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Pathfinder markerlights vs Stealth suit markerlights, the cost conundrum
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Old 15 Sep 2009, 18:28   #1 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Pathfinder markerlights vs Stealth suit markerlights, the cost conundrum

I have seen many people say pathfinders are the cheapest source of markerlights, but are they really? We must take into account the pathfinders must purchase a devil-fish and as a tau player you must purchase a disruption pod. However, stealth suits are expensive, but need not bring the required devil-fish. Lets show the math between the units:

A stealth suit team, with three suits, a team leader with two marker drones and a purchased markerlight runs at 165 points, bringing three markerlights to the field

A pathfinder team, with four pathfinders and a devil-fish with disruption pods runs at 133 points, bringing four markerlights to the field.

Now in terms of markerlights, the pathfinders are indeed the cheapest per light by this setup, with one markerlight per each 33.25 points spend, which goes down with more pathfinders on the table.

In contrast, the stealth team brings one markerlight to the table per each 55 points spent, which goes down when adding more drones.

However, cost vs usefulness is a very interesting equation which must be thrown into this equation. We know that stealth teams may move and use their markerlights, they have better armor saves than the pathfinders, and they have the ever-useful stealth field, plus the ability to infiltrate.

The pathfinders bring weaker armor saves, the scout movement rule and a devil-fish that allows deep strike re-rolls, yet the pathfinders cannot move and shoot.

Lets examine an example were the pathfinders couldn't use their markerlights for 40% of the game (lets say, the first two turns), were as the stealth team could do to their speed and ability to mark on the move. This would mean the stealth team would be at 100% effectiveness, while the pathfinders would be at 65%, considering the ability of the devil-fish deep strike re-roll on turn two. This means the cost of the stealth suits stays at 165, while the pathfinder team takes a 35% increase due to their lack of activity, taking their cost up to 179.55

Should we do the same math with a full pathfinder team and adding four more marker drones to the stealth team, we arrive at 225 points for the stealth suits, the pathfinder team at 244.35 points.

Therefor in a situation such as this we can surmise that the stealth suits, whom can infiltrate into range for their markerlights to hit, are better in terms of cost and effectiveness in battles were 36" isn't feasible in the beginning. However, in smaller battles, the pathfinders are indeed the best.
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Old 15 Sep 2009, 21:12   #2 (permalink)
Kroot Warrior
 
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Default Re: Pathfinder markerlights vs Stealth suit markerlights, the cost conundrum

Hmmmm I'll have try it out survivability is nice because not only do have stealth generators but power to hide/take cover in the assault phase & mobility would also be excellent...I remember having my pathfinders on a building to mark some nob bikers they turbo boosted to the other side of the board and it took my path finders 4 turns before they could get in position to mark something besides boyz....
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Old 16 Sep 2009, 03:30   #3 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Re: Pathfinder markerlights vs Stealth suit markerlights, the cost conundrum

Prior mention concerning Mklights:

http://forums.tauonline.org/index.ph...c,68870.0.html

I agree regarding the fact that xv15s can allow mklights to infiltrate. However, I disagree that pathfinders spend any significant amount of time without target.

I hazard that many people like to use xv88s. As long as you keep your pathfinders near xv88, they'll have targets. In my experience, there has not been a single opponent who hasn't made it his mission to get into assault with the xv 88s.
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Old 16 Sep 2009, 06:07   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Pathfinder markerlights vs Stealth suit markerlights, the cost conundrum

With markerlights, you really need to be thinking about the end result of the markerlight to calculate their worth.
Assuming most of your markerlights are only going to be used to increase BS of a squad (often not the best use of markerlights, this is just introducing the method I suggest you use for comparing the worth of markerlights), you should consider the markerlights as a permanent BS upgrade.
For example 4 pathfinders cost 48 points (I give my devilfish to my firewarriors so I don't count it as part of the cost), 2 will hit on average and lets say I will use that to increase the balistic skill of my firewarriors to 5. For 4 points a firewarrior I have effectively upgraded them to bs5.
Compare this with a dedicated stealth marker team. The most effecient configuration point wise is 3 stealth with 2 markers each and one the team leader with a markerlight. 7 Markerlights for around 290 points. Lets say 40 points per markerlight, thats a huge 80 points per markerlight hit. To get my Firewarriors to BS5 for the whole game it has cost me 160 points for those 2 markerlight hits. This is absurdely high, and has made me question the viability of the stealth marker team.

There are of course many other factors to consider when calculating the value of these squads and comparing their worth. e.g.
  • Stealth Marker Teams (SMT) can jump-shoot-jump, while pathfinders can't even move and shoot. This is one of the biggest advantages over pathfinders, and easily makes them much more valuable.
  • SMT's are have the stealth field generator, which makes them practically invincible from range. (markerlight range of 36", night fighting sight max of 36")
  • And hence pathfinders are much slower and easier to kill than SMT's, they are also usually targeted first and killed easily. This means pathfinders will never be alive long enough to act as a permanent upgrade while SMT's can often be kept alive for long periods. This is greatly increases the relative worth of SMT's.
  • SMT's aren't always dedicated markerlights (they can use their burst cannons at the same time) but this highly undervalues the stealth field generator in keeping them alive.
  • They can infiltrate (but pathfinders can scout)
  • There are better uses than increasing BS, though reducing cover is usually the only other competitive use. It is always better comparitively to reduce cover saves when the the cover save is 2+ or 3+ (though these are rare). For reducing the average 4+ cover save it is the same effect as increasing balistic skill (BS is more efficient at 5+ saves), though for 2 markerlights at a 4+ cover it is better to use it for one of each. This undoubtably means my costings are too high for the most efficent outcomes that can be acheived.
  • Many markerlights in a squads will often leave you with a dead enemy with markerlight tokens still assigned to it, wasting those markerlight hits. However small squads can also reduce the point efficiency of markerlights
  • etc
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Old 16 Sep 2009, 06:21   #5 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: Pathfinder markerlights vs Stealth suit markerlights, the cost conundrum

You gotta mix 'n' match. Pathies provide quantity and the SMT are for long innings from far away.

