Category Archives: Republic


Sniper & Gunslinger SWTOR Class Representative Questions for June 2014

SWTOR Snipers and Gunslingers begin class question brainstorming. Our deadline is June 2014 which means many many weeks of cherry picking the best 6 questions to throw at the combat team.  Like the previous round of the Class Rep program, anyone can submit their question and by early June we will vote for our top 2 PVE questions, top 2 PVP questions, and 2 other “wildcard” questions.

SWTOR foroum post:

Google docs:

Banner: (1600 x 900)

republic capital ship

SWTOR Republic Capital Ship


SWTOR Patch Notes – Game Updates

Operations and Flashpoint-oriented timeline of the SWTOR patch notes (if there’s anything i missed, or corrections, let me know!) and other major happenings.”  As of Patch 2.6, there are 7 Operations to do, 5 new flashpoints added to the game (including HK-51, altho not exactly a flashpoint but the content is huge). There are also multiple 1) Ground PvP updates, 2) Exploration dailies (Macrobinocular, Seeker Droid) and 3) Recurring Events as well but those are not covered here.

 Dec 2011 1.0 ev
 L50  cap
 January 2012 1.1 kp
 April 1.2 ec
 September 1.4 tfb
 November 1.5 secx
  Explosive Conflict Nightmare
 January 2013
 April 2.0 sav
 L55  cap 2000
 June 2.2 Terror From Beyond Nightmare
 July 2.2.2 Scum and Villainy Nightmare
 August 2.3 cz198
 October 2.4 df
 January 2014
 February 2.6 gsf
 April 2.7  Dread Fortress Nightmare
 July 2.8  Dread Palace Nightmare
 January 2015
 January 2016
 January 2017
 January 2018
 January 2019
 January 2020
 January 2021
 January 2022



SWTOR Shadow and Hybrid tank guide

I. SWTOR Shadow tanking guide by KeyboardNinja (video)
II. Infiltration Hybrid tank

I. Kinetic Combat tank

jkmiralukansurvivor THE BASICS

Tanking with Shadow requires you to play around with these threat generating abilities:

  1. ProjectParticle Acceleration, Bombardment, Harnessed Shadows. Used along with Slow Time to generate Harnessed Shadow.
  2. Slow TimeForce Break, Harnessed Shadow. Applies a slow.
  3. Telekinetic ThrowHarnessed Shadow. Grants you Shadow Protection with 3 stacks of Harnessed Shadow.
  4. Force BreachForce Break. Applies an accuracy debuff.
  5. Double StrikeApplied Force, Particle Acceleration, Shadow Wrap. Basic DPS ability.
  6. Shadow StrikeParticle Acceleration. High DPS ability with positional requirement. Talented by Shadow Wrap.
  7. Force Pull – Pulls the target to you and generates a high amount of threat. Has a min range requirement.
  8. Taunt – forces the target to hit you and increases your threat as long as you have the attention of the mob when you activate the ability.
  9. Spinning StrikeParticle Acceleration, Shadow Wrap. Execute ability on targets < 30% HP.
  10. Whirling blowParticle Acceleration, melee aoe ability.
  11. Spinning KickMartial Prowess. CC knock-down.

Mitigating damage as a Shadow requires you to use these defensive abilities and cooldowns:

  1. Kinetic Ward – 15 sec cd. Maintain the buff at all times. Max mitigation happens when you have 8 stacks of Kinetic Bulwark with at least 1 stack left on Kinetic Ward.
  2. Deflection – 2 min cd. 50% melee and ranged defense for 12 seconds. Good for mitigating frequent ranged and melee attacks,
  3. Resilience – 1 min cd. Can mitigate a LOT of PVE boss mechanics. Works against targeted and AoE abilities as long as they are Force or Tech attacks.
  4. Battle Readiness – 2 min cd. 15% self-heal with a DPS component by buffing your Technique. Additional damage reduction from Impact Control,
  5. (Offensive) Force Potency – 1min 30sec cd. When activated with Particle Acceleration causes your Project to deal a huge amount of damage and threat.

Other passive tanking talents:

  1. Mental Fortitude + Endurance
  2. Shadowsight + Defense
  3. Shadow’s Training + Endurance

Unique (and Other) abilities available to Shadow tanks are:

  1. Force Speed – 20 sec cd. Mind over Matter,
  2. Phase Walk – great utility abiltiy for quick repositioning around the map. Leaves Shadow‘s Shelter persistent buff on the ground which buffs healers and allies who stand in it.
  3. Force Cloak – 2 min cd. Gets you of combat. Can be used to do an in-combat Revive,
  4. Stealth - Shadowsight,
  5. Blackout - increases your stealth level allowing you to go unnoticed by most enemies,
  6. Mind Maze – 1 min cc,
  7. Guard – place on your high threat DPS. Preferably on melee DPS,
  8. Combat TechniqueTechnique Mastery, Expertise,
  9. Force Slow - 12 sec cd. 10m range.

Interrupts are a crucial part of tanking.  They should be used on mobs to help mitigate attacks that would’ve otherwise dealt damage to your allies:

  1. Force Wave - 15 sec cd. Conal knock-back.
  2. Force Stun - 1 min cd.  Hard stun.
  3. Mind Snap - 12 sec cd. Interrupt’s your target’s cast.
  4. Force Pull - 1 min cd.  Not useable on some targets (e.g. bosses, champion mobs) and requires min range.

Force management skills:

  1. Doublebladed Saber Defense → Rapid Recovery
  2. One with the Force

Into the Fray - Increases the duration of Reactive Shield by 3 seconds. In addition, suffering direct damage from area attacks generates 2 energy cells and heals you for 2.5% of your total health. This effect cannot occur more than once every 3 seconds. Gearing


Tam is KBN’s Shadow tank in the Ebon Hawk server

Here are two options on how to gear your tank in SWTOR based on number crunches provided by the following theorycrafters:

  1. Optimal Tanking Stats by KBN
  2. Tanking Stats and Squish by Dipstik

darkbulwark Playing Around with Kinetic Ward

Kinetic Ward is a tanking mechanic unique to Jedi Shadow tanks that requires you to keep the buff up in order to mitigate max damage. Kinetic Ward has 15 charges, lasts 20 seconds and can be refreshed every 15 seconds. Kinetic Bulwark gives you 1% Absorption whenever a stack of Kinetic Ward is used up (that is when you “absorb” an attack) and it stacks up to 8 times. This means that you should be “tankiest” at 8 stacks of Kinetic Ward and you have at least 1 stack left on Kinetic Ward.

This means that it is not optimal (although it won’t significantly harm your survivability) to simply refresh Kinetic Ward on cooldown because doing so will refresh your Kinetic Bulwark stacks back to 0. However it IS better QoL if that is what you are looking for. With the PVE Survivor set bonus, let’s look at the benefits you get beginning with a full stack of Kinetic Ward :

  1. Kinetic Ward gives you +8% absorb and +20% shield
  2. Kinetic Ward gives you +8% absorb and +20% shield
  3. Kinetic Ward gives you +8% absorption and +20% shield
  4. Kinetic Ward gives you +8% absorption and +20% shield
  5. Kinetic Ward gives you +8% absorption and +20% shield
  6. Kinetic Ward gives you +8% absorption and +20% shield
  7. Kinetic Ward gives you +8% absorption and +20% shield
  8. Kinetic Ward gives you +7% absorption and +20% shield
  9. Kinetic Ward gives you +6% absorption and +20% shield
  10. Kinetic Ward gives you +5% absorption and +20% shield
  11. Kinetic Ward 5 gives you +4% absorption and +20% shield
  12. Kinetic Ward 4 gives you +3% absorption and +20% shield
  13. Kinetic Ward 3 gives you +2% absorption and +20% shield
  14. Kinetic Ward 2 gives you +1% absorption and +20% shield
  15. Kinetic Ward 1 gives you +0% absorption and +20% shield

As you can see it is optimal to maintain Kinetic Ward at 7 stacks or less and then refreshing 1) before it runs out and you lose the +20 shield buff or 2) before all 15 stacks are used up and you lose the +20% shield buff. Note that you’re playing with fire letting Dark Ward linger at 1 or 2 stacks and possibly letting it fall off .  Getting hit at that moment is not going to be optimal as well.

Further reading and some numbers from KBN about Kinetic Bulwark here.

hs2 What is Shadowed Protection?  

Shadowed Protection is a buff you get by casting Telekinetic Throw with 3 stacks of Harnessed Shadows.  Shadowed Protection stacks up to 4 times and it is very crucial that you maintain this buff on you at all times.

hs What is Harnessed Shadow?

