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Thread: pathfinders

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    pathfinders

    The pathfinders and their markerlights

    Does anyone actually use their pathfinders to mark out heavy objects?
    Hitting on a 2+ is pretty good for a railgun but i need to know what you guys think about their points cost and efficiency

    thanks


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    Mr. Tau onlainari's Avatar
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    Hey panda, I'll just copy paste some of my stuff I just wrote up .

    .

    The pathfinders were a steep learning curve. I used to play with them when I started mech tau, however I dropped them because they were too hard to use. I however have picked them up in the last month and have had 9 games with them. I've been able to try and analyse different strategies.

    Firstly, the static deployment out of a devilfish. I tried 2 things. Sticking them in cover, and not sticking them in cover.

    You wouldn't believe which one was better.

    NOT sticking them in cover! OMGWTFBBQ I hear you say? In short, I could hide them behind cover, or have them shot at in cover. What I did was I had them so they could see one important unit I wanted to bring down early. The simplest example is havocs/devastators/dark reapers/IG heavy weapons etc in cover.

    I have 5 tanks on the field. The opponent weighs up killing a few markerlights with heavy weapons, or a hammerhead. The pathfinders survive (tanks are shot instead of them).

    They markerlight the unit in cover, I hit them with an ion cannon and seekers (slaughters 8 man dev squads), or a submunitions blast (good against anything else). They're gone by turn 2, the opponent has a lot harder time taking out my 5 tanks, the pathfinders do nothing else but hold a lot of vp, and I generally contribute my wins at least partially to that.

    Another thing I've noticed, once you get used to it, is that pathfinders can be used to dictate your opponents movement. In the last game I had, I had pathfinders behind a building, they were able to see a large area of the board. While they didn't shoot for 3 turns, the tyranid units stayed out of this area, because they knew if they went in there, I could light them up.

    So, yeah, not in cover, behind it.

    One thing about my pathfinder squad is that they don't have to be a markerlight force.

    Ever faced an all infantry guard army before? Ever realise tau can have a 12 pulse carbine unit? 8 pathfinders, 2 gun drones, 2 drones from the 'fish. No matter what kind of fancy vox network the guard player has, they still have to make a pinning test they fail every now and then, and while you sacrifice fire power from a fire warrior squad, you gain range (and pinning). I rate this option for the pathfinders very highly. I didn't fire a single markerlight, but I didn't need to.

    This also works against armies such as dark eldar and ulthwe, especially considering the range puts you out of assault range even if you take into account a 6 with fleet of foot.

    Against nids, I was able to move the pathfinders into the building they were behind on turn 4. Having 18" assault 1 meant I was able to reach some gaunts 15-19" away. This saved my fire warriors about 3" from the gaunts from dying to these gaunts the next turn.

    .

    Well, to add more, I suggest learning how to use everything else first. Pathfinders are the hardest unit to learn how to use properly. Even after reading that, you still need the experience to know when you have an area covered or not.

    Hope this help .
    Last edited by onlainari; August 29th, 2005 at 16:48.
    Quote Originally Posted by rikimaru View Post
    You have the option for instance of infiltrating, outflanking, pillboxing, or anti assault.


    And that's just with the Kroot.

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    Senior Member Renosaurus's Avatar
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    well, the disadvantage I find in markerlight pathfinder squads is the fact they can only mark 1 unit, cause they don't have target lock. so if you want to mark something, use tetra's instead. if you use pathfinders, give 3 of them reilrifles. that way, you can kill with the squad AND mark at the same time.
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    if you fire off say 5 markerlights, at one unit of course, and all of them hit(lets just assume so) could you use these 5 seperate markerlight hits, to guide in 5 seperate hits that hit on 2+ from the rest of your army???? or is it non cumulative(i.e. even though the pathfinder hit five time with the ml, it still only counts one against the unit/vehicle)
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    Senior Member Renosaurus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chaos0xomega
    if you fire off say 5 markerlights, at one unit of course, and all of them hit(lets just assume so) could you use these 5 seperate markerlight hits, to guide in 5 seperate hits that hit on 2+ from the rest of your army???? or is it non cumulative(i.e. even though the pathfinder hit five time with the ml, it still only counts one against the unit/vehicle)
    one markerlight is good for 1 model or one seeker missile. but I don't like all my markerlight stuk on one unit.
    The best thing about chaos, is your opponent's face when he looks at your disgusting Plague marines

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    Each markerlight hit means one weapon (all of it's shots) hitting on 2+, no cover save. It is cumlative.

