Intro to Snipers
The first thread to bring out the Corrosive Dart Marksmanship build can be found here, written by SamuelAU from the Gunslinger class forums. Table of Contents:
- Engineering (pending for huge spec changes coming soon. More info on the Sniper Rep Q&A thread)
Sniper (mouse-over to see Gunslinger terminologies)
- Advanced Targeting
- Hold Position
- Spotter - 2.0
- Field Tech set bonus
- Weapon: Sniper Rifle
- Corrosive Dart
- Series of Shots
- Followthrough (Marksmanship)
- Corrosive Grenade (Lethality)
- Cull (Lethality)
- Interrogation Probe (Engineering )
- Plasma Probe (Engineering)
- Overload Shot
- Suppressive Fire
- Fragmentation Grenade
- Orbital Strike
- Covered Escape - 2.0
- Countermeasures (threat dump)
- Corrosive Mine
- Shield Probe
- Ballistic Shield
Others: Energy abilities
- Hold Your Ground
- Distraction (interrupt)
- Shatter Shot
- Debilitating Shots
- Corrosive Mine
- Slice Droid
- Diversion (Marksmanship)
- Leg Shot
- Debilitating Shots
- Cover Pulse
- Slip Away
- Flash Bang
- Flash Powder
Damage types link
There are four damage types in SW:TOR. Kinetic, Energy, Force and Energy. Most of Marksman’s DPS is of the energy attack type and is mitigated by armor. An armor penetration debuff needs to be present on the target in order for Marksman’s abilities to do its max damage.
36/3/7 - The alterntive is taking 1 point out of Lethality and put it into Vital Regulators. This exploits a “bug” with the Kell Dragon Serendipitous Assault relic and allows it to have a loner uptime
Passive benefits from skills
- Gearhead +3% Cunning
- Marksmanship +3% Ranged and Tech Accuracy
- Lethality +3% Ranged and Tech Critical Chance
- Deadly Directive +2% Alacrity
- Sniper’s Nest increases your energy regen by 1 as long as you stay in cover
- Snap Shot can be a DPS loss in a sustained fight since it requires you to go out of cover and lose extra regen from Sniper’s Nest. Snipe takes 1.5 second to cast and Snap Shot uses up a 1 GCD. Both takes the same amount of time. Cast Snipe instead of going in and out of cover to try and proc Snap Shot
1. Cover Pulse is an excellent damage mitigation ability on mobs that can get rooted and knocked back
2. Diversion applies an accuracy debuff on your target and removes them from cover. Does not work on bosses.
3. Shatter Shot applies an armor penetration debuff and is not part of your normal rotation. When there are no Juggernauts or Arsenal Mercenaries hitting your target, you will have to apply this debuff every 45 seconds. Armor Penetration does not stack. Talented by Debilitating Shots
4. Leg Shot is a 30-m root and can be talented to impair movement after the root wears off. There aren’t a lot of uses for Leg Shot in end-game except for very specific fights like Brontes’ and Nightmare Styrak where it works on the blue orbs and the phase where adds close in on the raid. Talented by Debilitating Shots.
Defensive abilities and cooldowns
1. Covered Escape is arguably one of the strongest defensive abilities in the game. The tooltip says 100% chance to dodge attacks and in-game this means 100% chance to mitigate all and any kind of damage as long as you can time it right. Learning the timing of Covered Escape is key to turning it from a mere 18-m roll into a ~1.5 second invulnerability
2. Ballistic Shield along with Orbital Strike is the Sniper’s distinguishing ability. Snipers are very desirable not only for their ranged DPS but for this AoE 20% damage reduction to any ally that remain inside. The area of effect is huge and should be used to cover as much allies as possible. Use it in anticipation of incoming raid wide damage to reduce the damage taken per second of your raid.
3. Entrench grants you immunity to CC, knockback and movement impairing effects throughout its duration. As Marksman it gives a huge 60% AoE damage reduction. I treat this ability like somewhat of a “passive offensive cooldown.” When other specs and other classes would run out to try to avoid AoE mechanics, I simply pop Entrench and Shield Probe and tank all that damage or to make myself immune to all forms of CC. This is an effective way to increase your DPS because it allows you to turret and continue your rotation unhindered.
