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USF Pathfinder spam is too efficient (2v2)

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6 Apr 2022, 01:04 AM
#1
avatar of BlueKnight

Posts: 316

I'll make a point about USF balance in 2v2.

The reasoning comes from first hand experience and from watching actually good players like dirty finisher. I like to watch his streams despite his unwillingness to build M20 and spitting into a bottle all the time. Nobody is perfect though. Here is the stream which shows several games vs same pre-made pathfinder spammers, I highly recommend watching it: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/1446278623

TL;DR: Pathfinder as a unit is not OP, but the Airborn build order of 4x Pathfinders, into echelon zooks, then .50 cal and a forward ambulance is an early-game horror for axis. This is only a valid strategy when all these units are together and never split.

Why it's a problem:
1. Wehrmacht is spotted all the time which makes the MG-42 play almost impossible. Due to large target size and high long range DPS of pathfinders, HMG dies very easily when focused by this blob. Grens on the other hand also drop models very easily max range due to pathfinders excelling in these engagements and trading favourably before wehrmacht can even get their weapon upgrades. On top of that, pathfinders vet very quickly and have a weapon range increase to 40 at vet3 which can be deadly in early transition to late game with 4x zookfinders + 2-3x scotts. It only works if the scott timing is decent so no LV on USF side. Well-played zook echelons in the early game can defend the pathfinder blob from any ostheer LV. It's a win-only strategy vs ost that is so unfun to play as or play against, it feels like cheating.

2. If OKW tries to counter pathfinders with kubel or multiple kubels, it doesn't work as pathfinders deal surprisingly high damage to kubelwagen. Early 221 can still take a lot of small-arms fire and can't stay in combat for too long until it's upgraded to 223, but then the zook-echelons usually counter it, so it's a micro heavy fight that can end both ways, but we're talking here about good usf players that takes advantage of well positioned ambo and doesn't overextend. Against OKW there might be some early-game struggle from USF side if OKW player decides to spam loads of infantry as not all pathfinders are on the field yet, however with .50 cal and forward ambo usf can retake the territory and still pump out scotts at decent timing. I have not seen much of P2 being played against pathfinder spam, but I think it could work as P2 has great AI at any range and good mobility, so echelon zooks wouldn't be too effective against it.

None of the above would be a problem if there was any drawback in a transition to mid- and late-game, however equipping 4x vet3 pathfinders with double zooks each turns them into 40 range and highly accurate formidable AT blob. If you try to push them off the field with your infantry you will get shot a lot by 2 scotts that will autofire at you all the time. You need several squads to make a push and it only makes it easier for scotts to hit something. If you have not bled dry as axis till this point, your ATG will get countered by long range scott barrages and any P4 dive will end up with a damaged or lost P4. As USF you get a huge synergy if your teammate applies the same strategy... even more scotts firing makes it easier to score wipes on the enemy squads.

So many top ranked 2v2 USF players play pathfinders only, that it without a doubt is the strongest USF strategy atm for arranged team 2v2.

Suggested solution:
Removal of both weapon slots from pathfinders would make them scale worse to late game and prevent the abuse. Building pathfinders in the early-game would still be worth it due to enemy model drops and the vision they povide in the early- and late-game, but without them being a new USF mainline that allows for cancerous strategies. Just repurpose them to be a good addition but not a replacement to riflemen.

Other opinions:
Other than that, I think that stock early-game USF options need to be looked at. M20 still taking years to build, despite 221 doing exactly what unarmoured M20 could be doing but 2 minutes earlier. Lt and Cpt still taking years to build... Building only 2 rifles before the officer makes you lose a game and the third rifle is mandatory before you tech to Lt or Cpt, which makes the build order stale. Also if you swap places of M8 Greyhound and Stuart and then buff the stuart to have an actual AI, you could have this unit be viable, something like a valentine. Greyhound is a good vehicle as is with both AI comparable to 222 and is on par in a duel with both 222 and p2, but the timing on it is garbage at 4CP. Atm the only good USF light vehicle for its timing is AA HT. Also mortar > pak howie, change my mind. USF feels like the most out of place faction of all, especially in early- and mid-game, BARs having focus fire set to false deal damage but don't drop models unless you blob your infantry. 60MU per BAR is very expensive and makes you choose between planting mines, throwing grenades or actually upgrading and having good infantry. This again is not a problem with pathfinders that are good even without weapon upgrades. Stock USF early game is not attractive. Stuart could at least get an optional upgrade of pintle machinegun for 60MU, this would both help its horrible AI and be historically accurate :snfPeter: or it could just use higher MG dps or something to make it worth getting outside of 1v1 matchup against OST. USF ATG is both great and bad due to being a massive muni sink just to maybe penetrate, which makes Jackson and stolen ATGs the only reasonable AT for USF.

