Sentinel Calibre Guide – Shards of War
I love her style, design and the vibe she gives you when playing her, but damn did I had a hard time figuring her out and all the attempts to play her successfully were never really satisfying to me (that was before the recent patch and the update/changes to some of the items). She felt always “off flow” and playing her didn’t feel smooth.
I love Calibre from as a Sentinel, which does not necessary mean that she is the strongest Sentinel out there. When I had first the chance to play her in the Bigpoint office before she was released I immediately assumed that she is an Assassin type of a Sentinel. After all her ingame tags are “Damage & Mobility”, she has a gap closer, a short range burst ability in her repertoire and her auto attack range is rather small compared to dps Sentinels.
Every time I tried to be this way successful with her, it just didn’t feel right. It felt edgy and quirky. She has a good gap closer for engaging her enemy, but is at the same time so squishy that she usually pops while porting into position. Activating her ultimate, which is a cool effect and a cool ability usually ends up being the target number 1 (for exactly 0.5sec after that she pops), if you are playing against more experienced teams.
Her AoE silence sounds terrific on paper and is rather ineffective ingame. If you are engaging with no backup (and a cc to aid you) enemy Sentinels need maximum 1 sec. to ran out of its AoE (and that is if you placed it perfectly). Her Probe is doing auto attack damage (% of what your weapons do) and doesn’t apply on hit procs and although the mechanics sound interesting of having to guns firing instead of one, it has rather no impact on the game as most of the items which provide on proc effects are limited to an internal cooldown.
The perfect execution for Calibre would be to cast her probe spot on the enemy sentinel, warp in and right click into his face, cast silence on top of him before he knows what is happening and follow up with an ultimate next to him to him off with another right click. Sadly that is exactly what is in 99,99% of all cases not possible. Just the fact that she has some implemented mechanics in her which prevents her of instantly casting her silence and dropping the probe with instantly porting to it, makes this combo highly unlikely.
Besides… Using her Ultimate for a single target makes it always feel like such a waste.
Just to be clear. I am not saying you can’t play her as an Assassin, I am saying that every single other “real” assassin in the game can do anything she does, just better.
Trying her as a steady DPS force is quite unimpressive as well. Her Auto Attack range is so short that she always gets into trouble against the long range Sentinels. Besides that her Abilities just doesn’t add up to it.
So all hope lost for Calibre besides being used as a funtime Sentinel? No! But she requires a different focus! When working on my Tier List and thinking of the best way of winning ranked games and climbing in the Shards of War Leaderboard I was wondering with which Sentinel I could provide the biggest impact on the game and carry it if necessary. Everything changes of course when you reach top Elo, but in all other ranked games there are three key factors on how to win and carry a game by your self.
- Let nobody of your Team die
- Kill all or key enemy Sentinel
- Take objectives
As we already discussed, the first two points aren’t really the strength of Calibre. Let’s have a look on the last point.
Calibre has a relocation ability which allows her to jump over any obstacles in the game (if it isn’t too wide). This gives her a unique (well the only other Sentinel capable to to that is Cobra) potential for invading the enemy jungle and leaving it alive (make sure you plan your escape in advance and watch enemy movement on the minimap to raise the chance of success). Split pushing a side lane can be easily done with her as she will most likely have a very high chance of escaping an approaching defense.
She has good wave clear abilities: Probe, Final Answer*, Retort, Interrogator
*Yes, that is no mistake – I am especially mention her ultimate as a wave clear ability – more on that later though
And when fighting in those tight spots in the jungle (enemy or your own) all her spells are becoming so much more efficient all of a sudden, as the enemy has only limited options in which direction he can retreat. And a silence in the right spot at the right time will win the teamfight.
Passiv Interrogator – The little sphere which is floating around her head will shoot at the closest enemy in range (damage is calculated as a % from your auto attacks). It is an ability which is sometimes tricky to use for its full potential. In teamfights you want to keep your distance to enemy forces to avoid damage, which will make it very hard to make the sphere direct the right enemy Sentinel. While clearing lane drones however it is rather easy to either target the same for fast takeout or (and that is what i prefer) to split your autoattacks and sphere attacks on different drones.
