SWTOR 4.0 Vanguard PvE Tanking Guide by Sonete

SWTOR 4.0 Vanguard PvE Tanking Guide written by Sonete.

Introduction to Tanking

Being a tank is more than taking damage. You must know each boss fight inside and out, backwards and forwards—so well that you can improvise in a moment’s notice to prevent a wipe. There is a high amount of responsibility; one wrong move can lead to a room full of dead toons. This fact frightens some players and causes them to shy away from the role. This guide has been crafted in order to assuage those fears and make its readers able to tank at a higher level.

The Basics

One common mistake for tanking is having tunnel vision. Whether it comes from focusing too hard on quickbars or the boss’s health, it has to stop. Situational awareness is the key to tanking; you should be scanning the room at all times, looking for something that may wipe the group. Having your camera able to zoom out all the way is a must (Preferences -> Controls -> Camera).This way, you can always be on the lookout for ways to mitigate damage to the raid (and sometimes yourself). Also turn on Target of Target (located in the Interface Editor). This tiny, but important icon will tell you at what your target is looking, e.g., who the boss is attacking. Other than some special circumstances, you or your co-tank should always be the boss’s target. If that is not the case, you or your co-tank should immediately taunt. I also have my group’s health bars large enough so that I can keep an eye on them to see when the healers are stressed (and thus should use a personal cooldown or raid cooldown) or if people are suddenly taking lots of damage (suggesting they have aggro on something or a mechanic is not being followed properly).

While on the topic of taunting, let’s discuss threat. Everyone generates threat by healing, doing damage, or taunting. The person with the most threat is the person the boss will target and start attacking. Often times in the beginning of fights, DPS will perform several high damaging moves. These high damaging moves will generate a lot of threat on the boss, possibly causing the tanks to lose the boss’s attention. To avoid this situation, the DPS can use their threat dump before their threat becomes too high (but after the tank taunts the boss as part of their normal rotation), tanks can guard DPS who have high threat, or tanks can perform the triple taunt rotation. Guards should almost always be on DPS, not healers. In PVE content, whoever is being guarded will receive a 5% damage reduction and a 25% reduction in threat generated. The small amount of damage reduction will not make or break groups, but the decrease in threat generated will. (Having a high burst class pull the boss during the fight will lead to sudden burst damage on the group, which can lead to many deaths.) Thus primarily use your guard on DPS. (The only time I do not is for the final phase of NiM Brontes since a healer being stunned by the boss’s Fire and Forget is detrimental. This attack is based on aggro, so I still use the guard for its threat reduction rather than its damage reduction.) The triple taunt rotation is as follows: perform 2-3 high threat attacks on the target, single target taunt during the GCD, and continue attacking the target while watching the taunt debuff on the target’s bar. When the debuff is about to wear off, use your AOE taunt and continue attacking. Once the AOE taunt is about to wear off, perform the single target taunt again. This will give you a massive amount of threat which makes it almost impossible for DPS to steal threat. Never open a fight with a taunt since taunts multiply threat on the boss. At the beginning of the fight, everyone has zero threat, which means your taunt will be wasted. Additionally, feel free to continue taunting the boss through the fight (if your taunt does not need to be saved for a tank swap mechanic). Due to the 4-piece tanking set bonus introduced in 3.0, single target and AOE taunts actually have much shorter cooldowns than 15 seconds and 45 seconds respectively. How short depends on how many times you are able to use the attack which is mentioned in your tanking class’s 4-piece.

When maintaining threat on a group of adds, you should constantly be switching who you are attacking. AOE attacks, while initially useful to generate threat on all the adds in the group, will not be able to maintain enough threat for the entire fight. Thus, tanks need to perform their single target rotation on the adds, while occasionally using an AOE ability to maintain threat on the group. A few attacks (two to five, depending on how many adds are in the group) should be performed on each enemy before switching targets. This method will help ensure the tanks have the highest threat on every target. If this fails, use your taunts. Due to how quickly taunts cooldown thanks to the 4-piece set bonus, tanks should never be afraid that they are wasting a taunt by using it to get an enemy back from a DPS. To practice tanking mobs, queue for flashpoints. The only person the adds should be targeting is you as you are the only tank in the group. If target of target has anyone else’s icon, you should immediately taunt. For extra practice, run the flashpoint with some friends or guildmates and instruct them to pull mobs in succession as quickly as possible. This will teach you how to get threat on a target when you were not prepared. (Although not ideal, having a DPS pull an enemy before the tank will happen and tanks need to know what to do in those situations to prevent as many deaths as possible.)

Advice for More Advanced Tanks

This next piece of advice is for tanks who are interested in running ops with a consistent group. Get to know your co-tank. Know their strengths and weaknesses. Know what they will be doing before they do it. This takes a lot of time, but it is a great bond to have. There may come a time when you two are unable to communicate verbally and you will have to trust that your co-tank will do exactly what needs to be done. Until this level of bond is created, however, talk to your co-tank as much as possible. You do not necessarily have to tell one another every time each of you taunt (feel free to do so if needed), but tell one another when it is time to perform a tank swap or pick up a newly spawned enemy. Always let your co-tank know what is going on in case they do not see it. The most common statement that should always be communicated is “I am out of taunts/cooldowns, please taunt the boss.” Taking NiM Brontes as an example, tanks need to taunt and run into orbs. An easy way to communicate which orb you are about to taunt is to put a target marker* (like fire) on the orb and say “I am going to take fire, ignore it.” That way, your co-tank can spend his or her time paying attention to other mechanics rather than focusing on that one orb.

*An effective way to do this mid-combat is to keybind several target markers (Preferences -> Key Bindings -> Targeting). I use F for fire and Shift + F for lightning.

