SWTOR 3.0 Scoundrel DPS Guide by Raulos

SWTOR 3.0 Scoundrel DPS guide written by Raulos.

Introduction to 3.0 Scoundrel DPS

Although it will take some time to see how the overall class balance ends up, Scoundrel DPS is probably slightly weaker now relative to the other classes, although it plays somewhat similar to its previous iterations across both Disciplines. The most difficult part of Scoundrel DPS in 3.0 is that ranged classes and/or Bounty Hunters are particularly strong for all fights, and almost every other melee DPS brings a bit better utility. Off healing is objectively weaker for Scoundrels than in 2.x, while stealth rez is just as relevant. However it is slightly harder to stealth rez in the average 3.0 fight, in my view. While Scoundrel DPS will be viable, only very strong players will easily keep up with other classes on difficult fights in Hardmode/Nightmare. However, I find it still very rewarding to play.

Also, while Scoundrel DPS have always been used to limited AOE, long time players of Scoundrel DPS will have to get used to the slight reduction in moveset. Sabotage Charge and Freighter Flyby are no longer available for any Disciplines and Shoot First has been rolled into Backblast/Point Blank Shot. There are a few more Discipline specific changes that will be described shortly.

The biggest change in some sense is that Upper Hand (UH) no longer gives any damage or healing bonus to Scoundrels. So not only should you feel free to use up all of your UH stacks, but you should be encouraged to, when possible, as the optimal choice of filler. This reduces some of the skill in holding a UH stack at all times, but may increase skill in that it opens a few opportunities for more energy intensive choices in the rotation since you do not need to always Flurry of Bolts (basic attack) just to hold onto 1 UH. Flurry of Bolts instead is used purely for energy management. While the total number of UH will always be limited by Blaster Whip/Bludgeon and Backblast (from stealth), it could be advantageous to use all of the UHs upfront, leaving fewer for the next block in the rotation. It depends if you have to target swap, or reapply DoTs, etc.

Also Scoundrels now have Stack the Deck which provides a 10% flat Critical Rating bonus to the entire raid for 10 seconds. While this is arguably not the best of the offensive raid bonuses, at least it’s something. In addition, since it only costs one UH (and 0 energy!), it is a very minor DPS loss so use freely. I even use it in some parses by simply using Pugnacity to gain an extra UH in the opener.

Scrapper

While there are strong indications that Scrapper is slightly weaker sustained single target DPS than Ruffian in 3.0, Scrapper is viable on most fights in Hardmode, although I frequently recommend Ruffian since any target switching is less important than overall DPS in at least half of the fights. Scrapper remains one of the premier burst specs and has better control with skills like Blood Boiler, a version of Shoot First that can be used on cooldown. Also, Flechette Round has been removed as an active ability from Scrapper and made into a passive. This has the bonus of simplifying the use of Flechette Round (since you can no longer pre-load it before phases to conserve energy, and generally don’t have to think about it at all). At the same time, Shoot First is now Backblast (when used from stealth), so there is no concern about how to time Shoot First in order to be able to afford it.

Note that Bludgeon now replaces Blaster Whip, offering slightly more damage. Apart from this, Scrapper’s new move in 3.0 is Blood Boiler, although it can be viewed as a replacement to Explosive Probe which has been removed for all Scoundrels. Blood Boiler is placed on a target and remains for a number of seconds until triggered by a DoT tick (Flechette Round or Vital Shot). This move is particularly useful because it also counts a periodic effect itself, which allows you to use the UH regrant from the Round Two talent without Flechette Round or Vital Shot at all. While you will most likely aim to have either Flechette Round or Vital Shot on the target, full uptime on Vital Shot while using Blood Boiler on cooldown is very difficult on energy. This gives you a way to continue using 2 Sucker Punches every other Bludgeon no matter what happens.

One of the major downsides to Scrapper is that the strict 4m range with little AOE is punishing on some fights, since most other classes have either more range options, more AOE, or both. However, Scrapper still has essentially everything that made it fun and useful before, it is just a bit weaker in relative terms compared to the other options available in 3.0.

Ruffian

The biggest difference for Ruffian in 3.0 is that it is now a completely viable Discipline DPS wise and in full 198 gear, I expect it to be competitive with other high-end DoT specs like Assault Vanguard and Watchman Sentinel. Whereas in 2.x, Ruffian Scoundrel was one of the weakest specs, this is simply no longer the case. The primary proc, Unfair Advantage, which makes the next Brutal Shots (formerly Wounding Shots) regrant UH and cost no energy, now is guaranteed from Blaster Whip once every 10 seconds. Period. That major source of RNG is gone which makes for a much more consistent rotation and higher DPS overall. However, energy regen from DoT crits is still one source of RNG and slightly affects the rotation.

Ruffian did not get a new move in 3.0, but rather one of the “replacement” moves. Point Blank Shot replaces Backblast and not only functions in the exact same way for the same cost, but provides higher damage which comes in the form of some kinetic damage and internal damage regardless of stealth. This is in opposition to Backblast which is only kinetic damage unless used from stealth. Point Blank Shot can also be used from any direction unlike Backblast, which makes Ruffian entirely independent of position. In other words, Scrapper is the only positional Discipline for Scoundrel DPS now.

The only other major changes are that both DoTs are 24 seconds, which is a refreshingly long duration, as well as the changes to Sanguinary Shot (formerly Hemorrhaging Blast). Like for the Dirty Fighting Gunslinger’s Hemorrhaging Blast, Sanguinary Shot no longer consists of stacks on the target which are consumed by DoTs or Brutal Shots. Instead, Sanguinary Shot provides a 10 second debuff on the target in which any additional DoTs or Brutal Shots on the target will proc extra weapon damage. In addition, Sanguinary Shot now grants a UH, making it a very effective replacement for Blaster Whip if Unfair Advantage’s internal cooldown has not expired.

The consistent Unfair Advantage proc, together with the reduced cost of Point Blank Shot, which is also a slightly more important filler than in 2.x, makes energy management extremely generous in this Discipline. In a very good parse, you will find that you hardly have to use Flurry of Bolts at all.

Utilities

Compared to some other classes, the best PvE Scoundrel DPS utilities change very little from fight to fight. The bolded utilities indicate those which I believe have primary preference.

Skillful

  • Smuggled Get-up – Reduces all area of effect damage taken by 30%.
  • Scar Tissue – Increases damage reduction by 5%.
  • Let Loose – Blaster Volley deals 25% more damage.
  • Flash Powder – Reduces target’s accuracy by 20% for 8 seconds after Flash Bang ends.
  • Holdout Defense – Striking a target with Blaster Whip or Bludgeon grants Hit and Run, increasing your movement speed by 50% for 3 seconds.
  • Sneaky – Increases movement speed by 15% and effective stealth level by 3.
  • Dirty Escape – Reduces the cooldown of Dirty Kick by 15 seconds.

Masterful

  • Stopping Power – Tendon Blast immobilizes the target for 2 seconds.
  • Anatomy Lessons – Reduces the cost of Dirty Kick and Tendon Blast by 5.
  • Med Screen – Your Shield Probe heals you for 5% of your maximum health when it collapses.
  • Flee the Scene – Reduces the cooldown of Dissapearing Act by 30 seconds and Sneak by 15 seconds. In addition, activating Dissapearing Act increases movement speed by 50% for 6 seconds.
  • Sedatives – When Tranquilizer wears off, the target is struck by Sedatives, reducing all damage dealt by 50% for the next 10 seconds.
  • Dirty Trickster – Countermeasures will also purge all movement-impairing effects when activated.
  • Keep Cool – Cool Head now immediately restores 15 additional energy.

Heroic

  • Get the Buldge – Tendon Blast will now grant a Upper Hand.
  • Skedaddle – When activated, Dissapearing Act grants 2 seconds of Dodge.
  • K.O. – When used from stealth, Backblast and Point Blank Shot interrupt and immobilize the target for 3 seconds.
  • Scramble – Every time you get attacked, the active cooldown of your Dodge is reduced by 3 seconds. This effect cannot occur more often than every 1.5 seconds.
  • Surprise Comeback – Pugnacity now additionally grants Revitalizers, restoring 5% of total health every 3 seconds and reducing damage received by 20% for the duration.
  • Hotwired Defenses – Increases the amount of damage absorbed by Shield Probe by 30%.
  • Smuggled Defenses – Reduces the cooldown on Escape by 30 seconds, Shield Probe by 5 seconds, and Infiltrate by 60 seconds.

Skillful utilities: Smuggled Get-up is a must. Scar Tissue is also nice for survivability. Let Loose is not that useful since Blaster Volley is hard to use and AOE is not a big source of damage for Scoundrels, but in certain cases, such as on Revanite Commanders or ToS trash, you might find it powerful. Otherwise, I usually prefer either Holdout Defense or Sneaky for movement speed bonuses. I tend to find Holdout Defense slightly better since I prefer more movement speed for a shorter duration rather than a small amount of increase all the time, especially since I have Scamper for movement if I am away from any targets.

Masterful utilities: Both Keep Cool and Flee the Scene are essential for maximum DPS. In very limited scenarios, I could see taking Med Shield instead.

