SWTOR Assault Specialist and Tactics Vanguard DPS Class Guide

A guide to SWTOR Vanguard Assault Specialist and Tactics DPS specs for PvE. Written and edited by Invinc and Vindrik of Harbinger

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Overview

The Vanguard is one of the 3 classes that has access to a taunt and defensive cooldowns that allow them to offtank should the need arise, as well as being one of the two melee dps classes with heavy armor. Although Vanguard dps don’t have a charge like its tank counterpart, they do have a few other abilities to make up for it, such as Harpoon, Hold the Line and a few ranged abilities. The ranged single target and AoE taunts can be extremely useful in certain boss fights to prevent adds from attacking healers, as a back up for tanks in tough situations, or simply being the one to take some rather heavy damage on a mechanic instead of other, less heavily armored dps. Dps as a Vanguard is currently a relatively hard class to play well compared to other melee dps, as it needs more practice and skill to perform to a similar standard. You have access to three viable raiding specs as a Vanguard dps:

  1. Assault Specialist used to deal the highest damage by a significant margin prior to Rise of the Hutt Cartel, however due to changes in abilities and the talent trees this is no longer the case. It remains a very simplistic spec to play, however overall it underperforms compared to the other options.
  2. Tactics is now more viable than it had been previously. A harder spec to play than full Assault Specialist, there was never really a reason to play it due to its lackluster dps, however currently its potential damage output is rather reasonable.
  3. A Hybrid Assault Specialist / Tactics build is currently the most popular Vanguard dps spec, as it has the highest potential dps, however it is also the most difficult spec to play due to the mixed management of abilities from both Assault Specialist and Tactics trees..(This spec is no longer viable for 2.6 due to the changes and will not be covered here).

Offensive Cooldowns:

  1. Reserve Powercell: Your next ability costs no Cells
  2. Battle Focus: Increases your critical strike chance by 25% for a short while

Defensive Cooldowns:

  1. Adrenaline Rush: Gives you a buff for 1 minute, whereby if you fall under 35% HP, a fast-ticking self heal will trigger that will consistently heal you back up to a maximum of 35% HP for a few seconds.
  2. Reactive Shield: Significantly Increase your base damage reduction for short while.

Tricks of the Trade:

  1. Single target and AoE taunts
  2. Hold the Line: Increases movement speed and gives immunity to knockbacks, snares and physics effects for a few seconds
  3. Harpoon: Pulls an enemy target to your location
  4. Neural Surge: Brief AoE stun
  5. Shoulder Cannon: Loads 4-7 missiles over time (depending on your spec), which can be fired at your target. Firing these missiles does not respect the GCD and can be fired while stunned
  6. Stealth Scan: Reveal stealthed enemies in a small area
  7. Recharge Cells: Instant Cell regeneration

Assault Specialist

Assault Specialist (4 / 6 / 36 ) httphttp://swtor.askmrrobot.com/skills/vanguard#130-1302-121230322101122203323

swtor-assault-specialist-vanguard-dps-class-guide-build

1.1 Rates (1-10):


  • Single Target Dps: 7
  • AoE Damage: 5
  • Group Utility: 6
  • Rotation Difficulty: 3
  • RNG Dependant: Yes
  • 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
  • 200-400 Critical Rating
  • All other secondary stats in Power
  • **Must Have** Augments: Aim (Reflex)
  • Relics: Serendipitous Assault & Focused Retribution
  • Alternate Relic: Boundless Ages
  • Set Bonus: 4 piece Combat Tech’s
  • Plasma Cell

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:


  • High Impact Bolt is your hardest hitting and most important ability. It is at the top of your priority list because you should never waste a proc from Ionic Accelerator (IA), however using it immediately after the proc is not always necessary, since the IA talent has a 6 second internal CD. This means that using it at any point within the next 3 GCDs after it procs won’t cause your procs to overlap, and can allow you to re-dot if necessary. IA works slightly differently here than for Commando Assault Specialists, as Commandos have longer cast times, meaning that they have 4 abilities between High Impact Bolts. Vanguards, on the other hand, only use instant abilities, making it 5 abilities instead. High Impact Bolt is affected by a variety of talents:
    1. High Friction Bolts: Ignores 30% of the target’s armor, regenerates 8 Cells if it hits a burning target, and refreshes your Cell’s dot.
    2. Ionic Accelerator: Ion Pulse has 45% chance and Stockstrike has a 60% chance to refresh the CD of High Impact Bolt and make your next one free. Has a 6 second internal CD
    3. Rain of Fire: Increases damage dealt by 9%
    4. Assault Trooper: Increases Critical damage dealt by 30%
    5. Focused Impact: Ignores 45% of the target’s armor
    6. Brutal Impact: Increases damage dealt by 3%
  • Shoulder Cannon is an interesting CD and mechanic that no other class uses. It has a relatively long CD, but allows you to fire several missiles off the GCD and while stunned. Loading these missiles before a fight starts and using them as part of your opening rotation helps to maximize your burst and capitalise on the effects of your Relics, Adrenals and Battle Focus.
  • Incendiary Round is an important dot to maintain on your target as often as possible, as it will buff most of your abilities as well as dealing decent damage. Using it on multiple targets where both the fight and your Cells allow you to is an option to split your dps between multiple targets. It is affected by a variety of talents:
    1. Assault Trooper: Increases Critical damage dealt by 30%
    2. Burnout: Increases damage dealt by 30% on targets under 30% HP
    3. Riot Augs: Increases damage dealt by 6%
    4. Demolition: Increase Critical chance by 6%
  • Assault Plastique is an important part of your rotation, but it’s not the most important. It deals significant damage, but you should never delay a High Impact Bolt proc by using it. Delaying it by an extra GCD in order to proc IA will give you a significant benefit over using Assault Plastique immediately. It is affected by a variety of talents:
    1. Assault Trooper: Increases Critical damage dealt by 30%
    2. Burnout: Increases damage dealt by 30% on targets under 30% HP
    3. Riot Augs: Increases damage dealt by 6%
    4. Demolition: Increases Critical chance by 6%
  • Stockstrike is prioritised over Ion Pulse for one major reason; it has a higher chance to proc IA. Due to this, using Stockstrike every second IA window will maximise its utility, lowering your chances of having poor RNG from Ion Pulse. It is affected by several talents:
    1. Rain of Fire: Increases damage dealt by 9%
    2. Ionic Accelerator: Has a 60% chance to refresh the CD of High Impact Bolt and make your next one free. Has a 6 second internal CD
    3. Heavy Stock: Increases damage dealt by 8%
    4. Riot Augs: Increases damage dealt by 6%
  • Ion Pulse is your primary filler ability. It has no CD, deals high damage by combining with your Cell, and procs IA. It should only take priority above other other abilities if you are trying to proc IA, and otherwise should only ever be used as a filler ability. It is affected by several talents:
    1. Ionized Ignition: Automatically triggers Plasma Cell
    2. Ionic Accelerator: Has a 45% chance to refresh the CD of High Impact Bolt and make your next one free. Has a 6 second internal CD
    3. Assault Trooper: Increases Critical damage dealt by 30%
    4. Demolition: Increases Critical chance by 6%
  • Pulse Cannon is an interesting ability, as it is not meant to be used as an Assault Specialist, however its high damage and the recent fixes to the ability make it occasionally more viable to use instead of Ion Pulse fillers. Using this ability is completely optional and should be up to the discretion of the player as to whether they can manage their rotation’s Cells and proc rates properly with its addition to the rotation.

