Special forces, Unit Analysis

Pathfinders Analysis

Written by Skyler Galle – Tirion (ffg forum)

Rouge one in a box

Pathfinders Analysis
Hopefully, if you’re here you’ve also read my analysis and opinions of Jyn and why I think she is a very viable and capable commander. If not, go check it out!
A reminder of my guidelines for analysis: I will only be comparing the Pathfinders to other Rebel trooper units (Trooper units within the rebel faction not just the Rebel Trooper unit itself). Also, I’m not going to be spending a whole lot of time looking at only the base Pathfinders without a heavy. In my opinion, if you are playing them, you’re playing a heavy. As such, most things I will be comparing is a squad with Pao or Bistan. But what if I want to play 3 Pathfinders? My response is simple, “You never go full Pathfinder.”
Offense – Ranged
A300 Blaster Rifle Short Range Config: Range 1-2, Keywords: Reconfigure
Let’s start with the more popular of the two heavies Bistan.

Now with a -6p discount!

This may shock some people. Are you sitting down? Good. Pathfinders and Bistan with a short-range config, average the most hits of any non-commander infantry unit in the game. They are tied with Death Troopers with a DLT-19D and the grenade launcher config (also must be at range 2) at 5.625 hits per attack. Now is this something easily accomplished? Not even a little bit. Is it something you should be hinging your game on? Definitely not. But when we talk about offensive capabilities, they are top shelf. I do not game plan to make this happen outside of my opponent making a huge deployment mistake, but it is something keep in my pocket and keep an eye out.

Ion anti tank gun or exploding farts, either way the empire should run

Where Bistan can swing a game at close range if you can pull it off, there isn’t a huge payoff for our maligned lizard friend Pao. While he does pack a punch up close, it is almost a whole point less. Since in my opinion you shouldn’t be actively deploying to get these guys in close, if you’re going to do it, do it with Bistan.

Magnificent paths and where to find them

A300 Blaster Rifle: Range 1-3, Keywords: None
The Pathfinder’s standard weapon with Bistan is still on average almost a full point higher (this will be a recurring theme), than Pao.

Clocking at an impressive 5.125 average hits per attack the Pathfinders once again find themselves at the top of the damage pool now at range 3. Though this time it is alone. The Death Troopers, once again with a DLT-19D, are almost half a damage point behind Bistan Pathfinders. This is a much safer range for the Pathfinders to hang out at.
Looking at Pao Pathfinders are still an extremely formidable offensive unit.

Still hitting far above the faction average, you may start to wonder if the 10 points are worth saving by playing Pao over Bistan.

Don’t be like Steve, don’t kill trees.

A300 Blaster Rifle Long Range Config: Range 1-4, Keywords: Reconfigure
Guess what, our giant mammal friend once again is the king of the faction at range 4.

To put this unit’s range 4 damage in perspective it is greater than the average of a Rebel Trooper Z6 unit at range 3 (though there is a hefty point difference there). There are so few options in this faction for infantry at range 4 and Bistan Pathfinders is not only one of them but excels at it. I’m going to take this opportunity to discuss the elephant in the room and that is Bistan’s keywords, and what they mean for his card. Namely that it is an exhaust. Bistan has Ion 1 and Impact 1. This is nice (especially at range 4 which is rare), as it brings you some insurance for vehicles while still being an extremely useful anti-infantry weapon due to its dice pool. But as with all exhaust weapons it can be a major issue when you need to recover, move and attack all in the same turn.

Who isn’t inspired by that face 🙂

Now let’s look at the other heavy, Pao, and see if I can convince you he should be played just as much if not more than Bistan.

By saving 10 points from Bistan down to Poe what are you missing out on? Well Pao’s weapon doesn’t have any keywords (confusing in my opinion and if he were made today would have Critical 1). All you get are his dice which are ok. The nice about Pao is that he isn’t an exhaust card. So, while your Bistan is busy recovering, or worse not using his heavy weapon, Pao’s unit is taking an aim and firing which helps mitigate the damage difference between them, while providing options for other actions.

