3.0 Class Guides 3.0 Shadow SWTOR

SWTOR 3.0 Infiltration Shadow DPS Guide by Evolixe

SWTOR 3.0 Infiltration Shadow DPS Guide by Evolixe of TOFN.[toc]

Intro to Infiltration Shadow

Infiltration pretty much plays like it used to. The energy management got slightly changed and we got a replacement ability for Project but that is really all there is to it as far as mechanical 3.0 changes go.

You still have your choice for utilities which I highly advise you judge on a boss-to-boss basis. Each boss has unique abilities and that makes different utilities particulary useful.

Overall though, I would generally not recommend the exercise of the Infiltration Discipline at all given the current strength of Serenity. Serenity beats Infiltration at AoE, Single Target, and in some cases even at burst capabilities.

If you really are a die-hard Infiltration player that doesn’t want to know anything about Serenity, just know you are shooting your own kneecaps..kinda :p


  • Single Target Dps: 7
  • AoE Damage: 4
  • Group Utility: 7
  • Rotation Difficulty: 9
  • RNG Dependant: Very Slightly
  • Burst: 8
  • Sub 30% Talent or Ability Buffs: Yes

Gearing & Stats Priority

  • **Must Have** Accuracy: As close to 759 accuracy rating as possible.
  • 0 Alacrity
  • 68-77% Surge
  • 180-220 Critical Rating (Got less attractive, not sure about the values)
  • All other secondary stats in Power
  • **Must Have** Augments: Willpower (Resolve)
  • Relics: Serendipitous Assault & Focused Retribution
  • Alternate Relic: Boundless Ages
  • Set bonus: 6 piece Stalker’s
  • Surging Charge

Gearing Overview

  • Reaching the Accuracy cap should be your highest priority
  • At this point in time Alacrity is not advised until you start hitting massive Surge Diminishing Returns (over 74%, which you won’t reach for a while with the accuracy requirement). It doesn’t reduce the cooldown of your Force Cloak and therefore completely mucks up your Recklessness/Blackout synergy.
  • Crit rating isn’t that amazing anymore, I’m unsure of the exact values that would be wishful. But I’d personally stay around the ~180-220 crit rating right now.
  • 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.

Utility Choices

Each boss you’ll probably want a different Utility set. However let me first state the ones you should have for EVERY boss fight.

  • Clerity/Avoidance, Breaker cooldown reduction and Force Speed cooldown reduction mainly. Increases uptime, allows you to escape dangerous situations more often. Can save your life in pretty much every fight.
  • Misdirection/Obfuscation, increases movement speed..and as a little bonus adds a layer of 5 levels in stealth. Prevents detection from both players and creatures. Once again good for uptime..but also for avoiding all kinds of situations any boss can throw at you.
  • Fade, due to the nature of the Deception talenttree is completely mandatory for force management reasons.
  • Force Harmonics/Audacity, because it is pretty much the only utility that DIRECTLY increases your single target damage.

Now you have 4 choices left per boss.

  • Shadowy Veil/Insulation can be good for bosses where you have a high damage income on. IE Walkers, Torque, Blaster. It’s a pretty nice talent for all of those.
  • Lambaste is a must have for any boss where you will be allowed to AoE a number of close range targets for longer than 5 seconds at a time. Great for Torque HM and Sparky SM.
  • Mind over Matter/Disjunction is great in situations where an extended Resilience time is actually going to provide you any gain. For example on Torque, so you can wander the fires like nothing is going on, or on eat the “Boss” his lazer damage for a longer than normal period of time. Bulo, for eating the minecarts without having to f-off. It can be useful on Walkers, if you intend to take risks and not move..but it shouldn’t be necessary given you have more than plentyful room to manuever in 8man.
  • Cloak of Resilience/Shroud of Madness can be particulary useful on bosses that have a high frequency of particulary hard-hitting force/tech abilities. Such as Kurse on Commanders, The Underlurker with Rage storm and the adds in melee range, or Walkers whom simply have a TON of ShroudableAoE abilities.
  • Egress/Emersion, great on fights where you get slowed or rooted.Most notoriously The Underlurker.
  • Lastly, Containment/Haunted Dreams is pretty much the only other actually useful point in the Heroic tier for PvE. As on Commanders, you’ll sometimes want to put some CC on the mandalorians while you’re handling others.

Any Utilities I didn’t mention are not even worth considering for end game plays.

With the sole Exception of Mental Defense/Shapeless Spirit, if your healers are extremely slow with cleansing on Torque HM.

