MUTANT SIGNATURE DETECTED
Continuing on with the Review of the newly announced Sentinel Scenario Pack for the upcoming Days of Future Past set we take a look at the Sentinel itself. The Sentinel has been a staple since the very first set of Heroclix. We first saw one sold separately alongside Infinity Challenge and was one of the first Colossals to be introduced into the game. Since then, there have been 13 different Sentinels to come out which includes Nimrod, Mastermold, Omega (humanoid Sentinel) and my favourite the Wild Sentinel Bystander token. So when it comes to Sentinels, you’ve got to do a lot to make us feel like we’re getting something new and this time, I think they’ve done it. The biggest thing to keep in mind for this figure is that it has two dials, not that it has two versions but two dials. One will be your standard combat stats representing you character on the map while the other will act similar to the resources we’ve been seeing so much of and will grant your Sentinel it’s special abilities.
As I mentioned we’ve seen all ranges of Sentinels. These ones are from the distant Dystopian Future where they essentially rule but they’ve also seen better days. While it shows two different sculpts there is still only one Sentinel in this pack. However, much like the Sentinels we saw in Giant Sized X-men, this bad boy comes with changeable parts. I imagine this being entertaining for about five minutes when you first open the pack. Although this does allow you to know your Sentinel from your opponent’s or even if you happen to be fielding more than one of them you can give yourself a visual cue as to which one is which. I think they’re pretty cool looking, nothing really new though. We’ve seen Days of Future Past before, we’ve seen Sentinels before, we’ve seen Sentinel’s with changeable parts before. I think I’m just going to use these in place of the Special Objects that are coming in this Scenario pack (see part 1)
The Dial – Alpha Class Sentinel Attack Mode
The Attack Version of the Alpha Class Sentinel can be played at 350, 250 or 150pts. To play the Attack version you place the Sentinel Sculpt on the Attack dial G001 and turn it to whichever starting line corresponds with the point value you paid for him (350 click 1, 250 click 5, 150 click 10) then on your side bar you place the other dial G002 and turn it to the black starting line and blue click 1. Much like a resource this dial will let you know what special powers and modifiers your Sentinel has.
First we’ll look at the Attack Program Dial G002. This dial has 6 clicks to correspond to a 6 sided die (commonly referred to in the game as a D6) At the beginning of your turn you will roll a D6 to determine which Program your Sentinel will be running. Your Special White Powers that would normally show up on a character’s dial will be found here. In addition if there is a Standard Power that shows up without a black border your Sentinel may use that power and if a Standard Power shows up with a Black Border your Sentinel gets +1 to their attack when targeting a figure that can use that power.
Roll 1 – On click one of your Program dial you will see a borderless Silver square in the movement slot, a Special White power in the Attack slot, nothing in the defense slot and a bordered gold square in the damage slot. This gives your Sentinel Running Shot, Secondary Threat Analysis and +1 attack when targeting characters that can use Perplex. The Running Shot is always a good power to have especially on a Colossal (not to mention one that has 9 range and 3 targets) The Secondary Threat Analysis gives your Sentinel Incapacitate as free action if they have two tokens (not hard to do with when he’s Indomitable)
Roll 2 – On click 2 of your Program dial you’ll see a borderless Green square in the movement slot, Special White power in the Attack slot, nothing in the defense slot and a Black Bordered Light Blue square in the Damage slot. This grants your Sentinel Charge (another great move and attack power though not as potent as Running Shot for this figure) Secondary Threat Analysis again and a +1 against anyone that can use Probability Control.
Roll 3 – On click 3 of your Program dial you’ll see a borderless Silver Square in the movement slot, a bordeless Red square in the attack slot, a Black Bordered square in the Defense slot and Special White Power in the damage slot. This will give your Running Shot, Blades/Claws/Fangs and you’re introduced to Threat Engagement Package which gives your Sentinel the Multiattack ability. Once again the Running Shot is rather strong for this figure. The BCF feel out of a place but may help in a pinch if you’re currently based to an opposing figure (though I’ve always felt like BCF’s a better late dial power for when your damage starts to dip. When you’re already doing 3 or more damage it doesn’t seem worth the risk) You’re also getting +1 attack against characters with Toughness.
