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Pathfinders vs ML drones: point efficiency versus superior mobility and defense
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Old 03 Aug 2008, 06:11   #1 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Pathfinders vs ML drones: point efficiency versus superior mobility and defense

This discussion started in the "How has 5th edition changed your cadre" thread, and since it strayed fairly far from the main topic, I figured it deserves it's own thread. If you want to read it's beginnings, see here.

Quote:
"I fired them each and every turn, hitting between 2 and 4 lights each round."

Yeah, what was their targets? I'm willing to bet a whole lot if infantry and maybe 1 vehicle. No opponent I've ever played was dumb enough to park a vehicle within LOS of a marker light equipped unit if they could help it.
A mix of vehicles and troops, generally. Apparently I play against a lot of dumb opponents, or terrain is lighter, or the fire lanes are more difficult to avoid.

As a general rule, it's quite hard to both move units forward towards my troops AND avoid my fire lanes completely. This is especially true for a lot of terrain now, which doesn't always completely block LoS. As Markerlights don't allow cover saves, even a single target with a single appendage in sight allows a Pathfinder team to ML the unit with 2-4 counters.

Quote:
"Markerlights aren't Klkn, "

No but the pathfinder BS3 is, as is their maneuverability. Which makes a marker light in his hands worth less than it being other places. They need to have massed marker lights just to ensure they hit.
Give me 3 BS 3 shots over 2 BS 4 shots any day of the week. The more dice rolled, the more likely my unit performs close to it's "average" each round. The more likely my ML unit performs close to it's average, the more reliable their support becomes.

Don't forget that those ML drones have that same BS 3 - why is the pathfinder's BS 3 Klkn and a ML drone's BS 3 not? If Pathfinders "need to have massed marker lights just to ensure they hit," how are ML drones (with the same BS) any different?

Quote:
Are the "juiciest" targets always going to be within LoS? Well, no, probably not"

That's just it you have 1st turn LOS on juiciest targets "probably not" with pathfinders vs 1st turn marker light hits on anything you want with stealth. The opponent hiding his best targets on round 1 doesn't effect him at all, every player does this every time they play. It is a normal function of the game.
Actually, given the scout move, pathfinders have the same maneuverability for their 1st turn ML shooting as a non-infiltrating ML Drone would (6" from starting position).

Again, vehicles are almost impossible to hide COMPLETELY - at best, they're probably hull down... which, again, MLs ignore. And hey, one of the explicit purposes for massed markerlights is not just increasing the BS of attacking units but the cover save against those shots. 60 points of Pathfinders will almost certainly give you the number of markerlights needed. 60 points of ML drones will amost certainly not.

Quote:
"If you're using your Markerlighting units for fighting (i.e. using Carbines), you're almost certainly doing something wrong except in very specific circumstances."

Never once did I say I do this? Why do I have to keep stating the obvious? But if someone gets in the face of your pathfinders and you wish to try to keep them alive you have to skip firing the marker lights for a turn. Not so with stealth/crisis units.
Apples to oranges. The same stealth/crisis suits can be fielded (at the same or lower cost) and used to defend the pathfinders, except instead of an average of 1 ML to work with, they have 2 or 3 to work with.

Quote:
"want them firing their Markerlights on the units with the highest target priority"

Which most likely they will not get as they lack the maneuverability to get a shot on high priority targets. If it is important enough for you to light up with marker lights it is important enough for the enemy to keep out of LOS of your markerlights.
Most likely? I disagree. How often can you keep a vehicle ENTIRELY out of LoS from a unit set up to exploit long range firing lanes? How about an entire unit (every single appendage of every single model)?

Again, if the opponent is somehow able to do so, even if you've set up your pathfinders with the best available firing lanes, etc... how often do these areas of cover match up with the most efficient movement and firing lanes for those high priority units? If the threat of 60 points of pathfinders scares those targets so much that they have to spend an extra turn's movement to get into assault (Which, in all likelihood, means one of your unit gets one more turn's shooting), or can't fire at the targets THEY want to fire, then the MLs are earning their points without even having to fire their shot. Mobile ML, on the other hand, can truly target almost any unit or vehicle on the board, albeit with far fewer lights. Why, then, should the opponent react to your MLs at all? Why avoid the best firing lane if you're going to get MLed anyway? Why take an extra turn's movement when the ML isn't avoidable?

As it happens, two pathfinder squads are going to almost guarantee a unit is within LoS. Because they're so cheap, they thus bring the same number of MLs to high priority targets while still providing ANOTHER mass of ML on another unit your army can make use of.

This means you'll have to field 2 Devilfish, though - not necessarily preferred if you're in relatively low-point games, so 2 pathfinder squads isn't always possible. That said, I still think 1 pathfinder squad is "enough" to disrupt my enemy's plans and influence my enemy's actions, which is always, ALWAYS a good thing.

Quote:
They have few if any situations where they'd want to use their own markerlight"

But that cannot be said for other units that take marker lights. This is good for late in the game after most armor has been dealt with.
True. Instead of "using their own markerlights", they have something as or more point efficient doing the shooting instead.

Quote:
MORE point efficient."

I'll agree pathfinders are cheaper no doubt about it, but I would rather I have shot efficiency. It may cost me 20 points to get one marker light on my stealth team leader that is able to split fire, but that is a first turn BS4 marker light on ANYTHING the enemy is fielding and is on a much more survivable unit.
While pathfinders are probably hitting the same enemy, and aren't attached to a unit that has to be within 12-18" of shooting range to fire it's own guns at it's foes. I don't see that situation as a hands-down win for the team leader ML.

