I mean Pathfinders are definitly support units, thus 1 CP would be nice. I guess the reasoning was that the balance team wanted to give a second mainline starter option to USF. Sadly Cav Rifles couldn't be 0 CP, cause of reasons of course. USF's other mainline is not cost effective with the current mappool.
But how are JLI support units? Thanks to their ambush ability and RA they for sure feel like elite infantry. The JLI werh variant for example, is 2 CP and it works. Could you explain to me why the 2CP JLI did not work for OKW?
Pathfinders should not have been 0CP, but then again. Until 6 months ago, I've been playing 90% of Heavy Cavalry and 5% Airborne/Infantry. I did manage to reach rank 1 on multiple occasions for a couple of days, but after switching to pathfinders on large, open maps... the difference. How much easier it is playing against OST in 3v3s.... Example.
Take Across the Rhine.
There are a couple of MG42 positions like the top building or bottom behind the green tank covers, which are impossible to dislodge without mortar smoke (and building a mortar as USF is shooting yourself in the foot, especially since REs are combat useless early on).
So you have the Rear echelon and a rifleman against a pioneer and an MG42. Echelon can't fight a pioneer, even behind green cover. Tested it out plenty of times. In the beginning of the game, you can literally rush a pioneer over neutral cover, up to the green cover where the Rear Echelon is (eg behind the tank) and still win the fight with 2 pioneers remaining (something you can't do against sections or combat engineers, other starting units). And the MG42 needs a split second of a burst to suppress, unless you're running over yellow crater cover. You have a gren coming, and your second rifle. So it's a gren + pio + MG42 against 2 rifles and a RE.
In reality, it's 2 rifles and an equivalent of a single rifle model (so 2.2 rifles) against a gren, pio and an MG42 which if it suppresses, you're done.
Your options are:
Sit behind green cover and allow the potential sniper to hammer away at you (eg, double pio + MG42 into sniper builds vs USF on such maps), or the MG42 (42 pio sight).
Split all your units and pray to God you guessed correctly that you sent the RE to the MG42 arc and your rifles are outside of the arc. You then have to pray that grens have poor RNG and they don't instantly connect those 16 dmg shots and take down your rifles on approach.
All of that disappears with Pathfinders. You don't have to guess, you are not "out-sighted" by pios, you don't depend on RNG/luck to flank the wide-as-fu*k arc MG42. Life is much easier.
Come lategame, you won't get shredded by grens, because you can outblob the gren blobs with paratroopers.
Obers as well.
Life is much easier if you go for pathfinders in teamgames.
But why do you need to go for pathfinders unless you want to play an uphill battle and suffer and bleed a lot more?
A) Map design + MG42 arc width
- Plenty of maps where a single MG42 is enough to practically cover an entire segment of a map. This is abhorrently obvious in 3v3s, which are basically 1v1s on a much smaller map/lane.
In 1v1, you send your RE to cap, another rifle to cap something else, and the third rifle to flank as needed. You can't do that in a 3v3. Why? Because you are not an omnipotent God. What if you're microing your rifles against an MG42 and the 3rd unit you sent to perhaps help your teammate's VP lane gets swarmed. Much larger population, and you're never really safe. I do play across 2 lanes. Always. My VP lane in 3v3 + the neighboring, allied one. Lost track of how many units I've lost to help/flank the allied VP lane only to get wrecked by some bundle nade for the split second I wasn't looking. Or even worse, a spio behind a sight blocker that wipes in 3 seconds point blank. So in the end, you try to focus on your lane, and only when you secure it, you send troops elsewhere. Hence why perhaps, without sight, most of your units can get fu**ed by a single MG42. Map design (Redball, Rhine, Whiteball... most 3v3+ maps).
B) Grens cost 240 MP but are worth at least 270. 300mp + 60m with the LMG. Sure they are a 4 man squad, but they can charge REs which are behind green cover, and win. Try to charge pioneers behind green cover with rifles to displace them quickly. Of course, why would you charge pioneers behind green cover? Well, rifles suck long range, and the pioneer-rifle combat, with both of them behind green cover will last for centuries. Rifles will win with 5 models standing, but to take down one model... months, maybe years.
Long range units can sit behind any cover and hammer away. Units like rifles need to close in to be effective.
MG42, with the current ROF, effectiveness of inc.rounds, and the suppression, combined with the pio sight, should have had a small arc, not the big one. Vickers has sh** suppression, and a wide arc on it is justified, especially since early on, they don't have real vision bonuses unless you tech early pyrotechnics and delay UC/heal. And that's one unit max, whereas double pio is quite common in 2v2+.
I couldn't believe how easier it was to play COH2 with USF, especially since I don't play COH2 much. I've got around 1800-2000 games in close to 10 years of COH2. 1500 USF games competitively and around 200 AI skirmishes and around 300 custom games on same maps/rules like ranked, but not. So first couple of years it was AI training, then WFA came out around 2015, started with USF, continued. So 1500 games in 7 years. 6 years of USF, mostly with heavy cav or infantry. With the community made balance patches, it became more difficult to play USF in teamgames. The strength of rifles waned, OST mainlines got buffed so they don't suffer early game. And the USF late game wasn't buffed to compensate. So you have a faction that is meh early, meh mid. Weak late.
Unless you go for airborne.
Then you don't have to suffer early.
Mid game you can win with paras and barfinders + AAHT (and dodge AT with extra vision).
And late game you have P47s to help out with the dives.
And if the OKW player goes for the HEAT shells + 72.5 sight KT + frontal MG suppression. You can bet your ass you will need a Hail Mary with AT offmap to destroy it.
You could also go a full circle and say: Game was being balanced between Soviet vs Ostheer. So as Ostheer was getting needed buffs for Soviets, and USF was getting nerfs because they ra*ed grens even harder than conscripts at close range, nothing was compensated. On the top of my head, the nerfs that stuck out the most:
Pak howi nerf. Nothing gained in return (6 man squad is not a buff, not with 1.25 RA, basically a nerf for the more compulsive people that want their squads at full HP).
Rifle smoke loss. "To foster combined arms".... with what other units? Rear echelon? I'd understand if USF had stock elite, but that was just a piss poor reason to nerf rifles.
People say "Spios are overloaded with jobs".
REs are not?
Plant tank traps for cover against long range axis infantry. Place mines in case of dives, so at least you slow down tanks. Run with blobs to use smoke against MGs, schwerer or whatever else. That's not an overloaded job? Not to mention they are useless in combat throughout the game. Spios get useless in combat after minute 16 unless with shrecks. And they do have the concussive. People are afraid to buff REs because they might get blobbed. I mean, unless it's not some mega uber buff, if you lose to RE blobs, you deserve a loss. It would be like a soviet player with 3 katyushas complaining about ober blobs.
All in all.
Use paths if you don't want to suffer.
I learned that recently. Makes the life so much easier. Don't get me wrong. Paths are extremely weak against LV plays, and you have to hug your ally that has some snares/AT. But overall, it's a blessing, especially since OKW players don't like using Puma/Luchs and a lot of OST players don't know how to use the 222 (double 222 sh*ts down pathfinder's throat with extreme prejudice).
I used to suffer in a lot of open games, but no more.