Playing Pathfinders at the Las Vegas Open 2024: An Event Report

Alrighty kill team gamers! Its about time I caught up on my LVO run where I finished in 39th place, good for securing my place as the 85th best Kill Team in the world. I came into LVO with extremely high expectations after a large pathfinder buff and a solid run at WCW. While I wasn’t expecting the nerfs to change all that much about the matchup spreads I was expecting the new Recon Drone to give me new lines of attack while all the old tricks continued to do their heavy lifting.

Just Another Killteam Podcast’s Co-hosts finally meet!

Following a hefty schelp on public transit to JFK and a 6-hour nap on the cross-country flight to Vegas, the Just Another Killteam Podcast co-hosts finally met in person for the first time in the waning hours of day 1. Adrian B and I helped Dakotah set up some terrain and boards before grabbing dinner on Thursday night then settled into watching our friend Rami S take progressively later and later flights with some amusement from the group chat.

Narrative boards from LVO, taken during set up helping

Soon enough it was time to brave the 9-round marathon at LVO. A truly inspiring number of nerds had gathered up in one spot for the event, and community YouTubers littered the halls as we prepared to do battle.

Day 1, Match 1: Austin M, Gellerpox, ITD LVO Map 8, Secure 22-15

My first match was against Austin of Warpfire Games from Florida. One of the LVO sponsors, and a truly nice fellow. We set up with my on the blue side and a questionably engaged pair of nightmare hulks for Austin. While he seemed familiar enough with my rules, his screamer hulk went down to 3 wounds by the end of turning point 1.

We kept it going back and forth, but without any strong staging from him it was a slow and steady attrition of operatives for him. Pulse fire withered away operatives, while a lone gun drone sat around on the bottom part of the map to score Recover Item in the small room. This was definitely an opponent where my Recon Sweep shenanigans really kept Austin off kilter. Baiting out melee operatives movement, then dashing back out of range really kept things hard.

Day 1, Match 2: Ryan S, Exaction, ITD LVO Map 1, Capture 12-20

Looking at my round two opponent’s team, I let out a small groan. A melee-centric team with the ability to turn off re-rolls for attack rolls. This definitely means that I’m going to struggle a bit, and having spoken to Ryan on my JAKTPodcast(link) after the WCW I know he’ll be no slouch!

Luckily for me, the map does have a fair number of areas I expect to be able to shoot, or line up markerlights giving me a reasonable chance at avoiding those Phosphor Lumens. I line up my grenadier, leader, staged before the small room to the right, and lay the rest of my operatives staggeringly across the right hand side. It’s in the opening plays that I make a critical mistake that echoes across the rest of the game.

Between my Comms APL boost, Assault Grenadier, Shas’ui’s Holo-pad, Recon Sweep, and last activation. You can open any pair of doors in a 2-long ITD room dropping a fusion grenade and setting up for a clean tp2 A Worthy Cause emp. Unfortunately I lose the plot on that play in the opening moments and attempt to swing my grenadier into Ryan’s open area objective, which he already blocked off with a fortify barricade! Talk about a silly mistake.

While I am able to line up markerlights in tp1, Ryan lines up his leader to snipe my recover item drone, and drone controller for the first play of TP2. Eventually his melee specialists catch up with me, and while my grenadier takes out 2 operatives, no one else is set up nicely to break his lines. I think I additionally gave up too much play on the Recon Sweep’ing left and right flanks, and it ultimately is a slow snowball of defeat Ryan rolls.

Day 1, Match 3: John B, Wrymblade, ITD LVO Map 8, Loot 21-13

John’s another past visitor to my JAKTPodcast (link), and it was great to catch up on the growth of the Sacramento scene in the year since. He certainly seemed a little down, as far as his chances went and the game certainly didn’t lift those spirits. Readers will note this is the same map as game 1, and the same drone in the bottom small room remained the MVP. His efforts scored 3-4 points and at least 1 neophyte holding a bomb.

Meanwhile elsewhere, John’s Sanctus Talon, and Kellermorph played the first 2 turns far too coy. Basically being non-issues for my operatives until turn 3, when the scoring differential was probably too deep. The markerlights on ITD mean that any early operatives get removed for free, though you can line up barricades further from doors, to make pathfinder visibility harder to get. The one major mistake I made, was a lazy Recon Sweep at the open of TP2, that let John get a cult ambush frag grenade into a Recon drone, comms, and someone else. However with a 3 point lead at that point, I was able to just play defensively to lock up the win.