1. Laze Target makes your next Snipe an automatic critical hit.
2. Target Acquired gives you an armor penetration buff for several seconds and gives you a flat amount of energy when wearing the 2pc Field Tech. Best DPS is achieved by using Target Acquired with Series of Shots and Sniper Volley. The armor penetration buff lasts for the full duration of 2 Series of Shots
1. Orbital Strike as of PTS Patch 2.6 had its damage, energy cost, cast time and its cooldown reduced.
With Sniper Volley the cast time is reduced to less than a GCD. But according to this tooltip it now deals 3912 elemental damage over 3 seconds. Snipe > Orbital Strike for the GCD. One good thing that will come out of this change though is that it will help keep Corrosive Dart up much more easier.
2. Ambush is your single highest critting ability. In Dread Forged gear it can crit for up to 10000 damage on boss targets with the right buffs and debuffs
3. Snipe is your staple slash “spammable” ability and is used to give you a variety of procs that allow you to have a fluid rotation
4. Followthrough is very energy efficient and is at the center of Marksman’s single target rotation. This will be your most used ability because of Recoil Control. Every time you do 2 Snipes, 1 Ambush, finish the channel of Series of Shots and do 1 Takedown, you reset the cooldown on Followthrough
5. Corrosive Dart used to be an ignored ability in the Marksman rotation. But parses in the past year have shown that when spec’d with Corrosive Microbes from the Lethality, is actually a DPS gain of up to 200 DPS on the high end. The parse in green was made using 36/3/7. The parse in red was made using 36/10/0 with talents to Explosive Probe and Orbital Strike from the Engineering tree.
Patch 2.5 In 36/3/7 Orbital Strike did 351 DPS and Corrosive Dart did 250 DPS. In 36/10/0 Orbital Strike 390 DPS but Corrosive Dart did only 65 DPS. Parses are leaning towards 36/3/7 as the best sustained DPS spec for Marksmanship Snipers. Corrosive Dart spec was parsed and discussed more in this thread.
6. Explosive Probe is a situational use ability. Some people use this ability and some prefer not to. Explosive Probe is a low DPS ability in the 36/3/7 spec
7. Series of Shots is a channeled ability and deals good damage for the energy cost. Damage is dealt immediately upfront and 3 more ticks throughout its duration
8. Sniper Volley is the capstone ability of the Marksman tree. The energy regen is very strong and alacrity buff allows you to speed your way through your abilities thus increasing your DPS.
9. Takedown is your hard hitting “execute” ability useable on targets under 30% hp.
Priorities for cooldowns
- Laze Target on cooldown to make your next Snipe an automatic critical hit
- Sniper Volley after Series of Shots and with Target Acquired
Priorities for AoE
- Orbital Strike when it will hit at least 2 targets
- Fragmentation Grenade when it will hit at least 3 targets
- Suppressive Fire should never be used in a raid setting. The damage is too low and the energy cost too high. Use the energy instead to continue your rotation which will do more DPS
Damage distribution link
Most of your damage will come from Serious of Shots and Followthrough, followed by Ambush and Snipe. The rotation revolves around proccing Followthrough as often as you can and normally (aside from AoE DPS), a player who is able to keep his Series of Shots, Ambush on cooldown more will proc more Followthroughs and do more DPS. Followthrough should always be at the top of your damage done with Series of Shots trailing closely behind. Explosive Probe costs too much energy and shouldn’t be part of your sustained single target rotation. Corrosive Dart in this spec contributes good extra DPS for the cost. With the changes in 2.6, Corrosive Dart is now easier to apply thanks to its longer duration.
Marksmanship is quite easy to play because it follows a strict rotation.
