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Pathfinders
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Old 07 May 2005, 16:18   #1 (permalink)
Shas'Saal
 
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Default Pathfinders

I was wondering the other day why pathfinders were made to have devilfishes despite all the fluff indicating that having Infiltrate abilities would be far more fluffy.

Discuss
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Old 07 May 2005, 16:37   #2 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Re: Pathfinders

Pathfinders as a fast attack choice, do not have Infiltration. Instead, they have the pre-game move (scouting) ability and they may always be fielded regardless of the mission. This is better than infiltration for the Tau. Infiltration can be countered, with Auspex and other devises, or simply not allowed via the rules of the mission. We may also not have the ability to field the unit due to restrictions. Scouting on the other hand means we're always there, always making our move, every single time. That's very, very powerful, which is why not many units even have this ability in the first place--quite rare.

However - The pathfinders, by themselves are very powerful units. It's only the big price that makes us think of them as being a touchy subject. If we did not have to take a Devilfish, we would take less Troops and take more Fast Attack as we would all want long range markerlight squads of Pathfinders that have free moves at the beginning of the game and are always fielded. On top of this, they could come in mass and launcher huge shock attacks of seeker missiles.

Three maximized squads of Pathfinders costs very little - only slightly more than a normal fully upgraded squad really when you think about it, but having 3x the amount of lights and far more survivability due to the number of models and their points are more spread out.

Now this has no bearing on the squad and the fish due to it coming later, but rail rifles are now another good reason why the Fish is required. If we could field pre-game moving small squads of markerlight pathfinders with railrifles without Fish, we have very cheap and powerful squads that would be a real pain in the butt for a lot of players.

Basically it comes down to balance. Pathfinders are incredible. GW realised that they went to far in making a very solid fast attack selection that can be an awesome utility unit. Who needs Fire Warriors when we can take Pathfinders and simply light the target for the rest of the list? With the points, we could afford more seeker missiles on our hammerheads or Troop Devilfish, putting all the points in Troops or Heavies instead of the fast attack, so losing the pathfinders wouldn't be a big deal as they would be drawing their shock attacks from other parts of the force organizational chart far more often instead of their own expensive Devilfish and their seeker missiles.

Pathfinders would be too good as a unit if they did not require a Devilfish, which ups their cost amount so high that taking too many of them would hinder the Force. Example: 191 points (my minimum investment in them, for the Shas'ui and Decoy Launchers) x 3 for our fast attack in only large games of course, makes 573 points of units that only give us 24 models and 3 skimmers. Should the pathfinders die, our Fish become nonscoring boats and really just fire magnets in the end.

However, without the Fish, we have 3 squads of Pathfinders with Shas'ui for 318 points. This is very cheap, considering they all get fielded every time and get to move into cover before the first turn. This gives us 255 points free to put elseware in the list. That is a huge squad of broadsides, extra, or more Hammerheads, or anything really. Basically, it means far more big guns for us elseware, making the Pathfinders a really good deal as they lead the force and with powerful guns coming in more volume and taking a lot of spot light away from the pathfinders. Also, costing less, and taking more of them, our enemies would be less inclined to try and waste hordes of really good firepower to remove a tiny squad of little Pathfinders. The Devilfish brings their price up to make them far more rare to be seen in big amounts in lists.

As it is, if we take full fast attacks of Pathfinders in their current ruleset, the rest of our list is very vulnerable as we're missing a large amount in troops, heavies, elites, etc to afford the big investment into the fast attack. This is counter productive to the Tau army as they become incredibly crucial to guide what little weaponry we have elseware in the list.

If they didn't require the Fish and were cheaper, we could take them in mass, full 3 squads, even in small games as well as large games, with far less impact on the rest of the balance of the army.

Yeap... just too good without the Devilfish increasing their costs. It would also lead to abusive use of Pathfinders, where as most people will very willingly say that Pathfinders are far from broken or being "too good" in their current state.
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Old 07 May 2005, 18:18   #3 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: Pathfinders

Hmm, I'd disagree Malveaux. If they were so uber, GW could sort it with* a 0-1 limitation. And they're balanced with bs3. And the horde of seeker missiles will cost you a lot of points as well.

GW are greedy. You play E40-50 for the 8 pathfinders. Not enough for them. Now you must pay E35 on top of it to buy a devilfish! Net result: more money for GW.

And infiltration would not work for them. You use infiltrate to get up close and personal. Pathfinders should ideally stay at max range and use their 36" lights at full range.

My personal opinion of them is they're lovely units, but suffer from some of the most handicapping rules in th game! I do not think the current rules do them justice at all, either with the free scout move or the devilfish.
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Old 07 May 2005, 18:55   #4 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Pathfinders

I also disagree with MalVeux.