Project and Slow Time have a 100% chance to grant Harnessed Shadows, which makes the next Telekinetic Throw used uninterruptible and immune to pushback. In addition, each stack increases the damage dealt by your next Telekinetic Throw by 25%. Stacks up to 3 times. At 3 stacks, dealing damage with Telekinetic Throw grants Shadow Protection, which increases damage reduction by 1%. Shadow Protection stacks up to 4 times and lasts 12 seconds.

hs3 Structure of the rotation


Where 1, 2 and 3 are abilities that proc Harnessed Shadow


Where GCD1, GCD2 and GCD3 are filler abilities while you wait for Slow Time and Project to come off cooldown.  Use these GCDs to increase your DPS by using Double Strike, Spinning Strike, Shadow Strike proc, reapply Force Breach for the accuracy debuff if it is about to fall off or to reposition yourself in a boss fight, etc.

At (3) Project should come off cooldown following the rotation structure above and you now have 3 stacks of Harnessed Shadows.  Channel Telekinetic Throw to grant you 1 stack of Shadowed Protection.


hsquestion What is GCDx?


The optimal thing to do in terms of threat and rotational safety is to channel Telekinetic Throw/Force Lightning immediately (after 3) and start the rotation over from the beginning. This is what I do most of the time. However, you are also perfectly free to inject two additional GCDs before you channel, though GCD5 is playing with fire unless your connection is very lag-free. These GCDs are new in 2.5, since it was previously utterly mandatory to channel as often as you possibly could, whereas now there is no particular benefit in channeling before the stacks are about to expire (aside from extra threat). Originally posted by: KBN

With Particle Acceleration

Once the channel is finished, you start the rotation block from the top. Note that, because of the Particle Acceleration/Energize proc, it is entirely possible that your rotation will actually look like this one below.  Because of Particle Acceleration you are able to refresh your stacks in as early as 6 seconds, around half the time of Shadowed Protection’s duration which is 12 seconds.

 →  → hs2 →  →  repeat

Without Particle Acceleration

Particle Acceleration is not needed to maintain your Shadowed Protection stacks.  As long as you keep Slow Time and Project on cooldown, you will always have around 3 seconds to spare before Shadowed Protection runs out. This 3 seconds is accounted for in GCD 4 and GCD 5. Try the rotation from 10-m range to test it for yourself. You will always be able to maintain 4 stacks of Shadowed Protection.

→ wait → wait → repeat

First Project, Second Slow Time

Check the following rotations:



Both are tied to Project’s cooldown in order to get the 3rd stack of Harnessed Darkness for your Telekinetic Throw.  The 2nd rotation gives you an additional GCD thus delaying your Telekinetic Throw by 1 GCD.  The first one is the optimal rotation since it allows you to refresh your stacks in the least amount of time.

Use Project as early and as often as possible. If you don’t use Project/Shock in either the first (optimally) or second GCD after you channel Telekinetic Throw/Force Lightning, you’re doing it wrong. If you’re having trouble maintaining your Shadow Projection/Dark Protection stacks, this is probably why.


  →  …

Following this opener, you will have a block which looks like this:


All of your subsequent rotation blocks will look like this second block above, with varying abilities placed in GCD1 through GCD3  (which can be eliminated if you get a Particle Acceleration proc) and optional abilities being applied in the one GCD following the 2nd Project as necessary.

twilekvisionary Force Management

Force Management can be tough especially when off-tanking by missing out on up to 40% force regeneration by shielding or defending against attacks.   Some bosses also do not hit frequently enough to maximize the gains from Rapid Recovery.  Fortunately there is plenty of room in the cycle to allow for a force positive rotation while still maintaining your Shadowed Protection stacks:

saberstrikesaberstrikesaberstrikesaberstrike→  …

Force cost of above rotation is 20 + 26 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 26 + 0 + 30 = 102 force over 9 GCDs.  Putting in Saber Strikes, by default you will regenerate at least 10.4 * 13.5 = 140.4 force. That is more than enough force so you definitely do not want to use Saber Strike all the way.  The most important thing though is to have just enough force to keep your Project on cooldown and have enough force for the following Telekinetic Throw.  This is 26 + 30 – 15.6 = 41 force at the end of GCD3.

1. GCDgcd3

2. GCDGCDgcd3

 Shadow Wrap

Remember the example from First Project, Second Slow Time section:


By using Project at the beginning of your next cycle, you are able to cut GCDs out of your rotation which enables you to channel Telekinetic Throw faster.  However since it is no longer needed to channel Telekinetic Throw as often as possible, this (aside from giving you some breathing time for refreshing Shadowed Protection) adds an extra GCD where you can increase DPS by using Double Strike, Spinning Strike or your Shadow Wrap proc:






By adding an extra GCD prior to Telekinetic Throw this allows the cooldown of your previous Project to align with the tail end of your Telekinetic Throw channel.  This means after you finish chanelling , Project will always be up at the beginning of your next rotation cycle.





It is still possible for you to add that extra GCD before Telekinetic Throw but you need to be careful otherwise you risk losing your stacks of Shadowed Protection.  Remember you still have to account for positioning, adds, and boss mechanics.

If you delay by more than one GCD, or if you have to move a lot in the middle of the rotation (delaying the second Project/Shock), then you probably need to go straight into the channel just to be safe.

Hard Priority Queue

  1. Telekinetic Throw if 3 stacks of Harnessed Shadow and <1.5s on Shadow Protection
  2. Telekinetic Throw if 3 stacks of Harnessed Shadow and boss mechanics incoming
  3. Project if < 3 stacks of Harnessed Shadow
  4. Slow Time if <3 stacks of Harnessed Shadow
  5. Force Breach if accuracy debuff expiring
  6. Spinning Strike if above 51 force
  7. Force Potency + Telekinetic Throw if 3 stacks of Harnessed Shadow
  8. Shadow Strike if above 46 force
  9. Telekinetic Throw if 3 stacks of Harnessed Shadow
  10. Double Strike if above 49 force
  11. Saber Strike

The Shadow Protection stacks are eminently maintainable. The above is how you do it. :-) Swtor Shadow Tanking Guide by KeyboardNinja

II. Infiltration Hybrid tank

With all that’s said above, briefly put Jedi Shadow tanking requires 3 things:



Infiltration‘s Masked Assault

Exiting Stealth mode now finishes the cooldown of Blackout, and Blackout can now be used out of Stealth mode, granting 6 seconds of Shadow’s Respite and restoring 15 Force. While Shadow Respite is active, all damage taken is reduced by 25%. In addition, Force Cloak no longer reduces healing done and received.

Is another tanking build for Shadows that use Blackout in conjunction with Masked Assault‘s Shadow Respite buff.  At a glance it is easy to see the difficulty playing this Hybrid tanking build.  1) You begin with 2% damage reduction instead of 4% since you are speccing only 1/2 Shadow Wrap.  2) You do not have Slow Time which means 3) you rely only on Project to generate Harnessed Shadows and 4) you won’t have the 5% boss damage reduction (among other things like aoe threat).

fightingspirit Trade-off

The trade-off between the Kinetic Combat and the Hybrid tanking build is mentioned clearly here:

So, the following question, is losing 100% uptime on the 4% DR worth 6sec of on demand 25% DR every 60sec? I suppose it would depend on the fight?  Quote: Originally Posted by ML_DoubleTap

In addition:

[...] you have to be better with the Hybrid build [than] you have to be with the standard spec.  If you are just able to refresh Shadowed Protection a millisecond before it runs out in the [Kinetic Combat] spec, that’s not enough to run the Hybrid and to get a good significant uptime of Shadowed there. Quote: Originally Posted by THoK-Zeus <DiLiH>

One requirement to playing the Infiltration Hybrid as mentioned by Thok-Zeus above is to be able to keep your Shadowed Protection stacks up which can be slightly difficult because of the lack of Slow Time. However if you are able to keep the same uptime on Shadowed Protection in the Infiltration build as you can when you play the Kinetic Combat build then the 25% on demand damage reduction from the Infiltration hybrid is definitely a viable alternative.

 Activating the Shadow’s Respite buff

Getting the on demand 25% damage reduction can be done in several ways.

  1. Going out of  Stealth
  2. Activating Blackout
  3. Activating Force Cloak +Taunt

Activating Force Cloak to give you Stealth and immediately going out of Stealth will grant you Shadow’s Respite. 

Force Cloak Cooldown: 120s. Uses the Force to vanish from sight, immediately exiting combat and entering Stealth mode. For 10 seconds, you become virtually undetectable but all healing done and received is decreased by 100%.  Obviously this last choice has the added benefit of reducing/removing all your threat and removes your ability to do an in-combat Revive.  Careful planning and thinking ahead is needed if ever you decide to use Force Cloak + Taunt … for the 25% damage reduction.

koltiinjection Pick your poison

If the goal is maximizing +4% damage reduction from Harnessed Shadows → Shadowed Protection, then Full Kinetic Combat will be easier to play because of Slow Time and will allow more room for error. If Full Kinetic Combat gives you 100% uptime on Shadowed Protection, the Infiltration Hybrid is going to slightly give you a harder time maintaining this uptime because of the lack of Slow Time. HOWEVER if another tank can apply a 5% damage reduction on the boss (you won’t have one because of Slow Time), you have a good rotation and can keep 100% uptime on Shadowed Protection, and you have no need for Force Cloak outside of using it on cooldown to give you the Shadow Respite buff, then the Hybrid build is an ok alternative.