Marksmanship is centered around the talent Recoil Control. Everytime you use Snipe twice, Ambush once, Takedown once, or finish a full round of Series of Shots, your Followthrough cooldown is reset. This sums up the basic rotation of Marksmanship DPS which is the line below (repeated to infinity):
Sniper Volley & Explosive Probe
The ability Sniper Volley increases your alacrity (and energy regeneration) by a considerable amount. Alacrity reduces the cast time of your abilities and lowers your GCD. Because of this, whenever Sniper Volley is up, you will find extra “holes” in the above rotation. These holes previously (Patch 2.5) was filled by Orbital Strike among other things like Corrosive Dart (which will be discussed later below). In 2.6 there are several choices that we can use to fill these holes to increase DPS: Corrosive Dart, Explosive Probe, Snipe (spam) and Orbital Strike. Because we now have these holes that we need to fill and because of Explosive Probes huge energy cost, it is best used when you have Sniper Volley buff available:
Corrosive Dart has a chance to tick twice because of Corrosive Microbes. Keeping a 100% uptime on Corrosive Dart should be ones top priority because the extra DPS will add up over a long period of time. Do not let it delay you from keeping your other abilities on cooldown though. In 2.6 this spec has been buffed with a longer duration on the dot. This should be easier and less taxing to maintain now in 2.6+. It has been generally agreed in the class forums by multiple Sniper players that it is best to keep Corrosive Dart at 100% uptime
In 2.6 the Marksman spec has changed to this X/3/7 (assuming the self-heal relic bug is fixed). Corrosive Dart lasts 18 seconds long as opposed to 15 seconds in 2.5. 18 seconds is 12 GCDs. If we use the static rotation as an example:
In seconds, this rotation takes: ~1.75 → 1.5 →1.5 → 1.5 → 1.5 → 1.5 → 1.5 = ~11 seconds total or ~8 GCDS. If you use the first Corrosive Dart right before Series of Shots, then inserting Corrosive Dart in 12 GCDs should look something like this:
If you use the FIRST Corrosive Dart right before Series of Shots, the SECOND will be before your next Ambush in the next line, and from there you can keep refreshing it, (THIRD) every after your 2 Snipes.
NOTE: This rotation above is merely an attempt to give some slight QoL benefit to dot management since keeping track of dots can be confusing in a raid with mechanics and overlapping icons from other Snipers and Operatives. This may not give a full 100% uptime but gives a slight QoL benefit instead.
- FIRST DOT → Before Series of Shots
- SECOND DOT → Before Ambush
- THIRD DOT → After 2 Snipes
- FOURTH DOT → After 2 Snipes; and so on and so forth.
Unfortunately I was not able to get a copy of my detailed PTS Orbital analysis so let me just summarize the changes that happened to Orbital below:
- Snipe and Orbital do the same average DPS over a long period of time
- Snipe does more damage than Orbital with Laze Target (crit)
- Orbital does more damage than Snipe without Laze Target (no crit)
- If Snipe crits and 1 of Orbital’s 3 ticks crit, they do the same damage
- Snipe costs more than Orbital Strike. Both have the same cast (1.5 second) time and roughly the same average DPS. This makes Orbital an energy efficient filler that does the same damage as Snipe if your single target remains inside the AoE for the full duration
- Orbital for Marksman spec has a 30 second cooldown and 1.5 Second cast time.
- Corrosive Dart does more damage than a full Orbital Strike
In a raid because of mechanics and boss movement, Orbital Strike deals too less burst damage to be part of your single target rotation. HOWEVER it is a VERY GOOD and energy efficient filler and alternative to RIFLE SHOT. For burst DPS (which is where this spec excels at) you have better choices, Snipe with Laze Target and Explosive Probe. Corrosive Dart will also do more overall damage single target than Orbital Strike. With that said, Orbital Strike from a theorycrafting perspective, should be used when:
- Snipe is not an option – it will dip you below 4 pips of regen
- Explosive Probe is on cooldown or you don’t have energy cooldowns to back up the energy cost
- Corrosive Dart is up on your target. And finally –
- When you would Rifle Shot to fill in a gap in your rotation, use Orbital Strike (for single target) instead.
Sub 30% phase. Execute phase allows the use of Takedown which is a very hard hitting ability. At the moment, according to the parse analysis of Claimed below, the best use of Takedown is to substitute it where Followthrough should be. Using Takedown will proc a Followthrough but we do not use it. Instead continue with your next ability (which is either Series of Shots, Ambush or Snipe)
Energy management & cooldowns
Sniper’s Nest – is your basic force regen talent. You get +1 energy regen while in cover. This is one of the reasons using Snap Shot is so detrimental. Over a long period of time the quick glances out of cover will accumulate to reduce your sustained energy regen.