Quote:
I wouldn't even want to 1st turn FoF. Second preferably 3rd turn is much more suitable. As for C I use stealth and piranha so I rarely need to deep strike anything. But we agree on something, there is no difference between the devil fish...so why is taking pathfinders and giving their Devil Fish to FW better? Because you get the cheap pathfinder marker lights on the board and the FW get their devil fish. That's the way most people look at it. I look at it like your better off spending the extra 60-100 points on more flexible marker light options and buying the Devil Fish with the FW.
I never said that taking pathfinders and giving their Devilfish to FW is ALWAYS better (though there are situations where it undeniably is - when A and B aren't important (almost always so) and when you want to Ds a unit (occasional use).

Your math... confuses me. Where are the extra 60-100 points coming from? The assumption is that you'd be spending the same points on the pathfinder fish as you'd spend on a FW fish... so why are there suddenly 60-100 more points available? Or are you comparing directly the pathfinders (at 12 points per BS 3 ML) and the ML Drones? If you are, then you're comparing 1 average ML hit with 2-3 average ML hits, and the devilfish's cost isn't important in the comparison in ML ability.

Quote:
"Equipping the markerlight drones on the leader enables jack squat. The ML drones are part of the unit - unless they have Target Locks (and no, they don't), they fire at the same target the rest of the unit is firing (unless/except if some of those have Target Locks, which is more points,

Show me the rule that states marker light drones taken with a team leader with a target lock fire with the unit and not the leader that took them?
Already covered - drones are part of the unit, and thus will fire with the unit as normal.

Quote:
"which makes that unit that much less point efficient than an unattached squad)."

Point efficency isn't the end all be all. If you wanted 100% point efficiency you would take all infantry. Not only can you not do this, you wouldn't. You trade off points for, survivability, flexibility, maneuverability, etc. What you really want is shot efficiency. This is why you only helios your team leader (due to BS) and avoid TL fusion blasters on non team leaders (increased point cost). But lets not forget the Skyray has nearly the manuverability of steath/crisis suits, is waayyy more durable and can fire two marker lights at separate targets at BS4. This is what I take in battles under 2000pts. I don't take drones unless I'm playing a 2000+pt game and have the points to spend.
And pathfinders, preferrably parked in area terrain on your side of the table, are really fairly durable - 4+ cover save, 4-8 wounds, probably at least 18-24" away from the enemy for at least a few turns.

Surprisingly durable for their points. And provide a heckuvalot more markerlights than the admittedly more durable Skyray.












All of this aside, I DO agree that mobile markerlights aren't impossible to use well - clearly they work for you. The problem with almost all mobile markerlights, in my mind, is the incredibly high point cost to get enough of them to simultaneously increase BS and remove Cover saves - with the ubiquitousness of BS 3 on our army and the presence of cover saves, it seems a very worthy goal.

There are obviously times, as well, when more than 1 reliable markerlight hit isn't needed - a Railhead with an unobstructed view to an enemy tank, for example, doesn't make use of more than 1 ML anyway, so all that vaunted (by me, as it happens) point efficiency for ML use doesn't mean jack squat if you can't use all of those ML hits. In these cases, a more mobile ML unit (aforementioned Stealth squad leader with Targetting Array) is invaluable.

I think, as is commonly the case, a mix of mix of quantity and quality of ML sources is a good idea. In a recent 1600 point game of mine, I ran a squad of pathfinders, a Fire warrior squad with ML, and a Stealth team leader with ML. I don't disagree that stealth team leaders can't use ML well (they can, and at somewhat decent point efficiency, though with some of the same drawbacks in terms of target choice), I just disagree that stealth team leaders, Skyrays, and ML drones can replace the pathfinder's ability to lay down multiple ML hits reliably with any sort of point efficiency. That's what pathfinders excel at at the point cost that makes such effects worthwhile.

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Old 03 Aug 2008, 08:53   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Pathfinders vs ML drones: point efficiency versus superior mobility and defense

To be honest, I would use both in my army.

The pathfinders are good if you want to massively increase the capabilities of your troops in destroying things quickly due to the number of markerlights fired on a particular target. On average out of eight markerlight shots, you will get up to four confirmed markerlight "wounds" which can be used for a manner of ways, mainly to increase bs and with 5th edition, remove cover saves immediately. This works very well with the Hammerheads with railguns and also Mounted Fire Warriors as mot of the time, they will be meeting enemy units that are often hidden in cover or partially in cover. However, they are affected by the fact that they are limited to the contours of the terrain, as most of the time they would not be able to kill a very well-hidden Basilisk behind terrain (Those block-like terrains). The Marker drone on the other hand is a small support unit that helps units that does not require lots of markerlight hits, such as the Outflanking Stealth suits or crisis suits.

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Old 03 Aug 2008, 13:55   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Pathfinders vs ML drones: point efficiency versus superior mobility and defense

Quote:
"However, they are affected by the fact that they are limited to the contours of the terrain, as most of the time they would not be able to kill a very well-hidden Basilisk behind terrain (Those block-like terrains)."
My point exactly. On first turn all of the big guns (vehicles/characters) are going to be hidden in such a way. Anything that can remain hidden and still be effective through out the game will stay that way. Never in all my years of playing has an indirect/ no los firing unit been left in the open. The crappy cover problem is temporary. I've played at two different stores that field bigger/more cover since the 5ht edition release.

Quote:
"The Marker drone on the other hand is a small support unit that helps units that does not require lots of markerlight hits, such as the Outflanking Stealth suits or crisis suits
Or hammerheads. Everything that can have a BS4, should. The only time you need a lot of massed marker light hits is when your running a static firing base. In which case 90% of the enemy is going to be coming to you and you don't need mobile marker lights. The only other time mass marker light hits come to mind otherwise is FoF, but this is generally only for one turn out of the whole game. Since FoF needs a wide open space to work properly it is rarely a problem to get all the marker light sources to get a bead for one turn.