1.5 Ability Nomenclature and Rotation Priority:


  1. High Impact Bolt: HIB
  2. Shoulder Cannon: SC
  3. Assault Plastique: AP
  4. Incendiary Round: IR
  5. Stockstrike: SS
  6. Ion Pulse: IP
  7. Hammer Shot

Cooldowns:

  1. Reserve Powercell: RP
  2. Battle Focus: BF
  3. Recharge Cells: RC

1.6 Opening Rotation:


Without Pulse Cannon:

Pre-load SC + AP + IR + Relic / Adrenal / BF / HIB + SS / SC + HIB / SC + IP + IP + IP + HIB + Proceed to minimum Cells + RC

swtor-assault-specialist-vanguard-dps-class-guide-opening-rotation

With Pulse Cannon:

Pre-load SC + AP + IR + Relic / Adrenal / BF / HIB + SS / SC + HIB / SC + PC + IP + HIB + Proceed to minimum Cells + RC

swtor-assault-specialist-vanguard-dps-class-guide-opening-rotation-2

1.7 Rotation Strategy:


Assault Specialist Vanguard’s rotations follow a simple priority order, and as such the general rotation is not complicated at all. High Impact Bolt procs no more often than every 4 GCDs (6 seconds), so there will always be 3 abilities after a High Impact Bolt before the next proc, and Ion Pulse has 100% of causing the Cell dot to proc. Stockstrike has higher chance of triggering High Impact Bolt procs, so using it as the 4th GCD is always a good idea, and you should always be keeping Incendiary Round up, while using Assault Plastique on cooldown. You should use Shoulder Cannon every time its cooldown finishes, and fire it between GCDs. With the 2 piece set bonus, this timing window correlates well with the cooldown of Battle Focus, so you can activate Shoulder Cannon to begin stacking the missiles, but hold off on firing them until you activate Battle Focus to give them an increased crit chance.

10-15 second rotation (8-12 GCDs, no opener). Full ability rotation:

Without Pulse Cannon:

Note:Assault Plastique comes Off CD right after the IA proc, delaying the use of High Impact Bolt

HIB + IP + IR + SS + HIB + IP + IP + IP+ AP + HIB

swtor-assault-specialist-vanguard-dps-class-guide-rotation

Without Pulse Cannon: Regular Rotation

HIB + IP + IR + SS + HIB + AP + IP + IP + HIB

swtor-assault-specialist-vanguard-dps-class-guide-rotation-3

With Pulse Cannon:

HIB + IP + IR + SS + HIB + PC + IP + AP + HIB

swtor-assault-specialist-vanguard-dps-class-guide-rotation-2

1.8 AoE Ability Priority:


  1. Mortar Volley
  2. Pulse Cannon
  3. Explosive Surge

1.9 Sample Parse Analysis:


With Pulse Cannon: This is a translated parse from the Empire side.

swtor-assault-specialist-vanguard-dps-class-guide-sample-parse-1

Without Pulse Cannon:

swtor-assault-specialist-vanguard-dps-class-guide-sample-parse-2

  • High Impact Bolt being your most important ability, it should come as no surprise that it also deals the most damage, and as such maximizing your IA procs will always be a dps increase, even if you don’t use High Impact Bolt immediately after the proc.
  • The second section of your dps is due to Ion Pulse and either Plasma Cell or Stockstrike, depending on your play style. Considering that Ion Pulse procs your Cell and is the main way that it is maintained throughout a fight, the two abilities have a great deal of synergy. Stockstrike may take the third spot from the Cell’s dot if you are using it on CD. If you are using the Pulse Cannon rotation, the choice of which abilities you replace with Pulse Cannon (primarily Stockstrike or Ion Pulse) will alter which ability loses dps in order to increase that done by Pulse Cannon, and subsequently alter the damage listings for your parse.
  • The third section of your dps is rather tightly grouped. If using the Pulse Cannon rotation, Pulse Cannon should be taking the fourth or fifth spot depending on your use of Stockstrike. The remainder of the section is filled with your remaining dots and Assault Plastique. The Incendiary Round dot should be taking the next spot in your rotation due to its consistent uptime, while Assault Plastique and its associated dot will follow. Since these abilities are dependant on one another, their relative damage will always be linked.
  • The final section of your damage comes from the initial damage from Incendiary Round, Shoulder Cannon, and Hammer Shot.