Sniper Volley and Target Acquired – is kind of a mix between energy cooldown and offensive cooldown. You want to use it to reset Series of Shots and you want to use it with Illegal Mods so that those two Series of Shots benefit from the armor penetration. This is the best way to use Target Acquired because Series of Shots is your one of your top DPS abilities (first being Followthrough which you will be using inside the window anyway).
Parse analysis by Claimed <Phobos>, The Harbinger
- 29.35 DPS per activation of Takedown
- 26.27 DPS per activation Aimed Shot
- 16.33 DPS per activation of Followthrough
- 22.23 DPS per activation of Takedown
- 22.97 DPS per activation of Aimed Shot
- 16.43 DPS per activation of Followthrough
How do these numbers translate into your rotation? Because the Marksman rotation is a repeating pattern of:
When the boss is under 30% HP, Takedown should be used in place of Followthrough whenever it becomes available.
The premise here is that we want to keep Series of Shots and Ambush strictly on cooldown and so the Followthrough proc from using Takedown is ignored. If you use Followthrough after Takedown here, you are delaying Ambush which will delay Series of Shots which will delay your next Ambush and so on and so forth.
If someone can further test these and on the forums, that would be great!
Changes to sub 30% hp
- Takedown instead of Followthrough. Using Takedown here will proc a Followthrough. Do not use that proc and proceed to your next ability instead
- Sniper Volley
- Series of Shots
- Ambush with 2 stacks of Zeroing Shots
- Corrosive Dart
- Snipe to get 2 stacks of Zeroing Shots
- Rifle Shot
On Orbital Strike - since it deals about the same damage as Snipe, I would use it over Snipe if it will hit (2 targets throughout its full duration). I will use it over Ambush if it will hit 3 targets throughout its full duration. I will use it over Series of Shots if it will hit at least 4 targets throughout its full duration.
- Armorings (Set bonus) = 4 piece Field Tech
- Accuracy = 5 x Initiative enhancements
- Surge = 5 x Adept enhancements
- Power = Artful mods
- Crit = 0-300*
- Augments = Skill augments
- Relics = Focused Retribution & Serendipitous Assault
- * = personal preference. I run with a little crit (1 earpiece) because of spec swapping in raids. No parses from the forums have come up with 300 Crit for this spec
5/5/36 - Flash Powder in Lethality is mandatory. It can be useful for some fights where there are a lot of CC’able add spawns. Most mobs that aren’t immune to crowd control effects are affected by Accuracy reduction debuffs (strong and standard mobs)
Damage types and damage distribution link
Most of Lethality’s DPS will come from your bleed effects and these are not mitigated by armor. The yellow ticks from Wounding Shots are considered dot effects and are not mitigated by armor as well. Armor penetration is important but less so compared to Marksmanship. A big portion of your damage will come from Cull (Wounding Shots) and your 2 dots put together. What this simply says is that you need to have 100% uptime on your Corrosive Grenade, Corrosive Dart and that you keep Cull on cooldown to the last second.
Passive benefits from skills
Cover Pulse is an excellent damage mitigation ability on mobs that can get knocked back and rooted
Shatter Shot applies an armor penetration debuff and is not part of your normal rotation. When there are no Juggernauts or Arsenal Mercenaries hitting your target, you will have to apply this debuff every 45 seconds. Armor Penetration does not stack.
Leg Shot is a 30-m root and can be talented to impair movement after the root wears off. There aren’t a lot of uses for Leg Shot in end-game except for very specific fights like Brontes’ and Nightmare Styrak where it works on the blue orbs and the phase where adds enclose on the raid
1. Adrenaline Probe - you also generate energy on top of the 50 that this gives. Just something to note since you don’t want to be capping on 50 energy with Adrenaline Probe still ticking (50 energy is given slowly over 3 seconds)
2. Target Acquired can be used on cooldown for max DPS or saved to be used as an energy cooldown with the 2-pc Field Tech bonus
Defensive abilities and cooldowns
1. Covered Escape is arguably one of the strongest defensive abilities in the game. The tooltip says 100% chance to evade attacks and in-game this means 100% chance to mitigate all and any kind of damage as long as you can time it right. Learning the timing of to turning it from a mere 18-m roll into a ~1.5 second invulnerability. Talented by Corrosive Mine.
