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IGS Sentinel Squadron

Ratings:
Excellent (Cadian and Mars patterns)
Good (Catachan pattern)
Marginal (Armageddon pattern)

 

The Sentinel has to be one of the best units available to the Imperial Guard; a mobile heavy-weapons platform that is relatively cheap, and capable of moving through difficult terrain without getting immobilized. And, most importantly, it's a walker -- meaning that it fights in close combat like a Dreadnought! Okay, so it's not nearly as dangerous as a Dreadnought, but in a pinch, it can tie up enemy units for a turn or two, or even occasionally win a combat or two! Shooty, versatile, plus the current line of models are pretty nifty looking.

Sentinels can be taken in squadrons of up to three -- but there's rarely a good reason to do so, unless you're running out of Command Platoon and Fast Attack slots. Remember, you can take one Sentinel squadron in your Command Platoon as part of your 0-5 "Support Squad" allocation. Sentinels lose a lot of their versatility, and become a bit more vulnerable to enemy heavy weapons, if they are taken in squadrons of more than one. Remember that they're only AV10 all around, are open-topped, and unless hull-down behind terrain, are easily penetrated. Take squadrons of one when you can.

Although Sentinels can fight like Dreadnoughts in close combat, don't forget that they aren't very good at it. They have only one attack and WS3, so against anything capable of hurting them (S4 at least), they'll eventually, inevitably lose. That means that there's little point in throwing them at S5 or stronger opponents (like any unit that includes a powerfist!), because the Sentinel will most likely go down in a single assault phase. You can hope that the Sentinel explodes (penetrating 5 or 6 will do it, because it's open-topped), maybe taking a few enemies along, but that's a bit of a long shot.

With all these drawbacks, the reason to throw a Sentinel into combat is simple. Remember that they are Fearless in close combat, and so will not ever break and run, no matter how outnumbered they are. That means that if you throw a Sentinel into close combat, it will stay there until it is destroyed, is immobilized to the point that it loses all its attacks, or wins the combat. Given how pathetic it is in close combat, expect the former two results to happen far more frequently than the last!

Against S4 enemies, a Sentinel will typically tie things up for at least a round or two; and against S3 or weaker enemies, the Sentinel will basically tie them up for the rest of the game -- or at least until it wins combat and (you hope) shoots a little and then against assaults the survivors! It's always immensely satisfying to tie up a huge unit of, say, Hormagaunts for the rest of the game simply because of a single Sentinel!

Remember that because the Sentinel pilot has only BS3, it's not worth taking single-shot heavy weapons. That's the primary reason that the Armageddon pattern Sentinel is one of the least-effective Sentinel options. That and its high cost compared to the other options make it a marginal choice. The multi-shot Multilaser and Autocannon of the Mars and Cadian patterns are your best bets, and with your relative mobility, your Sentinels will be able to get into positions to best use these weapons in support of your infantry.

The Catachan pattern Sentinel has the shortest range of the four patterns, but with its low cost and heavy flamer main weapon, it makes a decent counter-assault unit. It can move toward assaulting units, flame them, then assault (and tie up) the survivors. When used in conjunction with other flamers and heavy flamers, such as Hellhounds and Chimeras and the like, this can result in a very fearsome defensive formation.

Good Doctrine combo:

The Sentinel, particularly the Catachan pattern, really comes into its own when used with the Drop-Troops doctrine. This doctrine costs no points, and Sentinels taking advantage of this can take really do some serious damage when dropped in at point-blank range, or behind enemy lines.

Sentinels really are NOT decent enough combatants to justify giving them the Hardened Fighters doctrine, unfortunately, which is the only other Doctrine that would directly apply to Sentinels.

Vehicle Upgrades

Sentinels can't take advantage of all the available Vehicle Upgrades, but most of the ones they can take just aren't worth the investment.

Excellent: Searchlights are a good choice for Sentinels. It's a cheap upgrade, and Sentinels will often be in a better position to spotlight enemy units in a Nightfight than otherwise. Just remember not to use the searchlights from the heart of your lines -- nothing is more embarrassing than losing a good chunk of your lines because one of your own Sentinels just exploded after being penetrated by enemy heavy weapons!

Good: Smoke Launchers can be useful for Sentinels, but the best defense isn't being hull-down, but rather out of Line-of-Sight (such as behind convenient terrain) of your opponent's nastiest heavy weapons. Still, this is a fairly low-cost upgrade, and will often come in handy. Extra Armor also can come in handy, keeping your Sentinels mobile -- but it's not absolutely essential. Most of the time, a sentinel that takes damage will simply blow up.

Marginal: The Hunter-Killer Missile is an interesting option, particularly in multiples -- and especially combined with the Sentinel's ability to get a 'free' move before the first turn and get into some nice flanking position. A full spread of HK missiles on turn one will do some serious hurt to almost anything, plus it's always a fun trick to pull on an opponent. That said, it's not a very effective use of your points, because HK missiles are strictly one-shot, so don't go overboard.



Created by: system. Last Modification: Sunday 25 of January, 2009 12:11:05 PM EST by ZiggyQubert.

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