One skill that many tanks overlook is being able to offtank. This is the time when you are not in the spotlight of the boss’s Target of Target icon. Some tanks seem to get anxious when this happens and taunt the boss. The results can vary from the former main tank being mildly annoyed to the new main tank quickly dying due to not respecting mechanics that require a tank swap. If you ever feel bad about not having your energy regenerate as quickly or not being in the spotlight, just remember you are still essential to the group. If the main tank does die, you have to be ready to taunt a split second later and continue the fight like nothing happened while the DPS or healers combat rez the fallen tank. Tanking is a team job and when you offtank, your co-tank still needs you to be alert and ready in case something goes horribly wrong.

If possible, record yourself or watch recordings from other people’s videos with you tanking. Figure out what you did right/wrong and what to do next time. Figure out why you died each time, whether it is due to poor cooldown use, ranging healers, taking spike damage, etc. Additionally, watch other people tank content on Twitch or YouTube. See what their strengths and weaknesses are and learn from them. There were no mechanics added to [in fact, some mechanics were removed from] the boss fights in 4.0, so older videos are still relevant (although the health stats may not be). The handful of exceptions to this include HM Revan and HM Master/Blaster. The former’s fight was repeatedly changed during 3.X and Hydraulic Overrides were given a longer cooldown timer in 4.0, which prevents people from being able to ignore every “pull in” on the third floor. As for the latter, the community-dubbed “Flying V” or “Mighty Duck’s” formation is no longer possible due to the changes to Hydraulics. In this case, look for a video which has a shadow in the group.

Introduction to Shield Specialist

Amongst the tanking disciplines, Vanguards suffer the least amount of spike damage. They have the fewest cooldowns, easiest rotation, and also provide raid utilities unique from the other two tanking classes. This promotes taking different pairs of tanks into operations.

Utilities

Introduced with 3.0, utilities are the spice of life when it comes to deciding your spec. At level 65, you have seven points which you can use in the different tiers of utilities; at least three points must be at Skillful level to unlock Mastery and at least two more points must be at or below the Mastery level to unlock Heroic. For Vanguard, they are as follows:

Skillful Tier

image

Battlefield Training – Increases movement speed 15%. This utility is essential for HM/NiM Dread Council when tanking Bestia without tank swapping. It is also useful in general.

image

Parallactic Combat Stims – You recharge 10 energy cells when stunned, immobilized, knocked down, or otherwise incapacitated. You should never have troubles with energy, making this ability useless for PVE tanks.

image

Reflective Armor – When Into the Fray is triggered, it will also deal elemental damage to the attacker if the attacker is within 10 meters. You are not a DPS and so should not worry about your damage output. This may help some with threat, but there are better utilities for tanks.

image

Entangling Tools – Tactical Surge, Ion Pulse, and Explosive Surge reduce the movement speed of affected targets by 30% for 6 seconds. Does not affect bosses; do not take this utility.

image

Muzzle Augs – Increases the range of Ion Pulse and Tactical Surge by 2 meters and the radius of Explosive Surge by 1 meter. Always take this utility. It allows you to do damage, even when mechanics may force you to be 4 or even 10 meters away from the target.

image

Sharp Satchel – Increases Explosive Surge damage by 25%. Excellent utility for tanking mobs of adds. Useless utility when tanking a single boss since you should use Ion Pulse instead of Explosive Surge on single targets.

image

Iron Will – Reduces the cooldown of Tenacity by 30 seconds and the cooldown of Hold the Line by 10 seconds. In 4.0, Vanguard tanks became significantly less mobile due to the increase in cool down time for Hold the Line. This helps alleviate that issue, making this utility a must.

image

Neural Delay – Neural Jolt slows the target by 50% for 6 seconds. Does not affect bosses; do not take this utility.

Masterful Tier

image

Defensive Measures—Harpoon immobilizes the target for 3 seconds. In addition, the cooldown of Stealth Scan is reduced by 5 seconds, and any targets it reveals are immobilized for 3 seconds. Does not affect bosses; do not take this utility.

image

Electro Shield—When activated your Reactive Shield charges with electricity, zapping attackers for elemental damage when they deal direct damage to you. This effect cannot occur more than once each second. You are not a DPS and so should not worry about your damage output. This may help a little bit with threat, but the cooldown on Reactive Shield is so long that it is not worth taking.

image

Advance the Line—Increases the duration of Hold the Line by 4 seconds. This utility also allows tanks to be more mobile which is a must for almost any boss fight.

image

Accelerated Reel – Reduces the cooldown of Harpoon by 15 seconds. You should be within 4 meters of the boss whenever possible for Into the Fray to be activated. This prevents use of Harpoon (which requires being 10-30 meters away from the target). Do not take this utility.

image

Sonic Rebounder—Sonic Round protects all friendly targets in its area of impact, excluding you, granting Sonic Rebounder, which reflects the next direct, single-target attack back at the attack. This is one of the unique abilities for Vanguard tanks. Always take this utility.

image

Containment Tactics—Reduces the cooldown of Cryo Grenade by 10 seconds. Does not affect bosses; do not take this utility.

image

Frontline Defense—Reduces the cooldown of Riot Strike by 2 seconds. Interrupts do not happens often enough for this to be a necessity for tanks. There are better utilities.

image

Surveyed Terrain—Stealth Scan increases the movement speed of all allies within the scan area, excluding yourself, by 50% for as long as they remain within it and for 6 seconds after it expires or they leave the area. I have yet to find a boss fight where this is a better utility to take over another. The only examples I can think of are when NiM Raptus uses Spinning Attack while chasing after an ally or when the Dread Guard’s Kel’sara gives an ally Marked for Death.