Don’t be like Steve, dont charge into melee with your pathfinders

Offense – Melee
Unarmed – if they are in melee combat, you’re doing it wrong.
Defense: White Die Surge, Keywords: Danger Sense 3
Like Jyn much of the debate that surrounds the Pathfinders is with their survivability or perceived lack thereof especially for their point cost. They have the same white surge defense die as basically the rest of the faction. However, at a base of 68 points it can be disconcerting to lose a piece that based on dice alone dies just as easily as a rebel trooper that costs 42% less. Luckily, as Pathfinder players we are not asked to live on base dice alone.
Danger Sense
I could just reword everything I said about danger sense in the Jyn article but that doesn’t seem like fun for anyone. So, If you haven’t read that and want to see me get into the weeds about danger sense in general go check out that article (shameless plug).
Just a couple of things to note here that are specific to Pathfinders. Since you are going to be purposely feeding them and retaining suppression tokens due to Danger Sense, it is easiest to play them with Jyn or commander Luke and focus on keeping them in their courage bubble. The extra 2 suppression before panic can be a lifesaver. Just like Jyn, Duck and Cover is stapled to them.
Their full Danger Sense averages an extra block per attack so in a perfect world from heavy cover and an average Danger Sense roll you would be negating 3 damage before you even get to your standard dice pool.
Additional Keywords
Dauntless – For a unit that can accumulate a lot of suppression fast this is a double-edged sword. On the one hand for a unit that can and usually will be suppressed after a single attack being able to get a free move if you aren’t panicked is huge. And as shorelines are a common occurrence this is just one more way to combat that, which anytime you have an answer (no matter how small) to a common netlist it is worth writing home about.
But as I said double-edged sword. The suppression token you add on can be just one more token in a quickly growing stack you aren’t sure what to do about. This is where you just have to remember that even though Danger Sense allows you to keep your suppression tokens if you choose, remember (and this applies to Jyn as well) you can still choose to. You can remove one at the end of the round if you wish. You can even roll for your rally step (in fact you are supposed to) but then choose to not remove them for any paint you rolled.
Infiltrate – In some ways similar to Jyn. DO NOT overextend them to have them blasted by an entire list turn 1. Be smart about it and when you’re unsure just deploy them normally, I promise the universe won’t implode.
Inspire 1 (Pao) – This would be nice if it could be used on themselves, but there is virtually always an use for Inspire so take advantage of that. This just plays into the anti-suppression list that Jyn and Pathfinders are great at.
Leader (Pao) – Here is an interesting thing to note about the differences between Bistan and Pao. Bistan, if you deploy or do your cohesion poorly can get killed if he is one of the only minis that can be seen by the attacking squad. He is a heavy upgrade no different than a Z6. Pao on the other hand becomes your unit leader. So, no matter how reckless you get with him, or how gamey you want to be with him poking out farther than the rest of the squad he is protected in the fact that he must die last.

Gameplay Tips
The farther back they are, the safer they are. That should go without saying, but the closer you get the more damage they can do. What is a player to do? My preferred playstyle is to attempt to keep a Bistan squad at range 3 behind some heavy cover and just waiting for a squad to come to close so that I can switch to short-range config and just mess up an enemy squad. You are more vulnerable, but you’re going to be more survivable than most other things your opponent could choose to shoot at.
With Pao I generally keep him at range 4 early on and try to get a lot of utility out of his inspire. Then in the latter half of the game move him into range 3 to push an objective.
Just like Jyn they can be used to grab a box and run, though I much prefer them to cover the escape of a box grabber. I utilize them heavily as position holders, similar to how I use Jyn half the time. Find a spot, you should be able to get their early due to Infiltrate and hunker down. Pathfinders excel at board control provided you can be smart with them. It can be easy to get ahead of yourself and the next thing you know your Pathfinders are the only target for half of your opponent’s list and they get blasted in a turn or two.

Recommend Commanders
Jyn Erso – They do a lot of the same things namely hold objectives. As I mentioned before her 3 courage is a huge boost to Pathfinders and they are carrying around so much suppression. Also her beautiful 3 pip can not only help them ratchet up their Danger Sense but if you are in danger of panicking or need to ensure you have access to both activations this command card is the answer. It just checks so many boxes for Pathfinders: need suppression check, need to ignore the negative effects of suppression check, need to remove extra suppression check.
Luke Skywalker – Commander Luke has a few things going for him that help the Pathfinders, namely his courage 3 bubble. But also, his 3 pip (which could be played with operative Luke as well), this can help remove suppression when you are crossing the line of acceptable suppression into the panic territory. Something to be aware of however is that depending on if you are keeping the Pathfinders at range 4 or not they can fall outside of Luke’s courage bubble, so keep that in mind in how you choose to play them with Luke. In these cases, it is generally worth taking more risks with them to keep them within his bubble, theoretically, they won’t be the number one target since Luke is present.
Leia Organa – No courage bonus here but Inspire 2 is nice to have around when you are a unit that hoards suppression. And when is her 2 pip not good?
Cassian Andor – Cassian’s 3 pip is fantastic for a Bistan Pathfinder unit. Not only do they gain an extra Danger Sense. But they gain a free recover which as we talked about is huge.

