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SWTOR Madness and Deception Assassin DPS Class Guide

A guide to SWTOR Madness and Deception DPS specs for PvE. Written and edited by Invinc and Vindrik of Harbinger. Deception guide written by Evolixe (ToFN).



The Assassin class is the only melee dps that wears light armor, making them generally less durable, however they also have Force Speed to quickly maneuver in a fight, as well as being able to stealth to avoid some direct damage. Due to their light armor, even though Assassins have access to taunt and some decent defensive cooldowns, they are less reliable offtanks than their heavily armored counterparts. Currently, Assassin dps is one of the lackluster DPS classes, but they do have some good utility to lend to an ops group and can perform well in the hands of a skilled player. Assassin dps can choose between two different specs:

  1. Madness functions in a similar manner to its Sorcerer counterpart. This spec is highly dependant on ensuring that your dots get maximum uptime, however Assassins do gain access to a sub 30% buff to dots that Sorcerers do not, as well as generally using instant abilities instead of casting.
  2. Deception is a complicated spec that has been altered several times in recent patch history. It relies heavily on phases of very high burst damage, but unfortunately suffers from rather low damage output between these periods.

Offensive Cooldowns:

  1. Recklessness: Gives your Force attacks an extra 60% chance to critically hit, and consumes a charge when they do. Has 2 charges.
  2. Overcharge Saber: Doubles the damage done by saber charges for a short while, and also increases their chance to activate by 35%.
  3. Blackout (Only as Deception): Immediately restores 15 Force and triggers Dark Embrace, increasing Force regeneration by 50% for a few seconds

Defensive Cooldowns:

  1. Overcharge Saber: Immediately restores 15% of your maximum health, and heals you for a small amount whenever the effects of your saber charge are activated for the duration.
  2. Deflection: Increases melee and ranged Defense chance by 50% for a short while.
  3. Force Shroud: Gives a 100% chance to resist all Force and Tech attacks for a few seconds.
  4. Blackout (Only as Deception): Reduces all damage taken by 25% for a few seconds

Tricks of the Trade:

  1. Single target and AoE taunts
  2. Overload: Frontal AoE knockback
  3. Force Speed: Massive speed boost for a few seconds
  4. Stealth: You become difficult to detect and gain access to some stealth-only abilities
  5. Force Cloak: Removes you from combat and places you into stealth
  6. Stealth Rez: Force Cloak and a manual rez while out of combat
  7. Phase Walk: Drops a beacon on the ground that can be activated while within 60m. When triggered, you are teleported to the beacon’s location.


Madness (8 / 2 / 36):


1.1 Rates (1-10):

  • Single Target Dps: 5
  • AoE Damage: 5
  • Group Utility: 8
  • Rotation Difficulty: 2
  • RNG Dependant: No
  • Burst: 5
  • Sub 30% Talent or Ability Buffs: Yes

1.2 Gearing & Stats Priority:

  • **Must Have** Accuracy: 110% Force – 100% melee (1% from companion + 3% from talent = 6% from Gear)
  • 0 Alacrity
  • 68-74% Surge
  • 200-400 Critical Rating
  • All other secondary stats in Power
  • **Must Have** Augments: Willpower (Resolve)
  • Relics: Serendipitous Assault & Focused Retribution
  • Alternate Relic: Boundless Ages
  • Set Bonus: 4 piece Stalker’s
  • Lightning Charge

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 200 Critical rating and 400 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 Explanation:

  • Death Field is the most important ability in your rotation; it should always be used on CD, and draining all the Deathmarks before the cooldown expires is imperative. It is one of the few abilities in any class’ single target rotation that hits multiple targets, making it excellent for fights with multiple targets in relatively close proximity. Exploiting this whenever possible and multi-dotting, should it not hamper your strategy for the fight, is a great dps buff. It is affected by a variety of talents:
    1. Fanaticism: Reduces the cost by 20
    2. Deathmark: Leaves 15 charges of Deathmark on the target. Each charge is consumed to increase the damage dealt by a periodic ability by 20%
    3. Creeping Death: Increases critical damage by 30%
    4. Devour: Increases its healing component by 100%
    5. Bloodletting: Increases damage dealt by 15% to targets under 30% HP
  • Discharge as Madness spec applies one of your dots to the target, making it the equivalent of Affliction for Madness Sorcerers. It deals significant damage, with a low cost and long duration, and should be kept up on your target at all times. It is affected by a variety of talents:
    1. Parasitism: Each critical strike restores 1% HP
    2. Force Horrors: Increases damage dealt by 9%
    3. Raze: Melee attacks on targets affected by your Discharge have a 60% chance to finish the CD of Crushing Darkness, and causing the next Crushing Darkness to be instant and cost no Force
    4. Creeping Death: Increases critical damage by 30%
    5. Bloodletting: Increases damage dealt by 15% on targets under 30% HP
  • Creeping Terror is one of your most important dots to keep on the target. It has a low cost and deals high damage, but also has a 9 second CD, making it difficult to dot multiple targets with. It is affected by a variety of talents:
    1. Parasitism: Each critical strike restores 1% HP
    2. Force Horrors: Increases damage dealt by 9%
    3. Creeping Death: Increases critical damage by 30%
    4. Bloodletting: Increases damage dealt by 15% on targets under 30% HP
  • Crushing Darkness is another important dot to maintain. However, unlike the other two, it deals immediate damage on cast and has a faster duration of 8 seconds, as well as a CD that should be refreshed by the Raze talent. Crushing Darkness is usually used to burn the majority of Deathmark charges, not because it is a more powerful effect, as it is not, but because you need to burn all 15 charges before using your next Death Field to maximise its damage potential. Holding a Crushing Darkness to allow for the previous dot effect to expire should not cause a dps loss, considering your next procs may be delayed as well. It is affected by a variety of talents:
    1. Parasitism: Each critical strike restores 1% HP
    2. Force Horrors: Increases damage dealt by 9%
    3. Raze: Melee attacks on targets affected by your Discharge have a 60% chance to finish the CD of Crushing Darkness, and causing the next Crushing Darkness to be instant and cost no Force
    4. Lingering Nightmares: Increases the duration by 2 seconds
    5. Creeping Death: Increases critical damage by 30%
    6. Bloodletting: Increases damage dealt by 15% on targets under 30% HP
  • Assassinate is your sub 30% ability. It is the most powerful ability you have, and with such a short cooldown, should be used as often as possible to capitalise on its excellent damage output. It is only affected by one talent:
    1. Torment: Reduces cost by 2
  • Thrash is your filler and spam ability, and as such it will be the ability that you will be using for most of each fight between Death Field cooldowns and dotting. It decent damage, with a moderate Force cost, but importantly triggers some of your talents. While using this ability, you have to be careful not to drain too much Force, as delaying your more powerful abilities while waiting for your Force to regenerate will cause you to suffer a significant dps loss over time. It is affected by multiple talents:
    1. Torment: Reduces cost by 2
    2. Claws of Decay: Increases critical damage by 50%
    3. Thrashing Blades: Increases damage dealt by 6%

1.5 Ability Nomenclature and Rotation Priority:

  1. Death Field: DF
  2. Discharge: DS
  3. Creeping Terror: CT
  4. Crushing Darkness (proc): Crush
  5. Assassinate: AT
  6. Thrash: TH
  7. Saber Strike

Offensive Cooldowns:

  1. Recklessness: RE
  2. Overcharge Saber: OS

1.6 Opening Rotation:

Note: Recklessness is one of the few cooldowns in the game that gives you charges to use over time instead of a passive bonus. This means that the cooldown of the ability will start running as soon as you activate it, so the trick for opener is to pop Recklessness before the pull happens (maybe during ready check) and by the time the fight starts, you will still have enough time to use both your stacks before they expire, and will have drained 10-15 seconds of the cooldown timer already.