The only boss i use a 33/11/2 build sometimes is Nefra, it’s the only boss that fulfills all the requirements if there’s someone with the 5% damage reduction buff (no movement, no Stealth rez possible, you get [the damage all the time] and can (and should) vanish on cooldown, no need for aoe threat….) Quote: Originally Posted by THok-Zeus

Given 100% uptime on Shadowed Protection

Kinetic Combat

  1. Resilience -1 min cd. 100% immunity to Force or Tech attacks
  2. Deflection - 2 min cd. 50% Ranged and Melee defense
  3. Battle Readiness - 2 min cd. 25% damage reduction talented by Impact Control
  4. Slow Time - 5% boss damage reduction.  AoE Threat.
  5. Force Cloak  always available for utility
  6. Starts the fight with 4/4 Shadowed Protection

Infiltration Hybrid

  1. Resilience -1 min cd. 100% immunity to Force or Tech attacks
  2. Blackout – 1 min cd. 25% damage reduction
  3. Force Cloak → Taunt - 2 min cd. 25% damage reduction after stealth
  4. Deflection - 2 min cd. 50% Ranged and Melee defense
  5. Battle Readiness - 2 min cd. 25% damage reduction talented by Impact Control
  6. No Slow Time 5% boss damage reduction (needs a fellow Kinetic Combat Tank or a Vanguard tank), no Slow Time aoe threat
  7. Removes your ability to use Force Cloak for utility (once used)
  8. You may start with 2/4 Shadowed Protection if spec’d 1/2 Shadow Wrap

Sawbones Scoundrel Healing by Fusebox

Scoundrel Sawbones Healing by Fusebox.  Some info about the author here.

1. Gearing thoughts
2. Skill Tree & Abilities
3. Sustainable ability combos and energy regen
4. Healing Priorities, playstyle and other tips

The Sawbones Scoundrel; what do you offer the raid?

  • Stealth revive
  • Very effective raid HoTs (Heal over time abilities)
  • Great single target healing, and “Emergency” healing
  • Effective group healing if appropriately used
  • Moderate damage and burst for the raid when needed

Here is a video that highlights some of the things I will cover.

Gearing thoughts

Power or Crit?

Both. I try and keep around 255-317 critical rating if possible, the rest is power (at the 78 level, 1 mod and 3 enhancements will give you 255 crit, 2 mods and 2 enhancements will leave you at 262 crit). Your Accomplished Sawbones talent in the second to last tier of the tree gives you a static 30% surge bonus to your Underworld MedicineKolto Pack, and Kolto Cloud abilities when fully specced in the talent (3/3). Since the benefits of surge are only seen when you crit, it makes sense to pick up some critical rating as a Scoundrel healer – just not too much so as to avoid being at “DR” (diminishing returns). Not to mention, your Diagnostic Scan gives you energy back each tick of the channel when it crits. Yes, this ability can be used as a filler even if not for the full duration.

When min/maxing almost never do you want to look at the % rating (for something like crit). What it takes for a Scoundrel Healer to get 25% crit is a lot less than it would be for, say, a combat sentinel.

Firstly, Scoundrel Healers pick up both a crit % talent AND a % cunning talent in the tree. This mean you will get to 25% crit without too much work. However, crit % is NOT something that hits diminishing returns, but actually the crit rating.

When people say get around X percentage, it is my impression that it is a lot more ballpark, and subject to class-specifics (and a lot less exact than talking about the actual rating in this way). Keep in mind that at lower gear levels, getting upwards of 250 crit or 400 alacrity might be a lot more painstaking and unrealistic than it would be at the 78 level.

Surge or Alacrity?

Both. Alacrity has become a fairly useful stat for Scoundrels. It increases our energy regen per second, makes cast times and GCDs shorter, and also speeds up our channel on Diagnostic Scan which returns energy when it crits. Additionally, our Pugnacity‘s effectiveness scales with the amount of alacrity we have got. It essentially speeds up each and every one of our heals.

Surge is also a useful stat for us. Since picking up some critical rating is a good idea based on the dynamics of the class (see above), supplementing that with some surge rating before the diminishing returns mark is smart.

Keep in mind that to stay in a range that is energy efficient (upwards of 60 energy), or in other words, to refresh SRMP and UM+EMP effectively, you want at minimum ~450 alacrity.

Set Bonus

4-pc PVE Field Medic

  • (2) Increases the healing done by Recuperative Nanotech or Kolto Cloud by 15%.
  • (4) Increases maximum energy by 5.


There are a few options for relics:

  1. Ephemeral Mending,
  2. Serendipitous Assault
  3. Focused Retribution
  4. Boundless Ages

Currently I roll with 1) Dread Forged Serendipitous Assault and 1) Dread Forged Boundless Ages. I always do Operations with Triage Adrenals, but they’re on a 3 minute cooldown and only 15 seconds of uptime; if you want to be a healer that can dig your team out of a hole, Boundless Ages is your friend [just make sure to use it in anticipation of heavy damage phases (e.g. Titan 6 soft enrage) - it lasts for 30 seconds!]. For fights that don’t have phases with overwhelming damage output, 1) Dread Forged Serendipitous Assault and 2) Dread Forged Focused Retribution will definitely be your best bet. Ephemeral Mending’s effectiveness is completely RNG (random), and should not be used unless you have no better options.

Gear 2.5 HM DF/DP

Optimal set up from solely the unassembled tokens.

  1. Head 131 crit / 94 alacrity
  2. Chest 131 power / 94 surge
  3. Hands 131 crit / 94 alacrity
  4. Legs 131 power / 94 surge
  5. Feet 131 crit / 94 alacrity
  6. Belt 69 power
  7. Bracers 69 power
  8. Mainhand 172 power / 94 surge
  9. Offhand 172 power / 94 surge
  10. Earpiece 130 power / 94 surge
  11. Implants (2) 130 power / 94 alac

Running the above – full Field Medic’s except Field Tech Ear and Professional’s Implants – will get you:

Total = 1,134 power, 397 critical, 470 surge, 470 alacrity.

You will need to drop some of this crit as you currently have 3 set pieces with critical rating (3 mods and 3 enhancements). Replace a Head, Gloves, or Boots with an Oriconian one. From there, you can put a BiS 69 cunning/power mod (from Ultimate comm belt), and a BiS Power/Alacrity enhancement (from Ultimate comm Jedi Knight dps legs) to be at: 262 critical rating, 470 surge, 470 alacrity. Notes on gearing/playstyle can be found in the “Healing Strategy” section below.

If you are looking for things to buy with ultimate comms until you have the appropriate token pieces, the Oriconian Power/Alacrity Earpiece helps until you have an adequate amount of alacrity rating.




Optional talents

1. Change points in Mortal Wound + Open Wound to Holdout Defense for fights with movement where you can use Blaster Whip on the boss/adds to gain speed and an Upper Hand.

2. A common alternative to this skill tree is 38/3/5. Individuals usually pick up the ‘Smuggled Med Delivery’ talent that generates 2 Upper Hand when exiting stealth. However, if you begin the fights with tanks hotted and build 1-2 Upper Hands before pull with a couple of Underworld Medicines + Diagnostic Scan, these 2 talent points are useless unless Stealth Rezzing. The two points in Sawbones leading up to Kolto Cloud are usually spent in ‘Med Screen.’ However, I prefer ‘Scramble‘ as Dodge is a much better cooldown, and this talent can be great for fights with adds. The Defense Screen heal is mediocre at best. Even though Defense Screen‘s absorb scales with the amount of healing power you possess, it doesn’t with the heal (from my observation).



toxicscan Triage – Cleanses an ally of up to 2 negative tech or physical effects. Spec also allows you to dispel mental effects. See the “Healing Strategy” section below for effective use of this ability in a raid setting [important].

heartriggerpatch Heartrigger Patch – Your in-combat revive reserved for targets that are a high priority for the fight (usually tanks and healers).

cloakingscreen Disappearing Act or Disappearing Act + Revive – Disappearing Act can be used as a defensive cooldown if absolutely necessary. However, an important use of this ability is in combination with your out of combat “Revive” ability. Disappearing Act drops you out of combat allowing you to “Stealth Rez” a raid member. More info on this in the “Healing Strategy” section.

ap Cool Head – If you are digging yourself into a hole in terms of energy management, go ahead and burn through the rest of it and pop this cooldown. It restores 16 energy immediately, on top of 50 energy over 3 seconds. If you can make it back into energy efficiency (60+ energy) with some diagnostic scans, do that instead, as blowing your Cool Head cooldown can really hurt you if the raid is to take spontaneous damage.

sleepdart sneak Sneak/Tranquilizer (Trash only abilities)

scamper Scamper – “Roll forward a short distance. While rolling, your chance to avoid melee and ranged attacks is increased by 30%. Costs 25 Energy, but has no cooldown.” Great for getting out of the way, or putting yourself in a better position. Do not use if below ~75 energy unless it is a lull in the fight.