Heroic Tier

image

Guard Cannon—Damaging a target with your Shoulder Cannon missiles heals you for 5% of your total health. Extremely useful utility for when healers are out of range or are busy healing the rest of the group. Always take this utility.

image

Paralytic Augs—Increases the stun durations of Cryo Grenade and Neural Surge by 1 second each. Does not affect bosses; do not take this utility.

image

Emergency Stims—Allows Adrenaline Rush to be activated while stunned and causes Adrenaline Rush to purge stun effects when activated. This will not work against other types of incapacitating effects or scripted stuns, which are often used by Flashpoint and Operation bosses or other special non-player characters. Like it says, does not affect boss stuns; do not take this utility.

image

Re-energizers—When Reserve Powercell is activated, it recharges 10 energy cells over the next 5 seconds and immediately increases threat towards all current enemies by a small amount if Ion Cell is Active, or reduces the threat towards all current enemies of Ion Cell is not active. Your taunts and rotation should be sufficient. Do not take this utility.

image

Focus Stims—Battle Focus increases damage done by 5% while Ion Cell is active and increases damage reduction by 5% while Ion Cell is not active. You are not a DPS and there are better utilities.

image

Charge the Line—Hold the Line increases movement speed by an additional 45% while active. This utility is the key to making you incredibly mobile. Always take this utility.

image

Efficient Tools—Increases the range of Harpoon and Shoulder Cannon by 10 meters and eliminates the energy cell cost of Cryo Grenade and Neural Surge. You should be within 4 meters of the boss for almost all of the fight, making the additional range useless. Cryo Grenade and Neural Surge do not work on bosses. Do not take this utility.

image

Blitz—Activating Storm grants Blitz, increasing movement speed by 30% for 4 seconds. The duration of Blitz is refreshed if attacked while it is active. This is a passive Vanguard tanks lost with 4.0. It is not helpful due to its short duration and requiring to be constantly attacked to maintain. Hold the Line and Storm should be enough when you need to move. Do not take this utility.

For every boss fight, the utilities I use are Battlefield Training, Muzzle Augs, Iron Will, Advance the Line, Sonic Rebounder, Shield Cannon, and Charge the Line. I will swap Battlefield Training for Reflective Armor and Advance the Line only if we are consistently hitting enrage on a boss and I do not need the full 10 second duration of Hold the Line. Several disciplines which mention Cryo Grenade, Neural Surge, and Explosive Surge may be useful for adds in various fightsand SM/HM Revanite Commanders, however I personally do not use them.

Ratings and Gearing

Before stating how tanks rate against one another, I want to emphasize that each tank has advantages and disadvantages. What is most important is the tanking class with which you feel most comfortable. We play PVE content to fight bosses, not the controls. Ratings are 1-3 with #1 corresponding to best or easiest.

  • Single Target Threat: 2
  • AOE Target Threat: 2
  • Group Utility: 1
  • Rotation Difficulty: 1
  • Defensive Cooldowns: 3
  • Spikiness: 1
  • Mobility: 1

Vanguards are middle of the pack for both single target and AOE target threat. While they do not have the primarily high threat abilities of Guardians or repeatedly buffed AOE abilities of Shadows, Vanguards are able to pull high DPS to maintain threat on single targets and constantly perform AOE attacks over a longer period of time (thanks to Reserve Powercell and Recharge Cells). As for group utility, Sonic Rebounder allows groups to ignore damage taken from several mechanics, and Riot Gas helps with damage dealt by enemies. Neural Surge and Harpoon, while not unique to Vanguards, are also excellent abilities for controlling adds. Having to only use six attacks when tanking a single target makes the Vanguard rotation the easiest. Vanguards are also the least “spikey” among the tanks. With a high level of damage reduction, armor rating, and many abilities given by the skill tree, they are less likely to take sudden large hits from the boss. As a result, they have the fewest number of cooldowns: three personal and two that affect the raid.

For gearing up your Vanguard tank from 3.0 to 4.0, use mods and enhancements from the commendations vendor to pad your health for survival against high-hitting abilities. (HM Raptus can perform attacks which will hit for at least 70k. This will one shot tanks in 198 gear as they will have around 65k health.) Keep your set bonus from 3.0 until you have a full six piece from the current tiers of gear as pre-4.0 and 4.0 bonuses do not stack.Swap out the commendations gear for token mods and enhancements as soon as possible.

I use Bant’s theorycrafted suggestions for stat distributions which are as follows:

  • For 216: 2639 Defense; 973 Absorb (5x Augments); 1569 Shield (9x Augments).
  • For 220: 2779 Defense; 1005 Absorb (5x Augments); 1617 Shield (9x Augments).
  • For 224: 2931 Defense; 1037 Absorb (5x Augments); 1665 Shield (9x Augments).

Relics: Reactive Warding and Shrouded Crusader (as suggested by Dipstik’s post).

If you are going the high-endurance route, take note that all 224 mods and enhancements are unlettered, i.e., they are not high-endurance. As a result, the only part you would use from the token drops is the armoring. (Something your group might like to know before giving you a piece!)

Rotation and Abilities

The Vanguard rotation is the easiest out of the three tank classes since there are so few abilities and has a priority system (unlike Shadow tanks who have more of a DPS rotation). Before looking over the rotation, keep in mind that you should hold off using Energy Blast if a huge damaging move is coming soon (e.g. Heave on HM Revan which has a set timer found in Star Parse) since using Energy Blast increases your absorb by 25%. Use Hammer Shot when your energy is close to or has dropped below60 and Energy Blast/Ion Storm (with Pulse Engine buff) are not available. This will help keep your energy under control. Also, use Shoulder Cannon for when you are below 70% health and healers cannot immediately heal you (due to being busy or out of range). Do not waste Shoulder Cannons on topping yourself off since that is one of the purposes of HoTs.

Opener

swtor-4.0-vanguard-tanking-opener

After this, follow the Single Target Priority, and use your third taunt when the second taunt is about to wear off.

Single Target Priority

swtor-4.0-vanguard-single-target-priority

After you use Storm, you will get two free Explosive Surges. Use these with your single target rotation to help manage your energy.

Hopefully with these rotations, you will not need Reserve Powercell (makes next ability cost no energy) and Recharge Cells (will increaseenergy by 50 over 3 seconds). However, if you are in a tight spot, feel free to use these. Do not use them as part of your rotation since they both have lengthy cooldowns of 2 minutes.

