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SWTOR Lethality and Concealment Operative DPS Class Guide

A guide to SWTOR Lethality and Concealment Operative DPS for PvE. Written and edited by Invinc and Vindrik of Harbinger. Updated for Patch 2.7

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Overview

Operative dps is the best hybrid ranged / melee dps in the game, and although it doesn’t have a charge to leap to targets, it does get a gap closer in the form of a reusable roll. However, since you have far more useful abilities to use at long distance to spend a GCD, it’s more often used as an escape than to close gaps. Operatives also have the worst dps defensive cooldowns in the game, however this is augmented by their excellent support off-healing capabilities, as well as the ability to stealth rez, battle rez, and their high burst means that they are capable of doing just about anything they need to. Neither spec is particularly easy to play, and as with hybrid Powertechs, have some of the hardest resource management for a dps class, though this is counterbalanced by their high potential for damage output. Dps Operatives have access to 2 viable specs for raiding:

  1. Lethality is the most common, and overall highest dps spec. It is dependant on ensuring that your dots are consistently up, as the vast majority of your abilities either complement, or are complemented by, the poisons that you apply
  2. Concealment has recently had its damage increased and its RNG dependence reduced, becoming a solid rotation with very high dps and raid utility. This spec has no proper ranged capabilities, is dependant on Backstab and has low mobility

Offensive Cooldowns:

  1. Stim Boost: Grants 1 Tactical Advantage and an Alacrity boost for a short while.

Note: Stim Boost also gains additional benefits according to which dps spec you choose.

  • Lethality: Significantly reduced cooldown, and instantly restores 10 Energy
  • Concealment: Restores 20% of your maximum health over Stim Boost’s duration

Defensive Cooldowns:

  1. Shield Probe: Short CD that absorbs a moderate amount of incoming damage
  2. Evasion: 100% melee and ranged Defense for a few seconds, also purges all removable negative effects
  3. Stim Boost (Concealment): 20% damage reduction for the duration of stim boost.
  4. Shadow Operative Elite (Concealment): Increase your chance to dodge an attack by 50% after using Exfilrate and reduce AoE damage taken by 30%

Tricks of the Trade:

  1. Kolto Infusion and Kolto Injection: Single target heals, Kolto Infusion is faster, heals for less up front with a ticking hot component and consumes a Tactical Advantage, while Kolto Injection is slower and heals for more up front.
  2. Stealth: You become difficult to detect and gain access to some stealth-only abilities
  3. Cloaking Screen: Removes you from combat and places you into stealth
  4. Resuscitation Probe: Battle rez
  5. Stealth Rez: Cloaking Screen and a manual rez while out of combat
  6. Exfiltrate: Roll forward a short distance. While rolling, your chance to avoid melee and ranged attacks is increased by 30%. Upon use, grants a charge that allows a second Exfiltrate to be used. If this charge is consumed, Exfiltrate is put on a 10 second CD

Lethality

Lethality:(4/6/36) http://www.torhead.com/skill-calc#401zcZG0zZGMoRrMRRRshR.3

swtor-lethality-operative-dps-class-guide-build

Note: The point in Incisive Action in the Medicine tree can also be used as a second point in Counterstrike (3 / 6 / 37), or as a point in Inclement Conditioning or Infiltrator (3 / 7 / 36). The placement of this point is up to personal preference and play style.

1.1 Rates (1-10):


  • Single Target Dps: 7.5
  • AoE Damage: 7
  • Group Utility: 9
  • Rotation Difficulty: 7
  • RNG Dependant: No
  • Burst: 8
  • Sub 30% Talent or Ability Buffs: Yes

1.2 Gearing & Stats Priority:


  • **Must Have** Accuracy: 110% Tech & 100% ranged (1% from companion + 3% from talent = 6% from Gear)
  • 0 Alacrity
  • 68-74% Surge
  • 120-280 Critical Rating
  • All other secondary stats in Power
  • **Must Have** Augments: cunning (Skill)
  • Relics: Serendipitous Assault & Focused Retribution
  • Alternate Relic: Boundless Ages
  • Set Bonus: 4 piece Enforcer’s PvE
  • Alternate Set Bonus: 2 piece Enforcer’s PvE & 2 piece Level 50 Enforcer’s PvE (requires testing)

1.3 Gearing Overview:


  • Reaching the Accuracy cap should be your highest priority
  • The dps bonus given by Alacrity rating is low enough that, even with the high amount of diminishing returns it will suffer, Surge rating will always be better
  • The difference in overall dps between 120 Critical rating and 280 Critical rating is minimal, and having a little bit will benefit your overall dps, stacking it is never a good idea due to high diminishing returns
  • Choice of relics should be made on a fight-to-fight basis. Serendipitous Assault and Focused Retribution will give you a greater overall damage increase, while Boundless Ages will allow you to focus your burst into a short window for fights with tight burn phases
  • Getting your set bonus as quickly as possible is highly recommended. It will increase your dps substantially enough that having lower item level armorings with the set bonus is still a better option than higher item level armorings without it

