Tactica: Playing Around Sentinels

Here’s a question for you: can Auralan Sentinels shoot you without line of sight? If you just answered yes, you might want to read on, because there’s a bit more nuance to it than that.

Their artillery-style range of 30″ and ability to (largely) ignore line of site can make them feel oppressive to face: everything seems to come a little bit too easily to them, and there can be a feeling of “what am I supposed to do about this?”.

Well, the good news is, there is sometimes a little bit of counterplay. It is highly situational, but you might as well have it up your sleeve, so let’s dive in.

Scryhawk Lantern

Let’s take a look at the relevant ability:

Scryhawk Lantern: At the start of your shooting phase, you can pick 1 enemy unit within 30″ of this unit’s High Sentinel that is not visible to them. If you do so, you must choose the Lofted missile weapon characteristic for all attacks made with this unit’s Auralan Bows in that phase, but that enemy unit is treated as being visible to all friendly models from this unit until the end of that phase.

There are a couple of ifs, buts and maybes in there that a lot of people (myself included) skimmed over at first reading.

This article will be approaching Sentinels from an opponent’s point of view: what can we do to play around them, and prevent them from targeting us?

The High Sentinel Is Key

The first and most important thing to note is that the Ability only works if your unit is not visible to the High Sentinel. At this stage, it’s irrelevant whether the rest of the unit can see them: but for this ability to be of benefit, the Lumineth Player only really cares about it if they can’t. If you’re already visible to the rest of the unit, they can blast away regardless.

Secondly, and also crucially to what we’re doing here, the Ability only kicks in if you are within 30″ of the High Sentinel. So we now have two windows of opportunity to screw them over.

First Play: Screw With Line of Sight

Our first option is to engineer a situation whereby the High Sentinel can see you, but the rest of the unit (or as much of it as possible) cannot. This cuts the ability off at the knees: the ability cannot be used at all if your unit is visible to the High Sentinel specifically.

So as an illustration of how that might work in practice:

In this scenario, you have made sure that the High Sentinel can see you. Therefore the Scryhawk Lantern ability is stopped in its tracks, and the rest of the unit can’t see shit. Sucks to be them.

This won’t be something you can engineer every time, but it’s good to have the tool in your kit: don’t forget to use Overgrown terrain to your advantage here too.

Second Play: Screw With Range

The other trigger for the ability is that you must be within 30″ of the High Sentinel specifically. So you can have a scenario where you are within 30″ of other models in the unit (but out of their line of site), and not within 30″ of the High Sentinel:

The High Sentinal is not within 30″ which means that again, the Scryhawk Lantern ability can’t be triggered. In this example the bulk of the unit does not have LOS on you and only the solitary Sentinel on the far right* of the image (who already has LOS and is in range) can target you.

If you are positioning in your own movement phase, remember that they will move 6″ first, so you ideally want to be 36.01″ away from the boss man. But after they’ve moved, when they start their shooting phase, get out that tape measure and check exactly whether or not that one model is in range.

30″ is still absurdly generous – this is Aelves, after all – but when they do get it wrong, you need to be ready to take advantage.

Can’t The Lumineth Player Counter-Counter-Play This?

Yes, absolutely. The key to the whole thing is watching the placement of the High Sentinel like a hawk. In general, the Lumineth player will benefit from having him located centrally within the unit: that minimises your opportunities to game things by messing around with what he can see (or reach), and the bulk of the unit cannot. Even then you might be able to take some models out of the equation, which is certainly better than nothing.

But they won’t always do that. Top players might, but filth-chasing scrubs will fuck it up. They will make sloppy mistakes at deployment because they don’t understand their own rules properly, and they will definitely make mistakes after teleporting the unit and their concentration lapses.

When they do, they will look at you with their big puppy-dog eyes and tell you that they could have just placed their models differently. And you will reply that yes, you could have done, as you push your boot down on their throat.

Show Aelf players no mercy. Their rules are already way better than yours, and if you let them off with mistakes too then there’s no point in even playing the bloody game. It’s meant to be a high-skill faction, so they can just put on their big boy pants and deal with it.

So there you go! Sentinels can almost always see you – but not quite. Hopefully this helps someone somewhere to play around their bullshit – it’s not something that will come up every game, but when it does, it can shut down a whole unit.

Cry me a river, motherfuckers.

*Far right describes their physical board positioning rather than their political viewpoint, but frankly I’ve got my suspicions about most Aelves in that regard.

Postscript: WTF? This Doesn’t Sound Like AOS 3.0 Clickbait?

Frankly I’ve been too busy wanking over a mint copy of Space Crusade, so I fell back on a placeholder article I am above that kind of grubby attention-seeking behaviour, and will not have my schedule of important articles dictated by the vagaries of GW reveals.

But yes, I’ll be delivering some lukewarm takes and ill-founded speculation this time next week: same bat time, same bat channel. And after that, the intention is to dive back into our Hallost campaign which has been progressing nicely, but fuck knows what will distract me between now and then.

Have a good weekend, ladies and gents.

Credit for the image at the top of this article goes to Games Workshop

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