Also why TF did soviet Mechanized and ost Jaeger Armor lose their bombing strikes (good change), but Breakthrough kept its bollocks strong half-map size artillery strike? Was it not meta enough that it dodged the commander nerf?
6 Apr 2022, 03:21 AM
#2
avatar of GachiGasm

Posts: 904 | Subs: 1

Should have used double kubels, against the only viable strat, faction on life-support (and objectively proven by experts to be the weakest) has. As for scotts just rush them with panther army :snfPeter::snfPeter:
6 Apr 2022, 03:27 AM
#3
avatar of ShadowLinkX37
Director of Moderation Badge

Posts: 4095 | Subs: 3

I'm not the best player but i've lost to falls while attempting to use this strat before scotts hit the field. I'd definitely care more about paths if pfusi's and JLI weren't also equally brainless.
6 Apr 2022, 05:11 AM
#4
avatar of LoopDloop

Posts: 3046

Honestly I don't even like pathfinder spam as USF. I don't really see how it's better than going 1 path plus riflemen. Rifles are tougher, they have grenades and a snare, and they don't lose as soon as things close to like 20 meters.

Also I'm pretty sure they are actually the worst USF infantry against kubels. Yes, if you run a kubel into 4 squads it'll probably die pretty quick, but 4 rifles would do better here too.
6 Apr 2022, 08:31 AM
#5
avatar of Esxile

Posts: 3424 | Subs: 1

Pathfinder spam is not too efficient, it's just the only viable strat for USF on 2vs2 atm.

I mean standard riflemen build hard lose vs 2 kubels build and pioneer/HMG combo. Once you understand that you understand everything about USF.

Then the modding team overbuffed Ostheer/OKW/Sov early game so their 240mp mainline completely overshadow riflemen. You're supposed to overwhelm your opponent with riflemen but at the moment that just the contrary. Light vehicles are just out of the place providing 0 impact when they hit the field, the only saving grace here is the AAHT. Last, support weapons are mediocre at best unless you spam munition in them, Mortar is an over expensive smoking gun, PakH an over expensive bubble gun, HMG can't suppress in one burst and Atgun is only there to burn your munition.

Let's also talk about how the modding team made OKW elite infantry so accessible and affordable to be spammed. JLI spam, Obers spam, Falls spam they can all be used as mainline infantry with little attrition impact because they were made available sooner and made less expensive to reinforce. They just shit hard on riflemen that you imperatively need an T3 sherman or scott to deal with them. Yeah because the modding team made them available earlier but didn't think to give their opponent tools to deal with. So the M20 is bad, simply bad at killing them, the stuart same and the AAHT at least can suppress them. Mortar and PackH are out of the picture here since again the modding team nerfed them to the ground.

So yeah USF based riflemen build's early and midgame are a constant struggle and let's add on it the fact that both P4 hit the field sooner than your sherman if you didn't manage to secure the fuel enough time or built a light vehicle with upgrading the BARs.

So you stop building riflemen and spam pathfinder because they actually are better vs Kubel spam, better vs pio/HMG, better vs gren/volks/pfuss spam, better midgame vs unupgunned elite infantry and better late game vs the same upgunned elite infantry and then better vs light and medium tanks if equiped with zook.

Riflemen should be as good as pathfinders or even better vs all the above minus the vision but they aren't thus player only using pathfinders for competitive play.
6 Apr 2022, 09:19 AM
#6
avatar of theekvn

Posts: 235

Honestly I don't even like pathfinder spam as USF. I don't really see how it's better than going 1 path plus riflemen. Rifles are tougher, they have grenades and a snare, and they don't lose as soon as things close to like 20 meters.

Also I'm pretty sure they are actually the worst USF infantry against kubels. Yes, if you run a kubel into 4 squads it'll probably die pretty quick, but 4 rifles would do better here too.

problem is USF rifleman opening is outdated. Everything is change but USF openning still the same.
Not to mention a kubel bleed rifleman. Good OKW player dont need to rush and push, they just bleed Rifleman with kubel, volk behind sandbag.
WEH on other hand, abuse sniper, mg42 and make sure pios intercept rifleman flank. That is how earlygame team mode work.
6 Apr 2022, 09:37 AM
#7
avatar of Esxile

Posts: 3424 | Subs: 1


problem is USF rifleman opening is outdated. Everything is change but USF openning still the same.
Not to mention a kubel bleed rifleman. Good OKW player dont need to rush and push, they just bleed Rifleman with kubel, volk behind sandbag.
WEH on other hand, abuse sniper, mg42 and make sure pios intercept rifleman flank. That is how earlygame team mode work.