1.10 Tips and Tricks:


  • Each High Impact Bolt proc should happen after 4 GCDs (6 seconds), and the proc rate is quite high. As such, keep in mind that your previous HIB GCD counts towards this timer, so you should be using 3 abilities between each HIB before the next proc. Because of this, always use either Ion Pulse, or preferably Stockstrike, as your third ability.
  • Keep in mind that HIB will not only recharge 8 Cells through the talent, but it’s also a GCD, so will recharge another 5 Cells before you can use your next ability. As such, each HIB proc recharges around 13 Cells, so you need to keep track of that in order to maximise your Cell management by being low enough so as not to waste extra possible Cell regeneration, while not overusing Cells unnecessarily.
  • Reserve Powercell is always good to use before an IR or AP. The short CD on AP fits more easily into the regular rotation and should be easy to manage the Cells it uses, but IR is often a cause of excess Cell usage if not used well, due to its irregular schedule. It’s recommended to use RP on either of those abilities due to their high Cell output, but try to avoid using on any other ability, especially Ion Pulse. What you might expect when using it on Ion Pulse, for example, may be IP + RP / IP, can instead become IP + RP / HIB, as the HIB proc may cause you to immediately hit HIB without thinking while RP is activated, wasting a CD to make HIB free when it already is.
  • Recharge Cells, just like other rapid resource gain abilities like Cool Head, can be a little confusing as to how it functions due to the ability text. A 50 Cell regeneration plus a GCD’s worth of recovery means you are essentially regenerating 55 – 60 Cells. Considering the fact that anywhere between 85 – 100 is the ‘comfort’ zone for dps, this means Recharge Cells should always be used at around 25-35 Cells to exploit its full potential.
  • Recharge Cells 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, Inspiration, and your other offensive cooldowns, it helps you get back to balanced Cells after taking the most advantage possible from the damage boost. In other words, use as many Cells as you can during the opening burn phases and use Recharge Cells as early as feasible. As with other offensive cooldowns, you should be doing the same every time it’s available. Keep in mind that as a Assault Specialist, you have a reduced cooldown on Recharge Cells, and should be using it as often as possible to capitalise on this benefit.
  • Shoulder Cannon is a must use in any Vanguard dps rotation. The ability doesn’t respect the GCD, so you can use your SC between each ability GCD to get a completely free dps boost.

Tactics

Tactics (8 / 36 / 2 ): http://swtor.askmrrobot.com/skills/vanguard#300230-13231101212221202021322-20

swtor-tactics-vanguard-dps-class-guide-build

2.1 Rates (1-10):


  • Single Target Dps: 7
  • AoE Damage: 9
  • Group Utility: 6
  • Rotation Difficulty: 3
  • RNG Dependant: No
  • Burst: 4
  • 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
  • 120-300 Critical Rating
  • All other secondary stats in Power
  • **Must Have** Augments: Aim (Reflex)
  • Relics: Serendipitous Assault & Focused Retribution
  • Alternate Relic: Boundless Ages
  • Set Bonus: 4 piece Combat Tech’s
  • High Energy Cell

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 120 Critical rating and 300 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:


