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  • 4 weeks later

Sentinel Powersets Advice part 1 : Primary


Ok, I've played through all the primaries and secondaries to a reasonable extent by this point, and I figure it might help some people if I proffered a bit of advice about the sets. I have earlier guides in here, but things have changed and experienced has been gained. Ignore those, profit from my experience. This will, of course, be based upon my preferences, but also will be numbers based since I'm rather a performance oriented kind of player. For the offensive side this will be primarily focused on single target DPAS, which is damage per activation second. This is what ultimately defines how much damage you can do with a power because chains of attacks incorporating optimal DPAS attacks will take down a hard target the fastest. Hence sets which have a bunch of high DPAS attacks will be the kings of taking out AVs , monsters and other high HP enemies. One caveat, animation times listed in game are not animation times in practice. Do to artifacts of how things are actually animation and the game clock, there is a distortion which ups animation times, and it falls proportionally heavier on faster attacks. This is known as ArcanaTime based on the initial poster who discovered it. You can look this up or use a formula to calculate it- (round(time/0.132)+1)*0.132


Some sets are more focused on AOE, but really with the AOE target caps on sentinels (6 for (most)cones, 10 for bursts), you will always lag a bit in that are. The other thing which makes up in mass damage is the fast recharging tier 9 nuke, which puts you back on the map. I tend to build sentinels around recharge simply because I want the nuke up as often as possible. There's a few sets which can be solid on AOE (lots of 10 target attacks), but they usually give up some on DPAS.


My other considerations are convenience of play (is there a gimmick required for this to work well), and aesthetics. Personally I don't really like sets which require you to build a stack of X to make Y work better. I generally like sets which just perform well all the time no matter if I'm playing like a methed up squirrel at a keyboard. I'm playing a game, and beyond the effort of carefully maximizing my build, I don't want to work too hard about playing to my powers when I'd rather spend the brain effort of analyzing and dispatching threatsI also prefer to play by hover blasting. Some sets make this either much less convenient or near impossible. As to aesthetics, I like things which aren't excessive in their graphics, and there's some amount of appeal to things which look like old school comic book art. This last bit is of course just my taste and yours may well differ.


I will treat each set individually in a fairly condensed fashion. There's plenty of resources which will provide the numbers (even in game, but those do need some caution) in game or out. I'll start with offensive sets, then defensive. I will also include some useful binds which should make your life easier. I don't use mids, so I don't make builds for people. I concoct a build as I play the character up through the levels. The following advice is very general, you should look up builds on the sentinel forum after that, or devise your own.



This set has a lot of high DPAS attacks. Stunning shot, perfect shot and blazing arrow are all excellent DPAS, not sentinel top, but good for all being in the same set . The tier 9 nuke is nice because it's ranged , but it is somewhat low damage with a 95 second recharge for some reason. You will want to use a bind like

/macroimage Rain_of_arrows "Rain of arrows" "powexeclocation target Rain of arrows" (there's an error in this with the token in your tray, but the button will work).

This macro will enable you to work the power by picking a target and hitting the button rather than picking a target location. Alternatively you can use

/bind lshift "pow_exec_name rain of arrows"

which will drop the power on a space designated by a shift left click. One thing to note about this set, snap shot is pure crap, skip it. It has horribly low DPAS. With the tier 9 being on the weak side, I'd advise against this set really unless you're focused on concept.


Assault Rifle

This is a very AOE focused set (3 cones, and 1 burst). None of the single target attacks have top notch DPAS, but they are all at least good. IMO it's a good idea to put a knockback to knockdown IO into M30 grenade to avoid scattering targets. The set is a nice simple drive where you just target and shoot, no need for any binds. If you are more concerned with AOE, this set is fine, though you can do better.


Note on archery and AR: On blasters the tier 9 nukes actually recharge faster (60 secs) and do lots more damage. Also since they do lethal damage, that can be a pain since by end game many, many critters highly resist lethal damage.


Beam Rifle

This set is a touch deceptive in the numbers because in game published numbers at character creation roll in the damage over time effects of disintegrate condition into all attacks where it applies. This distorts how good a lot of the attacks look. In a sustained chain of attacks, as on an AV, it is valid so for hard targets the set is good as long as you have disintegrate as part of your chain. The set is also appreciably better in AOE than the blaster version as the snipe is traded for a neat chaining burst power-refractor beam. The nuke is a solid ranged nuke with good damage. The disintegrate mechanic where it 'infects' other targets on its own in a random fashion is kind of fun to watch. This set gets a 2 thumbs up for being both effective and fun to play.


