Each of the 15 Archetypes available in City of Heroes offers a different play experience and a different set of abilities. This allows players a lot of freedom in determining their preferred playstyle, but can also be fairly daunting for new players.
The Sentinel Archetype, added in Issue 25 and thus the newest Archetype in City of Heroes: Homecoming, is a ranged combat specialist with defensive Secondary Powers and the ability to debuff enemy Resistances.
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The Sentinel Archetype uses ranged Primary Powers and defense Secondary Powers, allowing it to damage foes from a distance while remaining rather bulky compared to the other Ranged Archetypes.
The Sentinel Archetype gains the Inherent Power “Vulnerability”, building up an “Opportunity” meter that can be spent to activate the Power and debuff a target’s Defense and Resistance. It can also remove Stealth effects, exposing sneaky foes to the Sentinel’s allies. They also receive the Inherent Power “Opportunity”, which allows them to build up Opportunity automatically over time and when attacking, and gives them resistance to effects that would debuff their Chance To Hit or Perception.
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The Sentinel Archetype’s Primary Powersets are focused on dealing damage with a variety of ranged attacks. Due to the Sentinel’s Inherent Power, they are particularly effective at inflicting debuffs and secondary effects with their attacks. As stated in the other Build Guides, there aren’t really any “bad” choices when it comes to selecting Powersets, but here are a few notable ones we’d recommend for new players.
The Storm Blast Powerset allows the character to command wind, rain, and lightning to strike down their foes, utilizing several different damage types. With a healthy assortment of knockback, knockdown, and debuff effects, Storm Blast Powers are excellent at disrupting attackers. When playing solo this is incredible for mitigating incoming damage and helping the Sentinel to survive longer (after all, the enemy can’t attack if they can’t stay on their feet), while also remaining valuable in group play for similar reasons.
Storm Blast Powers can gain bonuses when used to strike targets inside a “Storm Cell”, which is created by one of the other Powers in the set. Enemies inside a Storm Cell move a little slower and have their Chance To Hit reduced, but the main benefit is allowing Storm Blast Powers a chance to generate additional strong winds or lightning strikes to further damage and disrupt targets. The Storm Blast Self-Buff “Intensify” increases the chances of a Storm Blast Power creating these strong winds and lightning strikes, while also buffing the Sentinel’s Chance To Hit, Damage, and Range.
Overall, Storm Blast is a fantastic choice for dealing with groups of enemies and single-targets alike, with a mix of different damage types and powerful secondary effects that provide it a ton of versatility.
Unsurprisingly, blasting enemies with radioactive energy blasts is both fun and effective. All Radiation Blast attacks have the secondary effect of reducing a target’s Defense, which makes them more likely to be hit by further attacks. Radiation Blast Powers deal energy damage almost exclusively, with their final Power mixing in some Smash damage too. Since the Sentinel Archetype is a specialist in weakening enemy Defense and Resistance, this synergizes excellently with their preferred playstyle. Beyond this, Radiation Blast is a very direct Powerset that focuses on dealing damage directly, with a small selection of disorienting effects and a power that can knock foes back.
Radiation Blast includes several different AOE Powers, all of which are very effective at clearing up foes, with the most powerful being its final Power “Atomic Blast.” This literal nuke detonates at the player’s location and leaves enemies helplessly choking on the radioactive fumes if they survive the blast, making them unable to do anything at all for a short time.
Essentially, Radiation Blast is a simple but strong Powerset that is easy to pick up and play, providing a useful debuff as a secondary effect while blasting foes away with energy damage.
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The Beam Rifle Powerset is a devastatingly effective Powerset with a particular knack for taking down groups using Damage over Time effects. The Beam Rifle Powerset begins with a few energy damage attacks that knock enemies down, but truly comes online when the Sentinel hits level 6 and gets the “Disintegrate” Power. Disintegrate inflicts a Damage over Time effect and Regeneration debuff. The Disintegration effect applied to enemies interacts with all of the other Powers in the Powerset, supplying them with additional effects and generally making them more powerful when striking Disintegrating targets.
Hitting foes that have the Disintegration debuff with certain Powers in the set will spread the debuff to up to three nearby targets, helping the Sentinel to spread the damage and debuff to entire enemy groups. Meanwhile, other Powers in the set gain improved damage, additional Damage over Time, or longer secondary effect durations when targeting enemies with the Disintegration debuff.
With this potent mix of direct damage and spreadable Damage over Time, Beam Rifle Sentinels can be tremendously effective against groups.
The Sentinel’s Secondary Powersets are all focused on defensive abilities, though the nature of these abilities can vary considerably from one set to another. Indeed, certain sets adopt an “offense is the best defense” approach and incorporate AOE Damage over Time effects or other debuffs centered on the player to weaken enemies when they try to get close. Here are a few examples that we’d recommend to new players.
The Bio Armor Powerset is a flexible option that requires a little bit of strategy to use effectively. That said, its versatility makes it excellent at adapting to the current situation. Bio Armor’s strength comes from the “Adaptation” Power, which allows them to swap between Offensive, Defensive, and Efficient Adaptation. Each of these Adaptations provides additional functionality and benefits to other Powers within the set, themed around that Adaptation. For example, Defensive Adaptation will cause the “Environmental Modification” Power to grant additional Defense and a small maximum HP boost, while Offensive Adaptation causes Environmental Modification to provide a Chance To Hit Buff.
By making good use of the various Adaptations alongside Bio Armor’s various defensive toggles, healing Powers, and even a powerful AOE that debuffs enemies while strengthening the player, it is possible to adapt to nearly any scenario. While a touch complex, Bio Armor is a very rewarding Powerset for players who spend some time learning how it works.
