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path finders are so great
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Old 10 Aug 2005, 05:13   #1 (permalink)
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Default path finders are so great

i love them they make all my HH and elites hit on 2 and no cover save it the best thing ever only tau can do.

what do you guys think fo them ?
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Old 10 Aug 2005, 06:12   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: path finders are so great

I'm a big fan. I do however wish markerlights could go on more models. I'd probably have a crisis or two with one. A montat suit lighting up targets for broadside/hammerhead would be deadly. Also on my wish list is not having to take a 'fish with them. Their special rule is very useful, but I'd still like to be able to have a cheaper team of static path finders hang more to the rear and light up anything that gets in range.
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Old 10 Aug 2005, 06:36   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: path finders are so great

In theory they sound great. Of course everything works perfectly in theory. I've only been able to use mine once...and they didn't fair so well. But it could have been I'm still new to them and didnt use them right (placement-wise). The only thing that keeps me from using them more is having to use a DF with them....80 points that I could use elsewhere in a smaller army. Above 1500 points I can beleive they will come into their own.
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Old 10 Aug 2005, 08:05   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: path finders are so great

I've never used them, but I've heard they are almost useless in an under 1500 point battle. Is this true?
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Old 10 Aug 2005, 10:17   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: path finders are so great

Pathfinders are expensive units to field because of the devilfish. Seeing that a squad can only light up one target or unit, it is only the most useful to help stealth suits and a squad of broadsides. Markerlighting for hammerheads is great but they have a good chance of hitting on their own.

What I find good placement for the pathfinders is infiltrate some kroot a little more than 12" from your deployment zone. Then use the scouting manuver to deploy the PF behind them. You're pretty safe behind a large squad of kroots.
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Old 10 Aug 2005, 10:48   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: path finders are so great

I'm using the railguns with multitracker for them and there is no game without loosing them. thats hard. I'd like to use their fish for my FW, but what can you do? Maybe more pathfinders in a squad would help filling the empty space in the fish. But rules...

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Old 10 Aug 2005, 11:25   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: path finders are so great

[size=12pt]Pathfinders – Unique to Tau[/size]

Most people really don't care for Pathfinders, due to their fragility and cost. But they're quite a unique unit to the game and they give something to Tau that other armies only dream of. A pathfinder team may be better understood as a “targeting array” for various units in the army, which may change each turn, simply because that’s what they can do (well one of the things they can do).

It’s all about augmentation.

The thing is, most players complain about their BS3 in their Tau armies, how everything is just BS3 and cannot shoot so well, and we're such a pure shooting force, literally, so why can't we shoot even better? Well, the reason is because when they designed the Tau army, they kind of expect us to make sure of everything together, not just a list that focuses on a single unit. The Pathfinders are kind of a keystone that helps the army tick along. Pathfinders allow a unit or multiple weapons from multiple units and/or vehicles to suddenly become instruments of extreme power. If you announce that your three Ion Cannons are going to fire at BS5 and ignore cover saves this turn, and that the Crisis suit with the Plasma and Fusion gun in his Devastator squad's face is also going to fire his two weapons at BS5, your opponents will probably be wondering "Whoa there, how is this possible? That's too powerful. No way man, let me see this in your book."

The art of focus fire.

Pathfinders epitomize that which is Tau: Focus Fire. The Tau army is all about it, and the Pathfinders are the units that really bring that Focus Fire style to life. We could just take a lot more units and shoot away, but BS3 and BS4 still misses. But when you have BS5 suddenly on your weapons of choice, you don't just shoot, you start killing much more. Most of our weapons are higher strength for a reason, not just to represent a shooting army. If we hit less often, our higher strength balances out the weaker shooting ability to hit, with a greater ability to wound and cause damage. If we were to augment our shooting ability to hit more often, the strength suddenly is very powerful and we have very high strength weapons that hit all the time, and from there, people screaming "Ahh! Cheese!" This is what happened when the Tau first were released. Tau were considered a power-gamers delight. A cheese fest. Because in the rules of 3rd edition we could plop a squad of Pathfinders down, light up something without fear of being shot at, and unload hordes of pure high strength power into them at the rate of BS5 and the wounding power of Tau. Insane they said.

