Rebel Pathfinders are best known for the battle at the Imperial archives on Scariff. They the are the first in and last out, often putting their life on the line to enter a theatre of battle ahead of the main forces to prepare the battlefield for the rest of the army. In Star Wars: Legion the Rebel Pathfinders are the Rebels fourth elite unit option. Their training and equipment make them self-sufficient and versatile in many different roles - and as such see specialized use in the Rebel forces.
Base Unit Summary:
Damage Output - Ranged: Average: 3
Damage Consistency - Ranged: Average: N/A
Damage Output - Melee: Below Average: 2.5
Damage Consistency - Melee: Average: N/A
Damage Resistance: Below Average: 33.4%
Wounds: Below Average: 4
Attrition: Average: 1/figure
Range: Average: 1-3
Speed: Average: 2
Courage: Above Average: 2
Rebel Pathfinders are elite skirmishing units similar to the Rebel Commandos. They are also able to hold a zone or flank on their own with minimal to no support and can handle any job given to them. However, unlike the Commandos, the Pathfinders want to be noticed and to draw attention away from the rest of your force.
Base Unit Analysis:
Rebel Pathfinders are a bit complicated to analyze on their own, they fall in-between the 40 and 80 point bench marks and are more or less average in that space after taking all of their abilities into consideration. However unlike Corps troops, you are unlikely to take Commandos without upgrades and those can change how the unit functions drastically. For example, the Rebel Pathfinders have below average damage resistance but if they are equipped with Duck and Cover they can benefit from light cover even out in the open and roll an additional defense die for each suppression on them (up to 3) raising their damage resistance from 33.4% to 58.4% or above average (assuming the average of 4 wounds with no keywords) - If we expand that scenario to the extreme example (3 suppression and in light cover against an average 4 wound attack with no keywords) we find that their damage resistance is an incredible 91.75%! Their ranged damage output is completely average for their points cost, however with their unit wide armament upgrade they gain two new ranged weapon options increasing their ranged damage to 3.5 at close range, or in the other configuration gives them a ranged 4 attack dealing 1.5 damage - which might not seem like much, but when combined with an aim token, their damage resistance, and range 4 attack it makes them one of the best rebel units at sustained firefights. Their infiltrate keyword also allows them to deploy in cover and ready to defend objectives while the rest of your force makes its way into position - this makes them incredibly powerful and useful when used in the right circumstances - however, when played sub-optimally they will perform similarly to very expensive rebel troopers.
Unique Upgrade Analysis:
Bistan: for 32 points and a weapons specialist upgrade slot Bistan adds 1 black and 4 white with Impact 1 and Ion 1 at range 1-4, but he exhausts to use this weapon. This is an increase of 2.125 bringing the Pathfinders up to 5.125 damage for 100 points, or still average, however the large attack pool is quite a benefit when getting through cover and dodge. The addition of Impact and Ion also makes Bistan quite versatile in the units preferred targets. Because Bistan doesn’t change the units efficiency he is neither recommended or advised against, you would be fine to include him or not, but the larger attack pool and Impact and Ion can make for an interesting change to the utility of the Pathfinders.
Pao: This upgrade adds 1 red and 1 white die to your attack pool increasing your damage output by 1.25 to a total of 4.25 for 90 points. or just slightly below average but does not have to exhaust like Bistan making him generally more consistent and useful. However this upgrade also adds Inspire 1 to the pathfinders which can be quite useful when the pathfinders are supported by another unit and needs to control suppression as they often will - especially if that other unit is more pathfinders, Jyn, or Han. Pao slightly reduces the damage efficiency of the Pathfinders, but not by very much, and also increases the support utility making him not recommended or advised against - you would be fine to include him or not in your unit of pathfinders.
A-300 Configurable Armament: the A-300 can be configured to be a short range or long range weapon. In the short range configuration it rolls 1 red die at range 1-2 making the units damage output 3.5, not a big difference from the 3.0 normally expected. But while it doesn’t really improve the units damage output, it does make the unit much more consistent - at the cost of potential variance spikes. Because the short range configuration rolls red dice it is much more likely to generate the expected number of hits and is very predictable - the normal configuration on the other hand will likely roll the expected number of hits, but can roll much higher or lower. The A-300 has a second configuration though, the long range configuration. This version rolls only 1 white die giving the unit an expected damage of 1.5 which is far below the line of efficiency, but it comes at range 1-4 making it the first troop based weapon the rebels have at long range. under the right circumstances this can be used well to pick more optimal targets or put out suppression at long range to better control the opponents activations. The Configurable A-300 is a nice upgrade to have for versatility, but it is not essential and you would be fine taking it or leaving it as you please.
The Rebel Commandos have upgrade slots for a Special Weapon, Arsenal, Training, Comm, Gear, and Grenade upgrade card. This makes them one of the most customizable units to date. However they are already struggling to keep their balance on the edge of efficiency, so every upgrade they take must have a purpose or they quickly become inefficient.