Roll 4 – On click 4 of your Program dial you’ll see almost the same as click 3 but the Attack slot is Green and the Black Border in the Defense Slot is around a yellow square. This click gives you Charge, Blades/Claws/Fangs, Threat Engagement Package and +1 against characters with Defend. Having Charge with BCF is always fun, especially if you’re rolling to this click later in the game when your damage has started to drop.
Roll 5 – On click 5 you’ll see a borderless Silver square in the Movement slot, borderless yellow square in the Attack slot, Special White Power in the Defense slot and borderless red square in the Damage slot. This click is probably my favourite so far, you’re given Running Shot and Pulse Wave (which are awesome in conjunction) Range Combat Expert (in case you don’t feel like moving) and you see Inertial Retaliation Field for the first time which is a whacked out version of Mystics. When the Sentinel takes damage from an attack he deals penetrating damage equal to half the damage he took back to the attacker (beware anyone trying to do a lot of damage to an Attack Sentinel on this click)
Roll 6 – On click 6 you’ll see a borderless Green square in the Movement slot, borderless yellow square in the Attack slot, Special White power in the Defense Slot and borderless Purple square in the damage slot. This click is a whole whack of odd powers. None of them really work together and you have to just assess the situation and figure out which would be the best to use. You’ve got Charge for move and attack, Pulse Wave for taking on more than one figure or Close Combat Expert for when you’re in the thick of it. Inertial Retaliation Field returns but that’s only really important for when you’re under attack, not doing the attacking.
Now that that’s out of the way we can actually look at the dial. Since the Program dial is random, we’ll just look at the Sentinel’s dial separate of it. Any kind of strategy based on the Program dial would be hopeful and pure speculation.
The lowest Sentinel is at 150pts which will give it 7 clicks of life, not an entirely impressive amount of clicks for the value but he can fit well on Sentinel Themed teams (say him and 150pt Nimrod?) His first click starts off with 10 Movement with Plasticity, 11 Attack with Poison, 15 Defense with Barrier, and 5 Damage with no powers. The first thing I’m sure everyone will notice is just how low the Sentinel’s defense is, and given the fact that he has no Damage Reducers (even his Program Dial doesn’t grant any) at 7 clicks of life one or two well placed hits can knock him out of the game before he even starts it. That being said his other combat values aren’t anything to sneeze at. 10 movement is on the big side these days and a Colossal with Plasticity is all about ruining your day. Now combine that Plasticity with Poison and he’s ready to start annoying the crap out of people. Then while he’s there he’s dealing 5 damage with an 11 Attack, which is above average. As his Dial moves along (if he lives long enough to see the rest of his dial) his 10 Movement stays pretty consistent, it dips to an 8 for 2 clicks but then bounces back to a 10 for his last click. His Plasticity turns to Sidestep 3 clicks in which gives him some extra mobility (combined with the constant Move and Attack powers he gets on his Program Dial) His attack drops from an 11 to a 10 for 3 clicks then ramps up to finish him off with a 12 attack (something a little more common for a Colossal) He keeps the Poison for 3 clicks then has 2 clicks of Energy Explosion (with 9 Range and 3 targets that’s spelling disaster for anyone turtling against you) His defense is the sore spot for this figure, he peaks at a 16 for three clicks but finishes off with 15 for the rest of his dial and that Barrier is only around for 3 clicks before giving way to a powerless Defense the rest of his dial. His damage never gains a power and dips from that opening 5 to a 4 then a 3 and then reverses back up to finish on a 5.
