Cadian Battle Group Tactics Part 3: Emperor’s Talon Recon Company


Hey everyone, Reecius here from Forntline Gaming to go over the next installment in our Cadian review: the Emperor’s Talon Recon Company! Be sure to check the Tactics Corner for more great articles.

Sentinels, one of the coolest looking models in the game with some of the worst rules. Can this formation save them?



This formation consists of 2-4 units of any combination of Scout Sentinel Squadrons of Armored Sentinel Squadrons. These squadrons must consist of 3 models.

Special Rules:

  • Outflank
  • Company Command: One Sentinel in the Squadron is designated as the Command Sentinel. This Sentinel can issue the following orders with the receiving squadron counting as ld8: Take Aim!, Forwards for the Emperor, or Move, Move, Move!
  • Dedicated Hunters: Choose one enemy unit at the start of your first turn, this formation gains Preferred Enemy against that unit.



This is an interesting formation. It takes what is undeniably a true stinker of a unit: Sentinels, and gives them some decent special rules to dress them up a bit. However, as my Grandpa always told me, “slapping lipstick on a pig doesn’t make me want to kiss it.”

Poor Sentinels, such a cool unit with a great model and awesome fluff but the rules just stink. That said, is this unit viable at all? I’d say yes, if you wanted to use Sentinels, this is a good way to do it. The formation itself allows you to Outflank with Armored Sentinels which are decently durable having front AV12, along with the more nimble Scout Sentinels. You also gain some decent orders (Ignores Cover, Tank Hunter/Monster Hunter would have been a lot more fun!), particularly the ability to shoot and then run (preferably behind some cover) is quite good for a unit like this. If used as an Auxiliary in the Cadian Battle Group, rolling 3d6 and dropping the highest for Orders checks will really help to mitigate that low Ld8 to pass orders.

Preferred Enemy on a key enemy unit also makes Plasma Cannons a more appealing weapon option as they tend to kill 2HP vehicles quite easily. And, high volume of shots weapons like Multi-Lasers and Auto Cannons become very efficient and help overcome that crummy BS3.


If I were to run this Formation, I would likely go 1 of 2 ways. Either mega cheap, with all Scout Sentinels armed with either Multi-Lasers or Auto Cannons, and have them mark a relatively normal unit for preferred enemy, such as a unit that held a back objective, have them Outflank and then go after that target where they would have decent odds of actually taking it out. If not that strategy, I’d go with Armored Sentinels to pack some decent firepower with Plasma Cannons, mark a relatively tough unit, such as Thunder Wolf Cav., and then let er rip with Preferred Enemy Plasma Cannons.

No mater how you slice it, this is a formation that is best used for fun games as Sentinels are–unfortunately–a truly bad unit in 40k. What do you all think?

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About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

21 Responses to “Cadian Battle Group Tactics Part 3: Emperor’s Talon Recon Company”

  1. what January 13, 2016 1:10 am #

    bad, what?

  2. Toranagaaa January 13, 2016 9:45 am #

    I don’t see why you’re down on sentinels so much. They’re not the greatest, but they certainly aren’t bad. In my guard army I always take three armored sentinels with lascannons (150 points for 6 HP, av 12). They’ve survived every game (no one wants to shoot at them when there’s scarier targets!), always kill at least their points back, and often are able to tie up aggressive elements of the opposing force in close combat, saving the day for my infantry and tank line. This formation actually makes them rather good, and now I wish I had 3 more so I could actually take it : )

    • Reecius January 13, 2016 9:56 am #

      Mine have always been utterly miserable on the table, lol. I am very happy to hear that they work well for you, though, that’s awesome! I have 4 of the little buggers, but man, they just stink for me. For the points, there are so many other units in the AM dex I’d rather take.

    • Truesight January 13, 2016 10:00 am #

      Reece is coming from the point of view of a highly competitive metagame. 150 points for 3 BS 3 lascannons, on a fragile hull with bad movement and no invul is a bad investment if your opponent is going for your throat with his list building.
      Consider a comparison with War walkers. 2 War walkers with Bright Lances pick up and extra shot, BS 4, an invul save, battle focus and fleet and lots of possible synergies in the Warhost, and they cost 10 points less.

      • Vercingatorix January 13, 2016 10:29 am #

        seriously, the sentinel vs warwalker comparison is apt. Also, I’d be pretty concerned if a unit ALWAYS survived and NEVER got shot at it. To me that’s a unit that every opponent judges to be not dangerous and I doubt they’re ALL wrong. I know that I would never shoot at them, 3 lascannons? When you’re used to getting a dozen rapier battery shots 3 lascanons are just silly bad.

      • Reecius January 13, 2016 11:03 am #

        Precisely. On a comparison basis, even within their own dex, they struggle. That’s not to say they can’t be good, and in a casual meta they can be really fun. But when you compare those three to a single Vulture with Punishers (155pts) there is seriously no comparison.

