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AR/Dark Sentinel Build?


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I have an AR/Dark sentinel I've been playing from time to time. She's fairly fun and I like the concept, but I feel like I could squeeze a bit more effectiveness from her. She's currently level 47. Here's the build I'm roughly following, if people have any suggestions or additions (or, preferably, a fresh build!) I'd be super happy.

Sentinel_-_Assault_Rifle_-_Dark_Armor_-_Dark_Mastery_-_i26 (1).mxd

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Assault Rifle is a tough set to really get more out of.  (Sorry, this is going to be long because AR is a potentially complex set for slotting on Sentinels)

First off, you can skip Cardiac with your build.  The endurance is largely under control between Obscure Sustenance and Defensive Opportunity.  Consider either Musculature Core Alpha for the largest enhancement boost to damage OR Musculature/Intuition Radial for alternate effects + lesser enhancement boost to damage.  Swapping to Musculature Core Alpha in what you have is a damage boost already.  


Darkest Night is a trap selection, but if you like for theme go for it.  I say trap because a single application of to-hit debuff isn't that great by itself and it gets resisted.  It won't add nearly as much defense benefit as it looks on paper considering its endurance cost.  At least when fighting at +4.  For lower difficulties it will be OK against trash packs.  Against AVs, don't bother.  The -damage debuff is nice, and that's something to consider for trash packs too.  Again, with AVs you need to strip them of their resistance in order to make that more effective and Sentinels just don't have enough to pull it off.  

So, the TL;DR, Darkest Night is an OK choice against common packs of enemies but unlikely to be worth the end drain against anything like an AV/GM.  


Without Tactics running you're over on accuracy against +4's.  Tactics could be an idea for its other benefits, but its to-hit is unnecessary.  


Hitting melee defense cap is nice.  I don't on my Water/Dark.  I have 32% defense to Melee/Range/AoE.  Its not a perfectly direct translation to AR.  However, both sets have knockdown/back which I leverage.  Water has AoE disorient in Geyser where AR has single target stun in Disorienting Shot.  Oppressive Gloom is a good choice for either.  

May I suggest looking at Psychic Mastery?  Specially, you may be interested in Psychic Shockwave (IO set diversity, stun, etc.) and Link Minds.  I did not bother with a single target melee attack on my Water/Dark.  Instead I slotted the 5pc purple set into Psychic Shockwave (for bonuses) and Fury of the Gladiator -resistance.  Its 360 degrees, potentially stuns, and its just extra damage.  Link Minds + Weave + Cloak of Darkness + Maneuvers + Combat Jumping is the backbone of my +defense layers.  


For attacks: 


I do stick with Buckshot and Flamethrower on my AR/SR.  Flamethrower does not need the Opportunity Strikes set.  Its somewhat wasted there.  I run the Ward set in that power and run the Strikes set in Full Auto.  For Buckshot, I'd run any +recharge 5pc set of your choice + a KB to KD IO... unless you don't mind the knockback.  

For Single Target there are a wide number of paths with AR and it can be tough.  


The reason I say "tough" is because Burst and Disorienting Shot work against a lot of build options.  Their animations are ridiculous fast.  I think both attacks are fundamentally good, but they are so fast it is tough to build enough recharge to make a gapless chain at times.  Ideally, you want to run 3 attacks with a cycle using Incinerator as an opener and sandwich the other two powers.  

There are two options to that strategy. 


One is Burst -> Slug -> Burst.  This animates in 4.224 seconds so that's the target recharge for Incinerator to make it gapless.  


Second is Disorienting Shot -> Burst -> Disorienting Shot.  This routine is where the hard parts come in.  Disorienting Shot needs to recharge in Burst's 1.188 second recharge.  Incinerator needs to recharge in 3.3 seconds.  Swapping Burst with Slug makes this time 3.96.  Burst is ideal to keep for the Achilles' Heel, but I suppose you could drop it.

You can run Incinerator -> Disorienting Shot -> Burst -> slight gap -> Disorienting Shot.   So in the current build you'll notice that Incinerator's recharge is 3.56s.  The gap between Burst and Disorienting Shot replaces that issue.  With Musculature Core Alpha, an Interface like Reactive/Degenerative, and an Assault hybrid this starts to get better.  Its not great, but AR has a low ceiling on single target.  

Another option is to run one of each of 4 attacks like Incinerator - Slug - Disorienting Shot and Burst.  You could fit all those attacks into a build if you wanted, but it gets hard to justify slots.  Another thing to consider is Slug works better with procs vs sets since its somewhat outclassed by Burst & Disorienting Shot as it is.  