Heroic utilities: Generally I find Surprise Comeback and Hotwired Defenses to be the superior option, although like many others, I’m not much of a fan of using Pugnacity as a defensive cooldown since it is a somewhat important offensive one as well. However, in a pinch, or for fights with large predictable hits, Pugnacity is still excellent for being a lot more survivable. If you’re a Scrapper Scoundrel, this is slightly less important since it would only be used for general defensive capacity in a burn situation; Scrapper Scoundrels have Scamper for any predictable damage. Note Smuggled Defenses could also be an acceptable choice, but the reduction on Shield Probe cooldown is the only truly useful PvE aspect, so I’d rather have stronger defensives than a slightly more frequent one. Note that while Scramble is very good (and I might take it for some fights), it requires a lot of consistent damage, as well as an actual use for Dodge, in order to be useful.

Gearing

  • Accuracy: As close to 100/110 as possible; ~750 with companion bonus which equals 7 186 pieces + 1 augment, 7 192 pieces or 6 198 pieces + 1 augment. These combinations take you slightly above 100 so you can take off an augment if you wish. Note that Scrapper plays quite well with lower accuracy (up to around 50-100 less), especially since you can play it with low Vital Shot usage and do not need Vital Shot for the Round Two regrant, so do not feel obligated to cap out Accuracy immediately. However, Ruffian players should absolutely cap Accuracy as soon as they can, since DoT specs are a nightmare to play without full accuracy, since you have a very high number of hits overall. This makes you have an extremely high chance to miss, whereas non-DoT specs can easily get lucky and have no misses. In addition, if you miss a DoT application, you are in a lot of trouble.
  • Surge: At least two Surge pieces are almost necessary to gain enough Surge. Beyond that, the returns are steep very quickly, so either just take two and use the rest of the budget for Alacrity, or take three and work in some Alacrity (see below) once you can get Accuracy high enough to no longer require 7 full pieces.
  • Alacrity: I have heard from others that they enjoy quite good success with a piece of Alacrity (both in Scrapper and Ruffian), but I generally have not been focusing on this for now, especially since I barely have any gear for my Operative yet and a lot of Accuracy and at least a small amount of Surge are necessary. In full 198s you might work in one to two Alacrity enhancements. I generally recommend either a 2 to 1 Surge to Alacrity ratio or 3 to 1.
  • Critical Rating: For Scrapper: I currently recommend between 200 and 300 crit since Scrapper benefits from massive Surge bonuses: 30% to all the primary moves and 35% to Blood Boiler. For Ruffian: take zero (or very low crit, in the range of 0-100) since energy management is very good (DoT crits regrant +2 energy per tick, but you don’t actually need a lot of this) and you will benefit more from the higher power on your moves than extra crit. In addition, this means that having higher Surge is less important so this gives a small amount of extra support to Alacrity. In other words, despite Ruffian’s status as a DoT spec, I have not observed any major benefits from stacking crit.
  • Augments: Power. There is good reason to believe the theorycrafting towards power (as described by several others and recommended in KeyboardNinja’s forum guide), so if you can afford a set of those, I recommend power. I personally just use cunning augments at the moment because I prefer them for healing. If you are an Scoundrel healer who plays DPS in an alt role, just go with whatever you have chosen for your healing augments. Otherwise, Power is definitely slightly better on average for Scoundrel DPS, but you’ll probably find the difference is barely noticeable.

The old set bonuses for Scoundrel are not that great, so I recommend that you upgrade as soon as possible to the full new 6 piece.

Old 2 piece (+15% crit bonus to Blaster Whip): While Ruffian Scoundrels can still use the critical bonus to Blaster Whip, Blaster Whip is a relatively low amount of damage for that Discipline. For 192 gear, Ruffian Scoundrels could easily justify keeping this. However, 198 gear not only gives a significant stat upgrade but the 6 piece bonus is not too bad, so I recommend upgrading by then. On the other hand, Scrapper Scoundrels use Bludgeon, not Blaster Whip, so they do not benefit at all, and should upgrade immediately without question.
Old 4 piece (+5 energy): Scoundrels can still benefit from a bonus like this for energy management, especially in Scrapper. However, this is useless in Ruffian, which does not need it. In addition, -2 energy off Backblast/Point Blank Shot from the new 4 piece is a much stronger benefit in my opinion, so there’s no reason to keep the old 4 piece.

Scrapper

Ratings

  • Single Target DPS: 6
  • AoE Damage: 2
  • Group Utility: 4
  • Rotation Difficulty: 5
  • RNG Dependent: No
  • Burst: 9
  • Sub 30% Talents or Buffs: No

Discipline Changes

  • A new ability to replace Blaster Whip – Bludgeon
  • A new ability (arguably to replace Explosive Probe) – Blood Boiler
  • A new ability – Shank Shot
  • Slippery Devil now gives a 100% chance to dodge all attacks for 1.5 seconds after activating Scamper
  • Sucker Punch now only costs 10 energy, but only regrants 2 energy with the Turn the Tables talent tied into Collateral Strike damage.
  • Backblast now only costs 10 energy.
  • Flechette Round has been made into a passive ability that activates with every use of Backblast. This grants you a buff for the 30% armor penetration in addition to applying the Flechette Round DoT to the target. Note that the Flechette Round DoT has been weakened in 3.0.
  • Blood Boiler now applies the assailable debuff, causing all targets to take 7% more damage from elemental and internal attacks for 45 seconds.
  • Bludgeon now applies the susceptible debuff, causing all targets to take 5% more damage from tech attacks for 45 seconds.

Abilities

bludgeon Bludgeon (Blu): Generates a stack of Upper Hand and deals a modest amount of damage. The total damage is slightly less than Sucker Punch and a moderate amount lower than Backblast. The main purpose of this move is generate UHs so that you can spend them on Sucker Punch. 6 second cooldown, replaces Blaster Whip and costs 15 energy.
suckerpunch Sucker Punch (SP): Sucker Punch is your primary, powerful filler attack. No cooldown, costs a UH and 10 energy but regrants 2.
backblast Backblast (BB): Backblast is a strong ability that does a slightly more damage compared to Sucker Punch when Collateral Strike from Sucker Punch and the Flechette Round DoT from Backblast are factored in. However, the most important aspect of Backblast is the 30% armor penetration buff provided which lasts for 15 seconds. Note the cooldown is slightly less than the duration of this buff, so while you want to try to use Backblast consistently on cooldown, you can technically let it slide up to two extra GCDs. 12 second cooldown, costs 10 energy (8 with new 4 piece Enforcer’s set bonus).
bloodboiler Blood Boiler (Blood): Blood Boiler can be placed on a target and left on for up to 15 seconds. Upon periodic damage on the target, it explodes for massive damage (buffed by +35% surge and +5% damage bonus). This move counts as a periodic effect for UH regrant from Sucker Punch. It can be viewed either a replacement to Explosive Probe or a frontloaded, slightly more powerful version of Vital Shot. Note it is available every 18 seconds like Vital Shot so this is a reasonable comparison. 18 second cooldown, costs 15 energy.
vitalshot Vital Shot (VS): A strong DoT, Vital Shot is relatively expensive to use in comparison to mainstays like Backblast and Sucker Punch, but should be worked in as often as energy allows. It also provides the easiest means of forcing a UH regrant when Sucker Punch is used, since this is the longest DoT available to put on a target. No cooldown, 18s duration, 15 energy.
shankshot Shank Shot (SS): Essentially a stronger version of your basic attack that can only be used from melee range (4m), Shank Shot has a relatively short cooldown so it can be rotated in for Flurry of Bolts every 2 or 3 times. 15 second cooldown, 0 energy.
flurryofbolts Flurry of Bolts (FoB): Heat management is rather tight in Scrapper when it is played aggressively so use Flurry of Bolts whenever you need to recover energy and/or all your key moves with cooldowns (Bludgeon, Backblast, Blood Boiler) are not available. No cooldown, 0 energy.
overloadshot Quick Shot (QS): Extremely situational for Scrapper players in PvE, Quick Shot consumes 15 energy but can be used at 10 meters. This provides a viable ranged alternative to Flurry of Bolts that does significantly more damage. It can also be used in place of Backblast if you have a good amount of energy but cannot get behind the target for whatever reason. Use sparingly, but use it. No cooldown, 15 energy.
pugnacity Pugnacity: Grants an extra UH and more importantly in 3.0, an Alacrity boost of 10% for 10 seconds. It’s essentially your own personal version of the Merc alacrity buff on a much shorter VS. Yes, a flat 20% alacrity boost when combined with that in a raid! This can be specced via Heroic utility to additionally provide healing and damage reduction for the duration. 2 minute cooldown.
coolhead Cool Head (CH): Regrants 50 energy over 3 seconds (ideally 65 with the Masterful utility). You should attempt to stop using your basic attack and play aggressively shortly before this comes off cooldown so that you use as much energy as possible to push your DPS higher. 2 minute cooldown.
disappearingact Disappearing Act: Immediately forces you to exit combat and drastically increases your stealth level for 10 seconds. This should be used almost exactly on cooldown in order to maximize DPS (use right before Backblast/Point Blank Shot which have significantly increased damage when used from stealth). 2 minute cooldown (1 minute 30 seconds with Masterful talent).

