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It looks like nobody has volunteered for /Elec yet. I'm happy to write one; I'll try to get a draft up in the next couple days.


I'm pretty torn between Radial and Core for the assault slot on a Sentinel. I think it mostly comes down to how much you value the qualitative advantages of Doublehit.

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Updated Energy Blast and Beam Rifle. @Destlinthanks for the contribution, it's a bit bare but I can use this as a foundation at least. If you can fill it out more, I'd appreciate it. @Hopelingthanks, have you marked down on the sign-up sheet.

Energy Aura write-up incoming.

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Secondary Powerset: Energy Aura

  • Medium Healing, High Defense, Medium Resistance, Medium Clickyness
  • 20% Global Recharge Reduction, 60% Global Endurance Reduction, Endurance DrainMedium Defense Debuff Resistance, Medium HP Increase, Low Psionic Defense, No Protection vs. Confusion, Fear, or Terrorize


Compared to Energy Aura sets on other archetypes, Sentinel Energy Aura has been rendered 'boring but effective'. Dampening Field, Entropic Aura, and Energy Protection have been replaced by less conditional powers, and it loses the built-in stealth effect for an auto power that saves a little bit of Endurance cost. Only one power now -- Power Drain -- benefits from the Sentinel standing in a crowd.


Energy Aura is one of two secondary powersets that are arguably the gold standard of Sentinel defensives, the other being Super Reflexes. In a virtual dead heat for second-highest defense values, possessing a solid increase in health, and having two skippable abilities that are also decent choices in their own right, Energy Aura is a consistent performer that has no real weaknesses aside from the need to use Defensive Opportunity, Energize, or Power Drain roughly every 30 seconds to keep endurance costs under control; it hemorrhages endurance otherwise. Just make sure you use the Energy Glow customization option and the most subtle colors you can find, or you'll only see a giant lightblob instead of your actual character. 


Beginner's Overview

When leveling up, damage resistance is not very helpful (unless you're going to slot the defense IOs, mentioned below), so those powers can be skipped for later in order to prioritize other importance choices. This is because resistance is only useful when you have a lot of it, while defense has value early on. The exception to this is the power Entropy Shield, which gives you protection from and resistance to status effects. If you are leveling up in teams or in most of Paragon City, this isn't a big deal until high levels -- however, any delay in taking Entropy Shield in the Rogue Isles or Praetoria will be quickly regretted.


While Energize is a pretty good heal, its true value is in its Endurance Cost reduction, which is better than even a level 50 Endurance IO that has been boosted as much as possible. As soon as you notice that you are consistently having any endurance problems at all, take Energize and start popping it on cooldown. Because it's Endurance Reduction rather than Recovery, waiting for when your blue bar is low will not help you; because Energize also comes with a large Regeneration buff, you won't be completely punished for using it before you take damage.


While Defensive Opportunity can likewise control your endurance issues, Energize frees your options up to go the offensive with Offensive Opportunity at the low levels where it provides a significant benefit, as well as giving you more health in an emergency 



Because it covers rarer damage types, Power Shield is a better choice to put Kismet: +Accuracy (approximately 4.5 million influence) if you want one to save accuracy slots on your primary powerset. Steadfast Protection (Minimum Level: 7, 4 million influence) and Gladiator's Armor (Minimum Level: 27, 9 million influence) both contain IOs that increase all defense scores by 3%, which is a huge benefit at all levels, and doesn't require the power to even be toggled on if your endurance is in bad shape for some reason.


I wouldn't spend money on slotting anything else into defense until level 30+ IOs or SOs. Lower values provide marginal benefit.


Skippable Powers

While you can delay taking Kinetic Dampening and Power Armor as mentioned above, you'll eventually want to take both powers or you should have gone into Super Reflexes or Ninjitsu instead. The two optional powers are Power Drain and Overload.

  • Power Drain. The value of Power Drain increases, appropriately enough, if your primary powerset contains important PBAOEs. If you're close to the action anyway, Power Drain offers a second way of managing your Endurance, allowing you to focus Energize on healing and use Offensive Opportunities rather than do Endurance management. The only other reason to use Power Drain is if your primary or an epic pool that you are invested in also deals endurance damage or drain. Power Drain steals a large amount of Endurance and also halves Endurance recovery -- when part of a rotation of three or four other similar powers, it is easy to exhaust enemies before they are actually defeated.
  • Overload. Energy Aura is blessed with one of the strongest of the old-style crashing T9 powers, but crashing T9s are still generally not preferred -- no matter how strong the effect, suddenly becoming a big, floating target who has to reactivate anywhere from 4 to 10 toggles is always going to be a risky proposition. While Overload doesn't do anything to directly counter the psi-hole that Energy Aura suffers from, it actually doesn't need to. Psionic damage itself tends to be relatively weak, outside of the Rularuu and a handful or Archvillains. What makes groups like Arachnos, Carnival of Shadows, Seers, and Rikti so dangerous is that the psychic members of these groups often impose debuffs that make it easier for their non-psionic allies to defeat you. With its huge defense, defense debuff resistance, maximum HP, and recovery buffs, Overload is a significant benefit against all but purely psionic enemies -- and if you've built up your psionic defense and resistance through IOs, still a help against those.


Advanced Slotting

In addition to the choices mentioned above, as is standard you'll want Luck of the Gambler sets in up to five powers over your whole build for another 37.50% global recharge reduction. For defense powers, also consider the +resistance IOs in the Shield Wall and Reactive Defenses defense sets. I try to put +5 boosted Defense/Global Recharge, Defense, and Defense/Endurance in every toggle and auto that gives defense, though I usually end up skipping Defense/Endurance on the autos.


For resistance powers, I am a big of Unbreakable Guard (both for the +max HP unique and defense bonuses from the sets) as well as Impervium Armor (for the psionic defense set bonus and psionic resistance global). Both sets also improve Endurance management, which is great for the toggle-heavy Sentinel AT. Because Energy Aura gets so much Smashing, Lethal, and Energy Defense to begin with, it's common to put build resources towards Psionic Defense. An Energy Aura Sentinel that is fully geared can easily reach 33% Psionic Defense and mid-20s Psionic Resistance, and it's possible to softcap Psionic Defense and get mid-30s Psionic Resistance with only mild offensive loss.


You will probably need to slot Kinetic Combat or Winter Sets into some of your attack powers in order to make softcap on all S/L/E, or Devastation if you're trying to pursue Psi Softcap, though be careful not to sacrifice too much recharge to do so.


I usually frankenslot Energize for Heal/Recharge with two slots +5 boosted, as there are no great healing set bonuses before five slots. I am fairly certain Power Drain is auto-hit; for that, get End Reduction (it's a costly 13 Endurance) and/or Recharge. You only need End Modification if you want to emphasize removing enemies' Endurance, as even two targets with no End Mod enhancement is half of your Endurance bar.


If you're intent on grabbing Overload, slot it as a healing power, not a defense power. 40% HP is about 480 HP, and this is nothing to sneeze at. Slotted for HP, that's almost a thousand extra HP you can have, which is a big deal for psionic enemies and incarnate content.


Complementary Choices

  • There are no sets for which Energy Aura is a bad choice, but Power Drain synergizes well with Electric Blast and Electric and Mu Masteries. The built-in recharge speed makes Energy Aura a good candidate for going deep into the Psionic Mastery pool for Link Minds.
  • Because it has two skippable powers, Energy Aura is good if you want to explore a primary without a lot of clear skippable choices (such as Beam Rifle, Dual Pistols, or Water Blast) or go heavy into epic pools or weaker travel pools like Teleportation.
  • As always, Hasten is helpful since it reduces Energize and Power Drain downtime; Energize also reduces the crash at the end of Hasten. Leadership and Fighting are strong choices for every Sentinel.
  • Leaping and Flight are both strong pools since Combat Jumping and Hover both add to all of your defenses, and can close a lot of the distance to 45, 48, and 50% -- common defense breakpoints.


Incarnate Abilities

Not many incarnate abilities really interact with your secondary at all.

  • Alpha: I don't recommend any Alpha slot ability that reduces recharge, as it reduces the effectiveness of PPM procs in your primary; but I'd still take Agility Radial (Endurance Modification, Recharge Reduction, Defense Buff, Movement Speeds) over Nerve Radial (Accuracy, Hold Duration, Defense Buff, Taunt Effectiveness, Confusion Duration, Flight Speed) in most cases, unless you're frankenslotting -- recharge is never useless and the End Mod synergizes well with Power Sink. Overall, it's best not to let Energy Aura dictate your Alpha slot. 
  • Interface: Diamagnetic Core's to-hit debuffs can provide a useful safety buffer when dealing with enemies that impose defense debuffs even though it's easy for Energy Aura to soft-cap defense scores. 
  • 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. 
Edited by Sunsette
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20 hours ago, Sunsette said:

The Sentinel is a soloing archetype... 


...our personal contribution is less important.

I think statements like this need to be made with some caution.  The design of CoH didn't really account for X AT is a solo class.  This is a team game and making statements about ATs being "solo" ATs isn't really helpful to the overall community.  Please forgive me if I am taking this the wrong way, but that other part of the quote is an important one. 


Every AT seems to have a sub forum thread pointing out how little their own personal contribution brings to the table.  It is like watching Rick and Morty where Rick has a little robot on the dining table.  The cute little guy asks his maker "What is my purpose?" and is replied to with "To pass the butter".  Then the little robot looks down and says in a depressed robot tone.... "Oh God...". 