Cooldowns

Use cooldowns proactively but carefully. Vanguards do not have as many as the other tanking classes, so we have to space them out a bit more. If you know you are about to get a big increase in damage from the boss, feel free to pop a cooldown. Do not use them as part of your rotation since they have very long cooldown timers.

image

Reactive Shield—Increases damage reduction by 25% for 15 seconds. This is my favorite cooldown as it is the most powerful, but sadly has a long cooldown timer.

image

Battle Focus—Increases defense chance by 35% for 15 seconds. I often use this in conjunction with Riot Gas to have a “ghetto Resilience.” During this time, since the boss’s accuracy is decreased and your change to dodge an attack is increased, you will not take any damage, much like how Shadow’s Resilience completely negates force and tech attacks.

image

Riot Gas—Reduces enemy’s accuracy by 30% while inside the area. Since this ability is an AOE, use it when the boss is not going to move around very much. This has a short cooldown of only a minute and can be used to benefit your co-tank when they are about to take a big hit.

image

Adrenaline Rush—Makes you Fired Up for 60 seconds, which triggers anAdrenaline Rush when health is reduced to 40% or less. When activated, Adrenaline Rush will rapidly heal you up to 40% for 8 seconds. If your health exceeds 40% during this time, Adrenaline Rush will heal you 2% of your health every second. This cooldown is useful if you are out of range of healers (e.g. if you get lost in the sandstorm on Dash’roode) or just took a big hit and won’t take any more big hits for a while. This has the longest cooldown of 3 minutes, so use wisely.

image

Sonic Rebounder—Sonic Missile protects all friendly targets in its area of impact, excluding you, granting Sonic Rebounder, which reflects the next direct, single-target attack back at the attack. This is only available when you have selected the Sonic Rebounder utility. While this does not protect you, it will protect the rest of the raid from incoming damage, so use it when raid-wide damage is about to go out. Examples include Heave from Revan and Soaring Smash from Revanite Commanders’ Lord Kurse.

About the Author

In June of 2012, I made my first toon—a Shadow DPS named Sonete. I played only as a DPS until the release of Terror From Beyond. My guild eagerly wanted to try the new op but was unable to do so as there was only one tank available. As a result, my first lesson in tanking was a battle between learning new fights, the ins and outs of tanking, and having to run back to the fleet vendor to buy more tanking gear between bosses. Despite all this, I fell in love and continue primarily tanking to this day. I began Powertech tanking in March of 2013 and it became my main tanking role with 3.0 as I jumped on the Bounty Hunter bandwagon. I have cleared all content before 4.0 and currently tank for Provectus and Paramount on The Harbinger.

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank Yssane, Aria, Dulfy, and the rest of Provectus for welcoming me into their guild and always being so patient. I would also like to thank Andrew for proofreading this guide.

  • Sarigar

    It all looks sound to me, no surprises there. Thank you for the guide! The sections on advice for tanks could be a guide in and of itself. 🙂 Awareness is key to tanking, followed closely by defensive decision-making. Tanking is a mindset, not just a role; some people get it, others never do.

    • Лев Сафаров

      Yea, i think you right. Strange but im (hope so) good only in tanking and healing. Cant be dps, tried many times, not good.

      • Jennifer Smith

        And here I thought I was the only one. I am smart but mediocre dps (don’t stand in bad, but just can’t get the numbers, no matter how well I have geared and how much time I spend whacking the dummy working on roto), but I am solid heals, and have been told I am a pretty good tank, but this guide should help me finetune a bit more =)

        • Лев Сафаров

          Thank you, your comment will warm my heart long winter evenings.

        • Dyrtidieds

          Dps is about 3 rules
          1. Always be doing damage.
          2. Always be doing damage.
          3. If in doubt, refer to rules 1 and 2.

    • michael fearless

      Much agreed, as I didn’t even know there was a Target of Target function.

      I think most tank/healer guides should point out the various UI features and layouts that best suit the roles.

  • Guest

    “In PVE content, only 5% of incoming damage is transferred to the tank.” …. aaaand I am considering whether or not I should read any further

    • Shepard

      Pretty sure that the damage transferance only applies to PVP. There is just 5% flat damage reduction to the guarded teammate in PVE.

      • Guest

        That was my point. In the first 2 paragraphs I found 2 blatant mistakes about how core tanking abilities work and at least one absolution that does have exceptions but they were shunned upon.

        This guide wins on zero effort made into fact checking and accuracy… I am very disappointed in the quality of this.

        • Andrew

          So the two mistakes were shield function and…? And the absolute was…?

          • Frigi

            I ran into this on my first read too. The mention of damage being transferred via Guard and the value by which threat was multiplied with via a taunt were both incorrect (seem to have been changed now) and made me rather skeptical of the guide, but the rest actually seems very solid to me.

          • Guest

            The second mistake was the “taunts double your threat statement”. This is discussed in other comments here as well.

            I take that back on the absolution. It seems I have missed a word there that makes the statement pretty accurate. It was about Guard almost(the missed word) always being on DPS. Obviously a mistake on my part. Sorry.

            Still, has a few other issues and very poor formatting and presentation(the utility section is particularly hard to read trough). It also fails to provide alternative strategies and uses of more dps/threat windows and other things that usually aren’t a tank’s priority but are very valuable to one. And not even mentioning Transpose is not good too. It is a pretty useless ability right now but it should either stated outright or theorized how/when it could be of any use. Also old and new set bonuses DO stack, thought it is probably still a lot better to not stack them and go for the full 6 piece new set bonus.

            Overall, the guide isn’t so bad for beginners but it could definitely use some fact checking and formatting enhancements.

            • Andrew

              The set bonuses stack in that you can use an old 2 piece and new 4 piece (for example),but I’m pretty sure one 3.0 armoring and one 4.0 armoring won’t stack to make a 2 piece.