As discussed in the unique upgrade section, you would be fine taking or leaving the Arsenal and the Special Weapon upgrades depending on what your intended use is for the Pathfinders. The pathfinders can also skip the grenade slot as none of the existing grenades improve their damage output beyond what their Arsenal Upgrade can do and it is also at a shorter distance.
Putting HQ Uplink in the Comms Slot could be very valuable to the Pathfinders on specific missions such as recover the supplies, because it allows them to deploy out of command range, give themselves an order, and then interact with the objective before other units. However it does reduce their efficiency quite a bit and should be considered when upgrading them.
The Gear Slot is also a valuable upgrade slot for them if you are playing them scenario focused and not combat focused. Environmental Gear or Grappling Hooks can help them leave an area in a hurry once they have obtained the objective. Emergency Stims can also be a strong upgrade on them to help them complete their mission before succumbing to enemy attacks.
The Training Upgrade is the place the Pathfinders will find the most value. Duck and Cover is quite strong at increasing their defense by not only granting them an extra point of suppression cover before they are attacked, but by also allowing them to take the suppression for Danger Sense and increase the number of dice in their saving throw greatly increasing their survivability. Hunter can also increase their damage output when using their white dice weapons, an aim token on white dice that surge to hit increases their damage output by quite a bit and can be quite strong on the right target. Finally, Sentinel can be used to increase their utility as either a scenario unit or a combat unit by allowing them to trigger standby at longer range and either attack or move to safety more often.
Pathfinders are quite a versatile unit, but you will find that they are slightly better at defense than offense and thus should be used in a capacity that takes advantage of that. Because their damage output is low and they are competing for a spot against Wookiee Warriors and Rebel Commandos, its usually best to include only one unit of the Rebel Pathfinders in a list.
There are two main ways to play Pathfinders on the table, but they are somewhat similar and both rely off the same mechanics, just using them in different ways.
The first way to play the Pathfinders is the Objective Pathfinders. These Pathfinders will infiltrate onto the board near the objective and give you an edge in scenario presence. This could be being deployed near a contested objective, like the center point of Recover the Supplies or Key Positions, or it could be an opponents objective like in Sabotage or Breakthrough. Either way the Pathfinders will put the pressure on your opponent and make them react to your advantage instead of plotting their own. In this style of play the Pathfinders will want to be fairly low cost and focused on defensive upgrades like Duck and Cover and Emergency Stims to keep them in the game long enough to see the mission through while HQ uplink will allow them to sneak off early with the objective points. Keeping their points low will allow you to bring other units who can make their way up to help put pressure on the opponents forces.
The other way to play the Pathfinders is the Tar Pit Pathfinders. Similar to the Objective Pathfinders, the Tar Pit Pathfinders will deploy well ahead of your army in a position to put pressure on the opponent. But in this style they will not be focused on the objective, but rather focused purely on being a thorn in your opponents side. Deploy them in cover in a position where the opponent can’t ignore them and draw their attention. This version of Pathfinders will be more upgraded to ensure they last longer, although they are going to die, you want to ensure that they last for at least two rounds. The goal is to be enough of a pest that the rest of your forces can get into position and get the upper hand in scenario. These Pathfinders will want more well rounded upgrades, although Duck and Cover and Emergency Stims are still excellent on them, you will also want to consider Targeting Scopes, Hunter, and the Arsenal and Special Weapon upgrades. The extra health and defense from Duck and Cover and the extra body are essential to keeping the unit around long enough to slow down the enemy forces.
Keep in mind that with both these styles of play, the Pathfinders are unlikely to last the whole game - but that should be accounted for in your plan. Their point is to be an early game piece giving you an advantage you can push later into the game.
Rebel Pathfinders were designed to stick around and be a thorn in your side. The best way to deal with them is to hit them with something big and wipe them all out in the first attack. If you pepper them with small attacks you are just playing into your opponents plan. The optimal unit to target them with is something with pierce that also reduces cover - Scouts and Commandos with a sniper rifle are ideal. If your first attack against them is with a full squad of Commandos the odds are that you eliminate most of the Pathfinders in first shot.
Another great way to deal with them is in melee. In melee they do not get their cover or their Danger Sense and are easily eliminated. Sometimes it can be worth engaging them even with a unit that isn’t melee focused because they are so much easier to defeat without their enhanced defenses. When pursuing them in melee keep in mind if they have a standby tokens that they can use them once you get near to possibly evade your attempt to engage them.
However you decide to remove them from the battle it should be in as few attacks as possible, as the more suppression they have the harder they are to remove. But you must deal with them, otherwise the Pathfinders will give your opponent leverage over the scenario that you can’t afford to give up without a fight.