Is he always screaming or does he have some sort of condition?

Recommended Builds
Training – I think Duck and Cover is, unfortunately, a must. Danger Sense depends too much on it.
Comms – the only one that makes any sense to me is HQ Uplink. If you’re going to be recovering with Bistan than might as well double down on it and get yourself some more activation control. I don’t always take this slot but when I do its Dos….I mean HQ Uplink.
Gear – While I generally leave this slot open but there are a lot of solid options. Locally we have a lot of climbing opportunities so Grappling Hooks get solid play but your mileage will vary. Environmental Gear is to me never a bad choice, but my Pathfinders don’t move much so I don’t have a lot of use for it. Recon intel is an easy add that can help out your infiltrate to get into that piece of cover or if you’re feeling crazy and want to do a Bistan short-range suicide mission you can use this to get into range 2 on deployment (good luck with that).
Grenades – Again I generally leave this blank but there are a couple of solid options. If you play in a vehicle heavy meta (they do exist) Bistan with Impact Grenades even once can ruin a vehicle’s day. On the flip side with Concussion Grenades being to push almost 6 hits through cover if even once can change a game.

Most of my variation centers around Bistan as Pao just doesn’t have enough upside to risk getting him in that close. You would also potentially miss out on his Inspire 1 so depending on how important that is to you.
So get out there and Infiltrate some Pathfinders (just not to close)!

Good pathfinding out there!
Special forces, Unit Analysis

Rebel Commandos unit analysis

Rebel commandos analysis

General Solo?, is your strike team assembled?

Rebel commandos is probably the expansion for the rebels with the most value since you can field 2 units out of the box and you get 7 very nice minis. This was the first rebel special forces and they are essentially rebel troopers on steroids, the strike teams are on the other hand just like the name entails, a small unit that strikes critical targets. 

Rebel commandos (unit)

Like I said commandos are rebel troopers on steroids. They come in at 60 points for the base unit of four models so 15 points per model compared to the 10 point trooper. They keep the same defence die and weapon, but they have a lot of nice keywords to make Them stand out. Like fleet troopers and rebel veterans they got surge-hit and sharpshooter 1 on top of that. In defence they got low profile which is great thanks to their courage value of 2, that allows them to get heavy cover from suppression while requiring 2 to lose their action after rally.

Unit options and abilities

Commandos have access to 2 different heavy weapons, but no personel upgrade. In top of that they got access to gear, comms and training. They have several abilities: 

Low profile which gives them heavy cover if they got light, this is a nice ability to have since some terrain should be light and they can get heavy from hiding behind at-rt’s or emplacement troopers or just out in the open of they have suppression.

Scout 2 that allows them to make a speed 2 move when deploying, nothing gamebreaking, but depending on terrain, deployment and objective cards this is an ability that shouldn’t be overlooked since they can get a great position outside deployment or move into claim position for objectives.

Sharpshooter 1 this is great since most shots vs other infantry will be at least light cover, it’s almost like adding an extra hit to their attack rolls.

put me and this here sniper rifle anywhere up to and including one mile of Emperor Palpatine with a clear line of sight, sir… pack your bags, fellas, war’s over

They got 2 heavy weapons to choose from, one being the DH-447 sniper rifle. This weapon is special since it got range 1 – infinite, making it a great weapon for splitfire since it can always reach a target. It adds 1 white dice over the standard rifle which isn’t too exciting, but it has pierce 1 and high velocity which don’t allow dodge tokens to be used…providing it’s the only weapon in the attack. So just to compare with a Z-6 trooper squad which is in my opinion the gold standard.