Key Discipline Talents

  • Let ‘Em Have It: Increases the damage dealt by Blaster Volley by 15% and its critical damage bonus by 30%.
  • Flying Fists: Sucker Punch triggers Flying Fists, dealing additional kinetic damage. Standard and weak targets are additionally stunned by Flying Fists. Received at Level 16.
  • Round Two: Flying Fists immediately re-grants a Upper Hand when hitting a bleeding target. This effect cannot occur more often than once every 10 seconds. Received at Level 20.
  • Turn the Tables: Increases damage dealt by Sucker Punch and Flying Fists by 5%. In addition, when Flying Fists damages a target, you recover 2 energy. Received at Level 28.
  • Rolling Punches: Backblast grants Calculated Frenzy, which increases ranged and tech critical chance by 5% for 15 seconds. In addition, damage dealt by Bludgeon causes the target to become susceptible for 45 seconds. Susceptible targets take 5% more damage from tech attacks. Received at Level 48.
  • Slippery Devil: Increases your effective stealth level by 2. In addition, when you activate Scamper, you dodge or resist all incoming attacks for 1.5 seconds. Received at Level 52.
  • Underdog: Increases the critical damage dealt by Bludgeon, Backblast, Blood Boiler, and Sucker Punch by 30%. Received at Level 56.

Overview

As the unbearable torrent of your pistol whips and punches bears down on the enemy, you move forward with a certain quickness in your step, anticipating your next move. You stealth out of combat, one hand around your blaster, moving around behind him and opening fire with a terrific Shoot First. The combined effect of your Vital Shot and Flechette Round now tick away at him, pressing the assault even in between rapid melee hits. The worst is yet to come. Reaching into your pocket, you inject Blood Boiler into your opponent’s bloodstream with your wrist device. He squirms with discomfort, and you take advantage of the opportunity to punch him in the gut. Then your Blood Boiler reacts with your bleeds and he explodes. Yeah, that’s burst.

Maximizing Your Damage

In Scrapper, the priority is still to maximize Sucker Punch hits, especially since you grant extra damage from Collateral Strike every single Sucker Punch. This is accomplished by using Bludgeon and Dissapearing Act + Backblast as often as possible to generate UHs, as well as spending all UHs in order to not cap out. After that, your priorities are to use Blood Boiler on cooldown (for massive damage given +35% surge and high base power), maintain the Flechette Round buff for +30% armor penetration, and to finally use Vital Shot if you have the spare energy.

Rotation

Opener
Attack Adrenal + BB -> Blood -> Blu + Stack the Deck -> SP -> SP + Pugnacity -> SP -> Blu ->
SP -> Dissapearing Act + BB -> SP -> Blu -> VS -> SP -> SP -> Blood -> Blu -> BB -> SS -> SP -> Blu -> SP -> SP -> VS -> Blu

swtor-3.0-scoundrel-scrapper-dps-opener

General
Some people like to think of Scrapper in terms of a bunch of fixed block possibilities which you rotate between. It’s possible to analyze the spec this way but I prefer to think in 6 second generic blocks, and within that, work from a priority system. This is superior for a real raid too since it gives you more flexibility. You don’t panic if your Backblast isn’t in, say, the 2nd of the three filler slots every single time. Feel free to work out a particular fixed rotation for maximizing dummy parses (e.g. minimizing any conflict between Bludgeon, Backblast, and Blood Boiler) since this spec has no RNG.

The generic 6 second block is motivated based on the status of Bludgeon as your primary UH generator and its 6 second cooldown.

SB -> Filler -> Filler -> Filler

This is repeated over and over, leaving us merely with the choice of Filler. I use this priority system:

  1. Stealthed Backblast This is the most powerful move you have due to the bonus damage from stealth, the extra UH you gain, plus the Flechette Round DoT you apply. Make sure to run out your UHs with Sucker Punch (or Stack the Deck, if available) before using this. See Dissapearing Act section below for more information.
  2. Blood Boiler. This does a large amount of burst damage and also puts a Blood Boiler on the target which allows you to get your Sucker Punch UH regrant without Flechette Round or Vital Shot. The only exception here is that you should not use Blood Boiler if you do not have a DoT already ticking on the target and it will die within several seconds, because you may waste your Blood Boiler entirely which is a huge DPS loss.
  3. Backblast. This does roughly the same damage as Blood Boiler, but you can afford to delay it a GCD or two if there any conflicts since the Flechette Round armor penetration buff lasts 15 seconds and Backblast has a 12 second cooldown. Of course, this is still a DPS loss from the delay itself, so ideally don’t do this. However, it may occasionally happen especially in a real fight with target swaps.
  4. Sucker Punch with UH regrant. If the internal VS on the UH regrant has expired, you want to fit in your Sucker Punch as soon as possible in order to start the next internal VS. Since Sucker Punch always triggers a Collateral Strike for extra damage, this is your strongest possible use of a GCD outside of Blood Boiler or Backblast. The Sucker Punch itself does slightly less DPS than Backblast with Flechette Round factored in. Also, remember the internal VS is based on when you use Sucker Punch, not Blaster Whip!
  5. Vital Shot. Vital Shot deals approximately the same base damage as a Blood Boiler (just without any of the surge bonuses), so it may seem strange to place it this low on the priority list. However, the only time you can use Vital Shot aggressively alongside all your other moves is roughly 20 seconds before and after you use Cool Head. This means you use Vital Shot on VS during the opener, starting a little while into it. Then you watch the availability of Cool Head to see when you can afford to use it again. Also if you have any down time in a fight, you will be able to use Vital Shot much more often. As long as you have the energy, Vital Shot should be prioritized over everything but the above three items. In most cases, though, you will be using Shank Shot instead of Vital Shot to help your energy management.
  6. Shank Shot. Put this in the earliest filler slot possible that does not delay your important large VS moves. By using it as soon as possible, you put it back on VS in order to be used again in a short while as a 0 energy alternative to Flurry of Bolts. For example, if your last two fillers are going to be Sucker Punch and Shank Shot, make sure you do the Shank Shot first since there’s no hurry to use Sucker Punch.
  7. Sucker Punch without UH regrant. This is your standard high damage filler that can be placed anywhere. Use everything else before this in a generic 6 second block.
  8. Flurry of Bolts. Use if in danger of falling below 60 energy and Shank Shot is not available.
  9. Quick Shot. Very rarely used (and certainly not on the Training Dummy) but occasionally useful if you don’t have any UHs, cannot get behind the target for a Backblast, and/or you cannot get within 4 meters of the target.

Note that if you end up at 2 UHs, do not just hit Bludgeon. Always extend your window to include a fourth “Filler”, and make that filler Sucker Punch. This does happen very easily and I don’t worry about it; this is a minor error at best. However, hopefully you are not somehow at 2 UHs with your Sucker Punch UH regrant also available. That is a significant error since it causes Bludgeon to be delayed by 2 GCDs since you must include both a fourth AND a fifth “Filler”, which will both be Sucker Punch.

Dissapearing Act

There is one more thing to talk about which is how to use Dissapearing Act to stealth out and gain the damage boost from a stealthed Backblast. Unlike Shoot First from 2.x, the energy cost of performing this manuever is absolutely zero compared to your normal rotation. Therefore, it isn’t hard to do, but there are two things to be wary of:

1) Make sure you spend all your UHs on Sucker Punch in the window before this is due to occur, so that you can use Dissapearing Act + Backblast and then a Bludgeon. You don’t want to start delaying Bludgeon just because you gained a UH from a stealthed Backblast and then capped out with 2 UHs. Otherwise, you’re losing some of the potential DPS gain from the extra UH.

2) If Dissapearing Act is 1 GCD away when Backblast is available, I like to delay Backblast to use it immediately with Dissapearing Act and thus get Dissapearing Act on cooldown earlier. Definitely do not delay Backblast more than this since it’s a very minor benefit. If you are uncomfortable doing this, it’s not at all terrible to just wait another 12 seconds for your next Backblast.

Pugnacity
The best use of Pugnacity is as follows: run down your UHs to 0 in prior windows, and then do something like Bludgeon + Pugnacity to reset to 2 UHs. This gives you plenty of time to make sure you’re at 1 UH by your next Bludgeon. If you use Pugnacity only a GCD before Bludgeon, and you realize you need to use, say, Blood Boiler, you’re going to delay Bludgeon without question.

Pugnacity can also be thought of dynamically in terms of Sucker Punches. In such case, it should be used either for a third Sucker Punch in a window (Sucker Punch -> Sucker Punch + Pugnacity -> Sucker Punch) with two Sucker Punches or more commonly, a second Sucker Punch in a window with a single Sucker Punch (Filler -> Sucker Punch + Pugnacity -> Sucker Punch). Be wary not to try to use it if you have a window with both Backblast and Blood Boiler, since this forces you to delay Bludgeon.

Cool Head
Cool Head usage is very simple in this spec. It’s not hard at all to run your energy down below 60 and there is no RNG factored in. So when you see 10-15 seconds left before Cool Head, stop using Flurry of Bolts, and possibly abandon Shank Shot as well, favoring Vital Shot and more Sucker Punches instead. Use Cool Head at around 35 energy for maximum benefit. Recall the extra 15 energy from the Masterful utility is restored immediately, followed by 50 energy over 3 seconds. So if used immediately when the GCD is triggered, you will regain 40 energy by the time you activate your next ability. Approximately 75 energy is sufficient for any move you wish to use in Scrapper without dipping back below 60.