Dark Blast

The set is loaded with utility function, but seems to trade off damage for this. All attacks apply a -to hit debuff, which should help keep you alive, and you even have a self healing attack. . My view, however, is your secondary is to keep you alive, and your primary is to keep them dead. I don't like crossing these things over. The high DPAS attacks are pretty good (antumbral beam and abyssal gaze), but not top tier among sentinel single target attacks. The nuke is a PBAOE which makes you mix it up to deliver it. This isn't all that hard to pull off usually, but if you're accustomed to hover blasting safety, it greatly increases risk. Not my favorite set. I did a replay on it recently, and was definitely in 'meh' territory. It's not outright bad, but you can do better.


Dual Pistols

Again we have a set which gets distorted numbers from the in game listing. Once you get to swap ammo, it has appreciably better DPAS than is listed on the in game numbers. The animations are often kinda long, but the damage from incendiary ammo keeps up the DPAS. Average DPAS is pretty high, though none of the shots are top tier in sentinel single targets. The nuke is another PBAOE. For me I can't stand the animations since you're playing games with guns when you should be shooting, not showing off. I probably would like the set a lot more if they had alternate animations where you just take time to aim instead of the odd stuff. If you can stand the animation and don't mind the PBAOE nuke, it's not a bad set.


Electrical Blast

Yet again we have a set which gets distorted impressions from the in game numbers. This time it is because there's a mechanic in electrical blast now where an infection shock is applied by attacks and they count this under your single target damage. However, even when you take this out the single target damage is very solid. The burst AOE actually has great DPAS itself, which is an oddity for AOE powers. There is a hold included which is nice, and the nuke is a good ranged one. I like the look of the lightning bolts a good bit, so this one stands as my top sentinel attack set. The shock mechanic pads your AOE damage, and your attack chain is good for single targets. One thing to note, don't skip voltaic sentinel. This is an odd little power which produces a toggle based pseudo pet which blasts with the tier 1 blast from time to time. It is a nice bit of free damage, though you can't really predict what it will bother to target. It is indestructible, so you don't have to worry about losing it. While the damage isn't really all that hot, it does build up the shock mechanic for you and that's well worth the power slot and toggle cost. 


Energy blast

The damage numbers for the set are actually legitimate in game. The DPAS is OK. Nothing is top tier, but nothing is awful. The tier 9 nuke is PBAOE. You do suffer for doing knockback in varying degrees. Some powers do it all the time, some do it as a random chance. Personally I dislike knockback, and having it in every power is like a penalty to me. Aesthetically it's a great set with a strong feel of Jack Kirby or George Perez in the blasts with little bubbles in them (look at the art and you will get me). If you can deal with the knock back, or even like it, the set is OK, though not top tier.


Fire Blast

This is generally viewed as the highest damage set of them all. While it does contain one of the highest DPAS attacks among sentinel sets, I don't know if I fully agree. There's 4 single target attacks, and 2 of them are meh with DPAS at 50, 1 at an eye popping 130, and the other at 72. This does beat out electrical, but the blazing bolt power contains knockback and repel which annoy me (you can't stop tossing the target around), so I don't really like the set all that much. The nuke is also PBAOE (but high damage). Blazing bolt is what turns me off about the set, if you either like that or can deal with it, you can't object to the set's damage. Fireball is another very high DPAS AOE attack. The other AOEs are a rain and a narrow cone, so I consider this less of a great AOE set than it is commonly billed as. Looks are great with lots of burnination to make you happy. You won't likely go wrong picking this set.


Ice Blast

The strange numbers from the game strike again. For reasons I don't understand, both in game listing and City of Data (which takes from the game database) list Chilling Ray as hitting twice when in fact it does not. This doubles the DPAS and makes the set look like DPAS king because it would have 2 attacks over 100 DPAS. In actual fact, the set is merely upper tier with one attack at 117 DPAS (bitter ice blast) and the rest appreciably lower (next best is 67). AOEs are a little weak since there's no burst. You have a rain, a nuke rain, and a cone (cones are generally weak sauce on sentinels). Since your nuke is a rain, you might as well use both in sequence and that's how I play it. Nice thing about rains in that while they can't hit more than 10 targets at a time, as targets are eliminated, they hit something else, so effectively have a higher AOE target cap. Here's some useful binds for the set since you're using location based rains:

/macro_image iceblast_blizzard "blizzard" "powexeclocation target Blizzard"

/macro_image iceblast_icestorm "ice storm" "powexeclocation target ice storm"

The set is generally quite strong and definitely a top tier one. The damage error is a bit annoying though. Looks are fine.


