4.0 Class Guides 4.0 Marauder 4.0 PvE SWTOR

SWTOR 4.0 Annihilation Marauder PvE Guide by Oofalong

SWTOR 4.0 Annihilation Marauder PvE Guide by Oofalong. This guide was adapted from Oofalong’s Annihilation/Watchman Compendium for 4.0.


What’s New in 4.0?

Discipline Overview

Overall, Annihilation is one of the best sustained single target DPS builds in SWTOR. The SWTOR Devs have stated they intend for it to be the highest sustained damage spec for Marauders. In addition, the build offers high survivability due to a passive proc self-heal. A properly spec’ed and built character will do ~50% of their damage as DoTs. Marauders deal bleed (internal) damage while Watchmen deal burn (elemental) damage. This spec is melee exclusive and suffers from poor burst damage, and its area-of-effect (AoE) potential is less than other classes. Also, it is a very mobile class as nearly everything is an instant ability.

Relevant Global Changes

  • Unique Primary Stats – Strength, Willpower, Cunning & Aim – have been removed and replaced by Mastery. This has minimal impact on the game as primary stats effectively behaved the same. It will make sharing legacy gear easier as now only Set Bonuses differ.
  • Surge Rating has been removed, and Critical Rating now increases Critical Multiplier. Any critical chance over 100% will be converted into additional Critical Multiplier. This will be most noticed on attacks that have a 100% critical chance like DoT ticks under Berserk, Towering Rage buffed Devastating Blasts, and Dominate buffed Smash or Raging Burst. The crit formula has been changed as well.
    • Our Critical Damage Multiplier is increased by our Critical Chance in excess of 100%. For example, consider the DoT on Rupture, imagine its Critical Chance is 50% and its Critical Multiplier is 70%. Berserk increases the Critical Chance by 100% for a total of 150%; this excess Critical Chance now increase the Critical Multiplier. Specifically, its Critical Multiplier will increase by 50% to 105% (1.05 = 0.7 * (1 + .5)).
  • Accuracy
    • The accuracy formula has been changed; we now require less Accuracy Rating to reach our target of 9% (assuming 1% companion buff), specifically a rating of 685.
    • All basic attacks – ours is Assault – now have base Accuracy of 100%. This simplifies Accuracy. Now instead of 5 different Accuracy measures we have 3 – Main Hand, Off Hand, and Force.
  • Additional Utility Talents: There are now 8 utilities in each tier for a total of 24. However, we still only have 7 points to invest. (Plus, one of the points is now awarded at level 65 so until you reach max level you will have one less point compared to 3.X)

About Annihilation in 4.0

Knights of the Fallen Empire (4.0) introduced numerous changes to the spec and playstyle of Annihilation. I believe the spec has been vastly improved. While still different from its 2.X version, it retains the most important hallmark: It is easy to play, but difficult to master. Plus, the discipline has returned to its short DoT duration with formidable direct attacks.

New & Changed Abilities

  • Force Rend: This ability has been significantly redesigned. It now builds resource, it has a CD, and its DoT duration has been reduced. Plus, its damage has been reduced. The various passives in the discipline path make this a direct replacement for Force Charge; it builds 4 resource and has a 12s CD.
  • Annihilate: The CD on this increased to 15s (up form 12s) and its damage has been increased. With 4 stacks of Annihilator the CD is reduced to 9s. Thus, our new priority rotation follows 9s cycles.
  • Rupture: The DoT duration has been increased to 9s and it now ticks every 3s. It’s DoT damage has been increased.
  • Force Charge: This ability no longer plays an integral role in the discipline. It can now exclusively be used as a gap closer. Generally, the buffs previously to this ability now buff Force Rend | Force Melt.
  • Mad Dash: This is a new ability although its low damage means it will not be rotational. We will still use it primarily as another gap closer.

Discipline Path

This was reworked for 4.0 given the changes to Force Rend although little else changed. We have a new passive that increases damage dealt post Annihilate for a brief period of time.