Retort – Your rightclick will shoot 5 projectiles in a cone in front of you. Any target can be hit multiple times if is close enough to you. Any damage applied by it besides the first projectile will be reduced. This ability should always be used as an opener and/or finisher for enemy sentinels. Against jungle drones you should position yourself as close as possible to maximize your damage output (and use it whenever possible) and against lane drones I recommend you to use it as a wave clear ability (meaning you should stand a little bit back).
Field of Inquiry – The Skill which makes Calibre so unique and fun to play. This ability has two types of different uses. First it allows you to throw out an AoE which will remain at a certain spot for a certain time and damage every hostile unit in it. Secondly it allows you to jump to it if you activate this ability twice. This ability is therefore a AoE damage skill, a gap closer skill and one of the strongest escape skills in the game. The proper use of it will determine like no other skill if you are a good or bad Calibre player.
Probe – Her Probe ability will throw out an AoE field which silence everyone who is still in its effect radius. Additional it provides a slow by anybody stepping his feet into it. The cooldown on this spell is rather high and in most cases you will be able to only use it once in a fight. This spell should not be spammed but used very strategically in the right moment. I advice to not use it as an opener but rather as a fight closer ability.
Final Answer – Calibre is spinning around and creating a huge AoE field (channeling) which will damage everyone in it. Although on lower ranks people tend to run once Calibre uses her ultimate, on higher ranks she becomes target No.1. Focus fire on Calibre makes her drop to the ground nearly instantly and in most cases her ultimate is forcefully ended before its full life span.
Calibre is no easy Sentinel to be effective with her and to be able to play her on a high elo level. Too many aspects of abilities which needs to be timed right, placed correctly and she requires high anticipation capabilities to pull her off effectively. Like no other Sentinel you need to constantly make a call of commitment (and guys don’t like commitments right? haha).
Will you use her her Field of Inquiry to AoE damage the enemy lane drones, or will you save it to escape an incoming gank? Will you maximize the effectiveness of Retort by moving in close to your target and going for the kill, or stay in safe distance to have a chance of survival once things go sideways?
Can you say for sure that the enemy is about to retreat so you can jump in and finish them off with your ultimate, or will they suddenly turn around and kill you withing a second? Can you 100% identify the primary target for your silence and will you be able to place it correctly in the right time to give your team the edge in a teamfight?
To take away a little bit of the edge and difficulty while playing Calibre we won’t play her as a pure Assasine or Fighter type of a character and instead build and play her around objectives (after all that is how you win games).
You want to be highly mobile to surprise your enemy by invading and split pushing side lanes and you want to maximes your damage output against drones. This will allow you to invate enemy territory to either ambush those who are doing their drones or capture those drones on your own. This play-style is 100% compatible to plays on the top Elo.
Your Minimap is the strongest asset you have as Calibre. Constantly be aware where drones are being taken down and what the enemy movement is, so you know when to invade the enemy jungle. In the moment you decide to go for a drone capture in enemy territory you need to plan your route of escape. Positioning yourself in a way that you have two route choices to safety is the best bet to actually survive a gank attempt.
Throw your Field of Inquiry in one direction and escape into the other side. If enemy forces follow you, activate the Field of Inquiry teleport and escape the gank. If they split up, you will have only one Sentinel to deal with and a well timed Probe should give you the edge to escape his onslaught. In this scenario your Field of Inquiry will be on a shorter cooldown, as you didn’t use it for teleporting to it.
Taking down drones is rather easy with Calibre and relatively safe as well. Artillery can be taken down with full hp in the moment it spawns and in the moment you have Parasite unlocked you can take on Tank drones (start with ~full health) as well (make sure you try it out so you know how long you need and how low your health drops). Just remember to always use your retort while standing very close to the minion to use its full damage potential, and if possible use your Field of Inquiry to help with the kill speed.
The right use of her ultimate may in times be a little bit tricky. As mentioned in the ability description it is very situational and can be dangerous in times to activate it in the wrong moment in a teamfight. What I do and see very little from other players is to utilize her ultimate for a very fast lane clear. If you are pushing a tower or initiating a split push you can clear the whole enemy wave with it (and provide damage on the tower structure). In such case you have the possibility to switch lanes immediately (as your lane minions will keep pushing).