              From what I can tell transpose is entirely useless in PvE and almost not even worth mentioning. Maybe it would be useful when picking up the seed during Calphayus, but with a 1.5 second channel why bother?

              • Guest

                Ah, I see what you are saying. I guess it may be what the author intended with his statement but having low armorings that count towards a set bonus you can get from better armorings is practically useless and you just switch to the better ones accordingly(I see now that his point was to replace them in groups, which is not a bad advise). However, having 2 different set bonuses(old and new) that do work together (e.g. 2pcs old + 2 pc new) may make keeping lower tier(or PvP) armorings worth your while in certain situations. A lot of classes did that in 3.X. It doesn’t seem like it is the case but I assumed that is the one thing he means as it is the one that may or may not have hidden benefit beyond “use the item with better stats”.

      • Artorias

        Damage transfer is purely PVP as is Taunt Damage Debuff and so on.

  • Nepthen

    Unless it was changed in 4.0, which I doubt… in PvE no damage is transferred to the tank via Guard. Guard provides a flat 5% dmg decrease and 25% threat reduction. That’s it.

    Also, it was my understanding that a taunt puts you at 130% of the highest threat on the target, not 200%.

    • yadaya

      I thought it was 110% if melee has threat and 130% if range has threat.

      • Nepthen

        I think it depends on your distance from the boss. If you taunt outside of 4m, it’s 130, inside is 110. This is why melee are told to dps at max melee range so it’s harder to yank threat.

        Some dedicated theorycrafter may need to confirm all this. I just shoot the boss and let the tanks worry about threat.

        • Junna

          Yes, the threat multiplier that taunt provides is based on your distance to the center of the boss (not to be confused with distance to hit box). For hit purposes, melee is considered roughly < 4m to the bounding box of the boss. For threat purposes, melee range is calculated as the distance you are from the bosses center. So 4m, the boost is 130%.

          With that knowledge, you can actually boost your threat during the start of a fight by backing away from the boss first and then taunting – (best done after a few high threat opening moves). Also, bosses with large hit boxes often means you are almost always > 4m anyways so no need to back off. Think Thrasher large. Smaller bosses like Jarg and Sorno, and it is likely you are almost always < 4m.

          Under most circumstances, you shouldn't need to back away before taunting. But it can help if you are a somewhat noobish or undergeared tank with really geared or skilled dps.

          • Nepthen

            Thank you, this is what I couldn’t articulate before. 🙂

    • Лев Сафаров

      As i understand there is: and transport 50% damage from >enemy players< back to guard and if 15 close. Sorry my terrible English.

      • Nepthen

        Yeah, that’s PvP. There are no enemy _players_ in PvE. 🙂

  • MrEndymion9611

    Sonete, you used to be in DWBI right? Nice to see you still playing the game 🙂

  • Mirialla

    With this opener, i’m pretty sure you lose the boss in 90% time before you can taunt second time, why use stockstrike before taunt ? Stockstrike reduce your CD taunt by 3sec.. taunt early, follow up with mass taunt when is about to wear off and you get the boss always under taunt. And the single target taunt is up when the mass taunt is about to wear off

    • Sonete

      Starting at level 32, whenever a Vanguard shields an attack, you have a 50% chance to finish the cooldown for Shockstrike. This allows you to use two Shockstrikes in quick succession during the opener. Use one Shockstrike right at the beginning to start the fight with a significant amount of aggro and one after your first (single target) taunt to ensure it coolsdown before the second (AOE) taunt wears off.

      I have no issues with losing aggro on bosses since I use the triple taunt method (as I describe in my guide and you describe in your comment).

    • Eve

      In addition to what Sonete said, Stockstrike applies Ion Cell, which opens us up to our biggest threat maneuver in any fight, High Impact Bolt.

      And truly, the only time you really need to taunt fluff is when you know you can’t handle your DPS. Which in most of the content getting done — it isn’t a problem to begin with because the majority of groups in the game aren’t pulling 5-6k DPS each.

  • Shepard

    Nice guide, I noticed you said “After you use Storm, you will get two free Explosive Surges” but just wanted to note that it is 2 free explosive surges OR ion pulses. So in single target, you don’t need to use ES as you can just IP instead.

    • Sonete

      That is true. I only discussed the free Explosive Surges as a suggestion to maintain aggro on adds without running low on energy.

  • SupRun

    First of all, very good guide. I wish I had something like this when I first started my Vanguard tank, but I learned the hard way. It happens.
    Two things I’d like to address:
    1) Why slide augments into absorb when shield no longer comes on the mods? I’d suggest running more shield augs (full shield augs) and depending on mods/enh for absorb.
    2) The 3.0 and 4.0 set bonuses do stack. Was running Karagga HM the other day and didn’t even notice until the puzzle droid that I had 2 of the little purple icons on my buff bar. Sure enough, I was running a 4 piece 4.0 and 3 piece 3.0 and I had 2 “damage reduction” icons. Whether or not it was actually working I couldn’t say, but they were there.

    • Guest

      1) Shield never came from mods. But Absorb did and now it doesn’t so it’s fighting for a spot in the enhancements, which it wasn’t doing before. So now Absorb is in direct competition with Shield and both actually synergize with each other so it is beneficial to have one and the other. So you have to balance Shield/Absorb coming from Enhancements and since those are your two most useful stats – from Augments as well.

      2) It is working. You can check it by opening your character sheet’s defense tab while using it. It does increase DR by 4%. And it may actually be better than running 6pcs new bonus but the difference won’t be much and you’ll be losing on some constant DR for that, some Damage(and healing trough C&P). Not to mention the reduced durations on your defensives. I would recommend using fulll set of the new bonuses but you might want to keep the old ones and test it for yourself if you wish.

