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Using/keeping pathfinders alive......advice please
Old 17 Dec 2007, 03:07   #1 (permalink)
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Default Using/keeping pathfinders alive......advice please

I recently bought 5 metal pathfinders (2 carry RGs) and converted 5 plastic pathfinders and got a sky ray (I'm building the sky ray as a devilfish, which can switch to a HH with a RG or IC, or can switch to a sky ray). I recently fought several battles recently with them. They would allways do well the first turn, but were the target of enemy attacks in the second turn, even before any of my skimmers! They allways ended up dead. So I was wondering if people had advise on them. Should I use them with my fws? Or should I use them like my mechanized fws, attacking isolated troops then running away? Or should I keep them far away as possible hiding behind my skimmer (I know it dosen't block line of sight, but people forget it all the time) What should I do to keep them alive longer? By the way most people at my game store focus on heavy weapons blowing the crap out of any thing 'big', then charging bikes/jet packs/transports loaded with H2H units to finish off the enemy. Please help me out with this (from Chaos, to SM, to orks, it's annoying. Few tau players have a winning record here :'().
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Old 17 Dec 2007, 04:34   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Using/keeping pathfinders alive......advice please

Well in short if i tell you my opinion wich could be wrong..Sounds like you need to get a hella lot more mobile. Throw them off,get some crisis in instead of hammers or better yet xv88's. Might change it around to that and see where it gets you. Test it with proxy-ing.
Sure go ahead use a hit and run tactic you have to get close up with Fw's or Pathfinders if you do a FoF any ways,maybe you need to try more of that?
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Old 17 Dec 2007, 06:19   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Using/keeping pathfinders alive......advice please

Personally, I just keep my Pathfinders out of the way by presenting more tempting targets, such as Crisis suits with shield drones. Also keeping them in cover is helpful, as is using Kroot as counter-charge units near by them. This tends to work out nicely if you've got a big piece of cover. Forest, of course, is especially nice. Once, my opponent seemed to forget about them completely, and they ended up using there carbines to blow the main gun off of his tank by hitting the rear armour with their carbines.
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Old 17 Dec 2007, 06:31   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Using/keeping pathfinders alive......advice please

Most players who've played against Tau have seen how dangerous pathfinders are. They're going to take a lot of fire, and there isn't too much you can do about it. As others have suggested, the only way to keep them from being target number 1 is to have something else out there that your opponent considers even scarier than a squad of pathfinders. Broadsides and hammerheads might be a big enough distraction for a turn or two, depending on your opponent. A closer unit, particularly a vehicle, will at least force a target priority check, but most armies don't fail leadership very often. The only other thing you can do is block line of sight from some of the enemy units to your pathfinders. Put them next to some area terrain so they can only see (and be seen by) half the army. Another trick (that I've never tried) is to land a skimmer. A landed devilfish is much easier to destroy, of course, but it does block line of sight, and will continue to do so after it's blown up.

If Assault is the problem, you can pile them into their devilfish and scoot them away, although that will cost you at least 2 turns of marking. You can also, if you have enough vehicles, make a skimmer wall between your pathfinders and the assault squad. Force them to go around the vehicle or attack it to get to the pathfinders. This is a useful trick, but fairly hard to do well.

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Old 19 Dec 2007, 03:42   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Using/keeping pathfinders alive......advice please

Thanks, but also I was wondering what to do against a rushing 'nids' army (essintially infiltrating Genestealers and lictors who get into assault and take all the fire untill the carnifex gets into assault/range and assuming I lost the infiltration roll with my kroot)?
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Old 19 Dec 2007, 04:01   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Using/keeping pathfinders alive......advice please

Well, consitering the Pathfinders have the Scout Move before the game, you can easily protect them from any infiltrating models. Taking care of Genestealers and Lictors is a fairly easy matter, hit them with a railgun submuniton [the stealers] and you can sic Crisis or Stealth units on the Lictor. No problem. As for Carnifexes, you can easily outrun them, I've never had a problem with an assault Carnifex, just shooting ones.

As for keeping your Pathfinders alive, always make sure they've got support, to make your opponent think twice before sending units after them. I usually keep a Kroot Kindred or some Broadsides near them.

Also, try applying pressure on the enemy away from the Pathfinders, they'll be forced to divert men+firepower towards the immediate threat.

One more thing. Rail Rifles? Save those for Sniper Teams, Pathfinders are meant to use markerlights and only markerlights....they're the eyes and ears of the Tau army, not the scapel. They also shouldnt have to worry about packing firepower to defend themselves, thats what the rest of your army is for; protecting the Pathfinders and making sure they've got the best spot to mark targets from.

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Old 19 Dec 2007, 04:27   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Using/keeping pathfinders alive......advice please

Well, basically from what I can se pathfinders have a certain 'flow' to them.

Turn 1-2 is meant to position the pathfinders to the best vantage point, then turn 3-4 is when they fire their markers and dish out the pain, and finally turn 5-6 where you either just let them just marker everything, or pile them all up inside their devilfish and take quarters.

The best way to take the attention off the pathfinders is to basically just do not draw too much attention to them. Either hide somewhere that the opponent having some hard time spotting them (a crevice inside a building is always a good place) or bait him with something even more 'scarier' than the pathfinders, this being in the form of almost everything else.

Heck, actually kroots and pathfinders work together very well (perhaps the best but that is just me). Put a large number (16+) kroots (Hounds and Kroots) in front of the pathfinders, and most often than not, they will target the kroots as they are a big bunch of cheap bolters that will kill them, which is not far from the truth.
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Old 20 Dec 2007, 01:14   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Using/keeping pathfinders alive......advice please

Well in the game I played I had put a whole bunch of kroot to protect them, but unfortunetly a Lictor was hiding where they were and we argued if a pathfinder could detect a lictor. I remember reading it somewhere, but couldn't pin point it. They then were tied in H2H combat and died (they just avoided the Kroot. It was a close game, all that was left was a HH and one wound carnifex so it was a tie :P, worst game against Nids I ever played.
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Old 20 Dec 2007, 03:21   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Using/keeping pathfinders alive......advice please

There's a couple ways to keeping Pathfinders alive. Of course, as others have mentioned, Pathfinders will generally draw some unwanted attention since they're most likely your primary source of Markerlights, and any knowledgeable player won't want all your Tau suddenly shooting at BS-5.

First off, squad setup. When points allow, I always like to pack a couple of Rail Rifles into the squad, simply because it gives the squad some offensive capabilities.

Second, I wouldn't deploy them at the beginning of the battle. If I'm reading the codex correctly, deploying them first is optional. Deploying them with your normal Fast Attack options (which get deployed near to last), allows you to place them furthest away from immediate harm.

Third, park them in cover. A 4+ armor save isn't going to save them from a lot of stuff, so its important to reap advantage of whatever cover is available.

Fourth, and this is very important, keep their Devilfish close! If bad things start getting too close, load your Pathfinders up and ship them out of there pronto! Your Devilfish can also provide fire support from that section of the battlefield. I prefer equipping an SMS to my Devilfish, but again, if points prevent you, Gun Drones can always buy you time. This is especially true against quick Assault-based armies who can cover ground quickly. Tie an assault squad up in combat for a turn with your Gun Drones, then load up your Pathfinders and get away.

Last thing, I think its important to have more than one source of Markerlights. I personally love Tetras (Forgeworld). But when you can't use Forgeworld models, a Sky Ray is always a good choice. Or even use two small squads of Pathfinders.
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