Thanks to Clint and Capo.Paint for submitting their battle reports and detailed thoughts on Forward Observer bots! Since there were only two respondents this month and they had such great responses, I’ll be sending both Clint and Capo.Paint a blister or patch! Let me know which one you want!
I wrote down my experience with Pathfinders in this article. It turned out a bit long, but you asked for a really extensive topic. Feel free to shorten things or change them. If I shall change something, feel free to contact me.
Thank you very much!
My best friend, the Pathfinder
If there is a sectorial relying on their remote-set up, it is the Druze Bayram Security. With one of the smallest portfolios of units to choose, you need to squeeze everything out of each profile you have. One of the gifts you recieve for this restrictions is the AVA 3 on Pathfinders – For most people a quite bad trade. But once you learned how this feature can be used properly, things will change. In 48 games, I used at least one nearly everytime (except for LI-games) and can say, that they are contributing a lot to the victories I scored and to prevent the losses be too brutal. Most of this comes down to all the options these guys added to my list. What these options are and how they can be utilized best, shall be discussed in the following:
- Forward Observer – First, that makes him a specialist and second, this grants him one of the best AROs in the game: the flash pulse.
- Specialist: A specialist with 6-4 MOV is quite handy in many cases when it comes to situations with reduced order pools and consoles to be activated or whatever a specialist is needed for. Save him for turn two or three, so that most of the dangerous firelanes are cleared and move him up to the objective and grab it. With WIP 13 he is not worse than most of the other things around, but he is much faster and can recover a supply box quite efficient.
- Flash pulse: Yes, a flash pulse is a great ARO and nothing causes more rage than a fp-crit just before things get serious. But there are better units for this to utilize: A Warcor only costs you 3 points, so it is no big loss, if you lose the FtF (which will happen quite often). The other option is the Fugazi (or whatever they are called here and there). They grant you a regular order for 8 points and have mimetism. This changes the odds for many situations from being killed at low risk to rolls that should be well chosen. Compared to those two units, the Pathfinder is to expensive and has no modifier build in. So he should not be your primary flash pulse-ARO. But it is nice to have that together with all the other stuff he grants. Things change here, if you give him some support: Hack him ‘enhanced reaction’ or even better ‘overclock’ and you get B2 in ARO! This makes him prior to the Warcor, but the Fugazi will still be better for this. Only the flash pulse is not enough here to justify the costs for a support-hacker.
- Sensor/Sniffer – Most of the time, this is the main reason for picking a Pathfinder. I don’t want to waste a bunch of orders to roll dice on bad odds to reveal camo-markers. For camo-spams this won’t work in most cases and even for normal amounts of camo-troops, discovering them with other units is difficult. But even a Pathfinder alone is not the optimal solution for this, if there are not other useful things to do on your way to discover things.
- Discover things within LoF: Do it, if it is a mine you want to shoot, but don’t do it, if it can be something that starts shooting at you. And when it is able to shoot, manage to discover without an ARO. Otherwise you are trading the Pathfinder just for one discovered unit, since he won’t survive an unopposed shot.
- Discover things without LoF: This is the way to go. Move him up to a position unseen by everyone, but with your targets in ZoC. One sensor-sweep will discover most of the targets in one try and you are risking not that much. The only problem here is, that the Pathfinder needs to advance and stays quite exposed after his action. In bad cases, some AHD will get access to him by this and simply lock him down. One option here is to have a KHD available (I really recommend this!), or you just let someone else create the needed ZoC. Every Fugazi is equipped with sniffers, repeaters for your sensor-area. So why not let your 8 point, 6-6 MOV, mimetism-buddy take the dangerous part of the job, while the Pathfinder stays in safety or acts on the other table edge?
- Triangulated Fire – In cases you have to shoot at things you won’t hit otherwise. Most of the time you want to shoot something out of a CC to free the other model (like Scarface bound by a Yuan Yuan. Three shots on 8 is not that bad here. To use this against camo-troops or other hard to hit targets is more difficult and rarely recommended, since you need LoF and it is an entire order. WIthout visual mods, you probably will get shot by entering LoF, if you have no option to outrange your target.
- Deactivator – Deactivating things in close quarters, while they will probably detonate and kill you? Sometimes it is better to reduce the amount of options available a bit, and this is the point you can forget.
- Sat-Lock – The problem with FOs is, that they need LoF to target an enemy and may lose the FtF. The Sat-Lock gives you the opportunity to target something without getting LoF, so if you need someone in the targeted-state, this is a good way to achieve it. Let a Fugazi do the dirty work and then roll the die with your Pathfinder. If there is an grenade launcher by hand or something else with speculative fire, the fun begins with a targeted trooper. If you are not that terrible in math, you will know that trying to sat-lock someone on 7s can burn a lot of resources, especially if you need to place the sniffer first. In most cases, you have better things to get rid of those units and don’t need this complex strategy. But things change dramatically, if you not only have a Fugazi with you, but also an EVO remote. His appearance will negate the -6 to your WIP-roll, what makes a success more probable. Targeting key pieces, even in a marker-state(!!) on WIP 13 without any risk is a really nice thing.