I've been caught 2 times by pio vision while trying a super large flank, like the opponent just saw 1 second my squad and just repositioned his HMG and GG. Zero outplay, just Oshteer early game being 100% superior to USF.
6 Apr 2022, 11:58 AM
#8
avatar of thekessvn

Posts: 87

Path is fine to befair. Problem is most of teamgame map is long range fight. "Why not using path like A move Gren ?" > this is how teamgame think.
6 Apr 2022, 12:25 PM
#9
avatar of GachiGasm

Posts: 904 | Subs: 1

Honestly I don't even like pathfinder spam as USF. I don't really see how it's better than going 1 path plus riflemen. Rifles are tougher, they have grenades and a snare, and they don't lose as soon as things close to like 20 meters.

Also I'm pretty sure they are actually the worst USF infantry against kubels. Yes, if you run a kubel into 4 squads it'll probably die pretty quick, but 4 rifles would do better here too.


Because this strat is purely about snowballing and winning the game as fast as possible. Rifles and unit combinations are good if you plan to play properly. Pathfinder\airborn meta on the other hand is just plain and simple abuse.

I've watched video op gave, and the guy on the video summed it up pretty good. Basically he said that in order to have a chance to beat this strat, you just need to blob and concentrate your units as much as possible to kick the USF out before the Scotts hit the field, if you dont do this its over.

And as I was saying, path strats wont win you 30+ mins games, but if you allowed enemy to stay in the game using path strats you've failed at it. Premades on the video pretty much mastered this soy strat and games were literally already over for axis around 15 min mark.

On top of that, Airborn provides access to both AT gun\HMG so you are completely free to pick either LT\Cpt or delay them in favour of zooks. Not to mention that by paying 60 muni for support paradrop (AT gun), you save up to 53MP if you crew it with RE, 25MP with Pathfinders, 33MP with rifles, meaning that 4th reinforced model basically comes for free, plus paradrop allowing you to save huge amount of time via skipping building time and getting unit to the front line. It gives way too much flexibility, you see that enemy blobing? You drop 50cal. Enemy goes for LVs? You drop AT gun. Enemy is slacking behind, you dont drop anything and arm yourself with zooks.
And surely as a bonus airborn has access to one of the best Elite Inf in the game and has one of the strongest AT skillplane call-in.

In other words Paths+whole airborn tool kit allows you to just be on top of the enemy pretty much until early late game, if executed right, by the time serious threats hit the field game is basically over anyway.

As for paths performance main argument brought is JLI\Fallshims\PFs. But huge difference here is not even timing and resources required, its the Pop-cap. JLI\Fallshims cant be called at 1 min mark, you cant replace volks from the get go, meaning that even if you want to spam JLI\Fallshims you either have to kill off your volks to free your pop-cap, to be able to actually build something later or somehow play with very few volks squads.

PFs with G43 are cancer, but again you either mix them volks to stay somewhat competitive or you go full house PFs and give enemy an upper hand untill you mass G43s. In 3v3\4v4 they are more problematic, because of unit concentration.

6 Apr 2022, 12:27 PM
#10
avatar of BasedSecretary

Posts: 613

[...]


They are all good points and valid but unfortunately there is no other way for a decent player to go USF. OKW/OST mainlines just shred riflemen. So the USF player must and will go with the doctrine most efficient to him.

Path spam is only dangerous against early game OST. OKW, with their access to sniper JLI fuck them amazingly. Not to mention the kubel play (which apparently you cannot do -no offense- since kubel is paper armor but amazing bleeder). Yeah early game OST has problems, since he invested in an MG to hold ground/make push and at best 1 engie 1 gren until the first 3 paths pop up.

What I usually do against this is go for early sniper (OST have) after 2nd gren and play them toe to toe whilst bleeding them. Sniper vets very fast so after vet1 I spam the incediary ammunition which not only drops a model but stuns the whole squad. 1 MG pushing, 2 grens in green cover, 1 engie spotting and 1 vet1 sniper usually can make the play. After that bring PAK to counter early LV stunts and just tech up after that. Don't go for P4, too weak against zook blob. Go for panther/tiger.