Marauder Level Description
Hemorrhaging Smash 12 Reduces the cooldown of Smash by 9s and the rage it consumes by 1. In addition, Smash deals 30% more damage and spreads your Rupture and Force Rend bleeds to targets it hits, if it hits a target already affected by those bleeds.
Enraged Rend 16 Force Rend builds 1 additional rage.
Hastened Rend 20 Reduces the cooldown of Force Rend by 3 seconds.
Bleedout 24 Increases the critical strike damage of your bleed effects by 5%.
Juyo Mastery 28 Your bleed effects are 2% more likely to critically hit per stack of Juyo Form.
Deep Wound 32 Increases the direct damage dealt by Rupture by 5%.
Hungering 36 Critical hits with bleed effects heal you for 1% of your maximum health.
Hemorrhage 40 Your Rupture, Deadly Saber, and Force Rend bleeds heal you for 15% of the damage they deal.
Bloodlust 44 Your direct damage attacks that critically hit a bleeding target build 1 rage. This effect cannot occur more than once 3 seconds. In addition, Annihilate makes its target assailable for 45 seconds. Assailable targets take 7% more elemental and internal damage.
Indefatigable Onslaught 48 Juyo Form can now stack up to 6 times, and Annihilate can now stack up to 4 times in total.
Pulverize 52 Your bleed effects have a 20% chance to grant Pulverize, which increase the damage of your next Dual Saber Throw by 100%. This effect can occur once every 18 seconds.
Blood Guard 56 Dealing bleed damage to a target increases your damage reduction by 5% for 3 seconds.
Swift Demise 59 Juyo Form and Annihilator build two stacks at a time. In addition, Annihilate has a 50% chance to build Swift Demise when activated, increasing the damage your next Vicious Slash or Vicious Throw deals by 5% per stack. Stacks up to 2 times.
Devious Wounds 64 Annihilate increases the bleed damage you deal by 5% for 4.5 seconds after use.

Utility Talents

At level 65 you will be able to invest in seven of these talents. I have highlighted the talents that will generally be the most worthwhile for PvE although you can’t take them all. Thus, you will need to adjust them based on each fight’s required mechanics and/or damage profile. I think there are a few that are always beneficial: Brazen, Phantom, and Brooding (although you can spec out of this after building 30 stacks of Fury). In addition to these three, my standard build also includes: Cloak of Carnage, Cloak of Rage, Defensive Roll, and Expunging Camouflage.


Utility Description Comments
Cloak of Carnage Increases the damage dealt by Cloak of Pain by 15% and increases its duration by 4 seconds. This is one of the many buffs to Cloak of Pain.
Overwhelm Ravage immobilizes the target for the duration of the ability. This is one of many abilities that immobilizes/slows your target, which has little to no effect in PvE.
Cloak of Rage While Cloak of Pain is active, it generates 1 Rage whenever you are attacked. This effect cannot occur more than once every 2 seconds. This is one of the many buffs to Cloak of Pain.
Inexorable You generate 4 Rage when stunned, immobilized, put to sleep, or knocked around. Additionally, the CD of Unleash is reduced by 30s. This has situational benefits.
Brazen Increases damage reduction by 2%, and you build 2 Fury when attacked. This Fury building effect cannot occur more than once every 1.5 seconds. This is always beneficial.
Path Carver Sweeping Slash deals 25% more damage. While this sounds great for clearing trash mobs, the cost of the ability still makes this fairly unattractive for this Discipline.
Maiming Reach Increases the range of Crippling Slash to 10m. Additionally, Crippling Slash consumes 2 less rage. Minimal PvE application.
Unflinching Determination While Saber Ward is active, you are immune to stun, sleep, lift and incapacitating effects. This has situational benefits.


Utility Description Comments
Interceptor Force Charge, Force Rend, Devastating Blast, and Obliterate snare their target, reducing its movement speed by 50% for 6 seconds. This is one of many abilities that immobilizes/slows your target, which has little to no effect in PvE.
Relentless Predation no longer requires or consumes Fury, but will go on CD for 30s when activated. This has situational benefits.
Defensive Roll Reduces damage taken from area effects by 30% and increases internal and elemental damage reduction 5%. This has situational benefits, but many of the fights in the current Operations have AoE damage making this pretty useful.
Subjugation Reduces the cooldown of Obfuscate by 15 seconds and Disruption by 2 seconds. This has little to no effect in PvE.
Strangulate Reduces the cooldown of Force Choke by 15 seconds. This is one of many abilities that immobilizes/slows your target, which has little to no effect in PvE.
Displacement Increases the range of Obfuscate by 6 meters and allows Cloak of Pain to be used while stunned. This has little to no effect in PvE.
Phantom Increases your movement speed by 15% and the movement speed bonus of Force Camouflage by 20%. Additionally, increases the duration of Force Camouflage by 2 seconds. This has situational benefits as it increases the utility of Force Camouflage as a gap closer.
Thirst for Rage Bloodthirst generates 12 rage when activated.