Abilities & Rotation


disable Force Breach while in Shadow Technique has a different mechanic from Serenity, so instead of being a dot it is an instant damage ability, however its damage depends on how many Breaching Shadows stacks 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. As per 3.0, Force Breach also increases ALL force damage dealt to its target by 5%. For everybody in the group/raid.
lunge Shadow Strike is one of your most important abilities. It should only be used with an Infiltration Tactics proc, increasing its damage done and reducing cost. However it is very low on the priority list simply because it can be delayed for exactly 6 global cooldowns before it would have a negative impact on DPS. As per 3.0 Shadow Strike also applies an armor debuff on its target.
pileofrubble (1) Project is no longer any part of your rotation at all. And it can be removed from your actionbars entirely.
psyblast Psychokinetic Blast is considered to be your most important ability, in combination with Force Breach, and should be used on whenever you have 2 Circling Shadows procs unless you already have 3 Breaching Shadows. It deals decent damage, procs your Shadow Technique, essentially improving its damage and giving you Breaching Shadows stacks, and can be quite low cost.
inspiringstrike Clairvoyant Strike is your general filler ability, allowing you to buff your Psychokinetic Blast with Clairvoyance, which should be up as often as possible, triggering Circling Shadows to lower Psychokinetic Blast cost, and dealing decent damage.
twirl Spinning Strike is your sub 30% damage ability, and should replace Clairvoyant Strike whenever it’s available. The only reason it’s below Clairvoyant Strike on the priority list is because you have to keep the Clairvoyance buff up permanently, meaning that eventually you may have to delay the use of Spinning Strike by a GCD to refresh your Clairvoyance buff. The only abilities that should be used ahead of Spinning Strike are a 3 stack Force Breach, and Clairvoyant Strike(only to maintain Clairvoyance). If Spinning Strike is up during an Infiltration Tactics proc, Spinning Strike should be used first and Shadow Strike delayed, due to its long internal cooldown.
bladedance Whirling Blow is your AoE replacement for Clairvoyant Strike. If there are more than 3 targets within its range Whirling Blow is well worth the effort. And in 3.0 it also applies ALL benefits that Clairvoyant Strike does on only a single target.


Opening Rotation

I personally prefer to open with Stealth  + Force Potency / Adrenal + Force Breach + Psychokinetic Blast+ Clairvoyant Strike + Clairvoyant Strike + Shadow Strike (proc) OR Clairvoyant Strike  + Force Breach (proc) + Psychokinetic Blast +  Blackout + follow rules (see below)


Another opener would be Stealth  + Clairvoyant Strike +  Clairvoyant Strike  + Force Potency / Adrenal + Force Breach + Psychokinetic Blast +  Clairvoyant Strike + Shadow Strike (proc) OR Clairvoyant Strike + Blackout + Clairvoyant Strike + Psychokinetic Blast +  follow rules (see below)


Rotation Strategy

Now let’s talk “Rotations”

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

For Shadows, 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 Force Breach the moment you get 3 Breaching Shadows. 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 Force Breach. But only then.

The second rule, ONLY use your Psychokinetic Blast with 2 Circling Shadows 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 Clairvoyant Strike 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 Clairvoyant Strikes to ensure you do not overcap force. This is when you are in the middle of a Project cooldown and havn’t got anything more force consuming to use. If however you find yourself overcapping and Force Breach becomes available, Force Breach still has priority.

The fourth rule, use your Shadow Strike only with an Infiltration Tactics 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 Clairvoyant Strikes in between Projects 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, Spinning Strike on cooldown. The only ability that takes priority over Spinning Strike is Force Breach. Once you enter the burn phase, you will pretty much stop using Saber Strike entirely and switch to using Spinning Strike, Clairvoyant Strike and Shadow Strike in between every Shock cooldown. However you should delay Project for Force Breach/Spinning Strike if it comes to that.

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

For example: You are at 60 force, you have an Infiltration Tactics proc and need to refresh Clairvoyance.You use the Infiltration Tactics proc and you refresh Clairvoyance.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.

AoE Rotation

The AoE “Rotation” has basically become your Single Target rotation where you Substitute Clairvoyant Strike for Whirling Blow. Whirling Blow now costs the same amount of force, and offers the same bonuses that Clairvoyant Strike does including the Clairvoyance buff.It is a full-blown replacement for 3+ targets in close range.

This doesn’t make the AoE of Infiltration particularly amazing..but at least it’s not as terrible to execute as it used to be.

Sample Parse Analysis


Force Breach (Discharge) has taken the top spot from Voltaic Slash as your main damage source now. Which isn’t surprising given the drop of crit chance as we don’t have the old 4-set anymore. And the new 4-set makes us able to almost perfectly sync Force Cloaking and Blackout.

Psychokinetic Blast (Ball Lightning) is your full-blown Shock replacement. It hits harder but basically does the same thing. The high frequency of its use and high Surge rating on it cause this ability to come in a close second.

Clairvoyant Strike (Voltaic Slash) as I said with Force Breach, this ability lost a lot of its damage from the sudden drop in crit chance. However it is still by far your most activated ability and therefore comes in at a balanced third place.

Shadow Strike (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 fourth place for your overall damage.

Shadow Technique (Surging Charge) is an excellent Charge, with a low proc chance for high damage, but thanks to Voltage Balls, 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.

Spinning Strike (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 Ball 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 Debuff very useful. The other 30% is Internal damage from Discharge and your Saber Charge.

About the author

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.

27 replies on “SWTOR 3.0 Infiltration Shadow DPS Guide by Evolixe”

just wondering what happened to my Lvl 60 Shadow who does not seem to have the “psy blast” it’s still “project”.