Quote:
"As a general rule, it's quite hard to both move units forward towards my troops AND avoid my fire lanes completely. This is especially true for a lot of terrain now, which doesn't always completely block LoS. "
They are not going to be able to keep everything out of LOS of course not. They don't need to. All they need to keep out of line of fire are their heavy hitters (that require LOS) and only so long until shooting at them causes a target priority test.

Quote:
"Don't forget that those ML drones have that same BS 3 - why is the pathfinder's BS 3 Klkn and a ML drone's BS 3 not? "
The marker light drones have a BS3 but stealth team leaders and skyray have BS4 with proper upgrades. The marker light BS is mitigated by move/shoot, infiltrate, deepstrike, stealth field, and JSJ provide. Just like the pathfinders Devil Fish.

Quote:
"The more dice rolled, the more likely my unit performs close to it's "average" each round."
There's more to it than just rolling dice. It's rolling dice against worthwhile targets. Sure you can hit SOMETHING every round but with pathfinders your leaving your target choices in the hands of your enemy. He/she(do they exist?) are going to make sure you are shooting at the least important units. I'll take 3 BS4 rolls on high priority targets every turn vs 4 BS3 rolls on whatever the enemy decides to put in front of me on most turns.

Quote:
"pathfinders have the same maneuverability for their 1st turn ML shooting as a non-infiltrating ML Drone would"
One out of 6 turns and your marker light drones should definitely infiltrate until your full up (at least two ML drones per stealth team). Only then should they be fielded otherwise.

With other marker light sources cover is not going to be an issue Pirahna, Crisis , Stealth all rarely need to use ML fire to reduce cover due to JSJ or high movement rate. One marker light hit for these units is generally enough

Quote:
"The same stealth/crisis suits can be fielded (at the same or lower cost) and used to defend the pathfinders"
Now your increasing the cost of the pathfinders with defense units. Not only do you have a unit that will not kill anything you have another unit which may be limited in action due to the need to defend the pathfinders.

Quote:
"As it happens, two pathfinder squads are going to almost guarantee a unit is within LoS."
Now your spending twice the points on units that kill nothing and more points spent on units to defend them. Your point efficiency has gone right out the window, and you still have a mobility problem.

Quote:
"If the threat of 60 points of pathfinders scares those targets so much that they have to spend an extra turn's movement to get into assault"
They are not going to scare anything, big guns will be kept out LOS until a target priority is required. A unit will be dispatched to deal with the path finders. They don't even need to kill them, just causing them to move is enough. You can defend your pathfinders sure, but if attacking your pathfinders draws out a crisis suit team...all the better....one less unit firing at something important This is another reason I prefer marker light drones and stealth suits, passive defense.

Quote:
"While pathfinders are probably hitting the same enemy, and aren't attached to a unit that has to be within 12-18"
Marker lights and fusion blasters are a bad choice, but that is a different topic. With JSJ you do not need to stay within firing distance, nor remain within LOS.

Quote:
"Your math... confuses me. Where are the extra 60-100 points coming from?"
I was shooting from the hip with costs. After doing some math...I've found you can actually field 3 team leader marker lights and 2.5 marker light drones for the same cost as a basic 4 man pathfinder team and their no frills devil fish. It's not until your 8th pathfinder team member do they get any cheaper. Throw in some bonding knives, team leader and disruptor pod and the cost savings is reduced to single digits. Now aside from everything mentioned above there is another thing to consider, alternative marker light sources do not take up troop choices.

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Old 03 Aug 2008, 14:06   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Pathfinders vs ML drones: point efficiency versus superior mobility and defense

Well i want to give my opinion on this subject too.

First of all i want to make clear that both, the marker drones attached to stealth suits and the pathfinders, received a huge boost regarding their useability in 5th which makes them BOTH a legitimate source for your marker lights. So there will always be those who prefer the one over the other and i do not intent to bash your prefered option so don't burn me when i am not siding with you now.

I think that Marker drones attached to stealth suits are insanely useful.
I think nobody will deny the awesome advantages of a stealth field and JSJ,infiltrating,deep striking,outflanking capable markerlights

BUT

in my opinion they are STILL overpriced compared to Pathfinders.

60 points of marker light drones --> 1 ML hit on average
60 points of Pathfinders --> 2.5 ML hits on average

No one will argue that the point efficiency of PF is way better than Stealths so the question is if the increased points cost is legitimate because of the better maneouverability and protection of ML drones and again my personal answer would be NO.

Because the problem is that these advantages don't really add up in standart gameplay on a standart sized table. You can (1) deploy the SS in the back of your deployment zone maximizing their protection but also minimizing their positioning options. They will be invisible for the enemy but you are using them just like PF. They won't cover more firing lanes than the PFs and the SS can't use their burst cannons.
I would prefer 1 minimized PF squad (discouraging the enemy strongly to waste shots)
= 48 points = 2 ML hits on average

over a minimized (practically invisible) SS team in the back
3x stealths (one with ML) + 3 ML drones = 105+90 = 195points = 2 ML hits on average

and take a full squad of crisis suits or firewarriors for the points i saved.

(2) Infiltrate them in a good forward position, enabling them to jump into more firing lanes and preferable behind terrain and in jump range with their burst cannons. This will at the same time put them at more risk to get spotted or assaulted by fast fleeting assault units.

Also keep in mind that with TLos it is difficult to hide (under standart conditions) from 2 scout moving PF squads, but if there is a basilisk hiding in a corner behind a block of terrain then even an infiltrating SS team will find it almost impossible to light it up.