Target Swapping

Scrapper is a very good spec for target swapping, but it’s still important to review the practice of it. Where possible, you ought to swap targets on Backblast, so that you can immediately benefit from the Flechette Round. 3.0 gives us a new possibility, however. If you swap on Blood Boiler, you add a significant amount of burst and Sucker Punch will now regrant UH under Blood Boiler, not only Flechette Round and Vital Shot. So this gives you a lot you can do after putting on Blood Boiler, and usually Backblast will follow only a few GCDs later to detonate it. If neither of these is immediately available, consider if the target swapping is urgent. If it is, swap anyway and make the best of it, continuing to use UHs on Sucker Punch between Bludgeons and wait for Backblast or Blood Boiler, at which point you may want to swap back to your main target, or continue on your new target using those moves. If it’s not urgent, you can just wait until you have Backblast or Blood Boiler available.

A bit more theory: if you just used Backblast a GCD or two ago, and Blood Boiler is available, you can actually open with Vital Shot -> Blood Boiler on your new target, then continue your rotation, most likely with something like Shank Shot -> Sucker Punch -> Bludgeon -> Sucker Punch -> Sucker Punch. Since Vital Shot + Blood Boiler is an expensive combination, you have to be careful with this one and make sure you will at least get some uptime on your new target.

Using Slippery Devil

If you choose to play Scrapper in a raid, Slippery Devil is an excellent talent. It mitigates all incoming damage for 1.5 seconds after using Scamper. Remember every time you do this that it costs you a GCD to Scamper so it will slightly lower your DPS, but this talent is one of the primary reasons to play Scrapper other than the high burst and target swapping capacity. Here is a list of some places that you might consider using it:

  • Sparky – not really necessary, keep DPSing.
  • Bulo – use for Load Lifters.
  • Torque – as soon as fire spawns to avoid damage while repositioning.
  • Blaster/Master – double roll while taking laser stacks from B055 for a tank. Also can roll the Barrage explosions with good timing.
  • Coratanni – use for “yellow” turret AOEs in Phase 1, as well as Mouse Droids in phase 2.
  • Malaphar – not really necessary, keep DPSing.
  • Sword Squadron – pretty much all the various circles can be rolled. Big Grenade and the mine from the pull-in (on Hardmode) are excellent choices. Anything else simply slows your DPS too much.
  • Underlurker – you can roll the cross if it looks like you are going to fail. Also, if you are slow getting to a rock, roll (and Dodge + Shield Probe) will help you stay alive longer. As a fun note: it is possible to actually stay out for an entire round of Rage Storm if you use every single defensive in order, including a medpac, and possibly put some self-heals on like Slow-Release Medpac or have a Trauma Probe on.
  • Revanite Commanders – if lower on health and in the Suppressive Fire, you might want to roll out since the AOE can be slightly bigger than it appears.
  • Revan – the raid-wide Heave attack is the only major thing you can use this talent on.

Sample Parse Analysis & Video

swtor-3.0-concealment-operative-parse

I don’t have any real gear yet for my Scoundrel in 3.0 so take the overall parse number with a grain of salt. I’ll update this section if I can when I get a full amount of 192 or 198 gear for DPS. My current gear is old set bonuses (which are virtually useless) with all 186s and 198 offhand. The highest amount of your damage should always be Sucker Punch (Laceration), followed by almost all of the rest of your abilities at 10-20% a piece. One thing to pay attention to in particular is how many Flurry of Bolts (Rifle Shot) used in relation to Shank Shots (Crippling Slice). Very good parses will have a high ratio of Shank Shot to Flurry of Bolts. My ratio is 1:1 in this parse which is definitely worse than it ought to be, however I used this parse since everything else fell out mostly correctly and the corresponding video was a good representation of the spec overall.

Ruffian

Note at the time of writing this guide, Ruffian Scoundrel is bugged to hit for 5 ticks of Sanguinary Shot (Toxic Blast) per Brutal Shots (Corrosive Assault), as opposed to the likely correct value of 3 ticks that the Operative receives. This has been reported to Bioware and will either be patched to bring the Ruffian down or bring Lethality up. Hopefully it will be the latter, since buffing Lethality like that will bring its single target DPS closer in line with where it should be. Until then, Concealment and Lethality do virtually identical DPS for Operatives, but this is not the case for Scoundrels.

Ratings

  • Single Target DPS: 6 (8 if buffed like Ruffian)
  • AoE Damage: 4
  • Group Utility: 4
  • Rotation Difficulty: 9
  • RNG Dependent: No
  • Burst: 2
  • Sub 30% Talents or Buffs: Yes (increase in DoT ticks by 15%)

Discipline Changes

Ruffian has undergone a number of changes including:

  • A new ability to replace Backblast – Point Blank Shot
  • Point Blank Shot now grants the Cheap Shots buff, which increases all Shrap Bomb and Vital Shot damage on all targets by 20% for 6 seconds.
  • Both Shrap Bomb and Vital Shot now last for 24 seconds.
  • Unfair Advantage still has a 10 second internal cooldown but now procs 100% of the time from Blaster Whip assuming the internal cooldown is expired.
  • Blaster Volley now spreads Vital Shot (Lethal Proliferation talent).
  • Sanguinary Shot now grants a UH and deals extra damage for 10 seconds rather than using a depleting stack mechanic.
  • Shrap Bomb now applies the assailable debuff, causing all targets to take 7% more damage from elemental and internal attacks for 45 seconds.
  • Blaster Whip now applies the susceptible debuff, causing all targets to take 5% more damage from tech attacks for 45 seconds.

Abilities

blasterwhip Blaster Whip (S): Generates a stack of Upper Hand and deals a modest amount of damage. The total damage is significantly less than Brutal Shots and Point Blank Shot. The main purpose of this move is generate UHs so that you can spend them on Brutal Shots. In addition, every 10 seconds you can use it to proc Unfair Advantage, which causes your next Brutal Shots to immediately regrant a UH and cost no energy. This significantly helps DPS by essentially providing more UHs and aiding greatly with energy management. 6 second cooldown and costs 15 energy.
brutalshots Brutal Shots (BS): This is your primary UH spender and filler in the Ruffian rotation. It deals a moderate amount weapon damage, plus additional internal damage hits for each bleed on the target. This means that if both Vital Shot and Shrap Bomb are up, this move will deal three separate hits to the target for a combined large amount of damage. No cooldown, costs 15 energy (0 with Unfair Advantage) and 1 UH.
sanshot Sanguinary Shot (SS): Sanguinary Shot grants a UH and puts a 10 second debuff on the target which causes all periodic damage effects (Vital Shot, Shrap Bomb, and Brutal Shots) to tick for extra damage when used. Note this does not actually buff those moves but counts as a different category of damage (Sanguinary Shot damage). So this can be thought of as its own DoT. Note this works a little different from Weakening Blast in Rise of the Hutt Cartel. 15 second cooldown, costs 0 energy.
pointblankshot Point Blank Shot (PBS): Deals a large amount of damage split between kinetic and internal damage, with more damage if performed from stealth. Additionally, it triggers Cheap Shots, a talent which buffs all damage from your Vital Shot and Shrap Bomb for 20% on all targets for 6 seconds. Replaces Backblast, 12 second cooldown and costs 10 heat (8 with 4 piece Enforcer’s set bonus).
vitalshot Vital Shot (VS): The stronger of the two primary DoTs, Vital Shot is single target only and more expensive than its cousin Shrap Bomb. However, in Ruffian spec it has a 6 second longer duration. Vital Shot can also be spread by Blaster Volley to multiple targets. No cooldown, 24s duration, 15 energy. No cooldown, 24s duration, costs 15 heat.
shrapbomb Shrap Bomb (SB): The weaker of the primary dots, Shrap Bomb not only applies the assailable debuff but also functions as a 5 meter AOE. No cooldown, 24s duration, costs 10 heat.
flurryofbolts Flurry of Bolts (FoB): Heat management is fairly easy in Ruffian since the Unfair Advantage proc offers a free Brutal Shots every 10 seconds, 2 energy is regranted for every dot crit, Point Blank Shot has a very low cost with the set bonus, and Sanguinary Shot still costs 0 energy and additionally grants a UH. However, you will still need to occasionally fill with Flurry of Bolts if there is nothing to do but you cannot afford Quick Shot (see below). No cooldown and 0 energy.
overloadshot Quick Shot (QS): Since Ruffian does not have a new filler move like Shank Shot, this is the main energy-consuming higher damage alternative to your basic attack (Flurry of Bolts), although it only has a 10 meter range. Use this whenever Point Blank Shot is not available as filler, but you have plenty of energy (>80 energy). No cooldown, 15 energy.
pugnacity Pugnacity: Grants an extra UH and more importantly in 3.0, an Alacrity boost of 10% for 10 seconds. It’s essentially your own personal version of the Merc alacrity buff on a much shorter VS. Yes, a flat 20% alacrity boost when combined with that in a raid! This can be specced via Heroic utility to additionally provide healing and damage reduction for the duration. Also, this ability regrants 10 energy in Ruffian spec so it should be used roughly when at 85 energy or below together with an energy-consuming ability (typically Brutal Shots). 2 minute cooldown.
coolhead Cool Head (CH): Regrants 50 energy over 3 seconds (ideally 65 with the Masterful utility). In Ruffian, this has a reduced cooldown by 15 seconds. You should attempt to stop using your basic attack and play aggressively shortly before this comes off cooldown so that you use as much energy as possible to push your DPS higher. 1 minute 45 second cooldown.
disappearingact Disappearing Act: Immediately forces you to exit combat and drastically increases your stealth level for 10 seconds. This should be used almost exactly on cooldown in order to maximize DPS (use right before Backblast/Point Blank Shot which have significantly increased damage when used from stealth). 2 minute cooldown (1 minute 30 seconds with Masterful talent).