Now of course, things are different. People hate their Pathfinders, so much so that GW even released the Rail Rifles to try and revitalize them, but to no avail really. Then in 4th edition they finally got the break they needed. But most gamers still don't want to dust off those old metal Pathfinders. Why take Pathfinders when I can take another Hammerhead? It's better and lives longer. Right? Well, the Hammerhead can only do so much. Pathfinders on the other hand, can help you to focus on a single target, and not just shoot at it, but totally decimate it. The pathfinders augment our army so that a portion of it can suddenly fire so accurately that our high strength weapons just scream. And our opponents do not like this at all. So much so that most people who face Tau, target those pathfinders as almost priority number one. Because if they don't, they will be focused on and take heavy casualty in localized places very quickly.

For example, we could take 3 hammerheads with Ion Cannons to pump out 9 shots at an 8 man tactical marine squad. Normally, it would take all 3 tanks to kill just half of the marines there, taking out 5 of them on average. But if they're in cover, only 4 of them on average, sometimes less. That's not very good considering the power of an Ion Cannon. So then we introduce the humble Pathfinders, who grant our Ion Cannons the ability to really go crazy, firing at BS5. Then we're killing 6 marines on average, with no hopes for saves of any kind there, not even cover. This may seem like littler improvement, but consider that you cannot take a 4th heavy support and you quickly see, you don't need that 4th heavy support (which you cannot have anyways) and that the Pathfinders simply make your other units much more efficient.

You could also do the same thing for Crisis Suits. We could take Plasma/Fusion suits all day and just be frustrated when we deep strike them or jump them out of cover, just to shoot all their great weapons and hit only 2 or 3 times and cause 2 casualties. That's not scary at all. It looks scary on paper, but in the game, we all know what it feels like to fire our insanely good firepower at miserable rates, just to have a couple of bolters rip our suits up right afterwards, with a smile. Pathfinders make it happen though. Suddenly a 3 man team of Fusion/Plasma suits rip right through marines, as their augmentation to hit is so great now, than they just don't even miss. It's a difference of 3 Crisis Suits firing 3 shots per suit of low ap goodness, for 9 shots total, but only hitting on average 4 to 5 of them and even then, only causing 3 or 4 casualties. But if they're in cover, it may only be 2 or 3 casualties sometimes. For the massive points we spend, 3 casualties could have been caused for a lot cheaper from other places and we're pretty much wasted good crisis suits. Introduce some pathfinders though, and suddenly those suits have a new edge. Perhaps the turn before our Ion Cannons were being augmented, but this time around, our suits need the help. So we shift the augmentation to them, and voila, we now have some very nice crisis suits. Your opponent's eyes grow pretty wide when you announce that 3 of your plasma rifles and 1 fusion gun out of that team, will now fire at BS5. That means 7 of the 9 shots are now going to hit at BS5 accuracy. So now we're looking at 5 to 6 casualties on average, with no hopes of saves of any kind. That's a big difference. Sure, we could have just taken more crisis suits for the same price to get the same increase, but it's not about taking more, it's about making them more efficient.

They could just be thought of as a mobile “targeting array.”

Anyhow, Pathfinders do that for the army, they make whatever unit you need to fire, better. And they do it very well. We scuff at the Devilfish requirement, but it's as if the Devilfish was dead weight when it's not. The Devilfish is still a very powerful skimmer on the field and can zoom about and cause all kinds of fun, it doesn't have to sit next to the pathfinders. The pathfinders themselves are not expensive. Consider the price of a normal fire warrior team with a Devilfish. We love that unit, no one complains about it. For 8 Fire Warriors and a Devilfish, with a Shas'ui and some Fish upgrades, we're looking at 160 to 175 points, up to 190 points for our configuration. Pathfinders are slightly more, with 8 Pathfinders and a Devilfish with a Shas'ui, coming in at 191 points. It's really not all that different. We just don't have pulse rifles, instead we have pulse carbines (which are useful, despite an overwhelming census that they're not; if a marine had a pulse carbine, everyone would cry and quit the game). On top of that, they allow us a lot more options than Fire Warriors, as they should, with their scout moves and their ability to sit tight and fire markerlights at 36 inches. The two units are very similar, but used very differently in practice.