Pre-cast RE + Stealth + Adrenal / Relic / Overcharge Saber / DF + DS + CT + TH + Crush (proc) + TH + Force Cloak + TH spam + Crush (proc) + DF + CT


1.7 Rotation Strategy:

Madness Assassins rely heavily on their dots and fast Crushing Darkness procs, with a very simple rotation. Discharge and Creeping Terror should always be up on your target, Death Field should be used on CD and so should Crushing Darkness due to Raze procs. There may be cases where your Crushing Darkness procs and you still have a few seconds remaining on the existing Crushing Darkness dot on the target, in which case you should refrain from casting it until the previous instance wears off. Deathmark charges are also an important part of the rotation, as not only do they increase your dps but they also help regenerate Force. Thrash is your filler ability, and you should be spamming it when everything is else on CD. Assassinate should also be used on CD when your target is below 30% HP.

15-20 second rotation (10-14 GCDs, no opener). Considering 2 possible cases:

Above 30% HP, full ability rotation:

DF + TH + DS + TH + CT + Crush (proc) + TH spam + Crush (proc) + DF


Below 30% HP, full ability rotation:

DF + TH + DS + AT + CT + Crush (proc) + TH / AT spam + Crush (proc) + DF


Video showing the use of the opener and rotation for Madness Assassin DPS


1.8 AoE Rotation:

The AoE capabilities of an Assassin are unfortunately pretty terrible, and one of the worst out of any class. Madness gets an advantage through Death Field, which you should be using anyway, and provides a good boost when multiple targets are nearby. Beside that, however, the rest isn’t very good. Overload can be used if you want to do some instant damage against a group of targets that are immune to physics, and considering Lacerate’s awful damage output and high cost, sometimes it’s best just to Overload to do some quick AoE to help finish off some adds, rather than burning all of your force for little return. Lacerate does have a talent that will trigger your lightsaber Charge on a different internal CD to your other attacks, so with luck you can get multiple procs to help boost your dps. Unfortunately, your Charge doesn’t do much damage by itself, so this small buff to an already weak ability is not particularly fantastic. You are often better off just using Death Field and focusing a single target.

1.9 Sample Parse Analysis:


  • Thrash is your most common ability, and as such will generally be your highest overall damage dealing ability as well. Although its individual damage is not amazing, it’s really the only thing you’ll be using between dots and Death Field.
  • Crushed is the dot component of your Crushing Darkness. It has an improved duration in this spec and deals considerably higher damage with Deathmark, so it should be in second place for damage dealt.
  • Creeping Terror is one of the two dots you should have on the target at all times, and considering it has a 30 meter range, there is rarely an excuse to not have it active. It should be taking the third spot in your damage dealt.
  • Death Field is your most important ability, not only due to its own high damage, but also due to the Deathmark charges which will buff your dots. Its long CD reduces the amount of damage it can deal throughout a fight, however on a single target fight it should usually be in fourth place (note that Death Field and Shocked can sometimes switch in place as they deal similar % of the total damage)
  • Shocked is the dot effect of your Discharge, and is the second dot that requires consistent uptime. This dot, however, can be applied to multiple targets, as it has no CD. Since this ability will always have constant activity, it should generally be doing around the same percentage of damage. Used on a single target boss fight, it should be taking fifth place in your overall damage.
  • Saber Strike is your only free ability other than a Crushing Darkness proc, so it’s usually used between Thrashes to conserve Force for more important abilities. The utility of this ability is key in your rotation, because having higher Thrash damage and lower Saber Strike damage usually means that you spent Force on Thrash that you should have been conserving for more important abilities, often causing dots or Death Field to also have a lower damage percentage, and your dps being lower. It should be dealing a low amount of damage, generally taking sixth place.
  • Crushing Darkness damage dealt should be in sync with your Crushed damage. If your Crushed damage is where it should be, then the initial damage from Crushing Darkness should be too. It is usually above Assassinate, depending on the duration of the fight and mechanics.
  • Assassinate is a necessary ability once your target is below 30%, and it replaces Thrash whenever it’s available. Even with its limited use, it’s a hard hitting ability and very important in any Assassin rotation. In a regular single target fight, it should be under Crushing Darkness damage, but above the damage dealt by your final two abilities.
  • Lightning Charge and Lightning Burns are your last two components, and there is nothing you can really do to alter their damage, as they are from passive proc chances through your lightsaber Charge and talents. They usually deal around the same percentage of damage each fight, and you cannot improve their damage dealt as they are purely based off of procs


You can observe that the majority of your damage should be dealt by Energy / Kinetic sources, which is mitigated more by boss armor and gains more benefit from an armor reduction debuff, while the remainder comes from Internal damage dealt by Death Field and Creeping Terror, so this is a spec that gains a significant benefit from an armor reduction debuff. It is also worth noting when comparing parses between Assassins and Shadows that there will be disparity between sources of Energy and Kinetic damage, due to their ability mechanics, however this doesn’t impact on mitigation, as both are mitigated by boss armor in the same manner. It is also worth noting that close to half of your damage dealt is done by melee attacks, and the remainder comes entirely from Force attacks.

1.10 Tips And Tricks:

  • Deathmark is the most important part of the Madness rotation, and it should be used properly, consuming all charges before re-applying. The 3 dots work differently from one another; Creeping Terror ticks on use and does the highest damage per tick, Discharge also ticks on use but does slightly less damage per tick than Creeping Terror, and Crushing Darkness does the lowest damage, but ticks every second for 8 seconds. As such, the theory to optimize damage would be that Discharge and Creeping Terror should burn as many Deathmarks as possible to gain a larger damage buff, but they will not be able to use all 15 stacks, so Crushing Darkness will help drain the remaining stacks of Deathmark while letting the other two dots consume the majority. Since Crushing Darkness has an 8 second dot, but the internal cooldown on its proc is only 7.5 seconds, make sure that you allow your previous Crushing Darkness to finish ticking before applying your next one, as well as attempting to drain all of the Deathmark charges before your next Death Field becomes available.
  • Force Cloak and the Dark Embrace buff that it grants is a useful trick for the initial rotation, however its benefit is significantly less substantial as part of your regular rotation during a fight. It is wiser to hold the cooldown on your Force Cloak in case the group needs a stealth rez, which is a large part of your utility as an Assassin.
  • Phase Walk can be a really useful travel mechanic to move you around the room quickly to avoid mechanics and transitions, as well as to maximise your dps by significantly decreasing travel time. If you don’t know whether or not you will use it, try to drop it somewhere you think is smart location, and it may still grant you some benefit. You are better off taking the chance and perhaps not using it than dying because you couldn’t avoid a mechanic in time.
  • Force Shroud is a fantastic defensive CD that you should maximise your use of, as you can completely avoid some of the most devastating attacks and mechanics in a boss fight, which can give a significant helping hand to your healers when they need it most.


