SWTOR 3.0 Deception Assassin DPS Guide by Artorias of Ebon Hawk. This is to replace Evolixe’s guide since he no longer players the game.
Intro to 3.0 Deception Assassin
Deception is the polar opposite of Hatred. Hatred being the spec with some intense rotation management and flat sustained, Deception is the no set up required, burst spec. Deception is closer to it’s older self than the 2.10 version due to some reverts on the devs part.
Deception is a positional and stealthing rotational spec, meaning you need to be behind the boss and keep your Stealth out ready for in rotation abilities/buffs and energy Management. Deception pulls slightly behind Hatred’s numbers but has decent AOE Capability and great burst. It has harder damage to spawn from the spec but if done correctly is viable for all raids.
Deception can be brought into any fight so long as your target is not consistently turning to you which can throw off some minor resource windows and damage spikes, so if you’re in a fight where adds may be consistently aggroing to you, Deception may not be the best option.
|Insulation: Increases your armor rating by 30% while Lightning Charge or Surging Charge is active.|
|Assassin’s Shelter: Increases all healing received by 3%. In addition, deploying Phase Walk also deploys Assassin’s Shelter, increasing the healing done by those within 5 meters of the Phase Walk by 5%.|
These utilities are pretty much what you’ll be taking most of the time. How ever a fight may call for some changes to be taken. For example Emerson may be needed for Underlurker HM due to the slow, it’s ideal out of all of your abilities to sacrifice Disjunction for such ability. The reason is that there are not a lot of abilities Force Shroud works against that are continuous damage, most of which is actually one big spike hit i.e (Grav Missile, Heave, Mouse Droid, HK-47 grenades), as such an extra 2 seconds isn’t too important to you if the fight demands something more practical.
For fights such as Sword Squadron, a utility like Shroud of Madness is ideal to have a second Force Shroud to use to resist another attack. How ever this is sort of troubled since it may require you to delay Force Cloak further to use it on the big attacks.
For Torque taking Shapeless Spirit is ideal as it’ll reduce the damage of his Shackles if your healers are a touch slow getting to you, you can easily sacrifice Avoidance or Obfuscation for this case.
You can also Sacrifice 3% healing from Assassin’s Shelter but if your healers need your particular shelter, it’s best served giving them a 5% heal bonus for their output on the rest of the raid, but this is all dependant on your group composition and how much moving needs to be done on their part.
- Single Target Dps: 7
- AoE Damage: 7
- Group Utility: 4
- Rotation Difficulty: 8
- RNG Dependency: 3
- Burst: 8
- Sub 30% Talent or Ability Buffs: Yes
Gearing and Stats Priority
- Accuracy: 100% Melee (110% Force). 1% from Companion, 760 Accuracy Rating from Gear.
- Surge/Alacrity: 70% / 30% distribution
- 250-385 Critical Rating (1% from companion) or 650 to 720.
- All other secondary stats in Power
- Augments: Resolve (Willpower)
- Relics: Serendipitous Assault & Focused Retribution
- Set Bonus: 6 Piece Stalker or Dread Master Stalker 4 piece. (explained below)
- Technique: Surging Charge
Alacrity is a decent buff to Deception, a fast acting rotation will allow reliance on surge to drop off a touch but too much Alacrity actually hurts the rotation’s finished damage. I’ve tested with a Full alacrity build, even alacrity build (50/50 split with surge) and low Alacrity, the low Alacrity consistently pulled a head for me.
You either want to head for a high power build and rely on the slightly rare but amazing crits to do a bulk of your damage or go a high crit build and rely on more frequent but slightly weaker crits to create your sustained. Both options are viable.
The old set bonus Vs. the new is a valid argument either way. I have done parses with both and gotten the same numbers. The old set bonus gives better force regen due to stacking the 2-piece with Assassin’s Training and the 15% Crit chance on Voltaic Slash means your most used ability will crit more often on top of having Exploitive Strikes, the sacrifice to this is your passive 2% power gain, 1 minute autocrit, 15 second reduced CD on Recklessness and your Willpower. It would appear the Dread Master 4 piece will be more viable upon acquiring a full Revanite Set, currently in Resurrected Gear, the damage difference isn’t a lot.
How Deception Works
Deception works in the manner of charging up your main attack, Discharge, to deal a decent amount of damage. The rotation attempts to make Discharge prepped as fast as possible due to Voltage, the rotation outside of Discharge is dealing damage and making sure your next Discharge occurs as soon as possible since it’s a very hard hitting ability, though this is where the minor rotational RNG comes into play for Deception.