Psychokinetic blast is the level 57 skill of the Infiltration discipline.
If you’re a lvl 60 infiltration shadow, you shoud have it.

hmm, thanks, but actually I play Infiltration since (almost) 3 years so I know what discipline to select 🙂 I was actually hoping that after reaching lvl 60 the animations and icons on the Quick bar will be changed, but nothing like that happened. I still have Project and hit people with double debris…could it be my client?

Nah, what you are thinking is what the original plan was. There were issues with implementing it, so instead you get access to both 😀

I dont know what the issue was, i know they said there was one, but why couldnt they adjust the damage, change the logo and change the animation. theyve done these things individually to other skills why not all at once?

edit: just thinking actually sage/shadows both have project while only infiltration shadow have psy blast

The skill wont change, u get a new one which u need to manualy replace, like Double Strike and Clairvoyant Strike (which is in fact here for 3 years so you should really know about it :P) and u get the skill at lvl 57.

Hi there. Great guide and I’ve read it quite a feew times now to really suck it all up, but somethings missing afaik. You keep saying ‘Force Starvation’ in the section regarding Using Physc Blast with only 2x CS Buff up, which is totally understandable.

To be exact you write:
“Not doing so will result in force starvation before Blackout is back.”

Could you elaborate abit more regarding this? Do you mean that a certain amount of Energy should not be passed, or should we leave out a few CS’s and do nothing for a few GCD’s?

Sincerly a happy Infil Shadow 🙂

Shadow/Assassin force doesn’t work like energy, so it doesn’t have to be maintained at a certain level for peak regen. What the author is referring to is that the Circling Shadows (CS) buff reduces the force cost of Psychokinetic Blast by 8 force per stack, so you effectively double the cost if you use it off proc. Basically, if PB is off CD but not fully procced with two stacks of CS, use another Clairvoyant Strike to get the proc, or you will use too much force casting PB. And also, you should never “do nothing,” if you are completely out of force, use Saber Strike. It’s free, does a little damage, and can even proc your Shadow Technique, which regens force and gets you closer to your next Force Breach.

What do you mean by
180-220 Critical Rating (Got less attractive, not sure about the values)
I am at 19.96% critcal rating with no mods/enhance with critical value. So do I swap my mods/enhance for crit ones?

I am 186/192 gear, and I swapped all my mods/enhance for accuracy and power ones only. so not sure if i need crit now at 19.96%

There are two ways to look at cit, one is raw percentage; like 19.96% in your case, and the other is Critical Rating, which is how many actual stat points from your gear are for crit. For the most part, you shouldn’t worry too much about the raw percentage, because that doesn’t really impact your DR. The author’s best guess is that you get more “bang for your buck” out of the first 180-220 points than you would from the other stat that you would have to replace. The reason he says he isn’t sure is because until someone actually gets all the in-game values and does the necessary calculus, any number you see is just based on the experience of the person giving them.

Which is something that should only very rarely happen might i tell you.
If you do it right, that is.

You should not EVER have PB off cooldown with 0 circling shadows. You might have only 1 though. Then just do another CvS first.

honestly with no offense.. if you want pvp guide, you have to get to it somehow and smewhere, you have to know the class, be precise as a surgeon.. PVE/dummies is where you can get to it.. btw there are just some general rules, no rotations, guides or something.. pvp is about improvising, knowing your char, its abbilities, stuns, def/off cds

Like Honza said, PvP is an entirely different realm.

I generally don’t make classguides for that simply because there is too much to mention.
No situation is ever the same and in order to be a good PvPer, you need to be extremely adaptive and figure things out for yourself.

Not from me. No.

Quite simply because I don’t see a “class” PvP guide going anywhere.
Too many this’ and thats. Learning to play a class in PvP goes best through experience.

I noticed things like low slash and force slow were not in here at all. I understand these are more for PvP, but with force slows low force cost (10), and higher dmg than saber strike, would you ever factor that in? Low slash also has the same force cost as clairvoyant strike, but it does significantly higher damage. Why would that not be used as a filler when you don’t need to reapply a buff?

Hi, because you are clearly the master, I would like your feedback on one of my videos if possible:

Although its not a lot, I would appreciate hearing if I am totally off. I am centered more around PvP so maybe I will even help others that are looking for more. I know, as you said, PvP is ever changing, but maybe mine will help others along the way. Thanks!

I do still use Mind Crush in PvP. Albeit it’s use being very limited and situation specific.

Also, in PvP, Spinning Strike takes priority over Force Breach.
At all times, unless the target has some sort of active mitigation towards white damage.

You’re a stealth class. Take your time picking your target. Do NOT waste your force speed trying to get places faster versus a ranged target while you are still in stealth. Just walk over casually, use blackout to stay undetected, choose your moment and strike when the time is right. Save the force speed for if you get kited.

Just a couple of things I picked up on. In all honesty the guide doesn’t include even 1/10th of all the information required for someone to learn to be a proper PvPer. But you try so props for that.

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