In my opinion the ML drones should get a little more points efficient because their better protection and maneouverability doesn't make up for it.
Give em twin linked marker lights
or giv em BS (4) (though that wouldnt be as fluffy as twin linked)
or reduce their points cost to 20

Just my 2 cents
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Old 03 Aug 2008, 16:31   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Pathfinders vs ML drones: point efficiency versus superior mobility and defense

Yeah, I'll pretty much take pathfinders over marker drones everytime. I actually just recommended taking 2 teams of 6 pathfinders with a devilfish that is only upgraded with a disruption pod. This is a cost effective way of dispersing marker light hits because you can put the 2 teams in 2 different pieces of terrain. Between both of their 36" ranges they're going to get A LOT of the table. The area where the 2 teams overlap will be especially dangerous.
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Old 03 Aug 2008, 17:34   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Pathfinders vs ML drones: point efficiency versus superior mobility and defense

yes I agree with jedibeam, I take two squads of six and deploy them in cover or as close to cover as possible, then use thier scout move to get them to an ideal position, then I zip my two devilfish off to pick up my firewarriors or kroot. I only take marker drones if i've got extra points as they're expensive. When I do take marker drones I'll give to my stealth suit and use them to light up units that my pathfinders can't.
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Old 03 Aug 2008, 19:25   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Pathfinders vs ML drones: point efficiency versus superior mobility and defense

Quote:
Originally Posted by RB25DET
Quote:
"However, they are affected by the fact that they are limited to the contours of the terrain, as most of the time they would not be able to kill a very well-hidden Basilisk behind terrain (Those block-like terrains)."
My point exactly. On first turn all of the big guns (vehicles/characters) are going to be hidden in such a way. Anything that can remain hidden and still be effective through out the game will stay that way. Never in all my years of playing has an indirect/ no los firing unit been left in the open. The crappy cover problem is temporary. I've played at two different stores that field bigger/more cover since the 5ht edition release.
Open doesn't matter, all that matters is that the pathfinders can see at least 1 model of a unit or ANY part of the tank. I don't know about the terrain you use, but rarely will even a small tank like the basilisk be ENTIRELY out of LoS, especially after the 6" scout move, especially if I'm fielding two pathfinder units.

That also assumes you have to set up first, before the other player puts down a piece - if someone can hide a basilisk ENTIRELY out of LoS from a unit that can be placed anywhere up to 12" forward and with an extra 6" scout move... I'd be impressed. Honestly.

Quote:
Or hammerheads. Everything that can have a BS4, should. The only time you need a lot of massed marker light hits is when your running a static firing base. In which case 90% of the enemy is going to be coming to you and you don't need mobile marker lights. The only other time mass marker light hits come to mind otherwise is FoF, but this is generally only for one turn out of the whole game. Since FoF needs a wide open space to work properly it is rarely a problem to get all the marker light sources to get a bead for one turn.
How effective is 1 ML when your Railgun is shooting at a hull-down vehicle? How effective is 1 ML when you need to FoF a group of eldar guardians or imperial guardsmen?

There are targets that don't need more than 1 ML, but there are undeniably situations where you do, and when you do, you don't want to have to have spent either 150 points on the ML drones needed nor the 55 points each for those Stealth team leader's BS 4 Markerlights.

Quote:
They are not going to be able to keep everything out of LOS of course not. They don't need to. All they need to keep out of line of fire are their heavy hitters (that require LOS) and only so long until shooting at them causes a target priority test.
No such thing as target priority tests anymore. And I don't think keeping things like tanks entirely outside the LoS of a pathfinder team is that easy, especially if you deploy second but also with decent positioning and/or the Scout 6" move. Especially if you bring 2 pathfinder teams of 6 (Jedibean's ideas rock) which makes it nigh-impossible for someone to hide from that mass of markerlights, allowing nothing less than an alpha strike that lets a couple hammerheads fire at BS 5 to a hull-down high-priority vehicle and still reduce the cover save significantly (entirely, if you roll well) for at least one of them. Yes, it costs 144 points to do so, which is STILL more point efficient than 180 for ML drones hits of the same number, and especially the 55 points each for that BS 4 team leader ML.

Best part? you still get ANOTHER barrage of 6 BS 3 markerlights for other targets of high priority, such as, say, that wave of troops running through difficult terrain in the direction of your fire warriors, or that Rhino that put out a smoke screen, or any number of other targets that one or more units of yours can benefit from multiple ML hits.

Quote:
The marker light drones have a BS3 but stealth team leaders and skyray have BS4 with proper upgrades. The marker light BS is mitigated by move/shoot, infiltrate, deepstrike, stealth field, and JSJ provide. Just like the pathfinders Devil Fish.
No, it isn't. Half the time you fire your 30 point markerlight drone, it misses. 60 points makes the average hit 1. And BS 4, while decent, doesn't make that expensive-as-heck ML reliable - each team leader is going to waste his 55 points

Quote:
There's more to it than just rolling dice. It's rolling dice against worthwhile targets. Sure you can hit SOMETHING every round but with pathfinders your leaving your target choices in the hands of your enemy. He/she(do they exist?) are going to make sure you are shooting at the least important units. I'll take 3 BS4 rolls on high priority targets every turn vs 4 BS3 rolls on whatever the enemy decides to put in front of me on most turns.
I disagree that pathfinders can't find worthy targets to hit with ML (I've explained why several times), and again I have to state that though the enemy has SOME choice concerning what is within ANY LoS to the pathfinders (depending on the terrain, that may not be possible), the pathfinders and their 2-4 ML a round are either treated as an insignificant threat (by those that don't know how reliably deadly ML hits can make an attack) or are treated as a significant threat (at which point your enemy either is forced to make painful choices concerning where his "high priority" units (which aren't all indirect-firing basilisks, one might add, and may even have to reach enemy troops to make use of it's devastating melee ability) move about the battlefield - sounds like the pathfinders are either targeting high-priority targets or they're forcing bad decisions on the enemy.