There are a few ways of opening with Deception. Each one is up to personal preference and fight situations. It is always ideal to open from stealth to allow Dark Embrace to linger in the opener and as such counter act the greedy force requirement of your opening abilities. The rotation for Deception comes from a priority method as the rotation floats to an extent due to the RNG timing of Static Charge generation and your Force Regeneration.
The Simple Opener is how it sounds. It lacks difficulty but is a bit less effective than the alternative. It opens out of stealth with Discharge, keep in mind you can activate Recklessness while stealthed and you will not exit stealth. You pop Recklessness, gain your stacks and hit your adrenal right before Discharge. From there you hit Voltaic Slash twice to gain both Voltage stacks to generate Static Charge off of the rate limit and Induction to reduce the cost of the following Ball Lightning. Your opening Discharge will proc Duplicity, allowing you to use it at greater damage and a reduced cost, then fill in with a Voltaic Slash to get your third and final stack of Discharge, allowing you to use it at max damage. If you’re unlucky, your 3rd Voltaic Slash will fail to generate a third stack, if this happens, merely use another one. Ball Lightning will then generate the 1st stack of your next cycle of Static Charge and Blackout will help undo any of the Force Cost previously encountered.
The Pre-cast Opener front loads your Voltage and Induction stacks prior to pulling the boss/dummy by using Lacerate twice before going into stealth. This means you can skip the opening Voltaic Slash of the Simple Opener in favor of Ball Lightning and Maul occurring earlier, thus better damage and easier Force Consumption since 2 Voltaic Slash = 44 Force Vs. Ball Lightning (16) and Maul (10) = 26 Force. This isn’t a big deal since we have Blackout coming soon.
The window to pulling is rather tight as you need to hit Discharge and Ball Lightning before Induction falls off. After your second Ball Lightning, Duplicity will be procced off of your first Discharge and you can fill in the time before the CD of Ball Lightning by using Voltaic Slash twice. Your second Discharge will be coupled with Blackout to undo the cost of the rotation.
The Crushing Darkness Opener is my preferred opener. It makes use of Crushing Darkness to apply an opening decent hit and apply a short timed but powerful DoT while you’re hitting the target. It also front loads the precast to circumvent the Double Voltaic Slashes in the opener. You pre-cast your stacks withLacerate, stealth, generate 3 stacks with Recklessness, Precast Crushing Darkness, activate your Adrenal shortly before hitting the target with Discharge then Ball Lightning. The Damage will cause Duplicity to Proc, which you then couple with a double Voltaic Slash Ball Lightningcomes off CD again to generate your third and final stack of Discharge which then goes with Blackout. This rotation is a bit hard to get your head around at first but deals decent damage and is worth the time to learn Vs. the Simple rotation.
All of these openers a susceptible to the same problem of not knowing when your Surging Charge will proc. This can cause it to occur later (or even earlier) than you may anticipate. It’s worth your while to keep an eye on when your non-Ball Lightning stack was generated as it’s at least 4GCD’s (6 seconds) from that point when the second one can occur, same as the cooldown of Ball Lightning.
You can use Overcharge Saber to increase the chance of it proccing, but in my opinion Overcharge Saber is best saved for the defensive capability when in raid situations due to how minimal of a damage increase it is over all. This is where most of the RNG comes from in the spec, the other RNG spots are the previously mentioned Saber Strike RNG and the Recklessness 60% chance which means even under a Recklessness Window abilities are not guaranteed to crit.
Deception has rules to follow, these are what creates your rotation instead of a usual A -> B -> C rotation which is used for other classes.
1) First and foremost. When Static Charge Procs, it needs to be used instantly, any delaying could result in the generation of a 4th stack of Static Charge which obviously will be consumed and not actually be of any benefit to you. You want to ensure every stack of Static Charge goes to use in rotation since you can sometimes strain to get your third stack, so there’s no point throwing them away. You’ll notice the stacks hitting 3 due to the unique body animation which takes form crackling lightning cascading from your arms and saber and the border of Discharge turning golden.
Both the Shadow and Assassin animations for 3 stacks of Breaching Shadows / Static Charge being achieved.
2) You should maintain a 100% uptime on Voltage. This may sound easy but if you get too DPS hungry you can let it fall off in the execute by using Maul, Assassinate, Ball Lightning and Discharge on Cooldown as well as juggling Saber Strike. Outside of the execute, this task is rather simple due to how over Voltaic Slash is used in rotation, but sub 30% the rotation and force management benefit from the use of Assassinate being used. Don’t get cocky kid.
3) Ball Lightning should be used only under 2 Voltage stacks and 2 Induction stacks. For the first point, a 50% chance on a rotation that demands the stacks of Static Charge ASAP isn’t favourable to be dared upon, play it safe and spend the extra GCD to get your second stack. 12 Force, even 6 is a big difference in rotation, every costly melee ability that’s supposed to be used will generate a stack of Induction, as such there is no reason to go flat out with 1 or no stacks.