That is the apparent state of CoH in 2019.  Every AT is looking at Incarnate powers and IO builds saying "What's my purpose" with an entire community saying "To pass the butter". 

I think we agree with where the state of the Sentinel is, but it's not like it doesn't have a place in most content.  Especially when most content isn't tuned to the absurdity of min/max IO builds that exist. 

I was on a x4/8 team the other night with my Sentinel.  Each pull was an alternate of a Judgment power followed up by someone else's Lore Pet.  Our ATs didn't matter at all.

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Secondary Powerset: Electric Armor

  • High Healing, High Resistance, No Defense, Low-Medium "Clicky-ness" depending on whether you use Power Sink.
  • +20% Global Recharge, -60% Global Endurance Reduction, +10 Max Endurance, 40% Slow Resist, High -End/-Recovery Resistance, Endurance Drain, Conditional KB/Immobilize Protection, No Confuse/Terrorize Protection, No HP Increase

Electric Armor invites comparison to three other powersets. The most direct parallel is Energy Aura, which it is very similar to aside from being resist-based instead of defense-based. The second is Fiery Aura, which is another resist set with a click heal and an endurance drain. If you're used to this armor set on melee ATs, the third comparison will surprise you: Willpower! The Sentinel version of Electric Armor combines high resists with high regeneration, giving it layered defenses that are vulnerable primarily to alpha strikes. If you still think of the version of the set at CoV launch that had no healing at all, an /Elec Sentinel will pleasantly surprise you. On the other hand, like all Sentinel secondaries, it gives up its damage aura in exchange for another power - in this case, Charged Shield.


With near-immunity to endurance drain, and potentially very high resistance to slows, Electric Armor can laugh off some of the game's most crippling debuffs. You will gleefully ignore Super Stunners, stand comfortably in crowds of dying Carnies, and forget why Malta were scary.


It offers capped resistance to energy damage, and can cap S/L as well without too much trouble. You have strong resists to F/C, moderate resists to Psi and Negative, and no resistance at all to Toxic. So depending on enemy damage type, you may experience large swings in durability. -Regen debuffs are also a pain, especially since you have no defense with which to avoid them.


Beginner's Overview

Although Electric Armor eventually has two very powerful tools for endurance management, Power Sink doesn't come until level 35, and Energize has only 33% uptime out of the box. Considering that you get 4 toggles by level 16, you may actually struggle with endurance through the teens and 20s. Defensive Opportunity is very helpful at these levels for its endurance return, and of course all the usual slotting tricks apply.


Nevertheless you do want all four toggles early on, as well as Energize. If you must put off one of these powers, make it Conductive Shield. This makes /Elec builds pretty tight at low levels; you may have to choose between putting off a travel power or the Fighting pool until the 30s or even 40s.


Grounded and Lightning Reflexes can be delayed more easily, but if you do skip Grounded, you should definitely slot a Knockback Protection IO somewhere in your build, and may want to take Combat Jumping for the immobilize protection.



Charged Armor and Conductive Armor should be slotted for resistance, since these are your two primary protective powers. Static Shield can be slotted for psi resistance if desired, but this is not critical. Charged Shield should be slotted for healing, and Energize for healing and recharge. The remaining powers in /Elec can easily get away with just their default slot.



Electric Armor has three skippable powers:

  • Power Surge is rarely worth taking. It gives you a sizable bonus to all your resistances except Psi and Toxic; together with your toggles, it easily caps your resists even without slotting Power Surge for resistance at all. However, most of your resists aren't far below the cap to begin with, and Power Surge has a -hp -end -recovery crash like most of the older T9 powers, which is very likely to result in death, even accounting for the EMP hold effect which accompanies the crash. I can't recommend taking this power at all for most builds, but if you do, leave it at its default slot, or use it to mule a set bonus.
  • Grounded provides some additional resistance to E/N damage and endurance drain, as well as knockback and immobilize protection. However, your other toggles already cap your energy resistance and give you 83% endurance drain resistance, so the resists offer limited benefit. Moreover, the knockback and immobilize protection only apply when you're "near the ground"; even jumping over an enemy's head creates a window when you can be knocked or immobilized. Since you can get -KB from IOs and -Immob from Combat Jumping, Grounded is a completely optional power, especially if you plan to Hover and won't benefit from its status protection. If you take this, leave it at one slot; it's a good place to put the Gladiator's Armor unique.
  • Power Sink will completely refill your endurance bar if it hits even a few enemies, and its recharge is fast enough to handle even severe endurance problems. However, it's a small-radius PBAoE and has a slightly long animation, which is often inconvenient for a Sentinel to use. Moreover, with Energize and Defensive Opportunity, you can generally handle endurance problems without this power if desired. It's useful with just one slot, but endmod lets you refill your bar with fewer targets, and recharge doesn't hurt if you can spare it. If you want to be a sapper, Power Sink becomes an offensive tool, and may require more slotting, but it can't sap enemies effectively by itself.


The remaining six powers are all important - the four toggles, Energize, and Lightning Reflexes. The armor toggles need no explanation; they are your mitigation and your status protection. Energize and Charged Shield together provide an enormous amount of healing; if both are slotted with 3 healing SOs, using Energize will bring you from 1hp back to full health before the 30-second buff expires.


You could technically get by without Lightning Reflexes, but it's a great passive and requires no slotting, so I don't know why you would want to.


Advanced Slotting


Like /Fire and /WP, /Elec benefits tremendously from +def to layer with its resists and healing. Like /Fire and unlike /WP, it has no native defenses to build on top of. A typical strategy is to build for either S/L or Ranged defense; aiming for both, or for multiple types or positions, is usually not worth the tradeoffs. For a Sentinel, even getting one defense to the 45% softcap is quite difficult, but fortunately it's unnecessary. With S/L defense in the 25-35% range, on top of ~60% resist to most damage types and ~700% regeneration, /Elec is already quite durable, and a purple inspiration or two makes it nearly indestructible when necessary.


If you build for S/L defense, you can slot your toggles with 4 pieces of Reactive Armor or Unbreakable Guard, as well as muling Kinetic Combat or Blistering Cold in Brawl, Boxing/Kick, or an epic melee attack if you take one. If you build for ranged defense, you will have to rely primarily on sets like Thunderstrike and Mako's Bite in your attacks. Either way, make sure to pick up the Steadfast Protection and Gladiator's Armor +def uniques.


I like to put a full set of Preventive Medicine in Energize, but if you can't afford the slots, you could get away with frankenslotting it in 4, 3, or possibly even 2 slots with Heal/Rech and Heal/Rech/End IOs, boosted if necessary. 3 slots in Charged Shield are enough; I use Preventive Medicine Heal, Heal/End, and Heal/End/Rech, which gives good enhancement values as well as +S/L resist and +hp set bonuses.


Besides defense, it is also helpful to build for +hp to take advantage of your high regeneration (including the Unbreakable Guard unique), S/L/F/C resist to stack on top of your toggles (including the Shield Wall and Reactive Defenses uniques), and global recharge bonuses to use Energize and your strongest attacks more often (including LotG 7.5% in Weave, Hover/Combat Jumping, and anywhere else you can fit them).


You can also build for psi resist if desired. If you slot Static Shield and take the two +resist uniques, you're already at 46% psi resist, so a few set bonuses and Impervium Armor globals could get you to the cap.


Even if you take Grounded, but especially if you don't, you should slot at least one Knockback Protection IO somewhere in your build. Otherweise, you'll sometimes get knocked while jumping or repositioning, because you're momentarily not "near the ground".


Lastly, if you hate moving slowly or getting your recharge debuffed, you can build on top of Lightning Reflexes' 40% resistance, via the Winter's Gift unique and the 2pc bonuses from winter event sets.


Complementary Choices

  • Thanks to its powerful endurance management tools, Electric Armor pairs well with even the thirstiest primaries.
  • Since /Elec requires only a low investment in both slots and powers, it fits well with builds that want a lot of other powers - either from the primary, from pools, or from an epic pool.
  • If slotted for endmod, Power Sink drains a lot of endurance from enemies. By itself it can't drain enemies and keep them dry, but when paired with Electric Blast and/or Electric or Mu Mastery, sapper builds are a real possibility. (But due to the mechanics involved, I've always found sapping to be a disappointing form of mitigation/control in this game, so your mileage may vary.)


  • Alpha: I would not recommend Cardiac (-endredux, +resist, +range) or Vigor (-endredux, +heal). If you have enough endurance problems at 50 with /Elec to consider using your alpha slot on them, something is wrong with your build. If you want additional resists, go Resilient (large +res); if you want additional regeneration, go Spiritual (large +recharge, +heal). Otherwise, Musculature (large +damage), Intuition (+damage, +range), or Agility (+recharge, +endmod, +def) are good choices for the usual reasons.
  • Interface: If you want to be a sapper, I guess you could go Gravitic Radial for the -recovery proc. Otherwise, /Elec doesn't particularly care which Interface power you take.
  • Destiny: Again, you shouldn't need a lot of endurance help from this slot, so Ageless is probably not very useful unless you really want that extra recharge. I think the best choice here is Barrier as a panic button when you need to let your regeneration catch up, but you don't really have any gaping holes for a Destiny power to fill, so you're also free to pick a power based on its group utility, like Incandescence.
Edited by Hopeling
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I wasn't making a stealth complaint about Sentinels or anything. Contrary to some of my earlier opinions, I'm actually fairly happy with the state of the AT now that I've had a bit more breadth and I see many of the issues were powerset specific rather than AT specific. There is room to improve, but i don't think the AT is reduced to "passing the butter" and while I won't mention the AT I have in mind to avoid derails, I think the Sentinel has helped to give a specific different AT an identity crisis, because we're that good.