Utility Description Comments
Unbound When Predation is applied or refreshed, it purges movement-impairing effects. Additionally, the movement speed bonus of Predation is increased by 30%. This has situational benefits.
Expunging Camouflage Force Camouflage removes all cleansable effects when activated. There are many cleansable debuffs found in Operations so this is a great utility.
Cloak of Annihilation Each use of Assault, Battering Assault, and Crippling Slash reduces the active cooldown of Cloak of Pain by 3 seconds. This is one of the many buffs to Cloak of Pain.
Inescapable Crippling Slash immobilizes that target for 3 seconds. This immobilizing effect cannot be applied to the same target more than once every 10 seconds. This is one of many abilities that immobilizes/slows your target, which has little to no effect in PvE.
Undying Increases the duration of Undying Rage by 2 seconds. Reduces the cooldown of Undying Rage by 30 seconds. While this is obviously beneficial any boss strat that relies on Undying Rage is flawed.
Blood Ward Getting attacked while Saber Ward is active heals you for 3% of your maximum health. This effect cannot occur more than once every 1.5 seconds. This has situational benefits.
Brooding Reduces the cooldown of Intimidating Roar by 15 seconds. In addition, you build up to 30 Fury over the course of using Channel Hatred. This effect cannot occur more than once every 30 seconds. Being able to pre-stack Fury before a boss fight is a welcome addition to the Discipline. You can also spec out of this once you have built your stacks.
Through Victory Mad Dash can be used while immobilized and purges movement-impairing effects when activated. This has situational benefits.

Resource Generation

Unlike every other class, Sith Warriors do not have a full resource pool by default. Instead, we perform weak attacks in order to perform stronger attacks. And, we have a lot more resource in 4.0 than in 3.X. Our four Rage generating abilities are:

  • Force Rend
  • Force Charge
  • Battering Assault
  • Assault

While we generate ~60% of our resource from using these abilities, we have two opportunities to generate resource through procs. In total, these procs should generate ~12 total resource in each rotation cycle. The two procs are:

  • Hemorrhage:This proc has a 20% chance to generate resource from each tick of our bleeds, but can only happen every 1s.
  • Bloodlust: This proc generates resource when our melee hits crit against a bleeding target but can only happen every 3s. We should have 100% uptime considering all three of our bleeds and several of our abilities hit the target multiple times so we are able to generate considerable resource this way. This has a slight edge in resource generation compared to Hemorrhage.

How to Play

We now have a more priority rotation compared to the 3.X rotations made possible by the additional resource as well as the increased CD on Annihilate. Ideally, we use our biggest hitting abilities on CD, while filling the remaining GCDs to maximize damage and ensure we have the resource for our core abilities. Personally, I reorganized all of my keybinds and retrained myself to avoid falling into the comfortable routine of the past rotation.


There are 10 essential abilities which you will use on a regular basis. Our core abilities based on total damage done per activation are:

1. Ravage (uses 2 GCDs)

2. Deadly Saber

3. Annihilate

4. Rupture

5. Vicious Throw

6. Dual Saber Throw

7. Force Rend

8. Vicious Slash

9. Battering Assault

10. Assault

Opening Rotation

In order to achieve our steady-state priority rotation, we need to reduce the CD of Annihilate with two uses of the ability thanks to Swift Demise. Thus, our opener spans 30s/20 GCDs. Unlike many classes we will not be doing our peak damage during this opener as we have to build stacks of Annihilator and Juyo Form plus we need to get to the 9s CD for Annihilate. The open cells are filler and will vary between Battering Assault, Assault, and Vicious Slash.