1.4 Ability Explanations:


  • Hidden Strike is your ideal opener; it hits harder than any other ability you have and generates a Tactical Advantage, but is only usable while stealthed. It is only affected by one talent:
    1. Concealed Attacks: Increases critical strike chance by 16%
  • Corrosive Dart is one of the two dots to keep up on the target at all times. It buffs Cull and deals heavy damage throughout its duration, but it doesn’t tick upon use, so you should avoid reapplying it early, and apply it as soon after the previous effect ends as possible. It is affected by a variety of talents:
    1. Corrosive Microbes: Has a 25% chance to tick twice
    2. Lethal Injectors: Increases duration by 3 seconds
    3. Lethal Dose: Increases critical strike chance by 12%
    4. Lethal Purpose: Dot critical hits regenerate 2 Energy
    5. Devouring Microbes: Increases damage done by 15% to targets under 30% HP
    6. Lingering Toxins: When the effect ends it is replaced by a weaker version, which deals 15% of the total damage over 9 seconds
    7. Imperial Brew: Increases damage dealt by 18%
  • Corrosive Grenade is the second of your two dots, which also buffs Cull. It ticks upon use, so reapplying the dot early is not a dps loss. As such, reapplying it while it is still active is not always a bad option. It is affected by a variety of talents:
    1. Lethal Purpose: Dot critical hits regenerate 2 Energy
    2. Devouring Microbes: Increases damage done by 15% to targets under 30% HP
    3. Lingering Toxins: When the effect ends it is replaced by a weaker version, which deals 15% of the total damage over 9 seconds
  • Weakening Blast is designed to buff the damage dealt by your poison effects, especially your Cull. Every time you use Weakening Blast, you should try to burn as many of its charges as possible with Cull to maximize its utility. As it is free of cost, it is very useful to use after heavy cost abilities such as Orbital Strike or when low on energy. Delaying its use by a few seconds to maximise its damage output is feasible, but not by more than one or two GCDs.
  • Cull is your most important ability, and you should be focusing around maximising your Cull damage. Exploiting Weakening Blast charges using Cull is a must, and spending all your Tactical Advantages on it during this period is a dps increase as long as you can regain another TA soon after. Timing it so that you don’t have dot ticks during this TA downtime helps to squeeze out as much damage as possible, and mastering this style of Cull usage is key. It is affected by a variety of talents:
    1. Cut Down: Increases damage by 6%
    2. Lethal Purpose: Critical hits from the secondary effect regenerates 2 Energy
    3. License to Kill: Reduces cost by 6
    4. Devouring Microbes: Increases secondary poison damage done by 15% to targets under 30% HP
    5. Fatality: Shiv has 60% chance to grant Fatality, causing your next Cull to refund its Tactical Advantage and cost no Energy. Can only occur once every 10 seconds
  • Shiv is your most important filler ability, as it’s the one you use most and your primary source of Tactical Advantage. It should be used every time it’s available unless you already have 2 stacks of Tactical Advantage or are delaying its use for Cull bursts. It is affected by a variety of talents:
    1. Hit and Run: Grants you 50% increased movement speed for 2 seconds
    2. Surgical Strikes: Increases damage done by 4%
  • Backstab is your high Energy filler for when Shiv is on CD, your dots are applied and you only have 1 Tactical Advantage. It has a low cost and high damage, but you should use it carefully above 70 Energy, so as not to starve yourself of Energy when coming up on a Cull burst. It is affected by two talents:
    1. Concealed Attackss: Increases critical strike chance by 16%
    2. Surgical Strikes: Increases damage dealt by 4%
  • Orbital Strike has recently been altered and lost a great deal of its power. It is a good filler with a low Energy cost that should be better than Rifle Shot, however fitting it into the rotation is usually an overall dps loss. Its main utility comes from being used as part of your opener and when multiple mobs are together, and are guaranteed to take all 3 hits. Using it on weak adds that will only get hit once or twice generally isn’t worth the effort.