Average hits 

  • Z-6 troopers: 3.5
  • Commandos sniper: 3.5

So at first light it’s the same, but adding the pierce and sharpshooter on a standard stormtrooper squad in heavy cover we get:

Average wounds

  • Z-6 troopers: 0.75
  • Commandos sniper: 1.875

More than twice amount of dead bucketheads!

“What is an aimbot?”

This is in a control environment of course, but my point is don’t let the amount of dice fool you. Against lighter armor the commandos advantage decreases and increases vs heavy armored  targets like death troopers. A commando squad with a sniper gives you a quality attack that excels vs imperial targets. The downside is that your commandos die just as easy as normal troopers when fired upon, while low profile helps a bit of course.

“I’m just gonna drop this here”

The second weapon option is the proton charge saboteur which is a different kind of weapon option than other units have. It does not add any dice or keywords to the attack pool, instead it’s an area weapon that needs to be charged then detonated. So unlike exhaust weapons you don’t have to recover it, but you have to spend an action to arm a charge within 1 of the unit leader. After a charged is placed any friendly unit with “detonate proton charge” can detonate it after any unit have performed an action. When detonated the charge performs an attack vs every unit att range 1 of the token and line of sight including friendly units. The proton charge model uses the commandos ranged weapon of 1 black die, but the real advantage comes when using the charges since you get to attack every unit in range and los. I will speak more about proton charges, their effect and how to use them in a future analysis. You can have a maximum of 3 proton charge saboteurs in your list and that’s a potential 18 charges armed (3 saboteurs x 6 rounds), more likely it’s 8-12 and you need at least one unit left with detonate proton charge to use any placed charges. So a commando unit with a proton charge saboteur can be a base unit combined with 2 strike teams with saboteurs.


Commandos can have a plethora of different upgrades. Grenades, gear, comms and training.

Charge beats grenade!

I don’t usually take grenades on commandos. Frag grenades is a decent dmg increase, but restricted att range 1 for a unit that prefer attacks at range. Frag grenades seems overkill when you already have sharpshooter 1 and if you want anti tank then the proton charge is a better use than impact grenades.

There is a lot of gear that’s useful. Recon Intel to get a scout move of 3 is perhaps not necessary, but fun and can give you a nice alpha strike with scout move-move-shoot or scout move-shoot-move back depending on deployment. Environmental gear is a solid choice as your commandos can turn difficult light cover terrain into free heavy cover terrain and it helps your scout move. Emergency stims is just as good here as on other expensive units. Grappling hooks is also a great thing with scout, as you can scout move into a climbable terrain piece then during your activation you can climber-shoot. Targeting scopes is usually a never take for rebels, but combined with the hunter training card it’s actually a valid choice.

Comms is not as pick and choose friendly. Comms jammer doesn’t suit commandos as they prefer long to mid range. Comms relay can be used with sabotage communications to great an upgrades ambush card. Hq uplink is the one I use the mosh, just to get the extra uses from Luke and Leia’s 2 pip cards and to ensure control of when I can activate my commandos and I prefer this over long range comlink.

Comms Combo!

Training is a powerful category, but pretty specific in it’s cards. Tenacity is just a no take since single wound units can’t be wounded. Duck and cover is a good one as it combines with low profile, however it is expensive and in the wake of death troopers, Palpatine and Bossk the empire have a fair number of suppressive weapons. This can make duck and cover as risk as you can easy help your opponent to suppress or even panic your commandos. Endurance is good, but not really necessary unless you run into a lot of the aforementioned suppressive weapons on a regular basis. My favourite is the hunter card. It’s not to expensive at 6 points and it suite the commandos offensive capabilities perfect.

Free aims?, yes please

Builds and tactics

The classic commandos

  • Rebel commandos 60p
  • Sniper 26p
  • Environmental gear or grappling hooks 3p
  • Hunter 6p
  • Hq uplink 10p

total 105p

These guys are the standard commando squad I play. You can cut some fat by skipping the hq uplink, but I like the command flexibility. These are the rebel hunters and what do they hunt you ask? These guys are character killers. Any commander, even Palp or Darth with the immune pierce are prime targets. Commanders usually hang around with royal guards which is a free aim token piñata. They prefer to stay at mid range where they can bring all their guns to bare and their focus is to take down enemy commanders, operatives and royal guards. A trick is to splitfire the weapons between a commander and his guard to get 2 aim tokens if both are wounded. The sniper can be shot at a commander to ignore dodge and pierce can be used on a guardian hit if the target have immune pierce. The other guys throw their dice at the guards something different, with sharpshooter negating some of the cover tax of attacking multiple units.