Core Rotation

Our core abilities have a cooldown (CD) of 9s (6 GCDs) or some multiple of this with the exception of Force Rend, which has a 12s (8 GCD CD). (Deadly Saber has a 12s CD (8 GCDs), but it is off the GCD which means we are indifferent to how it shifts within our rotation.) Thus, we need to balance two seemingly different CD cycles; however, by following the proper sequencing we can ensure that none of our priority abilities conflict. In aggregate we can outline a 36s (24 GCD) rotation although for practical purposes it is much easier to think about 9s (6 GCD) priority cycles. Each cycle starts with Annihilate and features Rupture in the 3rd GCD. Other than this our priority abilities are used as shown below. The open cells are filler and will vary between Battering Assault, Assault, Vicious Slash, and Vicious Throw (in execute range). Due to the increased amount of resource expect to be using Vicious Slash a lot and very rarely use Assault. Further, you will basically use Battering Assault on CD as long as it does not delay the use of one of the higher priority abilities.


  • This priority rotation and sequence allows us to use every one of our priority abilities on CD, which is fantastic.
  • Nearly every use of Dual Saber Throw should benefit from the Pulverize buff. Even if it is not buffed do not delay its use.
  • This rotation should provide 100% uptime on Rupture. which is necessary to benefit from Bloodlust.

Execute Rotation

Once your target falls below 30% you gain access to Vicious Throw; this becomes your highest priority filler (resource permitting). In other words don’t risk delaying any of the higher priority abilities.

AoE Priorities

We don’t have an AoE rotation per se, and depending on the health of the targets we need to determine how many DoTs to spread via Smash. For weaker mobs just spread Rupture and for bigger mobs you will want to spread will want to also spread Force Rend. GCD #4 in Cycle 2 and GCD #5 in Cycle 3 are ideal times to DoT spread.

Cooldown Usage

  • Berserk: Given the number of DoTs we have, it can be difficult to maximize your 3-stack ticks of Deadly Saber although it is still optimal to do so. On a dummy parse you will be able to use this approximately three times every two 24 GCD cycles. You should aim to use Berserk right after Force Rend.
  • Bloodthirst: This is still a strong offensive CD. For maximal results you can align this with the other raid-wide CDs,
  • Cloak of Pain: Timely use of this will provide a good DPS boost as well as extra resource to help you maintain your rotation. This performs best with steady amounts of incoming damage like those found in Temple of Sacrifice’s The Underlurker.
  • Adrenal: Try to overlap your adrenal use with Bloodthirst as well as Berserk.

Stats and Gear

Gear Recommendations:

Achieving our optimal stat allocation is actually fairly easy to do considering:

  • the tertiary stats found on our standard token drops,
  • every combination of earpiece & implant,
  • and the choice augments offer.

First off, in 4.0 the tertiary stat allocation for all DPS specs is standard as follows:

Slot Tertiary Stat
Head Alacrity
Chest Critical
Gloves Accuracy
Pants Critical
Boots Accuracy
MH Critical
OH Accuracy

We can then choose any of the three tertiary stats from our Earpiece and Implants. Collectively, this gives us 10 opportunities to gain these stats (ignoring augments). We want to divide these 10 slots as follows:

  • 2x Accuracy
  • 4x Alacrity
  • 4x Critical

Thus, if we take the token pieces as is, including Earpieces & Implants with Alacrity, we’ll have the ideal allocation of Alacrity. We will be slightly over on Accuracy and slightly under on Critical, but given the volume of enhancements available this is easy enough to correct. Simply, change one Accuracy slot for a Critical Slot, and you’ll achieve the ideal balance.

We will then rely on Augments to supplement these tertiary stats to reach our overall targets. Specifically, we will want the following Augments:

  • 5x Accuracy
  • 3x Alacrity
  • 6x Critical

This will technically put us a bit under with 216 gear, but with 2x 220 enhancements this will be corrected.

I encourage you to review Bant’s excellent work for more details.


Mastery is effectively now the universal main stat. Armorings, Hilts and Mods as well as our Earpiece and Implants provide Mastery. We may also gain Mastery via Augments. Mastery boosts Damage Bonus by 0.20 per point, and it contributes to our Critical Chance or Crit %.