Psychic Blast

Oddly enough this is the best version of the set across ATs. The single target DPAS is very solid with a 100 DPAS attack and 2 near 70. Avoid mental blast like the plague it is, with the worst DPAS of any sentinel single target attack in the primaries. AOEs are not brilliant with a cone, and a DoT burst. The nuke is another PAOE which I disfavor. A bit of a warning, while psionic damage can shine at times (for example the EBs in an ITF go to unstoppable and psi damage goes right on through), it is really weak against robots, and robots get very common at higher levels. If you're fighting the right stuff, the set is fine or even above average, but when it's against the wrong targets, it really lags.


Radiation Blast

This has a fairly meh set of single target attacks, with no very high DPAS (75 is top), and OK for the rest. The AOEs are a PBAOE and a burst with overly slow animation. The nuke is also a PBAOE. About the only positive to this set is it can take more procs if you're proc happy since all attacks do a little bit of defense debuff. There's really no good reason to take this set. Animations are fine, so at least it looks good.


Seismic Blast


This set has some plusses and minuses. It contains the DPAS king of sentinels with enhanced stalagmite coming in at 150. That's damned good. However you have to charge up for it with other attacks, and you are required to be standing on the ground (so no hover blast for you). Otherwise the blasts are pretty OK, with none overly low (except non enhanced stalagmite) and one at 75. There's 2 AOEs before the nuke, with a cone and a burst. The cone is fast animating, but still only 6 targets. The burst also has a fast animation, but damage is a bit delayed. The nuke is also location based, and has a fair bit of lag before it hits. This can be plenty annoying on teams where you drop your nuke on corpses that that team has already dispatched.

This macro will make your life easier.

/macro_image seismicblast_meteor "meteor" "powexeclocation target Meteor"


/bind lshift "pow_exec_name meteor"

The animations are very flashy and can obscure a lot of what is going on in a battle, so I tend to find them annoying, but YMMV. I should reiterate that this set very much depends on you standing on the ground since you get a knockdown field benefit from charging up your powers, and it's best attack also needs it. I initially tried a hover sentinel for my first attempt at this set and it was markedly lacking in effectiveness. If you don't mind standing on the ground, and can time your nuke use carefully, it is powerful. I just find the downsides in appearance and convenience too much for my taste. It gets a conditional thumbs up.


Sonic Attack

Sonic is a solid middle of the road set which resistance debuffs targets along the way. Nothing wrong to say about that. It used to be far worse, but got some love recently. A couple suggestions for the set would be skip the tier 1 for the tier 2 as the DPAS on tier one is rather poor. On a perma hasten build you can chain shriek, shout, screech for a pretty solid single target routine. Siren's songs is now a badass cone, not to be skipped. I suppose all the cones now do reasonable damage, but Siren's really stands out. The nuke is another PBAOE which is a bit annoying especially in a set based on cones which are all about ranged positioning. This is a perfectly good set these days. It may well not be my favorite, but there's no loss going with it. 


Water Blast


This set is probably the king of sentinel AOE. It's got a cone which hits 10 (anomalous), a burst for another 10, and effectively a rain, all before your tier 9 ranged nuke. This is a whole lot of mass slaughter (er, mass arrest?), and if you want an AOE focused sentinel, it's a solid choice. Single target is a bit weak with only 4 of them (effecively 3 since one is a self heal, but it's actually better DPAS if slotted for damage than the first 2, which are simply lousy), and the high damage one is conditional on charging up (which makes it quite good at 100 DPAS). Personally I find the graphics to be too busy and screen filling, so I don't play this anymore. If you don't mind that, it's a great set for AOEs, just not for beating down AVs.



Edited by drbuzzard
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Sentinel Powersets Advice part 2 : Secondary


Now we get to the defensive sets. In many ways these define sentinels as they are (almost) the only ranged damage AT which has a defensive secondary powerset (VEAT and EATs are exceptions) with status protection. The secondaries are quite varied, and many are quite good. Really only one do I actually consider to be simply lousy (Ice).


Like last time, I don't intend to go into every power, and give you slotting and build advice. I will give you my impression based on playing the set as to what is important, and what can be skipped. Mind you this is based on my play style, which favors easy and not overly busy. I like sets where I can just turn stuff on and stay alive with minimal response on my part. People are enjoy being more involved in their damage mitigation will disagree with my points. Take this for what it is, free advice garnered from trying all the sets fairly extensively (depending on how much I liked them of course). There will also be my aesthetic considerations again, though in armor usually you can avoid issues for most sets as minimal FX options are available.