Deception (5 / 36 / 5 )


2.1 Rates (1-10):

  • Single Target Dps: 6
  • AoE Damage: 3
  • Group Utility: 7
  • Rotation Difficulty: 10
  • RNG Dependant: Yes
  • Burst: 10
  • Sub 30% Talent or Ability Buffs: Yes

2.2 Gearing & Stats Priority:

  • **Must Have** Accuracy: As close to 440 Accuracy rating as possible
  • 0 Alacrity
  • 70-77% Surge
  • 350-530 Critical Rating
  • All other secondary stats in Power
  • **Must Have** Augments: Willpower (Resolve)
  • Relics: Serendipitous Assault & Focused Retribution
  • Alternate Relic: Boundless Ages
  • Set bonus: 4 piece Stalker’s
  • Surging Charge

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 350 Critical rating and 530 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

2.4 Ability Explanation:

  • Discharge while in Surging Charge has a different mechanic from Madness, so instead of being a dot it is an instant damage ability, however its damage depends on how many Static Charges you have built, up to a maximum of 3 charges. Using it while at 3 stacks is a must, and delaying it will often lead to a dps loss. It is affected by a variety of talents:
    1. Surging Charge: Each time Surging Charge deals damage, it builds 1 stack of Static Charge
    2. Electric Ambush: Recklessness has a 100% chance to build 3 Static Charges on use
    3. Sith Executioner: Increases damage dealt by 6% to targets under 30% HP
    4. Crackling Blasts: Increases critical strike damage dealt by 50%
  • Maul is one of your most important abilities. It should only be used with a Duplicity proc, increasing its damage done and reducing cost. However it is very low on the priority list due to the fact that you cannot override one proc with another. Since the internal cooldown is exactly the same length as the duration of the proc.
    1. Assassin’s Mark: Increases damage dealt by 6%
    2. Induction: Increases critical strike damage dealt by 30%, and grants Induction, reducing the cost of your next Shock by 25%, up to 2 stacks
    3. Duplicity: Direct damage attacks have a 30% chance to proc duplicity, reducing the cost of your next Maul by 75% and increasing its damage by 30%, with a 6 second internal CD
    4. Sith Executioner: Increases damage dealt by 6% to targets under 30% HP
  • Shock is considered to be your most important ability, in combination with Discharge, and should be used on whenever you have 2 induction procs unless you already have 3 Static Charges. It deals decent damage, procs your lightsaber Charge, essentially improving its damage and giving you Static Charges, and can be quite low cost. It is affected by a variety of talents:
    1. Chain Shock: 45% chance to trigger a second Shock that deals 50% damage
    2. Induction: Each stack reduces its cost by 25%, up to 2 stacks
    3. Sith Executioner: Increases damage dealt by 6% to targets under 30% HP
    4. Crackling Blasts: Increases critical strike damage dealt by 50%
    5. Voltaic Slash: Each Voltaic Slash generates a stack of Voltage, giving Shock a 50% chance to trigger your Surging Charge off its normal rate limit, up to 2 stacks
  • Voltaic Slash is your general filler ability, allowing you to buff your Shock with Voltage, which should be up as often as possible, triggering Induction to lower Shock cost, and dealing decent damage. It is affected by a variety of talents:
    1. Sith Executioner: Increases damage dealt by 6% to targets under 30% HP
    2. Induction: Grants Induction, reducing the cost of your next Shock by 25%, up to 2 stacks
    3. Thrashing Blades: Increases damage dealt by 6%
    4. Torment: Reduces cost by 2
  • Assassinate is your sub 30% damage ability, and should replace Voltaic Slash whenever it’s available. The only reason it’s below Voltaic Slash on the priority list is because you have to keep the Voltage buff up permanently, meaning that eventually you may have to delay the use of Assassinate by a GCD to refresh your Voltage buff. The only abilities that should be used ahead of Assassinate are a 3 stack Discharge, and Voltaic Slash (only to maintain Voltage). If Assassinate is up during a Duplicity proc, Assassinate should be used first and Duplicity delayed, due to its long internal cooldown. It is affected by several talents:
    1. Induction: Grants Induction, reducing the cost of your next Shock by 25%, up to 2 stacks
    2. Sith Executioner: Increases damage dealt by 6% to targets under 30% HP, and reduces cost by 10
    3. Torment: Reduces cost by 2

2.5 Opening Rotation:

I personally prefer to open with Stealth + Recklessness / Adrenal + Discharge  + Shock + Voltaic Slash + Voltaic Slash + Maul (proc) OR Voltaic Slash + Discharge + Shock +  Blackout > follow rules (see below)


Another opener would be Stealth  + Voltaic Slash + Voltaic Slash +  Recklessness/Adrenal  + Discharge  + Shock + Voltaic Slash + Maul (proc) OR Voltaic Slash + Blackout + Voltaic Slash + Shock > follow rules  


2.6 Rotation Strategy:

Now let’s talk “Rotations”

The reason for using the quotes is because there isn’t really much of a rotation for Assassins. It’s all about interpreting your momentum the right way. I will explain exactly what I mean by that now.

For Assassins, I like to explain the damage sequence as a set of rules that you should follow but you CAN “cheat” them if you find yourself in a unique situation.

The first rule, ALWAYS use Discharge the moment you get 3 Static charges. Not doing so might result in procs that will only retrigger the duration of the 3 stack proc. But they are effectively “lost” This can still be a good thing though, if you need to save your burst for a couple of seconds for example. You might want to hold off on using your Discharge. But only then.

The second rule, ONLY use your Shock with 2 Induction procs. Not doing so will result in force starvation before Blackout is back. Forcing you to use more Saber Strikes than you should. Once again this rule can be cheated if you find yourself in a massive overflow of force. For example at the opener.

The third rule, keep your Voltaic Slash buff up at all times. This rule should not be cheated and is pretty much a holy grail. Sometimes you will find yourself using extra Voltaic Slashes to ensure you do not overcap force. This is when you are in the middle of a Shock cooldown and havn’t got anything more force consuming to use. If however you find yourself overcapping and Discharge becomes available, Discharge still has priority.

The fourth rule, use your Maul only with a Duplicity proc. It is also at the bottom of your priority list because while the proc is up, another cannot trigger due to internal cooldown. It replaces one of your Voltaic Slashes in between Shock’s cooldown when it triggers. Allowing you to save 13 force. Which you will need to last the entire 45 seconds of Blackout cooldown.

The fifth rule, Assassinate on cooldown. The only ability that takes priority over Assassinate is Discharge. Once you enter the burn phase, you will pretty much stop using Saber Strike entirely and switch to using Assassinate, Voltaic Slash and Maul in between every Shock cooldown. However you should delay Shock for Discharge/Assassinate if it comes to that.

Now before we continue I wish to add a little explanation as to how Shock really works in conjunction to the rest of your abilities. Basically, when you use Shock, you have EXACTLY 3 GCDs to get 2 Induction and once you have that you should stop using attacks that trigger Induction.

For example: You are at 60 force, you have a Duplicity proc and need to refresh Voltaic. You use the Duplicity proc and you refresh Voltaic Slash. After that you Saber Strike to ensure you don’t lose more force than you have to.The order isn’t important unless either buff is prone to expire before you can get the second gcd off. In that case whatever is about to fall off has priority.

This rule is overridden once you get to the burn phase. At that point you just hammer for as long as you have force. Only using a Saber Strike if you think you will run out of force.

2.7 AoE Rotation:

AoE abilities in the Deception tree are the worst in the game, as you don’t have Death Field to compete with Madness, so your only real AoE ability is Lacerate, which has an extremely high cost and deals poor damage. It is often recommended to avoid Lacerate wherever possible, and the only reason Overload is a better choice is because it isn’t expensive. The general AoE rotation is just your single target rotation, using your burst to your favor, pick something that can be easily killed and burn it quickly to reduce your group’s incoming damage.The non-existent setup time gives you an excellent advantage, allowing you to quickly swap targets and damage them straight away.

