. If you're playing a well spread out bit of infantry, your small 4 to 6 man teams of pathfinders will be no more attractive than the fire warriors around. That's not to say an intelligent opponent still won't fire at them, but the point is, a 48 point unit of Pathfinders (or 58 if you want Ld8) isn't that big a deal if you lose it, compared to something that cost 130+ points. The sooner your opponent learns 58 points is all they get if they kill your Pathfinders (4x team), the sooner they realise it's a waste of their firepower compared to those 100+ point squads that are still walking around. Who wants to waste a turn of shooting in order to only get 29 1/2 victory points? Anyhow, small teams still output 2 lights for you on average. That's nothing to scoff at.

"Bringing home the bacon."

While it may seem cheesy, or stupid even, teams of Pathfinders with only 4 models are great scoring units. They either die utterly and you lose 48 points, or they live on, and do their thing and it's a big pat on the back to them for doing it. Your other infantry squads are going to be more important in a points game, in missions, etc. Pathfinders will only continually be fired upon by someone who either is totally scared of markerlights, or someone who in the past thought they were going to get a large 230+ point chunk of victory points. That's not the case. They have to kill the Warfish and the Pathfinders to get all those points. The pathfinders, as a 4 man team with a shas'ui is only 58 points. A 6 man team only runs you 82 points. 2 and 3 markerlights per turn on average is totally great. And you're doing it for far cheaper than any other markerlight source. Remember, the Fish has nothing to do with the scoring level of your pathfinders, so don't even think of the cost of the fish in this. Think of the Pathfinders.

"She's come'n right for us!"

The Warfish as a requirement leaves a lot of sour tastes in mouths. But if you think of the Warfish as a separate unit (which it is practically), then you can get a little more work done with them perhaps. Consider the warfish to be a pseudo-heavy support. Think of it like a lesser-Hammerhead. That's basically what it is. Don't think of it as if the Pathfinders made you bring it. If you could just buy a Warfish on it's own--you probably would right? Just for fun even. Now, instead of thinking of the Warfish as the baggage, think of this: the Pathfinders are the add-on. They're a 58 point scoring unit add-on. Now you get a battle tank, which will surely die and thus doesn't really matter if it was scoring or not, and a scoring unit which is not an attractive target for your enemy (small is good); and not worth much even if it is taken out.

--- Granted, none of this is to say that you should stock up on the Pathfinders. However, I highly suggest any of you Mech or Hybrid players to consider them if you find yourself actually taking Warfish as Troops. Personally, I find a Warfish in a troop selection to typically be a waste. However, the Pathfinder fish gives us two perks (deployment & deep strike aid). It's definitely something to try out if you want to have some fun and you may even end up liking it.

Cheers!
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