Infinity Tactics 101: Sensor, Sniffer, and Sat-Lock
A while back, I wrote a couple articles about how to use camouflage, stealth, and silent in your games of Infinity. Today I'd like to come back to those rules by talking about one of the most effective ways to counter them, Sensor. Not only that, but I'll also be going over two more rules commonly associated with Sensor units: Sniffer, and Sat-Lock. Almost all factions are able to find all three of these abilities on a single model, their Forward Observer remote, which is also a repeater, deactivator, and Forward Observer, talk about a toolkit!
First lets go over the basic rules of Sensors. Their obvious use is to allow a model equipped with them to more easily discover enemy models. It's important to remember that Sensor actually buffs your detection in multiple ways. First, it allows you to use the special Sensor short skill, which on a WIP+6 roll, with no other modifiers, will simultaneously discover all enemies in your Zone of Control. Second, it gives you a straight +6 to your WIP when declaring Discover against Camouflage or TO Camouflage markers.
This obviously makes it very difficult for enemy units to hide when there are sensors on the board. Sensor units are able to move up behind a wall, and reveal the hidden Ninja on the other side. Busting enemies out of camouflage states reliably makes facing down mines, Chasseurs, and other deadly camouflage units far less intimidating.
One final bonus is that Camouflage units cannot re-enter the Camouflage state while in the Zone of Control of a model with the Sensor skill. While not huge, it does prevent the model you just revealed from immediately hiding again.
Sensor: Triangulated Fire
Yet another special ability granted by Sensor is Triangulated Fire. This skill is performed like any other BS attack, though is an Entire Order and performed at BS-3. The upside is that you suffer no other penalties whatsoever. This means you can fire into melee, ignoring the -6, and suffering no risk to your own model. You can also use this ability to Forward Observe a dangerous ODD model from across the board, or to simply shoot that same model with a combi rifle (or MULTI rifle on the Crane Rank), from across the board.
While the list of effects for a Sniffer seem long, it is essentially a Deployable Repeater that works for the Sensor skill. This allows you to greatly increase your Sensor Area (Sensor model's Zone of Control + ZoC of all friendly Sniffers), and can really disrupt the plans of your camouflage-heavy opponents.
As mentioned in the requirements, to use Sat-lock, the model must have both Sensor and Forward Observer, restricting it's use to the aforementioned forward observer remotes in most factions. This skill essentially allows you to use a souped-up version of the Sensor ability, this time at WIP-6 and affecting a single model. Not only does it reveal an enemy model in it's Sensor Area, but it also puts it into the Targeted state. Combine using this with a Guided missile remote, or even some light grenade launchers using Speculative Fire, and you can rain down pain from out of LOF of the enemy.
Since this is a Comms Attack, the model may declare a reset to defend itself, making it powerful, though unreliable.
Satlock and EVO
Of the many perks of bringing an EVO Hacking Device is how it interacts with Sat-Lock, it turns the risky move into something far more reliable by providing a Bonus that nullifies the -6 MOD to the WIP Roll for the Sat-Lock Special Skill for any friendly trooper. So if you're going to rely on Sat-Lock, or otherwise like taking EVO Hacking Devices, don't forget this amazing bonus!
It's one thing to go over the rules, it's another to know how to apply those rules to in-game situations. Like any other ability or piece of equipment in this game, understanding how to leverage it's advantages is important to getting the most out of each unit. Sensors, and the units that typically carry them, bring a lot of utility to your army.
Sensor's primary function is to show down camouflage, plain and simple. Setting up good opportunities to do this can take a bit of practice. Generally speaking, Sensor units aren't incredible gun-fighters, but they can be incredibly helpful for uncovering hidden threats, and helping you to make informed decisions about what your next move should be. In the situation above, the Combined player is aware that their opponent could be using mines to protect his flank, but the camo marker could be a bluff, or something else entirely. Revealing the true nature of the camo markers lets the player make more well informed decisions, instead of guessing and hoping for the best.
Triangulated fire is incredibly helpful for long-range attacks, or when targeting units with ODD or TO Camouflage, it is also incredibly helpful for fishing your models out of melee. In this situation, the Ninja is unable to declare a Dodge ARO, or even Change Facing, because they are now in the engaged state, meaning they can only declare CC Attack, Coup de Grâce, Dodge and those Skills which specify that they can be used in CC Combat or in the Engaged state, as Reset.
The trick with using Triangulated Fire for a long-range shot is that you must first move into position to use it, because it is a long skill. That move will probably trigger an ARO from the intended victim, which could take out your remote before you shoot, or they could dodge out of LOF of the remote altogether. Keep that in mind when you're thinking you'll pick off something from afar.
Sat-Lock and Speculative Fire (or Guided ammunition)
In our last example, being able to put enemy models in the Targeted state, without the risk of using Forward Observe can be incredibly deadly, especially in confined areas like an Objective Room. I use this to great effect with my USAriadna, but in factions that can get a Sat-Locking unit, you can really lay down the hurt. It can be a bit order intensive, but it's an ability that operates on zero-risk, so if you have the orders, it's a very solid option.
Don't forget that Sat-Lock's area of effect is boosted by any Sniffers that you may have on the table. It's entirely feasible to use this against enemies far from the remote itself, with the use of Sniffers. Armies with wide access to Sniffers, like Yu Jing (units like the Kanren or Kuang Shi especially), should really be aware of what they can do with it. Another thing to remember is that an Unconscious model remains in the Targeted state, so you can keep using it as a target to attack more models (as is done in the example above).
As you can probably tell by now, Sensors are an amazing bit of equipment, and the models armed with them are often bringing a grab bag of other nasty gear as well. Camouflage is one of the best abilities in this game, and some armies will even go as far as having over a dozen camouflage troops on the table. Being able to mitigate their advantage through use of Sensor can be totally game changing.