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Having FO actually Observe?

Discussion in 'Access Guide to the Human Sphere' started by RogueJello, Jan 7, 2019.

  1. RogueJello

    RogueJello Well-Known Member

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    What changes do you think it would take to make using a Forward Observer to actually observe things? By which I mean use the Forward Observe skill to put a model into the Targeted state.

    As things currently stand I have never used FO in N3, despite playing pretty regularly, and running both Ariadna and PanO. Further I have not see anybody else use FO to put a model into the Targeted state.

    I see a few problems with the FO skill that makes it's use unpopular.

    First, putting something into the Targeted state is almost never as useful as killing something. Targeted means that a model so effected has a +3 MOD to be hit, and can be the target of guided weapons. The problem here is that the +3 MOD is nice, but not fantastic.

    So why observe, when you could be shooting? Shooting a model will often remove a model from the table in a single order, while FO is going to require a minimum of two if not more.

    The second problem is that it requires a good deal of list synergy to really take advantage of the Targeted state. You need either guided weapons, some sort of speculative fire weapon. Guided weapons themselves have taken a few hits in the transition from N2->N3.

    LGL are in a better position, but tend to cost SWC, which largely seems a hold over from N2. To really shine they also require that your opponent co-operate somewhat by bunching up his troops in such a way that you can effect more than one with a template. The removal of deviation also somewhat nerfs LGLs, Grenades, etc.

    Now it is true that the +3 MOD for FO is a applicable to all weapons, but none will experience the 9 pt swing of a speculative fire weapon (-6 for speculative fire, to no penalty and +3 for Targeted).

    Nor is this to say that Forward Observers are not useful models to bring. The Flash Pulse is one of the better AROs in the game, and the ability to push buttons is always valuable. Further they're often a pretty cheap specialist to bring, costing at best 1-2 pts.

    However, it just feels like a miss opportunity to not have the FO skill be useful from time to time.

    Would it make sense to have the FO skill have a better + band, like the fix to the Boarding Shotgun? Or maybe make it possible to FO without generating an ARO?

    Just wondering what people's opinions are for fixes for this skill.
     
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  2. MikeTheScrivener

    MikeTheScrivener O-12 Peace Kepper

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    I think the problem with FOs isn't the Observe skill itself. I mean for a ~1 upgrade it shouldn't bring anything to the table that is extremely powerful. The "Targeted" state can lose the +3 bonus for all troopers and no one would complain. It's really only purpose, outside of being a dirt cheap button pusher, is to unlock the guided strategy. This is the crux of why no one uses the "Observe" skill, because the guided attacks are either: Costly and can be achieved to a similar effect with less orders with something else in the army, or, trying to integrate a guided missile bot into your list is like trying to fit a triangular piece into an otherwise square puzzle.

    Often times Guided missile strategies become gimmick lists that can fail pretty hard against a smart opponent. CB seems to be aware of this and are trying to entice people to take them by letting them fit into link teams, which is nice because then they can double as a semi-decent ARO piece, which increases their versatility. You also have to bear in mind that "Observing" someone, or something, covers a hand full of the classified cards – which should never be a point and click. FO also has to be balanced against the "Spotlight" hacking program, which if you ask me, needs a buff or some type of overhaul.
     
  3. Ben Kenobi

    Ben Kenobi Well-Known Member

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    Not generating an ARO is in my opinion definitely no solution. You would cancel a very important rule in the game.

    FO costs only 1 point and for this it is very useful.
    Yes it's a pity that we don't use the skill often, but I don't want to pay more for FO.

    BTW, there was a poll some times ago.

    How frequently do you actually "Forward Observe"?
     
  4. Pen-dragon

    Pen-dragon Deva

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    I use Forward Observer from time to time and love the skill. If I am going to include a weapon with speculative fire, I am going to want a couple of FO's in the list. Fortunately Forward Observers are fairly easy to come by, and most are pretty cheap to have, and also work as back-up, or even primary button pushers. You don't even have to use them to get value out of the skill. Put one grenade launcher in our list, and one forward observer, and watch the opposing player struggle to keep his link team properly spread out. The more spread out a link team is, the easier it is to shave off members one at a time.

