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Having FO actually Observe?

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

  1. Mahtamori

    Mahtamori Well-Known Member

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    I don't think the effect of a Forward Observe is as much the issue with using it as the relative danger of using it and the issue with which targets you want to use it against. Smart Missile Launchers or Speculative Fire are terrifying when something does get marked.

    There's little point in using Forward Observe against a weak target such as a lone Druze, instead you want to target unit clusters such as a group of Druze or units with negative MODs. For me, it's more a matter of the skill itself providing fairly lousy chances of success as in the question "why Forward Observe when I can spend equal or fewer amount of orders with equal or better chance of success to directly kill the target".

    Now, if Forward Observer was a pure skill and not a BS Attack at all, it would ignore cover and CH MODs... equally, if the skill was ARO-enabled similar to those Tohaa bugs it would mean there's a bit of a trade-off when attacking an FO in active turn where if they succeed in FOing you, you're at a disadvantage the rest of the turn against further BS AROs
     
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  2. Ben Kenobi

    Ben Kenobi Well-Known Member

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    The Flashpulse of the FO is in my opinion strong enough for ARO.
     
  3. coleslaw

    coleslaw Veteran
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    It really doesn't matter how good the effect of the FO is if you can't hit with it. And if you can hit, use a missile launcher instead ;-)

    So to make FO interesting but not to too powerful in specific situations make it easier to use but keep the reward low.

    How many MSV 2 FO are there? MSV 1?

    I went through army builder: No MSV 2 FO, total 4 MSV 2 FO.

    1 for Yu Jing
    2 for Ariadna
    1 for Nomads

    The Yu Jing one also has camo skill.

    This means that FO often isn't much better at marking targets then HMGs are at killing them without marks. So why spend extra orders?

     
    #43 coleslaw, Jan 11, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
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  4. theradrussian

    theradrussian Well-Known Member

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    How about making it so that the FO roll is an F2F to give the opponent a chance to counter, but that if it is successful and the FO-ing model remains with LOF to the "now marked" target, that would grant the mod?

    Could then maybe allow for range bands and burst values of forward observe to be looked at.
     
  5. Mahtamori

    Mahtamori Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure what you mean, but the Forward Observe skill will produce a Face to Face situation if the opponent does anything that would cause a FTF with a BS Attack.
     
  6. theradrussian

    theradrussian Well-Known Member

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    I mean that it would make an F2F roll occur (and this wouldn't change), but only provide the +3 BS bonus if, after having won the F2F roll, the model who performed the FO remains in such a position that they can see the target, reinforcing them literally acting as a "spotter"
     
  7. Mahtamori

    Mahtamori Well-Known Member

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    Right. That's what's confused me. I think that'd mean a nerf to them and I think most people here think it needs a small buff :)
     
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  8. theradrussian

    theradrussian Well-Known Member

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    Yes but if you read my posts again you'll see me mentioning how this minor but thematic nerf would open up design space to make the benefits of forward observing a target be greater.....

    Obligatory :) I guess
     
  9. wendigo

    wendigo Nomad Artichoke

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    And that's why noone uses forward observe outside of a classified objective.
     
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  10. Mahtamori

    Mahtamori Well-Known Member

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    Yes, but that design space is already open ;)
     
  11. jfunkd

    jfunkd Rebel Myrmidon Graffiti Artist
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    FO may be situational but to say it's useless outside of guided is or indirect fire shows a lack of experience effectively using it.

    Forward Observe is one of those skills that is right on the edge of being too powerful, but it's clear to me that CB has decided to have it be slightly under powered rather than over the top. A slight adjustment could easily shift FO into an OP skill.

    One thing that surprises me is that in 3 pages of this thread; not a single person mentioned that Targeted gives a +3 to hacking attacks as well as BS attacks. If you start looking to stack this modifier with firewall, surprise shot, or kaleidoscope; normally impossibly difficult hacking attacks can become worthwhile.

    If I could make any change to the FO skill, I would like to see it get one positive +3 range band. 0"-8" would probably make the most sense to me because it's the most restrictive. Making it +3 in 8"-24" would make the skill something people would use and abuse every single game, and it could be a welcome change to a lot of people; but my opinion is that it would make FO too powerful.

    I got a lot of experience using FO playing DBS. FO becomes fairly reliable when you deploy to use it and coordinate it with Hunzakuts from surprise shot. While I never came close to using it every game, there were times where I didn't like using a B5 HMG because the odds were just too close to 50/50 on hard AROs. Sacrificing a Hunz in a coordinated order to stick targeted on there first meant I was more likely to succeed and have the HMG alive for later turns.

