Primary Powerset: Electrical Blast
Medium Single-Target Damage (4 Ranged ST Damage), Medium AoE Damage (2 Targeted AoE, 1 PBAoE), Medium-Low Control (Endurance Drain & 1 Hold)
High chance of endurance drain.
I would like to preface this guide by stating that I am not an optimizer who seeks to squeeze every bit of power out of a combination or power set. I'm a roleplayer first and foremost, and often pick my power sets for theme or even appearance. While I am an experienced player, I've never chased the best numbers. At the same time, I enjoy teams and know that you have to perform to certain standards to make sure you're not a drag on the team. I'll also state that my first (and only) 50 was an Elec/Elec blaster, so I've a certain fondness for this power set. I just want folks to go into this write up knowing the facts. Forewarned, we venture on.
Electrical Blast is a beautiful, if often maligned, power set with a strong focus and a good mix of both single target and area damage. This set offers the unique secondary of endurance drain, which is a contentious subject with varying opinions as to its efficacy. But I'm going to assume if you're reading this write up, that you're interested in this fun and unique power set. To that end, I'm going to be speaking to those who find this power set interesting. I know it's not at the top tier, and may well be near the bottom end of the power scale, but there are those of us who enjoy the aesthetics or theme of the power set. This guide is for you.
In the good news column, this power set is one of the best served by its conversion to a sentinel set. The changes have transformed this set from bottom tier to a solid middle of the pack. While the secondary effects haven't changed, the higher damage of Tesla Cage and the shorter recharge on Thunderous Blast have both done wonders. It's a good introductory set, as it offers a nice mix of targeted and area powers that can give you a variety of tools in your toolbox.
But before we go further, we need to talk about the effects of Sapping.
A Brief Overview of Sapping (Endurance Drain)
As a set, Electrical Blast has a very strong focus on Endurance drain. But to understand what this means for the set, we need to understand how endurance works in both players and Enemies (or NPCs).
For players, each power has a cost which is then deducted from the total endurance. If you don't have enough endurance to cover the cost of the power, you can't use it. It's that simple. We'll come back to this.
For Enemies don't have an endurance cost, they have drain. The way it works is that if an enemy has at least one endurance, they can use a power and then deduct that cost from their pool. The upshot is that if they have at least 1 endurance, they can use a power and then they go into negative endurance. Which doesn't matter for them. The second thing to understand is that endurance recovery for NPCs is halved, meaning that the -100% recovery is actually 50%.
To be an effective sapper, you must drain a mob to 0 endurance and keep them there. Which is incredibly difficult, even with all the tools in our toolbox here. To really maximize the effect of drain, you have to keep it up and for that you're going to need a secondary or epic pool which drains endurance. Of which there are only two options: Electric Armor (Power Sink) and Electricity Mastery (Havoc Punch, Lightning Field). While you can completely drain mobs with a Thunderous Blast > Short Circuit > Ball Lightning chain, it's hard to keep up. And by the time you drop that much damage, most mobs are going to be dead anyway.
Now, all this goes out the window if you're one of the folks who enjoy PvP. In this arena, endurance drain can be a powerful tool that can so completely drain your opponents that their toggles drop and they can't do anything. The only thing keeping this tactic from being completely excellent is the long animation times and the supreme mobility of PCs. So while this is a tactic that can work, it often doesn't. But I'll tell you, when it does work, oh man are the effects worth it!
TLDR; Endurance drain against mobs is incredibly difficult and most times not worth the effort. It can be done, but by the time you fully drain their endurance, most mobs are dead anyway. It can work in PvP, but not as often as you'd like.
Pretty, Pretty Lights
As an aside, this is one of the prettiest power sets in the game. You can get some truly spectacular and beautiful effects by combining two different colors. While I'm a fan of the classic high yellow/light yellow or bright blue/white contrasts, many more options are possible. And the two colors do intertwine and combine produce some very pretty effects.
Still with me? Good. Despite the generally underwhelming secondary effects, this set still has a lot to offer. The strength of this set is the roughly even combination of single target and AoE powers. Both of your first two powers are single target, combined with a very high damage single target and extreme damage single target damage with a hold. You then get two targeted AoE powers and a PBAoE power that does moderate damage.
With a mix like this, you can build several different attack chains to fit the situation, whether it be one tough enemy or a group of minions. You've got a tool for most situations along with the classic power of Aim. Five of the powers in this set also drain endurance and debuff endurance recovery (a whopping 100%!).
