With this PoE 3.22 Blast From The Past Event Guide, we break down the Sentinel mechanics including the passive tree, power core, and Recombinator strategy that will be involved in the second November event!
It is time for some discussion about the Blast from the Past event in the Path of Exile 3.22 league, today we want to recap the mechanics of the Sentinel league for those of you who are interested in either playing the 2023 Blast from the Past event or that are just still on the fence as to whether this event is for you or not.
This guide is about Sentinels specifically, Recombinators are the main type of loot that you get from this mechanic and they are a very powerful crafting tool, they're also something that has a lot of complexity a lot of nuance to it. However, the only way to get Recombinators is to do Sentinel encounters. So this guide is going to focus mostly on the Sentinel content and some beginner tips for the recombinator. With knowing the Sentinel mechanics, you will run the Blast from the Past Event more effectively and get the rewards easier!
Sentinel Mechanics in Path of Exile 3.22 Blast From The Past Event
Now in short, Sentinel was torment done better and dialed up to 11, imagine if Tormented Spirits followed you through the map they were indestructible and they very obviously improved loot, it's not they're just dropping more rare items that you filter out automatically, instead they start dropping more currency items, more maps, more things you're just interested in picking up. Additionally, while Sentinals can be pretty dangerous, they don't have some of the crazily dangerous mechanics that you get with Tormented Spirits, so none of the shenanigans where monsters gain the ability to explode other corpses or anything like that instead monsters simply end up with much higher stats than they would normally have.
1 - Types and Rarities of Sentinels
Now there are 3 types of Sentinels and 4 Rarities. You can get these in scoured in magic, in rare, and in unique Rarity, and the unique ones are mostly a disappointment. We're not really going to go into the uniques in this video because whilst there are some uses for them they're not anything that's truly amazing. You can think of the unique Sentinels as more like gum and less like Mageblood, I.E they're not something that you really want to chase after, but they're something you'll definitely use if you get them at the right time in progression but they're not something that that is so good that you want to shape your entire character's plan around it, nor are they something that you're going to want to shape all of your interactions with the Sentinel mechanic around. Instead, just use them when you get them if they're better than your rare Sentinels and your magic Sentinels and if the magic and rare Sentinels are better then just use those instead.
How To Use Different Types of Sentinels?
Now there are three main categories of Sentinels, each of which has a whole Cavalcade of bases. A way we like to think of these is to consider the chest space slot in Path of Exile, you can get pure strength ones which grant you armor, pure intelligence ones which grant you energy shield, and pure dexterity ones which grant you evasion. There are other ones as well but there are these three things that fundamentally work differently from each other and they have some different stats and they just work in different ways:
Red Sentinels (Stalker Sentinels) - Stalker Sentinels are the best while you're getting going
Blue Sentinels (Pandemonium Sentinels) - Pandemonium Sentinels are the best of the lot on powerful characters because they just fundamentally work differently from each other.
Yellow Sentinels (Apex Sentinels) - Apex Sentinels are generally outclassed by the other two.
How To Use Stalker Sentinels (Red) - Worth
In the beginning, you only have access to Stalker Sentinels. The three types bind to F1, F2, and F3 by default on PC. You can use up to one of each category in each Sentinel-friendly zone you enter. This is the simplest Sentinel, great in the campaign, and great for everyday mapping. Blue (Pandemonium) are better when optimized.
Stalker Sentinels follow you, and when they get close to an enemy they charge up a quick-cast spell. This empowers the monster and has a % chance to give it a Legion-style reward icon.
Optimizing Use Of Red Sentinels:
These are simple strategically. Just remember - you must remain close to the still-living enemy for around %4 seconds for the Sentinel to work.
Stalker sentinels reward damage that you can turn off.
Empowered monsters have higher stats than usual. Beware.
How To Use Apex Sentinels (Yellow) - Disappointing
Apex Sentinels are disappointing. Rewards are merely OK, unlike the extraordinary rewards of Pandemonium Sentinels.
Optimizing Use Of Yellow Sentinels:
They only work on rare and unique monsters by default, and only on uniques if you take one specific tree node.
They have the highest empowerment number, which is like the Delirium level - it adds a lot of monster power.
We suggest only using your VERY best Apex Sentinels. Save them up, spec into them and then use them all in 10-way Maven Invitations, Maven 4-ways like The Formed if your character is incredibly strong, and if your character can't manage that, Heist contracts have lots of rare monsters and a few uniques and tend to be easier.