UH Upper Hand – Try to stay above 1 stack of Upper Hand (max of 3 when specced). From the 2nd tier talent ‘Healing Hand,’ Scoundrels get a +6% bonus healing if >1 stack is active. Healing abilities that consume Upper Hand include Emergency Medpac and Kolto Pack. Abilities that generate Upper Hand that you will actually use in a raid setting are Underworld Medicine, Pugnacity, Slow-release Medpac (30% chance per tick, once every 4.5 seconds max, with proper spec), and Blaster Whip (though infrequently).

pugnacity Pugnacity – Use when just under 60 energy, or when you need to do burst healing and/or have relics/adrenal running. Also Generates Upper Hand.

Important item to note is the Prototype (or Reusable) Nano-Infused Triage Adrenal. These are a healer’s best friend during situations where your raid is taking moderate-high damage.

Defensive Abilities

shieldprobe Defense Screen – Small amount of absorb (maybe 3-4k at 78 gear level?)

Dodge Dodge – Purges removable effects and 100% dodges melee and ranged attacks for 3 seconds. Does not break Stealth.

surrender swtor Surrender – Drops your threat. Just like with DPS, using this ability preemptively can be helpful – especially if you have adds attacking you.

Offensive Abilities

os XS Freighter Flyby – You will want to cast this when your heals will not suffer (long cast time, high energy usage). Do this before a fight’s pull, or for AoE.

ep Sabotage Charge – In-cover ability, high energy cost, large burst potential, can be used from range.

vs Vital Shot – A DoT that can be used on the boss when you have down time.

backblast Back Blast – Must be behind target. Good ability for burst.

blasterwhip Blaster Whip – Use in combination with Back Blast to do good burst at melee range. Generates Upper Hand as well.

sos Charged Burst? – Very rarely used except during phases where you might not have much healing to do.


escape Escape – Standard remove-movement-impairing-effects ability (PvP stunbreak but useful in Ops on occasion – Cartel Warlords’ Vilus Garr, Titan 6 stomp, etc.)

dirtykick Dirty Kick – Brief stun, useful on gold adds.

flashbang Flashbang – Instant (minus the travel time) 8-second stun with a small radius. Not 30-meter range like Gunslinger‘s, but still useful on gold adds that are on your raid, or for interrupts.

Class Changes

crouch takecover Crouch + Take Cover – Crouch no longer mitigates damage or prevents enemies from leaping to you. Take Cover should only be used as a gap closer now.


Healing as a Scoundrel requires that you play around with these abilities:

1. uwm Underworld Medicine – The Scoundrel’s “big” heal. Can crit for almost 1/3 of a raid member’s HP. Generates Upper Hand.

2. koltopack Kolto Pack – Requires Upper Hand. Use on cooldown, if possible. Energy efficient, heal up front + HoT afterward.

Slow-release Medpac – HoT that stacks up to two times. Maintain this on individuals that should take consistent damage (tanks). Other common targets include healer OR dps sages with low force (as they will surely be “noble sacrificing” to change hp to force), and melee DPS as they typically have more damage taken during fights. Generates Upper Hand (30% chance per tick, once every 4.5 seconds max, with proper spec).

3. koltocloud Kolto Cloud – Very energy efficient heal if you can get 3-4 raid members that can benefit from this HoT. Casting this ability on a targetted ally will heal 3 others that are within 10 meters of said individual. Do NOT use this ability on cooldown. Doing so will lead to you not having it up when the raid really needs it. When the raid is taking damage, casting it on a melee dps, or yourself when you are in range of co-healer or other dps, are usually good opportunities.

4. emergencymedpack Emergency Medpac – Requires Upper Hand. Instant cast heal that should not be spammed, but used when you have 2-3 stacks of Upper Hand, or Kolto Pack on cooldown, and want to top off tanks or raid members. Especially useful on raid members lower than 30% HP, as it will not require a stack when properly specced.

5. diagnosticscan Diagnostic Scan – With adequate amount of crit and alacrity, Diagnostic Scan is a good filler ability. If tanks and other consistently damage-taking individuals are hotted, you should be using this ability to increase your energy, or Precast/Cast cancel Underworld Medicine, which I will cover later (“Healing Strategy” section).

6. srmp SRMP – Slow-Release Medpac :  18-second duration heal over time ability that stacks up to two times. Refreshing this HoT before it falls off will maintain the 2 stacks. This should be done on individuals that should take consistent damage (tanks). Other common targets include, but not are limited to, healer OR dps sages with low force (as they will surely be “noble sacrificing” to change hp to force), and melee DPS as they typically have more damage taken during fights. Generates Upper Hand (30% chance per tick, once every 4.5 seconds max, with proper spec).


  1. Slow Release Medpac x2 on tanks, Sages, melee dps or other frequently damage-taking players.
  2. Kolto Pack if you have 2+ stacks of Upper Hand.
  3. Underworld Medicine if you see players with (generally) more than 20% HP missing.
  4. Emergency Medpac if Kolto Pack on cd and you have 2+ stacks of Upper Hand. This ability should be prioritized if you see players in danger at less than 30% HP.
  5. Kolto Cloud on targetted ally if there are multiple people within 10 meters that can benefit from this HoT.
  6. Diagnostic Scan if you ever see yourself dipping into inefficient energy regeneration range (less than 60% energy regen).


Ability combinations that end up at 4 pips of energy regen

Similar to Commando healing, Scoundrels have a limited pool of resource  that gives them optimal energy regeneration.  Note that in order to be sustainable you will have to allow time for energy to regenerate in between your healing abilities that cost energy.  Unlike Commando who only have Hammershot, Scoundrels have two abilities they can use to maintain 4 pips of regen.  These are Diagnostic Scan  and Emergency Medpac.  For the purpose of section of the guide, let’s just use Diagnostic Scan’s icons below.  Also note that Diagnostic Scan gives you energy whenever it crits so that gives you some leeway and allows you to be more daring with your energy bar.  In contrast Emergency Medpac is your on demand burst healing which costs no resource and should definitely be used over Diagnostic Scan when immediate healing is needed.


  1. Energy positive = leaves you at 4 pips of energy regen;
  2. Sustainable healing = leaves you at the same energy mark you started with prior to doing the healing combo

Sustainable healing (used infinitely will not dip you below 4 regen)

uwm → diagnosticscan 

Is the Scoundrel’s sustainable burst healing as long as you have stacks of Upper Hand to spend. 

uwm →  emergencymedpack

Both can be interchanged depending on if you need more energy or need burstier healing

Similarly this one below is sustainble however Kolto Pack has a cooldown and cannot be spammed.

koltopack → diagnosticscan

Because Kolto Cloud is instant cast, you are bound to regen its entire energy cost when you do

koltocloud → diagnosticscan

From 100%, beginning your healing combo with Kolto Cloud and Underworld Medicine is slightly energy neutral.  This means by the end of Underworld Medicine you should be approximately at 90% energy and allow you continue with the other ability combos down below

koltocloud → emergencymedpack = ~100% energy

Energy positive ability combos

For staggered healing over time

uwm → koltopack → diagnosticscan

koltopack → uwm → diagnosticscan

Biggest burst healing

uwm → uwm → diagnosticscan

Other energy positive ability combos

koltocloud → uwm → diagnosticscan → uwm

koltocloud →  uwm → diagnosticscan → koltopack

Keep in mind while doing these ability combos, you are also, still, supposed to maintain 2 stacks of SRMP on priority players

srmp x 2 = Tanks, Sage healers, melee DPS, etc


  1. Focus Target and Acquire focus target’s target keybind
    • Setting your focus target to the boss or enemy and using a keybind for ‘Acquire Focus Target’s Target’ under ‘Preferences’ → ‘Targetting’ will make your reaction time much better. It can help tremendously for anticipating raid damage. This is especially true for bosses/enemies that cannot be taunted. Some examples of this are NiM S&V Olok Phase 1: Wealthy Buyer and Heirad’s lightning in NiM TFB Dread Guards. It also lets you know when the boss is casting certain abilities.
  2. Precasting/Cast Cancelling
    • With practice you will be able to precast Underworld Medicine on your tank in anticipation of spike damage. This is especially important for boss fights that have heavy single-target tank damage. If no damage is given to the tank near the end of your cast, simply press one of your movement keys to stop the cast.
  3. “Hotting up” the raid
    • In phases of fights that have heavy damage output to the entire raid, anticipate the damage and cast SRMPx2 on each raid member. Maintaing these, along with some your other heals here and there, will be extremely beneficial. Make sure your raid is using their defensives/medpacs/gunslinger bubble/etc. too! Some examples are: Fingers in HM DF Brontes and S&V Titan 6 final phase, as well as Thrasher.
  4. Stealth Rezzing
    • The Revive ability should absolutely be hotkeyed, as right clicking a dead body is almost always a bad idea for reviving. There are two things to consider for Stealth Rezzing
    • Assure that you do not have any HoTs rolling on ANY targets, as this will pull you back into combat.
    • The phase of the fight will allow for you to get off a long cast time, and will not pull you back into combat.
  5. Notes on Reviving
    • Never use your in-combat revive “Heartrigger Patch” on a DPS unless absolutely necessary, or if the fight requires intense burn. Alternatively, you should opt to save it for later on in the fight, and go for a Stealth Rez instead, if one of these members dies early on in the fight and you can manage to get it off.