How does a mobile ML cadre influence the enemy? The enemy can't avoid them as easily, even by moving them in ways that aren't as useful to him as they could be... why bother, then? Entirely mobile MLs, in my mind, don't influence the enemy's actions the same way, and disruption of preferred movement, in my mind, is very important to waging battle.

Quote:
One out of 6 turns and your marker light drones should definitely infiltrate until your full up (at least two ML drones per stealth team). Only then should they be fielded otherwise.

With other marker light sources cover is not going to be an issue Pirahna, Crisis , Stealth all rarely need to use ML fire to reduce cover due to JSJ or high movement rate. One marker light hit for these units is generally enough
Not everyone fields Piranhas, and Crisis and Stealth suits can't handle all the tasks required, nor can they do ANYTHING about cover saves from being in area terrain, which are bloody ubiquitous and a substantial 4+ these days. Movement is not enough to always negate cover saves, and in fact there are several classes of cover saves that NO movement can take away.

Some things a single ML is sufficient for, but for everything else, choose Pathfinders(r). ;D

Quote:
Now your increasing the cost of the pathfinders with defense units. Not only do you have a unit that will not kill anything you have another unit which may be limited in action due to the need to defend the pathfinders.
They don't have to be guarding the pathfinders 24/7, they just need to be available to fire at attackers that appear. Stealth suit teams have an area of influence of 24", which means an infiltrated stealth suit team that's near the front lines laying fire into targets that present themselves (or is on the other side of your deployment, etc.) can still probably jump back towards the pathfinders and fire at their foes, again having 2-4 ML for almost everything they're attacking at the same price.

Quote:
Now your spending twice the points on units that kill nothing and more points spent on units to defend them. Your point efficiency has gone right out the window, and you still have a mobility problem.
I'm actually still spending fewer points for the same number of ML hits on the high-priority target PLUS I get another 2-4 ML hits for targets of opportunity. Point efficiency is as strong as ever, though mobility is still, yes, a problem.

Quote:
They are not going to scare anything, big guns will be kept out LOS until a target priority is required.
How, might i ask, is this not scaring them? Big guns kept out of LOS (again, more difficult than you seem to be implying, especially after scout moves or with multiple Pathfinder teams) aren't firing, or are firing through cover, unless they're indirect fire.

If you're dictating, through the placement of a single 72 point unit of pathfinders, where your opponent's most powerful or important models can move (and thus whom they can fire upon, and with what efficiency), I fail to see how those big guns aren't being scared.

Quote:
A unit will be dispatched to deal with the path finders. They don't even need to kill them, just causing them to move is enough. You can defend your pathfinders sure, but if attacking your pathfinders draws out a crisis suit team...all the better....one less unit firing at something important This is another reason I prefer marker light drones and stealth suits, passive defense.
Said unit will probably take at least 2 turns to get there, and will almost certainly be placed in it's 2-4 ML sights, which makes it a prime target for destruction.

This is also merely a 72 point unit, sitting in cover, making it difficult to kill by shooting and hopefully parked in area terrain to make assaults that much more difficult. I'd love nothing better than to see 150 points of Fast Assault SMs spending 3-4 rounds of the game distracting a 72 point unit. May all my opponents do so from this day on.

Quote:
Marker lights and fusion blasters are a bad choice, but that is a different topic. With JSJ you do not need to stay within firing distance, nor remain within LOS.
I'm not talking about fusion blaster.

Staying entirely outside of LoS with Stealthsuits is a lot more difficult in 5th edition... you can't rely on well-positioned total LoS-blocking terrain when and where you need it. If you're taking advantage of what tota LoS-blocking terrain exists, then you're probably not firing at your best range (the range that gives you at least 12"-18" from an enemy's response), or firing with anything except ML at all.

And yes, your enemy can end up within 12-18" of you maximum and still fire their guns at you due to their movement - 6" for walkers/vehicles, 6" for troops with assault weapons/pistols, 12" for jump troops, 12" for fast vehicles.

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I was shooting from the hip with costs. After doing some math...I've found you can actually field 3 team leader marker lights and 2.5 marker light drones for the same cost as a basic 4 man pathfinder team and their no frills devil fish. It's not until your 8th pathfinder team member do they get any cheaper. Throw in some bonding knives, team leader and disruptor pod and the cost savings is reduced to single digits. Now aside from everything mentioned above there is another thing to consider, alternative marker light sources do not take up troop choices.
Why do you keep bringing up the Devilfish's extra cost? The devilfish's costs aren't relevant unless you don't bring devilfish with 1 or more troop squads, because they're exactly the same as the cost for what you've admitted is effectively the same capabilities. How many troops with devilfish do you generally bring with your army, RB25DET? If it's 2 or more, there's no important difference between them bringing their own Devilfish and the pathfinders provide the same-equipped Devilfish, and you're left with TWO vehicles that can allow rerolled Deepstrike scatter dice (though each unit can only reroll once, no matter how many vehicles have LoS, of course).

Why, then, do I keep bringing up the stealth team's cost? Because though you might be bringing a stealth team anyway, you wouldn't be spending extra points of Target Locks, Multi-trackers, Targeting Arrays, etc. Even when discounting a stealth team leader or ML drones of the cost of the unit that brings them, they're STILL a fairly unreliable "maybe ML maybe not" high point cost model. 25% of the time 2 ML drones attack a target, no markerlights hit. 3% of the time a 5 man pathfinder team attacks a target, the same result occurs.

Do ML drones and team leader markerlights have benefits? OF COURSE THEY DO. Not all targets need more than 1 ML. Not all high priority targets will show even one power-armored pinky finger or a single tread on a tank. For these targets, mobile ML are wonderous. They just can't bring enough MASSED markerlights to the table without severely depleting your actual FIGHTING capabilities.