If anyone is ever looking for games in the northern california region, his Cadia Fight Club (link) is quite regular at A-1 comics!

Catch my thoughts on day 1 holistically, on Can You Roll a Crit’s Vlog at this timestamp(LVO2024 Vlog @4:54)

An amaaaazing display of chaos votann!

Day 2, Match 1: Marty L, Hunter Clade, Open LVO Map 8: Approach, Loot 15-14

Hoo boy, this game was a rough one. My opponent came into the match somewhat heated off the bat, with complaints about Pathfinders. Luckily for me, I’m fairly used to the saltiness that comes with playing the team. Players really don’t enjoy having their defensive rules stripped, and oftentimes make sure it’s known. This was probably one of the most notable games where my clocking probably affected the vibe, while I ultimately used 3-5 more minutes of time, my opponent did not enjoy the extra pressure. Layered on top of all of above was this set of Open terrain having open windows, and no hatches. We did play as if the hatches were there, but the openness of these L-shaped pieces did play a big part in my ability to play the game.

Marty strategically did show off some cool tech, in the princeps coming out to play. Having 2 sets of free mission actions from Servo Skulls, and a Concealed Position did allow him to push a 4:2 lead on turn one. Keeping me on the back foot, and scrambling up the board for positioning. My engaged assault grenadier was able to sneak up the board through a Medic! Dash, since Marty could only shoot him once, allowing a 1-health guy to get an extra dash. That nanocrystalline headgear then proceeded to let me line up a blast on 3 operatives. Due to the chess clock there was some hee’ing and haw’ing about not being specific about spacing of operatives, that I allowed Marty to rewind. Only clipping 2 sicarians for my A Worthy Cause play instead of the three that were there.

Eventually I am able to pen Marty in with a million markerlights, and asymmetric kills. Though his servo-skulls keep it close, and I win on secondaries at the end. I leave Marty to his own devices, as in some situations there isn’t much you can do to improve your opponents game experience. Setting myself up at 3-1 in the overall tournament. With the rest of day 2 on open, how bad could it be?

Day 2, Match 2: Jimmy K, Fellgor, Open LVO Map 5:Battleground, Capture 15-20

Turns out it can get much worse! Jimmy is a staunch competitor and the winner of last year’s KTO. He was one of my JAKTPodcast (link) first guests and we’ve always managed to miss each other over our 3 shared tournaments. Unfortunately for me, Fellgors are probably one of the harder conceptual counters to Pathfinders. My past experiences in December gave me some hope that I could line up some plays, and Recon Sweep away from the worst of the damage.

Unfortunately I am a touch too blase with my opening sweep, and line up the ability for Jimmy to snipe my right flank. I am able to take out his Gnarlscar, but lose my grenadier in the process, while my gun drone gets chipped down to 3 wounds. Jimmy is forced to play very coy for the rest of the turn, and I secure a 4-2 + Recover Item. However the play into tp2 is very spooky with a herd of 6 goats layed in waves behind that top most Octarius L.

I feel that I play the best as I can, and throughout the rest of turns 2 and 3 Jimmy proceeds to make almost every natural 5+ save on difficult shots. With the Shaman taking 11 hits, and saving 10 hits. While I do think the match up is interesting, the Pathfinders ultimately cannot break down the activation count when things are lining up so nicely for Jimmy. The blood senses continue wilding out and I take the L convincingly. I will say that in my top 3 article I call out how heavy the terrain is at LVO. This map has more than enough heavy for melee-teams to stage out of line of sight or always in heavy cover. Not an excuse but definitely painful for me to adjust to. This means I’m 3-2 and mostly out of the running.

Day 2, Match 3: Arturo C, Intercession, Open LVO Map 9:Front Line, Secure 15-17

I’ll admit it, I was overconfident coming into this one. Space Marines into Pathfinders on open? That’s the 2023 ez-clap special! Unfortunately for me, LVO’s open boards had something to say about that. Massing up heavy on objectives, and just fully blocking visibility everywhere. Especially on this map. Arturo is a lovely gentleman, and sends 3 marines up the top left gullet. Where I can’t line up operatives fast enough. Defensively his shooters on the right side L, can hop up and take pot shots at me as I go to score the bottom left. Which leaves me tantalizing few options to move up and prepare markerlights, as Arturo is fully out of sight and in my mind.