There are basically 3 types of sentinel defensive styles. The first is mostly defensive, which includes super reflexes, ninjitsu, and energy aura. The second is resistance/regen, which is dark armor, electric armor, fiery aura, radiation armor, and regeneration. The remainder are a mix of stuff with dabbles of defense, regeneration, heals, and resistance. Given that defense can be soft capped, while resistance is capped at 75% you'd think that defense has the edge, well you would be right, but both the resistance and hybrid sets have their strengths as well.


Bio Armor:

Here you have the damage king version for sentinels because of offensive adaptation under environmental adaptation. This gives you both a toxic damage add on as well as a 25% damage bonus. This adds up to a lot (especially now that sentinels have a damage scalar of 1.1). Defensively the set is a mixed bag of heals, resistance, defense, absorption, and regeneration. It leans heavily on the heals and absorption to keep alive, and I find the set to be very busy. If you want to make things a bit easier (which still using autoclick on hasten) try this bind:

/bind w "+forward$$powexec_name ablative carapace"


It will cast your absorption power every time you move forward if it is ready. The downside is you can't queue up an attack and move forward. TANSTAAFL.


I find the set to be too clicky and busy for my tastes, and even the minimal FX mode still takes over your costume and looks like crap (YMMV). I've played four bio armor sentinels to 50, and while I appreciate their damage superiority, they are not my thing. They now gather dust. If you want to be damage king, go for it. If you want an easy to play secondary, don't.


Dark Armor

Here's a fairly straight up regeneration/resistance set which includes which include a couple of powers designed for melee survivability via controls. I see three problems with those powers:

A) They are low magnitude, so bosses will ignore them, and bosses hurt you.

B) They either eat your life or your endurance, and why would you want to have that happen?

C) What the hell are you doing in melee on a ranged primary character with minimal melee attacks?


I simply skip cloak of darkness and cloak of fear, and don't feel I've missed anything. The set has an OK base regeneration level, and this spikes well up when you use obscure sustenance. That power also boosts your endurance recovery, so use it any time it's available and a target is within 30'. Otherwise you have OK resistance to most damage types, particularly strong against psionic, and weak against energy (this will hurt you). There's also minimal defense in cloak of darkness, not enough to try to chase IMO. As long as you keep on obscure sustenance the set is pretty survivable, but not among the best. Soul transfer is pretty damned powerful (magnitude 30 stun, yes I said 30, not I'm not kidding, I stunned Maurader in a Lambda trial with this power) self rez, and is well worth taking. Your death could well save your team, and since those two mez auras are to be skipped, it costs you little to take it. The set lacks knockback protection so you'll need to IO that.


Electric Armor

This is the highest set of resistances you can attain on a sentinel. It covers all damage types except toxic with the non tier 9 power, though negative energy is a bit lower than the others (but not too far if you slot up grounded for resistance). It has a regeneration power, and a heal, so survivability isn't bad at all. You get a nice 20% boost to universal recharge in lightning reflexes, and that never hurts. The tier 9 is very skippable IMO as it has a hard crash, and uptime isn't all that great even with perma hasten. You can also get away with skipping power sink if you need to as charged shield gives you a boost to maximum endurance and IO slotting can keep your blue bar happy. It isn't bad to have power sink if your build isn't too tight. Your immobilization and knockback protection are in grounded, and that requires you to be on the ground (hmm, subtle name choice there). I've gotten away with a hover sentinel with electric armor and it works OK, with IO and power pool power choices covering for it. I still took grounded for the negative energy protection though. Is this the toughest set out there? No. Is it a soft set? No also. It enables you to take and shrug off damage at a reasonable rate. I've been forced to pull Nighstar and Seige during BAF trials with a sentinel because the brutes present were too soft or scared. I lived without much trouble.


Energy Aura

This may be my favorite sentinel secondary as it is a good solid defensive set which also packs in a fair bit of resistance and a heal. As it is typed defense, it's a bit harder to stack it up to soft cap compared to the positional defense sets of super reflexes and ninjitsu, but it can be done (with the help of the alpha agility slot in particular). You get a nice recharge bonus, and endurance recovery, so all in all, it's very solid and survivable. Heck if they back scaled this set up for tankers, I'd be on that like white on rice. Oh yeah, skip the tier 9, it's just more defense and you should have already taken care of that.