I bring a stealth team leader ML to my army, and I like to think i utilize them well, in many of the ways RB25DET mentions. That doesn't mean I think a stealth team leader ML or ML drones are going to provide the 2-4 ML i need to get certain jobs done that absolutely NEED that many ML to make shooting at the target reliably worthwhile (hull-down vehicles, FoF vs 5+ armor troops, etc.).

Sometimes you need mallets, sometimes you need scalpels, but no amount of mallets will make up for a lack of a single scalpel, and visa versa.
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Old 04 Aug 2008, 07:54   #8 (permalink)
Kroot Shaper
 
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Default Re: Pathfinders vs ML drones: point efficiency versus superior mobility and defense

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Why do you keep bringing up the Devilfish's extra cost?
Because they are cost relevant. It doesn't matter that you can field them with another unit they still need to be purchased. Your whole basis for the pathfinders being cheap is based on the ability to give the devil fish to the FW, but that doesn't make them free. Points spent are points spent. It doesn't change the fact that it is not the same as buying the DF with FW or that pathfinders are the least flexible marker light you can field.

You seem to keep glazing over the cost of the second pathfinder team to get the same targeting options as a single unit equivalent of other marker light options. For the same price I can double up my marker lights and to have just as many chances to hit as the pathfinders. Except my marker lights can JSJ, Deep strike, move/shoot, marker light shooting and weapon fire, stealth field, infiltrate, and three of them have a BS4.

Your also glazing over the following:

You are now eating up two fast attack slots on non killing units
You have spent the points on two non killing units
At some point you will have to divert fire to defend them
For the same cost as those two devilfish with disruptor pods you can field a third 10 man FW team and give team leaders, bonding knives, and marker lights to all 3 FW teams.

With no more priority test there is a good argument against FoF these days as it only protects against assaults. You are better off out distancing the enemy.

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how effective is 1 ML when you need to FoF a group of eldar guardians or imperial guardsmen....There are targets that don't need more than 1 ML, but there are undeniably situations where you do,
I already explained this. With the maneuverability of other marker light options it is nothing to divert all marker light fire onto a single unit. You are going to come across more instances where you need one or two marker light hits than when you are going to need 4+.

Two pathfinder teams are not going to give you LOS on everything at all times...sorry it isn't going to happen. You move your 6" to get a first turn shot, the enemy is going to move out of LOS on second turn. While your trying to get a bead on one/two units the rest of his army is running down field hit with nothing.

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or are treated as a significant threat (at which point your enemy either is forced to make painful choices concerning where his "high priority" units
Not true at all. Nobody plays against Tau and doesn't consider thier marker lights, especially with 5th edition. A pathfinder unit can be wiped out by a single standard infantry unit with little problem, so most likely they are going to have a unit going after them anyway. You only need to kill 2-4 of pathfinders. You want to divert fire to defend the path finders? That's fine most likely they will use this as an opportunity to go after the defending unit with something else and another enemy unit is making it across the board without getting fired upon.

Mobile marker lights are going to influence him a lot more than pathfinders. He will never be able to escape them so his choices are to deal with them or take hits on his most important units every turn. Path Finders will get some hits on priority targets but most likely will be taking shots at secondary targets behind cover.

To the other guy:

Under no circumstance should you take stealth suit marker lights and put them in the back field. You might as well take sniper drones or FW marker lights at that point.

This conversation is delving into tactics and isn't staying straight with fairness of costs so lets start with that and go from there.

My whole side of the debate comes from fielding a take all comers tournament army. It assumes that the opponent across from you knows enough about 40k to be a serious contender. There is no point in speculating about noobs, they often lose it for themselves. Given moderate points 1750 is popular what would you field with pathfinders?








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Old 04 Aug 2008, 09:34   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Pathfinders vs ML drones: point efficiency versus superior mobility and defense

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Originally Posted by RB25DET
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Why do you keep bringing up the Devilfish's extra cost?
Because they are cost relevant. It doesn't matter that you can field them with another unit they still need to be purchased. Your whole basis for the pathfinders being cheap is based on the ability to give the devil fish to the FW, but that doesn't make them free. Points spent are points spent. It doesn't change the fact that it is not the same as buying the DF with FW or that pathfinders are the least flexible marker light you can field.
No, they really are not, unless you don't plan on taking Devilfish, as there is NO cost difference between taking the devilfish from the FW or the Pathfinders.

If your FW team would purchase a Devilfish as a dedicated transport, it suits a certain set of purposes, generally consisting of protecting and providing mobility. If your FW troops do NOT take a devilfish in your list normally, then yes, the pathfinder's ML efficiency isn't very good. If you would be purchasing a devilfish for FW anyway (whether you fielded pathfinders or not), the cost of the devilfish coming from the Pathfinder unit is independent in function from the pathfinders and can (and should) be considered separately - the devilfish's cost being transport and protection-oriented and the pathfinder shas'las' Mass ML capabilities being their function.

I feel like this part of the discussion is stalling. Let me try a different explanation/avenue of thought...

One is limited to 3 stealth teams, yes? This means a maximum of 3 BS 4 mobile markerlights from stealth squads, yes? Each stealth team leader costs 55 points per BS 4 ML.

Though one could upgrade enough to fire both BC and ML at the same time... but how often will the unit needing to be MLed be not only a unit within 18" but also vulnerable to Burst Cannon Fire.

Let's consider, then, the other suits attached to your teams. These can, assuming Target Lock on the leader, target a more preferrable (and in range) unit for massed BS 4 BC fire. They are, by codex necessity, a basic cost that comes along with your stealth team leaders with MLs. As they perform separate functions, and as the non-ML stealthsuits are basically as point-efficient as a normal stealth suit unit, one can discount the cost of the other stealth suits (80 points) from the cost of the BS 4 Markerlight and/or Burst Cannon (55 points).