2. Ballistic Shield along with Orbital Strike are 2 the Sniper’s distinguishing ability. Snipers are very desireable not only for their ranged DPS but for this AoE 20% damage reduction so long as they remain under the dome.
3. Entrench grants you immunity to CC, knockback and movement impairing effects throughout its duration. I treat this ability like somewhat of a “passive offensive cooldown.” When other specs and other classes would run out to try to avoid knock back mechanics, simply pop Entrench and Shield Probe and become immune to all forms of CC for several seconds. This is an effective way to increase your DPS because it allows you to continue your rotation unhindered
5. Evasion is a very good defensive cooldown. The dodge mitigates all incoming melee and single target ranged attacks throughout its duration and is a lifesaver when you accidentally see yourself “tanking” the boss. This ability removes all (removable) dots and debuffs on you
6. Countermeasures should be used on cooldown specifically after the first or second Cull in your opener. You won’t need to use the above abilities when you don’t have threat in the first place!
2. Target Acquired gives you an armor penetration buff for several seconds and gives you a flat amount of energy when wearing the 2-pc Field Tech set bonus. Note that the armor penetration buff only affects single target ranged attacks and these are depicted by white damage on your target. Best DPS is achieved by using Target Acquired with Cull, Takedown, and then followed by Series of Shots
1. Bleeds – your damage over time effects along with Cull below will make up most of your DPS. It is crucial you have your bleeds up on your target(s) at all times. Your bleeds are improved by these talents in the Lethality tree:
That is a lot of talents that buff your damage over time effects!
2. Cull is your highest DPS ability and will make up a huge part of your damage done. This ability needs to be kept on cooldown as much as you can to give the most DPS. This ability is talented by:
3. Weakening Blast applies a debuff with 10 stacks. Each time one of your dots tick, 1 stack is used. The yellow damage you see from using Cull is considered a dot and uses these stacks up. You want most of these stacks used up by Cull. You do not want all 10 stacks to be used up by Shrap Bomb or Vital Shot.
5. Corrosive Dart is your second dot. Damage isn’t dealt upon application unlike Corrosive Grenade which “ticks” the moment it is applied.
6. Series of Shots is your filler ability that deals moderate damage and flows well with your rotation
7. Takedown has a chance to proc because of Dirty Shot. 99% of the time this ability will proc after Cull so don’t forget to use it when it does.
8. Explosive Probe used to have an important role in Lethality. But due to several patch nerfs, we no longer (spec and) use Explosive Probe. It used to take the place of Takedown before 2.0 but now Takedown is a much better alternative DPS and energ wise
10. Orbital Strike your AoE ability that should only be used when it will hit 2 or more targets, preferrably for the full duration as well. The energy cost, cast time and cooldown is very low (in PTS 2.6) and shouldn’t be hard to squeeze in your rotation. When you find yourself needing extra energy, use Adrenaline Probe or Target Acquired if you have one available.
Lethality feels very fluid. You apply your 3 debuffs, you channel you hit 3 abilities, you channel Cull and then apply your debuffs again. Repeat. It revolves around keeping your highest DPS ability Cull on cooldown as much as you can. Simply put the Lethality rotation follows this pattern:
→→→→→→→ … repeat
The rotation is very predictable and can be done even with your eyes closed once you’ve familiarized yourself with it.
Corrosive Mine is a talent introduced to Snipers in 2.0. It leaves a small patch of poisonous clound on the ground where you rolled from and lasts for several seconds. It doesn’t do a lot of damage but is a source of damage nonetheless. The other downside is it requires you to be in close range of your target.
There is ~1 GCD that appears inside your rotation. Most of the time this GCD is used to auto-attack. You can squeeze Covered Escape in this 1 GCD. The cooldown of Covered Escape is 20 seconds and ideally can be used on cooldown in between your normal single target rotation.
→→→→→→→→ … reapply Corrosive Grenade again
→→→→→→→→ … repeat
In this top DPS parse by Peebles for example, covered Escape was roll was used roughly every 20 seconds (with exception of the 3rd roll since roll’s timer cools down at the same time as his dot reapplications).
- 10:48:39.479 Peebles activates À toute vitesse.
- 20 seconds later…
- 10:49:00.824 Peebles activates À toute vitesse.