        That said, it’s awesome to see people having fun with them.

        • Toranagaaa January 13, 2016 12:14 pm #

          Jeez guys… way to rain on my parade of sentinels. Is it too much to ask for a little creativity and open-mindedness when it comes to considering a unit, even in a competitive meta? All I see in your arguments are number crunching and comparisons to exceptional units which are rather out of context. War walkers? Of course, they’re by far the best walker unit in the game, in the best codex ever to be published! Vultures and rapiers, well yeah – they’re stand-out forge world – of course they’re good! The current Imperial Guard codex is dated compared to these units.

          The humble armored sentinel however, fulfills a role none of those units can do – and I would argue other units in the IG codex can’t do either – that is to provide decent mobile heavy firepower (on a move-through cover chasis), cap objectives, while screening for your infantry and tanks reliably from tough assault aggressors. AV 12 goes a long way in combat unless the opponent has a lot of powerfists or smash attacks. Got some flesh hounds about to eat up your infantry? Charge those sentinels in – the hounds are stuck for the rest of the game! A vulture or war walkers can’t do that. They’ll never kill swathes of baddies like a unit of war walkers or a vulture can often do, but they’re reliable enough to cause some trouble and stick it out, allowing your other units to keep firing, and at least they’ve won me the game on multiple occasions because of that : )

          • abusepuppy January 13, 2016 1:06 pm

            You do know that most units have Krak Grenades and can thus kill even Armored Sentinels pretty reliably, yeah? Also, they don’t have Move Through Cover- only the Scout version does.

            Scout Sentinels are pretty okay because they provide IG with mobile firepower and scoring, something they often struggle with. Armored Sentinels lack these qualities and pay a significant premium for a questionable boost to their AV- you’re still side armor 10, after all.

            Competitive players are, generally speaking, willing to try anything that will work- but Armored Sentinels just don’t cut the mustard. It’s fine if you like them and want to use them, but that’s not the same thing as saying they are effective in a competitive context.

  3. Toranagaaa January 13, 2016 2:20 pm #

    I see your krak grenade argument and I raise you this: it actually works in the armoured sentinels’ favour. My math is not exact, but 10 marines with krak grenades will hit around 6-7 times, averaging one glancing HP worth of damage vs their front armour. Since the krak grenades can actually harm the sentinels, the marines can’t use ‘our weapons are useless’ rule to fall back, and will be stuck trying to take down the sentinel squadron for a few turns, while your other units do other things. This is exactly how I’ve used them.

    Mitigating 12/10/10 in a squadron is easy – just position your models in a triangle, with the front arcs facing outwards in the widest angle – thus even if they get flanked, the sentinels on the side are showing their av 12 in that direction, and protecting the others.

    I concede on move-through-cover – I don’t have the rules handy to check but you’re probably right.

    So before the ‘competitive’ set (of which I consider myself a part of) writes off my ideas for why sentinels can be decent, I ask you all – besides Reece, who here has even tried to make them work? I’m not claiming that they’re the best unit in the game – far from it! I’m just making an argument for how and why they can be useful, which is what I think a tactics article and discussion should be about.

    • Mr.MoreTanks January 13, 2016 3:46 pm #

      9 out of 10 times though Marines will be White Scars and can probably Hit & Run fairly reliably out of the combat.

      I’ve tried Sentinels before, and though that autocannon Scout ones could have a place thanks to Outflank. They did okay, I never asked them for much, just to peel a hull point or two off a vehicle or maybe force a wound or two.

      They’d stroll on, and occasionally do just that. Tau interceptor changed that very quickly.

      I’m with Reece on this one, they’re so cool and I really want to like them, hell he gave me one at BAO, but they just don’t have the durability to last long at all and cost way too much. I like to think of myself as a pretty competitive Guard player, and I would never bring a Sentinel to a GT unless I was seriously not giving a sh*t about the event.

    • Reecius January 13, 2016 4:01 pm #

      Not to beat you down or anything, buddy, I am the eternal optimist with trying to find a use for units, and if they work for you then keep rocking it!

      However, from a competitive standpoint I think you’d find more use in say, a Leman Russ Punisher for similar points values (although pinning things like Khorne Dogs is a very good point that other vehicles can’t do if they are popular in your meta).

    • abusepuppy January 13, 2016 4:02 pm #

      With a 10man squad, the Marines will generally kill the Sentinel in two combat phases- which is to say, at the end of your turn, right in time to charge another unit. Not exactly the “holding the unit up for the whole game” that you initially claimed. They have some limited value as a tarpit (as not every unit has Krak), but just aren’t tough enough to fight most things for long.