    FO is situational, but making a 40/20/40 shot into something more like a 55/15/30 is potentially worth the gamble, especially so if you have few attack units and most of them only have one wound. It's also worth the order expenditure to target multiple wound units that are usually going to take a few activations to down.

    Thankfully FO troops are generally low cost, especially for the factions that need the BS boost the most. Those factions can afford multiple FOs, that usually infiltrate, and then can coordinate to make it a reasonably reliable use of an order + command token. Surprise FO is nice too, but often the most stubborn ARO units are in a fireteam so that is situational too.

    Factions that have cheap TO camo FO, like MO, can really take advantage of the skill but I rarely see it mentioned in the various tactica on these forums.

    FO is a lot like some of the hacking programs, it requires experience to recognize when the order expenditure will actually conserve orders rather than being an order sink, but the situations come up more often than most people realize they are there. In my experience these opportunities are not an every-game event.
     
    #51 jfunkd, Jan 11, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2019
  12. Wolf

    Wolf https://watchwolf.net

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    I’ve followed this thread with interest from the outset - thanks to everyone for their good contributions. I’m particularly interested in our central theme, that using Forward Observer to apply Targeted to enemy units is (all other things being equal) too Order inefficient.

    I’m also no fan of ‘Theory-Finity’, and found a lot of posts here did often seem to lack suitable qualification, so I built a 300pt Aleph list to play Highly Classified (Limited Insertion) against a friend’s Bakunin Nomads to investigare a little.

    The specific aim was to use the FO + SML tactic, to also try it with Hacking: Spotlight (a pseudo FO, since it uses Hacking to apply Targeted), and to crush my enemy, drive him before me, and steal his horses remotes, as usual :smile:

    I’m not a very competitive or experienced ITS player, and Aleph is my ‘holiday army’ - I just leave the models at my family home and play a few games when I visit, which (since Im an ex-pat) is every 6 months. I really dont know the army, models or tactics; no doubt the list is flawed, but I found it very interesting nonetheless.

    300pt Observing FO.s - 9th Jan
    ──────────────────────────────────────────────────

    [​IMG]10 [​IMG]1
    ACHILLES Lieutenant Spitfire, Nanopulser / Pistol, EXP CCW. (2.5 | 75)
    MACHAON Combi Rifle, Nanopulser, Eclipse Grenades / Pistol, DA CCW. (0.5 | 38)
    YUDBOT Electric Pulse. (0 | 3)
    AJAX 2 Combi Rifles, Nanopulser / AP Heavy Pistol, EXP CCW. (0 | 39)
    MYRMIDON OFFICER (Chain of Command) Boarding Shotgun, Nanopulser, Eclipse Grenades / Pistol, AP CCW. (1 | 35)
    MYRMIDON Hacker (Assault Hacking Device) Combi Rifle, Nanopulser, Smoke Grenades / Pistol, AP CCW. (0.5 | 31)
    MYRMIDON Chain Rifle, Nanopulser, Smoke Grenades / Pistol, AP CCW. (0 | 16)
    SAMEKH Rebot Smart Missile Launcher / Electric Pulse. (1.5 | 18)
    DALETH Rebot Combi Rifle, Sniffer / Electric Pulse. (0 | 17)
    DACTYL Engineer Combi Rifle, Adhesive-Launcher, D-Charges / 2 Breaker Pistols, Knife. (0 | 23)
    NETROD Electric Pulse. (0 | 4)

    6 SWC | 299 Points

    Open in Infinity Army

    We shared our intention for the lists ahead of time to keep things spicy, and the problem was clearly going to be getting into good range to use FO. I took the FO as a Remote, and put a Myrmidon Hacker with Spotlight in a Fireteam with Ajax (“you feel me?” I said :wink:).

    He brought a couple of link teams, and some serious ARO in the form of a Sin Eater Observant w/Neurocinetics & HMG (“do you feel me?” he said in reply :grin:)

    The Game
    In practice, with only Combi.s and a Shotgun, the Ajax link lacked a medium range weapon to more more effectively. I used smoke to move them downrange (from back table left) and provided cover for the remote to also move downrange (from back table centre) to get them all into FO range of both his Sin Eater and Fireteam Haris. I also risked moving the SML REM into Partial Cover to command a fire lane.

    neither the remote nor the team managed to Target the selected enemies in the first turn, and I had to shift focus to get on with game objectives. The remote died in Turn 2, but the FO Fireteam survived and he spent a lot of Orders trying to eliminate the threat, and more still to avoid the resilient team.