But again I love snipers that's why I incorporate them so much in my games. The same can be done with any decent bleeder like 251 (which again, you must be careful to not get too close). Do remember that Paths have no snares. Hell, even FlameHalftrack could work now that I think about it.
6 Apr 2022, 12:29 PM
#11
avatar of BasedSecretary

Posts: 613


Also I'm pretty sure they are actually the worst USF infantry against kubels. Yes, if you run a kubel into 4 squads it'll probably die pretty quick, but 4 rifles would do better here too.


Yeah I agree. Obviously OP cannot micro the kubel good enough to realize how powerful it is against USF snareless Paths. It's ok.
6 Apr 2022, 12:36 PM
#12
avatar of BasedSecretary

Posts: 613



Because this strat is purely about snowballing and winning the game as fast as possible. Rifles and unit combinations are good if you plan to play properly. Pathfinder\airborn meta on the other hand is just plain and simple abuse.

I've watched video op gave, and the guy on the video summed it up pretty good. Basically he said that in order to have a chance to beat this strat, you just need to blob and concentrate your units as much as possible to kick the USF out before the Scotts hit the field, if you dont do this its over.

And as I was saying, path strats wont win you 30+ mins games, but if you allowed enemy to stay in the game using path strats you've failed at it. Premades on the video pretty much mastered this soy strat and games were literally already over for axis around 15 min mark.

On top of that, Airborn provides access to both AT gun\HMG so you are completely free to pick either LT\Cpt or delay them in favour of zooks. Not to mention that by paying 60 muni for support paradrop (AT gun), you save up to 53MP if you crew it with RE, 25MP with Pathfinders, 33MP with rifles, meaning that 4th reinforced model basically comes for free, plus paradrop allowing you to save huge amount of time via skipping building time and getting unit to the front line. It gives way too much flexibility, you see that enemy blobing? You drop 50cal. Enemy goes for LVs? You drop AT gun. Enemy is slacking behind, you dont drop anything and arm yourself with zooks.
And surely as a bonus airborn has access to one of the best Elite Inf in the game and has one of the strongest AT skillplane call-in.

In other words Paths+whole airborn tool kit allows you to just be on top of the enemy pretty much until early late game, if executed right, by the time serious threats hit the field game is basically over anyway.

As for paths performance main argument brought is JLI\Fallshims\PFs. But huge difference here is not even timing and resources required, its the Pop-cap. JLI\Fallshims cant be called at 1 min mark, you cant replace volks from the get go, meaning that even if you want to spam JLI\Fallshims you either have to kill off your volks to free your pop-cap, to be able to actually build something later or somehow play with very few volks squads.

PFs with G43 are cancer, but again you either mix them volks to stay somewhat competitive or you go full house PFs and give enemy an upper hand untill you mass G43s. In 3v3\4v4 they are more problematic, because of unit concentration.



In all honesty I think you are overplaying the power of USF Pathspam.

Yeah sure it's annoying and yeah sure it kinda works (the same way 2 sniper UKF might work) but let's be honest you are going against a faction that has Falls, Obers and flank locking FlakTrack. OST have assault support that instapins any blob for 125 munis and good luck getting your ambu out of there in time to support a regroup. Don't even get me started on Mortar timing, sniper counterplay, Flametrack counterplay.

It's a decent tactic that maybe sometimes plays out. But far far from gamebreaking or "too efficient". The same way Sturmtiger, a single shot casemate that has 40secs reload time, was "too OP". No, it's not.

They are an above average call in. Nothing more and nothing less.
6 Apr 2022, 12:37 PM
#13
avatar of GachiGasm

Posts: 904 | Subs: 1



Yeah I agree. Obviously OP cannot micro the kubel good enough to realize how powerful it is against USF snareless Paths. It's ok.


If you actually pay attention to the first game, OP provided, guy playing got 221 at 2 min mark, at 5 min mark there were already RE with zooks. I dont want to doubt strategic genius, but I will doubt that 2 mins of having kubel would have changed anything if 221 wasnt able to.


In all honesty I think you are overplaying the power of USF Pathspam.


I might be, but fact stands that its super common tactic, almost all top usf players in teamgames (and even not top players) use it to great effect and even top players struggle against it on a regular basis. There are no common solution or basic L2P or adaptation problem. Its just imo the fact that this strat over-all is way too strong and countering it is basically concentrates around either badly outplaying USF player or him fucking up.