1.5 Ability Nomenclature and Rotation Priority:


  1. Hidden Strike: HS
  2. Corrosive Dart: Dart
  3. Corrosive Grenade: CG
  4. Weakening Blast: WB
  5. Cull
  6. Shiv
  7. Backstab: BS
  8. Orbital Strike: OS
  9. Rifle Shot

Offensive Cooldowns:

  1. Stim Boost: SB
  2. Adrenaline Probe: AP

1.6 Opening rotation:


Opener Without Stealth

Pre-Cast OS + CG + Dart + Shiv / Stim Boost + WB + Adrenal / Relic / Cull (proc) + Cull + Cull + Cloaking Screen / HS + Shiv + Cull (proc) + Cull

swtor-lethality-operative-dps-guide-opening-rotation

Opener With Stealth

Pre-Cast OS + Stealth / HS + CG + Dart + WB + Stim Boost/ Adrenal / Relic / Cull + Cull + Shiv + Cull (proc) + Cloaking Screen / HS + Cull

swtor-lethality-operative-dps-guide-opening-rotation-2

1.7 Rotation Strategy:


A Lethality Operative’s strength comes from instant Culls and the use of Shiv and Weakening Blast to Cull as often as possible for as much damage as possible. Keeping 1 Tactical Advantage available at all times is a must, with some exceptions; Immediately after using Weakening Blast, if you have 3 available Culls (2 TA + proc) it’s recommended to use all 3 straight away to drain as many charges of the Weakening Blast debuff as possible. Keeping your dots active for the entire fight is a must, and using the debuff applied by Weakening Blast to buff Cull is a priority, as Cull will gain a substantially greater benefit from consuming these debuff charges than your regular dot ticks will, even if it means losing the 2% increased damage from maintaining a Tactical Advantage for a few seconds. Due to recent changes, Orbital Strike has lost a lot of its utility. It should now only be used during your opener and for multiple targets, and should no longer have a place in your regular rotation. The brief period before it deals damage makes it ideal to use for transition switches, so it is still worth using in these situations. Backstab is your primary filler ability if you have the Energy to spend and are waiting on Shiv to come off cooldown.

15- 30 second rotation (10-18 GCDs, no opener). Full dot re-application, open with 1 TA, two cases

BS + CG + Shiv + Dart + WB + Cull (proc) + Cull + Cull + Shiv + Rifle shot + BS

swtor-lethality-operative-dps-guide-rotation

CG + Dart + Shiv + Cull + Rifle Shot + BS + Shiv + CG + WB + Cull (proc) + Cull + Cull

swtor-lethality-operative-dps-guide-rotation-2

Video of Rotation on dummy

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_uAOs9waKlM&w=448&h=252&hd=1]

1.8 AoE Rotation Priority:


  1. Orbital Strike (Only if 3-5+ mobs, guaranteed full duration)
  2. Corrosive Grenade
  3. Fragmentation Grenade
  4. Carbine Burst

1.9 Sample Parse Analysis:


swtor-lethality-operative-dps-class-guide-sample-parse

  • The first section of your dps has Cull now doing more damage than ever without the damage from Orbital Strike, and the rotation now has significantly bigger gaps. This makes the rotation far less efficient, and have lower dps than prior to patch 2.6. Cull should deal more than 35% of your overall damage.
  • The second portion has both your dots and Shiv. The longer duration for Corrosive Dart only really messes up the timing in your rotation so you might end up eating more Weakening Blast charges than you should, and longer gaps in the rotation leaves more room to reapply Corrosive Grenade early instead of using Rifle Shot when at high Energy. Shiv should have steady damage due to its consistent use.
  • The third section has the rest of your fillers. Backstab has much more use in the rotation than previously thanks to the longer gaps, and depending on your set bonus can deal a significant portion of damage. Rifle Shot is unfortunately rather frequently used due to the unwieldy rotation, and is your only real option to stabilise yourself in the gaps between using your other abilities. Hidden Strike, Weakening Blast and Orbital Strike damage are mostly inconsequential, though Orbital Strike should increase in fights with significant add phases.

1.10 Tips And Tricks:


  • Adrenaline Probe, just like other rapid resource gain abilities like Vent Heat, can be a little confusing as to how it functions due to the ability text. A 50 Energy gain plus a GCD’s worth of recovery means you are essentially gaining 55 – 60 Energy. Considering the fact that anywhere between 65 – 85 is the ‘comfort’ zone for dps, this means Adrenaline Probe should always be used at around 25-35 Energy to exploit its full potential.
  • Adrenaline Probe is one of the most useful and under-used CD’s. Like any other cooldown, you should be using it as much as possible in a boss fight to maximise your damage output. Also considering the opening burst rotation with relics, adrenals, Bloodthirst, and your other offensive cooldowns, it helps you get back to a balanced Energy state after taking the most advantage possible from the damage boost. In other words, use as much Energy as you can during the opening burn phases and use Adrenaline Probe as early as feasible. As with other offensive cooldowns, you should be doing the same every time it’s available, which as a Lethality Operative will be much more often than as any other spec.
  • Tactical Advantage grants you a 2% damage bonus to all abilities that should be kept as often as possible, with the exception of exploiting the Weakening Blast debuff charges to maximise your Cull damage.
  • Cloaking Screen and Hidden Strike is important part of your opening rotation, as the burst damage you do is practically on par with Carnage Marauders and other high-burst classes. In addition, using Cloaking Screen will reset your threat and most likely prevent you from pulling aggro for the rest of the fight. For the remainder of the encounter, Hidden Strike is useful and will boost your dps, however it is highly recommended that you save your Cloaking Screen cooldown in case you need it to battle rez someone.
  • Using Exfiltrate to avoid mechanics or for fast on-demand movement will proc Quickening, which will grant you a free and instant Kolto Infusion. While you have this proc available, take note of anyone who may need some extra healing and use it to help out your healers, as it only costs you a GCD but could save a group member’s life
  • Speccing into Incisive Action gives you a great boost as an off-healer whenever you might be needed, since it will decrease the casting time of your Kolto Injection, and may also grant you a Tactical Advantage, which can then be used on a Kolto Infusion for further help, or to continue dpsing for your next Cull.
  • Remember that activating Stim Boost will give you an immediate 10 Energy on use, so it’s not just a TA and Alacrity buff, but can also be used to quickly regenerate some Energy when needed.