Key Discipline Talents

  • Black Market Mods Blaster Volley spreads your Vital Shot to the targets it damages, as long as it damages at least one target already affected by your Vital Shot. Received at Level 12.
  • Rough and Tumble Reduces the energy cost of Brutal Shots by 5, and causes damage dealt by Blaster Whip to make its target susceptible for 45 seconds. Susceptible targets take 5% more damage from tech attacks. Received at Level 16.
  • Unfair Advantage: Blaster Whip triggers Unfair Advantage, which makes your next Brutal Shots regrant Upper Hand and cost no energy. This effect cannot occur more often than once every 10 seconds. Received at Level 24.
  • Mortal Wounds: Vital Shot has a 15% chance to tick twice when it deals damage. In addition, Shrap Bomb makes its targets assailable for 45 seconds. Assailable targets take 7% more damage from elemental and internal damage. Received at Level 36.
  • Lethal Purpose: Reduces the cooldown of Cool Head by 15 seconds. In addition, critical hits with bleed effects restore 2 energy. Received at Level 44.
  • Scurry: Increases the duration of your Dodge by 1 second and your effective stealth level by 2. In addition, when you activate Scamper, you gain Scurry, which makes your next Kolto Infusion activate instantly, require no energy, and not activate or consume Upper Hand. This effect cannot occur more than once every 10 seconds. Received at Level 52.
  • Cold Blooded: Increases the damage dealt by bleed effects by 15% on targets below 30% of max health. In addition, if a target dies with Sanguinary Shot, it finishes the cooldown of Sanguinary Shot. Received at Level 56.
  • Cheap Shots: Increases the damage dealt by Point Blank Shot, Quick Shot, Blaster Volley, and Brutal Shots by 5%. Additionally, after using Point Blank Shot you gain Cheap Shots for 6 seconds, increasing the damage done of Shrap Bomb and Vital Shot by 20%. Received at Level 59.

Overview

At first the enemy laughs. You’re barely dealing 2000 DPS. The Tactics Vanguard next to you has already pulled aggro from the main tank. You’re not just at the bottom of the DPS board, some of the tanks and healers may be beating you too. But then your multiple bleeds, now lingering, eat away at your opponent, slowly suffocating him as his life drains away. You swing your pistol around and it connects, first once, then you open fire, and all of your bleeds begin to cripple him further. Your Sanguinary Shot begins to tick away now too, essentially doubling the impact of your bleeds for the next ten seconds. Just when the magnitude of this barrage is setting in, you unleash multiple Brutal Shots, dealing massive burst damage for each of your bleeds on the target. Now you’re in business. Sound fun? Read on.

Maximizing your Damage

In order to do maximum damage in Ruffian, your goal is to maintain both primary DoTs (Vital Shot and Shrap Bomb) and use Sanguinary Shot on cooldown to add an extra bleed from your DoT and Brutal Shots ticks. Spend UHs with Brutal Shots whenever possible, pushing as many as possible in when Sanguinary Shot is up on the target. You want to ensure that you waste as little time as possible doing anything but Brutal Shots when Sanguinary Shot is active. Also, you need to ensure you work in Blaster Whip at least every 10 seconds to gain a free Brutal Shots and UH regrant. Every other Blaster Whip is guaranteed to gain you this bonus since Blaster Whip is on a 6 second cooldown. Point Blank Shot, Quick Shot, and Flurry of Bolts are fillers which depend on your current energy.

Rotation

Opener
One difficulty with Ruffian is that there is simply more UH generating ability than you can possibly use up given that you need be reapplying your dots. The following is the standard opener and is the best compromise. Note you can skip using Stack the Deck after the first TB and go right into Attack Adrenal + CA. However, you have plenty of UHs and you miss out on some of the 5% tech damage boost (Susceptible) until you do your first Blaster Whip, so this is not highly recommended.

Full standard opener:
Stealth + PBS -> SB -> VS -> SS + Stack the Deck -> Blaster Whip (Unfair Advantage) + Attack Adrenal ->
BS -> BS + Pugnacity -> BS -> Blaster Whip -> BS + Dissapearing Act -> PBS -> BS ->
Blaster Whip (Unfair Advantage) -> BS -> BS -> SS -> BS -> Blaster Whip -> SB -> VS

swtor-3.0-scoundrel-ruffian-dps-opener

This achieves the maximum number of Brutal Shots under Sanguinary Shot, Shrap Bomb, and Vital Shot which in general is the strategy for maximum DPS in this Discipline. We could work in Point Blank Shot on VS or always enforce Blaster Whip on VS (note I delay Blaster Whip by 1-2 GCDs several times in this opener). However, this turns out to be suboptimal, especially in the opener.

From here your first goal is to use up any remaining energy and hit Cool Head (ideally not right at the same time as you use up a Unfair Advantage proc, but you may not have much of a choice). At some point (depending on your RNG with DoT crits), you should be able to push your energy down to around 30 and do this, especially if you work in an Quick Shot or two. When I did this opener it took me awhile to use Cool Head because I had the old 4 piece DPS set bonus (+5 maximum energy). This is one reason that old set bonus is very unnecessary is that it makes it difficult to even run out your energy in the first minute of a parse!

General
Ruffian is best explained via a general priority system on single target. This system is taken directly from KeyboardNinja’s guide on the SWTOR forums and cannot really be improved upon in my opinion.

1) Both DoTs. (If not ticking or about to expire and nothing better is up).
2) Sanguinary Shot (If <2 TA)
3) Stealthed Point Blank Shot. (If >80 energy and 2 TA)
4) Blaster Whip. (If <2 TA)
5) Brutal Shots. (If required to drain UH before Sanguinary Shot or Blaster Whip)
6) Brutal Shots (If Unfair Advantage and <80 energy)
7) Point Blank Shot. (If >80 energy)
8) Brutal Shots.
9) Both DoTs. (If < 3 seconds on duration, 0 UH, and >95 energy)
10) Quick Shot. (If 0 UH and >90 energy and Sanguinary Shot coming off VS)
11) Quick Shot. (If 0 UH and >95 energy)
12) Flurry of Bolts.

Note a few things: there is no case for Sanguinary Shot at 2 UH since you should always get to 1 UH before using Sanguinary Shot. Do not waste UHs since this fundamentally wastes Brutal Shots which is your most damaging move by far. It’s painful, yes, but it’s better to delay Sanguinary Shot. The same goes for Stealthed Point Blank Shot. Don’t do it from 2 UHs!

To maximize DPS, you need to manage UH stacks as well as possible. This is almost all that you should be thinking about when selecting your next move. Know in advance when your Blaster Whip and Sanguinary Shot are coming off cooldown (and also your Dissapearing Act + Point Blank Shot), since these moves generate UHs. Don’t be tempted to squeeze in a random Point Blank Shot if you’re sitting at 1 UH and Blaster Whip/Sanguinary Shot are both coming off VS next GCD. In such case, use Brutal Shots to get to 0 UH stacks, then use Sanguinary Shot, then use Blaster Whip, then Brutal Shots away.

So in other words high DPS = using up UHs as much as possible during the fight. Remember there’s no benefit to sitting at 1 UH anymore! In particular, if Sanguinary Shot is on the target, I will use as many UH’s on Brutal Shots as possible. If Sanguinary Shot will only last 1 more GCD on the target, I’ll even delay Blaster Whip by a GCD if I have a spare UH in order to gain as many Sanguinary Shot ticks as possible. If Sanguinary Shot is not on the target and also you do not have Unfair Advantage for a free Brutal Shots, you can be slightly more conservative with Brutal Shots, since that is a good way to bleed energy. In general, if at 80 energy or less, save your energy on full cost Brutal Shots for the next time Sanguinary Shot is up on the target.

Now for some other general comments, which I’ve organized into sections:

DoT Order

It really doesn’t matter, but I like to use Shrap Bomb first. Note that Shrap Bomb before Vital Shot has the advantage of frontloading your damage debuff (Assailable). Many Ruffian players are simply used to this order from past experience so if you are comfortable the other way around, feel free. This might be worth experimenting with more in the future.

Clipping DoTs

Don’t clip your DoTs. It’s tempting to do so since you want to be focused on maximizing Sanguinary Shot and Brutal Shots, but it’s possible to play this spec without clipping. However:

I do take advantage of the fact that Shrap Bomb ticks immediately. So if I refresh Shrap Bomb after the second to last tick (3 seconds from expiry), it is only the slightest of DPS loss. Sometimes this is the best choice of filler, rather than waiting until exactly when Grenade expires, and then realizing you have 3 other things you need to do, such as refreshing your other DoT and using up UHs. In short, you don’t want to end up refreshing too many DoTs at the same time as you need to be putting a powerful move on cooldown like Sanguinary Shot. This is a strategy that was valid in Ruffian in 2.x and continues to be important.

Other than this case, however, it is very inadvisable to clip DoTs since you flat out lose damage from doing so if you are maintaining your rotation correctly.