I make these statements not to be negative, but from the perspective that the best advantage of a solo-specialized archetype -- perhaps the wording "well-rounded" would be better -- in team content is to fill in glaring holes in the team, whatever those holes are, not to focus on reaching theoretical maximum under ideal conditions. And my memory is fuzzy but I seem to recall the scrapper and basically all the villain archetypes were made, yes, to fill a role on a team but also to solo well.


So yeah, you were taking me the wrong way, and while I think the point about wording is a good one and I thank you for it I am also genuinely a little bit annoyed at the sudden suggestion I'm saying Sentinels are useless or don't have a place when I'm in-the-same-posts talking about what I think our place is good at! 😕


@Hopeling on mobile so I will look in more detail when I can do so against Mids but it's looking really good, thanks!

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9 minutes ago, oldskool said:

I appreciate you clearing that up.  The words just struck a cord with me and it wasn't a good one.  

Sorry I took it the wrong way. 😞 

I totally get how it is when a phrase throws you off. Can't say I've never done it, haha. NP. And I will be more careful of wording in the future. 

Edited by Sunsette
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8 minutes ago, Sunsette said:

 And I will be more careful of wording in the future. 

Don't sweat it.  I was probably too cranky this afternoon.  It just reminded me of being declined for grouping in content across several MMOs over the years due to playing "a solo class".  I need to not jump down people's throats as it is.  I probably needed a nap. 


I went through and updated the DP walk through from your feedback and some other recent discussions.  My grammar checker says it's OK (probably not great) but definitely feel free to clean it up!  I'm hoping it can fit for a wide range of players and not just me parroting the merits of my own build.  I love my build, but I am willing to be some creative players can out do it.  I don't want to limit that for anyone!

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@Sunsette , this is one of those questions where I feel very, very sure the answer is already out there but darned if I can find it. If I try following your excellent-looking advice on Beam Rifle in setting up a new build, and then try following your excellent-looking advice on Energy Aura, I, um, I end up really, really short on slots. Do you have a build that shows how a combo like that fits together, or want to point at someone else's that does that same? Thanks.


Signed, Yours In Cluelessness

Edited by ParaBruce
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1 minute ago, ParaBruce said:

@Sunsette , this is one of those questions where I feel very, very sure the answer is already out there but darned if I can find it. If I try following your excellent-looking advice on Beam Rifle in setting up a new build, and then try following your excellent-looking advice on Energy Aura, I, um, I end up really, really short on slots. Do you have a build that shows how a combo like that fits together, or want to point at someone else's that does that same? Thanks.


Signed, Yours In Cluelessness

The only reason I haven't posted a build here is due to the fact that Mids' hasn't properly fixed all of the bugs with Sentinel BR yet. As you can see, I was tight enough on power choices that I had to avoid the epic pools and drop Cutting Beam; an alternative with a different concept might be to grab Combat Jumping instead of Hover and pick up some lightly slotted epic powers.

I hope this is helpful, and if you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to ask.


Hero Plan by Mids' Reborn : Hero Designer

Click this DataLink to open the build!

Chandeliere 2: Level 50 Magic Sentinel
Primary Power Set: Beam Rifle
Secondary Power Set: Energy Aura
Power Pool: Speed
Power Pool: Fighting
Power Pool: Leadership
Power Pool: Flight

Hero Profile:
Level 1:  Single Shot  --  SprSntWar-Acc/Dmg(A), SprSntWar-Dmg/Rchg(3), SprSntWar-Acc/Dmg/Rchg(3), SprSntWar-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx(5), SprSntWar-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx/Rchg(5), SprSntWar-Rchg/+Absorb(7)
Level 1:  Kinetic Shield  --  LucoftheG-Def/Rchg+(A), LucoftheG-Def(7), LucoftheG-Def/EndRdx(9), Ksm-ToHit+(9)
Level 2:  Kinetic Dampening  --  GldArm-3defTpProc(A), ImpArm-ResPsi(13), ImpArm-ResDam(15), ImpArm-ResDam/EndRdx/Rchg(15)
Level 4:  Charged Shot  --  SuddAcc-KB/Rech(A), SuddAcc-KB/Dmg/Rech(19), SuddAcc-KB/Dmg/End(19), SuddAcc-KB/Acc/Dmg(21), SuddAcc-KB/Acc(21), SuddAcc--KB/+KD(23)
Level 6:  Disintegrate  --  SprOppStr-Acc/Dmg(A), SprOppStr-Dmg/Rchg(23), SprOppStr-Acc/Dmg/Rchg(25), SprOppStr-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx(25), SprOppStr-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx/Rchg(27), SprOppStr-Rchg/+Opportunity(27)
Level 8:  Power Shield  --  ShlWal-Def(A), ShlWal-Def/EndRdx(29), ShlWal-ResDam/Re TP(29)
Level 10:  Aim  --  GssSynFr--Build%(A), RechRdx-I(31)
Level 12:  Lancer Shot  --  Apc-Dmg(A), Apc-Dmg/Rchg(31), Apc-Acc/Dmg/Rchg(31), Apc-Acc/Rchg(33), Apc-Dmg/EndRdx(33), Apc-Dam%(33)
Level 14:  Energize  --  Pnc-Heal/Rchg(A), Prv-Heal/Rchg(36)
Level 16:  Entropy Shield  --  EndRdx-I(A)
Level 18:  Refractor Beam  --  PstBls-Acc/Dmg(A), PstBls-Dmg/EndRdx(34), PstBls-Dam%(34), PstBls-Dmg/Rng(34), PstBls-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx(36), TchofLadG-%Dam(36)
Level 20:  Power Armor  --  ImpArm-ResPsi(A), ImpArm-ResDam(37), ImpArm-ResDam/EndRdx(37), UnbGrd-Max HP%(37)
Level 22:  Hasten  --  RechRdx-I(A), RechRdx-I(43)
Level 24:  Boxing  --  Empty(A)
Level 26:  Piercing Beam  --  PstBls-Acc/Dmg(A), PstBls-Dmg/EndRdx(40), PstBls-Dam%(40), PstBls-Dmg/Rng(40), PstBls-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx(42), Ann-ResDeb%(42)
Level 28:  Repelling Force  --  LucoftheG-Def/Rchg+(A), LucoftheG-Def(42), Rct-ResDam%(43)
Level 30:  Tough  --  ImpArm-ResDam/EndRdx(A), ImpArm-ResDam(39), ImpArm-ResPsi(39), StdPrt-ResDam/Def+(39)
Level 32:  Overcharge  --  Rgn-Dmg(A), Rgn-Dmg/Rchg(43), Rgn-Acc/Dmg/Rchg(45), Rgn-Acc/Rchg(45), Rgn-Dmg/EndRdx(45), AchHee-ResDeb%(46)
Level 35:  Weave  --  LucoftheG-Def/Rchg+(A), LucoftheG-Def(46), LucoftheG-Def/EndRdx(46)
Level 38:  Maneuvers  --  LucoftheG-Def/Rchg+(A), LucoftheG-Def(50), LucoftheG-Def/EndRdx(50)
Level 41:  Assault  --  EndRdx-I(A)
Level 44:  Hover  --  LucoftheG-Def/Rchg+(A), LucoftheG-Def(48), Srn-EndRdx/Fly(48), Srn-Fly(48)
Level 47:  Fly  --  Flight-I(A)
Level 49:  Afterburner  --  Flight-I(A), Flight-I(50)
Level 1:  Brawl  --  KntCmb-Acc/Dmg(A), KntCmb-Dmg/EndRdx(11), KntCmb-Dmg/Rchg(11), KntCmb-Knock%(13)
Level 1:  Prestige Power Dash  --  Empty(A)
Level 1:  Prestige Power Slide  --  Empty(A)
Level 1:  Prestige Power Quick  --  Clr-Stlth(A)
Level 1:  Prestige Power Rush  --  Empty(A)
Level 1:  Prestige Power Surge  --  Empty(A)
Level 1:  Sprint  --  Empty(A)
Level 2:  Rest  --  Empty(A)
Level 4:  Ninja Run  
Level 2:  Swift  --  Flight-I(A)
Level 2:  Health  --  Pnc-Heal/+End(A), Mrc-Rcvry+(17)
Level 2:  Hurdle  --  Jump-I(A)
Level 2:  Stamina  --  PrfShf-End%(A), PrfShf-EndMod(17)
Level 50:  Musculature Core Paragon  
Level 50:  Pyronic Core Final Judgement  
Level 50:  Reactive Radial Flawless Interface  
Level 50:  Barrier Core Epiphany  
Level 50:  Assault Radial Embodiment  
Level 1:  Opportunity  

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Opening post updated with hyperlinks to completed assessments. Since it will be a while yet before we have a fully completed thread, I wanted to make this thread more manageable as we continue construction. Expect an Invulnerability assessment to go up from me in the next five hours if I'm lucky, next twenty-nine hours if I ain't.