      • SupRun

        I now realize that I put the wrong two things together. I meant to say shield always came from enhancements, not mods. Now it doesn’t. I do think though, with mastery between guardian/shadow/vanguard can all have the same augments, and I think we will be able to get some sort of shield absorb. But without the guaranteed shield from the enhancements is where my initial argument came from.

        I will obtain a 6 piece of the new set bonus, of course. I think it will be better for spiky fights (HM Bulo, HM Raptus) but the increased DR may be better for continuous damage fights (HM UL, HM Zero).

        • Jennifer Smith

          Shield still comes on some enhancements, it and and defense swapped places on the enhancements, where they used to be shield/absorb or shield/defense, they are now defense/absorb or defense/shield.

          And I noticed the effects of the old 6 piece and the new 6 pieces are the exact same, but they don’t combine. Both my shadow co-tank and I decided to kill our old 6 set in favor of the increased stats from the new gear, but he is missing having the 4 set bonus (hasn’t been lucky on rolls, while I have and have my 4 set bonus back again). I see where I need to tweak and adjust things in my gear, and I do hate that now every tank has to be a defense heavy tank because of the gearing.

          I like this guide, it isn’t totally out of whack for how I have been doing things, and will help me finetune just a bit more for better tanking.

          • SupRun

            I know this, I was saying shield is no longer guaranteed on the enhancements like it was before 4.0.

            The DR from Energy Blast double proc is confirmed. Plus I was playing on my Gunslinger with new 3 and old 3 and got the double damage increase.

            I like this guide also, I’m just a veteran vanguard tank trying to help out other tank friends. 🙂

    • KShrike

      On number 2: INteresting.

      So it doesn’t show in the tooltip, but you get the buffs anyway?

      • Blackstar

        The old 2 piece is additive with the new 2 piece. The old set pieces will not work in tandem with the new set pieces however.

        • KShrike

          I guess it’s not too out of the question then to start replacing set pieces collectively. So for example, you get your new 2 piece, you work with a double 2 piece bonus and one 4 piece bonus. Should make up the difference for losing your autocrit…. maybe…

          • Andrew

            Two 2-pieces and one 4-piece is 8 pieces, there are only seven slots for set bonuses.

            • Blackstar

              That would only be six pieces Andrew. New 2-piece + old 2-piece & old 4-piece.

              • Andrew

                Heh. You’re absolutely right.

            • KShrike

              What Blackstar said.

          • SupRun

            One set bonus that is without question better is the Force-Master set bonus. The +2% damage after Turbulence/T.Blast is much better than the cooldown of whatever being reduced by whatever.

      • SupRun

        I didn’t parse to see if it was actually working, but I’m assuming it was working. It’s not like I was dying. I only die because of lack of heals when my grand total of 3 DCDs are on CD.

    • Andrew

      As far as stacking set bonuses, what she meant was that one 4.0 and one 3.0 set bonus will not stack to make a 2 piece set bonus.

      • SupRun

        I didn’t think about that because I am under the impression that the old 3.0 set bonus is no longer attainable.

        • Andrew

          A lot of people still have the 3.0 set bonuses though, and in that case it’s better to wait until you have all 6 pieces before swapping out.

          • SupRun

            Force-Master’s Set Bonus should be new 4-piece and 2 old-piece IMO. That’s the first one that comes to mind. I could maybe think of others if I thought of it.

  • Packs

    You’re like super good. 😀
    I’m wanna grow up to be a big strong tank too.

  • Cephsus

    Only a level 27 VG here. Dunno if the guide covers it, but how do you gear while leveling, shield or absorption rating? Plan on doing fp dailies etc.

    • Guest

      Don’t augment. Using tanking items will be enough. Gear should include Shield, Absorb, Defense; Avoid Power, Crit, Alacrity; And don’t put any Accuracy. The rest will be fine. Try to balance the 3 stats you need without going trough too much trouble. Endurance will also be somewhat important during leveling but I can not confirm how much as flashpoints went from normal to Tactical and they don’t work the way old leveling ones did…

    • KShrike

      You should only really augment at 65. Don’t even bother when leveling.

  • KShrike

    Welcome to 4.0, where every tank is a dodge tank! 😛

    • Sarigar

      Yeah… not super happy about that since I love tanking on my Powertech, but I’ll see how it plays out. Honestly I don’t expect it to be hugely different.

      • Paulo Gomes

        Yep, I agree… On the other hand,it might be a good time to pull out my Jugg tank… All that Defense might just go down very well… 🙂

  • KShrike

    Also, it’s not that the taunts generate threat, but rather that the first two taunts hold it through sniper ambushes and whatnot and the third taunt is the point where all the main burst of everyone has been used and you’re no longer competing against them, and are put on even ground with the engineering sniper’s or Tactics Vanguard threat.

    • Blackstar

      Taunts in SWTOR give the highest threat of anyone in the group plus 10% more, even if you’re already on the top of the threat table. So if you build 5000 threat and then taunt, you’ll have 5500. If a DPS pulls the boss off you with 10k threat and you taunt, you’ll have 11k if you taunt at that moment.

      Understanding this is important for both DPS and tanks, as it’s optimal for DPS to threat dump once the tank or tanks have secured their “taunt rotation”, giving a much wider gap that’ll make it harder to creep up on.

      • KShrike

        So it’s 1.1 * highest threat?

        That’s news to me. I apologize then. Freaking other MMO’s poisoning my mind on taunts. I’m so used to highest threat + 1.

  • Paulo Gomes

    As was pointed out bellow, I’m pretty sure there is NO dmg transfer to a tank when using Guard in PVE… Might want to get that looked at if that is the case…

    • Secundum

      Lolwut. Since when?

      • Paulo Gomes

        Since the beginning of the game. Damage transfer with Guard is a pvp feature ONLY.

  • Naq

    I know there are a few minor mistakes, but folks…its a guide, not a doctrine. Overall good stuff, ty Sonete. I mean, we live in a world where the vigilence guide is written by Rydarus….we can cut Sonete some slack.