  • Shoulder Cannon is an interesting CD and mechanic that no other class uses. It has a relatively long CD, but allows you to fire several missiles off the GCD and while stunned. Loading these missiles before a fight starts and using them as part of your opening rotation helps to maximize your burst and capitalise on the effects of your Relics, Adrenals and Battle Focus. Note that you cannot fire the missiles while channeling Pulse Cannon. It is affected by one talent:
    1. Charged Loaders: Increases damage dealt by 15% and instantly loads 3 additional rockets
  • Gut is your only dot in this spec. It buffs all of the damage you deal on top of its own substantial damage. It should be maintained on your target at all times in order to capitalise on the damage increase that it provides. It is affected by a variety of talents:
    1. Frontline Offense: Increases damage dealt by 6%
    2. Serrated Blades: Increases damage dealt by 15%
    3. Triumph: Increases damage dealt to bleeding targets by 3%
    4. Havoc Training: Increases Critical damage dealt by 30%
  • Fire Pulse is a high damage, low cost ability with a short CD and great utility, making it an excellent ability overall. Due to the buffs it provides for both Stockstrike and Pulse Cannon, it should be used on cooldown. It is affected by a variety of talents:
    1. Demolition: Increases Critical chance by 6%
    2. Battering Ram: Makes your next Stockstrike free
    3. Pulse Generator: Grants a stack of Pulse Generator buff, making your next Pulse Cannon deal 20% more damage and be immune to interrupts, stacking up to 3 times
    4. Overcharged Cell Capacitor: Increases damage dealt by 6%
    5. Havoc Training: Increases Critical damage dealt by 30%
  • Pulse Cannon is your hardest hitting ability and the core of your rotation. It should be used as soon as its CD is available and you have 3 stacks of Pulse Generator. As Explosive Surge allows you to build these stacks, using it before a pull or during transitions where you can let your Cells regenerate naturally is a nice way to capitalise on the talent’s benefits and maximise your damage. Pulse Cannon is affected by a variety of talents:
    1. Pulse Generator: Explosive Surge, Fire Pulse and Ion Pulse grant a stack of Pulse Generator, causing your next Pulse Cannon to deal 20% more damage and be immune to interrupts. Stacks up to 3 times
    2. Overcharged Cell Capacitor: Increases damage dealt by 4%
    3. Demolition: Increases Critical chance by 6%
    4. Tactical Tools: Reduces the CD by 3 seconds
  • High Impact Bolt in this spec doesn’t have as much damage or utility as its Assault Specialist counterpart, however Stockstrike causes your next High Impact Bolt to be a guaranteed crit. This makes it very efficient, and should be used as often as possible in combination with this proc, only being delayed by Pulse Cannon or when its proc is not active. It is affected by several talents:
    1. Brutal Impact: Increases damage dealt by 6%
    2. Focused Impact: Ignores 45% of the target’s armor
    3. Combat Tactics: Stockstrike makes your next High Impact Bolt a guaranteed Critical hit
  • Stockstrike is an important part of your rotation, as the proc that causes it to be free allows you to naturally regenerate some Cells while using it, as well as buffing your next High Impact Bolt. Although it is ideal to always use Stockstrike in combination with Battering Ram, due to High Impact Bolt’s high damage output it is not recommended that you delay Stockstrike significantly. Even without Stockstrike being free, the Cell management for this spec is not overly difficult, and it should be at the player’s discretion as to whether they can afford to spend the Cells on Stockstrike rather than delay. It is affected by a variety of talents:
    1. Heavy Stock: Increases damage dealt by 8%
    2. Battering Ram: Ion Pulse has a 30% chance and Fire Pulse has a 100% chance to make your next Stockstrike free
    3. Combat Tactics: Makes your next High Impact Bolt a guaranteed Critical hit
    4. Havoc Training: Increases Critical damage dealt by 30%
  • Ion Pulse is your general filler ability. Although it deals less damage than in Assault Specialist spec due to the lack of Plasma Cell, it is still your best option to fill extra time between CDs, as well as having a chance to proc Battering Ram and build Pulse Generator stacks. Each rotation between Pulse Cannon cooldowns should have either 1 Fire Pulse and 2 Ion Pulses, or 3 Ion Pulses in order not to delay your Pulse Cannon. It is affected by a variety of talents:
    1. Demolition: Increases Critical chance by 6%
    2. Battering Ram: Has a 30% chance to make your next Stockstrike free
    3. Pulse Generator: Grants a stack of Pulse Generator, making your next Pulse Cannon deal 20% more damage and be immune to interrupts, stacking up to 3 times
    4. Overcharged Cell Capacitor: Increases damage dealt by 4%
    5. Frontline Offense: Increases damage dealt by 8%

2.5 Ability Nomenclature and Rotation Priority:


  1. Shoulder Cannon: SC
  2. Gut
  3. Fire Pulse: FP
  4. Pulse Cannon: PC
  5. High Impact Bolt (proc): HIB
  6. Stockstrike (proc): SS
  7. Ion Pulse: IP
  8. Hammer Shot

Cooldowns:

  1. Reserve Powercell: RP
  2. Battle Focus: BF
  3. Recharge Cells: RC

2.6 Opening Rotation:


Note: You can pre-stack 3 stacks of Pulse Generator by using Explosive Surge outside of combat prior to the pull

Pre-load SC & PC stacks + Gut + Relic / Adrenal / BF / PC + FP / SC + SS / SC + HIB / SC + IP / SC + IP / SC + IP / SC + Proceed to min Cells + RC

swtor-tactics-vanguard-dps-class-guide-opening-rotation

2.7 Rotation Strategy:


As a Tactics Vanguard, your biggest power focus is on your buffed Pulse Cannons and quick Cell regeneration thanks to several talents. Pulse Cannon should be used at 3 stacks and on CD every time, Gut should have a 100% uptime on your target due to the damage increase it grants, and Fire Pulse should be used on CD due to its high damage, low cost and procs. Stockstrike should be used on CD due to how often you will have its proc up, and High Impact Bolt should always be used after a Stockstrike for the automatic crit. The increased number of charges and damage for Shoulder Cannon also mean that you will need to manage it well to ensure you get the most benefit possible out of it. Reserve Powercell is good to use on Pulse Cannon for Cell management when you have Recharge Cells on CD, as it’s your highest cost ability and will also give you several ticks of regeneration before your next ability.

15 – 20 second rotation (10 – 14 GCDs, no opener). Full ability rotation:

Gut + FP + SS + HIB + IP + IP + PC + SS + Gut + FP + IP + IP + HIB

swtor-tactics-vanguard-dps-class-guide-rotation

2.8 AoE Ability Priority:


  1. Pulse Cannon
  2. Mortar Volley
  3. Multi-Gut
  4. Explosive Surge

2.9 Sample Parse Analysis:


swtor-tactics-vanguard-dps-class-guide-sample-parse

  • Your highest damaging ability should always be Pulse Cannon for both single target and AoE fights. Its damage is great and the entire rotation cycles between buffing it and waiting for its to be available. Using it on CD and with 3 stacks is necessary for maximum dps.
  • The second section should be split between the majority of your abilities, and the damage dealt by some of them depends on the fight and your uptime on the boss. Ion Pulse should be ahead of the other abilities by a significant margin for fights with little movement and high uptime on the boss, however fights with more movement and less uptime can reduce the difference in damage done between Ion Pulse and your other abilities. Since High Impact Bolt is a guaranteed crit and should be being used on a regular schedule, its damage should be relatively consistent. Gut’s dot should be relative to the fight, however. Fire Pulse and Stockstrike are final two abilities in this section, and while Fire Pulse should generally be higher than Stockstrike, having a lucky run with crits can cause them to be very close.
  • The final portion of your dps goes to Shoulder Cannon, Hammer Shot and the initial damage from Gut. All of these abilities should have relatively stable damage outputs due to their regular use (consistent uptime for Gut, cooldown usage for Shoulder Cannon and proper Cell management for Hammer Shot).