Edited by Sunsette
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Secondary Powerset: Invulnerability

  • Medium Healing, Medium Defense, High Resistance, Low Clickyness
  • High Max Endurance Increase, Medium Endurance Drain Resistance, Low Defense Debuff Resistance, High To-Hit Buff, High HP Increase, No Psionic Defense, No Protection vs. Confusion or Terrorize

One of the most venerable melee defensives, Invulnerability arguably has its best iteration on the Sentinel. Sentinel Invuln is closest to the Stalker iteration: like the Stalker, it combines Resist Elements and Energies into one power, and also replaces the taunt aura with a to-hit bonus. New to Sentinel is a large HP absorb shield and a permanent boost to Endurance, replacing Hide.


As expected, invulnerability is a no-frills rugged tank of a powerset, boosting raw HP a significant amount, granting a fast-refreshing absorption shield, extremely high S/L resists, and decent resists and damage on all other fronts except for psionics. Despite all of these advantages, Invulnerability is an iffy pick for Sentinels who are after maximum performance.


On a Sentinel, this powerset scales just poorly enough that where other Sentinels will quickly hit their defense soft-cap or resistance hard-cap goals and move on to other important benchmarks like perma-hasten, plugging the psionic hole, damage overcapping, and frankenslotting, an Invulnerability Sentinel will be using almost all of their build budget on making the Smashing, Lethal, and Energy softcaps. Perma-Hasten is very difficult (though not impossible) to achieve on an Invuln Sent without also grabbing an incarnate power that grants recharge, which comes at the cost of either damage or survivability. While Invuln does have its own offensive perk in granting +to-hit, without sniper attacks this really just means you saved a single slot that would have gone to Kismet +Accuracy. Fortunately, Invulnerability does come with two powers that slot defense, so max-level Sentinels aren't forced to pick up powers just to serve as LotG mules.


Furthermore, in most situations this incredible durability is simply just overkill. Most enemies hit significantly lighter at range anyway, and Sentinels typically have difficulty gaining and holding threat, especially as so much of our personal damage contributions come as part of resistance debuffs that also improve more 'pure' damage archetypes that we're grouped with. 


None of this should be taken as an indictment of Invulnerability. If you want to play the flying fortress, Invuln is unparalleled, and is almost guaranteed to be the last man standing every time you're not fighting a psionic primary group. It is also uniquely well-suited to handling many of the esoteric debuffs and attack types of enemies in Dark Astoria.


Beginner's Overview

Compared to some other powersets, Invuln is very straightforward to level with -- take every power and slot it appropriately at first chance. For now, you may want to wait to use Dull Pain until you've taken some damage already; this will eventually change as you get towards endgame. Other than that, remember to always be bold when you're playing with Invulnerability; while you have a large variety of debuff resistances, your resistance magnitudes are fairly mild. Enemy groups which love debuffs -- such as Circle of Thorns, Arachnos, Carnies, Freakshow, Longbow, or literally anything in Grandville, Peregrine Island, the Shadow Shard, Cimerora, or Praetoria -- won't drop you immediately but you're on a timer, especially before you start picking up defense powers.



You'll always want to add more slots to your attacks before you start adding them to your defenses and resistances. A defeated enemy deals no damage to you, after all. The unique global defenses in resistance powers (Steadfast Protection, Gladiator's Armor), the unique global resistances in defense powers (Shield Wall, Reactive Defenses), and the additional HP in resistance (Unbreakable Guard) are all fairly pricey, ranging from about 4 million influence up to 10 million influence, but any and all of them will provide significant benefits you will feel immediately. Reactive Defenses' Scaling Resistance deserves special notice, because you have surprisingly high effective regeneration between your actual regen and the refreshing of Durability's absorb shield, such that your health becomes significantly more effective per point the lower it is.


While it shouldn't outstrip your attacks in importance, you will want to get additional recharge reduction into Dull Pain as early as you can -- it's good to have as short of a recharge time as possible, as that power is not only the source of your maximum HP increase but also your heal. It is less important (though also helpful) to get healing mods into Dull Pain -- it's already a fairly large heal and max HP scales more slowly than healing does.


I wouldn't worry about slotting anything to-hit into Unyielding.


Skippable Powers

Only one power can really be skipped in Invulnerability, and as you may have expected, it's the Tier 9 power: Unstoppable. Because of Invulnerability's layered defense nature, Unstoppable is not a terrible choice to pick up, though you should never add slots to it unless you have slots to spare (which is unlikely, because... Invulnerability). Unstoppable should max out your resistance on everything but Psi -- at max level, though, you can expect to walk around with maxed out S/L resistance to begin with, so it won't help much against groups like the Knives of Artemis/Knives of Vengeance. 


Advanced Slotting

In addition to the choices mentioned above, as is standard you'll want Luck of the Gambler sets in up to five powers over your whole build for another 37.50% global recharge reduction. I try to put +5 boosted Defense/Global Recharge, Defense, and Defense/Endurance in every toggle and auto that gives defense, though I usually end up skipping Defense/Endurance on the autos.


For resistance powers, Reactive Armor and Unbreakable Guard are your most important sets, as both sets will boost key defenses (S/L, E) while also improving your resistances if you take them to four slots. You will probably need to slot Kinetic Combat or Winter Sets into some of your attack powers in order to make softcap on all S/L/E, but it's probably not worth it to pursue the same for the remaining damage types, especially Psionic; Invulnerability gets no Defense (all) at all, so Psionic is a waste of effort.


Durability you absolutely want to put two +5 Endurance Modifications into, and at least one +5 Health Modification. If you have the slots, a second +5 Health Modification and an additional Performance Shifter: Chance for Endurance are both excellent ideas depending on what it turns out your build needs most. Do not bother slotting Durability for Resistance, the amount is tiny and focused on only a single, fairly rare damage type.


If you're trying to save slots, you can go for frankenslotting on Dull Pain, but unfortunately, Invulnerability needs all the recharge it can get; your best option is probably to five-slot Panacea here, instead. You can comfortably skip Heal/Endurance if you do +5 boosting and insert the unique HP/End global effect here, which will save you a slot on the Health power later. Either way, Dull Pain should not only be something you make perma, ideally you can get well past perma with it.


As noted above, even if you took it, never give Unstoppable extra slots unless you somehow have a lot to spare.


Complementary Choices

  • Invulnerability is really hungry for powers and slots, so it pairs well with uncomplicated primaries that are light on powers, slots, or both, like Fire Blast, Ice Blast, Sonic Attack, Electric Blast, and Dark Blast. Of these, Fire Blast and Ice Blast are the highest damage options, while Dark Blast can make it a little less imperative that Invuln chase after high recharge (because it has its own heal) and defense (because it layers enemies with a lot of to-hit penalties). Invulnerability can survive long enough to want to wear down enemies' Endurance bars with Electric Blast, too. Water Blast also deserves a strong mention; although it doesn't have many powers that can be easily skipped, it is high damage, carries a self-heal, and does a lot of convenient AoE knockdown, which makes it easy to take advantage of Force Feedback: Chance for +Recharge. Finally, because it is so tough, Invulnerability works well with primaries that like to use PBAoEs.
  • Every single utility pool that Invulnerability takes should ideally have a +defense power in it, or be Hasten. While Invuln has trouble aiming for overcaps and has such weak Defense Debuff Resistance that overcaps are less useful on it than other secondaries, if you can pull that off, it's great.
  • If you can fit an epic pool into a build, Psionic Mastery can help cover Invulnerability's defense problems with Link Minds, while Electric, Fire, Ice, Psionic, Leviathan, and Mace Masteries all have notably powerful melee attacks that Invuln can comfortably use given its durability.


Incarnate Abilities

Not many incarnate abilities really interact with your secondary at all.

  • Alpha: Agility Radial (Endurance Modification, Recharge Reduction, Defense Buff, Movement Speeds) is very likely your best option for invulnerability as it gives about 3 extra defense percentage points and makes it easier to bring down recharges on your T9 attack power, Hasten, Link Minds, and Dull Pain. However, this will come at a fairly significant cost to damage, so think carefully about this choice if your primary is already weak on damage or relies heavily on procs. 
  • Interface: Diamagnetic Core's to-hit debuffs can provide a useful safety buffer when dealing with enemies that impose defense debuffs, and should probably be your first choice with Invulnerability, since you presumably chose it to be unkillable. However, choosing a more offensive Interface power is fine.
  • Destiny: Ageless Core is likely your best choice here, as the burst of recharge reduction can help get around Invulnerability's recharge problem. If you want to be tougher, though, Barrier Core is a strong defensive choice. 
Edited by Sunsette
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I'm trying to get numbers for Master Brawler for the SR write-up; at level 50 and unslotted, I'm seeing about 290 Absorb at 100% HP and 450 at 10%, haven't really tested it at various levels of endurance. Slotting it should get up to another 50%. Does that look about right?


Numbers are for level 50 HP, so:

Full health, full end: 290 absorb, roughly 25%, enhances to 38%

10% health, full end: 450 absorb, roughly 38% of max HP, enhances to 56%.

At full health, half end, 130 Absorb, so roughly 10%, enhances to 15%
28.9 absorb at full health, very low end, so roughly 2.5%, enhances to 3.8%
half health and 3/4 HP, 294 Absorb, or roughly 25%, enhances to 38%
half health and half end, 226 Absorb, or roughly 18%, enhances to 27%
half health, full end, 349 Absorb, or roughly 29%, enhances to 44%

However, my SR work will be on hold for a little bit while I go back and explore some new angles to Energy Blast.