Fiery Aura

I feel this set usually gets an undeserved bad name. Is it the most resistant set? No way. Does it boost damage the most? Nope. However, the resistances are acceptable, and couple with the two different healing powers, you get a pretty durable sentinel. Cauterize really is a great power when slotted up, and even if you do push your luck too hard you should have rise of the phoenix to come back and hurt the ones who done you wrong. Skip burn, it really doesn't do you much good. Consume could use some love IMO, but you probably want it anyway. Molten embrace is a small damage boost, but more damage boost helps especially now that sentinels have a good scalar. I suggest slotting RotP for damage and recharge. I throw in a summer blockbuster knockback to knockdown as well (only one that works in it). This set also lacks appreciable knockback resistance so you'll want an IO for it.


Ice Armor

Doesn't it seem ironic that Ice Armor is a hot mess? This is a mostly typed defense set which does defense poorly. It has an absorption shield which might block a single attack from an even level minion. You do get an endurance recovery power, but since you have to lean on that to get your defense up, you can't really use it for endurance. Oh well. The tier 9 is at least a decent oh crap button which makes you durable (resistance, recovery, regeneration), but for only 30 seconds on 300 recharge, though with no crash . If you didn't get it already, skip this set. It's the worst of the lot.



This is a pretty solid set which hybridizes resistance and defense. If you work really hard you can get to softcap, but it is no trivial feat and requires mind link to pull off from the EPP (at least it did for me). You will have capped l/s resistance if you just throw in toughness. The heal is a bit too slow, but the absorption shield is nice. Skip the tier nine since it's low uptime and crashes hard. This is a solidly durable set with no serious downsides.



Here we have the first of the positional defense sets. It also offers a good heal and endurance recovery power, so it covers all your bases. There's a hiding power which gives a damage boost when you attack from hiding, so nuke away with it. Only things I dislike on this set are that it has weak defense debuff resistance, and the status protection is a click and not a toggle. Bleah. I want that autoclick for hasten damnit. If you're not fixated on easy perma hasten and don't mind click status protection, this is a well rounded set. It's not for me, but it may be for you. Oh yeah, the tier 9 is another pile on the defense thing which shouldn't really be necessary. Skip it or use it as a LotG global recharge mule.


Radiation Armor

This is definitely a resistance/regeneration set, but even tosses in an attack (PBAOE) and a good absorption shield. It's pretty durable especially if you keep up the absorption.

Again use:

/bind w "+forward$$powexec_name particle shielding"

so you can auto click hasten.

Many people are big fans of the tier 9, since it boost all kinds of stuff, but the fraction of up time doesn't appeal to me so I skip it. YMMV. This is a solid set, though not one of my favorites.



You really should try this set. This is what regeneration should be on all ATs, but all the rest of them can do is watch in envy. The set leans on regeneration and heals, but the cornerstone is a toggle based absorption shield which replenishes quickly. Under fairly low load this feels a whole lot like the old glory days of regeneration before it became the nerf bat pinata. The tier 9 I consider to be there mostly to store a LotG global recharge and nothing else. Potentially you can skip second wind if you like as an awaken inspiration will get you alive without stun since resilience auto negates it. If I had to pick a downside to the set, it would be waiting to 20th level to get your status protection. Then again getting to 20th will take you 2 DFBs, then Positron 1&2 if you keep your 2XP on. No big deal. This set is very fire and forget. Set your 2 (yes, only 2, really) toggles and go kill things. If you bite off too much, hit reconstruction. Did I mention you should try this set?


Stone Armor

This is a mostly defensive set, though fire and cold are resistance only, and you do get OK l/s resistance. You're pretty limited to playing on the ground, so I can't say I'm the biggest fan. Brimstone armor adds a fire damage proc as terra firma gives you help with to hit and accuracy so there's some offensive boost. Geode is a nice 'oh crap' power if you start taking a beating. This set is a lot like Ice Armor but not a hot mess. There are appearance issues I don't like, and you are basically stuck ground bound if you want it all to work. This means it's not my bag, but it may be yours. By no means is it a bad set.


Super Reflexes.

Once again sentinels get the best version of a set that other ATs use. Sentinels get the wonders of both toggle status protection, and an absorption shield. This is the original positional defense set, and it's pretty easy to softcap it. Heck, with agility alpha you can incarnate softcap. Defense debuff resistance (DDR) is the best in all the secondaries and you get a 20% universal recharge boost to make attaining that perma hasten all the more easy. The absorption shield should be kept up all the time so here's that pesky bind again:

/bind w "+forward$$powexec_name master brawler"

A case could be made this is the most durable of sentinel sets because of the combination of DDR and the absorption shield. You want a tough sentinel? Here's your go to.