Concealment

Concealment:(3/36/7) http://www.torhead.com/skill-calc#4010cZGrdbdbkrGhRZG0oz.3

swtor-concealment-operative-dps-class-guide-build

Note: The point in Corrosive Microbes in the Lethality tree can also be used as a second point in Lethal Injectors. The decision should be made based on personal preference.

2.1 Rates (1-10):


  • Single Target Dps: 9.5
  • AoE Damage: 5
  • Group Utility: 9
  • Rotation Difficulty: 9.5
  • RNG Dependant: No
  • Burst: 10
  • Sub 30% Talent or Ability Buffs: No

2.2 Gearing & Stats Priority:


  • **Must Have** Accuracy: 110% Tech & 100% ranged (1% from companion + 3% from talent = 6% from Gear)
  • 0 Alacrity
  • 68-74% Surge
  • 0-180 Critical Rating
  • All other secondary stats in Power
  • **Must Have** Augments: cunning (Skill)
  • Relics: Serendipitous Assault & Focused Retribution
  • Alternate Relic: Boundless Ages
  • Set Bonus: 2 piece Enforcer’s & 2 piece Level 50 Enforcer’s
  • Alternate Set Bonus: 4 piece Enforcer’s PvE

2.3 Gearing Overview:


  • Reaching the Accuracy cap should be your highest priority
  • The dps bonus given by Alacrity rating is low enough that, even with the high amount of diminishing returns it will suffer, Surge rating will always be better
  • The difference in overall dps between 0 Critical rating and 180 Critical rating is minimal, and having a little bit won’t harm your overall dps, stacking it is never a good idea due to high diminishing returns
  • Choice of relics should be made on a fight-to-fight basis. Serendipitous Assault and Focused Retribution will give you a greater overall damage increase, while Boundless Ages will allow you to focus your burst into a short window for fights with tight burn phases
  • Getting your set bonus as quickly as possible is highly recommended. It will increase your dps substantially enough that having lower item level armorings with the set bonus is still a better option than higher item level armorings without it