    • Paulo Gomes

      Of course, my comment was not meant in a depreciative manner. And if there are mistakes they can be easily corrected. I have in fact criticized people who make destructive comments about these guides, as the people who write them do it solely in the intent of moving the community forward.

      • Naq

        Corrections are always good. There are a few comments lower on though, I imagine because of ego or jealousy, that could be reworded. I wrote the original BH healer guide back during closed and later weekend betas, and had a ton of good feedback, we were theorycrafting in the dark back then, but once in a while you get that “it should be me!” guy who tones his response to sound less like feedback and more like they are questioning your right to make the guide in the first place. Big part of why I backed out of HM and NiM ops. So much ego. I dabbled in hm’s last round though and encountered less of it, I might even look into a hm guild this expansion.

        • Paulo Gomes

          Oh… BH healer was a personal favourite of mine, often considered to be the worst of the healing classes in pre-3.0… But my opinion changed when I did some raiding with a phenomenal BH healer. One of the classes I miss the most after 3.0. That and speaking of healers the Operative healer, which used to be my main… 🙂

  • Varak’sas

    Hey Sonete, do you know if at any point in time there will be a PvP tanking guide here? This is my school computer so they block swtor.com and associated sites 😛

  • Skeletor890

    The Shrouded crusader relic is ultimate exarch token only. What would be best option on Defiant/Exarch?

    • Sonete

      Shield Amplification is a great alternative for Shrouded Crusader.

      • Skeletor890

        Thank you!

    • Rand Therin

      You have both 216 and 220 shrouded crusader versions for 200 data crystals…

  • PlayLoud

    Nice guide, though I found a couple errors. I didn’t read all the comments, so I apologize if these have been touched before.

    Battle Focus – You have it listed as a bump to defense chance (35% for 15 seconds). The in-game description has it as “Increases ranged and tech critical hit chance by 25% for 15 seconds. In other words, it’s a dps increase (good for building threat during an opener, I might add)
    Edit: Son of a… You are absolutely right. It DOES increase Defense by 35% (in addition to adding 25% crit chance). Why isn’t that in the tooltip? GRRR! Ok. This wasn’t an error.

    You also said “After you use Storm, you will get two free Explosive Surges. Use these with your single target rotation to help manage your energy.”

    It is true you get two free Explosive Surges with Storm, but for single target, you should instead use the two free Ion Pulses. For using storm in a group of adds, by all means, Explosive Surge away.

    • Isja

      You get 10% crit chance on your Explosive Surges so when you take the 25% dmg boost to ES in your utilities using ES instead of Ion Pulse is actually a (slight, if not very slight) dps increase. Without the+25% Es dmg boost utility, I have to admit that IP is indeed better.

    • Sonete

      Yes, you do get two free Ion Pulses after using Storm. However, the time you use these free Ion Pulses is typically at the beginning of a boss fight where energy management shouldn’t be a problem. (If this is not the case, you are doing something very, very wrong.)

      I mentioned only the Explosive Surges since it is common for adds to appear part way through a boss fight when your energy isn’t necessarily at 100%. (Examples include HM Bulo, HM/NiM Corruptor Zero, and HM/NiM Bestia.) Instead of sitting out in order to wait for the adds to appear or running to them using Hold the Line, you can beat on the boss for a longer time, Storm to the adds, AND get two free Explosive Surges to help your energy management.

  • Draezele

    What is the general consensus on using B-mods versus the unlettered mods from token drops (assuming an equal iLevel)? Is mitigation still king? Or is it a worthwhile tradeoff for a bigger health pool, especially at a 3:2 ratio of endurance gained per defense lost? What is the target health pool for hard modes?

    I’ve also seen some mention of using the balanced Bulwark/Bastion enhancements from MK-2 drops over the defense-heavy Immunity/Steadfast enhancements from tokens, but this seems to have less traction overall, especially since you’re trading at slightly less than 1:1 defense:health.

    Theorycraft is always going to favor mitigation over endurance, but I was hoping that someone with some “real-world” experience could weigh in.

    • Sonete

      All the tanks I know have at least 80 k health across all their tanking classes, which means they have endurance heavy mods/enhancements. (But they all still use absorb/shield augments instead of endurance augments.) I haven’t noticed much of a difference between my high mitigation build and their high endurance builds in terms of “taking noticeably bigger hits” or “dying more often.” The key is, when starting HM ops, to have a decent health pool. Don’t go in with 66k health expecting your healers to carry you since you may die to a 75k attack. (HM Raptus anyone?)

  • Xethis

    Hi, im a long time vanguard tanker, and i have always used sticky grenade to initiate a fight rather than storm. Why don’t other tanks do this?

    • Lane Daugherty

      It’s because once you get to a higher lvl, using Storm grants an increase to either your shield or absorb, can’t remember which. This way you not only get agro, but you’re also protected from attacks. I always used that chance to build up the other buffs to increase both shield and absorb.

    • Isja

      Its rather a threat issue imho: as for juggeranuts/guardians it is not recommended to pull with saber throw (because of low threat building), for vanguard pulling with your sticky does not build any aggro until 3s in your rotation so you will have “burnt” a GCD in your opener for quite low threat build compared to other high-priority you could use in your opener instead.

  • mace windy

    Hey Sonete,
    Just wondering. I tested out if by any chance whether bioware had changed de threat gain from harpoon. It used to be shite but today it generated 14k threat for me on the dummy.
    Shadow force pull generates exactly the same.

    In short. Imo it would be worth placing harpoon in the openingsrotation.

    • Sonete

      If you want to use Harpoon (pull) to get extra threat, go for it.

