SWTOR 4.0 Deception Assassin PvP Guide written by Kre’a.
Intro to Deception Assassin
Deception Assassin is a rogue-like Discipline that specializes in short ranged combat. This Discipline excels at maintaining constant control over your enemies with your arsenal of crowd control tools while also supplying single target burst damage. You will want to play this Discipline over Hatred if you need extra control in Warzones, enjoy large objective based Warzone maps, want to perform a hard swap composition in Group Ranked, or if there is a large amount of Ranged DPS in the Solo Ranked queue.
- Single Target DPS: 7
- AoE Damage: 3
- Group Utility: 7
- Difficulty: 8
- RNG Dependent: Yes
- Burst: 8
- Sub 30% Talent or Ability Buffs: Yes
Gearing & Stat Priority
- Accuracy: 0
- Alacrity: 0
- Critical Rating: 1370 (Advanced Adept Enhancement 40X)
- Power: All secondary stats should be put into power (Advanced Lethal Mod 40X)
- Relics: Serendipitous Assault & Focused Retribution
- Set Bonus: 6 Piece Stalker’s Set
- Charge: Surging Charge
- Augments: Overkill Augments (Power)
With the abundance of defensive cool downs in PvP that increase defense chance, gearing for Accuracy becomes a moot point. On top of this, every point put into accuracy will lower your overall burst potential and Deception relies on the ability to heavily burst enemies down with the hopes of killing them to reset Recklessness to open up another burst window. Alacrity is a great stat for sustained damage, but as was previously stated, Deception is more about burst and Alacrity won’t help you accomplish this goal better than going purely into Critical Rating will.
Since 4.0, Critical Rating is now an all-encompassing stat increases both your Critical Chance % as well as your Surge (Critical Damage) % modifier. This is an amazing buff to Deception because it now allows us to have a large abundance of Crit Chance % without sacrificing any Power, which was the dilemma in the 3.0 era. This increases the overall burst of this spec by a large margin.
The Stalker’s set bonus is vital. The 15 second cool down reduction on Recklessness is a good bonus and the auto-crit on Maul or Assassinate is paramount to lining up a burst opener and a succeeding in a kill window. This set bonus is a must have.
The math behind Best in Slot augmentation and Relics can be found: here.
Utility choices will vary based on what type of PvP you’re partaking in and most importantly playstyle! I will go over 3 different utility load outs, one for Unranked Warzones, one for Aggressive Ranked play and one for Defensive Ranked play. Play around with all of these utilities to find which suit you the best.
- Avoidance – Cooldown reduction on CC breaker, Force Speed and your interrupt. Must have.
- Obfuscation – Stealth level increase as well as in-combat MS increase. Great for moving between nodes
- Electric Bindings – Great utility for rooting multiple enemies. The amount of situational utility that this point provides is massive
- Emersion – Root break on Force Speed and immunity to further roots/slows for the duration of Force Speed. This is a must have as a melee class.
- Fade – 25% Cooldown reduction on your Force Cloak, this utility is infinitely more useful in Unranked Warzones since some of them can last anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes.
- Haunted Dreams – Hands down, the most useful utility in this tier for objective based PvP. Most node caps require a 6 second channel. This is an 8 second mezz.
- Shroud of Madness OR Phasing Phantasm – Shroud of Madness will give you access to a second Force Shroud on use of Force Cloak. This can be used offensively or defensively. Phasing Phantasm decreases your ability to be kited by allowing your Phantom Stride to be used while rooted and breaking all slows as well on use. Both are viable options but Shroud of Madness has more situational use than Phasing Phantasm. Choose based on your play style.
Feel free to mix these utilities up to find what works best for you.
Aggressive Ranked Warzones (solo)
- Avoidance – This utility is mandatory.
- Snaring slashes – Rotational 30% MS reduction on enemy players. For a hyper aggressive playstyle, this is an excellent utility.
- Obfuscation – Stealth detection in ranked can be circumvented by proper use of Blackout. The 15% MS increase is what’s important here. Combined with Snaring Slashes, it creates 45% MS deficit for any enemy you are attacking. This is very powerful.
- Emersion – This utility is mandatory.
- Speed Surge – Rotational 50% MS increase with 50% uptime. Combine this with Snaring Slashes to create an 80% MS deficit for your enemy target, equivalent to a marauder’s predation.
- Disjunction* – This utility is mentioned because while it doesn’t give you a direct damage increase or movespeed increase, it instead increases the duration of your Force Shroud by 2 seconds, on both the base skill as well as the Force Shroud that is applied through the Shroud of Madness utility. For that reason, it can be utilized for aggressive plays where you want to increase your uptime on a target by extending the duration of your shrouds, which will prevent you from being stunned or controlled with force or tech based abilities. This utility point would take the place of Speed Surge.
- Haunted Dreams – The utility of this skill outweighs any other utility in this tier. The ability to instantly mezz any target for 8 seconds is too good to pass up, especially when used in conjunction with Focus Target and the Focus Target Modifier keybind to mezz a player without actually targeting them.
