Thursday, January 9, 2014
Imperial Guard Tactics: Sentinel
Ok I would like to take a moment and talk about something that is not so often seen but is still a part of the imperial guard. That is the humble sentinel. Having recently brought them out for kill team I have had a good refresher on them and it reminded me why they are still a good choice to bring, even if their are other units that put them in the shadow. When compare to other walkers, sentinels are in the shoot stuff category like eldar war walkers and not so much the stompy category that dreadnaughts inhabit.
So when you are talking about the sentinel, you really are talking about two different units, that being the Scout and Armored. And they are pretty self explanatory, one is lighter and scouts, the other has armor and doesn't. They each occupy a fast attack slot, which is quite competitive in the IG codex despite what people say, there are more than just the vendetta. So each is a squadron and is a very nice boon in 6th, mainly being that if one is immobilized the rest of the squadron just breaks off. You start with one and can have up to three, no mixing.
Have AV10 all around and are opened topped, are S5 and I3 with 1 attack and 2 HPs. It has scout and move through cover and is armed with a multi laser at base. Three of these guys are just over 100pts. They do not come with any vehicle upgrades so you have to purchase smoke launchers, searchlights and the like. Here is what I will say about scout sentinels, keep them cheap. Since you have scout, you can outflank them, which I strongly recommend. One this gets them out of being shot at with their weak armor and two it gets them around your opponent and into a good firing position.
One of my favorite loadouts for the Scout sentinel if going for this role is multi lasers and HK missiles. This gives you a good ability to hurt just about anything and when you need to bring down that vehicle, you can fire the HKs one the side or rear arc from outflanking. I like multi lasers personally, they are cheap and have high S and rate of fire which is important for guard. At BS3 they need lots of shots to bring something down, since they can't be ordered like infantry. Now with inquisition, you can have a cheap inquisitor provide prescience to twin link them, but they may not be the best unit to be using prescience on. That being said, a lascannon squadron comes to about 150, not too expensive and having the ability to reposition with scout and able to move and being more durable than infantry really isn't bad. Except there is this thing that is called a vendetta so yeah....
Another way to go is to grab camo netting and find some ruins to hide in and grab that 3+ cover save. Yeah their is ignores cover, but their is a lot still that doesn't and scout sentinels are hardly the high threat target and are likely to simply be ignored early on. Auto cannons are ok, however the loss in rate of fire hurts it when dealing with infantry, that being said if you plan on dealing with light to medium vehicles, this is a good choice. What it comes down to is whether you think the loss in fire is worth the better strength and AP, I like to keep it cheap and lots of shots.
One thing that these can also do is be a decent speed bump. Now armored sentinels do this better hands down, but scouts can get ahead earlier and force your opponent to deal with them. This works great against units like guants, that are large in number but don't have the high strength to overwhelm it. The sentinels can keep a unit tied down for a turn or two. Be warned though that anything with krak grenades or better will take them down pretty quick, with only one attack each as well, this means you will rarely if ever winning a combat.
Heavy flamers are ok but I would not take them across the squadron. If you are out flanking, two multilasers and a heavy flamer is not bad if you are going infantry hunting. Missile launchers are ok, but not being able to TL them means you are only getting one to two hits in, the odds just are not that good. Scouts really have two good roles. One is finding a nice piece of cover with camo and shooting infantry and light vehicles to bits, then moving up to stall a charge for a few turns and speed bump. The Second is to outflank and hunt vehicles rear with Multi lasers and autocannons. Scout sentinels are cheap enough to still be pretty effective, just keep them cheap and stay on the board edges and go for side armor and groups of infantry.
Well it has the same profile as the Scout with a few exceptions, first it has AV12 on the front and is not opened topped. It also loses scout and move through cover. It is also 20 more pts than the scout, but has access to plasma cannons. So the armored is quite abit tougher than the scout version and can last much longer on the board.
Now what is the armored sentinel good at. Well its good at being a mobile gun platform and cover giver. What I mean by that is it moves up front and allows the infantry behind it to get a cover save. This is really where the armored sentinel works well. It moves at the front of your attacking forces, it gives cover if your opponent shoots through them and they are not high enough target priority for your opponent to put significant fire on them. They also work well at tar pitting your opponents counter assault units. He sounds out a cc unit to push back your guardsmen, the sentinels move and pin them down till you can deal with them later. With Av12 your opponent need melta bombs or other anti vehicle weapons to have a good chance of bringing them down.
When it comes to weapons, the same rules apply. Keep it cheap, and honestly the more I use them I find multi laser to be more than capable of getting the job done. Autocannons are a good choice as well. What you have to remember is what you are pay for and what the chances are that they will survive to do their job. If you want to take a P cannon, which is not a horrible reason to take one, keep it to one sentinel, maybe two at tops. They are really expensive with 20 pts to get the P cannon, you are paying a premium for it. And if you roll a one, well your 2 HP vehicle went to 1 and your enemy didn't even do anything.
Armored can do pretty well but they are not cheap when in squadrons and you start adding on weapons and upgrades and you start getting diminishing returns. AV12 is good, but it won't stand up to dedicated fire. Use LoS blocking terrain to keep your sentinels in LoS of their targets, but out of your opponents.
Now the main nemesis of sentinels on the board happen to also be from the two strongest codex's right now. Broadsides and Wave Serpents. Both have ways of ignoring cover and/or have high volume high strength shots to bring them down. Missile sides with markelights will destroy scout sentinels and since they usual can shoot you coming out of reserve, the outflank tactic is much harder(not impossible). The same goes for Armored, though against the missiles it may not kill them all out right depending on how they roll. The same goes for Serpents with scatter lasers to twin link them and then serpent shields to bring them down, a few wave serpents can easily dispatch a squadron of sentinels.
This does not mean you are automatically dead. You just have to use terrain to your advantage and keep those units at arms reach. Easier with the broadsides than the serpents but if you much terrain with presenting your opponent with targets you want him to shoot at, your sentinels will survive.
Lets be honest though, sentinels are expendable, treat them that way, get them out there and blow something up. The more I use them the more I think scout are the ones to take. They are cheap and are much more flexible than armored. I would only take armored if you really are looking for a vanguard unit that you don't mind losing.
Don't let anyone tell you sentinels suck. They don't. The armored are a little price once weapons are thrown in but you can still use these guys to get the job done. Stay away from dedicated anti tank unless it is all you have, and if you want to go that route grab an inquisitor and some camo netting on scout sentinels and go hunting. They are flexible and fun and more than that they are just cool models.
I have always like how they looked and they just have an air about them that is cool. I really am interested to see where they go in the new codex but I am honestly not expecting anything but pts changes and not much else. We will see. Hope you find this helpful.