Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Do You Depend on Your Teammates?

First off, this picture was found on DeviantArt, here

So, now that the legal/technical/ethical issue is out of the way, on to business.

I am musing on whether to take pathfinders or to upgrade my Crisis suit teams to have 'vre leaders. 
Typically, I run with the shas'vre as leader for each Crisis squad, allowing the taking of a shield drone to soak that unlucky template hit. I also take a Devilfish to hide the Firewarriors in. Lately, I can't help but wonder if using Pathfinders wouldn't be a better idea. My typical 1200 pt army list is as follows: 

Crisis commander: ‘el, afp, pr, ta, shield drone: 115
X3 crisis: ‘vre: mp, pr, ta, hwmt, bonding, shield drone. Others: tl-mp, ta,: 208
X3 crisis: ‘vre: mp, pr, ta, hwmt, bonding, shield drone. Others: tl-mp, ta,: 208
X6 firewarriors, devilfish (disruption pod): 145
X12 kroot: 84
X11 kroot: 77
X2 broadsides: ass, ‘vre (knife, tl, shield drone): 185
Hammerhead: tl, mt, dp, railgun, burst cannons: 170

By using dual missile pods on the Crisis squad members, I can allow the entire squad to carry Targetting Arrays, allowing each squad to engage a target at BS4 from, ideally, the first turn. Also, the carrying of a Shield Drone packs in an extra wound an an invuln save. In this manner, I ensure the redundancy of my key unit: my suits. 

However, if i reconfigure my suits to use a x3 basic fireknife setup, I save enough points to field a squad of 4 Pathfinders, which can easily be brought to 6 by pulling some points from elsewhere in the list. Without any upgrades, this would give me 6 marker light shots, which would average out at 3 markers to allocate. Which has its positives and negatives. 

If I go for the 'vre upgrades, the squads are self-reliant. Their BS may never get better, but it will never get worse. Also, they can attack a different target than the other squads and still receive a bonus. The downside is decreasing the number of high-threat squads increases the probability of my Crisis suits being targeted.

If I go for the Pathfinders option, every squad but the Kroot have the option of benefiting from the markers. With an average of 3 hits per round, I could feasibly remove the majority of a cover save as well as allow the key unit to get the BS upgrade. A secondary benefit would be the inclusion of another high-priority target in my army. Because their buffs are so useful, a squad of Pathfinders will definitely absorb their fair share of incoming enemy fire. The biggest downside to this option is the focusing of fire on less units. Centering the benefits on a single unit means increasing the chance that unit is removed from the board entirely, at the expense of another unit not being as accurately targeted.

The other unspoken part of the equation is loadout. As I have talked about in a previous post, plasma cannons on Crisis suits are pretty important. Going with the Pathfinders enables the addition of a bunch more fireknife goodness instead of compromising with a deathwind setup. 

At this point, I honestly think that going with the pathfinders is a better bet. While the individual Crisis squads may not be as self reliant, from a fluff and tactical viewpoint that is acceptable. The reallocation of markerlight benefits, plus the option of choosing how it effects the outcome of this turns shooting phase is a very powerful tool. Also, while loosing the shield drone is kind of intimidating, the loss of just one model will force a leadership check either way. So its best to save points, and spend them on more guns. More guns = more wounds = less chance of CC. And that is always a good thing. 

Shas'El Mike
Do you call this a fight?

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