Pathfinders are by no means a unit that suddenly makes you win. They're definitely not just a big mean old hammerhead that always rips up your opponents and takes a beating. Instead, pathfinders are the little guys that do big things. They don't output much, but they increase the rest of the army where you need it most, which is what makes them so valuable to us, and so dangerous to our opponents. Sure, I could throw more firepower at my opponent, because more is better, right? Or I could just make it so that I can throw what I need to throw at them the first time, without hoping for a good average on my dice rolls. Instead, I can simply make the dice roll better. It's like rigging your dice. Pathfinders help us to kill those immediate threats, A.S.A.P., with much better chances of pulling it off when we want to, not just when luck is with us. So on that first turn, when we're staring at a squad of 3 Destroyers, we don't have to shoot at them with everything in our army to ensure they drop. Instead, we can just markerlight them and remove them with a single unit, maybe two to be sure. A single Ion Cannon could do it even. Or we could fire both hammerheads at them, wasting most of the shots. Instead, the other hammerhead could have been killing other models elseware. Pathfinders just give us that ability to really focus down and do what needs to be done "right now." Just that little ability to choose when we can focus down, with whatever weapons we wish, is a great ability that most other armies would love to have.

New roles to match the new rules.

And of course, now in 4th edition, Pathfinders have a much bigger role, as cover has improved. We can also use them as surgical instruments, in those games where we always seem to lose our Pathfinders. We can alter our gaming style with said pathfinders to let them do what they do best again, making the rest of our army become insanely powerful. They allow us that important first strike. One of Tau's biggest weaknesses, aside from combat, is that we don't actually have a lot of guns. We just have a few very powerful guns. That augmentation makes up for our lack of volume, and makes our quality weapons much higher up on the scale. So now, when we fire, using augmentation, we can deny our opponent their new rules (ie: mass cover saves), while making our weapons pump out all of their shots much more efficiently, allowing the rest of our army to do something else, something more efficient or in tune to the mission. For example, missions with objectives and victory points are all too common than just an all out kill fest. Pathfinders help your fire power to really happen, which gives a nice break to other units which are better at moving and scoring and holding positions. The pathfinders themselves can even be a quarter contenser while keeping our weapons warm at BS5. Pathfinders can give Tau a burst of tempo at the beginning of the game, to allow us to simply take the lead in terms of removing important targets quickly, or they can even provide mid-game tempo, after we've taken casualty, by allowing what we have left, to strike back with what they have, all the way.

Pathfinders are not the key unit to winning at all, but they definitely are a part of the Tau army. They're a signature unit really. And I encourage everyone to give them a try again, but don't just throw them out there and hope they do something. Use them intelligently and use some strategy with them and you will see that they can be quite a force to your army without all the jazz of big guns and crazy armor saves.

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Old 10 Aug 2005, 11:57   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: path finders are so great

Wow, I can't believe I read all that :P

Things to keep in mind - the devilfish requirement really doesn't matter if you play mech, I mean, your probably going to take one anyway :P And, Pathfinders are basically fire warriors with markerlights that cost only 2 points, compared to stealthsuits/FW team leaders who buy them at many times that cost.

But MalVeauX's post pretty much covers everything.
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Old 10 Aug 2005, 13:32   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: path finders are so great

I have been inspired to now buy pathfinders :P
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Old 10 Aug 2005, 13:34   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: path finders are so great

Also keep in mind that after IAV3 devilfish could be very easily be turned to assault gunboat with burst cannon and SMS. So after that i would be happy to have one extra devilfish, even when i did not use it as transport. So why not get it with pathfinders.
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