Power is effectively now the universal secondary stat as Critical Rating has been removed from Mods. We will also gain Power from our Earpiece, Relics, Implants and Enhancements. We may also gain Power via Augments. Power boosts Damage Bonus by 0.23 per point.

Tertiary Stats

(I expect the community to adopt a better naming convention for this, perhaps Enhancement Stats.) We now have three stats that share a budget: Accuracy, Alacrity and Critical. These stats are found on our Earpiece, Implants and Enhancements. We may also gain any of these via Augments.

  • Accuracy Rating: This increases our attack’s chance to hit. You can earn a 1% legacy-wide accuracy boost by reaching max affection with Broonmark | Lord Scourge or a melee tank DPS companion on any of the other characters in your legacy. Operation bosses also have a 10% defense chance or chance to avoid your attack, which means we want our Accuracy to be 110% to ensure we never miss with our heavy-hitting abilities. (We will still be below this target for our OH so you will occasionally see misses here.) The exact Accuracy Rating needed is 684.
  • Alacrity Rating: This effectively allows us to go through your rotation more quickly. It will increase the speed with which your DoTs tick as well as shorten your GCD and the CD of abilities.
  • Critical Rating: With the introduction of 4.0, this stat determines both the likelihood of critical hits as well as the total damage of your critical hits. You can earn a 1% legacy-wide critical chance increase by reaching max affection with Vette | Sgt. Rusk or a ranged DPS companion on any of the other characters in your legacy and a 1% legacy-wide critical damage boost by reaching max affection with Jaesa Williams | Kira or a melee DPS companion on any of the other characters in your legacy.


I believe the following augments are your best choice for 216 through 224 gear. You will be a bit under the Accuracy target in 216 gear, but this way you won’t have to worry about swapping any of your Augments out as you advance tiers.

  • 5x Accuracy
  • 3x Alacrity
  • 6x Critical


You will want equip the best Serendipitous Assault & Focused Retribution relics you have access to. Review this analysis for specifics on relics. I have not reviewed this considering the changes in 4.0, but I do not expect there will be a difference.

Armor Set Bonus

Set bonus were broadly redesigned in 3.0. There are now seven qualifying slots: Head, Chest, Bracers, Gloves, Belt, Legs and Boots. And, there are now benefits for 2, 4 and 6 pieces. As before they are cumulative such that if you have the 4-piece bonus you also have the 2-piece bonus.

4.0 Weaponmaster & Challenger Set Bonus
  • 2-piece: Battering Assault increase damage dealt by 2% for 15s. Cannot occur more than once every 30s.
  • 4-piece: Reduces the cooldown of Frenzy by 15s. Additionally, activating Berserk increases all damage dealt by 3% for 10s.
  • 6-piece: Activating Ravage or Dual Saber Throw will grant Weaponmaster’s/Challenger’s Critical Bonus making your next Vicious Throw, Furious Strike, or Annihilate critically hit. This can only happen once every 60s.

Key Game/Mechanic Concepts

Raid Damage Buffs

Each DPS spec now applies two damage buffs to targets it hits. There are a total of 7 different buffs. Our two buffs are:

  • Assailable: Increases damage taken by 7% from internal/elemental sources; our DoTs are internal/elemental.
  • Beat Down: Increases melee attack damage by 5%; all of other other core attacks are melee attacks.

In addition to these we will benefit greatly from:

  • Vulnerable: Increase force attack damage by 5%; our DoTs are force attacks.
  • Sundered: Reduces target’s armor by 20%; this reduces the damage mitigation our melee attacks suffer from the target’s armor.

Juyo Form

You must be in Juyo Form. Once you enable this form you stay in it until you disable it. For a properly spec Marauder, Juyo form does many things. First off, it increases attack damage by 1% up to 6 stacks with the Indefatigable Onslaught. Further, each stack of Juyo Form increases the critical chance of our DoTs by 2% up to 12% via Juyo Mastery. Using Berserk when in Juyo Form makes our next six DoT critically hit automatically. In short, if you are not in Juyo Form as an Annihilation Marauder you are doing something wrong.