- Shroud of Madness – The force shroud gained through using Force Cloak is affected by the Disjunction utility so if you want to take disjunction then it would make sense to take this utility as well due to the synergy between the two utilities. This utility is great for aggressive gameplay by giving you an extra 4 seconds of shroud, which translates to an additional 4 seconds of immunity to Force and Tech based CC.
- Phasing Phantasm – Root break on Phantom Stride. Only take this utility if you also took Speed Surge in the masterful tier. If you took Disjunction, Shroud of Madness has better synergy and will give you the greatest gain per point. This utility fits in with your Emersion, Speed Surge, Obfuscation and Snaring Slashes, by reducing your enemies’ ability to kite you.
Defensive Ranked Warzones (solo)
- Avoidance – Once again, mandatory utility.
- Insulation – 30% extra armor on this class equates to about 5% damage reduction. This utility also synergizes well with our Entropic Field passive.
- Electric Bindings – The ability to knock back and root enemies in solo ranked is beyond amazing. The usefulness of this utility is augmented further on multi-tiered maps such as Makeb Mesa Arena or Orbital Station.
- Shapeless Spirit – 30% Damage Reduction while stunned is great, but Insulation provides the 5% DR at all times. With the abundance of AoE flying around, Insulation will be used more and will save you from more damage than Shapeless spirit will. With that being said, if you want this utility, replace Insulation with it.
- Emersion – Mandatory!
- Disjunction – When combined with Shroud of Madness, this utility effectively gives you 4 extra seconds of Force Shroud, double the normal amount that you would regularly have. Must have for Defensive play compared to any other utility point in this tier.
- Shroud of Madness – Once again, combined with Disjunction, this makes for a great tool to reduce and mitigate a large amount of damage. Given that the damage profile in PvP primarily consists of Force and Tech damage, this is the best utility point in this tier for defensive play
- Haunted Dreams – Sometimes the best defense is a good offense. The ability to instantly mezz any target for 8 seconds is amazing in that it gives you and your team 8 extra seconds where you are all taking 0 damage from an enemy.
- Dark Stability – 4.0 brought a heavy nerf to this utility by cutting its duration down by 50%. In my opinion, this utility isn’t worth taking anymore, but to be honest, it was never really worth taking in Deception anyway compared to Haunted dreams and Shroud of Madness. You can still be rooted and slowed while this utility is active, so its only real use is when you’re in the middle of multiple enemies that can throw out AoE crowd control, such as a Marauder, Operative, Powertech, etc.
Abilities and Rotation
This is Player versus Player. There is NO real rotation. You adapt based on your surroundings! However, some versatile openers are listed below.
The most generic opener for PvP is to open with a Spike from stealth > Recklessness, Voltaic Slash(VS)> Discharge > Maul > Ball Lightning.
Spike from stealth > Recklessness, VS > Maul > Discharge > Ball Lightning
This is 5 global cooldowns. The reason for popping Recklessness as soon as you spike is so that the cooldown timer can start counting down quicker. This way, if your target dies, you can reset Recklessness even quicker since you used it at the beginning of your opener instead of using it right before you use Discharge. You want to use Voltaic Slash before maul so that it is an auto-crit. Whether you use Maul or Discharge first will depend on how your target reacted. If, for example, your target is an Assassin and pops Force Shroud, it wouldn’t make sense to use Discharge, so you would use Maul instead with a follow up of Voltaic Slashes or Low Slash until the Shroud wears off. If the target is a Sorcerer and has bubble stun, you will want to open with Discharge from 6+ meters away so that you don’t get caught in the mezz radius of the bubble. PvP is dynamic, and as such, your rotation should be altered based on what’s happening at the moment. With that being said, if the situation allows it, put a higher priority on rotation 2 as it will debuff your enemy’s armor and allow the rest of your moves to hit a little bit harder.
After the initial opener cycle through Voltaic Slash filler, use Ball lightning whenever you can but preferably when it is fully buffed by Voltaic slash as to not delay your static charge stacks, and only use Discharge at 3 stacks. Only use maul with Duplicity procs. Use Low Slash on cooldown on your Focus Target. If you’re in a single target scenario where you without a doubt will NOT be interrupted or hindered, Low Slash the enemy and hard cast Crushing Darkness and immediately spam either a Duplicity procced Maul, Ball Lightning, or 3 stack Discharge. The long cast time will take up a little more than the space of a full global cooldown, allowing you to stack the damage of the initial hit of Crushing Darkness with that of your second ability, which is a lot of burst damage.
There are a multitude of situational “rotations” in which you could cycle through your offensive and defensive cooldowns. They cannot all be listed however, because in PvP, no two fights will be the same, there is always some slight variance which will change the outcome of the fight in the longterm. It’s up to YOU as the player to determine when your chance to strike is and when you should sit back in stealth for a bit longer. These situations will be easier to identify with time and practice. With that being said, I will go through a brief and very basic use of defensive cool downs.
Deception Assassins have a large array of crowd control. First and foremost, use these abilities to peel for your team, especially in ranked. Peeling will put your team at an advantage and once you have that advantage, you want to push it further and turn it into a victory. Setting up that advantage starts with you as a Deception player, to use your mezzes, stuns and plethora of utility to lock down as many enemies as possible to keep your team alive and establish situational control over the enemy team. Peels and team play wins games. Farming damage does not win games.