Most of the powers have the same general animations - fire from one hand, fire from two hands, or charge up and discharge with both hands. But in the end you're shooting blasts of lightning at your foes, so get used to the snap, crackle, and zap.
Ranged Moderate Damage
Ranged High Damage
Targeted AoE for Moderate Damage
-7% End, -100% Recovery
Ranged Very High Damage
-7% End, -100% Recovery
Self +To Hit (50%), +Damage(50%), +Range (33.3%)
Ranged Extreme Damage + Hold (Mag 3)
Summon Elemental which makes Moderate Ranged Attacks
-5% End, -100% Recovery
PBAoE Moderate Damage
-35% End, -100% Recovery
Targeted AoE for Extreme Damage
-55.5% End, -100% Recovery
Charged Bolts: This is your bread and butter single target attack. You fire lightning from one hand at a target. It does moderate damage and as a Sentinel induces a -20% resistance status. While not required, this is the power you need to trigger your Offensive Opportunity.
Lightning Bolt: This is a two handed single target attack. It does high damage and is needed to trigger your Defensive Opportunity.
The above two powers are what I like to call your bread and butter. They're the switches upon which the Sentinel revolves and are used to trigger your Offensive and Defensive Opportunities. If you're interested in the Opportunity mechanic, I recommend taking both of these powers to open up your options. If, however, you don't enjoy the mechanic, you can get away with using just one of them.
Ball Lightning: Your first AoE spell and it's a solid one. It does Moderate damage over time and hits a reasonably large number of targets (up to 10). I recommend taking this power, but if you want to focus more on single target damage, feel free to skip this one.
Zapping Bolt: This is the Snipe replacement power. It's a very high damage single target attack. I often lead off with this attack or Tesla Cage. This power is highly recommended.
Aim: This is a very powerful self buff that adds to both accuracy and damage. This is a major increase in your damage output, so it comes highly recommended.
Tesla Cage: This is your highest damage single target power, which also includes an 8 second magnitude 3 hold. The magnitude is high enough to hold a lieutenant and will hold a boss if you can stack it with another hold. Highly recommended power, no matter your play style.
Voltaic Sentinel: Also known as Sparky. Summons a psuedo-pet for sixty second. The pet can use Charged Bolts and will attack whatever creature it so chooses. Sparky can fly and will follow you, but he's slower than a character who's sprinting. Due to the poor targeting, slow speed, and generally lackluster damage, this is the power that is easiest to skip taking. If you do take it, I wouldn't slot it very heavily.
Short Circuit: Your first real sapper power that does moderate damage in an AoE burst. It has a decent recharge but an obnoxiously long animation time. If you're building a sapper, you should take this power. Otherwise you can skip this one if you're build needs more secondary or pool powers.
Thunderous Blast: The capstone and what a power it is! While it has a long animation time, it does excellent damage and really drains the old endurance. There are very few instances in which you won't be taking this power.
First, here's the good news. Energy damage isn't widely resisted, so we've got a nice advantage there. Beyond that, how you slot is going to depend on your secondaries and what you want to focus on: damage or sapping.
Right out of the gate, I highly recommend six slotting at least one of Charged Bolts and Lightning Bolt, if not both. If you're going for a more AoE focused build, both of these powers will work fine with 4 or 5 slots. If you have six slotted these powers, I find they're a good place for Sentinel's Ward and Opportunity Strikes. Both of them offer excellent global accuracy enhancements and Opportunity Strikes offers a great global recharge bonus. So save up those merit rewards!
Before you get to the Sentinel Archetype sets, a 2 Accuracy, 3 Damage, 1 Recharge IO setup will work just fine (remember that at level 25 IOs are the equal of SOs). Both Decimation and Devastation are also excellent sets with good bonuses. If you have a resistance heavy primary, Thunderstrike offers ranged defense when six slotted.
Next up we have Ball Lightning. If you're leaning into your Sapper role, six slotting Efficacy Adapter or Performance Shifter is the way to go. If you want to focus on damage, Positron's Blast is a great setup and has a recharge global bonus at 6 slots. You can also frankenslot this with Positron's Blast (Accuracy Damage, Accuracy/Damage/Endurance, Damage/Recharge) and Adrenal Adjustment (or three options from another Endurance Modification set). Six slots of Detonation will offer some decent resistances for defense heavy secondaries.