6. Cleansing in Operations

  • Any DoTs (damage over time) or debuffs that look like tech abilities (Smuggler/Agent or Trooper/BH abilities) you can almost guarantee are cleansable and should be cleansed as they usually tick for quite a bit of damage.
  • This is not always the case. However, it is a good indication of an opportune time to use Triage. An example of when you might get thrown off: the grenade in S&V’s Olok the Shadow fight that looks like a cleansable corrosive grenade dot.


In general, the two biggest things that affect your healing role are your co-healers, and the group’s DPS composition. You might want to play differently, and therefore, gear differently, depending on the healers you run with.

I agree 100% with this comment in my other thread, from Anivra of <Severity Gaming>

To add to the discussion here, alacrity/surge is also somewhat based on your role as a healer and your healing style. My 16m group runs 2 scoundrels and 2 sages, with the scoundrels usually on tanks. As such, I’m typically using more casted abilities (Underworld Medicine / KoltoPack) than if I would be assigned to raid healing, where I would use instants (Emergency Medpac/ Kolto Cloud/Slow Realease Medpac).

The more casted abilities you use, the better alacrity becomes. It may not seem like a lot, but .15-.2 seconds off the cast of UM over the course of a 5 minute fight is (at best) 16 more UM casts, which at my average UM is more than 100k more healing. That’s a generous estimate, as I won’t be chain-casting UM, but it makes the point that I’m going for.  - Holdt View Post

Since most people play in an 8-man setting, here are some things to think about: If you heal with a


you might consider swapping out an alacrity enhancement for a surge one, since in this scenario you will more than likely be playing the role of a proactive HoT healer.  In contrast, if you heal with a


you might consider swapping in an alacrity enhancement, as you will be more casting focused.


Heals Per Second (HPS) is the rate at which you heal – how many green numbers you put out into the raid per second. Effective Heals Per Second (EHPS), however, is the best measure of your “effectiveness” as a healer – the amount of healing output that is actually a heal, and not an overheal. Thus, EHPS is the best thing to look at. Take this statistic with a grain of salt, though, because in contrast with a player’s DPS output, a lot of other factors besides your own button clicking can impact your EHPS. How much damage is the raid taking – are people standing in stupid? How geared are your tanks? How good/geared is your co-healer(s)? All of this, and more, will alter your EHPS.

Examples of increasing HPS but not EHPS

koltocloud Kolto Cloud & koltopack Kolto Pack

Using Kolto Cloud and Kolto Pack on cooldown.  These abilities have strong HOTs.  Using them on cooldown regardless of whether or not the raid is taking damage is sure to increase your HPS , but not your EHPS.  The only exception to this is :

srmp SRMP

Slow Relase Medpac should be rolling on your hots and ideally on melee DPS and Sage (healers) as well. This will grant you a steady stream of HPS and give a steady constant stream of light heals to players that constantly take damage.  Sages especially healers will occasionally if not constantly use Noble Sacrifice and having your HOTS up on them will definitely help in the long run.  You don’t want your Sages to be a low health especially during high burst or incoming damage phases in the raid.

Aside from these abilities, most of your other heals contribute greatly to EHPS.  The combo:

uwm Underworld Medicine  & emergencymedpack Emergency Medpac

is one of the biggest and easily sustainable burst healing rotations in the game (especially when it crits). Underworld having a 1.5 second cast time, and Emergency Medpac being an instant cast which costs no energy other than using up a stack of Upper Hand.  Obtaining stacks of Upper Hand should not be a problem as Sawbones and you will find yourself swimming if not clipping these most of the time in a raid (especially when you use Underworld Medicine generously), which is what you should be doing in the first place.

diagnosticscan Maintain 4 pips of energy regeneration with Diagnostic Scan and remember:  SPAM <Underworld Medicine→Emergency Medpac>, not< Emergency Medpac→Emergency Medpac→Emergency Medpac>. Despite how “fun” it may seem to heal players while running and jumping around and using only your instants (which is what Scoundrel healers are known for), your best and strongest heals come from

uwm → emergencymedpack …

Spam your instants, Slow Release Medpac and Emergency Medpac. When targets are topped off.  But when they need immediate healing then  Underworld Medicine  → Emergency Medpac is the strongest healing combo you can do for the GCD cost.  The only time you should do an Emergency Medpac spam:

emergencymedpack spam  is when a target will die in less than Underword Medicine’s cast time.


Dotsmash Hybrid Marauder Sentinel DPS

Charadith’s Hybrid Marauder {Ebon Hawk} by B’oard

Trade-off versus Full Rage, losing AoE damage for slightly more Single target damage.  Edits: Spec invented by Charadith from the Ebon Hawk, and (~BiS) parsed by Attrix {Ebon Hawk}.  See comments for more info.


  1. Skills  & Talents
  2. Abilities used
  3. Opener
  4. Priorities
  5. Looking at the logs
  6. Rage/Focus management


  1. 3800 DPS Ardarel_Solo or El’ethon (AMR profile)
  2. 3779 DPS Xievix (AMR profile)
  3. 3747 DPS  Attrix 
  4. Raid parsed by Lafayette (8-man) (Others) (The Eyeless video)

Continue reading


Shield Specialist Vanguard Tank guide

This is a compilation of 2 guides: Part I. Video Guide by Tiika MT <Intrepid> for those who want to watch and listen.. and Part II. Hammer Thoughts:  Some Notes on Vanguard Tanks by MGMMTTRN. Who is MGNMTTRN?


5-minutes Vanguard tanking video guide by Tiika MT <Intrepid>


Table of Contents
1. Skill Tree
1.1. Specific Values
1.2. Gearing
2. Basic Ion Cell functionality
2.1. Exploring Ion Cell in more depth
4. Single-target threat myths
4.1. Vanguard tank single-target damage priority list
4.2. Opener and explanation
7. AOE threat for trash and adds
8. Defensive Cooldowns
8.1. Details of ammo management
9. Animation clipping and delays
9.1. Vanguard self-healing

1. Skill tree

(BASIC) 36/8/2


  1. Points may be moved out of Soldier’s Grit and into Charge or Shrap Satchel as player sees fit
  2. Blaster Augs (+8% Ion Cell damage) is a waste of a skill point
  3. Frontline Offense (+6% Ion Pulse damage) increases DPS by slightly more than Demolition (+6% crit on all elemental damage)

1.1. Specific values

Throughout this guide, damage ranges will be cited. These ranges are specific to my level 55 Vanguard tank under patch 2.5.2 (1398.21.0) wearing mixed level 72/78 gear. This character has a Ranged bonus damage of 637 and Tech bonus damage of 1091.9. This character has 0 points in critical and surge ratings. See ‘gearing’ section for more information on gearing your tank.

When discussing kinetic/energy damage spreads, if armor debuffs are not discussed, assume a boss damage reduction of 0.7 was applied to simulate the effect of a 20% armor rating debuff on the target.

In a guide of this depth and breadth, there will be mistakes. Send your angry letters to Boarder of

1.2. Gearing

In full level 78 gear you should be hitting at least 1300 damage/second on an operations dummy with armor debuff. Examples of my rotation:


2. Basic Ion Cell functionality

Understanding your Vanguard‘s Ion Cell is essential if you hope to play the Vanguard tank class well. Among other things, Ion Cell [gives] ranged attacks a 15% chance to deal additional energy damage.’ Note that the only attacks accessible to Vanguards that SWTOR considers to be ranged are High Impact Bolt, Full Auto, and Hammershot. For now we’ll only worry about the chance of Hammershot triggering an Ion Cell effect.

Hammershot, the free 30m attack of the Trooper base class, is split into seven independent small attacks. (The base attack for Bounty Hunters/Powertechs deals five independent small attacks.) In both cases, each independent small attack has an 84% chance to hit the enemy (90% base ranged hit chance, -10% for autoattack penalty, +1% from companion affection bonus, +3% from Focused Impact in skill tree).  For a Vanguard tank, the probability of triggering Ion Cell (written as P(Ion cell)) is


This means each Hammershot has a 58.6% chance of triggering your Ion Cell effect on a target and renewing the Shocked (Tech) Ion Overload dot effect on that target. A similar calculation for Powertechs, replacing 7 independent attacks with 5, indicates their probability of triggering Ion Cylinder with Rapid shots is 46.7%.