Cheap Shots

Point Blank Shot grants a personal buff called Cheap Shots. The Cheap Shots 20% boost to both Vital Shot and Shrap Bomb is a nice bonus. Unfortunately, it only buffs two ticks of each DoT and the gain isn’t enough to justify moving Point Blank Shot up in the priority order. It is worth keeping in mind that it is more important in the execute phase, however, so consider using Point Blank Shot slightly more < 30%. Here’s the theory for that:

Since your DoTs are 15% more powerful in execute range, it is more important to work in Point Blank Shot during execute, since the 20% bonus from Cheap Shots applies as a multiplicative factor. For instance, my base Shrap Bomb does around 850. With either execute or Cheap Shots, it does around 1000 damage. However, with both, it does not just 1150 damage, but around 1250 damage. Also the crits you can get in execute phase are massive: in my current, mostly 186 gear, I have seen Vital Shot and Shrap Bomb hits of up to 2400, and over 2500 with an Attack Adrenal. Recall my base Shrap Bomb is only around 850!

The lone other exception may be in AOE scenarios where you have your DoTs ticking on 3-4+ targets. In such case, it may be worth using Point Blank Shot over an extra Brutal Shots, since Point Blank Shot does good damage inherently, but your DoTs on all targets will be buffed.

Energy Management

Your primary energy management tools are the Unfair Advantage proc (your next Brutal Shots is free instead of 15 energy and regrants the UH that it spends) and Sanguinary Shot (important to use on VS, grants a UH, but also free). Use these liberally. You should be getting a new Unfair Advantage proc every 12-13.5 seconds depending on whether Blaster Whip has to be delayed by a GCD. Sanguinary Shot should be always used on VS every 15 seconds.

You regain 2 energy every time a DoT crits. So running higher crit in your gear helps energy management, but at some point, you don’t need better energy management (and thus Power in your gear benefits you more, as explained in the Gearing section).

Outside of these, you will probably need to use your basic attack (Flurry of Bolts) an average of around twice per minute. If you are using it more often than this, you should work on your rotation.

Quick Shot is an excellent replacement for Flurry of Bolts, but it is as expensive as a regular Brutal Shots (15 energy) and you almost always have something better to do (reapplying DoTs, using up all UHs on Brutal Shots, etc.) So you will likely only use Quick Shot a few times in a parse, if at all. Practice the spec without Quick Shot until you are very comfortable, and then incorporate it in place of a Flurry of Bolts or three. Crits on Quick Shot will definitely benefit your DPS so this is worth working on.

Pugnacity is also available as needed for +10 energy boost. See below.

Pugnacity

The short story: use Pugnacity on cooldown from 0 UHs.

The long story: In practice, within about 10 seconds of Pugnacity becoming available is fine, since it’s hard to get it precisely on cooldown. UH generation is extremely plentiful in Ruffian so it can be difficult to work in Pugnacity naturally without delaying it much. Pugnacity is on a 30 second shorter cooldown so it is available every minute and a half, which is quite often. One particularly good time is if Stack the Deck comes off cooldown, since this provides a good way to burn that extra UH. Pay attention well in advance (15 seconds) of Pugnacity becoming available so that you can try to get to 0 UHs when Pugnacity is available, and then use Blaster Whip or Sanguinary Shot and start spending UHs again.

The alacrity gain from Pugnacity should not affect your rotation.

One nice bonus of Pugnacity in Ruffian is that it grants 10 energy. So if you really plan ahead well, you can sit barely on 60 energy as you pop Pugnacity, meaning you’re sitting at approximately a comfortable 80 energy around when you execute your next move, assuming Pugnacity is used after the previous move, just as the GCD activates.

Cool Head

The short story: use Cool Head on cooldown from about 35 energy.

The long story: It can actually be quite difficult to use Cool Head in this Discipline because you have some RNG with your energy management and you also have fairly substantial energy swings depending on how your Unfair Advantage proc (and in particular, the moment you consume it) aligns with Sanguinary Shot, which costs 0 energy. When you’re around 15 to 20 seconds away from using Cool Head, stop using your basic attack entirely. Since you are pressing as hard as possible and there is very little room for fillers in general in Ruffian, there’s simply not much more you can do. As soon as you reach approximately 35 energy, pop Cool Head and continue your rotation. In practice, you can actually go slightly lower than this on energy (by around 5-10 energy) if you have a Unfair Advantage proc and/or Sanguinary Shot available to prevent falling back below 60 energy while Cool Head regenerates your pool, but I find 30-40 energy is the sweet spot. Never use Cool Head above 40 energy because this is a flat out DPS loss.

Target Swapping

Ruffian is not very good at target swapping so your raid leader should keep you on main boss whenever possible. If you really need to target swap in a fight you should consider playing Scrapper. However, if you absolutely must target swap in Ruffian, the ideal moment is 2-3 GCDs before Sanguinary Shot becomes available again and with your next Blaster Whip guaranteed to proc Unfair Advantage. Sanguinary Shot will grant you a 10 second window of extra damage on your new target, and since it costs 0 energy, it helps your energy management which will offset some of the costs of reapplying DoTs. You want to swap just before Sanguinary Shot actually becomes available so that you do not delay Sanguinary Shot while applying DoTs.

Also look for opportunities to DoT spread: it may be possible to Blaster Volley the primary target and new target(s) at the same time, spreading your Vital Shot and dealing some AOE damage. Do this if there are at least 3 distinct targets in your Blaster Volley, otherwise do not bother since it costs you energy and a UH. If you have just used Sanguinary Shot on the primary target and you cannot afford to wait for it again, then you should just apply DoTs to your new target and use Brutal Shots as many times as possible. Fill with Point Blank Shot, Quick Shot, and Flurry of Bolts as usual. By the time you do this, Sanguinary Shot should be up, at which point you can use that to target swap \emph{back} to the primary target.

Note for adds that will be up 12 seconds or less, you may as well not bother at all with this procedure since the DoT damage will be utterly wasted and you will probably not even get a full Sanguinary Shot off. What you can do alternatively is help your raid group by pushing all your direct damage on to the new target. If there are multiple adds, Shrap Bomb and Thermal Grenade, then use Blaster Volley once or twice. If there is only one add, use Blaster Whip, Point Blank Shot, and Quick Shot, tab back to primary target and use your Brutal Shots, and then Blaster Whip again on the secondary target.

Some of the details of this will depend on how urgent it is to kill an add. Note that if it is very urgent you may just have to spam whatever is available (again skipping Sanguinary Shot if uptime is < 12 seconds). This is sort of a waste but can be done in a pinch.

Scurry

Scurry is one of the best off-heals in the game so you should know how to use it. Scurry makes your next Kolto Infusion after using Scamper activate instantly with no energy or UH cost. The internal cooldown on this effect is 10 seconds. This is as powerful as the Sage/Sorcerer ability to bubble people, but even better since you don’t even have to worry about conflicting with the healer, and it has the potential to do better than a bubble with crits.

The best time to use Scurry is when rolling between targets if you do not have to use GCDs to reapply DoTs. Even if you do, you should consider using it if the raid is severely low on health and/or your healers are not very strong. It will lower your DPS since it costs a GCD, but you should be willing to sacrifice a little DPS sometimes in a pinch. Remember though that the raid sometimes gets lower on HP, even with good healers, so don’t waste GCDs in a panic off-healing. Only use when it’s crucial or if you have a spare GCD where you’re not within 10 meters of your primary target.

Scurry is also a good way to self-heal if separated from your healers.

Sample Parse Analysis & Video

swtor-3.0-lethality-operative-parse

I don’t have any real gear yet for my Operative in 3.0 so take the overall parse number with a grain of salt. I’ll update this section if I can when I get a full amount of 192 or 198 gear for DPS. My current gear is old set bonuses (which are virtually useless) with all 186s and 198 offhand.

Notice how much damage comes from Brutal Shots (Corrosive Assault), followed by Sanguinary Shot (Toxic Blast) (ignore my high Blaster Whip amount – this comes from old 15% crit set bonus). Your regular DoT ticks only do a modest amount in comparison, so try to think of your DoTs as a means to an end (high damage from Brutal Shots -> Sanguinary Shot -> Point Blank Shot). Note again that Ruffian Scoundrel will get considerably more Sanguinary Shot (Toxic Blast) ticks than a Lethality Operative Also, the balance of things is slightly off without the new set bonuses since I can afford to use very few overall basic attacks with 105 total energy, but I have to use Point Blank Shot a bit differently since it is more expensive than it ought to be.

In any case: the priority for the parse is to maintain your two DoTs, then maximize Brutal Shots under Sanguinary Shot while using Point Blank Shot as frequently as possible as high-damage filler. Point Blank Shot does not contribute more total DPS than your various other moves like Blaster Whip and your two primary DoTs due to its longer cooldown, but recall that it still has excellent damage per energy (DPE) and buffs your other DoTs via the Cheap Shots talent.

Fight Specific Roles

Note: Generally, Ruffian is recommended for extensive single target burns since it has arguably higher sustained DPS when played well. It also has a range and positional advantage over Scrapper. However, Scrapper is fairly strong at target swapping and has a slightly easier rotation to resume if distracted or interrupted.