2.10 Tips and Tricks:


  • Reserve Powercell should be used on Pulse Cannon, as it will give you much better Cell management, especially during the downtime between Recharge Cells cooldowns.
  • Shoulder Cannon is a must use in any Vanguard dps rotation. The ability doesn’t respect the GCD, so you can use your SC between each ability GCD to get a completely free dps boost.
  • Recharge Cells, just like other rapid resource gain abilities like Cool Head, can be a little confusing as to how it functions due to the ability text. A 50 Cell regeneration plus a GCD’s worth of recovery means you are essentially regenerating 55 – 60 Cells. Considering the fact that anywhere between 85 – 100 is the ‘comfort’ zone for dps, this means Recharge Cells should always be used at around 25-35 Cells to exploit its full potential.
  • Recharge Cells 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, Inspiration, and your other offensive cooldowns, it helps you get back to balanced Cells after taking the most advantage possible from the damage boost. In other words, use as many Cells as you can during the opening burn phases and use Recharge Cells as early as feasible. As with other offensive cooldowns, you should be doing the same every time it’s available.
  • Each High Impact Bolt proc should happen after 4 GCDs (6 seconds), and the proc rate is quite high. As such, keep in mind that your previous HIB GCD counts towards this timer, so you should be using 3 abilities between each HIB before the next proc. Because of this, always use either Ion Pulse, or preferably Stockstrike, as your third ability.
  • Keep in mind that HIB will not only recharge 8 Cells through the talent, but it’s also a GCD, so will recharge another 5 Cells before you can use your next ability. As such, each HIB proc recharges around 13 Cells, so you need to keep track of that in order to maximise your Cell management by being low enough so as not to waste extra possible Cell regeneration, while not overusing Cells unnecessarily.

  • Imber

    Ah, I’m glad to see my first main character get her guide. Seems like I messed up few things at the end-game gear, but then again I’m not Operation gear level, too, and had already figured that out reading up on other guides.
    In any case, thank you for these. :)

  • Roo

    Why did you change the Skill tree from Pyrotech to Vanguard? We do not benefit more from having 7 points in Shield spec. Please put the 4/6/36 that you have up on the Pyrotech guide. Also If you want to help your group healers please put two points in Degauss and Assault Frame. With as many dots and area damage that goes out in fights using your threat drop is a wonderful thing to help you not get hit by everything that’s going because it gives you 25% more Chances to dodge for a whole rotation. And I don’t even need to tell you how nice the 15% reduction on dots are either.

    Soldier’s grit is fine but the last point and the point in Nightscope are better placed in Degauss or Assault Frame. If you really want stuff in Nightscope or Parallatic Combat stims take it from Adrenaline Fueled. Adrenaline Rush is hardly ever used as a Dps if you have halfway decent healers and/or tanks.

    Hyper Assault cells are fine but if you use explosive surge a lot you have problems cause your Pulse Cannon and Mortar Volley are far more efficient. But if you really want to use Explosive surge it can do close to 3k in the initial hit if you have the gear(almost full 78s), but is advised to use it when your ammo is close to full or with your Reserve Powercell as to avoid ammo management problems that it can cause due to it using 21 cells(with this skill). It may be an instant ability but use it sparingly as it’s not going to bring your damage up that well compared to Pulse Cannon or Mortar Volley. .

    Also on the note of crit for Assault specialists you should really think of having much more than 60-180. We are a dot spec (whether people like it or not) and more than half of our damage should come from our crits (cause you have more rolls to crit with your dots). a more ideal crit rating is around 250-350 (400 rating if you are crazy enough), as with full reflex augs and with the stim it’ll put you near 26%-27% ranged and 32%-33% on your tech (which all of your dots rely on).
    *The real target is getting 25% in ranged as this will equal out to the 50% target that I will now elaborate my opinion on;

    The biggest problem that I can see the authors having with this is it make your reliance on RNG that much more. This is fine but you will benefit from your surge more with more crit. Oh and don’t forget you have battle focus which will raise your crit by 25% for 15 seconds. Thus you’ll have in that 15 seconds at least 50%-52% on ranged attacks and 55%-58% on tech attacks, and as you can guess that’ll help you in rng. Also if you are using stims consider using Crit stims as well because these will increase your chances of critting that much more (*Don’t use a crit adrenal at the same time as your Battle Focus as over 50% crit is amazing and the adrenal won’t give you that much of a better chance at that point.*)
    If you want to use a power adrenal it’s nicer to use in tandem with your Battle Focus for a burn or when the target is below 30% (thanks to the 30% boost your dots will be getting at that point.)
    I understand why people love power in their gear and why they are so frightened of Diminishing Returns and RNG but the real target here is that nice chance that you get with Battle Focus. 50% or more chance is great and especially if you are putting dots or AOE on more than one target. Obviously more targets more chance to crit and with a higher chance to crit…well I’m sure you get what I’m saying.

    Speaking of RNG and Procs the alacrity you get from Rapid Recharge causes your alignment to the 6s lockout of procing HIB to be a little off if you use HIB imediately when you get it you next proc chance will by when the CD text of HID is about 10.5 (or the midway between 11 and 10 if you don’t have decimals at that point) a good way of internalizing your rotation is practicing your procing of Hib without Rapid Recharge. That way you can manage the niche of having that 2% alacrity with Instant abilities. You’ll also really benefit from the 30s reduction on Recharge Cells’s CD as it will allow you to be a little more lenient if you want to utilize moves like Explosive surge. For the most part it is easy to stay above 50-60 Energy Cells (Whenever the Devs finally implement numbers for us troopers.) but if you don’t get that proc (thanks to RNG) on HIB it can mess up your rotation and having either Recharge Cells or Reserve Rowercell is almost essential for us to keep our ammo from hitting rock bottom and forcing us to Hammer shot for a long time to wait for our energy to get back up.