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The Ninjitsu Powerset is mostly about avoiding damage rather than resisting it, though it also gains a lot of effect Resistances that make it difficult for enemies to debuff or lock the Sentinel down. Ninjitsu also provides a stealth Power that provides a damage buff when attacking from stealth (but only after 8 seconds without attacking), alongside a couple of useful self-healing Powers and an Endurance Recovery Power.
Ninjitsu has one Power that provides Damage Resistance, this being the passive Power “Bo Ryaku.” Players can debuff enemies and inflict Sleep in a cone using “Blinding Powder” too, which is also handy as an escape tool if a battle is going poorly. With their final Power “Kuji-in Retsu” they gain a massive buff to Defense, Speed, and Recovery alongside Resistance to Defense debuffs, though this comes at the cost of completely draining their Endurance when the Power wears off.
Ninjitsu is a great Powerset for avoiding damage that also includes useful tools for healing, debuffing, and sneaking around, but players need to be wary of enemy attack types to select the right Defense buff for each situation.
Energy Aura is a Powerset that provides a mixture of Damage Resistance and Defense, mixing damage mitigation with a decent chance of avoiding damage entirely. It lacks Psionic Resistance but is otherwise very flexible and versatile in its defensive utility, and also provides Resistance to many different negative effects.
Energy Aura’s other benefits include a Recharge Rate boost to help with firing Powers more frequently while also debuffing the Recharge of nearby enemies to hinder their offense, alongside a few methods of regaining Endurance to fuel their Powers more efficiently. One such power even drains Endurance from enemies, further hampering them while fueling the Sentinel’s attacks. Energy Aura has a self-stealth Power that also boosts all Defenses, which can be very helpful when navigating enemy-dense areas in addition to avoiding attacks in combat.
By using their final Power, “Overload”, Sentinels with Energy Aura can gain a huge boost to all Defense, Resistance to Defense Debuffs, and a boost to their Maximum Health. This should be used with caution, however, since Overload will drain all Endurance when it wears off.
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Players can select Power Pools to gain access to additional Powers and round out their build with extra utility. Power Pools can vary considerably in theme, but many of them feature Travel Powers or Powers that provide additional utilities like healing or reducing aggro. Players can access Power Pools as early as level 4, so here are a few suggested Power Pools to consider when building a Sentinel:
- The Leadership Power Pool provides an assortment of buff toggles that strengthen the entire group, making them useful in solo play but tremendously effective when working with a team. Depending on the situation and the Sentinel’s playstyle, Maneuvers, Assault, and Tactics can all be very useful Powers from this Pool.
- The Fighting Power pool provides players with close-range combat Powers initially, but after purchasing either Kick or Boxing players can access the first of two very useful toggles. This toggle Power, “Tough”, grants Resistance to Smash and Lethal damage. Additionally, picking up Tough along with either Kick or Boxing will allow players to access Weave. Weave is an exceptionally useful universal Defense buff toggle that also gives Resistance to immobilize effects, making it highly useful for many Archetypes.
- Flight and Leaping are both great Power Pools for getting around the cities that will also provide useful defensive powers. Combat Jumping and Hover both grant boosts to Defense against all damage types while providing a movement boost, with Combat Jumping also providing Resistance to immobilize effects. Flight and Super Jump are fantastic powers for getting around quickly and will see tons of use throughout the game. Jumping also provides access to the Acrobatics Power, which grants Resistance to Knockback and Hold effects while active and can be very handy for some builds.
Ancillary and Patron Power Pools are designed to provide Archetypes with Powers beyond the usual themes of that Archetype, which in the Sentinel’s case typically means an assortment of Crowd Control Powers alongside group buffs/healing or AOE debuffs. The Patron Pools often include a pet summon, while many of the Ancillary Pools include a melee option or two. Here’s some Ancillary/Patron Power Pools suggestions:
- Ninja Tool Mastery allows the Sentinel to utilize Ninja Tools and Techniques to debuff their enemies and get themselves out of danger. With Damage over Time effects alongside Defense debuffs and a very useful escape tool/AOE debuff (Kemuridama), Ninja Tool Mastery is a very solid choice.
- Players wanting to go all in on debuffs should consider grabbing Dark Mastery, reducing enemy Chance To Hit and providing tools for dealing with flying targets, alongside a bit of Damage over Time, with single-target and AOE options. Dark Mastery as a Powerset has moderate damage output, but lacks variety when compared to other options.
- Leviathan Mastery is an excellent choice for mixed Damage over Time and Control Powers, while also providing a pet summon that can help out in difficult fights and make solo play a bit easier.
- Soul Mastery has similar benefits to Leviathan Mastery, but with more of a focus on Control and some Chance To Hit debuffs. The Fortunata summon is helpful too, much like the Corralax Hybrid summon from Leviathan Master.
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For the Sentinel Archetype, we’ve created the sample character “Tri-Storm.” By utilizing Storm Blast alongside Fiery Aura, Tri-Storm harries enemies with knockdown effects while draining their Endurance and applying fire Damage over Time. Using Molten Embrace to add fire damage and a chance of fire Damage over Time to all attacks, Tri-Storm opens combat by creating a Storm Cell, then knocking the enemy group to the ground with Jet Stream (a Cone AOE that swaps knockback for knockdown when used on targets inside a Storm Cell). While the enemy group tries to get back up, Tri-Storm continues to attack. Damage is mitigated by the Fiery Aura Powers “Fire Shield” or “Plasma Shield”, depending on the damage types used by the enemy.
When dealing with powerful enemies, Tri-Storm can use the Intensify Power to ramp up the damage and activate Vulnerability to poke holes in enemy defenses. For Power Pools, Tri-Storm has grabbed Hover and Flight from the Flight Power Pool, allowing him to hover out of reach when dealing with melee-focused foes, while also raising his Defense against all damage types.
City of Heroes
- April 28, 2004