The Energy Blast assessment has been heavily updated -- I broke 240 Pylon DPS on EB! -- this called for an update. 


The below snippet is saved from the old version of the Energy Blast write-up, for reinsertion elsewhere. It's just to minimize the rewriting i have to do when I have to explain Frankenslotting in another part.




Frankenslotting is when you combine multiple sets into a single power in a way that's not caring to get any more than maybe a single 2- or 3-piece set bonus. A Frankenslot's Monster is what happens when you frankenslot with a lot of procs or other weird effect IOs to transform the power into almost a completely different power. Candidates for a Frankenslot's Monster have a moderately high base recharge, good starting accuracy, reasonable base damage, and access to multiple set categories. You can only ever really have one Frankenslot's Monster, as they're very dependent on you having very high global recharge and high global accuracy bonuses, both of which come from your other attacks having complete sets.


Focused Power Bolt is an okay candidate for Frankenslot's Monster, while Dominate in Psionic Mastery is a much better candidate (it even costs less Endurance...) with better set access, but is more prone to being completely shut out, since enemies tend to have no psi resist or ridiculous amounts of psi resist, and guess which one the ever-popular robots tend to be. Focused Power Bolt as a Frankenslot's Monster is half a self buff, with a 1 in 3 chance to active Build-Up and a 2 in 3 chance to activate Chance for Recharge.


When Frankenslotting, you always want to avoid recharge enhancements and a recharge alpha unless the base attack has a recharge of 40s or higher. When Frankenslotting FPB or Dominate, use a 50+5 Damage IO, a 50+5 Damage/Accuracy IO, and the rest are the best procs you can find. 


SR playtesting will resume tomorrow, I think. Did some more polishing of Energy Blast and did some more research on Opportunity now that I understand mechanics a bit better.


So, hey, Offensive Opportunity gets worse. I decided to do some more tests, since I better understand how the mechanics work. Offensive Opportunity is exactly like a proc IO, it does not scale with anything except for -res. At the moment, I'm seeing very little reason to use the T1 at level 50 outside of solo AV kills for any powerset. Special callout to Beam Rifle on that front, as the T1 gets -regen for BR. It's still a pretty big chunk of damage at low levels so you can go either/or then. I'd estimate with Assault Core you're looking at like a 3% contribution to damage from OO.


I should emphasize that this perspective is looking just at opportunity itself, calculations may change if the T1 or T2 are part of your standard rotation.

Edited by Sunsette
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Secondary Powerset: Super Reflexes

  • High Healing, High Defense, Low Resistance, Medium Clickyness
  • 20% Global Recharge Reduction, 60% Perception Bonus, High Max Endurance Increase, Medium Recovery Bonus, Medium Movement Speed Bonus, Only Positional Defense, No Protection vs. Fear or Terrorize


Sentinel does well with defense due to a low starting HP and having only the standard resistance caps; Super Reflexes is the ur-example of a defense set. It's no surprise that it does well here. What is a surprise, however, is just how well it does. Every Sentinel powerset has an endurance management tool, so Super Reflexes got one added as a rider to one of its autos; they also received an either/or choice for their traditional mez protection of Practiced Brawler, or the all-around much better Master Brawler, which makes Focused Fighting and Focused Senses grant the traditional mez protections and grants Super Reflexes a fast recharging click-absorb that works better the lower health you are. While you'll want to be refreshing that absorb relatively often, it won't kill you to put it off until later,


All combined, Super Reflexes is a powerful Sentinel set that doesn't ever demand your attention in a counter-intuitive way; when you're naturally focused on your health, so is Super Reflexes. When you don't care, Super Reflexes doesn't care either. This set is highly recommended for everyone, from beginner to master.


Beginner's Overview

Take SR powers pretty much at the first opportunity, as you get each of them -- they are so good this is more important than even taking an attack at the same level in most cases, beginning at level 10. The auto powers, for example, give a lot smaller of a defense bonus than the toggles -- but they cost no endurance and they grant you a large and progressively increasing amount of resistance as you lose health, making the back half of your health bar a lot tougher than the front half.


Don't slot Super Reflexes aggressively, you always want to put more focus on slotting your attacks at the beginning. Just make sure you take Master Brawler, not Practiced Brawler.1 You won't die if you take Practiced Brawler, but it's a bad idea.2


Master Brawler's heal is better the higher your endurance and the lower your health, so slotting to keep up your endurance is vital if you plan on tackling tougher content. At low health and high endurance, Master Brawler can give you half your health bar in absorb; at high health and low endurance, it will barely give you anything at all. At least initially, you should save Master Brawler for when you start taking damage, I'd say when you're at 60% or less, but as you reduce recharge to the 30 second or less range, you can start using Master Brawler pre-emptively for tough fights. What's more, since Master Brawler is an absorb rather than a heal, it allows you to preserve the strength of your scaling resistances in your auto powers. In many ways, you are safer at half-health with an absorb shield than you are at full health with an absorb shield of the same strength.


Master Brawler is even so good that it improves your life even when you've been exemplared before its level; if you move Master Brawler to a later position on a respec, Focused Fighting and Focused Senses still retain its benefits even while Master Brawler itself is grayed out.


Finally, although Super Reflexes has a lot of new survivability tools, you're still a defense-based set with ranged attack powers. Don't tempt fate unnecessarily and try to fight from range whenever you can, it will reduce your incoming damage by more than any amount of resistance can do for you.



Panacea: Chance for +HP/+End is pricey at 7 to 10 million influence, but can be slotted in your Health power beginning at level 7; Performance Shift: Chance for Endurance is a bit cheaper at 4 million, beginning at level 17. Both of these are standard recommended IOs for any build, but they take on special importance for Super Reflexes Sentinels thanks to how Master Brawler scales with your Endurance. Preventive Medicine: Chance for Absorb also begins at level 17, and while it's also a standard recommendation for builds, it takes on special importance for Super Reflexes characters; because it won't activate until you've taken damage already, when the flashing red words "PREVENTIVE MEDICINE" pop on your screen, it's a warning to consider using (your now damage-boosted) click absorb. Like Master Brawler, it also improves the worse your health is, which is fantastic synergy for your auto-scaling resistances.


As far as your basics go for leveling, most of it is straightforward. You don't need to slot toggles for endurance reduction until very late, and you want recharge before you want heal on Master Brawler. 


Skippable Powers

Only one power can really be skipped in Super Reflexes, and as you may have expected, it's the Tier 9 power: Elude. There was a time period when Elude was good -- back when everyone had much less defense, stamina recovery, and movement speed, Elude gave you a few minutes of being an attacking monster, especially since you could afford to detoggle while it was active. But we are not in those days anymore. Now, Elude is sadly eclipsed by you just existing. Never take Elude, barring some very, very weird niche builds that are beyond the scope of this guide.


Advanced Slotting

You can put another Performance Shifter in Enduring, and if you want to put any Endurance Modifications into Stamina, put them here first; Enduring is a little stronger than Stamina.


In addition to the choices mentioned above, as is standard you'll want Luck of the Gambler sets in up to five powers over your whole build for another 37.50% global recharge reduction. I try to put +5 boosted Defense/Global Recharge, Defense, and Defense/Endurance in every toggle and auto that gives defense, though I usually end up skipping Defense/Endurance on the autos. 


You won't need a lot of IO bonuses to finish capping ranged or AoE defenses; many of your attack slots will offer this. Also of note is Blessing of the Zephyr, which can be slotted into any full travel power. Melee will be slightly harder but not much; Unbreakable Guard is useful in Tough if you took Fighting (I hope you did), and Kinetic Combats are good in a pinch. Try to avoid six-slotting Tactics with Gaussian's Synchronized Fire-Control for the defense bonus, unless you either plan to spend a lot of time in large teams or your primary lacks Aim (just Dual Pistols at time of writing).


If possible, try to go for 48 to 50% in your positionals rather than 45%. This gives you a buffer if you get a little unlucky again an enemy that debuffs defense. If you're feeling up to it, you can try going for 59% to incarnate soft-cap.


Frankenslot for Heal and Recharge in Master Brawler. 


Complementary Choices

  • While I cannot think of a primary I would not pair with Super Reflexes, its lack of resistances means it's a little better off with sets that have no point-blank AoEs to tempt fate, such as Beam Rifle and Water Blast. Super Reflexes doesn't need heavy slotting, so a lot of primaries will appreciate that. A special note goes to Dual Pistols, which doesn't have Aim and may want to six-slot Tactics with Gaussian's, which grants positional defenses that work well with Super Reflexes (and Ninjitsu). This is addressed more fully in the Leadership section. 
  • For the most part, there's no special synergies for Super Reflexes in Epic Masteries, but Ice Mastery can slightly improve its survivability by putting recharge slows on enemies to reduce the rate at which you're getting hit by attacks. Only helps with extended fights, though.
  • While all Sentinels benefit from Leadership, Fighting, and Hasten, you may not want to go deeper into Leadership than Maneuvers. SR is a little bit tight on your power choices, and Assault or Tactics may bite into your endurance bar more than you'd like.


Incarnate Abilities

Not many incarnate abilities really interact with secondaries, and Super Reflexes is even more agnostic than most.