      I personally do not since I don’t give “traditional” 3-2-1 countdowns when starting a fight. (Too often a sniper’s pre-casted ability has pulled the boss, which is incredibly frustrating to a tank who is still 25 meters away.) Either I jump in when the ready check says the group is ready or I give a partial count down (i.e., jump in when I say “2” or even “3”). Another reason why I don’t use harpoon to start boss fights is that some bosses move around. While they usually can be easily re-positioned, I don’t want to add that variable to the equation when starting a fight.

      All that said, using your pull to start off the fight on HM Revan is a great idea since whoever starts the fight won’t have aggro for long.

  • Whorrible

    Just a question as I’m not 100% sure, but it seems that Sonic Rebounder states that it reflects the next Direct, Single-target attack…are you sure it would work in the context you put it in? A raid wide AOE?

    • Sonete

      I use it all the time in the examples I listed above. For example, on Kurse, my raid members stack inside the purple circle, and I use Sonic Rebounders. No one ever takes damage.

  • Valenjinn

    I have tried in my juggernaut & sin, tanks I use to raid with, the relic combo Shrouded Crusader + Focused Retribution, sacrificing Reactive Warding. As tanky relics gives no End, and some extra HP can be handy in encounters, I sacrificed the mastery & defense given by it (with the little mini shield) in order to provide more damage to help in dps check, huge problem in some bosses (Styrak ^^). What do you think about that idea?

  • Alexandar Von Carstein

    Could any one tell how they feel personally about this advance class specialization /7 its game play, fun or not?

    • Phase

      It’s opinion really do you want a tank or melee DPS or do you want a ranged dps / healer. Personally I like both and have both a vanguard and commando. Ranged DPS is nice in many fights though and I have the option to heal too.

      • Alexandar Von Carstein

        Thank, well I have tried the Commando & while it was fun its seemed a bit slow for some reason, now I went Gunnery & over all it felt decent after a while, but having the option to tank is something that I quite like, plus the CqC thin reminds of SW Republic Commando meets Metal Gear Solid, Delta Command & Solid Snake back to back, while I might miss the blaster canon feel when its firing. Hm, perhaps, I should go for Pub. as Republic Tropper Commando & Imperie as Bounty Hunter Power Tech, that would be something cool.

  • Alexandar Von Carstein

    Can any one tell how they feel personally about this advance class specialization & its game play, fun or not?

  • Andy Whalen

    Question? Can anyone get this “translated” to the Powertech version?

  • Cicerone Royce

    How do you add the “Target of Target” thingie?

    • Phase

      Under your interface editor you can enable it.

  • Noa Margeta

    Hey could you pls help me in gearing tank VG for pvp like which enchs and augs. Thanks!

    • SirRobinII

      adept ear/implants. relics sa and fr(could take crit), mods lethal b and efficient enhancements.

      • Noa Margeta

        Hey thx for reply but which augs? 😀

        • SirRobinII

          fortitude 40

  • Maliha

    I am curious to know what rotation folks use on the EV HM Infernal Council…

  • Robert Tirso

    I’ve played shield specialist vanguard a lot and after looking at the numbers in parsec it appears hammer shot overall does more damage, generates more threat, and shortens the cooldown on energy blast compared to ion pulse. This is because HS can trigger ion cell and the DOT from ion cell does a notable amount of threat and additional damage. Aside from applying the 45 sec debuffs from ion pulse/explosive surge, is there a reason to not use HS in place of ion pulse for a single target?

  • Darth Darth Binks

    Where is the 4.0 powertech tank PvE guide? I hate having to “translate” everything from Republic guides, for Empire there are usually only PvP guides on Dulfy and no PvE.

    • Emon McCullen

      Dulfy herself wrote in the 3.0 PT guide that we should be looking HERE at the VG version for 4.0 guide… I’m with you: don’t like to translate everything. Really appreciate the efforts the authors put in these guides. But it should be easier for them to just translate it than for us to look up every single utility.

      • Darth Darth Binks

        I think they should add the translation functionality in their CMS, if possible. So, for example, there would be a link which would produce the auto-translated version of the article. Although worse than having the “real thing”, it would still be much better than having to do it manually.

  • Tykè

    I Feel like i’m doing the rotation wrong. When I get the shoulder cannons loaded to 4 do i hit them to go off whenever or at specific times? Also Energy Blast in the rotation isn’t on when I get to it and Once I start the Single Target Priority most of it is on CD, and when I start the Priority again most of it is on CD. Can you PLEASE give me a parsely those really help with me.

    • perra

      Shoulder cannon should be used when ready since its off global cooldown. whenever you can. But dont worry too much about the roration. Remember that awareness is the most important thing, and focusing over your rotation should not hinder that. Though if you do the rotation you should have around 1.9k-2k DPS (with 6piece set bonus), so thats something for a comparison.

  • Scylla

    For anyone still in need of a “translation” into Powertech/Shield Tech. Utilities are in the same order and the description helps if you’re not sure. The abilities in the rotations are:
    Storm = Jet Charge
    Shockstrike = Rocket Punch
    High Impact Bolt = Rail Shot
    Taunt = Neural Dart
    Energy Blast = Heat Blast
    Ion Storm = Firestorm
    Ion Pulse = Flame Burst
    Explosive Surge = Flame Sweep
    Taunt #2 = Sonic Missile
    Mortar Volley = Death from Above

    Excellent guide, many thanks to the author!

  • Tykè

    What is the triple taunt rotation

    • Amy

      Triple taunt is where you use your single taunt then AOE taunt as the single taunt expires then single taunt again when the AOE taunt expires.

  • Vini Kämpferherz Barros

    Nice guide. But I’m having a problem. I started to play again and it’s has been about 3 yeas (a little more) since I played. My character lost a few skills (I had a mixed tree) and I just can’t find my shoulder cannon and other stuff…

    • Suriaka the Keyboard Warrior

      Shoulder cannon is now a level 61 ability. For the rest of the stuff, check the abilities window and skill trainer.

      • Vini Kämpferherz Barros

        wow.. I see. Thanks!

Back to Top