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Pathfinders - anyone else finding them extremely lackluster?

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Posted (edited)

Pathfinders - anyone else finding them extremely lackluster?

So I've only played a few games with them and I've used the sneek attack both times.  I have them in heavy cover and at least one suppression tokens and up to 3 Danger sense extra tokens.

They just wilt most of the time and don't deal enough damage.  Should I leave them at range 4 and snipe?  Jyn has been more resilient but I think I just got some lucky dice.  If a 68pt stormtrooper unit can easily manage my 118pt elite unit, I feel I'm not getting an even trade, even if it takes 2-3 turns to wipe them out.  If I'm just going to snipe, wouldn't I be better off with the sniper scouts?

Especially compared to the death troopers (all the Entourage rules are a serious crutch imo, ) or really anything imperial, they seem very flash-in-the-pan.  If I roll better than average they're fine, but otherwise I'd probably be better off with Rebel Rangers instead.  The Red Die pistol config looks cool, but half your figures are probably going to die before getting to use it. 

What am I missing?

I got a second set because I was hoping Bistan would be useful against vehicles, but I'm starting to wish I just took more Rebel Troopers

Edited by buckero0

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I feel your pain, played one squad of them with Jyn yesterday against one squad of DT, Krennic, snipers, Veers and 4 DLT19 squad of stormies, they didn't did much at all, I wish I had Solo and Chewi instead...

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I get the same sense - I want them to work because the minis are great and the mechanics are interesting, but they have felt like overpriced troopers so far. I'd love for someone to tell me I'm just using them wrong.

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Only played them once, but it was a horror story of failed Danger Sense.

I literally rolled twice as many dice if not more, with them and Jyn on defense and it never paid off.

I'm hoping for a larger sample size to bear fruit, but after one game, lol it took my bad dice luck to absolutely absurd levels.

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Posted (edited)

I used them in 6 games, and won 5 of them, and in 4 of them, they make me won almost turn 1.

On sabotage hydrovaporizer or priority ressources (the one with boxes), they are the win trade. 

On transmission, they are so tanky they can soak up enough damage by themselves to avoid your opponent from scoring, or occupying the middle point for each odd turn. 

So yeah, I played them on this 3 only, because they are in my objectives deck and the 4th is key positions. But them, with rush at-rt, and bombers on the back seems really strong.

One of the game, they died turn 1 to a Palpatine, who ended up to 2 healt (Now you will die), got snipped by Jyn, and put the middle box near enough to my side to make me win. 

IMO, they are insane. A bit less good than Death Trooper, tho (because on a game where moral is that important, having a 1-4 suppressive weapon is like... Godlike.) 

Note : they are one of our only range 4. Yes, it's white dices, but combine with RD and Inspire 1 from Pao, they can be a really good "keeping the line fresh" type of unit. 

Not even speaking of Danger sense. Even Boba have hard time (from what I suffered) to kill them all. So imagine them with a hard cover... 

Edited by RaevenKS

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Posted (edited)

In my experience they aren't that bad but you need to play them cheap. The heavy weapons are pretty lackluster, so when I run Pathfinders, I run them like this:

-Rifle upgrade, Duck and Cover, Recon Intel

Personally, I feel the Rifle upgrade is a toss-up, but it gives them Range 4 as well as a really solid Range 1-2 that doesn't need aim tokens. IMO, Pathfinders work best as cheap skirmishers that get in your enemies way early, which allows the rest of your troops to get into position. I also tend to only play them with Jyn, and will tend to play her 3 Pip on turn 1 to get Suppression on her and the Pathfinder unit so that they are rolling 2 dice (because of Duck and Cover) right from the outset, which makes them very beefy. They can die to a bad random shot, but to the most part, if you place them well, you may have just won that part of the board before the game started. Further, I never aim with Pathfinders. I either dodge or move, if I have the action available. Rerolling white dice isn't amazing, and the Red dice don't need it, so I would rather dodge to annoy my opponent even more. Naked Pathfinders are 68 points, but I feel Duck and Cover is auto-include, which makes them 76 points, 84 if you deck them out as I listed above. Either way, they are cheaper than a Commando squad and way more resilient, but have a niche. One of my favorite Rebel lists right now is Jyn and Luke with 1 Pathfinder. The big weakness of Pathfinders and Jyn is melee, they get absolutely wrecked in melee, which is where Luke comes into play. Purely competitively, they may not be the best choice, but I frankly think that has more to do with the fact that they are taking up a spot that is reserved for Snipers more than anything else. Overall I think they are really solid, cheap skirmishers. Don't worry too much about the damage they deal, that is not their value. Their value is forcing the enemy to have a slower advance in one part of the board, and to lock down an objective. They are very good at this role.

Edited by SirCormac

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I'd assume the most common mistakes are that a) people commit them too early  and b) that they get exposed to too much focusfire.

Danger Sense is nice, but it does not mean they should be focused by more than one enemy unit at a time.