    Oh and one more thing…I know this post is long but bear with me. The use of Pulse Cannon as a filler instead of two Ion Pulses before your procing of HIB with either Shock Strike or Ion Pulse is understandable, but you are better off using Mortar Volley instead if there are 5 or less targets. “But that’s a kinetic ability! And Assault Specialist Vanguards utilize elemental (tech essentially)!” Some might say, to that I can tell you after parsing using both Mortar Volley is just better. Pulse Cannon hits the target 4 times and Mortar Volley hits the target 6 time. That’s not only two more chances that you may crit but the base line damage from your tool-tip clearly states that Mortar Volley hits for more (about 3k more for me and that’s if it doesn’t crit).

    Thank you to those that read this post and hope it helps you to be a better Assault Specialist in PVE Flashpoints and Raids.
    Disclaimer:
    I’m a Vanguard that runs with ~26% crit and 74.82% crit Multiplier (surge). I also run with two Accuaracy augments to get me above 100% acc, though from testing I gain more damage from that extra ~2″ on the multiplyer than I do with the 64 Aim that I lost. I am opinionated due to spending way too much credits and time figuring out what was best for me as an Assault Specialist and this may not be to everyone’s individual taste but I put my trust in the RNG and I believe others can benefit from it as well.

    • Carlos Eduardo Mata

      the talent tree was a mistake lol changed on one and not on the mirror.

      all the points on the talent trees are vailid yeah, thats really up to fight / personal choice if the fight has “dodgable attacks” or “dots” or AoE for flame surge which is not recommended as you say.

      as far as crit i totally disagree, the “spec” abilities does not affect if it is buffed by crit or not, it is the Surge talents, however this is not a “dot” spec unfotunately, you hve 1 dot, so does Lightning sorc, so does carnage/rage marauders, So does MM sniper, so does conceal Ops, almost every class has 1 dot in the rotation, a dot spec is lethality, hybrid, Madness 2-3 Dots at least, 1 is the average all classes have so it is not a dot spec just because RB is “important”.
      your surge talent buff : Stockstrike (decent dmg) , RB ( good dmg) and Immolate (average dmg, long CD) this judging by the parse this is 30-35% of your total dmg, this measn the rest ofr ouy 65-70% of your abilities including your heavy hitter like FTH and spammer like Fburst does not get affected by the extra 30% surge talent, basically making Crit pretty much as useful as any other spec without Surge talents, “decent” i you want a bit more crit, somewhere close to 220 would do, the theory wouldnt support anymore than that… losing Base dmg on 70% of your abilities for a buffed 30% on RNG is unfortunately not really smart, so ill disagree on both high crit / dot spec :). battle focus is 30 seconds out of 4 minutes, which is ALREADY a crit buff, so your theory doesnt back up on that, if you had a 30 seconds 500 power buff you WOULD get crit, to make up for it, if you get 25% crit buff from a talent, saying u need ” extra crit” doesnt make sense, you need to make up for what you dont have… 52% or 54% is basically the same, however 200 power on 52% > 0 power in 54% crit in case of battle fuel.

      ive tried it so many times also with my mercenary, i have yet to find a way to figure this out, however i am pretty sure the 2% alacrity bonus on either of the BH spec does not mess with the RS PPA proc, idk if its because of the animation or if it is bound to the internal GCD without alacrity, but the 2% does not make a difference, in the Pyro merc, the 4% does not make a difference either on power shot + power shot + power shot, this will always proc regardless of the 4% alacrity, however it DOES affect the Unload (PPA) + Rapid shot, it wont proc, so on pyro merc it is recommendable just go with the 2% from Vent heat, as with 2% Ulonad + Rshot does work.

      Mortal valley is better as AoE, well, its debatable you have min. range, if you waste GCD moving out to use it you are losing dps, also it has a 1 minute CD so its used less, the FTH is used as filler for 3 FB rotation in the Pyro spec, someone used it on the leaderboards and it doesnt sound too bad, maybe using 1 MV every 2 FTH would work too just like it works for Arsenal Mercs so yeah it an option, the only problem is that PT are melee therefor they need to move out for MV, while mercs not, often causing some seconds lost of DPS trying to aim and stuff, but yeah that is a valid option.

      as far as disclaimer” i wouldnt go with 74% surge honestly, with 2 acc aguments, it is proven by most and discussed in forums from all classes and most top end players, that it is not worth losing 64 main stat Vs 64 Secondary stat… 64 Main stat gets buffed by +9% talent and +5% buff, buffing both your crit and Power, changing this for 1.9% surge is a waste, not only by the fact that you are losing Crit % in exchange for crit multiplier, but losing a lot of Base power in exchange for a way too small +1.9% buff on a 26% of your abilities, thats my opinion at least, and almost everyones opinion on forums, however some people do that of Acc agument, its not a terrible idea, i just dont find its purpose, specially on a spec with onyl 26% crit and not a single Auto crit ability by default or Buffed Crit Chance ability :S.

      • Roo

        Nice points and thank you for reading the whole thing and giving your reasoning. I understand where you’re coming and I’m gonna agree with you on the alacrity and AOE debate, but in your second paragraph you made a mistake on what spec we are talking about. I am an Assault Specialist NOT a Tactics user. My crit and surge rating were not made for Tactics (in all honesty they suck for Tactics).