Zapping Bolt should is well worth investing six slots in, or 3-4 if you're focusing more on AoE damage. Decimation or Apocalypse are the gold winners here, but for the budget conscious or lower level consider using Ruin until you have the influence and levels to get something better. This is also a good spot to place Sentinel's Ward or Opportunity Strikes if you've decided to forgo taking either Charged Bolts or Lightning Bolt.
Aim works just fine with one slot and shouldn't really have more than three at the most. Three slots of Rectified Reticle will help defense light secondaries hit the soft cap on defense. Encouraged Accuracy has a nice accuracy bonus with 3 slots. If single slotting, Gaussian's Synchronized Fire-Control (Chance for Build Up) is a great choice and really makes this power a mega-buff when it triggers.
Tesla Cage is worth six slotting, or at least going with 4 slots if you're focusing on AoE damage. Like Zapping Bolt, you want Decimation or Apocalypse, or Ruin as the budget option.
Voltaic Sentinel works fine with only one slot and you probably shouldn't go past three or four at most. Three pieces of Sovereign Right actually grant some decent resistance bonuses. Four slots of Call to Arms actually grants a 6.25% recharge reduction, which is the best argument for four slotting this power. Remember that you're pet can't be attacked and doesn't taunt, so anything that ups pet defense is worthless in this power.
Short Circuit can be slotted for damage or endurance modification. Either way, I don't recommend taking more than 3 or 4 slots here. If you''re going with damage, go with Eradication for resistance heavy secondaries or Avalanche for defense heavy secondaries. If you're really focused on AoE damage, you can six slot this with Armageddon at level 47 for the sweet bonuses. If you're instead focusing on sapping, go with four slots of Performance Shifter (Endmod, Endmod/Accuracy Recharge, Accuracy/Recharge, Endmod/Accuracy). Those four slots will turn this power into an endurance draining machine.
Thunderous Blast should be six slotted for almost all builds, as it's an excellent power. Go with Annihilation for resistance heavy secondaries or Positron's Blast for defense heavy secondaries. Ragnarok is worthwhile investment at level 50. If you're focusing on sapping, then this is where you Frankenslot. I recommend 3 slots of Overwhelming Force (Accuracy/Damage, Accuracy/Damage/Endurance, Accuracy/Damage/Endurance/Recharge) and all 3 pieces of Energy Manipulator. Thus slotted, the power will drain almost 80% of a targets endurance and drop recovery by -141%.
There are one or two powers you can skip taking, depending upon your focus.
Voltaic Sentinel, in it's current form, is rather lackluster and you can safely skip it more of the time. The one exception might be if you're focusing on solo play, where the extra damage output can be more helpful.
Short Circuit can be skipped if you're focused on single target damage or you're not much of a sapper. If found that the long animation time and small area mean that it often under-performs in a damage output capacity. If you are a sapper, though, this power is highly recommended and can really drain endurance if properly slotted.
I've covered slotting pretty well in the above sections, but there are special considerations if you want to play a sapper. And that mainly comes into play if you want to be a sapper.
If you want to sap, Ball Lightning, Short Circuit, and Thunderous Blast are all powers that can be slotted for Endurance Modification. Even then, I would avoid going full endurance modification and instead do a 3 and 3 split. For the damage portion, focus on Accuracy/Damage, Damage/Recharge, and Accuracy/Damage/Endurace style enhancements. Then fill out the other three slots with the fully set of Energy Manipulator.
As a Sentinel, you might want to consider the bonuses from your secondary power set when slotted your primaries. There are generally sets that will enhance ether defenses or resistances. I've outlined some good choices above.
You have a couple of choices here, depending on focus and the situation.
If you have it up, pop Aim before any of these rotations, especially your AoE rotations.
Single Target: Tesla Cage > Zapping Bolt > Lightning Bolt will take down an even con minion and get close to filling your Opportunity.
Single Tough Target: Tesla Cage > Zapping Bolt > Lightning Bolt > Charged Bolts > Zapping Bolt > Tesla Cage will keep the damage up while keeping a single target locked down.
Groups: Thunderous Blast > Ball Lightning > Short Circuit will clear groups of minions and heavily drain endurance. Just keep in mind that both Thunderous Blast and Short Circuit have roughly 3 second animation times, so be prepared to take some damage before it all goes off. Stealth powers can help you deliver that first nova.