Critical Chance

An attack’s critical chance is a function of Critical Rating and Mastery. Each of these inputs contribute based a different exponential equation, which means the diminishing marginal rate of return varies. Said another way, there is no such thing as a Crit % DR. You should not think about a target crit %; instead you should target a certain Critical Rating to compliment your Mastery.

Everyone has a base 5% critical chance and the Imperial Agent class buff grants another 5%. You can also earn a 1% legacy-wide critical chance boost by reaching max affection with Vette or a ranged DPS companion on any of the other characters in your legacy. This provides an effective base 11% critical chance. Plus, we can add additional critical chance from Mastery of at least 8%. This gives us a total melee crit chance of almost 20% with 0 crit rating.

Fury & Berserk

Anytime we activate an ability that spends Rage we will build 4 stacks of Fury. Plus, any time we kill something we build Fury. And, Defensive Forms will grant us 2 Fury when we are attacked. Once we have 30 stacks of Fury we can use a few different abilities. The exact number of Berserk uses varies fight to fight. For instance, practicing on the training dummy, we must use eight Rage consuming abilities to build 30 stacks of Fury. The most commonly used ability with 30 stacks will be Berserk, which causes our next 6 bleeds to automatically critically hit. Plus, each of these 6 ticks will also heal your 4 person group for 1% of their max health. Berserk will always increase our DPS, and well-timed use of it can dramatically increase our DPS.

Modeling Information

I think there are worthwhile mechanics to understand even if you don’t want to do your own theorycrafting.

The melee attack formula is:

Main Hand Damage* + Melee Damage Bonus* + Standard Damage* + Off Hand Damage

* These three attack components combine for one entry in your combat log.

The ability’s tooltip will state if it attacks with both hands. There are two one-handed melee attacks Force Charge | Force Leap and Deadly Throw | Dispatch.

The force attack formula is:

Force Damage Bonus + Standard Damage

Let me briefly explain how each of these components is calculated:

  • Main Hand Damage is a function of the hilt in your lightsaber as well as Amount Modifier Percent (Amt Mod %). The tooltip of your hilt will list its minimum and maximum damage. This – plus the Standard Health Damage – accounts for the variance in ability damage.
  • Off Hand Damage is by design 30% of main hand damage so every Off Hand Hit needs to be multiplied by 0.3.
  • Melee Bonus Damage is a function of Mastery & Power. Our class buff boosts this damage by 5%. This amount is than multiplied by the coefficient of the ability.
  • Force Bonus Damage is a function of Mastery, Power & Force Power. Our class buff boosts this damage by 5%. This amount is then multiplied by the coefficient of the ability.
  • Standard Health Damage is standard amount based on the level when you last trained on the ability. This is why when you hit 50, 55, 60 and now 65 you re-train nearly every ability. This amount is then multiplied by the Standard Health % Min or Max.

Read this and this to learn about modeling damage; the necessary inputs are here.



This compendium is meant to help you understand how to play and gear your Annihilation Marauder for elder game PvE. The recommendations presented here are derived from the model I built, which is also available as a Google Spreadsheet: here. (Please note: while the model is theoretically accurate I do not have 224/220/216 gear at this point to validate all of the assumptions.)


My approach to theorycrafting combines modeling expected results based on relevant factors then analyzing actual results to ensure my model and hypotheses are accurate. Or, doing spreadsheet math and checking the combat logs to make sure it is right. Plus, I want to make my analysis and recommendations easy to understand. There’s enough complexity in life, and SWTOR shouldn’t be contributing more of it.

Thus, for all of my conclusions and recommendations I can, and will if asked, explain the math and mechanics behind it. Where I cannot prove something, I may still offer my opinion and I will try to be clear when this occurs. I do not pretend to know everything, and when someone has a different perspective I attempt to understand their point of view and either incorporate it into my recommendation or dismiss it with data/facts.

There are lots of potentially valid theories to optimize an Annihilation Marauder | Watchman Sentinel. However, I believe there is only one – or a very limited number of – truly optimized specs, gear, etc. I aim to identify the most optimal, yet also identify and quantify sub-optimal options.