2.9 Sample Parse Analysis:


  • Voltaic Slash is your most common ability throughout a fight, and its high critical chance gives it an edge on damage dealt above the rest of your abilities, making it generally your highest damaging ability for the duration of a fight.
  • Shock is also used frequently and deals great damage, in addition to the various talents that improve it. It should be taking the second spot in your damage dealt.
  • Maul also hits particularly hard thanks to Duplicity, however it’s less frequently used due to Duplicity’s longer cooldown, though it should still be in third place for your overall damage.
  • Discharge has a similar problem to Maul, as it can only be used after your Static Charges have been built. There should only be a minute difference, a few percent at most, between Shock, Maul and Discharge, giving the spec a nice balance. It often takes fourth place in your damage dealt.
  • Surging Charge is an excellent Charge, with a low proc chance for high damage, but thanks to Voltage Shocks, it is forced to proc more often than it should naturally, despite its long internal cooldown. Depending of course on RNG, the exact percentage will vary, but will often take the fifth spot for your damage dealt.
  • Assassinate is a powerful and cheap ability that gains great benefit from talents. It should be used as often as possible, and its damage essentially depends on how long the fight actually lasts for with targets under 30% HP. On an average single target boss fight, it should do lower damage than your other hard hitting abilities, but higher than Saber Strike and any fillers.
  • Saber Strike is the final components of your parse. Saber Strike is used the most during the two long delays between Blackout and Force Cloak cooldowns, since you won’t regenerate Force as quickly, so accounting for between 2-5% of your damage dealt is often a good number.


You can observe that at least half of your damage dealt is done by melee attacks from your Voltaic Slash, Assassinate, Maul and Saber Strike close to 50%, while the other half comes from Force abilities such as Shock and Discharge. A high proportion of your damage dealt, usually around 70%, is done by Energy / Kinetic damage which is highly mitigated by armor, making your armor penetration talent and any armor reduction buffs very useful. The other 30% is Internal damage from Discharge and your Saber Charge. It is also worth noting when comparing parses between Assassins and Shadows that there will be disparity between sources of Energy and Kinetic damage, due to their ability mechanics, however this doesn’t impact on mitigation, as both are mitigated by boss armor in the same manner.

2.10 Tips and Tricks:

  •  Phase Walk can be a really useful travel mechanic to move you around the room quickly to avoid mechanics and transitions, as well as to maximise your dps by significantly decreasing travel time. If you don’t know whether or not you will use it, try to drop it somewhere you think is smart location, and it may still grant you some benefit. You are better off taking the chance and perhaps not using it than dying because you couldn’t avoid a mechanic in time.
  • Force Shroud is a fantastic defensive CD that you should maximise your use of, as you can completely avoid some of the most devastating attacks and mechanics in a boss fight, which can give a significant helping hand to your healers when they need it most.
  • Using Blackout and exiting stealth both trigger Dark Embrace, and exiting stealth also finishes the CD on Blackout, so if you time it and use your abilities correctly in your opening rotation, you can have 24 seconds’ worth of consecutive Dark Embrace regeneration, and 12 seconds during a regular rotation.
  • The cooldown on Recklessness drops by 1 minute each time you exit combat, which is triggered whenever you use Force Cloak. Because of this, the increased Force regeneration, the cooldown reset of Blackout and the ability to use Spike to cause a Duplicity proc, Force Cloak becomes a very important part of your rotation.
  • Remember that while Shock buffed with Voltage will trigger Surging Charge and guarantee a Static Charge stack for Discharge, Shock without Voltage does not have a separate rate limit for Static Charge gains. This means you can get Static Charge from all of your other attacks, plus from Shock’s buffed separate rate limit.Even making it possible for Shock to trigger 2 Static Charge procs on its own. One from the rate limit and one from Voltaic.

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 4 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.

  • Single-Target Threat Drop (E.g. Cloud Mind): This type of threat drop specifically functions only for your threat against your current target. If you use your Cloud Mind on a target, your threat on all other enemies will remain the same. Each use will lower your threat by a percentage of your total.
  • AoE Threat Drop (E.g. Chaff Flare | Diversion): Unlike targeted threat drops, using these abilities will lower your threat on all enemies and not only your current target. Similarly to single-target threat drops, 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.

Evolixe is a well known Shadow/Assassin player residing on Tomb of Freedon Nadd. Mostly known for PvP experiences, recently joining into the PvE scene and quickly picking up Nightmare level raiding. Currently recordholder of multiple Infiltration/Deception DPS world records on latest content bosses.

By Dulfy

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

159 replies on “SWTOR Madness and Deception Assassin DPS Class Guide”

Single Target Rating 4 and 5… I guess that means you think dps assassins are not viable in ops?

Is Deception’s single target dps really just slightly above their AoE? DPS? single target rated 4 and aoe rated 3?

we have some very good assassin in our guild and they can do a lot of damage. I think they write 4 because of the difficulties of the rotation, if you do not it right you miss lot of DPS.

I agree, if you want to do good dps, you need to do almost perfectly your rotation, but this vote wouldn’t be affected by difficulty of tree. (if you want you can add a new voice “difficulty” or “skill cap lvl”) or write a range.

you cant compare one rating with other, comparing X with O is not the same, you have to compare X with X, therefor you have to compare single target dmg dealt from this spec Vs single target dmg dealt from other spec…. then compare AoE with AoE from different spec…. there is no synergy or anything in common between single target / AoE ratings, since AoE are more standarized between specs they are usually more 10-7-4… while Single target per spec is has more variables from many abilities, so what is single target 8 for MM sniper is 6 for leth sniper, when AoE could be 8 for both since most AoE abilities are shared.

also nothing in this guides says something is nto viable or usable, people has to stop being extremist, is getting irritating at some point just like assassin tanks, apparently stating that they are the best off tanks, i wanted to say “this class sucks dont use it, they cant main tank dont use it” lol thats not what it says… 5 is the average, few “bad specs” have a 5, 4 is a bit below average but still usefil, it is not a 1-2… yet you cant compare with any other classes, there is 1 good parsing shadow/ssin on torparse and in the whole game since 2.0… and in dummy they fall behind really bad too, so there is not much to say they are really an “average” class to play and overcomplicated… you can take a bad used sniper / mara and still probably do higher numbers than a decently/good used assassin (talking of course on average random player).

an overall good guide (for BiS stats is better to say ratings instead % (especially for accuracy rating you can have 100.2% and 100.5% with more than 100 accuracy rating points between them)
Rotation is good but 2 points imho aren’t optimal :
1. Recklessness doesn’t break Stealth, the better thing is to do Spike and see if a Discharge stack pops up or not (if not, Recklessness) so you don’t waste any stack.
2.Low Slash has been tryed and tryed by many main Shadows (me either) and is better to don’t use it on rotation UNLESS you have a burst phase (ex: kephess ‘s knoxkback on tfb hm) so you want to use Maul asap and many as you can.
Last thing : you must use Maul while you have up the buff gives you +9% melee crit chance (forgot the name on Madness Tree) it pops each Force crits;that is not so difficult to do cause you can wait up to 9s to use Maul,so that better thing is to use maul after shock (if 3 stacks, discharge too) especially cause you don’t waste a stack of Induction.
that’s all.

In my experiences, I had good results with using Low Slash. I consistently do more average dps if I use Low Slash followed by a Maul/Shadow Strike on every LS cooldown (of course, if I already have the Maul proc I use it before using LS and another Maul). Doing so makes Maul the highest damaging ability in my parses and my average dps goes around 5%-7% higher.

eheh yes, you can do more damage but you will have problems of Force, in certain fights it’s a good thing but for example on nefra I’m pretty sure you can do better, top parsers doesn’t use LS.
Also how many fights did you try with and without LS? Because our dps is sooo variable. (depends how much crit rating)

Indeed I only parsed a few fights and I’m sure I’m not even close to the top parsers nor I intend to ever be! 🙂 probably because I fail to master any of the tricky details of the Deception/Infiltration build, like the buffed melee crit chance or something. So for me it seemed easier to learn to use LS more than to master other details.

Maybe this is the point… to be a top Infiltration Shadow/ Deception Assassin one must practice to perfection the use of all the buffs, but if you want to be just good and not try NiM ops the rotation with LS may be easier to learn and more effective than a non-optimal rotation without it. 🙂

that’s the point: you need many and many try to see differences of dps because one time you can do 1000,next time 1200.
Mm I disagree about LSrotation is easier o.O why? Imho it’s more difficult! try to think.. without LS you have one less skill to use and one less CD to manage! isn’t it?;) I guess if you will try many times no LS rotation you will agree with me 😀 at the end Deception isn’t difficult rotation. 5 dmg dealers to manage.. is difficult to MIN MAX! and that’s is a different thing.