The Ravagers

  • Sparky: Ruffian if main on boss. Scrapper if main on adds.
  • Quartermaster Bulo: Ruffian for single target damage, DoT ticks while away from the boss, and range capabilities, although Scrapper is still possible to use and is very nice for rolling Load Lifters with Scamper exploiting the Slippery Devil talent.
  • Torque: Ruffian if main on boss. Scrapper if main on adds (not highly recommended unless there are 1-2 strong ranged with AOE capacity and/or a Guardian tank to Saber Reflect since Scoundrel can basically only direct target swap).
  • Blaster: Ruffian. It allows you more flexibility to attack either target, and swapping is not very important.
  • Coratanni: Either Ruffian or Scrapper. Ruffian brings slightly stronger DPS, which is particularly important for the DPS check on Hard Mode. Also the positional advantages are good on Ruffian when dealing with Ricochet Shot. However, Scrapper’s Slippery Devil talent with Scamper is particularly nice in this fight for various reasons.

Temple of Sacrifice

  • Malaphar: Ruffian.
  • Storm Squadron: Either Ruffian or Scrapper work very well. Ruffian can potentially double DoT and has good self-heals in a pinch. Scrapper has excellent defensives especially with Slippery Devil as well as the Heroic tier Utilities and can swap targets easily when needed. In addition, Blood Boiler is excellent for timing the kill at the end of the fight.
  • Underlurker: Either Ruffian or Scrapper. Scrapper is more bursty for adds, but the 4m range and Backblast requirements are very annoying in a fight where you are slowed. Scoundrel does not have a cheese like Hydraulics or a gap closer like Leap, which makes it difficult if not impossible to swap adds. In addition, you take significantly more damage from the adds if not at slight range. Ideally you should play Ruffian and be given your own add to kill while the other DPS work on the other two.
  • Revanite Commanders: Scrapper. Scoundrel doesn’t have very good AOE in general and a DoT spec won’t get much up time on adds or help with the enrage. Ruffian would be fine for the burn phase, but Scrapper is much easier to work with in my opinion.
  • Revan: Ruffian is preferrable due to its range capacity and long single target burns. However, Scrapper could be more viable if you used Scamper with the Slippery Devil talent as a strategy to mitigate incoming damage such as from Heave. However, your healers can heal through this, so it’s probably more important to go for the highest DPS option.

Acknowledgements

This guide wouldn’t be complete without very helpful discussions with Thrax (Drop It Like It’s Hoth) and KeyboardNinja (Aisthesis), who helped with perspective on Scrapper and Ruffian, respectively. In addition, KBN has an excellent guide on Ruffian DPS hosted on the SWTOR forums which I have borrowed several major ideas from. Also a special mention to Kesmet and Invinc/Carl, who both originally helped me with Scoundrel DPS in the 2.x content.

About the Author

I’m Raulos and I’m currently one of the main healers in Zorz, a world progression guild which has achieved most world first clears since the beginning of Dread Fortress Nightmare. In spite of this, I have been playing Scoundrel extensively since prior to 2.0 and I have solid knowledge of all three Disciplines in 3.0. In previous gear cycles, I have held the #1 parses at both Scrapper and Ruffian at different points in time. I have also cleared all previous NiM operations as an Scoundrel DPS.

Please direct any comments or further questions to my forum account (Saenth), or post in the comments below. Thank you!

  • Serdar

    Nice guide, but for Scrapper spec, i don’t know why you do not always use vital shot, i do so and it works, to always have 1 upper hand D:

    • Raulos

      I don’t have the energy to keep up Vital Shot while keeping every other move on cooldown so I’d be interested to know how you make it work. Also there’s no benefit to having 1 UH or not so that wouldn’t be my concern, but if there’s a way to align the rotation better with respect to energy, I’d love to know so I can update.

      • You should have vital shot in opener.

        • Raulos

          In a boss fight you will be able to maintain Vital Shot better because you have more energy from random downtime (e.g. – back out of melee range, blocked by mechanics, pauses between phases, boss kited out of 4m range). In the optimal sustained single target rotation, your energy gets slowly depleted and cannot be maintained over 60 energy by any method I know without making rotational mistakes elsewhere. We could have a separate debate over whether it’s worth missing out on other moves for perfect Vital Shot uptime on a dummy.

          Obviously maintain Vital Shot in your rotation if you do have the energy. I don’t necessarily agree with putting Vital Shot immediately because I can get high burst under my attack adrenal by slightly delaying the first application of Vital Shot. Instead I make sure to use Pugnacity right away and maximize Sucker Punch/Backstab/Blood Boiler under adrenal and the alacrity buff from Pugnacity. Your suggested opener does work and has Vital Shot ticks but misses out on damage elsewhere under the attack adrenal.

          • You must not raid with scrapper at all. My opener makes optimal sustained single target rotation. Obviously VS is not as important as other abilities (although more than shank shot). You should try out my opener more and the whole thing will make more overall sense.

            • Guest

              I do raid with Concealment/Scrapper. Also, I don’t see how it’s not in line with my priority list: Vital Shot is more important than Shank Shot etc. but less important than moves like Backstab, Volatile Substance, and your Sucker Punch with UH regrant. which is what you said and I said. What I disagree with is the first few moves of your opener already delays Bludgeon. I want to see video of you using 100% Vital Shot uptime otherwise I can’t judge how whatever you are doing to afford that (energy wise) compares. I don’t have the -2 energy on Backblast yet, but even when I do, I guarantee I cannot afford to Vital Shot every 18s while doing Backstab every 12s, Volatile every 18s, and Bludgeon every 6s. If you can explain an alternative rotation that doesn’t do one of those 3 things, I’m honestly open to hear it.

            • Raulos

              I do raid with Concealment/Scrapper. Also, I don’t see how it’s not in line with my priority list: Vital Shot is more important than Shank Shot etc. but less important than moves like Backstab, Volatile Substance, and your Sucker Punch with UH regrant. which is what you said and I said. What I disagree with is the first few moves of your opener already delays Bludgeon. I want to see video of you using 100% Vital Shot uptime otherwise I can’t judge how whatever you are doing to afford that (energy wise) compares. I don’t have the -2 energy on Backblast yet, but even when I do, I guarantee I cannot afford to Vital Shot every 18s while doing Backblast every 12s, BB every 18s, and Bludgeon every 6s. If you can explain an alternative rotation that doesn’t do one of those 3 things, I’m honestly open to hear it…

  • Garic

    Interesting. I personally prefer Get the Bulge (+UH on Tendon Blast) over Surprise Comeback, but that might be because Im the type of player who never wants to run out of resources. So between Point Blank Shot, Sanguinary Blast, Pistol Whip, and Tendon Blast, that is effectively 3-4 UH’s every 15 seconds or so. Add Pugnacity’s UH and you are a Brutal Shots machine imo. Yes yes, as long as you dont waste them, of course. Just personal preference.

    Overall, still love Ruffian (Dirty Fighting). Its been my favorite spec since beta, still is. It just reminds me so much of SWG’s Smuggler. Even with a little hit in DPS its still fun as hell to play.

    • Raulos

      I find there’s barely enough time to use up all the TAs I have while keeping everything on cooldown in Ruffian, so I don’t incorporate a low damage move like Tendon Blast. There is probably some good uses for it though, especially in pvp.

      • SupRun

        You know more than I do (I’ve been healing mostly on my Scoundrel, but did DPS to level) but with adding the UH from Tendon Blast I can get at least 5 UHs in the Sanguinary Blast window plus Blaster Whip coming off CD once Sanguinary Blast’s buff is expiring. I’m consistently throwing Brutal Shots every which way.

        • Raulos

          Interesting. I’ll give it some tries at some point to see if the UH benefit overcomes the DPS loss from shifting around the rotation to incorporate Tendon Blast itself.

          • SupRun

            Will you be putting up the healing guide for Scoundrel also? Or do you not know the status of that?

          • KShrike

            I’d like to add that in situations where you’re 10m from the target for whatever reason (mechanics or otherwise) that it’s nice to be able to throw a knife to keep the TA up.
            At least, when *I* tried it.
            Obviously you’d be giving up something that could arguably be considered better in every way.

  • Garic

    Also, Ruffians dont get Toxic Blast. 😉

    • Raulos

      Corrected

  • Raulos

    Corrected a few minor errors in Scrapper section with regard to the opener. I had mistyped some of the moves so it should look better now.

    • The Hammer

      Did you ever play JKA online under the name of Raulos?

      • Raulos

        No

  • KShrike

    Well, I guess we’re never gonna see ourselves in raids unless we main a different class….
    T.T
    Who cares if we can pull the numbers if everyone’s gonna just know by common knowledge that we’re bad, whether it’s true or not.
    I’m not gonna wait for Bioware to buff the class, I’m gonna work hard to use it to be just as useful as everyone else.
    Just…. hope I actually get in a raid, instead of noobs kicking me out because I’m a scoundrel, without letting me show off raid experience.
    edit: I bet something is just waiting to be discovered to put us on par or even ahead of the other melee classes.

    • Raulos

      I certainly hope that this class scales well with more work on optimal rotations and gearing. I look forward to seeing what can be done with full 198s. I do encourage you to keep working on the class, its still viable just on the lower end of things. The only strong DPS is the Ruffian Scoundrel but it’s bugged to do more DPS so I’m not sure if that will last. Hopefully it does and Lethality Operative is buffed. But yeah, it’s hard when it’s common knowledge that this class is not “very useful” in general.

      • KShrike

        Well it won’t stop me from working hard on the class. 😛

      • Haydende’vrie

        I appreciate the guide as it’s helped me min/max my rotation and gear. Keep up the good work sir, I salute you.