And yet, by your logic, because you HAVE to take those stealth teams along with your Teamlead ML, despite the fact that you'd be paying the same points for the same stealths anyway, you MUST take their cost into account for ML efficiency of the Teamlead ML.

This would make, for comparison purposes, 1 x BS 4 ML with 1 x BS 3 ML drone costing a hefty 165 points, compared to a pathfinder's 6 x BS 3 ML at a slightly heftier 157 points.

Yup, pathfinders are still more efficient by a huge margin. But I still think the attached-units-of-separate-function's costs shouldn't be considered for ML efficiency - with tactics the way they are, both mobile and static ML units have to have at least some autonomy, otherwise either firepower or even ML hits are wasted (wasted even worse than the ML that can't target the Basilisk, since that ML has 5 more buddies and can grant 2-4 ML for a similarly low-priority-for-ML unit.

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You seem to keep glazing over the cost of the second pathfinder team to get the same targeting options as a single unit equivalent of other marker light options. For the same price I can double up my marker lights and to have just as many chances to hit as the pathfinders. Except my marker lights can JSJ, Deep strike, move/shoot, marker light shooting and weapon fire, stealth field, infiltrate, and three of them have a BS4.
Glazing over? Heck no. I'm working under different assumptions and "common" sense interpretations - that a unit of two separate groupings of models that perform distinctly separate and unrelated tasks should have their costs considered separately so long as one of those tasks would otherwise be done either by the same or similar units for similar point costs.

So long as I have the interest in putting 2 FW squads in Devilfish as part of my overall army plan, 2 6-man pathfinder squads will provide 2 sets of 6 BS 3 MLs, at least one set likely to have some LoS to almost every enemy unit and both sets unlikely to ever LACK a target that some supporting unit cannot take advantage of, and will do so for 144 points, almost exactly the same cost (again, not considering the attached unit) as a Stealth teamleader BS 4 ML and 3 ML drone BS 3 MLs., providing FEWER MLs for the same points to only a SINGLE target.

Conclusion: For the purposes of massed markerlights, depending on exceptional LoS Blocking terrain, pathfinders provide more markerlights almost always to the same high-priority target and hits a low priority target as well with another mass of 2-4 MLs.

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Your also glazing over the following (numbered for my own ease - US):

1. You are now eating up two fast attack slots on non killing units
2. You have spent the points on two non killing units
3. At some point you will have to divert fire to defend them
4. For the same cost as those two devilfish with disruptor pods you can field a third 10 man FW team and give team leaders, bonding knives, and marker lights to all 3 FW teams.
1. They don't kill directly, no. Because of the points they save, however, they have stronger and more numberous other units capable of utilizing their efficient and reliable ML hits to make the tradeoff worth it and then some.
2. For the most part, see 1.
3. All the better reason to bring vulnerable ML sources within 12" to 18" away from a move-and-shoot enemy, don't you think? Yes, you may have to dedicate another unit to protect it, but it will be able to aid it's protection (and the slaughter of dangerous, likely mobile elements of the enemy) through the reliable flood of 2-4 ML, and, again, won't put vulnerable T3 4+ save units within 12" to 18" from a move-and-shoot enemy.
4. Yes, yes you can. I can't argue that, IF you are not going to be fielding Devilfish at all in your army, pathfinder MLs aren't nearly as point-efficient as the more mobile persuasion. However, IF you're fielding Devilfish with FW troops anyway, their point cost shouldn't matter for the purposes of point efficiency of ML.

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With no more priority test there is a good argument against FoF these days as it only protects against assaults. You are better off out distancing the enemy.
I personally never relied much on priority tests to protect my FoFing FWs - most armies i've faced had leadership up the yingyang and rarely failed those checks anyway.

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how effective is 1 ML when you need to FoF a group of eldar guardians or imperial guardsmen....There are targets that don't need more than 1 ML, but there are undeniably situations where you do,
I already explained this. With the maneuverability of other marker light options it is nothing to divert all marker light fire onto a single unit. You are going to come across more instances where you need one or two marker light hits than when you are going to need 4+.
And I've already explained that positioning your ML units to take advantage of the ML on the high priority target is going to, more likely than not, mess up your positioning for the unit's other purpose - Light tanks and light infantry for deathrains, those and MEQ for Stealthsuits.

And I've ALREADY AGREED WITH YOU that when all you need is 1 ML, mobile markerlights are the better buy. How often do I have to repeat it for me to get it through to you that I appreciate the delightful efficiency mobile MLs work when the target isn't worsened by more than 1 ML. I LOVE MOBILE MARKERLIGHTS FOR TARGETS THAT ONLY NEED 1 MARKERLIGHT.

But that doesn't describe all the targets on the table, or even close to that number - Basic troop at BS 3 are best with 2 ML hits, and depending on the target can make great use of up to 5, 6, maybe even 7 MLs... And THAT'S where I'm saying pathfinders are the better buy.

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Two pathfinder teams are not going to give you LOS on everything at all times...sorry it isn't going to happen. You move your 6" to get a first turn shot, the enemy is going to move out of LOS on second turn. While your trying to get a bead on one/two units the rest of his army is running down field hit with nothing.
Let's see if we've got this straight...

Let's say your opponent goes first (and thus sets up first). You don't think it's possible for a unit with free range of 12" from his side and an extra 6" scout move couldn't set up dual firing lanes that could keep an enemy within even a glimmer of true LoS from 2 separate units? Between two firing lanes, one can potentially force a vehicle to either accept a mass of ML (thus allowing BS 5 cover-save negated attacks) or accept less impeded shots from one's own firepower.