How To Use Pandemonium Sentinels (Blue) - Amazing
These are the best ones. When you activate them. There's utter Pandemonium. An empowerment beam is fired at al monsters within range, and this beam can chain. Consider this a "build your own Legion encounter" pack. Except you control where it goes off and you can pick relatively safe monster packs to detonate it. Here you need to gather a huge pack all on one screen.
Optimizing Use Of Blue Sentinels - Glacier First Room Spam:
The absolute best use case for these is to enter the Glacier map, round up 100+ monsters (ideally 150+) on one screen, and then unleash Pandemonium. Kill monsters, loot, exit map, repeat in a new Glacier.
Beach isn't terrible either, but Glacier has more monsters at the entry than any alternative.
But you don't have to use them there for these sentinels to be good. They are just universally great.
Sentinels Have Limited Charges
Additionally and very importantly, Sentinels have a limited amount of charges. Once they deplete they become somewhat of a brick we're going to get to the power core mechanics later which allow you to take two Sentinels regardless of the number of charges that they've got merge them together and your resulting Sentinel will have full charges. But there are a number of tactics we'll want to discuss around that, Sentinels do drop a lot though, what you want to look for is individually very powerful mod like a 3.9% chance for empowered enemies to have a currency reward, something like this makes the entire Sentinel worth using.
2 - Sentinel Passive Tree - The Sentinel Controller (Sentinel-Specific Mini Passive Tree)
You'll also have access to a special passive tree for Sentinels, they don't start at full power instead they level up as you kill Sentinel-enhanced Monsters and they have their own passive tree. This passive tree is very limited, you CT at 30 points in it, and getting 30 points is something that we feel happens around level 92 or 93 from our collection but we are not absolutely sure about that and unfortunately we can't go and test it in the game at the moment. It's something you'll get if you play a lot and if you play a bit less then you're going to get 20, 23, or 25 points quickly but the last few points will take a bit longer.
Initially, you can only use one Sentinel type - the red type, later on, you'll be able to spec into the yellow and the blue Sentinels. So if you wanted to spec into yellow Sentinels, we generally don't recommend this, we'll get to Y in a second the shortest path to do so is to go the path marked on the below screenshot, and then you've speced into the yellow Sentinel on the tree, you gain the ability to use Apex Sentinels.
Alternately if you want to go for pandemonium Sentinels - blue ones you can go, this way is one option that you've got or you can take other paths that are a little bit longer but they might end up with a few more rewards along the way, ultimately which path you take is up to you.
That said if in doubt towards the south end of this tree, there are a number of nodes that grant an increased chance to gain Sentinel rewards, this is a very powerful effect and it's something that you should consider very seriously because it will govern the amount of Reccombinators you get.
If you're in doubt as to how to spec your passive tree for Sentinel and it is free to resp this, then what we suggest you do is you fairly quickly path over to the origin for pandemonium Sentinels, pick that up, and then once you've done that path down towards the south end of the tree where you can then spec into the ability to gain increased chance to gain Sentinel rewards. This is a very powerful stat you want all of it that you can't get very much of it and the only source of it is on the passive tree for the Sentinel controller, so you're going to want to do that.
2 - Sentinel Power Core Mechanics
The next thing you're going to see a lot of is power cores. Power cores are the only crafting that's possible for Sentinels, other than using ID Scrolls on them. What you do with these is you input two Sentinels and these Sentinels can actually be empty of charges, they will then combine into one merged Sentinel and this will be full of charges even if both inputs were empty.
Now this output Sentinel will have a 50/50 chance of being each of the two bases that you submit it, then also has a very tiny chance chance or a slightly higher chance in conjunction with a transforming power core of being changed from that into an augmented base. Then on top of that, it will keep about 60% of the mods that are put onto the input Sentinels. Now when we say about 60% this is very fuzzy, this is not based on a large statistical sample or anything of the sort, this is just our own feeling on the number of mods. What this means though is that you can use power cores to get a second use of a really good mod that you happen to have on a sentinel.
How To Optimize Power Cores - Amplifying Ones Are Best
Now let's talk about the tactics too, there are also mundane power cores that don't have an additional word before them. So here are some tactics to optimize the use of Power Cores:
You should use your amplifying power cores on your very best Sentinels after they run out of charges, at least you should do this if those Sentinels have a great mod on them and that mod is not tier 1. For example, if you have tier 2 chance to drop a delirium reward tier 2 chance to drop a sentinal reward these are Fant fantastic candidates for the use of an amplifying power core. That said those Sentinels are so good that you should use up all the charges on the tier 2 version first and then once it's fully drained then and only then do you pull out the amplifying power core to give it a second life.