    • Haydende’vrie

      I main scoundrel dps in the guild ‘Shadowed’ on the shadowlands server, pub side. I’m not sure why people wouldn’t bring you simply because you’re a scoundrel dps. I keep up with all the dps on most fights as ruffian. While target switching fights I don’t do as well as the ranged classes, I shine on fights where dps is needed to sit on something for long periods of time, I.E. First bosses of both new ops, walkers, cortani(unless I’m chasing that damn bird around). Underlurker is an issue simply due to the ramp up time required for ruffian. I hear alot of hate on melee classes in general and while its true most fights arent that melee friendly, scoundrels excel where other’s dont simply because of stealth rez and off-heals when needed. Don’t get discouraged and try and find a guild where you’ll be given the chance to show what you can do. I also recommend parsing whenever you have a few mins of downtime with both dps specs.

  • SirRobinII

    They do well in solo ranked now 😀

    • KShrike

      PvP operative/scoundrel is king right now.

      • Peter

        Haha not at all. They are on the bottom next to maras in terms of survival.

        • KShrike

          I beg to differ. We get a battle stealth with a built in cleanse, a dodge that cleanses everything (so two cleanses), and if we’re concealment/scrapper, our roll gives us full immunity to damage.
          It’s not as powerful as saber ward, or perhaps guarded by the force, or maybe even enraged defense, or adrenaline rush, but it’s different, used for different things.
          In return for giving up this survivability and holding onto an extra life with a battle stealth that works every time, we get a crapton of burst on demand, every hit can crit for 12k, and some for 15k (for concealment at least, I don’t do lethality in pvp, not yet at least.)
          We also get a crapton of CC, many of which doesn’t even add to resolve (such as crippling slice, and if you spec to the snare in utilities, sever tendon/tendon blast, and a snare after our hidden strike [backstab from stealth] if you spec for it), making our 1v1 situations ridiculous.
          I’d argue that we are better than before the hidden strike KO change.
          And yes, maybe other classes have more in terms of survivability and damage, but I strongly believe that operatives are very much viable in PvP.

          • Peter

            Sorry mate, but I completely disagree with you. My first point here will be that I rather see the removal of Hidden Strike as a nerf (can’t Hidden Strike into Backstab anymore). Our survival is completely reduced (sure we get new utilities to choose from after 3.0, but lets be honest, several of these should be baseline). Having to choose between a reduced CD on our purge has a much higher priority than the 2 second purge while activating Cloaking Screen. Jarring Strike only fits in to Concealment, but Concealment can’t choose it can they? We’re stuck on surviving all the time. This point should be baseline. Volatile Substance I see as a nerf compared to Explosive Probe which detonated on the first tick of damage.
            Literally what they did to Operatives was make them choose between certain utilities which we need for the class to survive, putting them all in the last section where we only get to choose two of them. They remove Kolto Injection and replace it with Kolto Probe. Sure it’s good for keeping hots, but that totally delays your combat effectiveness when having to rely on hots. When spammed, they can’t heal you for the same amount of health as an Injection can. Reducing performance in 1v1s and alternate survival.

            Your point about Concealments 1v1 situations is rather far from true. Operatives are now as far from defeating Assassins in 1v1s as any other class, even though they both are stealthers. Bioware clearly has favored the Assassin class as the main stealth class, no doubt about it. 12 second immunity to stuns, roots and slows says it all.
            Crippling Slice is in my opinion close to useless. The chance of successfully rooting someone without them hitting you is so low that I would happily have it as an alternative to Jarring Strike, where the latter would win my vote any time.
            In addition, now that all dots are uncleasable it puts Operatives in a very squishy position. By choosing one good utility, you sacrifice another. Making them vulnerable and below several other classes in terms of survival.
            The damage is not impressive either. PT’s, Assassins, Sorcs (both specs) will outclass Concealment in damage and burst.

            • KShrike

              Well, I guess it’s safe to say that Jung Ma is a very terrible judge of class viability in pvp. Heh….
              I’m still winning *my* 1v1s. Maybe I’m just always getting bad opponents.

              • Peter

                Second purge? It’s a “one time only” purge used together with your cloak. I’m talking about the “Evasive Imperative” point which reduces your CD on “Evasion” by 20 seconds or so when you are getting focused. This makes a huge difference rather than a purge together with your cloak, as it can be used way more often. To be honest, I feel the class is in a pretty difficult state right now that sacrificing a point in Jarring Strike is difficult. You definetely need the root purge, Evasive Imperative and Advanced Cloaking (if you do regs.) I would go for the Advanced Cloaking 9/10 to do a Hidden Backstab (Hidden Strike), although they really messed it up didn’t they. Removing Hidden Strike into Backstab.
                Operatives don’t just have bad defenses against Assassins, but almost every ranged class now. Juggs might kill you now as well.
                Crippling Slice isn’t at all close to the benefit that Jarring Strike gives, they should definetely switch those around.

              • JebasMcFlebas

                That doesn’t make any sense. Evasion is 60s, so reduced by 20s means 40s. So in 2 minutes you can use it 4 times. This is as opposed to getting 2 uses each (4 total) of Evasion and your combat stealth in 1m30s, or 5 uses total in 2 minutes. It’s not “way more often”, it’s LESS often. Plus you can stagger them or use them back-to-back, plus all the advantages of stealth. It’s not even a contest.

              • Peter

                What are you talking about?
                Evasive Screen’s “Evasion”, or so called “purge” can only be used once you restealth, which means once every 1 min 30 seconds. (If you use Advanced Cloaking.) Evasive Imperative, however, can be used on CD either before you restealth or as a normal midgame purge. Evasive Imperative will therefore always be the best alternative.

  • Carl

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  • Syreei

    Is Zorz rep or imp? or both?

    • Artorias

      Imp

  • Corwin

    The “Overview” parts are so good. Do you write novels or something? Really interesting to read, awesome guide!

  • Valen

    I did raid with Scrapper and watching this guide made me to swap to Ruffian. My numbers in the dummy improved, and in raiding it’s overall better because of getting rid of the position requirement.

    I have seen the resurrected bonus set gear, why did they include alacrity in hand? Resource management is not an issue both for scrappers and ruffians tbh, I was a little surprised when I saw that.

    • Owl

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    • TheHarbingersKwerty

      Resurrected gear has alacrity for 2 reasons:
      1. Poorly Itemized
      2. Alacrity is actually useful now

      Feel free to grab alacrity, cause its usually a DPS increase after 1-2 surge pieces (surge hits diminishing returns very quickly)

      • Raulos

        Overall I think Ruffian is slightly better although the two are close enough right now that Scrapper’s flexibility and lack of setup can make it competitive. In theory Ruffian should be pretty good on fights where you can do extended single target since it is 10m except for Blaster Whip, which you can afford to delay by a GCD or two usually.

    • JebasMcFlebas

      Alacrity has got nothing to do with resource management except on fights with shitloads of downtime. You regen faster, sure, but you’re also spending equally faster. It’s a straight DPS increase. On fights with downtime it allow you to burn like crazy hell during the uptime and regen it all quick during the downtime.

  • KeybardNinja

    Random note on Ruffian in Underlurker… This spec is astonishingly strong on this fight. It really doesn’t seem like it *should* be so strong, but it works out amazingly well. Even without anything more than the 2pc set bonus and nearly exclusively 186 gear (198 OH), my scoundrel has gotten a 4.4k on this fight in SM. In HM, it settles down around a flat 4k, since you can’t play cute with the Rage Storm quite as much.

    The key observation is that Rage Storm (and adds) pop exactly once every 45 seconds. This divides almost perfectly into our DoT duration. Thus, you do your opener on the boss, then kill the add, apply both DoTs to the boss when the add dies (which should be just as your DoTs are expiring) and then hide behind the rock. Don’t reapply your DoTs and follow the priority queue during the cross phase, then swap back to the add when it pops (which will correspond with expiry of your DoTs on the boss). In other words, it’s basically a dummy fight with periodic imposed cease fire, but only at benign points in the rotation.

    Anyway, nice guide! It goes into some details that I omitted in my guide, and explains things in a slightly different way. Excellent resource.

  • Theeho

    Small typo under Scrapper -> Maximizing your damage:

    SB -> Filler -> Filler -> Filler
    should read
    Blu -> Filler -> Filler -> Filler

  • Tygerian

    I kept trying to figure out what the hell “VS” stood for in sentences like this:

    “This means you use Vital Shot on VS during the opener, starting a little while into it.”

    Then I checked the Operative guide, and I’m 99% sure you started with that one and then at some point did a find-replace CD->VS (Corrosive Shot->Vital Shot).

    Great guide though, thanks for putting this together.

    Out of curiosity, are there any noticeable differences between Operative and Scoundrel, or are they perfect copies with a different skin?

  • qlgst

    “However, Scrapper still has essentially everything that made it fun and
    useful before, it is just a bit weaker in relative terms compared to the
    other options available in 3.0.”

    Not true!

    Tendon blast now doesn’t root, it just slows by 25%, what is like nothing.

    And Orbital Strike is gone. You can’t use it to protect the tap point in PvP.

    Most of what made this class fun is gone! Even playing around with your shotgun on fleet was removed!

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  • Sozinho

    Hi. Is this guide still useful, or need an update?

    Ty vm.

  • Tykè

    Make 4.0 guide

    • Lee

      I agree, the 4.0 guide by Ironballs is totally unreadable and inconsistent.

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