5 min parse. 2807 DPS without Covered Escape
5 min parse. 2914 DPS with Covered Escape. Corrosive Mines is Incendiary Grenade below. Rotations used was strictly the bare bone Lethality rotation. CG-CD-WB-Cull-TD-SoS-Cull-TD repeat for 5 minutes. Using Rifle Shot as filler for one and using Covered Escape as filler for the other. As you can see Corrosive Mines can add up to at most 100 more DPS when used “on cooldown” single target.
- With Corrosive Mines (Incendiary Mines in the log)
Energy management & cooldowns
Lethal Purpose – is your primary source of energy regen. On top of reducing the cooldown on your Adrenaline Probe, it gives you 1 energy for every bleed effect that that crits. The yellow damage ticks from Cull is considered a damage over time “bleed effect” and will refund you 2 energy when it both ticks crit.
Target Acquired – can and should be used with Explosive Probe. Explosive Probe fits the holes in Lethality’s rotation but is harder to sustain. Because Target Acquired give energy with the pve set bonus AND increases armor penetration, it is good to use with Explosive Probe since the ability does kinetic damage (and is affected by armor penetration buffs). The same goes for using Adrenaline Probe to supply you with energy during Explosive Probe uses. You will most likely end up energy capped though. Just a thought.
Remember in the ‘Advanced Rotation’ section above we talked about the extra GCD that pops out in between your 2 Culls, normally we would use Covered Escape here but that is not always possible due to its positional requirements. A ranged, if not better alternative, is Explosive Probe. Because of its high energy cost though, Explosive Probe (can and) should be used when Target Acquired or Adrenaline Probe is available.
In Peebles parse, Sabotage Charge was put to good use by using it with Illegal Mods and Cool Head. Illegal Mods and Cool head should be staggered with Sabotage Charge. You want to keep Sabotage Charge (Explosive Probe) on cooldown and this is possible by having energy cooldowns to back you up.
10:50:50.298 Peebles activates Charge du saboteur.
10:50:50.298 Peebles spends 25 énergétiques.
10:50:50.446 Peebles’s Charge du saboteur adds effect Charge du saboteur (techno) to Mannequin d’entraînement des opérations.
10:50:50.766 Peebles activates Tête froide.
10:48:19.124 Peebles activates Charge du saboteur.
10:48:19.125 Peebles spends 25 énergétiques.
10:48:19.283 Peebles’s Charge du saboteur adds effect Charge du saboteur (techno) to Mannequin d’entraînement des opérations.
10:48:20.036 Peebles activates Modifications illégales.
Target switching can be a nuisance since you have to reapply your dots (again) in order to use Cull. Delaying your Cull by applying your dots to another target is going to be a DPS loss. The best way to maintain your DPS when target switching is by doing something like this
The only exception is when you NEED to kill the add quickly. In that case apply your dots and use Cull instead.
- Corrosive Grenade
- Corrosive Dart
- Weakening Blast
- Orbital Strike (when hitting 3 targets)
- Series of Shots
- Covered Escape (optional)
- Rifle Shot
Priority list for AoE
Priorities for cooldowns
- Target Acquired with Explosive Probe, Takedown and Series of Shots
- Laze Target with Snipe (personal preference)
This section will comprise of various rotational and tutorial dummy and raid videos. They are designed to be watched one after the other in order to familiarize the new player with the basics of 2.6 Saboteur
There are 2 options for skill trees. One for a rotation that uses Ambush and one for a rotation that does not. The trade off is 20% armor penetration for Ambush (if you prefer to use it in your rotation as filler, or 2% extra alacrity (which affects cast times and energy regeneration). Pick your poison. There is no definite “hard-proof” as to which one is best DPS. I use 5/36/5 because I don’t feel like casting Ambush. I find the 2.5 second cast time too cumbersome for the rotation that I use.
- 7/36/3 http://swtor.askmrrobot.com/skills/sniper#200320-13221221221101220023321-30
- 5/36/5 http://swtor.askmrrobot.com/skills/sniper#320-13221221221101220023321-32
Part 1. The Bigger They Are
Part 2. Basic Rotation
Part 3. How it looks like in a raid
Part 4. Google Presentation guide
Part 5. Further reading