This is another set which gets dumped on a lot. Is it the best? Oh certainly not. Is it the worst? Nope, Ice has the safely locked up. Honestly this is a nice, easy, turn on your toggles and blast set. You get decent resistance to lethal and smashing, decent defense against the other stuff, and a big pile of regeneration so you can push your luck a little bit and still scrape by. Is it a good set if you want to play like the infamous methed up squirrel? Indeed. Oh yea, skip the tier 9, it likely won't save you anyway. You're probably better off with the self rez if you're gonna be that crazy. You'll need the rest of the set.







Edited by drbuzzard
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I think your comments on Sonic Blast refer to a now-outdated version of the set (both on Sentinels and on others).  Siren's Song now does the most damage of the three cones, and Screech does good damage on all Sonic Blast characters, not just Sentinels.  There were also some cast time adjustments.




There are some other errors here.  You refer to Ice as a "mostly positional defense set," but it's typed defense, not positional.  You also refer to the T9 as though Sentinels got Hibernate, but Sentinels (along with Stalkers and Scrappers) get Icy Bastion, a 30 second big +resistance-all clicky with no crash, not Hibernate (the heal yourself in a block of ice power that Brute and Tanks get).

Edited by aethereal
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51 minutes ago, aethereal said:

I think your comments on Sonic Blast refer to a now-outdated version of the set (both on Sentinels and on others).  Siren's Song now does the most damage of the three cones, and Screech does good damage on all Sonic Blast characters, not just Sentinels.  There were also some cast time adjustments.




There are some other errors here.  You refer to Ice as a "mostly positional defense set," but it's typed defense, not positional.  You also refer to the T9 as though Sentinels got Hibernate, but Sentinels (along with Stalkers and Scrappers) get Icy Bastion, a 30 second big +resistance-all clicky with no crash, not Hibernate (the heal yourself in a block of ice power that Brute and Tanks get).

I thought they didn't push through all the sonic fixes? If I'm wrong, I'm happy to hear that. I was under the impression that all the objections got them canned. 


I'll update the ice thing as well. Thanks. 

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9 minutes ago, drbuzzard said:

I thought they didn't push through all the sonic fixes? If I'm wrong, I'm happy to hear that. I was under the impression that all the objections got them canned. 


Nope, they went through!  Live patch notes here:  


The quick-and-dirty version is:


  • the res debuffs were made partially non-stacking
  • Cast time reductions for: Scream, Shout, Howl, Shockwave, and Siren's Song
  • Damage buff for Shockwave and Siren's Song (and Screech, but not for Sentinels)
  • But for Sentinels, all the cones went to 6 targets instead of 10
Edited by aethereal
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4 minutes ago, aethereal said:


Nope, they went through!  Live patch notes here:  


The quick-and-dirty version is:


  • the res debuffs were made partially non-stacking
  • Cast time reductions for: Scream, Shout, Howl, Shockwave, and Siren's Song
  • Damage buff for Shockwave and Siren's Song (and Screech, but not for Sentinels)
  • But for Sentinels, all the cones went to 6 targets instead of 10

Weird, not sure how the heck I missed that. I was really looking forward to the changes, then I thought they were canned. I'm glad to hear that, my sonic/energy will see sunlight again. 

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3 hours ago, drbuzzard said:

Bio Armor:

I find the set to be too clicky and busy for my tastes, and even the minimal FX mode still takes over your costume and looks like crap (YMMV).


A lot depends on (a) one's theme and/or (b) willingness to design around the effects.



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  • 4 months later

Primary Powerset: Storm Blast

Med-High Single-Target Damage, High Area of Effect (AoE) Damage (1 Cone, 2 Location, 1 Chain), Med Control (3 knockdowns), Med Debuff Potential (Slow, Knockback/down, To Hit)



New Page, new blast set, and it got ported to Sentinels with everyone else. 


Beginner's Overview


So this set’s gimmick is increasing your power when using abilities inside your Storm Cell (Tier 4 ability). When abilities are used on targets inside your Storm Cell they will have additional effects applied, and the Storm Cell will have the chance to proc one of three types of lightning; focused, split, and spread which will hit one, two and four targets. In addition to Storm Cell adding lightning procs, your Tier 9 will also add more lightning procs, and increase the chance that they will happen. If there are targets within the cell it will remain stationary, if there are none it will slowly move along with you. Very slowly. Like hopefully it has recharged by the time you move to the next pack of mobs slowly.