This P(Ion Cell) value is important because it will dictate:

  1. The number of Ion Cells attacks you trigger, which affects your DPS
  2. The number of Power Screens and Energy Blast cooldown reductions you trigger as a downstream effect of triggering Ion Cell
  3. The chance you’ll trigger a Pulse Engine proc.

For information on Full Auto’s contribution, see the ‘Single target threat’ section. For information on High-impact bolt, see the ‘Exploring Ion Cell in more depth’ section.

2.1. Exploring Ion Cell in more depth

This section is for advanced players; new players are advised to familiarize themselves with the class before moving on to this material.

1.   Ion Cell Shocked (Tech). Note that the chance that an attack will trigger a Shocked (Tech) effect has three points of failure due to misses: the applying HammershotStockstrikeHIB attack may fail/be resisted, the Ion Cell DOT can be resisted, and the Shocked (Tech) tick can also be resisted.

2.  Ion Cell tooltip has been bugged since launch; the damage of Ion Cell is split into a damage-over-time effect with 1 tick occurring immediately; this tick will be labeled ‘Ion Cell‘ in logs and will do slightly more damage than whatever the Ion Cell tooltip actually claims. The second and third ticks from Ion Overload are labeled ‘Shocked (Tech)’, occur 3 and 6 seconds after initial application, have an 8x threat multiplier, and will also do slightly more damage than the tooltip claims.

Without Blaster Augs, my tooltip claims I should do 292 pre-DR damage. I’d expect my first tick of Ion Cell to do 292*0.65 = 189.8 damage due to dummy damage reduction, but it actually does 202 damage. Similarly, the tooltip of Ion Overload claims 369 pre-DR damage so I’d expect each tick of Shocked (Tech) to deal (369/2)*0.65 = 119.9 damage, but each Shocked (Tech) tick actually deals 127 damage. Note that in both cases, applying a 1.05x multiplier or (1-0.05) divisor will accurately predict damage done; I have a theory that Ion Cell’s 5% damage reduction doesn’t apply to Ion Cell effects. Or the tooltip is wrong. Also note that a similar underestimation is seen when Blaster Augs is specced for.

3.  Building off the previous point, since Ion Cell‘s DOT duration is 6 seconds and only the ticks at 3 seconds and 6 seconds have an 8x threat multiplier, you tend to put yourself at a disadvantage if you use any series of attacks in a row that have a high chance to renew Ion Cell’s DOT. The exception to this is the sequence <stockstrike→hib> at the beginning of a fight; this is an excellent source of initial threat and contributes to building those Powerscreen and Energy Blast procs that you need.

However, halfway into a fight using a sequence like


will have less threat than if you had used the same attacks in a different order:


This is because the second rotation allows for the Ion Overload Shocked (Tech) debuff to tick at 3 seconds and 6 seconds for 8x threat.

4.  Blaster Augs, the 1 point talent in row 2 of the Tactics tree, gives +8% damage to Ion Cell. It does indeed increase tooltip damage and actual damage by the correct amount. However, that’s all it does. It does not give +8% damage to Shocked (Tech) from Ion Overload; it just increases that first tick of Ion Cell from ~200 damage to ~216 damage. This makes it almost worthless.

Suppose you had a boss fight that lasted 300 seconds or 6 minutes. In that time you’ll have 300/1.5 = 200 GCDs. If you had some magical ability that had a 100% chance to trigger Ion Cell on each GCD, you’d deal (216-200)*(300/1.5)/300 = 10.66 extra DPS before damage reduction and crits. Since you’re triggering Ion Cell even less frequently than once/GCD in live operations, you’re gaining significantly less than 10.66 DPS by speccing for Blaster Augs.

Don’t take this talent.

5.  Activating Ion Cell doesn’t increase your armor by 60% like the tooltip says; it increases your armor by approximately 60%. It stacks additively with the Rebraced Armor talent in row 2 of Shield Specialist, giving you a total armor multiplier of approximately 1.76.

6.  Supercharged Ion Cell has a 100% chance to trigger Ion Cell on 4 enemies within 5m of the target ‘while Ion Cell is active’. Note that this means all you have to do to fulfill these conditions is have Ion Cell activated! You don’t have to have an Ion Cell DOT on your target. To test for yourself, get both Supercharged Ion Cell in the tank tree and Gut or Incendiary Round in another Vanguard tree; you’ll see for yourself that using High Impact Bolt on any target has a 100% chance to trigger Ion Cell (before miss/resist rolls).

7.  If you use an attack like Stockstrike or Hammershot and kill that enemy, there is no chance that you will build Power Screen stacks as a result of that attack. Similarly, if you kill an enemy with an attack like Stockstrike or High Impact bolt, the Ion Cell debuff will not be applied to that target and you will not be able to build Power Screens from that attack. Be sure to not miss an opportunity to build a Power Screen.

8.  If you use High Impact bolt on one enemy, no matter how many enemies you trigger Ion Cell on, you will only build at most one stack of Power Screen and can only reduce Energy Cell’s cooldown by 1 second.

9.  Power Screen stacks (+1/+2/+3% absorb) can be built while Energy Blast (+25% absorb) is in effect! This means you can have up to +28% absorb at times from Power Screen and Energy Blast effects, and there is really no reason to save abilities that build Power Screen.

4. Single-target threat myths

Let’s take some time to dispel some major misconceptions about Vanguard tank damage real quick.

1.  Some people mistakenly believe Sticky Grenade belongs in the Vanguard single-target rotation. It doesn’t. My Sticky Grenade deals 1893-1980 kinetic damage, vs Ion Pulse with a spread of 1331-1429. If I’m generous and assume that Sticky Grenade is going to get 0.7 damage reduction rather than 0.65, I’d expect Sticky Grenade to deal (1893+1980)*(1+0.1865*0.51)*0.7/2 =1484.5 damage before misses and threat multipliers, while Ion Pulse would deal (1415+1518)*(1+0.1868*0.51)*1/2 =1606.2 damage before misses and threat multipliers. And… they have the same resist chance (6%) and threat multiplier (2x). So in general don’t use Sticky Grenade against single targets. There are a few specific circumstances where Sticky Grenade’s delayed damage would be useful, but I’m not going into them here.

2.  Harpoon is another red herring. Its tooltip claims to generate ‘high threat’. It actually generates 2708 threat. That’s about 30% of the Shadow‘s Force Pull. It’s also guaranteed to do less threat on average than if you had waddled into range to use Ion Pulse. Considering that Ion Pulse is one the weakest attacks that you can open with, surely you can find something better than Ion Pulse and Harpoon to use on your enemies to initiate combat.

3.  I see some folks not using Mortar Volley in their single target rotation. This is a mistake. Mortar Volley gives (5506+5897)*(1+0.1865*0.51)*0.7*2/2/3 = 2913 expected threat/second. This is quite good.

4.1. Vanguard tank single-target damage priority list

The Vanguard tank’s rotation is highly variable. The most important things to keep in mind are

  1. Energy Blast should be used on cooldown barring very special circumstances
  2. If you have the opportunity, try to use attacks that contribute to building Power Screen stacks
  3. Use Pulse Cannon‘s cooldown to inform yourself of when Pulse Engine’s internal cooldown is over
  4. Note that the balance between high survivability (using a rotation that only consists of StockstrikeHigh Impact Bolt, Hammershot, and Energy Blast) and high threat/dps (mixing in Storm, Explosive Surge, Ion Pulse, and Pulse Cannon such that every Ion Cell triggers two Shocked (Tech) ticks) is a delicate one.
  5. If you find yourself consistently arriving at Energy Blast‘s cooldown without 3 stacks of Power Screen, you need to increase your shield rating and increase your frequency of Hammershot use.