If these units are so good, they can easily be made more expensive, though individual point costs without a DF or as was previously mentioned a max capacity can be put on. They are only worth it for an Alpha Strike IMO, nothing more nothing less.

I think that GW couldn't be bothered to think of other, better, choices. So they thought "Lets put in some HK missiles but with more quantity and something to fire them. Good Job guys". They would be better suited in Heavy Support or Troops, as they aren't a FA choice at all, unless you count being able to move in a DF 'Fast Attack' when they have Heavy weapons...
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Old 07 May 2005, 19:04   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Pathfinders

One last note:

Pathfinders do not consist of purely heavy weapons. Pulse Carbines are one of the best basic trooper guns in the game and are highly effective and can be massed up to 10 carbines in a Pathfinder squad. Just because this isn't the absolute best way to break power armor doesn't mean they're not very effective against many other armies with a unit that get's a free move and can be in good range to use assault pinning weapons on the move with a Devilfish to escort them, or to crash into oncoming units or other tanks.

There's a lot more to Pathfinders than just markerlighting and shooting railrifles and they're not just a static unit. Also, unleashing a seeker shock into elite units and heavy weapon teams is more effective than an ion cannon over two turns. They're not just useless bits of expensive missiles that take up too many points.

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Old 07 May 2005, 19:13   #6 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Pathfinders

Quote:
They're not just useless bits of expensive missiles that take up too many points.
Thats probably where I disagree and think they are. Why would you fire the Carbine if you still have a Pathfinder alive with a Markerlight? I'd buy them and use them to mark other units, because they're quite small and I wouldn't want them within 18 inches, potentially RF range. Going for a heavy Seeker strike on turn 1 certainly has it's appeal and it's a very viable tactic as I have seen them in good lists and win many games. I just don't like Pathfinders and Seekers much and I'm of the opinion that hitting on a 2+ instead of a 3+ just isn't worth 150-200 points.

Please show me otherwise



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Old 07 May 2005, 21:23   #7 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Re: Pathfinders

I used to think infiltration would fix it, but then I realised that the Fish and FGM is indeed better than infiltrate :P, the fish also helps wit AT fire sitribution and gives you a missile boat to hang those precious seekers on ;D.

I honestly think they arent broken now, but a 10-20pt price drop on their fish, or maybe 2-3 free seekers on the fish would bring them into line with other units in terms of power.

Seekers being the only S8 high AP weapon we have I think they are indispensable for killing MC's (in the new nid codex) and multi wound marines and all sorts of little buggers.

they arent a HW squad so they dont belong in HS (besides, they couldnt fight BS and HH for slots if they tried) and they would be a bit overpowered in troop slots IMO, and they definitely wouldnt make it into elites a lot of the time, that leaves FA, and with "Pseudo infiltrate" and a Fish I'd say they look fine there, theyre advance scouts, "fast attack".
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Old 08 May 2005, 06:54   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Pathfinders

I'm probably more on MalVeaux's side of the argument though I don't buy into the logic about "fixing an overpowered unit by forcing them to buy a transport" part. Take a look at SM scouts: For 1 more point you get infiltrate. Plus access to a cheap heavy bolter and sniper rifles. Or a missle launcher. Plus a lot better stat line and ATSKNF. No matter how you look at it, infiltrate is an infinitely better ability than the free scout move since you can position yourself anywhere on the board. The scout move is there simply b/c it works with the DF, unlike infiltrate. IMO, the ML is the only thing that makes PFs balance out vs. underpriced SM scouts. I agree that 3 units of PFs with MLs would potentially really imbalance the list by turning half the rest of the tau army into a defacto BS 5 army. Imagine all your HHs, stealths, and crisis suits hitting on 2+. Oh and throw in some FWs for good measure. Ouch. However, that could have been fixed by using a 0-1 restriction rather than making the unit painfully expensive.

I also don't believe in the "GW greed" motive - if they wanted to make more money it would have made more sense to make plastic PFs and sell a LOT more since the profit margin on plastic is much greater than the metal figures. No, by choosing to make metal models GW was pretty clear that they didn't think they'd sell a lot of the models.
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Old 08 May 2005, 18:02   #9 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Pathfinders

The thing is, GW IS out to make money, regardless of how they do it. They are just another company after all . And I agree with the pathfinders being a tad bit costly, it just evens out how useful they can be. I also totally agree with the marine scouts viewpoint; those things can be nasty. However, I much prefer the pregame move to infil in SOME cases; it provides even more tactical options to the tau army.
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Old 08 May 2005, 19:57   #10 (permalink)
Shas'Saal
 
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Default Re: Pathfinders

There are multiple solutions, but we should be grateful that we can scout instead of infitrate, much more useful for PF

PS: GW does to money what magicians do with their assistants....(what could it be?)







make them disappear.
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