2.4 Ability Explanation:


  • Acid Blade is the most important part of the Concealment rotation and often the reason why the rotation is so difficult. It applies a permanent buff until use, but has a relatively high Energy cost. Buffing your next Backstab or Hidden Strike, it applies a brief dot, and a longer-lasting armor penetration buff. Acid Blade should generally not be used immediately before a Backstab or Hidden Strike to maximise your Energy management. When you are above 75 Energy and have nothing else major to use (1 TA, no Shiv, Collateral Strike procced, dot applied) is an ideal time to use Acid Blade + Rifle Shot to regenerate some Energy. It is affected by two talents:
    1. Imperial Brew: Increases damage dealt by 9%
    2. Meticulously Kept Blades: Increases critical strike damage by 30%
  • Hidden Strike is your ideal opener, as it hits harder than any other ability you have and generates a Tactical Advantage, but is only available while stealthed, as well as being one of the only two abilities that proc your Acid Blade. It is affected by a variety of talents:
    1. Concealed Attacks: Increases critical strike chance by 16%
    2. Meticulously Kept Blades: Increases critical strike damage by 30%
    3. Calculated Frenzy: Increases Ranged and Tech Critical chance by 6% for 15 seconds
  • Corrosive Dart is your only dot to permanently maintain. It helps you trigger Tactical Opportunity and deals decent damage throughout its duration. It doesn’t tick upon use, so you should always avoid reapplying it too early, but should aim to apply it as soon after the previous dot expires as possible. It is affected by a variety of talents:
    1. Corrosive Microbes: Has a 25% chance to tick twice
    2. Lethal Injectors: Increases duration by 3 seconds.
    3. Imperial Brew: Increases damage by 18%
    4. Tactical Opportunity: Collateral Strike refunds a Tactical Advantage if it hits a poisoned target
  • Shiv is your most important filler ability, as it’s the one you use most and your primary source of Tactical Advantage. It is only affected by one talent:
    1. Surgical Strikes: Increases damage done by 5%
  • Backstab is the most important ability for this spec, and should always be used on CD and in combination with Acid Blade. It deals very high dmg, is free of cost, grants armor reduction, a dot, and an Alacrity buff, giving it an enormous amount of utility. It is affected by a variety of talents:
    1. Concealed Attacks: Increases critical strike chance by 16%
    2. Surgical Strikes: Increases damage done by 5%
    3. Flanking: Reduces cost by 10 Energy
    4. Waylay: Increases damage dealt by 5%
    5. Meticulously Kept Blades: Increases critical strike damage by 30%
    6. Calculated Frenzy: Increases Ranged and Tech Critical by 6% for 15 seconds
  • Laceration is your Tactical Advantage sink in this spec. It’s not as powerful as Cull, but it still deals a large amount of damage. It is unfortunately partially dependant on RNG, as the amount of Collateral Strikes that you proc will basically determine the amount of dps you will deal, due to both its own damage and the Energy that it causes you to regenerate. Using it while at 2 TA and always maintaining 1 is a must in order to maximise your overall dps. it is affected by a variety of talents:
    1. Tactical Opportunity: Collateral Strike refunds a Tactical Advantage if it hits a poisoned target
    2. Collateral Strike: Laceration has 70% chance to deal bonus damage to the target
    3. Culling: Increases the damage of Collateral Strike and Laceration by 6%, and causes Collateral Strike to regenerate 8 Energy.
    4. Meticulously Kept Blades: Increases critical strike damage by 30%
  • Orbital Strike has lost a lot of its power, and is generally only useful for some openers, for AoE and transitions. Hidden Strike is significantly more important than Orbital Strike, so always make sure that if you are using Orbital Strike in your opener that you can definitely stealth immediately after and won’t lose dps. It can be used as a weak filler instead of Rifle Shot, but the risk associated with trying to fit it into your rotation doesn’t outweigh the minor damage increase it may provide.
  • Overload Shot is one of your few fillers when you have nothing else to use. Being usable at 10 meters, it is generally your best option while moving or during any other special mechanics that may alter your regular rotation. It is only affected by one talent:
    1. Surgical Strikes: Increases damage by 4%
  • Explosive Probe is your final filler ability. It is more expensive than Overload Shot, so even if it does more damage, it is often difficult to put into the Concealment rotation without harming your Energy regeneration. A common mistake is for people to use Explosive Probe while at around 80 Energy, while Shiv is about to come off CD. Situations such as this often lead to poor Energy management and an over abundance of Rifle Shots

2.5 Ability Nomenclature and Rotation Priority:


  1. Acid Blade: AB
  2. Hidden Strike: HS
  3. Corrosive Dart: Dart
  4. Shiv
  5. Backstab: BS
  6. Laceration: LC
  7. Orbital Strike: OS
  8. Overload Shot (while moving)
  9. Explosive Probe: EP
  10. Rifle Shot

Offensive Cooldowns:

  1. Stim Boost: SB
  2. Adrenaline Probe: AP

2.6 Opening Rotation:


Note: Make sure you pre-cast your Acid Blade before starting the fight, as it’s a permanent buff.

Pre-cast AB & OS + Sneak + Stealth + Adrenal / Relic / HS + BS + Dart + Shiv + LC + LC + CS / AB / HS + LC + SB / LC + Shiv + LC + AB / BS + LC + Shiv + LC + Dart / AP

swtor-concealment-operative-dps-guide-opening-rotation

2.7 Rotation Strategy:


Concealment spec is a significantly more powerful and easier to play spec than it once was, due to the removal of its reliance on RNG. Acid Blade doesn’t respect the GCD, but is rather expensive, and should be used as a filler ability with either a Laceration proc or Rifle Shot to control your Energy output. Backstab and Shiv should be used on CD at all times, and Laceration helps to maintain high Energy. Overload Shot and Explosive Probe are useful occasionally in the rotation when you get particularly lucky and have Energy to spend and nothing else to spend it on. Besides that, Orbital Strike is a personal preference, as it can be rather difficult to fit it in without entirely messing up your rotation for a few seconds.