Is it fine or not this is different question, but the fact is as it stands out of all available strats in the game this one is the single one which is fully depend on enemy fuck ups and not your performance\avaible counters.
6 Apr 2022, 12:38 PM
#14
avatar of BasedSecretary

Posts: 613



If you actually pay attention to the first game, OP provided, guy playing got 221 at 2 min mark, at 5 min mark there were already RE with zooks. I dont want to doubt strategic genius, but I will doubt that 2 mins of having kubel would have changed anything if 221 wasnt able to.


I did not watch it I commented on his strategy I don't like watching stuff they burn your brain.
6 Apr 2022, 12:46 PM
#15
avatar of GachiGasm

Posts: 904 | Subs: 1



I did not watch it I commented on his strategy I don't like watching stuff they burn your brain.


Point being, that theoretically kubel should work, theoretically LV should work or idk sniper? But in practice it really doesn't, good players already tried it and doesn't work of path player is half competent.

The only weakness of this strat - if enemy blob is bigger then yours and it can just outgun you. And this is why Scotts are part of this meta, because they remove this weakness. This is pretty much why a lot of people hate path meta.
6 Apr 2022, 13:35 PM
#16
avatar of BasedSecretary

Posts: 613



Point being, that theoretically kubel should work, theoretically LV should work or idk sniper? But in practice it really doesn't, good players already tried it and doesn't work of path player is half competent.

The only weakness of this strat - if enemy blob is bigger then yours and it can just outgun you. And this is why Scotts are part of this meta, because they remove this weakness. This is pretty much why a lot of people hate path meta.


Ofcourse. No plan or strategy survives first contact with the enemy, but what can you/we do really? I don't expect Paths to get nerfed somewhere in the future for 2 reasons: it would make all the usf mainlines idiotic and it would make the USF as a whole obsolete.

I have come across path spamming a lot of times in the past, it surely was annoying having all that pressure especially as a leisurely "hide behind MG" axis player. But tbh you learn to counter it as all things in this game. Mortars, mg, sniper anything you can have have it. I would really recommend assault support loiters though (I don't know if any other doc has the exact same instapin effect) that absolutely neuter them. And also good luck on the blobber when you wreck his forward ambu.

Point being, I get you, but what can we do?
6 Apr 2022, 14:56 PM
#17
avatar of Reverb

Posts: 190

I WATCH top players in 2v2 on twitch and they ALL use pathfinder spam!!
6 Apr 2022, 15:17 PM
#18
avatar of BasedSecretary

Posts: 613

jump backJump back to quoted post6 Apr 2022, 14:56 PMReverb
I WATCH top players in 2v2 on twitch and they ALL use pathfinder spam!!


I WATCH(ed) top players in 2v2 on twitch and they ALL use sturmtiger!!
6 Apr 2022, 15:23 PM
#19
avatar of T.R. Stormjäger

Posts: 3588 | Subs: 3

Yes, Airbourne meta is a cancer in 2v2 and the water is wet. What else is new?


Path is fine to befair. Problem is most of teamgame map is long range fight. "Why not using path like A move Gren ?" > this is how teamgame think.


This was the closest comment to the truth.

The issue is vision, especially on 2v2 maps which are laney with huge corridors that allow Paths to spot for Scotts, Jacksons and Para blobs.

Let’s have an example:
2v2 on Rails and metal, allies north.
Camouflaged zook pathfinders on hold fire and M20 spotting, 2-3 scotts and 2 Jacksons behind them, Para blob ready to go, Soviets have ISU152 covering mid or UKF has 17pdr mid and triple war speed comets ready to go. Don’t forget cancerous forward reinforcement. You’re pretty much fucked vs competent organized teams that cheese you despite being meh players. Pathfinders effortlessly spotting half the map while having elite camo with veterancy is the main issue with airbourne.
6 Apr 2022, 15:39 PM
#20
avatar of BlueKnight

Posts: 316

I highly encourage anyone who has not yet watched the video linked in OP to watch it. It is top players' experience that pathfinder spam is the strongest strat to deal with. Gachi's comments were on point and Esxile's point of view, despite being on the whiny side, to some extent I agree with it, but I think the issue lies in USF weapon upgrades being strong en masse in late-game and unaffordable in early-game, which affects Riflemen performance.

I agree with Shadowlink's statement that pfusilier spam is braindead as well, but it's not quite as strong as pathfinder spam and it deserves a separate topic.

...

You touch something different than what I mean in this topic. You don't reach ISU-level long games when you play vs competent pathfinder spammers, because they win even sooner than that. I don't mean meta being annoying, I mean 1 strategy being undeniably and disgustingly the strongest way to play a faction in 2v2.
Also who doesn't veto Rails and Metal deserves it :megusta:
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