This section will show you key locations on each map to use for line of sight, various locations to drop your Phase Walk offensively and defensively, as well as locations where you want to force fights to happen.
This map is one of the best for an Assassin player. Use the red marks for offensive Phase Walks, green for defensive. Try to initiate the fight by getting a stealth knockdown on as many enemies as possible. Force the fight up on the catwalk and use your knock back to force imbalanced fights for the enemy. If you set your PW up top and have focus fire on you, jump down. If the enemy chases you, PW back up and you have now forced a 3v4 in favor of your team.
Makeb Mesa Arena
The green circles indicate places you want to place your Phase Walk to ensure that you do not get popped out of stealth if you decide to Phase Walk and use Force Cloak to heal to full. The red circles indicate common locations that a ranged or even melee class will run to kite you or to escape being focused by your team. If you place your Phase Walk in these locations, you can often teleport behind your enemy when they go to run or escape.
An amazing trick that is severely underused is setting your Phase Walk on the top bridge and jumping down when you’re focused. I will make a video showing this mechanic, as it will make more sense when it is seen. Essentially, if you are being focused, you will want to jump down off of the bridge to the ground level. If you jump at the appropriate time (about 50-60% HP range) you enemy will 8 times out of 10 attempt to chase you down for the kill. This is when you will use Phase Walk to teleport you back on top of the bridge. This creates an extremely favorable position for your team, as you have now secluded 1 or more of the enemy team on the ground level, forcing their team to fight a 3v4 or even 2v4 if more than one person chases you down.
You will want to communicate with your team that you want to force the fight on the bridge. The reason is that you were a superstar and decided to take Force Wave/Overload root. When the fight is just starting, the enemy will more than likely do 1 of 2 things. 1) Huddle together around the base of the bridge, near the LoS rock. Or 2) Rush the bridge to claim the high ground. This is your time to shine, you will use stealth as your gap closer and use Blackout to increase your stealth level so you can get in undetected. Initiate the fight by properly timing your knock back to knock as many off of the bridge as possible, creating an imbalanced fight for the enemy team, and giving you the advantage as now, whoever was knocked down will have to use movement increasing effects to try to re-engage into the fight, effectively wasting their time and reducing the overall damage your team will take. If you can help it, always try to force the fight up top. The only exception to this is in Tank/Heal/2 DPS matches, as attempting to fight up is just a waste of time. In Heal/3 DPS matches, you will still want to fight on the bridge, even more so, because if you can knock the healer down, you put yourself at a very large advantage towards winning the round.
Makeb Mesa Arena
Green squares indicate places to place your Phase Walk defensively. Red squares indicate offensive positions to potentially cut off a running enemy. This map plain sucks for Shadow/Assassin players. It is the widest open of the 4 maps, and as such, is terrible to play on when you are facing a multitude of ranged DPS classes because it makes it difficult to Line of Sight. There are a few LoS objects, but they are situated in such a way that you will not be able to always continue to DPS while LoS’ing. The best thing you can do in a map such as this is to wait for the enemy team to engage on your terms, by simply waiting around a LoS object and attempting to attack from behind it. This strategy actually works well if the enemy team has at least 1 melee DPS, as they will be forced into the center of your team, allowing you to both DPS the Melee enemy while simultaneously LoS’ing the ranged DPS. With practice, this becomes easier.
The red indicates places to place your Phase Walk offensively, to catch someone kiting potentially. The green indicates locations that are generally safe to heal to full from. This map is really good for Hatred players. The small size of the map forces fights to be in one centralized location, which is optimal for DoT spreading. There are also a large sum of LoS objects for kiting purposes. A small trick that many don’t utilize is using the outer edge of the pit to LoS players who are on the top of the ledge of the pit. The angle is just slight enough that players will be unable to see you if you hug the wall inside of the pit, effectively allowing you to LoS ranged classes with ease. Knock back root is best utilized here by rooting someone behind one of the 4 inner pillars, or knocking them into the pit when the fight is happening on the top level. Make sure that as a melee DPS, you do not find yourself DPSing your target with your back to the pit, as you will inevitably be knocked in, which is a hassle considering there is only 1 focal way to escape the pit and get back to the fight, depending on which side of the arena you are playing on.
About the Author
Special thanks – Special thanks to <Clickers> of the Bastion/Harbinger. Te’fia of Harbinger, Aelanis of Shadowlands and everyone on the Assassin/Shadow forum. Also, a special thanks to No’Touchy of Harbinger, check her out at Twitch.tv/NoTouchyTv.
Hey guys, I’m Kre’a! I’ve mained an Assassin/Shadow for about 3 years now. In season 4,I achieved 2931 ELO, placing me as Rank #2 overall across all advanced classes and Rank #1 for the Shadow/Assassin advanced class. In season 6 I was Rank #3 for the Shadow/Assassin advanced class. You can check me out at Twitch.tv/Kreea.