SWTOR 3.0 Saboteur Gunslinger DPS guide written by Camel of Begeren Colony.[toc]
Intro to the Saboteur Gunslinger
*Updated for 3.2!*
Out of the three disciplines, Saboteur was changed the most, by far. Sabotage has been reworked, so now it deals damage, rather than reset CDs of Cool Head, Hunker Down, Defensive Screen, and Hightail it. Right there, you can tell that this spec lost a good chunk of its defensive power. The burst is still reliant upon sabotage charge and speed shot, and that isn’t a ton. If you want burst, check out the other specs.
For those of you new to the spec, Saboteur is an AoE/Dot based discipline. It relies heavily on Incendiary Grenade to burn up foes while poking a few people with some Sabotage Charges and Speed Shots. On single target, there is a minor ramp-up time, but the results over a long duration fight are fantastic, whether or not you wish to include Hightail it in the rotation. This discipline competes with others for the highest DPS overall.
Important Changes from 2.0
All of this will be touched upon later in the guide, but here are a few other key things that haven’t been stated yet. The mobility of the spec is wonderful, to say the least. You no longer need to be in cover to use Sabotage Charge, Speed Shot, or Charged Burst. However, this does NOT mean you should use the latter of the two out of cover. Remember, you don’t suffer from pushback penalties while in cover. With that in mind, based off the new(ish) rotation, you only need to be in cover for 3 seconds at a time, every 9 seconds. This is critical, since Sharpshooter is entirely stationary and Dirty Fighting requires roughly 2/3 of the rotation to channel abilities, such as Wounding Shots or Speed Shot. Also, you will find energy easier to come by, thanks to the inclusion of the re-worked Sabotage. It gives you a free Thermal Grenade every 18 seconds, which is key to energy management.
Changes in 3.2
The only change occurred in 3.2 regarding Saboteur included reducing the damage dealt by Scatter Bombs by 80-90% (per bomb) while allowing all five bombs to hit a target. Bombs also root enemies. This is both a significant DPS loss in PvP and PvE, however, the extra root in PvP is very handy. This will be explained more in the abilities section.
This is for mostly PvE purposes only. If you want to talk PvP, go talk to someone who PvPs. I’m still a scrub at Saboteur PvP. Also, to those returning to the guide, a few edits have been made to explain how to ‘slinger a little bit better.
- Single Target DPS: 9
- AoE Damage: 8
- Group Utility: 7
- Single Target Rotation Difficulty: 6
- AoE Rotation Difficulty: 10
- RNG Dependent: No
- Burst: 6
- Sub 30% Talents or Buffs: Yes
- Ballistic Dampers – Entering cover grants 3 stacks of Ballistic Dampers. Each charge absorbs 30% of all incoming damage. Cannot occur more than one every 1.5 seconds. Cannot gain Dampers more than once every 6 seconds.
- Cool Under Pressure – While in cover, you heal for 1% of your total health every 3 seconds.
- Cover Screen – Upon exiting cover, you increase your ranged defense by 20% for 6 seconds.
- Efficient Ammo – Increases damage dealt by Sweeping Gunfire by 25%
- Heads Up – When Hunker Down ends, or when you leave cover while Hunker Down is active, you gain Heads Up, which increases movement speed by 50% and grants immunity to movement-impairing effects. Lasts 6 seconds.
- Hot Pursuit – Upon leaving cover, you are given 4 charges of Hot Pursuit, which negates the energy cost of your next 4 Quickshots. Lasts 15 seconds or upon usage of all 4 charges. Using one charge of Hot Pursuit triggers a 20 second rate limit on this skill.
- Hotwired Defenses – Increases damage absorbed by Defensive Screen by 30%
- Lay Low – Decreases the cooldown of Hunker Down by 15 seconds, and Pulse Detonator knock enemies back by an additional 4 meters.
- Dirty Trickster – Surrender now also purges all movement-impairing effects upon activation.
- Riot Screen – Decreases damage taken while in cover by 6%. Also decreases the cooldown of Scrambling Field by 30 seconds.
- Holed Up – Decreases area of effect damage taken while Hunker Down is active by 60%.
- Hold Your Ground – Reduces the Cooldown of Escape by 30 seconds, Defensive Screen by 4 seconds, and Pulse Detonator by 5 seconds.
100% Accuracy is a priority. To reach this, you need a minimum of 750 points into Accuracy.
- 186’s (Dread Master) – 7 Accuracy Enhancements + 1 Augments
- 192’s (Resurrected) – 6 Accuracy Enhancements + 2 Augments
- 198’s (Revanite) – 6 Accuracy Enhancements + 1 Augment
Critical rating is 100% NECESSARY for this spec. Nearly every tech ability in the spec gains a +30% critical damage boost. (Exact points still to be determined.)