The 250pt version gives him 5 more clicks of life making his dial 12 clicks long, much better for the cost though he’s not about to start starring in any tent pole armies at the 300pt level any time soon. The opening click on this version shows a completely different power set save for Plasticity. He’s got an 8 Movement with Plasticity, 12 Attack with Penetrating/Psychic Blast, 16 Defense with Close Combat Reflexes and 4 Damage with no power. This is where his Sharpshooter really shines, keeping in close you use Plasticity to keep your opponent there while upping your own defense to an 18 and you can still utilize your Penetrating/Psychic Blast while based. His Movement stays at 8 for most of this version before jumping to 10 and leading into his 150pt version. He’s got 1 click of Plasticity (hopefully you’ve done your damage before getting hit off your starting click) followed by 2 clicks of Flurry (still good for keeping him in close) then 2 clicks of nothing. His Attack stays at 12 for 3 clicks then drops to 11 for the remainder of this portion of his dial. The Penetrating/Psychic Blast is quickly traded for Precision Strike (great for going up against enemies with Damage Reducers) then 1 click of nothing. His Defense jumps up to 17 before winding back down to 16 and finally to 15. He keeps his Close Combat Reflexes for 3 clicks before gaining Energy Shield/Deflection. His Damage stays even at 4 for most of this version but spikes up to 5 near the end. While his opening click doesn’t have a power, he soon gains Battle Fury which unfortunately will keep him from making any Ranged Attacks (hopefully you don’t wind up with Running Shot on your Program Dial) but it also allows you to ignore Mind Control and Shape Change which is a fair enough trade off considering after your first click on this version you really want to be in close combat anyway. For the last 2 clicks that Battle Fury is swapped with Ranged Combat Expert, just as your Damage spikes to 5 with an 11 Attack. 7 Damage you say? Don’t mind if I do!
The Alpha Class Attack Sentinel finishes off at 350pts which will be ideal for those higher point Battles. This top version gives you 16 clicks of life and that opening click is just deadly. He starts off with 8 Movement with Plasticity, 13(!) Attack with Pulse Wave, 16 Defense with Invincible (the first and only time you see a damage reducer on his dial) and 6 Damage with Exploit Weakness. Now this, this is a Sentinel. Once again that Plasticity is good for getting in close to your opponents and ruining their day. 13 Attack with Pulse Wave is just, ouch! Better hope you’re not the only person standing in front of that guy (Poor, poor Wolverine) The 16 Defense is still on the low side but it’s also matched with Invincible so at least you won’t lose too many clicks of health right of the bat like you would with the lower point versions. That 6 damage with Exploit Weakness is primed and ready to ruin even the hardiest of foes (great time to get your Multiattack ability from your Program Dial) This version keeps it’s Movement at 8 with Plasticity which will make him a piece that will be annoying to deal with and get around while he lays down the pressure at Close Combat. His attack stays steady at 13 for 2 clicks then only drops to 12 for the remaining 2 clicks this version offers. That deadly Pulse Wave is quickly replaced with Energy Explosion (which is just as deadly) and finishes off with 1 click of Penetrating/Psychic Blast to lead into his 250pt version. His Defense, much like his lower point versions, stays low with 16, 1 click of 15 then goes back up to 16. That 1 click of Invincible is quickly traded for Energy Shield/Deflection which tempts you out of Close Combat and finally switches back to Close Combat Reflexes. His Damage steadily dips from 6 to 5 and then ends with 4, that Exploit Weakness sticks around for a second click before he gains Probability Control (of all things)
Overall this Sentinel is an interesting piece. His Combat Values can be impressive at times but he does seem to lose a lot with such a low defense and only 1 click (out of 16) offering you a damage reducer. He’s definitely better suited at his top value of 350pts but he may not be an uncommon sight at the 150pt value either.
At any point in the game if he has two action tokens you may give him a free action to change him to his Defense Mode, so even if you didn’t start the game with him in Defense Mode you can still try it out. One strategy that was suggested was switching over to the Defense Mode to heal him up then switching back (since the Attack Mode can’t be healed) When switching him over you would physically remove the sculpt from the current dial and place him into the second dial you have in your side bar, you then click him to the same click number that he was on for the Attack Mode (so if you were on Attack Mode click 7 go to Defense Mode click 7) The Attack Mode dial is then put in your side bar and you roll a D6 to find out what click to put your new Program Dial on.