Let's say your opponent goes second. You're saying that two units of pathfinders couldn't set up similar fire lanes in the 12" deployment +6" scout move + (if necessary) 6" +1d6" move and run move for second turn (but comparable to opponent-going-first for ML purposes) mass MLs?

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or are treated as a significant threat (at which point your enemy either is forced to make painful choices concerning where his "high priority" units
Not true at all. Nobody plays against Tau and doesn't consider thier marker lights, especially with 5th edition. A pathfinder unit can be wiped out by a single standard infantry unit with little problem, so most likely they are going to have a unit going after them anyway. You only need to kill 2-4 of pathfinders. You want to divert fire to defend the path finders? That's fine most likely they will use this as an opportunity to go after the defending unit with something else and another enemy unit is making it across the board without getting fired upon.
You're right, I suppose it's much better to attach vulnerable ML-producing models to a unit whose use is utterly based upon the necessity to stay within at maximum 24" away from the enemy at the start of your turn. That certainly doesn't bring the extremely expensive and near-as-fragile T3 4+ save drones into harms way...

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Mobile marker lights are going to influence him a lot more than pathfinders. He will never be able to escape them so his choices are to deal with them or take hits on his most important units every turn. Path Finders will get some hits on priority targets but most likely will be taking shots at secondary targets behind cover.
Funny, you say that for mobile ML and I say the same for 2 teams of static pathfinder MLs. He will never be able to escape them(my opinion and experience is that at least one team should be able to target almost every enemy, and each team should have a viable target in range and LoS - DB25DET's opinion is different), so his choices are to deal with them (by sending what would have to be a bare minimum of, what, 100 points for reasonable success, that can be intercepted by a supporting unit that isn't vulnerable to the offending unit's fire, be it FoF or Helios Shas'el) or take hits on his most important units every turn (or utterly annihilate multiple supporting units through Mass ML use such that his most important units aren't backed up and can be taken piecemeal).

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Old 04 Aug 2008, 23:31   #10 (permalink)
Kroot Shaper
 
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Default Re: Pathfinders vs ML drones: point efficiency versus superior mobility and defense

Quote:
You're right, I suppose it's much better to attach vulnerable ML-producing models to a unit whose use is utterly based upon the necessity to stay within at maximum 24" away from the enemy at the start of your turn. That certainly doesn't bring the extremely expensive and near-as-fragile T3 4+ save drones into harms way...
What?! How are they vulnerable? First the enemy has to get in range of the unit, then they have to get line of sight on the unit. Difficult with JSJ, then they have to roll to see if they can even shoot at the unit, then they have to roll to hit, then they have to roll to wound, then I roll to 3+ save and/or cover save, and I have two wounds the unit can take before I have to remove any marker lights. That is as tough as our army gets without it being a vehicle.

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You don't think it's possible for a unit with free range of 12" from his side and an extra 6" scout move couldn't set up dual firing lanes that could keep an enemy within even a glimmer of true LoS from 2 separate units?
I'm not denying your going to be able to get shots on something, but since your firing lanes are static the only thing you are going to get shots on are secondary targets. He is not going to leave something important out in the open for you to fire marker lights at if he can help it. With two static units you WILL NOT be able to cover the entire board. Why do I have to keep repeating this?

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"common" sense interpretations - that a unit of two separate groupings of models that perform distinctly separate and unrelated tasks should have their costs considered separately so long as one of those tasks would otherwise be done either by the same or similar units for similar point costs.
What?!?! They are not performing two distinctly separate tasks. You keep repeating how you can get the same coverage of mobile marker lights with two pathfinder teams. That is a single task. Two distinct tasks would be one unit using marker lights and a another unit tank hunting. You are spending points on two marker light teams how on god's green earth do those points not count in spending points on the same thing?

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Stealth teamleader BS 4 ML and 3 ML drone BS 3 MLs., providing FEWER MLs for the same points to only a SINGLE target.
WTF? You don't field a marker light team leader and a marker light drone without a target lock and you field more than one unit of stealth suits or you take a skyray.

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as there is NO cost difference between taking the devilfish from the FW or the Pathfinders.
I never said there was a point difference, but using a DF from a Pathfinder unit for FW is not the same as taking a DF for the FW. Those draw backs and those of the pathfinders need to be taken into consideration. Like I said before. You cannot just look at point efficiency. Cheap is not the end all be all. Why do I have to keep repeating this?

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One is limited to 3 stealth teams, yes? This means a maximum of 3 BS 4 mobile markerlights from stealth squads, yes?
No, the team leader can also take drones.


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This would make, for comparison purposes, 1 x BS 4 ML with 1 x BS 3 ML drone costing a hefty 165 points, compared to a pathfinder's 6 x BS 3 ML at a slightly heftier 157 points.
Your marker light math is off....at least by your wording it seems it is. If you remove the cost of the other stealth suits the cost is 80pts per BS4 & BS3 that can split fire. To your 72pts 6 x BS3 single target

Again, I never said pathfinders were more expensive. It is not a simple question of just points. There is no point value for stealth field, JSJ, move/shoot, infiltrate, networked marker light, split fire, AR 13, disruptor pod, unit slots, non scoring units, # wounds, defense requirements, etc, etc. That is a whole lot to ignore just because there is no point value to each of them.

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And yet, by your logic, because you HAVE to take those stealth teams along with your Teamlead ML, despite the fact that you'd be paying the same points for the same stealths anyway, you MUST take their cost into account for ML efficiency of the Teamlead ML.
There is a reason why I do not include the cost of the other stealth team member but include the cost of the devil fish.....utility. The points are not spent on no scoring units like DF and I do not have to use another unit for defense. Unlike the pathfinders the stealth team unit can defend themselves without sacrificing marker light shots. I am not separating those team members from the unit like the DF. Not to mention every other thing I mentioned about fielding marker lights with stealth suits/skyray that you ignore.
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