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    The deep down truth Rikimaru's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir_Prometheus
    Each markerlight hit means one weapon (all of it's shots) hitting on 2+, no cover save. It is cumlative.
    This to me is the major weakness of ML, you can only light up one unit, the other major weakness is that any player who knows his stuff will immeadiatly take out at least some of the Pathfinder unit and they die quickly.
    So if your expensive PF unit takes 2 or 3 casualties its effectiveness is just about zero. The standard BS of the PF means each PF misses on average 50% of the time so even with a full squad your lucky to hit with 5 or 6 then the shooting unit has to roll to hit and even with 2+ misses happen.
    So given even a few losses the effectiveness just drops off astoudingly, and remember each markerlight hit can only provide the improved role to hit for one model or vehicle with a single weapon that has not already fired, thats single model not units.

    The only thing they are really usefull for is taking out armour but couple of HH do just as well.
    People state seeker missiles as good but 10pts per missile with the cost of the PF unit or upgraded models in other units with ML just makes them to expensive (the points are much better spent on more shooting).

    The small unit size and save of the PF means that they are very vulnerable to losses and running away, if you keep em in the DF for safety they cant shoot the turn they disembark, for the limited returns they offer I would not even consider giving them room in any list under 2500pts.

    And Oni if you have been able to place your PF in the open (even behind cover) and your opponent has not taken advantage of this really quite dubious tactic, then you really want to find some decent opponents. Just go to any tourny and watch what an experienced player will do to any Tau player who brings along a unit of PF. Yes you may be able to cover some of the field from behind cover but your also giving your enemy a corrider to work in (the area of terrain blocked by the cover) to get close to your PF.
    Any player worth his salt will send either enough fire to make them ineffective or a fast unit to pressure them into moving.
    I have seen so many PF units rendered ineffective by turn two or three while doing very little in return, give me 3HH and some XV8 with a unit of stealths anyday with that lot you dont need PF.

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    the last couple times i worked out my Tau I used Pathfinders in a squad of 7 with 3 rail guns

    this way i can fire a volley at 36 of rail fire into enemy heavies (or any squad for that matter) and figure a given kill there,
    followed by the marker lights (usually backed by 3 seeker missiles)

    this gives the pathfinders a decent chance to do serious damage off the bat,

    tho, i'm a big fan of using PFs as effectively heavy support...
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    Mr. Tau onlainari's Avatar
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    I'm thinking of swearing really loudly right now. In here. Because I've done it out loud enough already. So sorry about that. Yes, I normally edit my posts that many times. This was a combination of little sleep and bad computer. My start menu is still missing, and my mouse back button still isn't working. So I just forgot to click edit.

    I post, I read, I click back and edit. Usually, I've clicked the edit button the first time. This is why almost all my posts end in 'last editted by...' about 2-5 minutes after the post was actually posted.

    My response:

    Quote Originally Posted by rikimaru
    And Oni if you have been able to place your PF in the open (even behind cover) and your opponent has not taken advantage of this really quite dubious tactic, then you really want to find some decent opponents. Just go to any tourny and watch what an experienced player will do to any Tau player who brings along a unit of PF. Yes you may be able to cover some of the field from behind cover but your also giving your enemy a corrider to work in (the area of terrain blocked by the cover) to get close to your PF.
    Any player worth his salt will send either enough fire to make them ineffective or a fast unit to pressure them into moving.
    I have seen so many PF units rendered ineffective by turn two or three while doing very little in return, give me 3HH and some XV8 with a unit of stealths anyday with that lot you dont need PF.
    The part I deleted was all good. +rep.

    To everyone: this thread is just showing how difficult it is to use pathfinders. Yes I claim to have figured them out. I've played exactly 20 games with them, that's why!

    Rikimaru, the enemy can't take them out, they are out of LOS. Ok?

    See, as I said in that post before, even in cover, they don't work. For the reasons rikimaru is stating. Smart opponents take them out.

    So, as I said, the squad they can see (eg devastators) weighs up their options. I have 5 skimmers on the field. They can try to hit the skimmers with their anti tank weaponry, or use their anti-tank weaponry on the pathfinders. Everyone I've played seems to rather have a go at a tank, there's 5 on the field! I'd say it's a smart choice too. Thus the pathfinders survive.

    They markerlight for up to 3 turns. This is misleading. In my 20 games I've markerlighted for only 1 turn a fair few times. That one turn is all I need. They then move to objective and/or hide.

    It's a large points sink just to kill some heavy weapons. I recommend against it unless you are going to persist with them long enough to use them properly.

    Why do I take pathfinders? Balance. It makes the army look cool. Increases composition scores. It has little to do with their effeciveness, as fire warriors are just as or more effective (more effective until you actually understand what I'm saying).