15-30 second rotation (10-18 GCDs, no opener). Open with 1 TA:

Dart + Rifle Shot + AB / Shiv + LC + BS + Rifle Shot / AB + Shiv + LC + LC + Rifle Shot + Shiv + LC + BS + Dart + Shiv / AB + LC + LC + Rifle Shot

swtor-concealment-operative-dps-guide-rotation

Video of Rotation on dummy

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egPW34D69CM&w=448&h=252&hd=1]

2.8 AoE Rotation Priority:


  1. Orbital Strike (only if 3-5+ targets for full duration)
  2. Fragmentation Grenade
  3. Carbine Burst
  4. Single target rotation

2.9 Sample Parse Analysis:


swtor-concealment-operative-dps-class-guide-sample-parse

  • The first section is from your Laceration, with its increased Energy regeneration and lower RNG, as well as the removal of Orbital Strike, this should be your highest damaging ability by far. Usually higher damage is better, as long as it is not dealing over 40% of your damage, since this generally means your rotation is missing something.
  • The second portion of your dps goes to Shiv, both of your poisons and Backstab. The damage of all these abilities should be relatively stable due to their consistent use throughout your rotation, and only ever significantly alter according to excessive crit rates.
  • The last section contains the remainder of your fillers. Collateral Strike is bound to Laceration, so their damage is tied. Rifle Shot is your Energy filler, so generally fewer uses lead to higher overall damage, and Hidden Strike and Orbital Strike should remain consistent, except when there are significant AoE portions in the fight.

2.10 Tips And Tricks:


  • Adrenaline Probe, just like other rapid resource gain abilities like Vent Heat, can be a little confusing as to how it functions due to the ability text. A 50 Energy gain plus a GCD’s worth of recovery means you are essentially gaining 55 – 60 Energy. Considering the fact that anywhere between 65 – 85 is the ‘comfort’ zone for dps, this means Adrenaline Probe should always be used at around 25-35 Energy to exploit its full potential.
  • Adrenaline Probe is one of the most useful and under-used CD’s. Like any other cooldown, you should be using it as much as possible in a boss fight to maximise your damage output. Also considering the opening burst rotation with relics, adrenals, Bloodthirst, and your other offensive cooldowns, it helps you get back to a balanced Energy state after taking the most advantage possible from the damage boost. In other words, use as much Energy as you can during the opening burn phases and use Adrenaline Probe as early as feasible. As with other offensive cooldowns, you should be doing the same every time it’s available, which as a Lethality Operative will be much more often than as any other spec.
  • Tactical Advantage grants you a 2% damage bonus to all abilities that should be kept as often as possible.
  • Cloaking Screen and Hidden Strike is important part of your opening rotation, as the burst damage you do is practically on par with Carnage Marauders and other high-burst classes. In addition, using Cloaking Screen will reset your threat and most likely prevent you from pulling aggro for the rest of the fight. For the remainder of the encounter, Hidden Strike is useful and will boost your dps, however it is highly recommended that you save your Cloaking Screen cooldown in case you need it to battle rez someone.
  • Acid Blade doesn’t respect the GCD, but is a rather expensive ability, so it should rarely be used immediately before a Hidden Strike or Backstab, as Backstab itself is already used to regain Energy due to being free. Acid Blade should be used in the rotation when you have a high amount of Energy, and therefore have some to spare for Acid Blade without interrupting your rotation, or mixed with a Rifle Shot.
  • Using Sneak before going into stealth or during a fight will give you a free movement speed buff that you should use to your advantage in order to close gaps quickly or to reposition yourself at a moment’s notice. Using it just before going into stealth is especially helpful, as you will gain the speed boost, and as soon as you exit stealth the cooldown on Sneak will be reset.

How Taunts and Threat Drops Function:


It is unfortunately common for decent dps to not have a proper grasp of how taunts and threat drops work, which leads to mistimed use of abilities and a far more difficult job for the tanks. Although tanks should be capable of holding threat against any dps regardless of their skill, in some fights where taunts need to be strategically held for other mechanics, the dps understanding the mechanics behind threat helps a great deal. There are 3 types of threat drops in the game, and knowing which you have access to and when to use them is key to a successful raiding career.

  • AoE Threat Drop (E.g. Cloud Mind | Chaff Flare | Diversion): Unlike targeted threat drops, using these abilities will lower your threat on all enemies and not only your current target. Each use will lower your threat by a percentage of your total, but calculated individually based on each enemy’s threat meter.
  • “It Wasn’t Me” Threat Drop (Force Camouflage): Marauders | Sentinels don’t have access to a standard threat reduction ability. Instead, they have a more powerful threat drop that will essentially reset your threat, making it very difficult for you to steal aggro again. This mechanic, however, only works for enemies that have previously targeted you at some point of the fight. Because of this, using Force Camouflage as a conventional threat drop is not suggested, and it should instead be saved until you either pull aggro and require an immediate threat drop, or to utilise its damage reduction utility.
  • Removal From Combat (E.g. Force Cloak): This is the most powerful threat drop in the game, and is subsequently one of the reasons why classes with this kind of threat drop should never steal aggro, taking advantage of this ability’s strength as part of their opening rotation. Activating this type of ability will remove you from combat, resetting your current threat on all targets to 0.