Basic Slotting


Standard spiel on the basic end of slotmenting. The vast majority of the attacks have a 1x multiplier, so you're going to have to effort into hitting stuff. At +0 that means your base hit chance is 75%. To get that to the maximum hit chance of 95% you will need to enhance it by 27% by whatever means are available. One level 25 Accuracy IO is sufficient to that end. Changing enemies to +1 will drop your accuracy to 65%, that will take 47% enhancement. A level 50 IO is only 42.4% before boosting, so you're going to have to start stacking. I'm not going to break it down further, but like I say in all of my write-ups, hitting at all is more important than hitting hard. Lightning Strike has a 1.2 multiplier which means that 75% hit chance starts at 90%. Category Five has a 2x multiplier and will not need accuracy enhancements at +0. In fact it doesn’t need them at all until +4.


 Advanced Slotting


One thing to know about this set is that Chain Lightning is one of the very first abilities to be flagged as a “chain” ability. This means that its Area Factor for proc chances are 1 + Targets, which comes out to be 8.5 after the 75% modifier comes in, which means that it has an atrocious proc chance. Lower is better for an area factor. The next thing to know is that two of your four AoEs are pseudo-pets, which also have atrocious proc rates, in addition to being limited to triggering once every 10 seconds. The only AoE that you should even consider for procs is Jet Stream, which also has a relatively low proc chance. What does this mean? Chase set bonuses and raw damage.


In this write up I’m going to explain things about each ability a little more in depth than I would usually because it’s a brand new set, and it has some quirks to it. I'm going to explain the quirks. Or at least mention them if they're minor.



•    Gust -  Of the two starter abilities, this one wins the damage race as usual, but for wholly different reasons than it would in the old days. This one wins because under Storm Cell it does additional damage, where Hailstones has a chance to knockdown. Suck it again, T2 ability. As is my usual slotting habit, mule the Winter IO here. The Winter IOs are just a fantastic source of defense bonuses, and they add a fairly high amount of damage, accuracy and recharge in their superior form.


This ability has a 20% chance to proc lightning.


•   Hailstones - As previously discussed, this ability does less damage than its T1 sibling. Personally, I don't really focus on exactly what manner of damage mitigation my primary is providing me. Unless it's Dark with its -To Hit debuffs. Then it's a central role. But this is not that. This is a single target, 1 second knockdown. Which is what the lightning strikes from Storm Cell are also already doing. So lots of knockdown in this kit. If you took this for damage mitigation purposes, follow T1 slotting anyway.


This ability has a 40% chance to proc lightning.


•   Jet Stream - Baseline, this ability has a repel, like Blazing Blast from Fire Blast. From what I understand, you can slot KB>KD into this ability to circumvent the repel--unlike Blazing Blast--but it isn't something I've personally tested. Under Storm Cell, the repel is replaced with a knockdown. So if you aren't keen on being that guy that's throwing enemies every h'wich-a-h'way, make sure they're under the Cell.


This is your only ability that is viable as a proc bomb. It has 4 damaging procs, Annihilation and Force Feedback available. Setting it up as a proc bomb with all 4 procs (and 2 other set pieces) will give you a 27% increase in damage over just putting the whole Bombardment set in the power, for example. So you can go that route, or throw sets in there.


This ability has a 40% chance to proc lightning.


•   Storm Cell - One thing to know about this ability is that it does not inherit any damage boosts your character has. Do you have a bunch of inspirations up? Adorable, it doesn’t care. It only cares about enhancements. Oh, you have it up and it isn’t doing any damage? That’s because its damage comes from Lightning procs that happen at varying percentages (20%-70%) from your other abilities. To quantify this at the highest levels, maybe the lowest, I don’t know, but at the highest levels, it’s a 30% damage per second increase, not just a 30% damage increase, a damage per second increase.


Something to consider here is that this is somewhat of a “set up” ability. You set it up over a mob without agro, then you start your attacks. On a Sentinel it only has a 40ft range which is well within agro range at +0. The combined might of the two Sentinel IO sets can net you a 20% range boost, but this is an inadequate amount to get you out of agro range. I mean you can break the sets up to get the bonus 5 times for 50%, but… that’s kind of a stretch to me. I’d rather just put a raw range IO in at that point. Of the sets that give range enhancements, Artillery gives some good set bonuses and the most range. Positron would be next, and Detonation would be absolute last.


Storm Cell does interact with Bio Armor and Fire Armor, but only minimally, as it uses the AOE formula and uses the parent’s Area Factor. Just think of it as another half a point of damage being tacked on to those procs.