In any routine where you sandwich Burst your practically guaranteed control over when Offensive Opportunity procs.  The reverse is obviously true if you run Disorienting Shot + Slug as the filler.  You lose a bit of control over Opportunity when running both Burst and Disorienting Shot in the same chain at high levels of recharge.  Its not that a big a deal, but I found it totally obnoxious.  Just just a warning.  


Proc slotting.  Procs are where you're going to pick up a bit more damage.  

It cannot be guaranteed damage since Burst is so fast in animation and recharge, but on average it helps.  

So what I used in my AR/SR is Burst, Slug, and Incinerator slotted for procs.  Disorienting Shot is taken but mules a set and exists as backup to trigger Defensive Opportunity if/when I want it.  Disorienting Shot is not completely necessary with /SR specifically, but it can be helpful for /DA for endurance.  

Anyway, Burst runs Achilles' Heel, Lady Grey, and Toxic PvP to diversify from lethal (Shieldbreaker is an option too, but its lethal).  The other slots are Thunderstrikes for a minor ranged defense boost and recovery buff.  This also helps with accuracy, damage, and endurance.  With +5 boosters you can hit +4's while Link Minds is active with little issue.  The enhanced damage will be 126% with Musculature Core T4. 


Slug gets 5 total slots with the same Thunderstrike +boosters, Toxic PvP proc + Explosive Strikes chance for Smashing.  Incinerator follows suit but changes to Apocalypse chance for negative, toxic proc, and Decimation Build-Up.  Incinerator's got the right features for being a proc carrier but it is unfortunately limited.  Regardless, this is how I maximized its damage.  With 157% recharge there will be a minor gap before the next Incinerator after the Burst - Slug - Burst sandwich.  Burst can recharge within Slug's animation making that seamless.  

Soft-capping any category or just enough defense... 


Soft-capping anything with /DA removes the proc option almost entirely.  You'd be giving up recharge which is desperately needed in order to run the fewest possible attacks.  Fillers just make AR worse.  Soft-capping needs more full sets and that hurts slotting options in the attacks.  Incinerator - Disorienting - Burst - Disorienting is pretty much the best you can hope for on damage with full sets and high recharge.  


Since there is a lot of knockdown potential between Buckshot, M30 (not taken here, and I skipped it too), and Slug that's something to think about.  Psychic Shockwave + Disorienting Shot + Oppressive Gloom is another thing.  I run +2/x8 with Water/Dark.  It is completely manageable with a "just enough" defense approach plus CC.  Anything higher than that starts getting risky and time consuming.  I've run my build in +4/x8.  It can do it, but its not particularly smooth at it while solo.  In groups its not a big deal.  So that's something else to think about.  


How to get 157% global recharge? 



5x LotG (Cloak of Darkness, Combat Jumping, Weave, Maneuvers, Link Minds)

5pc Opportunity Strikes (Full Auto ideally and with the 6th slot for range defense)

6pc Sentinel's Ward (Flamethrower, trust me)

5pc Apocalypse (no proc) in Disorienting Shot 

5pc Ragnarok in Buckshot

5pc Armageddon in Psychic Shockwave


The above equals 157.5%.  Its about the best you're going to get and still be able to socket damage procs.  It can get higher by using sets like Decimation in Burst, and Disorienting shot for another 6.25% each.  


Resistance Caps... 


Dark can potentially cap Smashing/Lethal/Psychic and occasionally Negative on Sentinels.  Its a big mountain to climb while making considerations to boost damage, and I found it not worth doing.  I landed around 66-68% on my Water/Dark.  With everything else I have been talking about, its enough.  With AR/DA I seem to hit around 66 since some slotting options are very different between the two sets.  Still, that's not bad.  Energy and Toxic are holes, but that's just how Dark Armor works. 


Anyway, here is a data chunk to illustrate what I am babbling about.  You'll need the most recent updated files to view it.  Also, the build does more damage pure range than the original build does despite Smite.  Yes, procs are that strong.   Smite with procs would make it better, but I don't think it is necessary.  Lean into the AoE benefits a bit.  Full Auto with Opportunity Strikes and Flamethrower can let you chain cast Opportunity.  


[Edit: Don't completely forget there are things like Defensive Boosters at the Pay-to-Win vendor that last an hour.  That can be a gap closer if you feel the mitigation is too low.  Barrier in the Destiny can also be an option.  I find Sentinels a bit of a chore to run through +4 content solo, but quite frankly I feel that way about a lot of characters.  Still, dipping into external sources of +defense/resist like the ones mentioned can make solo +4 content a lot smoother.  I don't often do it enough myself, but its worth the reminder to all readers!]


| Copy & Paste this data into Mids' Reborn : Hero Designer to view the build |


Edited by oldskool
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