All taunts function in the same way; any target affected by a taunt will cause the user’s threat level to become 10% higher than the target’s highest current threat, in addition to forcing them to attack the user for the next 6 seconds. It will always put the user of the taunt at the top of the threat meter, but gains significantly more power as threat levels improve due to the 10% extra threat generated. Although the target is forced to attack the taunter for the next 6 seconds, threat generation continues regularly, and should another person have the highest threat level when the debuff wears off, they will become the new target

Dps knowing when to drop threat is an important skill. Whenever a tank taunts, the taunt icon will appear as a debuff on the target (the icon is always the same, regardless of class), so you will always know when a taunt has been used. A well timed threat drop is not necessarily used immediately after your best CDs or at the end of your opening rotation. You should always wait to use your threat drop until after you see that the tank has taunted the boss, and not necessarily the first time that they do (remember that they often use 3 taunts in a row as part of their opening rotation), as this signifies that their threat gain has been maximised. If you use your aggro drop as soon as you pull aggro on the boss but before the tank can taunt, their taunt will therefore become less effective and you may put yourself, or another player, at risk of pulling aggro again immediately afterwards. Also keep in mind that the higher your own threat is when you use your threat drop, the more significant the amount of threat lost will be.

Combat removal abilities such as Force Cloak should of course be used according to their place in your opening rotation, and not when you pull aggro, for the same reason as above. For Marauders | Sentinels, while it is also not recommended that you use Force Camouflage once you steal aggro in your first rotation, you have a slightly different timing window. Your threat drop will only actually work if you are being targeted when you use it, so you should save it until such time as you are targeted a second time and the tank can no longer instantly taunt off of you. Doing so will still help to maximise the tank’s threat, and will also drop your threat significantly enough that you shouldn’t have to worry about pulling aggro for the remainder of the fight.

About the Authors


Invinc and Vindrik are both members of <Hatred> on Harbinger, an endgame progression guild with world 3rd clear of Nightmare S&V, World 2nd clear of Nightmare TFB, world 1st speed clear (under 2 hrs) of Nightmare S&V, and numerous server firsts at the 8m level.

Invinc is the guild leader of <Hatred> and mains an operative DPS but plays pretty much every and all classes for operations. He currently leads the parses on operative lethality DPS on multiple boss fights and dummy parses. Also known as Carlenux, Carlenix (sniper), Carlenx (Sorcerer), Pyrotec (Powertech)

Vindrik mains an operative healer and is the raid leader for group B in <Hatred> (World 5th speed clear of Nightmare S&V). He is the former raid leader of <Notorious Synergy> on Dalborra, one of the world top guilds pre-2.0 (World 4th).

While the information here are mostly written by these two players, numerous other Hatred raid members and guides were consulted. Questions, comments, concerns will be answered by Invinc, who goes by the name of Carlos Eduardo Mata in the comments section below.

By Dulfy

MMO guide writer and blogger. Currently playing and covering SWTOR, GW2, and TSW.

46 replies on “SWTOR Lethality and Concealment Operative DPS Class Guide”

this rotation is strange in Lethality. it makes zero sense to reapply CG that early AND there arent enough GCDs between the sets of Shivs to actually be able to do that.

CG reaplied before the duration is over is the hidden trick for lethality dps and i am giving it here public so people learn my tricks 😛 it will help you set up and increase the dps as well as eat less WB or redoting in WB windows. as far as the shiv, you are right it is 1GCD before it should in the rotation thanks for noticing that.

Carl, thank you for this amazing guide and thank you Dulfy for compiling all the information. This motivated me to gear up my Operative DPS in anticipation to Patch 2.6.
Concealment was definitely the toughest spec to master >.< but I am getting there. 🙂

Again, much thanks!

Shulk of @ The Bastion

I have one question. i do not want to trying it manuály but, is the 15% crit chance for Backstab from 63 Armorings that much more worth than 78 Armorings?

and If we are already getting 16% increase chance to backstab from “Concealed Attack” why would we need the lvl 50 armorings?

Concealment’s better for early (sub-35) leveling because you get
Lacerate, your bread and butter DPS move, in Tier 3 of the skill tree.
You don’t get Cull, which is Lethality’s best move, until Tier 5. You’ll
also get more passives to help you sneak by trash in the Concealment
tree.

By your late 30s, however, you should have enough points to reach Cull,
so the overall DPS coming from both trees should be about even. Both the moves at the top of the trees,
Acid Blade and Weakening Blast, are important but are more
“supplementary” moves than bread-and-butter.