  • Destiny: Barrier Core shores up Super Reflexes' only true weakness by giving you a huge burst of Resistance for those times you find yourself forced into close-quarters. 

1 If you're curious, the only conceivable situation in which Practiced Brawler is superior to Master Brawler is one in which you are continually being hit by attacks you didn't dodge (like some psionic attacks, especially from Rularuu) and these attacks do not kill you but they do hit you with status effects. This is a very rare situation. 

2 And I'll cry if you do it. You monster.

Edited by Sunsette
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16 minutes ago, oldskool said:

Nice guide on SR.  I'd exercise caution on advising Tactics + Gaussian's + Dual Pistols.  I address that combo in my write-up on the set, but I wouldn't generally recommend it.  

Yeah I gave the same warning earlier up then got cavalier about it at the end. Cleared up the wording a bit. I do intend to address this more fully when I get to the utility pools.


Which leads me to my next point of discussion. I'm out of primaries and secondaries I feel comfortable making very detailed write ups about at the moment. Should I switch to the other sections or focus on raising alts to analyze?

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1 hour ago, Sunsette said:

Which leads me to my next point of discussion. I'm out of primaries and secondaries I feel comfortable making very detailed write ups about at the moment. Should I switch to the other sections or focus on raising alts to analyze?

The other sections offer a lot of broadly applicable things to a pretty wide audience.  Maybe there will be more discussion on those topics than specific sets. 


I'm hoping I can get to crafting some write ups for the other sets I dedicated myself to this week.  Maybe some of the defensive sets.  Dual Pistols turned out to be far more complex to write about than I originally anticipated.  Even Friday I was tinkering with some options and discovered something new I liked.  The other blast sets I opted to discuss are more straight forward topics and hopefully won't be nearly as long.

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I've been discussing /Regen in another thread.  I would be glad to collaborate and contribute on writing up /Regen since I've go so far as to crunch numbers there. 


Could the lead on the topic, please send me PM with what info you're researching/testing out; and I'll return my findings for the /Regen section.


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Secondary Powerset: Willpower

  • Medium Elemental Defense, Medium Smashing, Lethal and Psionic Resistance, Low Clickyness
  • High Hit Point Increase, High Health Regeneration, High Endurance Recovery, Low Defense Debuff Resistance, Low Defenses to Smashing and Lethal Damage, Low Resistance to Elemental Damage

Willpower: A Fireside Chat

I'm starting this write-up a little differently.  I'm starting it with the title referring to the communication protocol from Franklin D. Roosevelt.  When FDR went on the radio in the 1930's and 1940's the intent was to have a heart to heart talk.  When you think of being near the fire place of a home, the fireside portion of the chat, you think warmth and comfort.  That warmth and comfort is Willpower.


I remember when Willpower was introduced in Issue 11.  That same issue brought with it so many wonderful customization changes as well as the Dual Blades set.  Both of these new power sets were created for the melee archetypes.  This bit of City of Heroes history is important.  Willpower was designed as a melee set and as a Sentinel defense set it still has many roots from its melee cousins.  There is good and bad to this and the rest of this write-up will shed some light on what that is (and how to overcome some of the short comings).  More on that in a moment though.  The creation of the Willpower set has roots in a lot of lessons learned from the core armor sets to the CoH game.  Willpower ended up being a hybrid concept of ideas spanning several sets and offered new solutions to many complaints which are now out dated.  For example, Tankers never had a version of Regeneration.  That archetype had players that wanted to make a tougher version of a Wolverine-esque character but just couldn't.  Willpower offered a solution for that.  Psionic damage was a hole in many, but not all (e.g., Dark Armor), power sets.  Willpower offered a solution for that.  Almost all defensive sets, with the exception of Regeneration, were very toggle heavy.  Stamina used to come much later than it does now.  Willpower offered a solution for those endurance issues. 

Willpower can also be summed up best by its own flavor text on Paragon Wiki:


"You aren't Invulnerable. Bullets don't bounce off of you, and if you are cut, you bleed. You are, however, tough, grizzled and strong willed. It takes more than a little cut to keep you down! Willpower offers a strong balance of healing, damage resistance and defense. While you have no real vulnerabilities, you can't quite deal with 'alpha strikes' as well as some other protective powers."


Its still true in 2019.


Beginner's Overview

Willpower is very likely the easiest power set in the game to play.  You have nearly zero reactive powers to deal with.  The only reactive power in the set is Resurgence, unlocked at level 35, which requires you to be defeated first.  Once used, you pick yourself up off the floor and gain some bonuses to retaliate against those that put you down.  It is very much in theme of the set but also one that requires you to face plant first.  The only pro-active power in the set is Strength of Will and that is the capstone found in level 38.  That's it.  That is how active Willpower gets and it isn't all that active even with those powers. 


Willpower's simplicity and almost entirely hands off game play lends itself well to completely casual play.  This is going to be true from level 1 to 50 and every step between or beyond.  Its as warm and comforting as sitting by a fireside.  Do you want to just turn your brain off and enjoy the ride?  Willpower is for you.  If you're looking for an ultimate defense set to really push the boundaries, then Willpower is probably not for you.  In fact, Willpower comes out a little behind its melee cousins with the conversion to Sentinels.  


A quick critique and word of warning.  As stated earlier, Willpower was designed for melee and it has inherent issues with that legacy.  That legacy is also tied to the invention system.  Willpower responds very well to invention origin (IO) set bonuses.  Specifically it responds very well to MELEE invention origin set bonuses.  Note how Willpower grants low levels of Smashing and Lethal defense natively but grants higher levels of resistance to that type.  Melee powers have multiple sets to address this but the ranged blast sets do not.  Sentinels can work around this but you may need to be creative with your slotting.  Furthermore, Willpower's premier regeneration tool, Rise to the Challenge, was designed to increase the regeneration rate per enemy.  The Sentinel variant to this power is called Up to the Challenge and it does not grow in strength per enemy.  Instead of power growth per enemy, Up to the Challenge has a higher baseline regeneration at all times, but this baseline regeneration does not compete with a fully saturated Rise to the Challenge.  Then there is the issue of maximum hit points which Sentinels do not have a lot of naturally.  So with no reactive shields or heals Sentinel Willpower can come across as somewhat thin at times.  This can seem a little worse as well when you combine lower max hit points with a lower max regeneration rate. 

I do not intend for the above to crush your dreams of playing Willpower. This is a fireside chat, and I want to be realistic.  Willpower is still a good set.  It can even be a great set for a certain style of play and mindset, but it is not nearly as potent as its melee counterpart can be. 



Willpower builds should practically build themselves.  It is not a complex suite of powers or effects and it doesn't really require a lot of attention.  The one power that brings some dual purpose is High Pain Tolerance.  This power provides both maximum health and resistance.  On common IO, or even Single Origin, you can put 3 health and 3 resistance here.  For your passive regeneration and endurance recovery 2-3 slots is fine.  Your toggles will only ever need 3-4 slots.  Resurgence needs nothing at all, and Strength of Will can function just fine on 1-3 slots.  Willpower really is that simple.  The only reason you'd ever 4 slot your toggles is to include 1 endurance modification.  If your endurance needs can be met without that, then just focus on the defense bonuses or resistance bonuses. 

Willpower's simplicity allows you to focus more on your offense not just in game play but in slotting too.


Skippable Powers

Most players actively build their characters to avoid the annoyance of defeat.  Resurgence lets you bypass the load screens and hospital trips but post-defeat powers often aren't ideal picks.  You can completely skip this power as Awaken inspirations will also do much of the same function.  Resurgence does grant damage, to hit, and recharge bonuses in its package of effects.  So it isn't completely terrible, but it is very niche. 

Strength of Will is another choice to consider skipping.  This power grants a boost to all resistances, increases your endurance recovery, and actually boosts your resistance to crowd control further.  It does come with a mild crash and the power cannot be improved with recharge modification from any source.  It does last several minutes and it can cap your Smashing and Lethal resistance which doesn't happen naturally otherwise. 


Advanced Slotting

Willpower is easy to play but IO building can be a lot more art than science.  I am going to present several options below.  It's the most complex part of the Willpower set and even then it really isn't that challenging when you have an idea of what you need to shop for. 


As mentioned earlier, Willpower does very well when picking and choosing IO sets that actively seek to close some of its gaps.  One of Willpower's most notable gaps is Smashing and Lethal defense which is the most common damage type in the game.  Players will want to increase their defense to this category but there is no need to try to soft-cap.  The defense soft-cap is 45% for most content and the Incarnate soft-cap is 59%.  There are significant opportunity costs in both power choice and slotting that come with raising defenses.  This also doesn't include influence (which is tied to your personal time) costs to buy more potent sets.  Sentinels benefit a lot from engaging in ranged combat where retaliation fire is often weaker than melee attacks.  Use that to your advantage and plan for that with inspirations.  With complementary power pools, you can realistically push 30-33% defense to most types which is 1 small inspiration (12.5%) shy of that 45% soft-cap.  Basically, don't go overboard on building defense but do consider building more of it.  It is also worth mentioning that Willpower does not have much in the way of defense debuff resistance (DDR).  So no matter how much of a buffer you build, that defense will come crumbling down from certain enemy factions.  Plan ahead when facing those groups (Arachnos, Devouring Earth, etc.) with inspirations vs trying to break the bank covering all the bases. 