Also, I’d consider re-coloring the ability to something easier to see.


•   Intensify - This ability increases your damage by 25%, which is half of normal for a Sentinel. In addition to that modest increase, it also increases your chance of lightning strikes in both your Storm Cell and your Category Five by 20%. I’m not super sure about putting a recharge enhancement in this alongside the usual Gaussian. Generally, a final Sentinel build will have its Aim type ability recharge down to around 30ish seconds, coinciding with their T9 that shares a 90s cooldown. If there is any recharge at all in your T9, it will recharge faster. With Ragnarok in your T9, you will most likely have 74.5% recharge in it, depending on the specific slotting you chose. In the end, lowering the cooldown by 5 seconds isn’t going to make or break your build, if you need the slot, save it here.


•   Lightning Strike - This is the standard snipe replacement. This is also the most optimal place for the Apocalypse set. Skip the ACC/RCH, add an additional proc, it has that 1.2x accuracy bonus, it’ll be fine. It’s also the most optimal place for the Opportunity Strikes proc. So you can put that entire set here if you want as well. I mean, if you aren’t chasing the E/N defense for 6-slotting the OS set, I’d consider putting the OS proc at the end of the Apocalypse set to achieve pure optimal slotting prowess. It’s only minorly better than putting it in Cloudburst tho. So maybe just put the OS set there and add more damage to this ability by putting the Gladiator’s Javelin Toxic proc on the end.


Storm Cell adds a 50% chance to stun to this ability.

This ability has a 60% chance to proc lightning.


•   Chain Lightning - The first “chain” flagged ability in the game. So it has a horrible proc chance. With that in mind, there are several sets to toss in here to get what your build wants. F/C defense? Frozen Blast set. You can grab a 5% range bonus out of 2-slotting Bombardment. If you go that route, 3 slots in Annihilation can grab you some of that rare E/N resist. Sentinel’s Ward is also unused up to this point, so you can put that here for Melee/S/L defense and 10% recharge.


Storm Cell adds an additional endurance drain (primary target) to this ability.

This ability has a 60% chance to proc lightning.


•   Cloudburst - The final piece of the puzzle for your attack chain. If you want a place to put Opportunity Strikes, this is it. Put the full set, get your defense bonus.


Storm Cell adds a movement debuff, and a To Hit debuff to this ability.

This ability has a 60% chance to proc lightning.


•   Category Five - This ability, like Storm Cell, also has a chance to proc lightning strikes of its own, but only for single targets. Given that this ability already out damages the average T9, that’ll do just fine. In addition to doing chonky damage and even more lightning procs, it also increases your chance to proc lightning by an additional 7.5% which increases over 20 seconds and caps out at around 27%. It averages out to about 20.8%. On top of that, it doesn’t have an “inner radius/outer radius” damage. So it's technically an Intensify that's also a minor Storm Cell that's also a major source of damage. What a time to be alive.


So, major source of damage. Ragnarok. Bring about the end times. Anything less would be a personal insult to this ability. You can 5-slot the set here if you feel so inclined. As previously stated, procs don’t do well here, so tacking one on the end of this isn’t super needed.



 Skippable Powers


•   Gust or Hailstones - As I said, Gust does more damage, Hailstones does more control. Pick your poison.



There is largely just the one rotation. 


Lightning Strike -> Chain Lightning -> Cloud Burst -> Filler


Depending on your filler and your slotting, this may or may not be a gapless rotation. Chain Lightning has a relatively long 20 second recharge. At high levels of recharge this will get down to around 5.5 seconds, but with a 3 ability rotation you aren't killing much time. Gust activates very quickly, Hailstones and Jet Stream kind of slower. The DPA of a procced out Jet Stream will be lower than Hailstones with Winter's Bite in it, so I would only use that if there are multiple targets. The longer activation of Hailstones and Jet Stream are enough to yield a gapless rotation. If you go with the epic attacks, Dominate and Sting of the Wasp are also very fast like Gust, where Havoc Punch is slow like Hailstones. Havoc Punch also has a very long recharge, so it will have to be subbed out.


Ancillary/Patron Pools:


So I’ve done some testing of late. Lightning Field will provide a similar dps to Ninja Tools and its access to Achilles’ Heel, and Dominate and its proc bombyness. Lightning Field also kinda vibes with the Storms. Picking one of those 3 will get you the damage you desire, one way or another.



I’m not going to list complimentary choices or incarnate choices for this write-up. I believe in you.


Edited by Underfyre
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