Impact of Releases & Patches

Each release or patch may include changes to class abilities. This is done to balance game play across all classes and roles. Since the game’s release there have been a number of impactful changes to Annihilation Marauders

4.0 Knights of the Old Republic (20 October 2015)

  • New Max Level, 65.
  • Annihilate’s damage and CD has been increased
  • Force Rend has been reworked
  • New ability Mad Dash
  • Many other changes…

3.2.1 Game Update (28 May 2015)

  • Annihilate has been reworked again

3.2 Game Update (28 April 2015)

  • Adjusted benefits from Cloak of Pain, including the benefit from Cloak of Rage
  • Decreased lockout of healing from Blood Ward
  • New ability Mad Dash

3.1.1 Game Update (12 March 2015)

  • Numerous Utilities have been reworked

3.0 Shadow of Revan (10 June 2014)

  • New Max Level, 60.
  • Skill trees have been replaced by Disciplines
  • New ability Force Rend
  • Many other changes…

2.8 Spoils of War (10 June 2014)

  • Increased Annihilation’s damage dealt by 7% as well as reduced its cost by one resource to 4.
  • Increased the damage increase of Inexhaustible Zeal up to 7% per point.
  • Corrected the double proc’ing relics which decreased DPS of this spec.

2.5 Galactic Starfighter Early Access (10 December 2013)

  • Increased the duration of the Annihilator buff to 24s.

2.0 Rise of the Hutt Cartel (11 April 2013)

  • New Max Level, 55.
  • Skill tree redesign
  • New ability Dual Saber Throw
  • Many other changes…

1.6 Ancient Hypergate (11 December 2012)

  • Eliminated Battlemaster Gear so now all PvP set bonuses are tied to armorings just like Campaign & Dread Guard.

1.5 HK-51 Activated Start of Free-to-Play (11 November 2012)

  • Hungering heals for 0.5% down from 1% per talent point.

1.4 Terror From Beyond (9 September 2012)

  • Undying Rage | Guarded by the Force reduced to 4s.

1.2 Legacy (12 April 2012)

  • Marauder
    • Disruption, Intimidating Roar and Obfuscate are all free to use. Plus, Disruption and Obfuscate were taken off the GCD.
    • Ravage uninterruptable and 15% more powerful.
    • Vicious Throw usable for 30% and less.
    • Predation is Operation group-wide.
    • Force Camouflage reduces damage by 50% replaces Phantom  skill ability.
  •  Annihilation | Watchman
    • Phantom no longer reduces damage but increases duration and speed
    • Short Fuse was moved to tier 1.
    • Quick Recovery has been removed from the game. It reduced the rage cost of Smash  and Sweeping Slash by 1 and reduced the CD of Smash by 1.5 seconds.
    • Ferocity has been removed from game; however, its effect – Increase Predation speed by 15% – has been added to Unbound in the Carnage tree. Enraged Charge, which increases the resource generated by Force Charge, was moved from the Carnage tree to replace Ferocity place.

1.1.2 Rise of the Rakghouls (7 February 2012)

  • Obfuscate cannot be used on Operation Bosses.
  • Bleedout Fixed.
  • Hemorrhage increases damage by 5% per point compared to 2% previously.

98 replies on “SWTOR 4.0 Annihilation Marauder PvE Guide by Oofalong”

Holy Sith! The sheer effort put into this makes me want to try Ani/Watchman seriously for the first time. Thank you!

Hey, great guide, thanks for the work. I have a question, where in the opener would you place Berserk? Should we use Berserk on cd, assuming we place our dots according to priorities?

Generally speaking use Berserk after using Force Rend. This is briefly mentioned in the guide although I want to add more depth to CD usage.

So after Force Rend is the optimal use of Berserk? In theory that is also when Rapture and 3 stacks of Deadly Saber is up. So you always want to pop Berserk after all dots are up?

So would the rule of thumb of is always pop Berserk after all dots are up?

I have a bad habit of popping Berserk at the start of a fight due to “Berserk, which causes our next 6 bleeds to automatically critically hit.”. I guess with Berserk only lasting 6 secs, Berserk would be on CD by the time full dots are up.

Oofalong as always gave us the amazing and complex guide. Every single info is valuable and really helpful. I didn’t play watchman since 3.x and changed for combat, but now the spec seems much more playable and i think i will reconsider gdtting back to it ;). Once again great work man.