    Here's how I used them my last game (I won with a massacre result):



    Pathfinders: Unfortunately starting on the board, first unit on the table, I postitioned them so I could chose between 2 buildings for the pathfinders, depending where the genestealers went. As they (genestealers) went west, and the warriors had the middle building covered with long range weaponry, I hid behind that middle building for 3 turns (ie they did absolutely nothing but sit there, although that is still something - read on).

    What they did was threaten. The tyranid player did not move his zoanthrope or warriors down the centre or to the west, as one of the units would have been lit up if they had done so. If the tyranid player wanted to shoot the pathfinders, he could have done so by moving the warriors/zoanthrope into their LOS. He would have then been lit up the next turn. There is little long range weaponry that can kill more than about 3 pathfinders, and with the 2 gun drones, I only lose 1 markerlight.

    There's value even in not doing any damage, even in not shooting something that doesn't do any damage itself. Pathfinders make an area of the board more dangerous, and help manipulate your opponents movements. This game, I was able to seperate the tyranid army into 2 with them. Look at the diagram, they could see up that long narrow corridor.

    On turn 4 they moved through the building and shot the gaunts in front of the fire warriors, killing 9 (12 pulse carbines + burst cannon) with their devilfish in front of them. They then loaded up turn 5 and were next to the southernmost counter by turn 6, being almost as many victory points as a unit of fire warriors (128).
    Last edited by onlainari; August 30th, 2005 at 03:46.
    Quote Originally Posted by rikimaru View Post
    You have the option for instance of infiltrating, outflanking, pillboxing, or anti assault.


    And that's just with the Kroot.

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    The deep down truth Rikimaru's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Onlainari
    To everyone: this thread is just showing how difficult it is to use pathfinders. Yes I claim to have figured them out. I've played exactly 20 games with them, that's why!

    Rikimaru, the enemy can't take them out, they are out of LOS. Ok?

    See, as I said in that post before, even in cover, they don't work. For the reasons rikimaru is starting. Smart opponents take them out.

    So, as I said, the squad they can see ways up their options. I have 5 skimmers on the field. They can try to hit them with their anti tank weaponry, or use their anti tanks weaponry on infantry pathfinders. Even I would have a go at a tank, there's 5 on the field! Thus the pathfinders survive.

    They markerlight for up to 3 turns, then move to objective or hide.

    It's a large points sink just to kill some heavy weapons. I recommend against it unless you are going to persist with them long enough to use them properly.

    Why do I take pathfinders? Balance.
    Out of LOS for what (the units in your game maybe) but there are plenty of things that are fast enough to put the PF in LOS and then there are things like ordnance weapons. and the point you missed was when they are behind cover (that blocks LOS) it means they cant see a large proportion of the field as well, which means the enemy has a nice big portion of the field to work in with no fear of markerlights OK.

    PF need a good LOS field to be usefull and your tactic denies them that, but as soon as they try to get a good LOS (which means clear unobstructed by cover etc) they get creamed.

    Pathfinders dont balance anything because as I pointed out they are a huge points sink for the job they do and most opponents will trash them to the point of being ineffective.
    I have 4 skimmers in my list (non mech by the way) and I never use pathfinders, I put other things on the table to control quarters and cut off parts of the table.
    Also if your list is mech at least 2 of those tanks are DF and they can wait to be destroyed.

    Why would the enemy use anti tank weaponry on a unit of pasthfinders? if they are in the DF they are doing nothing so the enemy would target something else, and when they get out of the DF they cant fire on that turn which gives the enemy time to close and kill them (without using anti tank weapons), no one I know shoots the DF cos if you kill the PF the DF is next to useless anyway.

    Your tactic assumes that there is going to be a piece of cover on the table that allows your PF unit to cover a vast expanse of the field while denying the opponent any LOS to your PF, oh I wish that was the case everygame, and you have to remember that any good opponent is not just going to sit there and let you sit in cover picking of his men.
    He is going to move in bloody fast (I would) and then your jumping in your DF and missing that turn plus the next cos you cant fire ML when disembarking.
    In fact thats the best tactic to beat PF put pressure on them with fast units and cut down their shooting.



    Yes it is dificult to use pathfinders to the point of them being practically useless for the points they cost. The main thing is they can only ML one unit at a time and it is usually armour or the odd monstrous creature, because you cant target for infantry as the ML hit can only be used by single models or armour.

    Your right when you say PF are difficult to use, but your solution is anything but, it has too many weaknesses (another one being not every Tau player uses Mech) and hinges to heavily on the opponent just letting you sit behind cover popping of his valuable units.
    PF are dificult to use even giving them Railrifles takes to much away from what they are supposed to do and if you take the multi option to allow the RR to target different units it just adds to the cost.
    I appluad you efforts in trying to make PF a usefull unit but your fighting a losing battle they are the worst unit in the Tau list (after Bodyguards for commanders) and they should be totaly reworked in the new codex.

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