I meant it can be easier to learn how to be effective with LS even if its one more ability to use because managing a CD is much easier than managing a buff – it’s very easy to see when an ability gets off CD but the buffs are sometimes easy to miss ’cause there are so much of them active in a real figh.

But i agree with you that maybe if I had the time to train a lot of times I would become better with the no LS rotation and all, but I’m a casual player and the little time I have to play I prefer to have fun trying new alts than practicing many times with the same class. 🙂 And I don’t intend to become good enough to try NiM ops, just good enough to have fun with SM ops and maybe try a HM eventually.

I guess what I’m saying is that to become really good, then yes, you have to practice until you learn to manage the buffs well. But if you just want to be good enough to do SM ops or HM fps comfortably, maybe you can try with and without Low Slash in the rotation and see what works better for your personal style. Because of that I think it’s valid that the guide points out the posibility to use LS as something to be tryed.

Yeah that’s a fair point so. the first thing is to have fun 🙂 btw on FPs I use LS too.

Ive also tried LS both on dummy and in raids and i have to agree with everyone else, it drain force so much that you lose dps on other skills like Voltaic Slash and end up as a dps loss, not gain. Using it in burst phase or in high force regen time is good tho.

for recklessness considering u using on the opener, i like to pop before as i can take 10-15 secs of CD before starting the fight to optimize as the buff wont run out and CD timer starts going,

low lash is not recommended to be used in the single target rotation, it is stated to be used for burst or specific cases like this being last in the priority list under abilities without a CD (AKA Voltaic slash) Pretty much removes the use of it on regular rotation.

that is a nice tip as far as maul, thaanks!

Could you please give Recommended Crit rating as a percent in addition to number? Counting it up is awkward.

crit rating changes Tier for Tier, more surge you have, more crit rating you want. In full 78 you need 450 or more crit rating (McKnight wrote is working good with 500+). more crit you have, less variable of dps . the difference imho will not so Consistent,just take which you want but stay on the right range (I mean 100 crit rating is wrong)

I meant tiers of gear so:
full 72 – 399crit rating
full 75 – 441 crit rating
full 78 – actually i wrote 441 crit rating cuz crit is going a bit high and on range of 441 – 482 there is a really small change on dps.
obv if u have 450 for example is still good, 480 too.

The fact is more crit less variable dps for us and we must see if it’s good thing to stack over 550 crit rating (mrknighraider actually said it’s work great) but I’m not playing so much atm cuz I’m playing FF14 and just doing some pvp

the minimum i would recommend is 28%, but 31%+ bring better consistent numbers.
Sev’ra, Tempest, PoT5, and still in the top 10 of most SnV fights. xD

P.S. It will require hours of test to be sure, like it took me to find the perfect balance post 2.0 back in April last year

ssins dont have any crit boost talents that i remember right away, so counting rating is actually easier than %, it is a class that benefit a lot maybe even more than others from crit as well as has high crit itself from talent, so 300-500 is a great point to start with and do your own tests :).

Out of curiosity, have either of you tried out M-Knightrider’s spec of 3/18/25? He’s posted an AMR in response to parse threads, and has put up excellent DpS as an assassin which I know is not standard. You can see some of his parses in the dummy rankings, or in the 8-man DF/DP rankings here:

Inox, if you may want to weigh in as well, I know that your guide and expertise has primarily been deception, and while this hybrid is more madness heavy, his numbers are extremely impressive.

Oh I’m trying it! It’s like old balance without a dot! It’s more fun the full balance and for boss with some “holes” It’s slightly better than full balance (instead, on nefra, balance out performes hybrid one). Btw He will release a 3d on swtor forum of balance a dormire hybrid as you can.

mmm i saw his dummy leaderboard and its pure madness, as well as the rest same with deception, the honorable mention for hybrid is down below from other person but not really good enough to be taken in consideration, as they have officially stated they dont want any hybrid class going on, if this was the case for higher dmg they will probably nerf it or limit, also that seems like a weird spec a class that does so low dmg in comparison and main purpose are under 30% not taking any of those talents seems weird. anyways riders parse on leaderboards is ful madness, even if it says infiltration as far as his AMR as well as other parses below him.

Actually there is very nice hybrid spec with the sorcerer, but I will wait to post it when the guide come out 😀

hybrid spec for sorc used to be good, now is shadowed by lightning spec, and even madness seem to be doing more, so we were not going to waste time on proposing a hybrid that would under perform vs other full tier specs, unless we see somehow parsing up to the top with a hybrid, we wont be adding it to the guides 😀

hybrid does slightly better than full balance in many fights. (McKnight infos) and it outperformes Infiltration each fights.

He links his AMR profile here: showing the exact gear and spec he raids in, and on page 3 has his reasoning. The 3/18/25 parses are top notch in the 8m HM raid leaderboards I have linked in my OP, although it is maybe only an honorable mention on the dummy parses. His reasoning is that it takes less setup time and provides him with better burst which gives him an advantage in fights such as Draxus, Zero and Brontes.

He also states:
>Full Balance is still better when you can get good uptime on targets, but when there’s even just a little target switching or relatively low HP things to kill, I think 3/18/25 is better.

this is an interesting spec, it seems like it works, but like you say works better on multi target fights that benefit from AoE as well, as madness is not good for multi target, and deception can be overly complicated for aoE groups, doing a hybrid for such situations is a nice touch, anyways i believe for this specific spec he might be using too much crit, as he is not taking madness crit talent, neither he is taking discharge / shock talent, just maul get benefit from crits, neither he is getting any kind of under 30% buff, hes doing really impressive with that, but it seems like it is more his skill than how good the spec is, judging by the amount of splash dmg the spec has for death field in combination with crushing darkness + voltaic slash / discharge dot it seems like he is using it really well but for certain fights in specific, just by looking at it, it seems like more burst than full madness but less than deception, no under 30% buff or half the crit buffs (for such high crit rating), multiple Dots from discharge + death field + less setup and more burst coming from Maul its what i guess hes aiming for, either way seems like a really interesting but kind of weird hybrid, lets see if he post a good dummy parse oor different boss fights that way we can analyze it and try it.
judging by the talents it seems like most of the dmg in those fights come from quick easy to kill enemies (adds/fingers), while lacking real Boss steady dmg as he post there madness is still better on dps if you have the time to use it, this is with the under 30% talent, without it madness would drop down to like 3400, so judging by this, the times hes not raping adds, hes dps in the boss like brontes last phase or pushing p2 would be really really low.

lets remember the numbers are good and the utility of the spec, but also remember you want to beat a boss fight not do high numbers, i am pretty sure he will probably analyze that when nightmare drops, as doing more dps not necessary mean you are helping more the boss fight, doing more splash aoe dmg and quick dmg on adds that would otherwise probably be killed by a os/flyby or death from above or any class more suited for it , eventually reducing their utility for those abilities plus greatly reducing your dmg to beat a boss fight, great dmg on adds – bad dmg on boss, will also delay boss kill and tight enrage timers on the actual boss.

then again i am just judging here from the talent trees, hes by far the best shadow in the world playing his class, and hes probably the one that has kept the faith up for ssin/shadows in PvE, so he knows what hes doing, maybe if we see more of this going to dummy and more single target fights, it is worth a written guide, lets see what he keeps surprising us with :D.

Understandable. It is definitely intriguing, and part of why I ask is it is one of the only Advanced Classes that I have no raiding experience with but am intrigued to bring to alt runs. Due to this, I doubt I will ever play it at a level anywhere near Mknight, inox, or many other players out there, and its probably not a spec worth pursuing hehe. I’m looking forward to seeing what you post for Sorc DPS though.