If they start behind a line of sight blocker at a different angle and range 3 to the enemy army than your main force, they can usually pull their weight. Instead of aiming, they should move-shoot-shoot-move in order to minimize the fire they take. If Boba and Luke are in the enemy army, I would maybe instead keep them near my main force instead and play them as Fleet Troopers without pierce but range 3. Chewie is a good buddy for them as well.

It can of course pay off to expose them early in recover the supplies, but that is usually a high risk high reward move that can backfire. It often puts them in exact the kind of  place where they go down just as fast as any other cheaper unit.

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I've had the opposite impression. Used correctly, they are an incredible unit. I mostly play Imperial but consider pathfinders close to an auto-include when I play Rebel. They are very dependable and take a lot of effort for your enemy to shift. Back them up with a unit of regular troopers and a med-droid and they are first rate. I deploy them in good cover as far up the board as I can get them unless something like Vader is about.

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Have any of you played them though? I hear a lot of praise for them but I've had multiple games where they are in heavy cover with extra dice due to danger sense and they get wiped out after getting shot once. 4 wounds not to mention the ones the heavy cover blocked. They don't demand respect or resources if white dice dont ever roll blocks.  You may say I'm not playing right but having them in cover with suppression where only one unit can get to them turn one is about the best you can do. If youre not using infiltrate, then why take them over rangers or even troopers with z6?  I can get scout 3 from a unit of rangers that have recon intel and if the characters aren't worth taking I'm not sure the unit is worth taking. The special forces slot is overcrowded as it is and rebels don't get entourage.

@SirCormac

At least you had a suggestion and i will try that. Jyn seems like a one woman threat and is easier to hide but she will do damage. I don't feel like the pathfinders can hit hard enough even with the characters Pao and Bistan.

I was hoping bistan would be a decent anti tank unit if parked in heavy cover in a sniper nest but i dont know if he's worth it.

I may have to convert rebel veterans out of that second squad

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2 hours ago, buckero0 said:

Have any of you played them though? I hear a lot of praise for them but I've had multiple games where they are in heavy cover with extra dice due to danger sense and they get wiped out after getting shot once. 4 wounds not to mention the ones the heavy cover blocked. They don't demand respect or resources if white dice dont ever roll blocks.  You may say I'm not playing right but having them in cover with suppression where only one unit can get to them turn one is about the best you can do. If youre not using infiltrate, then why take them over rangers or even troopers with z6?  I can get scout 3 from a unit of rangers that have recon intel and if the characters aren't worth taking I'm not sure the unit is worth taking. The special forces slot is overcrowded as it is and rebels don't get entourage.

@SirCormac

At least you had a suggestion and i will try that. Jyn seems like a one woman threat and is easier to hide but she will do damage. I don't feel like the pathfinders can hit hard enough even with the characters Pao and Bistan.

I was hoping bistan would be a decent anti tank unit if parked in heavy cover in a sniper nest but i dont know if he's worth it.

I may have to convert rebel veterans out of that second squad

With heavy cover you’d have to deal a minimum of 6 hits. That’s incredibly unlikely from a stormtrooper unit. 

Furthermore, if they’re at max danger sense that first wound has an 81% chance of doing nothing (ie 1/5 of actually harming them).

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They are really difficult to use, but not terrible.  You have to be careful not to expose them too early and to make sure they are supported.  Occasionally you can get a decent alpha strike off, but you don't want to try it if you can't do so safely.

Typically I end up using them as harrassers or forward objective units, for which purpose they are fine.

I run them with Pao, Uplink, Recon, the A-300 upgrade, and Duck and Cover.

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Initially I struggled with them, but once I figured out a couple of things I've had far more success with them. First, just because you can deploy them into the middle of things, doesn't mean you should. Stick them somewhere safe, ready to contest an objective if needed, but they don't need to come out swinging. Second, they need Duck and Cover. Yes, it's just white dice, but extra dice is extra dice. Jut remember to keep them out of melee range since their ability only works against ranged attacks.

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Posted (edited)

I've only toyed with them playing 2v2 games, which are the only time I play Terrorist, I mean, Rebel.  From what I've noticed:

They are terrible snipers.  Don't just keep them at range 4.

They're not death troopers.  Don't expect them to murder everything.  Their shtick is to be somewhere unexpected, and just hang on for dear life.  I tend to see them as airborne troops, with the rest of your army riding over the hill to save them.  And the Germans, well naturally they're the bad guys...

Don't run just one of them.  They need to be run in pairs, and they need to be deployed together to mutually support.  

Don't plop them down in a place that lets them be isolated and take fire from the entire enemy team from the get go, unless they're there to be a speed bump.  That's not always a bad then, however, so it's important to realize when that's the best use for them. 

Edited by Alpha17

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12 hours ago, Derrault said:

With heavy cover you’d have to deal a minimum of 6 hits. That’s incredibly unlikely from a stormtrooper unit. 

Furthermore, if they’re at max danger sense that first wound has an 81% chance of doing nothing (ie 1/5 of actually harming them).


Maybe it was over 2 rounds.  I just remember, one unit of stormies took them out handily and they only lost one stormy, so my pathfinders were not putting the damage through even with Pao

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5 minutes ago, buckero0 said:


Maybe it was over 2 rounds.  I just remember, one unit of stormies took them out handily and they only lost one stormy, so my pathfinders were not putting the damage through even with Pao

You know that a "rentable" unit is not obviously a unit which destroy at least its cost ?