        Assault Specialists ARE a dot spec, with 3 dots. We have 2 reliable dots and one not so reliable dot. Incindiary Round is our hard hitting dot which is easy to keep up in rotation and the plasma dot is our secondary dot, it is also easy to keep up as Shock Strike is guaranteed to put it up and using Ion Pulse or Hammer shot usually apply it as well. Our third dot comes from Assault Plastique and while it isn’t up all the time due to our rotation it is tied to one of our top hitting abilities, so it’s going to be used.

        To be honest I said 250 crit as the minimum because over that much crit rating IS negligible as you and many other people I’ve talked to have pointed out. The goal here is the 25% crit chance for Assault Specialists. I only have more myself due to the fact I don’t have the 78 barrel yet. Also we do get crit bonuses in the skill tree as all of our elemental abilities are already getting a 6% boost to crit chance over that thanks to Demolition in the Tactics tree. That’s our Plasma cell dot, our Incindiary Round and it’s dot, Assault Plastique’s dot, Ion Pulse, Explosive Surge, and Pulse Cannon! Remember these dots and elemental hits are all considered Tech damage and you got an extra 6% crit chance in Tech damage. Now a normal break down is that this is going to equal about 47.2% of all your damage as an Assault Specialist (48.5 if you are looking at the parse break down here. I averaged mine and Battkt of the Harbinger’s parse numbers to get the 47% number)

        The surge bonus that you mentioned does exist and that’s called Assault Trooper. This gives 30% critical bonus damage to your Plasma Cell (Important dot), High Impact Bolt (25% of your damage), Ion Pulse (usual 17-18% of the damage), Incendiary round (you Hard hitter dot, though it is unsure if this applies to the dot portion of this ability of which I believe it does), and Assault Plastique (8% of your damage initially and with it’s dot which is unknown which of the three it is but even using the smallest one that is still 7%, so Assault Plastique makes up around 15% of your total damage).
        And if we add all that together that is about **80%** of your total damage is getting a 30% Crit Multiplier boost! Crit is hugely important to your overall damage in Assault Specialist Spec. And with about 25% ranged crit and using Battle focus your crit percentage is going to apply (in a good parse) for about 38-42%, so really we are criting 40% not 26% of the time (who needs an auto crit now?), for 1 mil of damage. The Crit damage is going to trump the normal damage in every case, even if you opt to use all reflex augments.

        Sources and more reasoning:
        If you want to know my reasoning to not listening to the “two primary are always going to be better than a secondary” argument, it is from my own experience and looking at the best parses in the main thread on Swtor. Myself (Zlena) and Battkt of the Harbinger both utilize two acc augments in favor of the extra multiplier. While Aklosh of Tomb of Freedon nadd (he has an assault spec parse in the forum now that’s better than his hybrid) and Stryvah of The Bation are using the full Reflex augments. While I don’t have a 78 barrel yet I am only 4-9s behind Aklosh (on my newest best parse I hit 4’53s but don’t think it warrants an update on that thread) or 10 to 15s behind Stryvah. Battkt on the other hand, Does have his 78 barrel and he did a parse of 4’34s which is better than Stryvah’s by 9s and on average when looking at the other parses that Battkt did during that session he still has these TTK numbers: 4’48s, 4’43s, 4’48s, 4’41s, 4’49s with about 3-4 at or higher than 4’50s. He is still averaging better than Aklosh and possibly about the same as Stryvah (Though the sample size of parses isn’t as great for those two, and note that the crit chances are at 40% for Aklosh and 41% for Stryvah).

        The two reflex augs which are with the 9% bonus is about 70Aim which equals out to 15.4 base damage and .175% crit (which this much crit isn’t gonna change much and 15.4 base damage really isn’t all that much considering). Where-as the 94 more Surge rating from replacing the enhancement and putting in two acc augs is going to be giving you the 100% cc, that’s standard acclaimed necessary, and a 1.9% multiplier bonus on your 40% average crits. That 1.9% will almost always equal out to the 15.4 base damage you lost and will take it beyond that in half of the cases (and usually the bad parses are thanks to HIB not procing or just bad luck with energy anyways).

        So far it just works for Assault Specialist Vanguards, and it’s probably thanks to Battle focus. I’ve given up on Tactics after 2.0 because I feel it just doesn’t live up to the output of Assault Spec in most fights, even AOE heavy fights I seem to do better with Assault Spec anyways.
        Once again thanks for hearing me out and I hope I was as clear as I could while being respectable cause I just want to see our full spec class shine over the old tyranny :) of Hybrid.

        • Carlos Eduardo Mata

          ah yeah, i forgot i was on pub side, on crit side for pyro / Assault u are right, i forgot to change the number, even when i differ on the 400 (as far as pyro merc for example) above 250 is recommendable that sounds good…. as far as augments its really up to choice but i would never recommend it for any class, the difference is small, very small, so its not noticeable, up to the point that the difference in dps is not thanks to that.

          another example, check for example any parse in the top leaderboard, lets take Pyro merc is the first one, 4k parses, you see the AMR profile, its mostly BiS, until you go to relic, KD BA/SA for example, this means just going to DF SA/FR would be 15+40 Dps increase at least, so why doesnt those parses have been improved bt 4100 parses with new gear? because iti s mostly luck, and from probably 100 parses that was the only one that lined up perfect RNG and crit… when i try to parse myself i am at 4100 for couple mins on my merc then boom couple of bad RNG and down to 3700, so leaderboards are GOOD to take as measure, now judging just by whoever is on top of the LB is not accurate, the same way pyro merc/PT or snipers are almost perfect, my Operative parse is almost perfect, like i always say anything thats under 150-200 of a top leaderboard parse is Perfect, probably out of 100 parse, they did 99 around 3700-3900 and 1 parse at 4k, so judging a class / performance by 1 parse is not good, so in the case of MS augments Vs Surge enhancement, the difference is probably small and tied to RNG, and in average is probably only like 5-10 dps difference in both normalized and equal ideal situations, however i would never recommend for any spec going Surge > Main stat combo, by the next tier we should be able to line up that 1 less Accuracy enhancement i believe and now the debate of Surge Vs Alacrity will begin :D.