Ive tried many builds but full madness is still the best for most of the fights (3487 on dummy) any other builds arent good if a boss has little bit complicated mechanics. I dont have ori implants and not the best relic so I can go little bit higher

will need more tests and good performances so we can actually have time to analyze it and use it, sor far until now is just someones invention that seems to be working on some boss fights, lets see how it keeps improving :D.

They’re the worst dps Adv.Class….but yet, it’s Operative/Soundrel DPS that is getting buffed in 2.6. REALLY, Bioware?

lol this is a nice comment, but i find it kind of fun, considering half the feedback/comments we get say we are “destroying” assassins, but even their own people agree they are on the bottom of the tier and numbers do too, which is amusing since people want me to say they are just as viable as marauder dps for example when there is barely 1-3 good shadows out there competitively lol.

Lol I agree, I See too much whine about Infiltration. You can see my own comments where I explain that devs don’t know what to do etc, not because I want a buff but the 2.5 “buff” is useless, senseless.: if you want to buff a class, just do it right. That buff for scoundrel hasn’t a sense, I don’t care about the buff but I care about motivation of buff. I’m on a good place on my guild and on pvp I rock so for me they can do what they want but not ignore an AC. (sry my English isn’t good.)

ps: and I will never re-roll a new main to follow the best dpser I’ll play shadow infiltration for ever.

Hi there!
Thanks for the guide. I think in the madness tree the opening isn’t the optimum. I use the Overcharge Sabre after all three DoTs are applied, so I don’t have the timer ticking without all three DoTs for some GCDs.

Greetings Kinman

Not sure if it was up on other guides, as I read it here for the first time, but the information regarding the threatdump mechanic on Force Camoflage seems incorrect. From my experience, as well as reading the tooltip description if you hover over it in this guide, it reduces threat of all engaged enemies regardless, not only when an enemy is actively targetting you.

To illustrate, my experience is that if I start going all out on my marauder in the start of a fight without using force camoflage I almost certainly take agro. It doesn’t matter for my dps using it as it’s off the GCD. Me and my guild even tested this frequently and it seemed to function as a general threatdump, not specifically working only if you’re actively targetted. This experience was solidified on some occasions where I forgot using it and I would take agro.

honestly i dont have much experience from this specific case, but this was quoted from our main carnage marauder who could be considered one of the best 3 probably, his skills and knowledge are impressive, and he quoted that the threat drop just like other parts of the ability (usign camo on DG nim pre nerf would not reduce any dmg from the explosion for example… Dark shroud / saber reflect wont always work on attacks it should either) so given the unreliability of the use of this ability, to guarantee a 100% chance of working that is how it should be used, either way it doesnt respect GCD and you have 1 channeled ability only, which ravage in any case would actually be the Aggro stealer (as carnage) so using it when stealing aggro, would not really mean you having to stop doing something, and as it is also explained in the threat drop thing, using it before first taunt or before stealing aggro from initial threat is not recommended either.

then again this is also open to more tests to give a more accurate or log info on how / when it works or it doesnt.

Agreed, in my experience force camo is a general threat drop whether you’re being targeted or not. Parsec threat meter shows that each use of force camo drops my threat consistently even if I was never targeted by the boss at the moment when force camo was used. If FC is used on cooldown I’ll often end up with 0 threat even with gigh dps + damage done.

Actually there is another info to share, death marks procs and goes down even with affliction of other players.

this is true in all specs and lethality / sorc / ssin deatdhmark and weakening blast, guessed it should be basic knowledge for a raider since its been like that since day 1 and never been fixed lol, but its a nice idea we will add that.

Sad, I know is there from day one, but trust me there are people that don’t know about that. 😀
(And i think we will never see a fix) :v

I agree that Shadow/Assassin DPS is more difficult than other classes, specially in the Infiltration/Deception tree, but when you say “it is difficult to justify using an Assassin when other classes are available” I think it’s a strong affirmation that will scare new players and not necessarilly true. This may be true for Nightmare ops, even for HM ops may be the case depending on the ability of the group but for every other content in the game, including SM ops and HM FPs, a well geared and trained Shadow/Assassin can be effective enough to help the group without trouble. And it’s a fun class to play!

So if you want to DPS in the hardest content of the game, then yes, maybe you should consider trying other DPS classes, but if you just want to have fun and not necessarily have Nightmares ;-), it’s perfectly viable to play a Shadow/Assassin and have lots of fun! 😀

I think that you must play what YOU LIKE. why so many people choose a class just for its performance? ffs. all classes are viable! stop.

3500 DPS as a sin?? I am sorry but that just does not seem right. All your parses seem to add to the same DPS and anyone playing this game will tell you the classes do not have the same DPS. The guides are a great idea but fake parses just cheapen it a bit

A lot of the parses are people who change their numbers to get on the leaderboards. I run a Sin in HM/NiM mode ops and the parse up there is not real. It would be nice to see the parses from the videos. Again I really like these and i think they are a great idea, I just know my class and 3.5k is either a short 2 min parse or someone changed the text file. Love your site and all your hard work, Dulfy you are awesome

Not a fake, i parse roughly 3200 and i am not fully optimized on gear yet. Sure, some parses you fuck something up and land at a lower number but i can certainly see that you could clock 3500 with full 78 optimized gear and a good run on the dummy.

It is definitely real. Scour the log all you want, it checks out. You might think it’s insane (and the people who can hit those numbers are pretty good at the class), but it’s doable. My personal best is just shy of 3300, and just shy of the leaderboards right now. I know its possible with a little luck, and really well optimized gear.

hard choice, madness is a bit above now, not only for dmg, but utility higher AoE and way easier rotation, but deception is there, either way this specs on dummy and overall dps is really low ir requires a lot of skill and boss fight knowledge to exploit all the utilities to do numbers such as rider on leaderboards, deception has way too many small tricks to use as well as to optimize, it can often be too hard to play it well, and often played bad is not good enough :S.

I play deception, play it bad, and I’m a happy man. I tried madness and it was…madness. Seemed more complicated to me than deception, actually 😀
For as long as you don’t compete for NiM world firsts, just play whatever you like the most. Chances are you’ll do better than trying to play whatever is considered “higher dps spec” but does not fit you.

Imho balance is more difficult Cuz dot management in this game… sux :v and if you have 2 Shadows balance (or a sage)? GL! Maybe I see Deception easier Cuz I always played it from day1.. but with this UI.. for me it’s harder to play balance.

Balance Sages are no Problem (not any worse then the other threetrillion debuffs especially in 16man) mind crush (Crushing Darkness) Dot damage is so weak clipping that doesn’t make a notable difference so just reapply it when it fits into your Rotation,
sever Force (creeping terror) is normally used one filler GCD behind Force Breach (Discharge) anyway and the Icon for FB is unique (not sure about the Discharge Icon)
it might even make Sense to clip Crushing Darkness on purpose to feed more of the 2×15 stacks (one shadow and one Sage) to the stronger Sever Force(creeping terror) since each tick will consume one stack of both debuffs -> the stacks are gone in half the Time (actually less)

really bad is only Telekinetics (Lightning) Mind Crush (Crushing Darkness) its the weakest dot for Balance Madness Spec and Telekinetics doesn’t even have the +dmg and +30%surge worse jet they doubletick 30% of the time)
and unlike Balance(Madness) they don’t place their own Force Suppression (Deathmarks) to compensate, they only eat yours.

Clipping DoTs really hurts DPS in Madness. Better to let them consume a debuff stack and have more ticks in total than to try to let stronger Dots consume the stacks and missing out on ticks. The average hit on Rider’s parses for Sever Force wouldn’t make up for the damage of a missed Mind Crush tick, even if it got buffed by 30% AGAIN.