The Dial – Alpha Class Sentinel Defense Mode
Thankfully we’ve already gone through the basics with the Attack Mode so we don’t have to go through them again. The Defense Mode works just like the Attack Mode did, with a few minor differences. The biggest being if he makes an Attack you have to deal him one unavoidable damage directly afterwards. Secondly since he’s the Defense version of the other Sentinel whenever a black bordered power shows up on the Program Dial instead of gaining +1 Attack against any character with that power your Defense Sentinel is not able to be targeted by any character using that power. So onto what your Defense Program Dial does for you.
Roll 1 – On click one of the Program dial you gain his Special White Defense Power Sentinel Shield. This grants him Mastermind and any friendly characters with the Robot keyword 4 squares away are considered adjacent. Now easily this is supposed to be him using mini Sentinels as a ‘Robot Shield’ but unless you planned to field him with little Sentinels running around this may not be to your advantage (until you get to his Summon Reinforcements power) This click also makes him unable targeted by any character using Charge.
Roll 2 – On click two of the Program dial he gains Defend and his Special White Movement Power Stealth Field which is essentially Stealth next to blocking, like camoflague. If he’s adjacent to blocking terrain (not specific, may be indoor or outdoor) lines of fire to him are blocked. He also won’t be able to be targeted by Incapacitate.
Roll 3 – Click three of the Program Dial is almost identical to click two. You gain Defend and Stealth Field. Instead of Incapacitate you can’t be targeted by Penetrating/Psychic Blast. This is a decent click to land on. Your minions or any other friendly character for that matter, gets your defense, lines of fire can’t be drawn to you if you’re adjacent to blocking terrain and if you’re not your opponent can’t P/PB you.
Roll 4 – On click four of the Program dial he gains his Special White Attack Power Inhibitor Field which is awesome. Characters within 6 squares are unable to be given power actions. You don’t realize how much of the map is covered by 6 squares (nor how many powers are actually power actions) until you have to go up against something like this. He also gains Invulnerability. He can still be targeted by any and all powers but at least you’ve got a damage reducer to slow things down.
Roll 5 – Click 5 is click 4 on caffeine. You still get Inhibitor Field and Invulnerability but now you can’t be targeted by Running Shot. So anyone inside your 6 square bubble can’t Charge, Running Shot, Hypersonic Speed to get to you but they also can’t Running Shot (outside of the bubble) to get to you either. Pretty solid click and probably my favourite of the Program dial.
Roll 6 – On click six of the Program dial you gain Impervious and the Special White Damage Power Summon Reinforcements. When he has 1 action token you can give him a power action to place DoFP #001 Sentinel adjacent to him on it’s orange starting line (this suggests it won’t be at full strength but hey you also didn’t have that figure on the board a moment ago) To top this click off you also can’t be targeted by Hypersonic Speed.
Just like the Attack Mode version the Defense Mode can be played at 150pts, 250pts and 350pts.This is one of those figures that will really show your play style. I know I’ll be playing him at his 150pt line but it takes either a really big team or a lot of strategy to invest so many points (250 or 350) into a figure that doesn’t really attack (or rather one that attacks to it’s own detriment)
At the 150pt the Defense Sentinel has 7 clicks of life. He’s still Indomitable but unlike the Attack version his Range is only 4 with a single target. His first click starts him off with 8 Movement with no powers, 8 Attack with Incapacitate, 19 Defense with Energy Shield/Deflection and 2 Damage with no powers. Keep in mind this is really meant to be a defensive figure not an offensive figure so what’s the most important about this click is that 19 Defense that will go up to a 21 at Range. Even though he doesn’t have any damage reducers he’s going to be one hard figure to hit. His Movement stays at 8 for a second click then dips to 7 where it stays for the rest of his dial. For 3 clicks in the middle he gains Sidestep to aid him in his quest to shut down your team. His attack stays pretty steady at 8 and spikes up to a 9 at one point before dropping to a 7 and finishing off with an 8 once more. He keeps Incapacitate for 2 clicks before gaining 3 clicks of Steal Energy (keep in mind your sequencing for this part of his dial, if he attacks he’s dealt 1 penetrating damage after actions resolve. The health gain from Steal Energy happens as part of the action, so he would heal 1 then be dealt 1. This gives him a 3 click window to make attacks without worrying about damaging himself) His Defense stays at 19 for 3 clicks drops to 18 for 2, then jumps back up to 19 and finishes with a whopping 20. That Energy Shield/Deflection is replaced with Barrier after 2 clicks which is then traded off for 3 whole clicks of Regeneration giving him a chance to get back up to the top of his dial.