First thing to note when browsing IO sets for defense bonuses is that these bonuses are almost always paired.  Typed Defense (Smashing/Lethal/Fire/Negative/etc.) will almost always pair with a corresponding Positional Defense (Melee/Range/Area).  Willpower's core defense power, Heightened Senses, is Typed Defense.  Ideally, you want to build on that strength but sometimes you can work around it with the defense pairing system.  The pairings work as follows:


Melee pairs with Smashing/Lethal

Range pairs with Energy/Negative

AoE pairs with Fire/Cold


The Resistance Set category has several options to help raise your defenses.  Reactive Armor has several small typed defense bonuses in its 3rd, 4th, and 5th tier bonuses.  Unbreakable Guard has a larger melee defense bonus at the 4th tier of bonuses but this comes with moderate Smashing and Lethal defense.  Aegis offers a lot of large AoE defense which pairs with moderate Fire and Cold defense.  The other resistance sets do not offer much in the way of defense that really matters.  Impervium Armor offers Psionic defense and resistance but this is rarely worth pursuing.  Of these choices, I often recommend Unbreakable Guard since there are 3 powers native to Willpower which can take it and it is pretty easy to find enough slots for the 4 piece set. 


All characters have access to Brawl and that power can be enhanced for slotting.  You'll never really use it but it can hold a set.  This is known as "set mule".  Kinetic Combat has a large melee defense bonus at 4 pieces which brings with it a moderate Smashing and Lethal defense.  The bonus provided by Kinetic Combat is slightly larger than Unbreakable Guards and this means that you can stack 5 each of both sets.  You don't need to do that but it is possible.  If you're trying to push your defense numbers up, then these sets will likely be core components to your strategy. 


The defensive powers, Indomitable Will and Heightened Senses, can take on any of the standard defensive sets.  I generally don't recommend enhancing Indomitable Will since its purpose is very narrow.  However, Indomitable Will can be a worthwhile place to socket multiple Defense Set uniques (Shield Wall 5% Resistance, Reactive Defense 3% Resistance, Kismet 6% Accuracy, etc.). 

I tend to recommend a full slotting arrangement for High Pain Tolerance since the power is quite diverse in what it can take.  I often prefer to place the 3% defense global uniques (Steadfast/Gladiator) along with 4 each Unbreakable Guard (one of which is the Hit Point increase).  The base resistance to High Pain Tolerance is low making a it a nice place to put these uniques that would detract the enhanced value of stronger powers like Mind Over Body.  You could also put these uniques in Strength of Will if you wished since pushing enhancement there will quickly take your Smashing and Lethal resistance beyond the 75% hard cap for Sentinels. 


How you slot Quick Recovery, Fast Healing, and Up to the Challenge is going to depend a lot on what you feel is missing from the build.  The Healing and Recovery categories have a number of really great set options at varying levels of influence cost.  Sets like Numina's Convalescence or Miracle have some low hanging fruit benefits in their tier 2 & 3 bonuses.  Doctored Wounds, Panacea, and Preventative Medicine have global recharge which is going to benefit your primary more than anything.  Health and Stamina are both weaker versions of Fast Healing/Quick Recovery.  This makes Health/Stamina a better place for muling IO sets and the other two better for enhancing the power.  


Complementary Choices

  • Willpower is not that hungry for slots and it will do well with any Primary Power Set.  However, since Willpower does not have a lot of active mitigation it tends to do best with sets that bring some other form of defense with it.  Any form of crowd control (e.g., Stun, Hold, Knockdown/Back, etc.) will give you some valuable seconds for your regeneration ticks to restore any lost damage.  Any sets that actively slow (e.g., Ice, Water Blast, Dual Pistols - Cryo Ammunition, etc.) attack rates will give a similar amount of breathing room though not quite as dramatic.  Lastly, sets with other debuffs (e.g., Dark Blast, Dual Pistols - Chemical Ammunition, etc.) will either create miss chance or lower incoming damage which work well with the layered defense nature of the set. 
  • Willpower offers a lot of low to medium defenses and it gains a substantial amount from power pools that add to its defense (e.g., Concealment, Fighting, or Leadership).  Even though there is no active heal, I would not recommend Medicine.  Aid Self comes with an interrupt mechanic and most often enemies will hit you which defeats the purpose of the power.  Hasten does nothing for Willpower, but it may compliment your Primary.  Willpower is so versatile that there is often something from each of the pools that can work with it.  Even if those choices are just for set mules.  
  • Epic pools are nice to have but not necessary.  There are some power items worth a look though.  Any immobilize will help keep enemies out of close range and will spare you from the more severe melee damage hits.  Psionic Mastery is a fantastic all around pool with good offensive choices, Mass Hypnosis (if you like Sleeps), and Link Minds which can help close the defense gaps even more.  Darkest Night, in both Dark and Soul Mastery, is also an option bringing both a damage and to hit debuff. 


Incarnate Abilities

There are a number of options for Incarnates and there isn't truly a right or wrong answer.  What you take will depend more on which blast set you are pairing it with as well as general character goals.

  • Alpha: Vigor and Spiritual both improve healing which relates to regeneration.  Cardiac will mostly be noticeable with Smashing/Lethal resistance and the endurance modification isn't necessary though it will certainly streamline offensive game play.  Cardiac is an option but not necessarily an optimal one.  Agility will improve defense but it requires several defense powers to see real benefit.  Other Alpha options will largely benefit your Primary Power Set like Musculature, Intuition, or Nerve.  Spiritual and Agility also have recharge modifiers which will benefit your Primary Power Set far more than it ever will for Willpower.
  • Interface: I often reserve this slot for the Primary Power Set.  Diamagnetic is an option to add -to hit and this can be somewhat effective for run of the mill enemies (e.g., minions/lieutenants) but won't really do much against more powerful enemies that are the real threat.
  • Destiny:  Destiny is also a fairly open slot.  You won't typically cap your elemental resistances without Barrier.  You won't cap your regeneration rate without Rebirth.  You don't really need Ageless for Willpower, but the recharge may be welcome to your offense.  Clarion offers Defense Debuff Resistance which is also a weakness of the set, but you may be better off with Barrier or Rebirth.
  • Hybrid: The Hybrid slot is often reserved for damage dealing, but the Melee and Support options deserve a mention too.  Willpower has no need to ever be in melee range but some Primary Power Set do have Point-Blank Area powers.  The Epic/Patron pools bring some very powerful melee attacks.  If you think your hero/villain/rogue/vigilante will be more of a brawler, then the Melee hybrid slot can make you tougher for a duration.  Melee Hybrid improves based on enemy count.  The Support option might interest some builds that are taking a more laid back approach, do not care for the Assault Hybrid, and wish to add more defense without taking Barrier. 
Edited by oldskool
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Secondary Powerset: Ninjitsu Ninjutsu*

  • High Defense,  Medium Healing, Medium Endurance Restore, Medium Resistance to rare damage types (Toxic/Psionic) Low Crowd Control/Debuff Potential (Blinding Power)
  • Low to High clickyness, Low Resistance to common damage, Comprehensive Status Protection This includes some unique categories that Super Reflexes lacks, like Fear.  Knockback/Down protection comes late and isn't as strong as other Secondary Powersets. Low Defense Debuff Resistance (DDR)

*Ninjutsu in romanized English isn't spelled how the game does it.  There are other Japanese words used in City of Heroes that do not mean what the designers think it means and comes across like someone was browsing Black Belt Magazine.  This is both a little insulting and a little entertaining as comics have a long history of cultural exploitation (entertainment media does in general).  Anyway, for the remainder of this guide, I will not be using the spelling of the set as how it is presented in game.


Ninjutsu!  So you want to be Naruto?  You watched any number of 1980's ninja movies and you want to live that fantasy in City of Heroes (or Villains)?  You've come to the right place!


Ninjutsu was released way back in October of 2005 with the release of Along Came a Spider aka City of Villains.  Ninjutsu was originally an exclusive set to the Stalker archetype and appeared alongside its cousin set, Super Reflexes.  The version of Ninjutsu that is available to Sentinels is quite a bit different and it has the exact same powers as the Scrapper version.  Both the Sentinel and Scrapper trade out some of the original Stalker powers into their own respective Epic Pool choices (Ninja Tools and Weapon Mastery).  The conversion from Stalker set to Sentinel/Scrapper set came with some very nice quality of life changes that I will get into in the Beginner's Overview. 

Ninjutsu is a positional defense set just like Super Reflexes.  Due to changes of set proliferation, Sentinel Ninjutsu is nearly as strong as Super Reflexes for many of the same reasons.  Sentinels have lower starting hit point totals than their melee cousins which tends to pair very well with the ability to raise defense values very high.  Super Reflexes is still stronger at resisting defense debuffs.  Ninjutsu needs its Tier 9 power, Kuji-In Retsu, to get 50% defense debuff resistance, yikes! Ninjutsu brings with it a far more active play style than Super Reflexes and options for controlling the flow of combat (like any good ninja should). 


In the above simple synopsis, I place clickyness as low to high.  My experience here was sort of like how Bruce Lee defined the 3 stages of martial arts learning. 


"Before I learned the art, a punch was just a punch, and a kick, just a kick.
After I learned the art, a punch was no longer a punch, a kick, no longer a kick.
Now that I understand the art, a punch is just a punch and a kick is just a kick."