But DoT tracking is pretty awful in this game, and losing debuff stacks to a TK/Lightning Sage/Sorc blows. Especially if it’s just their Weaken Mind/Affliction ticks.

if you have to split your attention not clipping Crushing Darkness is the first thing to ignore. especially if there’s someone else placing a Crushing Darkness Debuff.

Oddly, AskMrRobot has an error in their talent tree: Voltaic Slash doesn’t actually require Impose Weakness or Low Slash.

yes, it actually does. I just double-checked on my sin. It’s definitely a force attack and it definitely consumes a stack. 😛

it wont hurt to double check, but almost sure it doesnt, ive tried several times, then again it is something to easily search right away, give me a minute.

Edit: you my friend, are a genius, i love it when someone give a feedback and is right about it, instead of complaining or trash talking the guide, try to improve it, love you thanks!.

y it’s Force hit but never think that can waste Recklessness cause I use it after Spike. and also if it crits, it add a stack for discharge (for that I use Recklessness after it)

In PvE not realy need to use Spike (talking about boss pulls) But in PvP YOU WANT to use it BEFORE Spike. You have 3stacks of Reclesness(from setbonus) and because Spike actually consumes one stack you imediatelly get Exploitive Strikes buff -> 10%more crit for your Maul and you still have 2more Recl. stacks for you Shock and Discharge! This fanous Recl.->Spike->Maul->Discharge->Shock->Assassinate “wombocombo” is almost uncounterable

why not? free ss with Adrenal up etc is a must. I use Spike then Recklessness Btw.

Overall good guide everything said is valid, only one point.

“Deathmark charges are also an important part of the rotation, as not only do they increase your dps but they also help regenerate Force”

I think this is not valid any more, Lightning Burns which are returning 2 force back are not dependant on Death Field anymore but the procing of Lightning Charge

Very nice gudie, good job guys. But the question about critical rating (talking about PvE)… I found out that when I added at first around 250crit and then 400crit to my gear and tryed it out few times on dummy, my dps went down aproximately 200-250. Same result multiple times on both Madness and Deception. I use full power gear ever since. I am full dreadforged BiS. Assa is my main and I play since Betas… consider me not totaly unexperiened player 😛 Thx for any response 🙂

Well I don’t main a dps, so take this with a grain of salt, but the thing about crit rating is that you generally will get a better number with full power IF you are very very lucky (get crits more than your chance says you should). Crit brings your numbers in so they will be more consistent.

Think of this hypothetical scenario. (Numbers made up). You parse with 1400 power and 25% crit chance but you are crazy lucky and get 32% crits. Then you parse with 1100 power and 32% crit chance and you aren’t so lucky so you get 32% crits again. All else being equal, the first parse is higher, but that’s only cause you out performed your stats. A crit parse can’t do the opposite thing and up your power beyond your real stats by chance- power is power, it’s not RNG based.

BUT the first parse could also have crit let’s say 18% of the time because RNG hates you, while that’s almost impossible with the second parse. So you also won’t get a really bad parse with crit, at least not nearly as often.

That’s why some people love the full power build because if you parse a hundred times your max parse will be better in general, if you have the dedication to wait for that perfect parse where your luck with crits holds for the entire five minutes. But if you have crit, your spread of numbers will be smaller (fewer terrible parses as well as fewer amazing ones). IMO in a real ops fight it’s better to have reliable good dps rather than the chance for a little bit more OR a lot less, which I think is the reasoning behind people starting to take some crit again.

Also if you’re dread forged gear, 400 crit is too much, you have enough mainstat that you’re wasting stats at that point on crit- your chance should be 30+% with 300 rating or less. No idea how long your parses are, but I’d say you got lucky on your power parses to see that kind of difference in just a few parses. Or you could be biased like a lot of people after all the “crit sucks” that was thrown around for a while post 2.0 and aren’t making a fair comparison. Power is still doable and has its fans, but gearing for crit is much easier so there is that 😛

Sin DPS is wildly all over the place, just as jugg dps is. Very rarely will your numbers be consistent time in and time out. Power will obvious yield a less varied field to see your dps, but crit is how you pull those big numbers on a sin dps.

y it can happen but how many tries did u do? 😛
Having high crit btw, is an obvious thing, high crit size => you need to crit often.

This is the most complete and helpful guide I have ever seen on a spec. Thank you for your hard work on it and for making me realize that I was playing one of the most difficult rotations and that’s why it was so hard!

Hey there,

It is a very nice guide, I am currently running a sin in deception spec and I’m only getting 2.6k parse. I think this is very low since I’m in full oriconian with 2pieces of D.F. I was wondering if you knew a good site where I could learn how to min/max my gear and also telling me the stat priority – because I’m pretty sure that it is not bcaus of my rotation. And should I start using madness for pve instead of deception? ~ ty in advance

This guide is massively outdated and needs urgent updating. Wrongful information needs removing and lots needs adjusting. I would advise anyone reading this guide to take it with a grain of salt right now. I have already contacted dulfy administators to make an update on this guide and the Shadows.

Hm what’s wrong to this guide? Or waht’s outdated? Your wrote massively… I’m sure that there are only some points which to need get updated. But you can take this guide and during optimizing your char you will know it what you have to change. Deception guide is totally ok.

No it is not. It is even very far off where it should be in most vital places. Hence an update that should be coming soon.

not everyone can be a shadow specialist like you, just like not everyone can be a vigilance specialist like me

Can some1 Explain me, why Willpower Augs ? There is no talent to rise willpower for 6 or 9% so AP Augs seems to deliver more dps ?

sry assa noob here and german poster hope u understand my english

Because Willpower also gives you crit. If you would go for Power augs you would need more Crit mods. Which cost you Power in return.

I’ll save you the math, but just trust me that if you would go for Power augs, you would actually lose more Power, due to having to get more Crit mods, than you would gain.

Have you all finished updating this (compared to Evolixe’s statment 6 days ago)? I’m thinking about picking up my assassin again because it was so fun and I want to make sure I’m doing it right. Thanks for all the hard work!

It is, but the number 440 is a much better way to put it as it gives you the ability to plan ahead with gearing.

The formulae to determine bonus accuracy is as follows:
Accuracy% boost = 30 x (1 – (29/30)^(Accuracy/66))

Due to 4% base accuracy from talents, and 90/100% accuracy coming by default, 440 accuracy will get you 6.07% accuracy, giving you a total accuracy % of 100.07/110.07. And while 440 is the achievable number, optimal accuracy is actually 435 rating, but is also unobtainable.

I might have misunderstood you now, but I have Accuracy rating 504, and my Accuracy is only 99.84/109.84?

the missing 1% accuracy stems from having finished all conversations with one of the Melee Tank Companions (get one to max affection and talk to him)

that’s another benefit from using rating instead of percentages you notice if something is wrong.

As of right now I am in awe of how insane the changes are looking..
As it stands actually, Madness might be tops. It’ll probably be adjusted before 2.8 goes live.. but yeah Madness is getting some insane love.

Does EA/Bioware offer a suggestions forum of some sort that they take a look at seriously and see if the playerbase has any good ideas for changes? I’ve recently gotten into playing a Deception Assassin, and since my main is a Marauder, I do realize DPS isn’t quite up to par in this current patch. Anyways, I have this idea for a Shock rework; Shock’s base damage is reduced 5-10%, and applies 2 stacks of “Aftershock” (working title) that trigger for bonus damage on the next 2 direct lightning abilities (no Surging Charge procs). Aftershock has a 25 second internal CD, Shock resets in 4 GCDs, and Discharge is available ever 2 or 3 rotations (4 if unlucky), under normal conditions. All numbers are working numbers, this is just to give an idea of what to look at. If a Shock rework like this is even put into alpha testing before live on PTS, I believe this would make everyone happy in all aspects of the game. Early levels, there’s more incentive to use Shock without Recklessness, since Maul has higher base damage, and I can’t see why any DPS Sin wouldn’t use Khem Val to hold threat. Late game PvP, burst potential is slightly affected, but still very viable and slghtly easier to recover from premature stealth drops/getting hit by AoE. PvE, sustained DPS is where this would impact the most, correcting some of Deceptions clear lack of sustained DPS. I don’t care if this idea gets ripped off me or whatever, if it has been suggested before, I just want to see this even considered.