A big mistake I catch strategically in this map is my reliance on recon sweep to jiggle around almost an entire board. However this does predispose me to leaving a few operatives on my upper left side, which allowed those 3 assault intercessors to really make a mess of me tp3&4. Additionally I spend Mont’ka on tp2, without any great spots to use it, and not enough marker lights set up in a piece of auto-pilot that ends up biting me in round 8. Arturo is not one to let me wriggle out of my mistakes, and takes a convincing 2-point win! Locking me firmly at 3-3 with a surprising 2 losses on Open. Not the result the team expected coming in.

Catch my thoughts on day 2 holistically, on Can You Roll a Crit’s Vlog at this timestamp(LVO2024 Vlog @24.12)

Day 3, Match 1: Logan D, Farstalker, CQ 4 Bridge, Secure 24-15

Poor, poor Logan, trapped in the dark with pathfinders. I win scoutings, and force him to take up the bleak position of facing down 2 unanswered pathfinder activations. He does line up a strong right flank with 6 operatives and a hound pushing to the door to grab that sweet sweet item. He miscalculates my left flank’s +1APL expected outcome. Thinking that +1apl cannot be used for objectives due to a bad TO call from a prior round. This allows me to roll fusion grenade onto the objective and his operative, causing him to retreat with his Skinner on the right side. Additionally my flanks are both supported by recon sweep in tp2 to remove any chance of Logan getting the jump on us.

Between the left flank grenade, and the middle rooms inability to keep an operative alive through markerlights stripping the barricade’s cover. We collect on the dream of pew pew’ing our way through an opponent’s 5+ armor saves. Quickly turning a bad game into a slow and steady nightmare for Logan. He takes it on the chin, and says “It was a lovely game where a nice man completely dismantled me” which is about as high a compliment as I can receive. If only those armor saves had come in during my game with Jimmy! This win does keep the dream of a 6-3 finish alive, so I reorient myself and get ready for the next round.

Day 3, Match 2: George A, Novitiates, Open LVO Map 1, Capture 16-19

George is a friend from the length of my time in KT21, with us first meeting at KTO1 before a few games in the North East. Before he headed off to spin up a large part of the Canadian scene. He was on JAKTPodcast(link), which has definitely helped to spin up a whole extra scene in Canada!

The Novitiaties versus Pathfinder matchup is a frustrating one that has never felt easy for either side. However upon review I probably should have given George the bottom side. It would have allowed me to have lines to catch the forward place L. While also stopping the out of visibility eviscerator long charge, fight, throw grenade play. I am able to position a grenade that melts the medic on the top right and suffer no losses on tp1 which has me feeling pretty good.
However at the opening of tp2, I feel too safe, and with no targets opt to skip the tp2 Mont’ka in an adjustment from my round with Arturo. Unfortunately George is able to find a line to cut my leader’s cover on the right side with the penitent, and wipes her out. Locking up my mobility tricks, and giving him a strong position for the rest of the game.

If I were able to win an initiative roll in either tp2 or 3 I suspect I could have tied, or even won the game. However, the culmination of my three major mistakes in this game means my 6-3 run is sealed off and I’m just here as emotional support for everyone else.

Day 3, Match 3: Artem I, Hunter Clade, Open LVO Map 7:8.Approach, Loot 19-16

We line up for the 4-4 match, and Artem gives me the top right side. I’ve got to say I’ve generally not minded the terrain layouts for the maps, but the combination of map 7 and objective layout 8 really suuuucked. It meant that my side just could not reach the two middle objectives without getting lit up and really forced the game to remain quite close. Even with Artem losing 4 operatives on tp1.

I make the adjustments and leave 4 operatives to head to the bottom right side, and they lock down that flank against 6 opposing clade operatives. When you can Recon Sweep back into cover, and Mont’ka to dash, shoot, move things can be rough!

Catch my thoughts on day 3 holistically, on Just Another Killteam Podcast’s Vlog at this timestamp (Day 3 Vlog)

Time to head home, check out the sphere!

The final result is a personally mediocre 5-4, especially with how well I think Pathfinders are positioned in the meta. I think there are many things I could do differently in my games, and I suspect all of them were winnable. I’m now stuck with the choice of trying again in future tournaments, or playing a bit more for fun in the future. I’ll leave Adrian’s run for his own soon to come vlog, and written article. While you can hear more from me and Jason on CYRAC’s youtube channel(link), and the new JAKTPodcast channel(link)!

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