4) Your Execute should be an Execute, make use of Assassinate and don’t worry about using it on cooldown so long as this priority doesn’t delay the use of Discharge or the use of Ball Lightning. You may need to delay the use of Assassinate to refresh Voltage, it is ideal to do this by delaying Maul. Duplicity lasts a long time, long enough that delaying it will not cause you to sweat to try and use it before it falls off, the ICD of Duplicity triggers upon gaining the buff not expiring. As such you can delay Maul in favor of Saber Strike if resource demands it.
5) Never Maul outside of an Duplicity window. This can cause huge DPS loss in the form of both resource drain and a sub par damage output. Maul does a lot more harm than good if used outside this window and occurs often enough so that you won’t feel obligated to touch Maul outside of this time frame.
6) Saber Strike should be used to gain Force when needed. Blackout has a 45 second cooldown and you will spend a lot of force during the 39 second down time. You will have moments of back to back Blackout and it’s nice, but do not rely on it coming off cooldown in say 9 seconds so go a head and burn yourself out. 50% Force regen isn’t a lot so make use of it, make sure you balance out your saber strikes enough that you don’t over do it and that you don’t need them. I find a good balance of location is around your Duplicity, you’re using your lowest costing ability of 10 coupled with a free ability that also gains your Force.
7) Force Cloak is destructive to your rotation if you don’t know how / when to use it. Using Recklessness at an inconvenient time is also just as bad. You never want to Force Cloak and clip Blackout’s CD nor do you want to Stealth out if your Recklessness is pushing to nearly off cooldown. Blackout and Potency take priority over Force Cloak’s use, you can waste a 3rd Blackout and a 2nd Recklessness if you carelessly use it. As I mentioned above if you use Recklessness with stacks generated of Static Charge, you’ll over write the original stacks, effectively wasting it. It’s more ideal to wait the extra few seconds and do a back to back Discharge combo, keep in mind it is costly.
In the execute window, priorities can shift. When Assassinate is available, it’s optimal to delay Discharge if the third stack generated on Static Charge is not the result of your Ball Lightning. What this means is, when you use Assassinate after the ability that has generated your 3rd stack i.e Saber Strike, Maul, Voltaic Slash and so on, Assassinate is not capable of generating a third stack, as such delaying will pose no issue for possibly wasting a potential stack of Static Charge. This in turn means you can use Assassinate more often with the potential of Discharge remaining the same.
This is a parse taken from one of my Parsely logs. Notice the big opening spike that slowly drips to sustained (blue line) and at the end begins to curl up as it begins to enter the execute. If you look at the Red which is the damage done rather than the DPS, you’ll see the massive spikes of the rotation.
From top to bottom is listed the most damaging ability to the weakest, you can also see Crushing Darkness s direct hit is the lowest due to how little it was used (once).
Discharge should be the highest damaging ability you have since it’s used so often and how much damage it does, if it’s lower on the list either you aren’t using it often enough or you have terrible crits,
After Discharge is Ball Lightning, it’s a very powerful ability as well as very powerful critting ability and is used practically every 6 seconds. This means that a rough 4-8k Hit is occurring every 6 secs, leaving it pushing near Discharge’s territory.
Voltaic Slash is used more than Ball Lightning how ever the damage vs BL is lower, as a result making it slightly less contributing to your total damage.
Maul has a wide variable due to crits, it can become a large percent or borderline embarrassingly low. Since it only used every 10 seconds, it means that it’s potential damage is rellies on crits rather than frequency, unlike Voltaic Slash.
Your Charge actually deals decent damage all things considered, sort of an old damage proc relic on steroids. It can crit for over 2k in decent gear and causes Force Regen rather than consumption, due to how often it occurs in the parse, its total damage over shadows Assassinate
Assassinate used practically on cooldown falls into a slightly deeper hole of reliance than Maul on crits to contribute more to total damage. You have a small window to use it as such it doesn’t get a large time to shine in parses/fights but it’s still an amazing ability.
Saber Strike deals added fluff but isn’t considered realistically an ability to contribute to total damage. If the spec could function without it, it’d never appear in parses.
The optimal APM for Deception sans any Alacrity is 44 minimum, 1 alacrity is a rough zone of 45.3 or higher. Two alacrity would begin to enter the realm of a 46 APM. I’m a clicker and I still reach this APM so it’s not impossible. It’s all how about and when you hit your Force Cloak, Overcharge Saber, Recklessness, Adrenal and Blackout since all are off the GCD.