There are so so sooooooooo SOOOOOoooooOOOOoooo many topics about Deception problems on forums, US, UK and FR… But regardless the amazing number of pages on thoses topics, there is no reaction of any Bioware’s customer service…. They just don’t care of your ideas and they don’t want to admit that maybe you have better ideas than theirs.

Its sad and unfortunate, really. EA and Bioware don’t even need to hire a thinktank to come up with ways of fixing problems or adding content, with a massive playerbase saying “this is what we want”. Yet they waste time and the support of the players when they make rash decisions or add things no one wants. All that needs to be done is sift though the forums for good ideas, which at face value sounds like a long process, but in reality, anyone can tell a good idea from the idiots and trolls by looking at a few of the longer, well thought out posts. I seriously do believe a Shock rework is what Assassins need, and what Bioware needs is an open discussion panel to talk to the players and get proper feedback.

Hi guys!

I’m playing Assassin Deception on PVE only still day 1. I don’t have any rerolls because I just love playing with my main.

But now, my Guild and I are starting going on Nightmare, and they are always asking me to change from Deception to Madness.

Is there a real damage gain by doing this change? If not, how could I prove them they are wrong ?

Thanks a lot for your advices.


As for live at this time, no. The damage gain is nonexistant to marginal at best.
However.. for the PTS that kind of changed. And I could totally understand a NiM level raiding guild wanting their Assassin members to start getting their move on in Madness spec.

I really hope Bioware will do something for Deception too, but as of 2.8.. Deception is no longer a solid choice for NiM DPS Assassin.

Thanks a lot for your answer Evolixe! I was asking also because of the Ratings on the two guides here, with a notable difference that makes Deception better on paper:

Decept VS Madness

Single DPS: 6 vs 5
Burst : 10 vs 5

Actually the balance guide is a bit out of date. And after 2.8 hits live it most definitely needs updating.

It won’t be me though, since I think other people are more qualified to do that.

My area of expertise in PvE really limits itself to KC and Inf.

Did someone test every combo of Relics to see wich output the best DPS for Deception in PVE?

– Dread Boundless Ages ( POWER ) + Dread Serendipitous Assault ( POWER )

– Dread Serendipitous Assault ( POWER ) + Underworld Serendipitous Assault ( POWER )

– Dread Serendipitous Assault ( POWER ) + Dread Devastating Vengeance ( CRIT )

Power + Power doesn’t work. Not of any level.

And what good does the crit relic do if you don’t crit while it’s active?
All I’m saying is.. a solid increase is better than a chance to be John Rambo or a sitting duck either way.

Hi Evolixe, could you tell me your stats with the Gearing guide applied please? I’m very interested by that and I’m soooo far away to see it by myself :p
Hope you’ll accept, thanks!

( BTW, you could definitively include this in the guide, like ” With full 180 gear, youy stas should be like this: … )

Hey there. I don’t know what a Mrrobot profile is, but if it’s your character profile then yes, it must be that. I just wanted to know How much primary stat, damage bonus, etc … you have with the gearing advices of the Guide. thanks

k I have just started to learn end game and honestly mechanics of the game,. I still dont understand crit rating and surge. but what i am wondering is as far as dps using a madness spec. am I going more for straight dps in a group stabbing in the back with (think its called maul) or just dot?

Discharge,Death Field, Creeping Terror, Crushing Darkness, Assassinate, Thrash. For madness, these are your abilities for attack. Ignore: Maul, Force Lightning, Saber Strikes, and Shock. Use Death Field, Overload, and Lacerate (sparingly) for AOE damage.

On a single target, spam your DOT’s, then use Thrash and Assassinate to proc Crushing Darkness till your opponent dies.

hi thanks for all the info. i have a decent sin. i have mostly 168 gear. I have been racking elite gear. my question is the stalker gear with the class bonus. like dread forged. Is it a huge improvement or decent. I mean I have went on a couple ops where I pugged and people were yelling at me as i was new. I got through it and was told not to bid on those items. i guess i would be happy either way….okay you can tell I am a girl who talks to much…so bonus worth it or eh. thanks for the time and all you do I read all the guides!!

Probably not worth it, because the cost of having even a 2%, or 3% buff to a single ability from 4 parts of a set (if not dread forged) is too high than having the gear with better overall stats.
Sry for grave-digging, but I felt the urge to help.

Actually, set bonusses are generally bigger upgrades than the difference between 2 tiers of stats. Even when spread over 4 items. When you’re comparing 168 to 180, then yeah.. you’re a little out of the league. But 168 to 175.. if the 168 has good a set bonus you should keep it.

Badly designed, sea of problems, not worth the money.

Been more into Singleplayer games recently. Kinda waiting for GTA V’s PC version. Mainwhile prefer the immersive SP stories more.

haha same here with GTA. I also agree with the wildstar statement, I found that my problems with the game were core gameplay itself while in beta and decided to not buy it, glad I didnt.

He rarely has the melee critical chance up from exploitive strikes, which relates to my question above asking if it’s worth the points

Hi, i am qurious as to why Spike is not being used as an opener. I would believe that everytime you exith stealth you would use Spike to get Duplicity procc for Maul, and also increased dmg for the duration of the Spike. Anyone done the math on this?m Seems weird to me to open with a Discharge without any ticks of the procc.

I was wondering if it is better to stuck power augments on assassin Madness since assassins dont get any main stat boost from talent trees and power gives a bit more bonus dmg than willpower.The only loose is the small amount of crit you will get from main stat.Any ideas?

The amount of crit gained from Main stat makes it so that if you were to pick Power and gear ANY crit at all.. you’d actually LOSE bonus/weapon damage compared to full Mainstat Augments. Hence Mainstat is always the best.

Besides.. your class buff gives you 5% more of everything but endurance 😉

Do these guides reflect the 2.9 & 2.10 changes?

Just wondering as they got a boost in these updates, yet Single Target DPS and AOE DPS still very low for a class that was buffed recently.

Thanks for the response Mal, i had a feeling they weren’t updated because there seems to be a lot of ‘happiness’ in the assassin dps community just now that would reflect the recent buffs.

Is your 8.5^^ sarcasm though? I honestly don’t know.

8,5? Hardly. I’d give it a 7 right now on live. It’s playable through all content. But hardly ideal in 80% of the fights. In the leftover 20%, Deception is actually the spec of choice.

For Deception is it better to put the 3 points in Exploitive Strikes in the Madness tree rather than 3 points in Electric Execution in the Darkness tree (increases dmg by lightsaber charges, in this case surging charge) ?

So the million dollar question now is will these guides be updated after 3.0? One thing I’m interested in knowing is with the changes I think every thing saw a drop in accuracy. Is it still considered advisable as an assassin to have over 100% accuracy?

As an Assassin (old Madness/new Hatred) Post 3.0 I’m not getting a Proc after Thrash

Pre-cast RE + Stealth + Adrenal / Relic / Overcharge Saber / DF + DS + CT + TH + Crush (proc)….

No Proc?

I haven’t had a lot of time to play with this so not sure what to do. 2 slash’s? Something else?

I’m also questioning the whole rotation now since Death Field spreads your two dots (DS & CT), but those dots are applied after Death Field???

It’s old and needs updating. I have agreed to share my knowledge once I get the Deception guide done, however I will not claim my way of handling this spec is going to get you the best results for single target damage.

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