This unit like a lot of rebel units prefers Leia as a commander. Her command cards works well, 1 pip can drop wounds on units for hunter to trigger, the 2 pip is just good and the 3 pip let’s Leia inspire and order take cover on them before they activate. Using Leia with strict orders you get very good control of suppression, you can make sure to keep one token for low profile if necessary. Commandos love at-rt supports as they can walk behind them and gain heavy cover while either shooting in base contact or through them with sharpshooter.

“Heavy hitting diplomacy”

List example:

++  Standard (Rebel Alliance) [796 Points] ++

+ Commander +

•Leia Organa [100 Points]: Strict Orders, Esteemed Leader

+ Operative +

•Chewbacca [122 Points]: Emergency Stims, Tenacity

+ Corps +

Fleet Troopers [78 Points]: Fleet Trooper, Scatter Gun Trooper

Rebel Troopers [62 Points]: Z-6 Trooper

Rebel Troopers [62 Points]: Z-6 Trooper

Rebel Troopers [62 Points]: Z-6 Trooper

Rebel Troopers [62 Points]: Z-6 Trooper

Rebel Troopers [58 Points]: 2-1B Medical Droid

+ Special Forces +

Rebel Commandos [107 Points]: DH-447 Sniper, Environmental Gear, HQ Uplink, Hunter

+ Support +

Rebel At-Rt [85 Points]: Rotary Blaster

+ Command Hand +

Command Hand: •Coordinated Bombardment, •Sabotaged Communications, ••Brains and Brawn, ••No Time for Sorrows, •••Covering Fire, •••Somebody Has to Save Our Skins, ••••Standing Orders

++ Total: [798 Points] ++

Created with BattleScribe (https://battlescribe.net)

The proton base

  • Rebel commandos 60p
  • Proton charge saboteur 24p
  • Duck and cover 8p
  • Comms relay 5p

Total 98p

This is another commando unit I’ve used when playing a triple proton charge saboteur lists. It’s Main purpose is to survive and detonate charges and place some on a backline objective. They can take descent potshots and the comms relay is for the sabotaged communications command card or just to boost command range to runaway strike teams. I like to play a Han&Chewie saboteur list. Han Solo’s reckless diversion help to stop fire on your strike teams and “sorry about the mess” combined with improvised orders help to guarantee a last first activation. Chewie works well with Han and His guardian helps keeping your strike teams alive. 

What I see when I play reckless diversion

List example: 

++  Standard (Rebel Alliance) [799 Points] ++

+ Commander +

•Han Solo [130 Points]: Improvised Orders

+ Operative +

•Chewbacca [122 Points]: Emergency Stims, Tenacity

+ Corps +

Rebel Troopers [62 Points]: Z-6 Trooper

Rebel Troopers [62 Points]: Z-6 Trooper

Rebel Troopers [62 Points]: Z-6 Trooper

Rebel Troopers [62 Points]: Z-6 Trooper

Rebel Troopers [62 Points]: Z-6 Trooper

Rebel Troopers [58 Points]: 2-1B Medical Droid

+ Special Forces +

Rebel Commandos [91 Points]: Comms Relay, Proton Charge Saboteur

Rebel Commandos – Strike Team [44 Points]: Proton Charge Saboteur, Recon Intel

Rebel Commandos – Strike Team [44 Points]: Proton Charge Saboteur, Recon Intel

+ Command Hand +

Command Hand: •Sorry about the mess, •Sabotaged Communications, ••Push, ••Reckless Diversion, •••Change of Plans, •••Notorious Scoundrels, ••••Standing Orders

++ Total: [799 Points] ++

Created with BattleScribe (https://battlescribe.net)

Final thoughts

Give me votes!

In conclusion I think the Rebel Commandos are a valueable unit in the rebel alliance and much needed to counter the royal guard based death balls, either with hard shooting or the area damage of the proton charge.

This was my thoughts on the Rebel Commandos who are in my opinion an unit that get’s overshadowed by their strike team brothers and sisters. Speaking of wich, I might talk about them next time or perhaps I will give my thoughts on the At-Rt, make your voice heard in the comments!