With those notes in mind, here’s an example of a high-threat Vanguard opening rotation:


  1. Battle Focus (off GCD) + Shoulder Cannon (pre-loaded, and launched as quickly as possible) + Mortar Volley
  2. Storm (if necessary)
  3. Stockstrike (trigger Ion Cell, get Stockstrike on cooldown)
  4. HIB (trigger another Ion Cell)
  5. Pulse Cannon (efficient, strong attack)
  6. Explosive Surge (gets 2.3x threat multiplier)
  7. Explosive Surge
  8. Hammershot (if no Pulse Engine proc), repeated until Pulse Engine proc is acquired
  9. Pulse Cannon with Pulse Engine
  10. By now, you should have built 3 stacks of Power Screen and gotten Energy Blast on cooldown
  11. Continue burning through ammo until you can use Recharge Cells and Reserve Powercell

Following is a more in depth discussion of why these abilities are ranked at the priorities that you see above:

  1. Energy Blast,Battle Focus, Shoulder Cannon
    • Keeping Energy Blast’s effective cooldown (total fight duration / total number of Energy Blast casts) below 12 seconds in live conditions is essential if you want to be a ‘good’ Vanguard tank; no similar tank ability (Bladestorm for Guardians, Kinetic Ward for Shadows) will make such a huge impact on your damage taken per second. Battle Focus will multiply any damage you do over its duration, so if you have no need to use it within the next 2 minutes to get aggro or burst a target, use it on cooldown. Shoulder Cannon should be loaded at all possible times and Shoulder Cannon stacks should be discharged as soon as you have less than 95% health in order to keep your self-healing/second high and your threat/second high
  2. Stockstrike
    • Since Stockstrike’s natural cooldown is 9 seconds and Static Shield‘s internal cooldown is 7.5 seconds, it is imperative that you use Stockstrike as soon as it becomes available so that you can have the smallest window possible where you could get a Static Shield Stockstrike reset before getting Stockstrike to come off cooldown naturally. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to use Stockstrike due to Static Shield, wait 9 seconds for it to come off natural cooldown, use Stockstrike again, and then get a Static Shield reset immediately and be able to use Stockstrike again. This gives your Stockstrike an effective cooldown that is shorter than 7.5 seconds. This will greatly improve your threat and survivability by improving your Power Screen generation.
  3. High Impact Bolt
    • Due to its inability to have its cooldown reset and its significantly longer natural cooldown, using High-impact bolt less often will also hurt your survivability and threat less
  4. Hammershot
    • Use Hammershot if Energy Blast‘s cooldown is finished and you have less than 2 stacks of Power Screen. Bear in mind that if Energy Blast’s cooldown is ever finished and you have less than 3 stacks of Power Screen, something went wrong. Always be tracking your Power Screen stacks and ensure your rate limit for casting Energy Blasts is the cooldown on Energy Blast, not Power Screen stacks. In the opening rotation Pulse Cannon precedes Hammershot in priority and in live conditions this will typically be true, but note that Energy Blast (which Hammershot procs by means of Ion Cell ? Power Screen ? Energy Blast) precedes all other attacks in priority.
  5. Pulse Cannon
    • Pulse Cannon does approximately 20% more damage than would be done if you had simply used Ion Pulse twice in a row, it’s more ammo effeicient (75% of the ammo cost of Ion Pulse x 2), and it is an area-of-effect attack. Also note that Pulse Engine’s internal cooldown is 18 seconds; Pulse Cannon’s natural cooldown is 18 seconds, and when specced properly should be 16.5 seconds. If you use Pulse Cannon with Pulse Engine, then Pulse Cannon will come off cooldown almost immediately before Pulse Engine’s internal cooldown is finished. Use this to your advantage by using some mini-rotation like . More details of Pulse Engine and Pulse Cannon will be covered in the AOE threat section
  6. Pulse Cannon with Pulse Engine, Explosive Surge with Static Surge.
    • These abilities save you ammo and Pulse Cannon with Pulse Engine is an attack that has high DPS
  7. Ion Pulse,Explosive Surge,Hammershot as necessary to maintain 60 to 80 ammo

Some additional notes on Vanguard single-target threat:

1.  Storm can be resisted, but you will still be moved to the target. Storm can crit as well, and uses your Tech crit rate. This should make sense because it’s a Tech attack.

2.  While Full Auto is more ammo-efficient than using Ion Pulse twice and may do a bit more damage, it does not enjoy pushback protection like Mortar Volley or Pulse Cannon. This means that unlike Mortar Volley or Pulse Cannon, taking damage while channeling Full Auto will cause the Full Auto attack to lose duration, which will probably eliminate the 3rd tick of Full Auto’s damage. For this reason, using Full Auto is acceptable only when you are not taking damage.

3.  In PVE you will find an abundance of enemies to Storm to; failure to use Storm in rotation is pure laziness on your part. By using the sequence <storm → esurge → esurge> in your rotation, you are improving your rotation’s ammo efficiency, which allows for you to use stronger attacks (Ion Pulse, Pulse Cannon) later on. If your enemy is immobile with respect to your character (Draxus, Corrupter Zero offtanking, large portions of Brontes, Calphias offtanking, Raptus offtanking) you should be using some mini-rotation like in order to increase ammo efficiency.

7.1. AOE threat for trash and adds

Vanguards have a multitude of in-rotation abilities and out-of-rotation situational abilities that they can use to gain aggro on large groups of enemies.

1.  Mortar Volley:  this ability is both convenient because it can be placed anywhere from 30m to 4m from yourself and does high DPS. If any group of enemies will spawn within 1 minute of engaging a boss/starting a fight, you should probably save Mortar Volley for those adds. Saving Mortar Volley for waves of adds will almost always be a threat and DPS increase. If there will not be a wave of adds within the first minute, use Mortar Volley on cooldown.

2.  Pulse Cannon and/or Pulse Engine: your second-best option for AOE threat. Note that since Pulse Cannon is a conal attack, you will probably need to have all your enemies to one side in order to hit the largest number of enemies possible. Also note that Pulse Engine can proc from any single-target non-DOT attack; this includes attacks that you are performing, attacks that are performed against you, and the non-DOT component of Ion Cell‘s damage. This means one Hammershot has slightly more than a 58% chance of proccing Pulse Engine because all 7 Hammershots have a 15% chance to proc Pulse Engine and so does an Ion Cell effect that you may bestow. Also note that environmental damage, for example from Gharj’s lava, the Terror From Beyond’s water, torches in Dread Palace, and water in Styrak’s arena can all trigger Pulse Engine.

3.  Sticky Grenade has no place in the Vanguard tank single-target rotation but its utility as an AOE is undeniable. It comes bundled with an AOE stun on weak enemies as well and is one of your strong options when the enemies are at range. This ability is listed ahead of <storm→esurge→esurge> and <stockstrike→hib> mostly because Sticky Grenade is much easier to use, since it only consumes one GCD

4.  The attack sequence <storm→esurge→esurge> is good for getting up close and personal with your enemies. Note that Guard Cannon  in the Shield Specialist tree claims it gives +5% threat to Explosive Surge; it’s actually +30% threat to Explosive Surge, or a 2.3x threat multiplier in total. In total Explosive Surge gets +12% damage (from Static Surge), +8% crit chance (from Static Shield), and the aforementioned +30% threat (from Guard Cannon). Together they make Explosive Surge kind of good. Don’t be afraid to use Explosive Surge without Static Surge charges either; given all its buffs, it’s not an especially wasteful attack. Also in case you were wondering, you cannot use the PVP pc set bonus (-1.5 second cooldown to Storm) to build more than 2 stacks of Static Surge.

5.  Finally, using High Impact Bolt with Ion Overload will generate Ion Cell DOTs on a few enemies within range, so you might find it useful. This will deal significantly less damage and threat than Storm and Explosive Surge would deal, and is useful mostly if you find yourself in a position where something which cannot be Stormed to for whatever reason. Be aware that although not pushing back your Stockstrike cooldown was emphasized previously in the single-target section, that doesn’t mean using <stockstrike→hib> on a group of adds is probably a good idea; in that case, you would probably be better served by burning down the adds with whatever high-damage abilities you have at your disposal, especially Explosive Surge. Quickly building high threat on a group of enemies and burning them down will probably serve your group better than continuing your ‘rotation’ by using <stockstrike→hib> on them; enemies cant hurt you if they’re dead.

6.  Although we went over why Harpoon‘s a bad opener, if you find that a ranged enemy is not in the AOE ‘killzone’ or if you see a melee enemy running off to chase someone else, using Harpoon to bring them into your AOE is perfectly reasonable.

7.  Neural Surge, your 2.5 second AOE stun on 45 second cooldown, is one of the strongest mitigation abilities that you can use on a large pack of enemies. Just make sure they don’t have ‘Boss Immunity’ or any other incapacitation resistance before you hit it.

8. Defensive Cooldowns

The Vanguard defensive cooldowns are pretty straightforward. I’ll try to be brief here.

1.  Reactive Shield gives +25% damage reduction, and it works against all energy types (Kinetic/Energy and Internal/Elemental, Ranged/Melee and Force/Tech). It is one of the strongest defensive buffs in the game. It, in conjunction with Adrenaline Surge and your medpack, are your last lines of defense against burst damage

2.  If you use Smoke Grenade on cooldown, it gives better average defense than the accuracy debuffs that Guardians get on Smash and Shadows get on Slow Time. If you don’t use Smoke Grenade on cooldown, you will probably get less defense averaged over time from it. Since its uptime is quite high and its effect is not so great as that of Reactive Shield  you should use it close to on cooldown. Obviously if nothing is dealing melee/ranged damage, save it for when enemies are dealing damage of those types. Note that if your raid group is going to take a large amount of ranged/melee damage, using Smoke Grenade on whatever causes that melee/ranged damage will probably be the best way you can use this ability.

