Sentinel Tactica

Submitted By: Federal Hero Date: September 20, 2005, 07:53:31 AM Views: 4993
Summary: By Federal Hero, IG 4th Ed Codex

Part I - Intro

The Sentinel in my opinion is an often overlooked especially when the player has access to the Leman Russ and its variants. But nonetheless it is a valuable vehicle in the Imperial arsenal. I would not recommend using the Sentinel in squads but rather many one man squads. This way, any extra hits don't carry over to the rest of the squad, the squads can target multiple units, and it's much more flexible because the many one man Sentinel squads do not have to adhere to coherency rules.

Scouts - The "Scouts" rule allows the Imperial player to deploy his Sentinel no matter what. This often means that the player is able to get some armor on the field in situations where he normally wouldn't. The rule also allows for a "head start" for the Imperial player and if he wishes he can take full advantage of it by moving into valuable defensive/offensive positions, setting up fire zones, or even to get a "head start" on claiming objectives.

Equipment - The Sentinel has access to most vehicle upgrades except the ones that sensibly can only be used by tanks. (ex. track guards) Out of all the upgrades I wouldn't really recommend many. The largest waste of points is the armored crew compartment in my opinion because when the Sentinel is hit it will most likely be hit numerous times and destruction is inevitable. This is why I recommend many one man squads because if one goes down you still have 1 or 2 more and the extra hits from the destroyed Sentinel cannot be carried over to the next Sentinel. Equipment I would find somewhat worth it would be extra armor (keeps the sentinel moving), searchlights (if the mission is a night fight you can't go wrong), camo netting (if the mission uses hidden set up you can't go wrong either), smoke launchers (use it when in the open and waiting for your target), and hunter killer missiles can be effective but use them at your own discretion (great for shooting the sides and rears of enemy armor.)

Basic Tactics - I can't stress this enough, use the Sentinel in many one man squads. If you use just one then you'll find it wiped off of the board by turn 2 unless you've got some serious armor threatening your opponent. Many one man squads are great. The flexibility allows you to flank your opponents, to capture multiple objectives, and to create multiple fire zones. Sentinels can also be used to support infantry squads, plug up holes in your defensive lines or boost the front, and even to help out with heavy weapon deficiencies in your army (ex. Storm Troopers need some extra firepower? Move your Sentinel up.) Using Sentinels along side other heavier armor in your army can also decrease the chance of your Sentinels being destroyed as your enemy will tend to focus on those more "threatening" vehicles first. Also, use your Sentinel in cover a much as possible and keep it in hull down. This is why the Sentinel is great in Cityfight and other types of dense terrain. You can even move it up beside your Demolisher or Leman Russ so that it is screened from enemy fire and when you get into position fire away. I think I've mentioned the basics of the Sentinel. Next, its many useful variants

Part II - Mars Pattern

The Mars pattern sentinel is well established as the "standard" Sentinel. It is armed with a multi laser which is the second cheapest weapon a Sentinel can be armed with. The weapon is an excellent weapon as its relatively high strength can deal with most tough opponents and light-medium armor. Its high rate of fire can also provide the Sentinel with some nice anti-infantry hitting power although it lacks AP value. It can really only punch through the weakest armor that you will often see on Orks and some Tyranids. Although it compensates for this with its high rate of fire, which can work surprisingly well against better armored opponents. The mars pattern is a great choice if your sentinel is to provide a flexible role in your army as it can take out light-medium armor, together opponents, and its high rate of fire proves useful against infantry. This is a great pattern for drop troop armies in my opinion because it can provide some much needed flexible support for your troops while they are waiting for the reserves to show up. Its effectiveness point for point also makes it a very attractive pattern as well.