Sapping: Thunderous Blast > Short Circuit > Ball Lightning is the opening salvo for this situation. If you have it, follow up with Power Sink (Electric Armor) > Short Circuit > Power Sink. That will completely drain anything short of an AV and keep them there for a while.
The most obvious pairing with this set is Electric Armor. Both sets can drain Endurance and Power Sink combined with Thunderous Blast can completely drain minions and lieutenants and go a long way toward draining bosses and elite bosses. Plus Electric Armor has fewer necessary powers than other sets, freeing you up to take more of the primary powers. And if you're playing to theme, this just reinforces that theme. Super Reflexes is another theme appropriate choice that offers a more defense focused approach, but lacks the endurance draining synergy that Electric offers.
Electrical Blast is pretty well balanced, so your choice of Epic Pool is likely more down to personal preference. Thematically, Electric Mastery offers synergy and does have a few choice powers to help round things out. Havoc Punch also drains Endurance, as does Lightning Field. Paralyzing Jolt adds a Stun to your rotation, complimenting your Hold nicely. And Rehabilitation Circuit offers you something unique to a Sentinel - a group heal. Mu Mastery is another great choice, though one that starts sliding you a little closer to a controller. Thunder Strike followed by Tesla Cage and hold a boss along with dealing quite a lot of damage. Static Discharge give you a cone attack that drains endurance. Just note that as a villain power set, you'll have to Complete Scirocco's patron arc.
Like most sets, you'll want Hasten from the Speed pool, as you've got a few powers with longer recharge times. You can get away without it if you absolutely must, but you'll be relying heavily on Charged Bolts and Lightning Bolt in your attack chains.
Given that you have a few PBAoE and short ranged Targeted AoEs, getting into position is important. Thus, powers like Stealth, from the aptly named Stealth pool, are useful. Super Speed can also get you there, but given the finicky nature and short area of some of your powers, I would prefer the slower Stealth over Super Speed.
For Travel Powers, I don't particularly feel like there's any one clear choice. If you're finding yourself short on power pool slots, Super Speed is there from the Speed pool you already took. Plus Super Speed is somewhat thematic for lightning themed characters. I, personally, enjoy the freedom of the Fly and Hover powers.
Both the Fighting and Leadership pools are useful for most Sentinels, though I would take only one of the two pools, depending on your preference. Fighting offers stronger resistance and defense bonuses and is often used by many builds as a way to hit the defense and resistance caps. Leadership, meanwhile, gets you a defense boost right away, and one that applies to the team. Assault can also help bring your damage total of you and your team up a bit more.
Alpha: Given the focus of the set, Agility Core Boost (Recharge Rate, Endurance Modification) is a good choice here. It doubles up on what the set is good on. Musculature Core (Damage, Immobilize Duration, Defense Debuff) is another good choice here, if you want to focus on damage. Cardiac Core (Endurance Reduction, Range, Damage Resistance) is good for secondaries that lack a damage resistance setup.
Judgement: Ionic Core is the best at damaging over a very wide area and fits in the theme. But, to be honest, there are very few bad choices here. Honestly, I'd say go with what fits your fancy or concept best.
Interface: Currently most of these are a bit bugged, but I'd go with Gravitic Interface for the recharge reduction. Degenerative Interface feeds into your Sentinel role well. But otherwise I haven't dabble in these much and so use your best judgement.
Lore: There are no bad choices in Core Lore slots, while Radial slots are mostly bad. Clockwork Core feeds into the electricity theme, which is fun. Otherwise, this is a good chance to round out your character theme.
Destiny: If you have no other way to manage your endurance problems, go for Ageless. The choice between Ageless Core and Ageless Radial is between a ridiculous amount of endurance and a bit of haste, versus a good amount of endurance and defense debuff resistance. Otherwise, Barrier Core is a strong defensive choice for every Sentinel build, and Clarion Radial will increase your range, secondary set, and some of your side effects for a time.
Hybrid: Assault is by far the strongest choice. For a Sentinel, I would recommend Assault Core over Assault Radial, unless you know you will frequently be in situations where you will be at the cap for +damage, such as in Incarnate Trials or the Hamidon Raid. While Radial bypasses the cap, Core gives the Sentinel more damage in situations where the Sentinel's individual damage contributions are most important. Melee Core or Melee Radial can help shore up an offensive secondary that is relatively bad at survival.
Note: I wish to state that I followed, for the most part, the format made by Sunsette. I also have followed her Incarnate advice, as I've had precious little experience with the system.