- Repeater – The negative thing first. Not only the Pathfinder can be hacked, you also create vectors for enemy KHDs. So make sure you have at least an answer to this question with a KHD on your side and think about your target-order. Moving your repeater up first and then dragging your hacker along in your link is no good idea, since he will be harassed on his way. So get things done with your hackers, then create the repeater-network.
The positive things about the built-in repeater are, of course, the built-in repeater. You enlarge the potential of your hackers a lot,reaching enemy hackers with your KHD quite fast or locking HIs down with your AHDs. That is what you get for picking only the Pathfinder. Again, the use is maximized if you accompany him with a normal hacker or even an EVO remote. The access to ‘overclock’ or ‘enhanced reaction’ makes the Pathfinder a viable ARO-piece up to 24”. But even in active turn, some gadget-programs may add a completely new face to the Pathfinder: WIth ‘assisted fire’, he gains marksmanship, what makes him a real threat within 16”! Especially in turn two or three, when you can move up safely and approach on short ranges, BS 14 shots with shock or even BS 8 shots within 32” are often unexpected and deadly.
With all this in mind, when and how can a Pathfinder be useful for you? Well, if you need a 16 point specialist in a otherwise closed list, take him, since he is fast. But bear in mind, that he won’t shine very bright. My recommendation to make the most of the Pathfinder, or even more of them, is to go all-in with your remotes: Maximum amount of Fugazis, at least one Pathfinder and a HD or better the EVO remote. The Fugazis will be a real ARO-thread with ‘overclock’ and are disposable enough to deliver the sniffers in places you need them. The HD provides the support for all of them and the Pathfinder will do all the work. Don’t use him to shoot things or score objectives in turn one, since there are too many things out there to simply knock him out. But when it is safe out there, his time has come. With ‘assisted fire’ on him, you can clear things out in the late game and fulfill the objectives on your way. But besides this conventional approach, there are two situations also suited well for this remote-brick:
- Camo spam – We all know the situation, facing 20 camo markers and having no clue where to start or how to move. There are a lot of things in coherency with each other, so guessing the mine isn’t always that easy. Discovering them one by one is always a bad choice. So take the easy way and distribute some sniffers and discover some markers in only one order. With a LGL on the field, you can also target something easily and simply shoot it.
- Smart missiles/Speculative fire – In general, speculative fire is something which sounds nice on paper, but turns out order intensive and risky most of the time in the game. So it may be a nice plan c, but nothing more. Even if you start using FOs or ‘spotlight’ to increase your odds, you burn a lot of orders for this. This changes with the use of Pathfinders and his gang. You can target everything with only a few orders of movement and with good odds. Either you risk only a 8 point Fugazi on the way, or you can get some nasty stuff in a good position by simultaneously preparing the airstrike. From my point of view, this is the only proper way to set up such a game plan, since the Pathfinder stays available as third-turn solution.
Long story short: Pathfinders are a really cool unit with great potential but specific terms in which they can show their whole potential. If you want to read more about the possibilities and the right way to utilize them, check out my battle reports: https://forum.corvusbelli.com/threads/batreps-how-to-run-a-big-business.36150/
We had a late entry, but I wanted to include Andrew’s hard work! –WiseKensai
For this mission I put a Daleth in my list for Quadrant Control! My opponent was running a Nomad List with 9 Camo tokens!!!
My opponent’s list
I went second, and will focus on what the Daleth accomplished this game.
The first turn Atalanta, a Probot and the two Kitanbots went down. The nomads lost a Zero, the Libertos and the BSG Heckler on the active turn.
My turn one I cleared up the midfield and the Daleth moved into a zone for me to score!
Turn 2 the Nomad player used most of his orders on the Intruder and then re-camo-ed him.
My turn 2 put the spotlight on the Daleth! I used a command token to put it in the first order group and sent it into action!
To start off, the Daleth used Climbing Plus to crawl up some crates to see a Transductor Zond without seeing the Intruder. I had planned on using triangulated fire on the next order, however the Daleth crit the Zond!
Next the Daleth moved up behind a flower pot, and on the next order poked it head around the corner to see the Intruder Camo Token. The Intruder idled and the Daleth passed the discover because of the +6 from Sensor! We were 18” away from each other, so I used the next order to use triangulated fire so I hit on 8’s instead of 2’s and luckily put down the Intruder!
The Daleth’s toolbox allowed me to deal with the Intruder, which was the last major obstacle to my victory! I especially love the Daleth because it has Climbing Plus! I normally try to squeeze FO bots into my list when possible.
Thank you for hosting this mission and reminding me about how great FO bots are!
Andrew “Drewski” Haar
P.S. I hope this is not sent in too late we played the game last night and I have been stuck at work all day…