- 186’s (Dread Master) – 175 to 350 Crit Rating
- 192’s (Resurrected) – 200 to 400 Crit Rating
- 198’s (Revanite) – 250 to 450 Crit Rating (My preference is around 350 points.)
Alacrity: There are 3 options here:
- 111-120 Alacrity. (One Alacrity Enhancement)
- 222-240 Alacrity (Two enhancements)
- 740-860 (1 or 2 Alacrity Enhancements with all but one Alacrity Augment. The final Augment will be for Accuracy.)
Augments: If you are not running with the High Alacrity build, then build Overkill (Power) or Skill (Cunning). The difference between these two is minimal. However, if you run Sharp more often, then I’d suggest power, since that spec doesn’t benefit as much from tech crit as Saboteur. (Same applies to Dirty Fighting. Only a few abilities in that spec are tech damage.)
Relics: Serendipitous Assault and Focused Retribution
- Boundless Ages is a good backup for burn phases, however, in 3.0, I do not see much of a benefit to using them.
Set Bonus: 6-piece Field Tech/Professional
- These set bonuses work together, meaning if you hold one Field Tech set piece, and one Professional set piece, you will obtain the two piece set bonus.
- Cool Head – This ability grants you 50 energy over a 3 second duration. You should only use this if you are dipping below (or going to dip below) 60% energy. Otherwise, you will be over-generating energy. Also, try to avoid using this during a Sabotage Charge into Speed Shot combo. You will gain about 20 energy over the duration of the Contingency Charges, plus the 50 energy from Cool Head. Unless you fall below 40-30%, do not use this combination. Wait until after the channel of Speed Shot. (Be wary of the free Thermal Grenades as well.)
- Smuggler’s Luck – Activating this ability gives you an Auto-Crit on your next Sabotage Charge (in this spec), so it should be used on cooldown for maximum DPS, or saved for important burn phases. The six-piece set bonus grants you another charge of Smuggler’s Luck, granting you another Auto-Crit Sabotage Charge.
- Illegal Mods – Increases ranged and tech accuracy by 30% and armor penetration by 15% for 10 seconds. I would recommend using this immediately after using the first two DoTs in the second GCD block of the rotation. Alternatively, you can save this ability for important burn phases. This is a good ability to use in combination with Smuggler’s Luck.
- Defensive Screen – A basic shield capable of absorbing a moderate amount of damage for 10 seconds. This is almost equivalent to the Sorc/Sage’s Force Armor, so be sure to use when you know damage is coming.
- Dodge – Increases ranged and melee defense by 200%, in addition (New to 3.0), decreases damage taken from force or tech attacks by 75%. This ability no longer acts as a self-purge, but it able to deflect much more direct damage than before, so be sure to use this if massive damage is inbound.
- Scrambling Field – Decreases all damage taken to all friendly players inside the bubble by 20% (10 meter diameter). Lasts for 25 seconds. This is VERY important to use if massive AoE damage is inbound (Final Phase for Dread Council, for example), and normally can only be used once or twice during a fight, so make sure to use the duration of the ability to the fullest.
- Diversion – Deploys a smoke grenade reducing accuracy to enemies within the 8 meter radius by 45% for 8 seconds. This does not affect operation bosses, HOWEVER, this can be used on hard-hitting adds to counter some damage. Use at a healer’s discretion.
- Hunker Down – As long as you remain in cover, you are immune to all controlling effects and physics for the 20 second duration. If Holed Up is taken in the utilities tree, then this also acts as an AoE Defensive ability. Try to anticipate when this ability will be the most beneficial. This is one of the Gunslinger’s most powerful defensive abilities, so use it wisely.
What you need to know beforehand
The spec is really entirely dependent on the rotation. But there are a couple things to keep in mind.
- Speed Shot must be used on cooldown. It is the hardest hitting ability of the rotation, and keeps the structure of the rotation intact.
- You can only use Sabotage on targets that are being affected by Shock Charge.
- Activating Sabotage makes your next Thermal Grenade free.
This rotation revolves around the use of Speed Shot. This ability should be used on cooldown if possible. Then the rotation is split into two GCD blocks. This is the priority list:
(Editor note: the numbered list don’t show anything beyond 9 so 0, 1, 2, 3 are actually 10, 11, 12, 13)
- Sabotage Charge
- Incendiary Grenade
- Shock Charge
- Sabotage (Energy Reasons)
- Vital Shot
- Quickdraw (If under 30%)
- Thermal Grenade (Free)
- Freighter Flyby (If energy allows)
- Thermal Grenade (Regular)
- Hightail It (Dummy only)
- Charged Burst (If freighter & Thermal Grenade is on cooldown and energy allows)
- Free Quickshot (With Hot Pursuit Taken)
- Flurry of Bolts (If none of the above is possible)
Quick Analysis/Pointers: Energy isn’t strenuous in this spec. However, you may wish to toss a thermal grenade before applying vital shot (for ex.) in order to maintain energy.