3.  Try to not use mitigation-style defensive cooldowns (Reactive Shield, Smoke Grenade, click relics, adrenals) at the same time. If you concentrate all your defensive cooldowns in the same period of time, you will probably take more damage than if you spread out their usage. For a similar reason, try to not click a defensive or shield/absorb relic until 6 seconds after using Energy Blast. Also, if you will be using Neural Surge (2.5 second AOE stun), wait 2.5 seconds before you use a defensive ability like Smoke Grenade.

4.  Mixing self-healing defensive cooldowns (Shoulder Cannon, Adrenaline Surge, medpack) with mitigation-style defensive cooldowns is perfectly acceptable.

5.  The Exotech and Rakata Absorb adrenals are superior to level 53 shield/absorb adrenals.

8.1. Details of ammo management

This section is for advanced players; new players are advised to familiarize themselves with the class before moving on to this material. There are a few ways you might be able to refine your play by using ammo more efficiently:

1.  Try to always use Reserve Powercell on an attack that consumes 24 or 25 ammo cells. Abilities that qualify include Mortar Volley and Pulse Cannon (without Pulse Engine!). If you would have to push back Reserve Powercell‘s cooldown by a long period of time in order to accomplish this, using Reserve Powercell on a 3 second attack (Full Auto) or an expensive attack (Explosive Surge) is acceptable. Definitely not optimal though. Note that Battle Focus, Reserve Powercell, Recharge Powercells, and Mortar Volley all have a cooldown that is a multiple of 1 minute. You ought to use all 3 of these abilities chronologically nearby each other in order to maximize the amount of hard-hitting attacks that you use during the uptime of Battle Focus. You can also build up stacks of Static Surge so you can mix in free Exploisve Surges during the uptime of Battle Focus. In general, when an offensive cooldown becomes available, you should already have a plan for how to use it effectively.

2.  As noted in the single-target and AOE rotation sections, Storm should be in your rotation, followed by Explosive Surge x 2. These 3 free GCDs may even be preceded by one GCD where you cast Hammershot as you move away from your target, giving you 4 GCDs where you have a net ammo gain of at least 20 (before shield,  Into the Fray, and Energy Blast provide you even more ammo regeneration). Be aware of your Storm cooldown and use it to your advantage.

3.  The Vanguard tank gets several free attacks: 1) Hammershot, 2) Energy Blast, 3) Pulse Cannon with Pulse Engine, 4) Storm, and 5) Explosive Surge with stacks of Static Surge. Activating Reserve Powercell and then using Hammershot, Energy Blast or Storm will not consume Reserve Powercell. Activating Reserve Powercell and then using a free Explosive Surge or Pulse Cannon will consume Reserve Powercell. The reason why this ‘works’ this way is because Hammershot, Energy Blast, Storm are always free.

4.  As discussed in the single-target rotation section, there’s no shame in using Hammershot. Sometimes it really is the best attack to use at the time, especially when you need to build another Power Screen to use Energy Blast.

9. Animation clipping and delays

This section is for advanced players; new players are advised to familiarize themselves with the class before moving on to this material. Several Vanguard animations take a long time to draw. In addition, many Vanguard tank abilities are off-global cooldown. This results in multiple points where Vanguard animations can interrupt each other, with detrimental results to the player.

1.  Newer Vanguard players will quickly notice that the Vanguard‘s taunt animations have a delay; after looking at the logs, it appears that you are awarded threat approximately 0.5 seconds after the taunt effects go out. This applies to both Neural Jolt (single target taunt) and Sonic Round (AOE taunt).

2.  As Hammershot has a relatively long animation and its attacks are spread out over a short period of time (3 occur when you press your Hammershot key, 2 approximately 0.3 seconds after keypress, and another 3 occur approximately 0.6 seconds after keypress), activating an off-GCD ability like Neural Jolt or Hold the Line can interrupt this animation. When this is the case, you will simply lose those Hammershots. Since Hammershot is one of the most important proccing abilities for nearly everything Vanguard tanks care about, losing Hammershots can have disastrous effects in the long term.

9.1. Vanguard self-healing

This section is for advanced players; new players are advised to familiarize themselves with the class before bothering with this material. With 2.0 came two new Vanguard abilities: Into the Fray (+2.5% health every time an AOE attack is taken, 3 second internal cooldown) and Guard Cannon (+5% health every time a Shoulder Cannon hits a target). Soldier’s Grit in the second-to-highest row of the Shield Specialist tree also buffs Adrenaline Surge. Taken together you should aim for an excess of 200 self-healing/second on an AOE-heavy fight and 100 self-healing/second on a fight without much AOE damage.

Effective self-healing contributes to your threat at a 1x multiplier. For example,

1.  If you have +1% healing from a companion affection bonus and are hit by an AOE attack and have 40,000 health points, you will self-heal for 40,000*0.025*1.01 = 1010 health, and will gain 1010 threat from that ability’s activation as well. (Most AOE attacks will deal more than 1010 damage so Into the Fray should have close to 100% effective healing).

2.  Also bear in mind that Shoulder Cannon with Guard Cannon will give both damage at a 2.3x threat multiplier (the Guard Cannon tooltip is wrong; it gives +30% threat on Shoulder Canon, not +5%) and threat from its 5% self-healing at a 1x multiplier. If you have 40,000 health then you should expect each Guard Cannon to give 40,000*0.05*1.01 =2020 threat, assuming you don’t have any other healing received buffs and are at below 95% health.

3. As covered in the ‘Cooldowns’ section, I never save Shoulder Cannon stacks for occasions where I need a strong defensive cooldown. Reactive Shield and Adrenaline Rush are your last lines of defense, not Shoulder Cannon.

4. Note that ‘active’ self-heals like those of Shoulder Cannon with Guard Cannon and Into the Fray cannot crit.


SWTOR Tanking stats by dipstik

Patch 2.5 info with damage debuff on boss applying before stat/armor mitigation.  Dread Fortress and Palace average at 6K DPS, assumes Arkanian Reactive Warding relic procs at 23s, Dread Forged Reactive Warding at 43 seconds. Source

Check your Defense, Absorb, Shield ratings from your character sheet (including stim).




Goal is to get as close to the suggested values as you can


Vanguard / Powertech

Defense 613 rating
Shield 1236 rating
Absorb 833 rating
pre armor squish 0.568857017
total squish 0.290074849
pre heals/absorb dtps 1740
post heals dtps 1740.45
damage per HP 3.44738609
spike 0.045144393
weighted relic base diff =ark =DF
def proc 0.2847 0.2725 0.2890 0.0054 5989 5888
abs proc 0.2858 0.2735 0.2901 0.0043 7442 7316


Shadow / Assassin

Defense 526 rating
Shield 940 rating
Absorb 1216 rating
pre armor squish 0.482105691
total squish 0.28503891
pre heals/absorb dtps 1710.23
post heals dtps 1710.23
damage per HP 3.508292955
spike 0.051336322
weighted relic base diff =ark =DF
def proc 0.2790 0.2651 0.2838 0.0061 5290 5200
abs proc 0.2801 0.2663 0.2850 0.0049 6573 6461


Guardian / Juggernaut

Defense 1057 rating
Shield 940 rating
Absorb 685 rating
pre armor squish 0.585751481
total squish 0.307396701
pre heals/absorb dtps 1844
post heals dtps 1711.05
damage per HP 3.253125346
spike 0.04549478
weighted relic base diff =ark =DF
def proc 0.3022 0.2904 0.3064 0.0052 6210 6104
abs proc 0.3032 0.2914 0.3074 0.0042 7715 7584

2.6 Juggernaut and Guardian DPS changes

This is the biggest quality of life change i’ve seen for any spec in a long long time!


Sith Warrior

  • Slightly increased the damage dealt by Shatter.
  • Shatter now deals Internal Damage instead of Elemental Damage, as the tooltip indicates.
  • Rampage has been redesigned: Impale and Shatter have a 33.3/66.7/100% chance to produce a stack of Rampage. At 2 stacks, Rampage finishes the cooldown on Ravage and generates 3 Rage.

Jedi Knight
Jedi Guardian

  • Slightly increased the damage dealt by Plasma Brand.
  • Zen Strike has been redesigned: Overhead Slash and Plasma Brand have a 33.3/66.7/100% chance to produce a stack of Zen Strike. At 2 stacks, Zen Strike finishes the cooldown on Master Strike and generates 3 Focus.

Best in Slot stats for Vanguard and Powertech DPS

I do not have an actual spreadsheet (but i’m sure TAC will gladly provide his numbers) for the BiS DPS stats for VGs and PTs.


  1. 100/100% Accuracy = 5 x Initiative enhancements or 470 Acc Rating
  2. Surge = is 5 x Adept enhancements or 470 Surge Rating.
  3. Set bonus = 4-pc Combat Tech
  4. Augments = Aim augments, 
  5. Mods = Agile mods


  • Assault / Pyrotech = 260 Critical Rating
  • Tactics / AP = 0 Critical Rating

Read more/Source