          • Roo

            Agreed! RNG is the boon of us all and it’s a very little dps difference when it comes down to it. Personally, I like sounding like one of those crazy people that think something is favor of a chance will be better. XD. In any case keeping the Reflex all the way is a fair balance when doing a guide. I understand it and probably shouldn’t have gone off on such a tangent on my opinion. Still this is a wonderful write up and will help a lot of people that don’t really understand the rotation yet, so amazing work.

            I can’t wait till the 1 less accuracy that should come with the next tier of gear either, :D , the Surge Vs. Alacrity will be very fun to play around with.

  • yellow-power ftw

    assault plastique is a crap (shares same CD with sticky nade), better the point spend it in brutal impact since high impact bolt is assault’s highest dmg ability

    • Keks

      they don’t share a CD with Sticky Grenade (I think that was changed in 2.0 could have been a bit later, anyway it doesn’t really matter if it shares the CD with that useless (except for the Corruptor ZeroRepair Droids) Ability)

      and, just looking at AP versus Brutal Impact:
      the damage it deals is really nice (1.5 times of what Ion Pulse does (that would be the filler you’d use instead), not! counting the dot (since I can’t tell them apart lol))

      so if we replace AP with Ion Pulse we lose about 65dps whereas +3% on HIB are only somewhere around 30dps

      • yellow-power ftw

        what ion pulse have to do with it? the highest dmg ability of assault tree is ”high impact bolt” and said to add there the point instead of AP, and yes still share same CD, and try it with any of dmg meter prog, u’ll see the difference.

        • Keks

          what Ion Pulse has to do with it is really simple that’s what would replace Assault Plastique if you swap just the last point unless you want to take some more points out of the Assault Tree and go up till Gut I haven’t mathed that out but as i said not taking AP is a 30dps loss just looking at the Instant Damage and the dot is worth 200DPS as well

  • asd_almeida

    In section “2.10 Tips and Tricks” (for the Tactics spec) the last 2 points seem to be a copy&paste error from the Assault section. You might want to remove them :).

  • Xundiin

    Your tactics spec has wasted points in it. Taking reflective shield is a waste. The amount of damage it absorbs is crap and you need to be getting hit to lower the CD on your energy shield. You’d be better off putting those two points into reducing AOE damage and 1 point into your interupt CD.

    Also, you don’t stack crit as a Tactics vanguard. It’s a huge DPS loss. I’m in mostly 78’s on my PT and every time I try and put some crit into the gear I drop over 100-200DPS. Not worth it, ALL power is what you need to go. A lot of abilities in AP have either auto crits or high crit chance on their own.

  • Gah

    I kind of balanced out all three vanguard trees… 19/14/13… It works well for me in standard PVE only I’m not sure what my group role is. I tank for my friend who’s a sentinel/sage but that’s because I’m the closest to a tank we have. I’m not sure what my role would be in other more standard groups.

  • HurrDurrman

    Really looking forward the Sentinel DPS guide!

  • Melini of Ebon Hawk

    Quick note: I came up with a new Rotation for Tactics that nets about 200 DPS above the rotation listed here and has no extra ammo cost and comes out to be quite static (means you can follow it through without need for variation if desired, which makes it easier to learn and use).

    Gut > Fire Pulse > Ion Pulse > Stockstrike > Ion Pulse > Pulse Cannon > High Impact Bolt > Full Auto

    This is only a standard rotation as it doesn’t change when you introduce CDs into the mix. If you mess up in the Rotation, Reserve Power Cells are best saved for High Impact Bolt as it’s the highest costing ability out of the entire rotation (which is why its sandwiched between two channels).

    This makes use of an old technique that I came up with in Beta called Weaving (Assault still uses it for low intensity) in which you alternate High Cost Abilities with Low costing ones in order to keep resources up (or down). Due to Fire Pulse costing 8 energy, Stockstrike being free with Battering Ram, and Pulse Cannon and Full Auto lasting three seconds, these are your Low Cost Weaves in between the high costing Ion Pulse and High Impact Bolt (16 energy).

    I use Full Auto as an ability filler over Hammer Strike as a proper Tactics Vanguard will try to minimize movement or plan their channels in between movement sections. Full Auto has a higher damage output, and negligible cost, making it more ideal in situation in which you have time to stand still for two seconds or more. The damage difference per hit can be as high as 600 in my VG’s current gear (which is simply horrible — 162 3pc set with mostly 168 and a little 180 but overall about 166). I don’t know how it measures up in regard to Assault currently as I can’t get a hold of anyone willing to Parse the differences who’s actually decent at the spec (which I’m not).

  • TheHarbingersKwerty

    An update: I’ve given Dulfy the updated guide for this, so it should be ready for 3.0 as soon as she’s finished going over it and making sure it looks good. It will need updating again very soon though, as its lacking a couple of things.

  • Ethicius

    Is there an ETA on when the Kwerty’s guide is going to go up?

    • http://dulfy.net/ Dulfy

      Today or tomorrow, I am just formatting it now

      • Ethicius

        Thank you both for your time and effort!

    • http://dulfy.net/ Dulfy

      It is up now btw, just incase you havn’t seen it. The Vanguard version anyways. PT version will be up later tonight or tomorrow .

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