Your minion wave will in such situation skip a whole enemy wave and walk a big distance before your enemy has time to react. That is a good strategy to apply pressure on your opponents and maybe trick them into splitting their forces so your team can engage into a teamfight to their advantage. I believe it is the fastest lane clear mechanic currently out there and can especially help with a big minion wave who has artillery drone support.
My preferred Item loadout is the first line of items.
Acceleration Frame – Allows you to travel the map very fast and invade enemy territory as fast as possible. Fast in and fast out. I love mobility in general and this just adds to her already high mobility potential.
Harmonic Dynamo – If you like to spam your abilities without too much of thinking of energy resource management, this item is the way to go. You will barely be out of energy with it.
Parasite – No other choice, you need the sustain and you need a reliable source of healing up again.
Plasma Charger – As we aren’t taking the energy regeneration on A we need something to keep the juice flowing. It is more difficult to land the killing blow on Calibre (without exposing yourself too much) but Assists are usually rather easily to obtain. Together with the medkit cricles and Life Shift you should be entirely saturated with energy regeneration. On a side note: Biolink can be very useful on her as well, but in my personal playstyle I favor Plasma Charger (try it out for yourself).
Persuasive Argument – If you made your choice in Item Slot A for Harmonic Dynamo you have the possibility to take either this one or Galvanizer (especially when combined with Enfeebling Shells it can provide a very scary solo push).
Galvanizer – Check above
Disrupter Ammo – You want to take out drones as fast as possible and this item just helps severely with it. Did you see that there is no internal cooldown on this item? Calibre will double benefit from it, as she is shooting with two guns (I have suspicion that maybe the attacks of the sphere benefit from it too but I am not sure about it)!
Kill-O-Watt – Is an option for her, but I rarely use it. Field of Inquiry duration longer means, that you have more time before you jump to it and that it does more damage over its duration.
This Item Slot choice will come down to your personal favorite, as I believe they are all very good item choices.
Gravity Circuit – Some might say that her high mobility makes it obsolete, I say it gives you the necessary edge. Field of Inquiry, Retort and your ultimate will give you a speed bonus. This will help significantly with damaging enemy forces on max range with your ultimate, makes escaping so much easier and sprint through a lane to reach a tower faster.
Razor Shells – Especially against tanky team constellation this item is really helpful. In order to maximize the effect of this item you need to constantly position yourself perfectly. Her Probe and her auto attacks will trigger the damage boost of it and that can mean quite a lot when the enemy team is running beefy Sentinels (you could apply 2%max Hp dmg every second to two (!) different Sentinels/targets). But make no mistake: Maximizing this effect is rather difficult to achieve – the potential however makes this item an eye to eye candidate with Gravity Circuit.
Marathon Interrogation – This is another useful custom item on Calibre and if I wouldn’t love Gravity Circuit so much on her (maybe Ill switch to it in near future ;)) it would be the choice No.1 for me. This custom item makes using Inquiry Field as a damaging tool more forgiving as its cooldown will be significantly shortened, so it can be reused (as long as you didn’t port to it). But for splitpushing and the needed escape potential Gravity Circuit still has the upper hand.
Enfeebling Shells – “This is your favorite choice over Rampert and Incendiary Rounds are missing in your loadout, are you nuts, crazy or both?” I understand your excitement. And yet I think this item is a) completely underused and b) amazing on Calibre. Anything you attack will have its damage reduced by 20%. Yes, ANYTHING. It works against towers (easier backdoor and easier push with minions), against enemy Sentinels (1v1 just got easier), against drones (“Tank drone? You mean I-Spank-it-Drone?” Invading and taking down Drones just got so much safer), against DRAGON (2 man Dragon takedown – Check!). The use of Rampart is compared to this list so much more limited.
Rampart – I simply can’t publish a guide with this item being on in the Loadout. There are those games out there where the heavy enemy CC Sentinels are making your life hard and you simply have to have it in your loadout as a Plan B item.
Cybernatic Amp – More damage when being on high health is an option to go, especially when you encountered a game where for some reason you are not being focused much and the game turns out to be a little bit more teamfight focus (instead of split pushing) and you need that extra juicy to make your damage output count.
Do you guys agree or disagree with my guide? Would you change something?