Just the fact, for example, that my AT-ST deals nothing, but manage to attract half the army for 3 turns, it were rentable.

Same is for the pathfinder. A unit of storm with DLT costs 68pts. Yeah, perhaps the pathfinder in your example did not get chance with defense roll. Mine oftenly resist 2 or 3 turns, or if they are killed in 1 turn, they required more than their costs in focus.

So technically...

The fact is : if they are "empty" of anything, they will die as quickly as rebels soldiers.

But a unit of pathfinder with 3 suppress, a dodge and heavy cover is a really pain in the rear to deal with.

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Posted (edited)

I’ve played 4 casual games with them and have definitely found them frustrating. However, they do the job they are supposed to do and typically frustrate my opponent as well. These are some general observations I’ve made with them:

Pros: 

  • typically targeted before more fragile units, allowing those units to over perform (when Pathfinders live)
  • Support Jyn (who took down a full squad of Wookiees in melee on her own) when both are infiltrating
  • Last model standing can live through multiple intense attacks, even against pierce
  • Almost guaranteed to either capture objectives and/or harass your opponent (i.e. not able to be ignored)
  • thematically accurate

Cons: 

  • probably going to die at some point
  • need duck and cover (i.e. tack on 8pts to cost)
  • high cost/wound
  • trouble finishing off units
  • sometimes, there just isn’t a good placement for infiltrate
  • very luck oriented with all those many many white dice on offense and defense
  • Fielding multiple units is cost prohibitive IMHO

For me, I’d rather have a 114pt Wookiee squad than a 116pt Pathfinder squad. I’ve seen Wookiees draw my opponents’ attention and also do heavy damage consistently, paving the way for other units to win objectives. Pathfinders have a narrow margin for error and rely a bit too much on lucky dice rolls for my taste. 

Typically, I find I hate Pathfinders Rounds 1-2 and love love love them if they are still alive in Round 4. So far, I haven’t seen them fail at doing their job, even if they die. 

Edited by smickletz

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2 hours ago, Orkimedes said:

The trick is getting them those suppression tokens before they get one shot by burst damage.

It certainly suggests Duck and Cover is a crucial upgrade. 

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42 minutes ago, smickletz said:

 

  • probably going to die at some point 🤔(thematically accurate)
  • need duck and cover (i.e. tack on 8pts to cost) 🤔(thematically accurate)
  • high cost/wound🤔 (thematically accurate)
  • trouble finishing off units 🤔(thematically accurate)
  • sometimes, there just isn’t a good placement for infiltrate
  • very luck oriented with all those many many white dice on offense and defense 🤔 (thematically accurate)
  • Fielding multiple units is cost prohibitive IMHO 🤔 (thematically accurate)

...

So far, I haven’t seen them fail at doing their job, even if they die. 🤔 (thematically accurate)

🤔

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1 hour ago, Derrault said:

It certainly suggests Duck and Cover is a crucial upgrade. 

No question; Duck and Cover is the difference between having your danger sense fully charged on your second attack instead of your fourth.

That said, there are plenty of burst damage hits than don’t have much trouble plowing straight through that first suppression token, including frag snows and Boba’s rocket.

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Posted (edited)

Now this is just theory mind you since my two squads of Pathfinders have yet to see battle but I don't think their strength is supposed to be straight-up combat.

I think the strategy is intended to be somewhat like General Buford's role in the battle of Gettysburg. They don't defeat the enemy so much as they take the best ground early and hold the enemy back long enough for your main force to get there, reinforce them, and then repulse the enemy with tactical superiority.

It would be pretty unfair if they were that awesome in a straight-up fight when you think about it. You can't have a game where one player's forces just got hemmed in at the starting area and destroyed. That wouldn't be fun.

Edited by Kingsguard

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For now, for each game, I play my pathfinder with :

Pao, Blaster Config, Duck'n'Cover, Emergency Stim and Long Range comlink.

The more I think about it, the more I want to get rid of Blaster config. the WW at range 1-3 is imo sufficient enough for the role they are filling in my armies, and when I infiltrate them, they oftenly either run a lot (so no shooting) or dodge a lot (so no shooting either).

My favorite plays with infiltrate pathfinder is :


first turn : 1-pip specialist card (for -1 order to the opposing army), so I can activate them, dodge and either run or activate an objective (like Hydrovaporizer). And spam suppress on them asap. Eventually activating Emergency stim

second turn : 3-pip Jyn card. So they can't flee, and can activate to either play objective or just dodge and run.

For now, the only commander who can "disturb" this plan is Palpatine (with "Give in to your anger").

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I've run them loaded up, with Pao! duck and cover, hq uplink and sometimes targeting scopes. It's so much fun using Leia with her coordinated bombardment in conjunction with the hq uplink. The pathfinders go first with the uplink and either aim and shoot or shoot and scoot behind cover. Leia can then do the coordinated bombardment on whomever you want to spread damage around.

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