    Targeted lasts till the end of the turn, meaning if you have a tough target to root out, and you know it is going to take you several orders to do so, the +3 on every order, can be well worth it. It is very beneficial to stack mods, and targeted is just one more mod to stack. My opinion is that Forward Observer is just fine as it is, if not undercosted.
     
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  5. Nenyx

    Nenyx Well-Known Member

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    The problem is that it's harder to pass the FO roll than to actually hit the target. Most active weapons have better range bands and burst than FO, so they have more chances even by using BS instead of WIP. And since the target can hit you back, using FO on a tough target is but a gamble. Unless you are hitting from behind, but even then it's only worth if you have close to no chance to deal a wound (ie: combi vs any MBT).
    The only FO i see are for the sake of doing a classified, the +3 to hit is just a bonus, and usually a useless bonus since the FO was made on a defenseless of weak target.
     
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  6. MikeTheScrivener

    MikeTheScrivener O-12 Peace Kepper

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    Not really. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that FO almost always has a better chance of success compared to shooting when coming from most camo infiltrators in the 16-24 band, versus using their rifle or shotgun in the same range band. Bear in mind that there is no save against the targeted state.
     
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  7. Pen-dragon

    Pen-dragon Deva

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    I don't usually build lists around the observe skill, but since they often end up in my list, it is just one more tool I can take advantage of. One that I have found useful to have.

    The most common FO weapon is the combi, which obviously has better burst, but the range bands don't line up, in the 16"-24", and 32"-48" range the FO has better range modifiers. Now that is splitting hairs, but FO isn't always at that big of a disadvantage. Also WIP vs BS can affect to hit chances. My Aleph FO usually have 1-3 extra points in WIP. Finally, while a Forward Observer might have an easier time hitting his target with a shooting attack than an observe, and observe has a better chance of having an effect. If your target is a TAG in cover, I would much rather try and put them in a targeted state, to make it easier for my HMG to root them out, then watch my bullets bounce of their armor. Sure their are other ways to root out hard targets in cover, but if you already have a Forward Observer on the board, they might end up being your best choice.

    Observe is hardly a game winning strategy, but I think it is a tool worth keeping in the box. Your Mileage May Vary, and some factions may have it worse than others, but when I do use it, I am rarely disappointed.
     
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  8. Nenyx

    Nenyx Well-Known Member

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    So you just used one order to do nothing except putting it on a targeted state. So it has better be worth it, but since you believed it was a favorable roll in the 16-24' band, i guess the target has only short range weapons but you still had a line of fire on it. Strange. Couldn't you just shoot at it with a spitfire/redfury/mk12/hmg or whatever with another trooper and kill it straight, using only one order ? I mean, in the worst case, you not only used one order, but revealed a camo, used your surprise shot, just to have your not so cheap FO camo troop killed.
    In most cases, there are better suited trades. Do you really need that +3 to hit to kill this rifle opponent with your HMG in your active turn ?

    Yeah, sure. If the TAG is the only one who can ARO, meaning it has no cover, and can be shot down by your HMG. Which is already a mistake from the TAG owner. Note that i'm not saying FO is not worth, i'm saying it is highly situationnal and in most cases it won't be worth the trouble. Remember that you are still using one order, and probably willingly revealing a camo token, for an action that has no benefit in itself (since you need more orders to benefit from it).
    Remember you are the one saying your FO troop may have better chances with his FO than his combi, but i do remind you that you are the one who chose to use that troop to begin with, you can also use a troop that is better suited to the task.

    There is a reason most players, if we can account for what is said on this forum, do not use FO except for classified. I'm just trying to explain why.
     
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  9. MikeTheScrivener

    MikeTheScrivener O-12 Peace Kepper

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    The weapon the enemy has is negligible – FO is still going to be a better roll versus using your rifle or shotgun regardless of what they're throwing back at you.

    Surprise FO is probably the most reliable way to get it off, outside of observing an unconscious trooper. Have you read the rules for the targeted state? The +3 is probably the least impressive thing about it. It's extremely viable to trade a cheap camo FO to possibly nail a HI or better yet, a link team, with guided attacks. once it gets off, its almost always safer and a more reliable way to inflict wounds, pumping 5 orders into guided attacks than to move an HMG into position and shoot.