There are two different openers you can do, which will affect the rotation slightly. Both are viable, it just depends on how much a target will move within the first 18 seconds of the fight. If it moves within the first 6 or so seconds, then use opener A, if not, then use opener B.
Opener A): (Pre-cast) Fly-by > Smuggler’s Luck + Illegal Mods + Adrenals > Sabotage Charge > Speed Shot
Rotation A: Incendiary Grenade > Shock Charge > Sabotage >Filler> Speed Shot > Incendiary Grenade > Vital Shot > Filler >Sabotage Charge > Speed Shot
Or Opener B): (Pre-cast) Fly-by > Smuggler’s Luck + Illegal Mods + Adrenal > Sabotage Charge > Incendiary Grenade > Speed Shot
Rotation B: Shock Charge > Vital Shot > Filler > Incendiary Grenade > Speed Shot > Sabotage > Filler > Sabotage Charge > Incendiary Grenade > Speed Shot
Rotation Analysis: Simple right? Let me just break down a little bit more. As you can see in rotation A, IG was used 1st during each GCD block. If you remember to apply it, your IG will ALWAYS ware off at this stage of the rotation. (Oh look, each GCD block + SS is nine seconds long. What a coincidence. Then the rest of the rotation is similar. Shock Charge will always ware off at the 2nd GCD of the two GCD blocks. Sabo will come off CD at the third… and so on. You have two places you can fiddle with the rotation, which are indicated as fillers. These fillers are indicated as priorities 6-12. Overall, as long as you are using Speed Shot on CD, you should have 1 set of 4 GCDs before every Speed Shot.
Here’s a tip: The spec is much easier on energy management than it was in 2.0, so now you can effectively use Cool Head as a mini-dps buff. Which means, if you hit a filler in the rotation, cool head is up, and you feel like burning some energy, you can toss in a Freighter Fly-by to add in a little additional damage. Doing so will most likely require you to use Cool Head. This should only be used during Filler slots to keep the structure intact.
One final Note: The bolded abilities can be swapped depending on the circumstances. There is no DPS loss swapping these two abilities around,so feel free to experiment if you so desire. As you might have seen, I accidentally flipped the VS and Sabotage from rotation A to rotation B (too lazy to change it now :3), however doesn’t affect the rotation at all. This just changes changes burst set up and DoT application.
AoE Rotation Priority
- (Pre-cast) Freighter Fly-by
- Incendiary Grenade
- Sweeping Gunfire
Fly-by still prevails over the three, even with the buffs to Sweeping Gunfire. It gains the AoE damage boost, and the Crit Boost from the tree, making this ability still a very powerful tool to use. Incendiary Grenade is a nice low cost AoE, unlike Sweeping Gunfire, which costs much more energy, but still beneficial to use in some circumstances either with or without the damage boost in the Utilities tree. This is just the basic form of the AoE Rotation. Maintaining energy while pulling optimal DPS requires a very solid knowledge basis of the spec.
- The top two abilities as seen are Speed Shot and Incendiary Grenade. As previously mentioned, the whole rotation revolves around the use of Speed Shot and for good reason.
- Sabotage Charge and Shock Charge follow up right after. It’s important to note that Sabotage Charge also drops the Contingency Charges, which deals an additional 7% (in this parse) damage, so it almost competes with Speed Shot and Incendiary Grenade. Shock Charge might not do a lot by itself, but it is important to keep applying to use Sabotage.
- Your next two DoTs, which are Blazing Speed and Vital Shot should be fairly close together. Then the rest are simply the fillers of the rotation. And by looking at the chart, you can tell that there are a lot of them. If you noticed, Sabotage surprisingly does not do a lot of damage itself, however, the ability is still important to use to maintain energy in the spec. Thus why it is prioritized over Vital Shot.
- If you are running the High Alacrity Setup APM should be about 39-40. This was a little on the low end, but still inside the typical range. If you are running with just 120-240 alacrity, then it should hover at about 37-38.
About the author
I’m the one known as Camel. I’m the GM of Don’t Worry Bout It on Begeren Colony (Yes it’s a RP-Server… I know), and we are among the few remaining PvE Guilds on the server. I’ve been playing Saboteur ever since I fell in love with it in 2.0, and I’ve used it in pretty much every fight where I don’t accidentally kill myself with the rolls. Even then, I sometimes do it because… why not?
Also lesser known, I’m a very experienced GSF pilot, however, “retired”. I started to re-live the space-sim age ever since I found FreeSpace on Steam, and pretty much dropped GSF after that. And I’m sorry to say that I’ll probably not fly again for a while.
Friend me on Elite: Dangerous!