Transforming power cores are a bit weaker, you want to use these on other bases that have at least some good mods on them. Especially if you get a rubbish base for a sentinel and you can tell a base is rubbish if it has a very small number of monsters that is its limit to the amount that it can empower.
The augmenting and the generic power cores that should be used on a fairly good Sentinel basis are ones that can Empower a lot of monsters, but ones that don't have very good mods on them. So if you find pandemonium Sentinels that hit a large number of monsters like 100 or more monsters or at least 85 or more monsters and they don't have great mods already on them, that's the sort of candidate for a regular power core and also for an augmenting power core.
In a lot of ways, you can consider these power cores to be somewhat of an introduction to the way that recombinators work.
3 - Sentinel Recombinator s
Let's discuss Recombinator now because they're the most important of the loot you get out of the Sentinel mechanic although a lot of the non-Recombinator loot can be good as well.
What is Recombinator?
There are separate recombinators for armor, weapons, and jewelry. Each of them will take two items that have the same item class I.E two pieces of chest armor, these will be combined in an RNG fashion that will take some mods from each item and will have a slim chance to add additional mods that were not present on either item or to upgrade or downgrade one of the modifiers that were put onto it
Now recombinators are literal item editors if you have enough of them and you have enough base items that have carefully chosen mods. these are some of the most powerful crafting mechanisms that have ever existed in Path of Exile and it's no surprise that patch 3.18 and the Sentinel League pretty much obliterated all of the existing standard League Meriter items, because Recombinator allows better to be crafted.
Best Beginner Recombinator Strategy For +2 Amulets
That said there is a lot of nuance to using them well, but there is a powerful beginner strategy that we want to quickly outline in this guide:
1. Source items with two mods you'd desire to have together on one item
The key thing to the beginner strategy is knowing that Reccombinators - calculate the prefixes that will be on the final item and the suffixes separately from each other. this is completely different from Chaos orbs. If you want to prove this to yourself, take some chaos orbs and use them on a helmet, you'll find that you will never get a one prefix one suffix item out of a chaos orb. However, you will find that sometimes you get one prefix and three suffixes or you'll get three prefixes and one suffix on your helmet. This is because it is not independent of the prefixes and the suffixes influence each other.
With Recombinators, the exact opposite is the case each one is calculated independently and this is part of the power of these crafting tools at least when you go beyond the beginner strategy. What this means is you can build perfect prefixes on an item and you can just have no concern about what the suffixes of any of your input items are, because that's something you can solve later.
Now what you want to do for this beginner strategy is to Source two amulets that each have a mod that you would desire to have together on the same item.
For example, amulets with "Exalter's" - +1 all skill gems, and“Vulcanist's"- +1 to all fire skill gems. It is important that neither item has ANY other prefixes.
2. Recombinate - You are 1 in 3 to get an amulet with both mods. On a fail, you get one of your inputs back
Now it is optimal if neither of these items has any other prefixes, when we go into more detail in the beginner method, we'll discuss what happens when there are other prefixes on the items and also a strategy called modifier doubling that ends up making Recombinators about 9% better than they will be with the beginner strategy. But for the beginner strategy, it is sufficient just to have them be the only prefixes present. Now when you recombinate these with a jewelry recombinator you are one in three to get an amulet that has both of these prefixes together. If you fail, you will actually get one of your inputs back which is something that's really important and really powerful with recombinator crafting. Most of the time when you fail a roll on recombinant crafting, you don't completely go back to Step One, normally you're going to go back one or two steps, and this is something that makes recombinant incredibly powerful in the hands of someone that knows all of the nuances of them now. More complex methods can get 36.67%.
3. Recombinator is Better For Trading than For SSF
One thing that needs to be said about recombinator, this is a mechanic that rewards doing a very large amount of trading. Other than the original synthesizer from patch 3.6, we would argue that this is the most trade-oriented mechanic in Path of Exile history. That doesn't mean that you can't use Solo Self Found, but if you are trying to use it Solo Self Found, your results are going to be worse and it's going to take a much larger amount of effort. In SSF, the times that you roll something good that you don't need, end up completely going to waste whereas in trade you can then pass that on to someone else. Whatever the case, Recombinator definitely very strong in Trade league and still actually so inherently powerful that even though they're worse in Solo Self Found they still work there.
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