    I'm not saying it's the greatest strategy in the world – I'm just arguing for the case that there isn't no point to FO and the targeted state. It just needs to be better implemented into lists and games.
     
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  10. Pen-dragon

    Pen-dragon Deva

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    Well I was specifically brought up the chances of FO vs Combi in response to this quote;


    I am totally confused by this, how can a TAG in cover not have cover? And did the TAG owner make a mistake? Maybe they did, capitalizing on mistakes is a good skill to have, but it helps to have a diverse toolbox. Maybe they didn't make mistake, and the HMG and FO aren't working in a complete vacuum, and I spent even more orders (gasp!) to set that situation up. Maybe because with the current board setup, that is the most order efficient acceptable attack vector I can get. Table situation matters a lot.

    This I am mostly in agreement. It is situational. I just disagree with how situational it is. I almost always have a Forward Observer somewhere on the board. On occasion it has been helpful to light someone up. I have used it often enough, that I would feel its lose if it was removed.
     
  11. Nenyx

    Nenyx Well-Known Member

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    Alas the targeted + guided missile is overall a bad tactic, because of order economy. I mean:
    1. I just try to shoot at the troop with any high burst weapon i have. If it works, i can hope to kill it in only one order.
    2. I try to FO it: at least one order. Then i try to shoot at it (guided or not, whatever your choice is). At least one order. So, i need at least 2 orders to do the same.
    And that is without taking into account that guided missile has only 1 burst and can be dodged, meaning you may very well be throwing out orders to do so. It is safe, indeed, but you pay for it, you trade safety for ressources. Your most valuable one: orders. In fact, the guided missile thing is only worth if you can hope to hit more than one troop with the template.

    It is true that for your combi/FO troop, which is a standard loadout, FO may be better. BUT, you can also try to use another trooper. After all, you said you wanted your HMG to shoot at it, isn't it ? As i said before, for something you could have done in 1 order, you are now certain to need at least 2 orders to do the same.

    I am sorry about that, i used the wrong word for it. By saying the TAG has no cover, i don't want to say it it is not on partial cover (-3 to hit, +3 ARM), but it has no troop overwatching it. The TAG should have been either on total cover, or have at least one trooper sharing it's line of fire. Meaning you can't just safely shoot on the TAG in a face to face, you have to take care of another troop before (or at the same time). Personnally, i often use a TR remote, or a CH:TO sniper. It's far too dangerous to let a TAG on overwatch without any troop supporting it.
     
  12. MikeTheScrivener

    MikeTheScrivener O-12 Peace Kepper

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    This is wrong on so many levels. I'm not going to play theory-finity with you on a made-up board where it takes one order to shoot all of your opponents' models with your HMG. Part of what makes this game so hard to net list for– and otherwise, is because of situational effectiveness, meaning that a wild amount of units are effective for different reasons in different metas because of variables like terrain density, match-ups, player preference, and mission selection.
     
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  13. DFW Ike

    DFW Ike Well-Known Member

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    but you need to spend the same number of orders walking an HMG into position to shot an enemy as you would walking an FO into position. We can remove everything up to the "perform FO attack" step from the discussion because it's the same order cost for the FO as it is for the user of regular bullets/Plasma/APHMG.
     
  14. RobertShepherd

    RobertShepherd Brisk antipodean

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    My Ariadnan opponents use forward observers to forward observe on the regular. The skill's value emerges when engaging a model that will take greater firepower or more orders to engage than just one model with one order and a rifle. E.g. a main battle TAG, or symbioarmour sniper. A foxtrot engaging the target with a rifle will probably do nothing or at best might inflict a wound before eventually losing a F2F roll. The same Foxtrot landing a forward observer roll before handing engagement responsibility over to the Katyusha in the back not only is more likely to accomplish more, they're exposing the overall force to less risk (because the only risk of ARO is until a successful forward observer roll is landed).

    Outside of Ariadna and their excellent spec fire options I've found it's much rarer and typically the even less risky EVO + Sat Lock combo is used.
     
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  15. MikeTheScrivener

    MikeTheScrivener O-12 Peace Kepper

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    oh, I was unaware that this is undisputed fact on every table in every game ever regardless of the armies used.
     