Basically, the post-2.6 world is a great one for ops; all 3 specs are useful. Pick whichever you find the most fun!

Worth noting that if you aren’t using a tanking companion, lethality will be easier to dps while having aggro. Concealment relies much more on backstab, and therefore you need to have someone else tanking which doesn’t always happen while solo leveling.

I’d say elites and champions, the lethality tree may have an edge for leveling, but for weak/normal mobs they sit a little more even/concealment may have the edge.

Just a question, why does the single target dps rate of the lethality tree decreased? If I remember well, it was 9.5. For which reason it dropped down? Thank you for answer 🙂

I am seeing about a 1.5 to 2k difference between the 2 specs, but I feel like concealment is a little more spiky then lethality and I am having issues maintaining my energy when in concealment. anyone else having these issues?

Assuming you mean 150-200 dps difference otherwise you have a different problem! 🙂 Key to energy management in concealment is ensuring your acid blade cast doesn’t rape your energy pool as it’s easy to do since it’s off the GCD. Try and combine it with either the free TA lacerate proc (from shiv every 10 secs, important to maintain bleed) or a rifle shot; keeping it spaced away from your backstab cast as backstab being free you want to make the most of that GCD of energy regen.

It literally is 1.5 to 2k difference unless i am doing something wrong between specs. but i am following the dulfy guides. but i do feel like the lethality is easier. but i do see the drop in lethality in 2.6 but not worthy of a full 2 point drop. I have seen barely a drop at all but I have seen a good increase in concealment

You changed the wrong image 🙂
The Full rotation image is the real Opener image, starting from stealth and using Stim boost.

In all of your AoE rotations, I see that you put frag grenade over carbine burst for AoE pulls. However, when running concealment on my operative doing dailies the other day I noticed it was refunding my TA everytime I used it. Do you know why that was? And wouldn’t it make carbine burst better than frag grenade since it does more damage for the same energy cost?

It’s because with dailies when you use Carbine Burst you are most likely
killing your targets with it, hence why your TA is refunded. However,
in an op boss fight you will not be killing the boss with CB and so Frag
Grenade becomes the better option as it doesn’t deplete your TA needed
for Cull or Laceration, depending on your tree.

Incidentally,
Collateral Strike needs to be changed and the guide needs to be updated
since Laceration gives 100% chance to deal a collateral strike with that talent, it just
doesn’t refund TA every time now (instead gives a refund every 10 secs
when used on a poisoned target, corrosive dart included).

Just my
two cents in the matter, I still feel that Lethality is better in most
ops boss encounters as you get stable dps with your two dots. However
they have made a considerable boost to make concealment a more viable endgame
dps tree and not be so completely RNG based. I always swap between all
three trees and I usually pick and choose which one to go with based on
the encounter. For example in DF I used Lethality except during the Draxus fight where concealment provides better burst damage (I feel) for all the various waves of adds. Okay I’m done. lol

Yeah, shortly after posting that I figured that must have been the reason why since I had gotten into an ops. I think they’re both. Seems silly that it doesn’t currently have any real position in either specs rotation, although heals can use it since they get so many TA procs.

I just have a simple question about the crit rating for lethality. the ratings you posted would they have a corresponding percentage that should be gotten to or should you just put the 120-280 rating on the gear in what ever form is easiest. thanks you for any responses

Is this fully updated for every single official 2.7 change? Taking into account 2.7 changes, which build/spec is better for overall DPS output, Lethality or Concealment? Cause Conc. got a nice buff in 2.6, but was nerfed fairly hard again with these new 2.7 changes.

Don’t know what nerf are you referring to. There’s not much change in concealment in 2.7 except the redesign of jarring strike and a slight defense buff after using exfiltrate. They still hit harder than lethality.

I don’t mind using the lvl 50 set, if it provides superior dps – I just wanted to make sure I was reading that right. Is that the set you buy with classic comms? What’s the diff between the lvl 50 2pc set bonus and the lv 55 4pc? Great guides btw – love your articles!

For the Concealment build, can you talk to me about why you put 2 in Shadow Operative Elite rather than Jarring Strike? If I open with Hidden Strike, I want to follow with Backstab – but without Jarring Strike or a Tank, the mob almost always turns to face me, removing the followup. With Jarring Strike, I can follow with Backstab regardless of the situation. Just curious.

This is probably a mistake… but why does it say that Lethality is the overall highest DPS spec when it is not? It is obvious that it is Concealment, however, I do not think Lethality deserved a 7.5 rating… thinking an 8.

For the Concealment build, why take two points in Deadly Directive instead of Hit and Run? I could see the speed boost after Shiv being quite useful for quick repositioning when dealing with trash, and all of our rotation are instants. Are the 2% alacrity from DD just for energy regeneration?

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