- Bruce Lee


When you start off with Ninjutsu you will won't have many click powers.  In the teen level range you start to add several click powers.  You won't have the slots to fully cover your defenses and you will end up clicking a lot.  Eventually you master your build, soft-cap your defenses, and you click occasionally.  Mostly that's maintaining your crowd control defense. 


Beginner's Overview

Ninjutsu, why take this over Super Reflexes?  Why am I even talking about Super Reflexes?  Well these are the only two positional defense sets available to Sentinels as of this writing and they are so close in power that their game play is the only real difference. 


Ninjutsu offers the following:


- A clickable heal that can be enhanced to nearly 50% health.

- A clickable endurance power that can be enhanced similarly to the health heal. 

- A clickable crowd control resist power that also provides Psionic Resistance and is fairly comprehensive in scope. (There is no knockback/down protection here, but it can come later in Bo Ryaku.)

- A full range positional defense power (all categories) that provides stealth, a large movement increase, and a surprise strike damage buff (Unique to Sentinels/Scrappers).

- A clickable control power which involves Sleep, Confusion, -To Hit and -Perception

- You get your area of effect defense earlier than Super Reflexes. 😉

- Generally matures early at as core powers appear before 28th level. 


Ninjutsu offers players the opportunity to control their resource pools and the opening of battle.  If that interests you, then read on! 


Ninjutsu shares so much with Super Reflexes that the beginner advice is practically the same but with different power names.  You want to prioritize attack slots first and develop your Ninjutsu skills as you advance in levels.  The core defense powers of Ninjutsu (Ninja Reflexes, Danger Sense, Shinobi-Iri) do not require a lot of slots.  Three slots is enough for most of the leveling experience and you can leverage inspirations to fill the gaps.  You don't want to push off Kuji-In Rin as it is your crowd control resist and should have it by 14th level (enemy crowd control gets more dangerous in the teen levels).  You can also get away with a few slots in your resource restore powers.  By level 28 you've gained the core powers of the set and the rest becomes optional.



Ninjutsu is pretty straight forward on basic slotting.  Ninja Reflexes, Danger Sense, Shinobi-Iri all take on defense sets.  Shinobi-Iri can allow for a lot of creativity, but that is more in the realm of Advanced Slotting.  For the basics, we'll start simple.  3-4 slots is enough that's 1 endurance if you feel it is necessary and 3 defense enhancements.  Easy.

Kuji-In Rin only ever needs 1 recharge modifier.  Both resource heals can be fine with 3 slots using a combination of recharge and their respective resource modifier.  Ideally, you want 4 slots to at least have 1 recharge and 3 of the resource (Endurance/Heal Modification). 

Bo Ryaku (an odd choice of terms to use in this set, but I digress) doesn't really offer a lot of resistance and is fine with the default slot.  You take this for the knockback/down resistance. 


Blinding Powder, if chosen, isn't bad to enhance for -to hit from a building on basics stand point.  It can take sleep or confuse enhancements but those effects aren't necessarily worth it in my opinion*.


*I will totally turn this opinion around by 180 degrees under Advanced Slotting but that is strictly about IO muling and not the default effect!


Skippable Powers

You could get knockdown/back resistance from IO uniques.  These kinds of uniques are available in the travel, defense, and resistance (would require Tough) category.  That lowers the value of Bo Ryaku somewhat and it could potentially be skipped.


Blinding Powder's greatest benefit is adding in IO set diversity and allowing it to mule some really exceptional sets.  The practical uses of it (-To Hit, or even the -Perception) aren't that thrilling.


Kuji-In Retsu is a tier 9 defensive power that isn't particularly useful if you are at the defensive soft-cap but it does add defense debuff resistance (DDR).  You could skip this but it does hold some value due to the DDR.  This is not a consideration for those playing Super Reflexes as that set more DDR built in to the toggles already. 


Advanced Slotting

Ninjutsu's real ultimate power (click "yes") is IO set diversity.  You can get very creative with Ninjutsu because many powers can grab from a wide range of IO sets. 


Here are some categories you can select from:





-Endurance Modification


-To Hit Debuff

-Accurate To Hit Debuff


-Run Speed



Are you pumped yet? (did you click yes?)


Ninja Reflexes and Danger Sense are pretty standard for defense sets.  Build these up with at least 3 slots.  Ideally those 3 slots are Luck of the Gambler, but you could push more slots with Red Fortune (or any other set really) if you can afford to do so. 


Shinobi-Iri is one of the creative powers for IO sets.  Do you want 3 Luck of the Gamblers and 3 Blessing of the Zepher?  Go for it.  You want 6 Reactive Defense to cover Melee/Ranged/AoE plus a nice side of endurance cost reduction, recharge, and scaling resistance?  This is your power.  There are so many ways to slot this that I cannot go into all of it here.  If you 6 slot any of your powers, then it should be this.  Shinobi-Iri also grants 20% more damage when you attack from stealth.  You can never re-stealth like a Stalker but it is a nice touch.  The damage buff cannot be enhanced.


Your two resource restoring powers have really amazing set opportunities.  The heal sets include Doctored Wounds, Numina's Convalescence, Miracle, or Preventative Medicine.  Endurance has the wonderful Performance Shifter and Efficiency Adaptor sets. 


Bo Ryaku can mule the global 3% defense IO's or any other global uniques you like.  The base value of the resistance isn't very high to begin with so enhancing that generally isn't worth the cost, but mule the hell out of it if you can. 


Blinding Powder can take any of the to hit debuff sets (non-accurate and accurate) these all have options for more global recharge.  Enhancing the -to hit isn't a bad strategy.  The Confuse and Sleep category both have very rare sets that usually aren't that expensive.  Coercive Persuasion is a real gem.  It has everything a little ninja or kunoichi could want.  I highly recommend the cost of the set and all 6 slots into the power, but you can probably get away without it depending on your Primary Powerset.


Complementary Choices

  • In all of my building of Sentinels, Ninjutsu is one of those sets that just blows the doors off build creativity.  Ninjutsu pairs with all offensive sets and doesn't favor anything which is similar to Super Reflexes.  Any blast sets that offer more damage mitigation will always be a welcome choice.  Defense-based sets are quite good for the entire Sentinel archetype.
  • Most Ninjutsu players will likely want to soft-cap their defenses and really create that fortress feel of dodging attacks.  Ninjutsu pairs very well with Power Pool picks that enhance defense like Fighting and Leadership.  You do not need the Concealment pool due to Shinobi-Iri.  Shinobi-Iri can make you run incredibly fast and it works with Ninja Run for even more speed.  You can run as fast as other heroes fly.  You'll jump higher than players that use Superspeed and Combat Jumping.  Shinobi-Iri is really that good and can let you skip travel powers in PvE if you wish.
  • The Epic/Patron pools don't offer a lot to Ninjutsu.  If you like a Psychic Ninja, then Psi Mastery leads to Link Minds, but you really don't need to go through that trouble.  Explore Link Minds if you want to avoid some other pool powers for your soft-cap needs.  Dark and Soul Mastery bring other to hit debuffs which can pair with Blinding Powder. None of that will make you a Defender replacement but Darkest Night is a good power.  Finally, Ninja Tool Mastery lets you add back all of the things that were pruned out from the Stalker version.  That includes Caltrops (which is a very flexible power) with a replacement name that is inappropriate to what it is and Kemuridama (literal translation: Smoke Bomb -- it's appropriate!).  On the way to picking up those powers you can get 2 Katana powers which are OK and Paralyzing Dart which is a Hold.  Ninja Tools is generally going to be for offensive choices, but it is worth mentioning to complete the entire shadow warrior experience.


Incarnate Abilities

There are a number of options for Incarnates and there isn't truly a right or wrong answer.  What you take will depend more on which blast set you are pairing it with as well as general character goals.

  • Alpha: Generally, I'd avoid Agility on Sentinels.  I'd avoid it with Ninjutsu too.  I'd let my primary drive my choice here and likely take Musculature (Core or Radial). Other defensive inclined Alpha options like Cardiac, Vigor or Spiritual don't bring a lot to the table for Ninjutsu.  Ninjutsu simply doesn't stack enough resistance for Cardiac to be worth it and the endurance modification isn't necessary for most Sentinels.  Vigor and Spiritual enhance health and endurance but these are situational benefits and not worth spending the Alpha slot on.  Let your primary thrive with a defense-base set.  Try to incorporate the damage Alphas. 
  • Interface: You do not need the -to hit from Diamagnetic but that is the only defensive option worth talking about.  I also let my primary drive my decision with this slot as many of the Interface benefits are largely irrelevant to Ninjutsu.
  • Destiny:  Destiny is also a fairly open slot.  Barrier gives you resistance which you lack, Rebirth regenerates while you dodge bullets, and Clarion adds DDR which you aren't capped on.  Ageless Radial also adds DDR where the Core version adds recovery.  Both Ageless versions of offer recharge which is beneficial for the active abilities of Ninjutsu as well as your offensive powers. 
  • Hybrid: As always, both the Melee and Support Hybrids may interest more defensive minded Sentinels though these aren't really necessary for Ninjutsu.  In melee range, of which some builds work best, the Melee options can add more survival based on the number of enemies.  The Support hybrid brings more defense to the team since the Ninjutsu Sentinel doesn't really need it.  For more offensive oriented builds, the two different Assault versions are the best choice.
Edited by oldskool
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@oldskool, my dude, both of these are amazing, but the WP write-up takes the cake. That was sheer poetry.

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