    I won the game because the positions of the FO team and SML, whilst largely unplanned, turned out to be crucial in the context of the objectives (I wanted to get into Close combat with the Fireteam, which he correctly guessed). This forced him to play between their positions and Achilles on the other side of the table, spending Orders and ultimately causing a shortfall that left him unable to achieve enough objectives.

    That outcome might well have arisen from our respective inexperience and abilty, but of course thats always true anyway, and Order economy is very much at the heart of this debate and how won and lost at every level.

    Conclusions
    I thought the SML Remote at only 1 SWC point was relatively good value, and that the Ajax/FO team was a great idea, but would need work to be more generally effective.

    The shortoming for Forward Observer (and Hacking: Spotlight) is its very limited range, and the Hacking zone range likewise. The former can’t be improved (though those few armies with MSV/FO could get more utility) and improving the latter will be situational.

    So all in all, I think its a largely strategic decision that, like including a TAG in your list, will very much drive the list-building meta-game in your locale. It’s an inclusion for which your opponent must provide a direct answer or be prepared to work around. Or you know, have his troops die horribly to explosive ammunition :smile:

    Generally, if it costs an extra Order to use FO + [SML, Spec Fire] and - all other things being equal, your opponent has to use 3 Orders to play around you, that’s an effective strategy. Plus, whilst getting the combo off is tricky, and its exact value will be situational, anything that scares your opponent is good, and anything that makes them cry is great! :grin:

    Application
    For casual games, the FO + [Guided SML, Spec Fire] doesn't seem unduly costly or impractical - you probably already want a long-ranged blast weapon, and you certainly want ITS Specialists and to be abke to fulfill your Highly Classified if you draw the FO card.

    No doubt there’s synergy there, and a case to be made, but our question is: with all other things being equal, are there better synergies and better strategies?

    So whether you can make that case for an army list that’s truly competitive on the top tables at a major ITS event I myself really couldnt say(Ill let you know ifvthat ever happens!) but its worth noting that the vast majority of games are certainly not ITS competiions. And also by defintion, the vast majority of players aren't going to be competitive on those top ITS tables anyway.

    I apologise for making such a long post, but hope at least I made it readable. The experiment was really interesting, and the experience of the FO Fireteam so entertaining that I decided to make ALEPH my main army this year, so I packed up the models and brought them all back with me!

    Deciding whether FO is good or useful really isn’t straightforward, because its going to be dependent on the values we bring to using different units, play styles, strategies and tactics. On one hand we probably care about being effective and competitive, but on the other we probably also care about creating interesting and exciting lists.

    i happen to think the best player is the one who creates the most enjoyable game with his opponent (you can quote me :smile:), and my experience of trying to use Forward Observers to observe was such a lot of fun that I want to write better lists and adapt my play style to accomodate it. Sorry, what was the question again? :wink:
     
    #52 Wolf, Jan 11, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
  13. Wolf

    Wolf https://watchwolf.net

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    In thread that I found difficult because posts really needed to be properly qualified for their complicated situations, the above by @jfunkd describes the experience I was trying to gain from my test game, and addresses exactly the points I was interested to understand.

    Thats an early nomination for Forum Post of the Year 2019, right there!
     
    #53 Wolf, Jan 11, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
  14. helsbecter

    helsbecter Ultrademocratic subSenator, #dominion Module

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    I've found that FO + guided missiles or spec fire has become very interesting against factions like IA or OS. These factions have big links that play very aggressively because of their thickness. If you can target a Rudra or a Pangguling that's nice durable target to throw missiles (and splash damage!) at.
     
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  15. Hachiman Taro

    Hachiman Taro Inverted gadfly

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    One nice trick is to use marker state to run a camo FO into a big nasty (eg TAG)s back arc and FO them without taking shots back. They can turn to face with a warning or a change face, but then you just drop death on them from the sky. The no arm/ bts save vs FO makes a decent difference in that case.

    Also sml bots are one of the few low pts but high swc troops with a pie plate template so can make an ok ARO annoyance if you are floating swc and esp if it happens to work with other elements in your list (eg FOs / hackers / engineers)

    Targeted from spotlight can be nice to drop death on models hiding prone on buildings etc too.

    But overall I agree it's a little too often underwhelming in practice.

    Its one reason I thought nerfing FO further by taking away link burst bonus and triangulated from it was a bit odd. It's the flash pulse + specialist part that's a bit strong, if anything.
     
    #55 Hachiman Taro, Feb 8, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2019
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  16. Barrogh

    Barrogh Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I can understand the reason out-of-LoF Targeting was nerfed, but spotting face to face being even weaker relatively to shooting when you are in a link feels strange. An indirect buff to ability to pull your unit back on your Reactive turn, I guess, but still.