Part III - Armageddon Pattern

The dreaded 'Tank Hunter" Sentinel feared by all of my opponents. Judging by the lascannon armament you can probably guess that this Sentinel is made for sniffing out and destroying the enemy's armor. This is the most expensive pattern and will often be overlooked but I swear by this pattern and it is actually one of my favorites. The Sentinel makes an excellent tank hunter because of A) it's scouting rule can get it into an excellent firing position to take out the enemy's tanks early in the game and B) It can move and then fire; popping out from behind a building or from a forest and blowing holes into the opponents side or even rear (if you're lucky) armor. Although this leaves your Sentinel open to enemy fire it should at least glance the tank and provide you with another turn to run away. This pattern is best used (like most Sentinels) in high density terrain environments such as Cityfight, forest, or jungle where the Sentinel can hide out and emerge when the time is right. Some downsides to this pattern include the obvious expense, its one 4+ shot to hit, and it makes a juicy target for you enemy. Although, most of these problems can be minimized if you use 2 or three Sentinels in your army and have other more juicier targets(Leman Russ) for your enemy to shot at. I also wouldn't leave all of your anti-tank power in the hands of the Sentinels and instead I would couple them with an anti-tank squad and other lascannons dispersed throughout your army. Together, your enemy's armor doesn't stand a chance.

Part IV - Cadian Pattern

The Cadian pattern Sentinel is armed with the reliable autocannon and is fairly new to the Imperial Guard. For 5 points more then a Mars pattern you get a weapon that can punch through stronger body armor, has a higher strength, has a better range, but carries one less shot. This Sentinel is great for supporting your units from afar and is a great way to get your heavy weapons around to where you need them (hence it is a mobile heavy weapons platform). This extra ranged firepower also means that you can keep it in the rear of your army and out of range of your opponents anti-armor weapons giving it an "extra defensive mechanism." It is an effective weapon against almost all infantry excluding SM's, CSMs, Necrons, and the Inquisition (I would recommend the Mars pattern for these because AP value means nothing in these cases and the -1 strength won't mean much either but you get one more shot). Like the Mars pattern it is great for taking out tougher opponents and light-medium armor, but is much better at it. Although it carries one less shot I believe that it's AP power makes up for this deficiency. Also, like the Mars pattern, I would also recommend the Cadian patter in a drop trooper army for the same reasons; it can provide flexible support for you infantry while they wait for the reserves. Personally, I prefer this pattern over the Mars mainly because of its better AP value but I should mention I do not use it in my own army. Point for point I believe this pattern and the Mars pattern are the two best choices but I should stress it all depends on the role of the Sentinel and who the enemy is.

Part V - Catachan Pattern

The ever elusive Catachan pattern. Armed with its heavy flamer, it is a difficult pattern to use. It is the cheapest pattern available to Sentinels and is a great choice if all you want with your Sentinel is to tie up units in hand to hand combat(explained in Part VI) or if you are using your Sentinel in VERY dense terrain hence the Catachan name is attached. The main problem is the weapon's lack of range and even with its scouting move you'll still find it destroyed before you can even use it. In dense terrain though, you can use the terrain to your advantage and sneak up to the front lines and then unload your flaming death upon your opponent. This variant also works well in dense terrain because of the fact that it's armed with a heavy flamer and your opponent cannot hide in cover from its AP value. The heavy flamer also compliments the Sentinels low BS because it does not require a "to hit roll" which is always handy to the Imperial Guard. In dense terrain, this pattern would be good against all opponents not armed in power armor and I would recommend having a maximum of 2 of the Catachan pattern Sentinel in an army because of its lack of flexibility. IMO I would rather put my heavy flamers into infantry squads(assuming I'm playing "Jungle Fighters") because they both move just fast but the infantry squad has a better survival rate; but basically that's your call. Probably as you can tell from my enthusiastic review of the Catachan pattern, I'm not the biggest fan of this pattern mainly because it is useless in my army but I'm sure that if I played Death World Veterans or "Jungle Fighters" it would be one of my favorite variants.