I like a 3 XV15 SMT with only 2 or 3 MD's and a Team leader with a Markerlight (probably Bonded too). It's only about 165-180pts for 3 or 4 Markerlights. Sure that's only 1.5 to 2 Marks on average per turn, but for 5 Turns you've got 7.5-10 Marks. That's good by me. Cheap, slightly Mark-y and able to do some dakka patrollin' because the Drones can make those 3 BC's BS4 (or 5 if you're lucky).

I also like a team of 5 or 6 Pathfinders ('Ui and Bonded, if I feel like it) in a Warfish. That setup is ~205pts IIRC. It nets about 3 Marks on average, and it is admittedly squishier than the SMT. I have yet to lose my SMT when I really try to keep it alive, but I almost always lose my Pathies ('cept maybe the 'Ui) to shooting. Mostly because my Warfish can perform dakka patrol while being close enough for the 'finders to flee into should assaulters get too close for comfort.

At 1500 you can easily combine these two sources with the rest of your army, and at 1k I find the SMT setup I described sufficient. It doubles as a 'vanilla" Stealth Team if I need dakka more than accuracy. I've brought Pathies once (@ 1k w/Dumbfish for my Warriors) and wasn't very impressed. They actually went down to shooting, not assault. The SMT is almost immune to being sniped from a distance, and mobile enough to avoid all but the most determined attackers.
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Old 16 Sep 2009, 09:29   #6 (permalink)
Shas'Saal
 
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Default Re: Pathfinder markerlights vs Stealth suit markerlights, the cost conundrum

Quote:
Originally Posted by joshau-k
(I give my devilfish to my firewarriors so I don't count it as part of the cost)
Off-topic but, are you able to attach the Pathfinders DF to a FW team before the start of the game!?
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Old 16 Sep 2009, 09:36   #7 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Re: Pathfinder markerlights vs Stealth suit markerlights, the cost conundrum

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dtram
Quote:
Originally Posted by joshau-k
(I give my devilfish to my firewarriors so I don't count it as part of the cost)
Off-topic but, are you able to attach the Pathfinders DF to a FW team before the start of the game!?
Nope, but the Fire Warriors can embark at the beginning of turn 1.
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Old 16 Sep 2009, 16:29   #8 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Re: Pathfinder markerlights vs Stealth suit markerlights, the cost conundrum

In an all mech list - there are few assets on foot to divert attention of assaulters away from the pathfinders. Also fewer infantry targets for H-bolters, other anti-infantry weapons to target.

My pathfinders usually get first pick of cover and firelanes, and with 2 drones attached - is quite durable. In my experience, they survive and remain effective at end of game in virtutally all games. Caveat - Usually I have at least 30 *other pairs of feet on the ground without jump-packs or transport in a 1500 points list.
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Old 16 Sep 2009, 16:51   #9 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Pathfinder markerlights vs Stealth suit markerlights, the cost conundrum

Quote:
Originally Posted by Knight Actual
In an all mech list - there are few assets on foot to divert attention of assaulters away from the pathfinders. Also fewer infantry targets for H-bolters, other anti-infantry weapons to target.

My pathfinders usually get first pick of cover and firelanes, and with 2 drones attached - is quite durable. In my experience, they survive and remain effective at end of game in virtutally all games. Caveat - Usually I have at least 30 *other pairs of feet on the ground without jump-packs or transport in a 1500 points list.
Realistically, Pathfinders should not be considered a major source of Marker Lights in an all Mech force. By definition, it puts a static unit or two in a force dedicated to moving often. Pathfinders in a Mech force should be using their Outflank to get behind enemy lines and either using their Marker Lights there, or by punishing your enemy by tearing up the rear line at close range. Marker Light (and Rail Rifle) usage would be considered icing, not the cake for this group.

If you have a dedicated static unit (ala Broadsides and/or foot Fire Warriors holding an objective), then Pathfinders definitely make their Marker Light points back. For Ninja Tau, the Path-Fish may be wanted on the board first turn any way, so Pathfinders will be needed there.
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Old 16 Sep 2009, 17:12   #10 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Pathfinder markerlights vs Stealth suit markerlights, the cost conundrum

The biggest annoyance with pathfinders is really how little they get to be used. Sure they may never be without a target, but a lot of the time they are really unable to do anything. This becomes VERY apparent in Dawn of War deployment.

Turn one, they cannot be deployed, only troops and HQ can. Turn two, they 'move' on somehow, whether in transport, outflanking (then it becomes a 'maybe' for turn two) and cannot fire still. So now its Turn 3, I hope I went first because if I didn't the enemy has had two good turns of threat assessment, one of which my pathfinders were able to be shot at, not to mention three turns of moving and running, those assault marines are looking quite scary right about now! So I light up units NOT in combat get a few ML hits, great; that is if they themselves are not in combat.

Many argue that I should not deploy them where they can be assaulted, well that's true, but the tide of the game usually happens so that either they can be safe and ineffective or risk closer deployment.

Stealths: They come on turn two, they can fire their Markerlights, and if the enemy is close enough they have BC to boot (if not close enough they can move and shoot).

In the end, thanks for putting into numbers what I could not grasp, pathfinder's true cost only becomces apparent when you realize the number of turns they act.
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