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  16. Aspect Graviton

    Aspect Graviton Friendly Alien Overlord
    Warcor

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    I use FO pretty often with a high level of sucess in both Ariadna and Combined,

    Ariadna you can have two foxtrots combined order to suprise shot FO against heavy targets (such as a knight), death mark them and guided missile anything around them to death along with the knight.

    In combined I ususally use a Malignos or a unidron/M-drone under assisted fire, last time I used the tactic it broke my opponents 5 man core team. I honestly can't remember a time where FO guided hasn't done what I wanted it to do.

    Also: Step 1 FO unconscious bodies near other targets of opportunity, Step 2 Warcrimes, Step 3 Profit
     
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  17. Section9

    Section9 Well-Known Member

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    It might not be literally true, but it's accurate enough to use as a rule of thumb. Especially if you only have 1x HMG in your list.
     
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  18. Nenyx

    Nenyx Well-Known Member

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    Well, first, you should note that i was replying to this:

    Meaning this was a case where the HMG was already at range and in position, or would have to be moved to. I'm not the one saying that.

    Then you are the one saying "i have a camo FO, and it's better for him to FO than combi that one guy", to that i replied "why are you using that camo FO on this target to begin with ?". If it's not the HMG guy, it may be a spitfire forward deployment. Or some infiltrated sniper. Or a linked troop with about any weapon of the game. You are saying "but it's the best my FO has to do", but that's just show this FO is simply unsuited to this task. You don't need to have only one HMG and make it do anything, just use a better suited troop.

    The guided missile is, in N3, nothing but some gimlick tactic. It can work, but it is expensive, both in orders and in SWC (because you have to buy the SML first, and it's not that good for anything else). It can be spectacular, i don't deny that. But the only one who can reliably use that tactic are armies who can afford to field many cheap infiltrated (ie: already in position, less orders used) FO and have enough orders to make use of that tactic.

    Note that the main problem i was pointing is the order cost. From the moment you want to do FO + something, you are already using at the very least 2 orders to do that, since your first order (FO) can't disable the target by it's own. Since many troops have only 1 wound, since for the others there are brutally efficient weapons (linked HRL, linked missile ... yes, i often play against PanO :'( ), there are ways to reliably disable a troop using only one or a few orders.
     
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  19. MikeTheScrivener

    MikeTheScrivener O-12 Peace Kepper

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    Theres a time and place for everything. A narrow strategy like Guided Missiles won't be applicable in all situations, but if you willingly turn a blind eye or flat out refuse to see merit in being able to possibly peg multiple enemy troopers with an AP+DA template from absolute safety, thats on you. You talk about order economy but are neglecting the possibility of your FO being in hidden deploy, an order you wouldn't have otherwise. You neglect to talk about possible orders of maneuvering your HMG through terrain, or around unfavorable AROs. You also neglect to think about possible orders it would take to withdraw your HMG to safety for your reactive turn.

    Ariadna isn't the only one who can pull it off. They have the most straight forward way of doing it – but by no means is it a strategy exclusive to them. If you're weighing it in PanO you may be out of luck, they have much more maneuverable and deadly pieces. I think something like a guided missile can be splashed into something like nomads with relative effectiveness.
     
  20. DFW Ike

    DFW Ike Well-Known Member

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    Don't most TAGs live through the Ariadna guided missile strategy [the worst of the guided missile strategies]? They don't have AP+DA, its either/or. On average a Guija will only be hit 2.5 times without hacker support. If it has hacker support, on average it only takes 1 wound after the Katyusha has spent all its orders.


    If the opponent deployed poorly and chooses to have his dudes clustered in tight groups (maybe because you're playing without building interiors on the "stereotypical Euro table" so you only have 2 pieces of cover in your deployment zone), then the Katyusha is a good choice. But this is not because its an efficient choice for killing armour [your original argument], but because it's a way to punish new players on tables designed for it.

    You have a point that FO profiles tend to have more deployment options, like infiltration, but there ARE infiltrators and AD troops that have heavy weapons/grenade launchers. They can eat that cake too. They might also be considered cheaper, since you have to pay the remote + hacker/dozer tax for the guided missile.