Part VI - Hand to Hand Combat

In my experiences as a Guard player I have seen and even used Sentinels for hand to hand combat. One of the best things about it is that it uses armor and not an armor save meaning that units with strength 3 or less will have little chance of destroying the Sentinel but it doesn't mean that they are invincible; swarming rules still gives the enemy a chance. This is a tactic often used for tying up enemy units in hand to hand combat. If this is a tactic that you wish to employ then the best advice would be to arm it with the cheapest weapon possible(heavy flamer). Make sure that the unit you're tying up is worth more then the sentinel points wise to make the sacrifice worth it and watch out for power fists and krak/emp/haywire grenades that are made for destroying vehicles. Employing this tactic against lower strength units will often leave them tied up for the rest of the game and if you're lucky then you may even defeat them. Just keep in mind that once your Sentinel is tied up in combat most likely it will stay there and won't be of any use during the game.

As for using Sentinels for actual close combat...don't. IMO Sentinels are not made for actual hand to hand combat. Even arming with "Hardened Fighters" still leaves the Sentinel with a low strength attack and under no circumstances is it even comparable to a dreadnought. They will not fare well against strength 4 or higher opponents and are very vulnerable to Powerfists and other nasty hand to hand combat weapons. There are many better teams at hand to hand combat then the Imperial so why do we even try. Stick to Rough Riders for hand to hand and basically give Sentinels a fighting chance; in cover half of the time and as far away from the enemy as possible.

Part VII - Forgeworld Sentinels
By Nubis

In addition to the Codex pattern Sentinels, Forgeworld has made rules for several new Sentinels, the Sentinel Powerlifter in Imperial Armour v1, and the Support Sentinels and Drop Sentinels in Imperial Armour v3. I'll be guiding you through the dos and don'ts of these 3 patterns.

Sentinel Powerlifter - The most pathetic excuse for a Dreadnought. Ever. The Powerlifter is equipped with a powerlifter (never saw that coming, did you?) that is designed for hauling crates around in supply depots. Of course, we couldn't have a unit if it didn't have combat potential (potential being the key word here) so the Powerlifter is a Sentinel designed for Close Combat. It gets a bonus attack and a bit more strength compared to your normal sentinel, but that is not enough to compensate for its hideous armor which can be damaged by unequipped Space Marines, its open-topped status and no ranged weapons. Leave this walker at the supply depot, where it can do what it was designed for to be a cool forklift.

Support Sentinels - Sentinels with big exploding tubes. Yay. These walkers can provide some decent fire support for an IG army, too bad we already have plenty of it. You can either purchase a Multiple Rocket Pod, which is a fast-firing Frag Missile with shorter range, or an Indirect Fire Missile Launcher. As both patterns are as expensive or more than the Armageddon pattern Sentinel, I would only use the Missile Launcher variant, as it can be hidden and pepper targets with rockets from behind terrain, greatly increasing its survivability. You can only take one squadron of these, so take 3 as they shouldn't get fired upon anyways. You also need one normal squad of sentinels first, but that shouldn't be hard to do.

Drop Sentinels - As a note, these can only be taken in an Elysian Drop Troops army. Sorry guys. Anyways, the Drop Sentinel comes with 2 weapons options, either a Heavy Bolter or a Multi-Melta. The Heavy Bolter is far better choice, as it can get off enough shots to compensate for its BS 3. While the Multi-Melta looks good on paper, it only has a 50% chance of hitting before getting blown to pieces by the enemy. Together with the same cost as an Armageddon Sentinel, it's simply not worth it. Drop Sentinels can deep-strike, which I would recommend as they give up the ability to scout. You could transport them in a Valkyrie, but why spend 200+ points for a transport for a 40 some points vehicle? I would strongly recommend Improved Comms, as the re-rolls will benefit an Elysian army immensely.

Overall, you will find that the sentinel is a competent ally in your hunt for deliverance. You will realize that, though fragile, it is a flexible and even powerful weapon at your disposal when used properly(or when you got the luck) Basically, use your common sense when using it but if you're ever in a pickle just think...."what would Federal Hero do? (WWFHD?)" Thanks.

Keep it real,
Federal Hero

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