The 250pts version adds 5 clicks to 150pt version giving him 12 clicks of life in total. Again, he’s just a defensive robot and his new power set still reflect this. His starting click gives him 7 Movement with Mind Control, 8 Attack with Incapacitate, 19 Defense with Close Combat Reflexes and 2 Damage with Probability Control. It’s unfortunate that his Range is only 4 for that Mind Control and Incapacitate but as his Defense power suggests he should be in Close Combat and his Probability Control will be extended to 6 thanks to the power itself. Mind Control is probably one of the more fun defensive abilities to play with, why should I attack when I can just make you attack each other? Incapacitate is also a really good one especially with the newest changes made to it (which gives 1 penetrating damage to an opposing figure if they already have 2 action tokens) his Close Combat Reflexes are going to make him hard to hit and Probability Control, well that’s always just a nice power to have, especially on a Colossal who can pretty much see everything (unless you’re on the other side of that building) His Movement stays at 7 for 3 clicks before jumping up to 8 for 2 and his Mind Control is lost after 1 click to be replaced with Stealth for 3 clicks (I’m always really amused when big figures have stealth, just imagine that Sentinel hiding behind a bush) His attack still isn’t anything to write home about, it stays at 8 for 3 clicks then drops to 7 for the remaining 2. His Incapacitate turns to Smoke Cloud for 3 clicks (remember anyone inside the Smoke Cloud gets -1 attack) then switches back to Incapacitate. His Defense stays high with 19 for 2 clicks then lends to 3 clicks of 18 and those Close Combat Reflexes he has for 2 clicks switch to 3 clicks of Regeneration once again giving him a chance to get back up to that awesome first click of his. His Damage drops to 1 for 2 clicks then finishes off with 2. His Probability Control is swiftly replaced with Perplex and he’s left with no power on the final click of this version.
The top tier 350pt version of the Defense Mode Sentinel gives you 16 clicks of life but still feels like a big point support piece that doesn’t belong with the big boys. This version will likely see the most play when the Attack version needs some healing and why not, it has 8 clicks of Regeneration, with a few good rolls you could easily bring him back to full strength. That being said looking at the beginning of the 350pt dial you start off with 8 Movement with Force Blast, 9 Attack with Poison, 20 Defense with no power and 2 Damage with Perplex. Again these are the kind of stats that make you wonder how big your army is if you’re willing to put 350pts into a Perplex machine. The Force Blast is nice for defensive maneuvers forcing your opponent away from you without having to roll an attack and if you’re lucky you might even slam them into a wall and deal them damage. That poison is another really fun defensive power, dealing damage without having to roll a die. It’s a shame that there’s no defense power to start him off with but with a 20 Defense they do have to work to hit him in the first place and that perplex could always be useful to make yourself that much harder to hit if not help out any other figures you might have on your team. This version adds 4 clicks to the 250pt version. You get 2 clicks of 8 movement and 2 clicks of 7 with 2 clicks of Force Blast and 2 of the ever enjoyable Mind Control. His Attack stays at 9 until the final click where it drops to 8 and that poison sticks around for 2 clicks to be replaced with 2 clicks of Incapacitate. His 20 Defense sticks around for a second click before dropping to 19 where he picks up another set of Regeneration.
This version of the Sentinel is definitely interesting. I’m not sure how many people will initially field it but with so much Regeneration it’s not hard to see that you could easily switch around the dials to utilize all that healing potential (I suggest trying to memorize which clicks that power shows up on – 3,4,7,8,9,12,13,14) as the Defense Mode can be switched back to the Attack Mode in the same manner. Overall though, looking at both of them, while not game breaking or meta-bait they definitely did a good job making these thematic while interesting enough for players to want to field.