      Using facings in a squadron can work, but it’s not 100% reliable (an enemy with good geometry can often get around it) and if either “corner” dies, it stops working. I’ve run Piranhas, Wyverns, and other vehicle squads in the past, and it happens fairly often. There is also the issue of weapon facing- remember, your gun is on a fixed mount and thus only have a 45 degree fire arc, limiting how you can place yourself.

      Armored Sentinels aren’t _worthless_, but the arguments you’re making in favor of them often portray them as accomplishing far more than they will typically manage. You’re paying a LOT of points for those three BS3 Lascannons (which I don’t even think is even the best weapon loadout for them.)

      If all you’re advocating for them is that they are a middle-tier unit that can occasionally surprise you with their usefulness but typically will just be a hunk of points sitting on the table plinking away with mediocre guns- sure, I’ll buy that. As I said, they’re not awful. But if you’re trying to say that they are worthy of competitive play in any meaningful form, you’re going to need MUCH stronger arguments than what you’ve put forward so far, because plenty of talented IG players have already given them a look and came away with a resounding “meh.”

  4. Toranagaaa January 13, 2016 7:56 pm #

    Wow, well if the internet says they’re bad, they must be bad right? You brilliant tacticians out there have totally changed my views on sentinels, and now I will NEVER EVER take them again. I admit my total misdirection in challenging the established authorities with my alternative notions and anecdotal references of unit tactics and creative use of screening walkers for IG, and will never ever dare to suggest to do so again. All hail the vultures and punishers. Please find it in your heart to forgive this poor infidel and show me the light of the purest of the pure competitive 40k…

    ; p

    P.S. abusepuppy – I was talking about a squadron of walkers (hence plural ‘sentinels’) so yes, in our hypothetical situation – those marines would indeed be held up for three turns at least on average. If you read over my posts carefully, I never claimed they were worthy of competitive play… I’m just making an argument to consider their uses in response to Reece’s article. I get why you reject that. Moving on…

    • AngryPanda January 13, 2016 9:22 pm #

      Dude, its alright to like Sentinels and even better if they work out for you. No one is wanting you to stop. Armored Sentinels have completly ruined my day before then I played a 40 Flayed Ones list. And I think I saw them block out a whole unit of Khronedogs in the same tournament. No one is saying “no one can make them work ever”. The guy who played them loved them and that day made them work two out of 3 games. But yea that is anecdotal evidence as they simply do not show up regularly at top tables and with good reason. Walkers in general just aren’t all that great right now.

    • abusepuppy January 13, 2016 11:23 pm #

      > Is it too much to ask for a little creativity and open-mindedness when it comes to considering a unit, even in a competitive meta?

      >If you read over my posts carefully, I never claimed they were worthy of competitive play

      Senator, would you like to respond?

      • AngryPanda January 14, 2016 12:47 am #

        Furthermore I consider that Carthage* must be destroyed.

        *the term Carthage may be replaced with “GW game design team” freely without invalidating this statement.

  5. general Oadius January 14, 2016 8:02 pm #

    As a fairly competitive gamer, I could see how they(sentinels/armored sentinels) could be considered feasible with this formation. The one thing that the AM codex lacks is a lot of movement for maelstrom missions. 6 hull points on outflanking walkers with Preferred enemy AND some orders is less than a single Vulture equipped with TL Punisher cannons. I could envision a list with some artillery, a blob and conscripts, some vultures and this formation. Possibly an Aegis with the reserve manipulation to get in the vultures early and the sentinels late….

    I agree entirely with Reecius about going “on the cheap” and using Autocannons giving them more chances to hit, more versatility as well as saving points.

  6. general Oadius January 14, 2016 8:11 pm #

    an optimized stealth cadre it is not.

  7. Alternateopinion April 16, 2016 7:15 am #

    I like the idea of them, and i think they are a better option in my meta than heavy weapon platforms. same weapond and bs, slightly more expensive, much more resilient. can take plasma cannons too. My friend and I are trying to go for fun, fluffy nid vs AM lists, and sentinals are good for tarpitting str 3 gaunts so I can shoot the big beasties.

    They are probably weak in many metas, but i like them and would argue that a unit, (maybe not two full units below 2500pts) can have a role in many lists. a bit of cheap armour to add fire support or disperse enemy firepower.

    place behind some cover or warm meat to get a 5+, barricade for 4+, go missile launchers and have some fun. psyker buffs from primaris with divination might come in handy as well. can take hks as well for pestering transports on the first turn.

    This formation though really begins to look fun at bigger points levels. AM with a lot of tanks, and a screen of fearless blobs of bodies and priests are a strong firing line, but need help with opponents artillery.

    As an eldar player as well, I would still favour war walkers but only just. as a cheap auxiliary choice for the cadian battle group, with outflank and PE i would happily pick it. In a tournament or smaller point game, probably pass.

    • Reecius April 16, 2016 8:07 am #

      Very cool to hear you’re getting mileage out of those Sentinels!

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