Thanks! I need to see which rotation suits me best, yours or beastfury’s. Pre 3.0 I was using beastfury’s approach, but with force melt in the rotation, I have adjusted to your rotation.

Your rotation on gcd 20 (estimated) : 5.163 dps
Beastfury’s rotation on gcd 20(estimated): 5138 dps.

What is Beastfury’s rotation now? I had thought for dummy parsing he had reverted to the rotation I outlined.

I am at work and very busy on ‘working’ as you can see :D. I have run some numbers on your numbers, our little secret. Direct comparison between the two rotations, I may have the sentinel speak wrong :P.

I’m still trying to understand annihilation, so forgive me if this is wrong, but to me it looks like the opener on the left gives you clashing abilities right from the start. Force rend comes off cooldown right after the opener, but your rotation will have to start with Rupture->Annihilate, delaying Force Rend for 2 GCD. Oofalong’s opener doesn’t have that problem.

You have too much accuracy, the only way to achieve best value (rating 224), is (4 x 168) or (7 x 73 + 168) second one is better and easer to get.

First off, my recommended gearing provide 701 (168 * 2 + 73 * 5) Accuracy, which is an overage of 16. Our OH hits will benefit from this extra Accuracy. Compared to 679 (168 + 7 * 73), which 6 below our Accuracy target, which means we may observe misses.

Next, while getting 1x 224 Initiative Enhancement is easier to get than 2; considering the other stats/Enhancements I believe my way is actually easier to get. Specifically, a 224 Initiative Enhancement is found on 3 of our token drops: OH, Gloves and Boots. My version is able to benefit from 2 of these, while yours only benefits from 1. Thus, you’ll need 2 additional 224 token drops in order to achieve your results.

I understand your point of view but accuracy at ~109,95% is enough and misses are only theoretic not seen in practice. Approach with 7 augs + ench is faster way to get accuracy cap, you need only get one token but it is true you waste enchantments later. Besides if you want to have common gear for madness and lightning is better to have all accuracy in augments.

What happened to the old way of Graphical representation of the “rotation”? When you guys show it like above i am confused to all hell. Do i go across? Do i go down? Etc

Thanks man. its not that i want something on a silver plate. When you play for fun, seems to be different from playing for massive dps, so people will accept you to raids for the fun stuff. If you aren’t top dps you’re wasting peoples time. I don’t want to do that. It why i rush here to understand what i am doing wrong.

Like always a lot of people want to have everything given on a silver plate. You got the opener, the cycles, priority list and even whole philosophy of this class. All you need now is to play this spec for a while, do some dummy parses and figure it out by yourself. During boss encounter you won’t be able to execute the perfect rotation due to mechanics. You need to understand the class instead of learning it by heart.

Agreed. We’re not mind readers. The progressive graphical rotation graphic “XX > XX> XX” was far more easier to grasp, even at a glance. Ofc it’s one of those things where its confusion for the reader, but not the author.

Between you and Hayete I torn on what spec to play as lol. My only wish is that concentration was better for pve.

Excellent guide and tips, might have to rework my Mara and see how far I can push him with the tips presented here.

Hmmm, it doesn’t really help me, it doesn’t say how much crit to have or stuff like that, the accuracy is cool, but other then the lack of a ‘stack this amount of crit’ the guide seems cool.

I tend to use these guides for the basic principle on how to gear my character, i figure the rest out on my own.

Yeah, he doesn’t give you numbers as goals….that can be misleading…instead he gives you what amounts of gear should have which stat. In my opinion that is WAY better than just saying, “crit should be 35%”

Great guide Oofalong, just wanted to clarify on the companion affection accuracy/critical bonuses: it should be changed to influence and I’m not positive but is the requirement reaching 10000 influence as identical to 3.X, or did it actively change to require reaching 250000 influence for 4.0?

I thought you unlock companion bonus for completing this respective companion story (i.e. passing the final dialogue with said companion), which, however, would require around 8k affection. And who knows how it works with this new influence system…

P.S. Great guide Oof

Its not influence, to get the bonuses you just have to finish all the conversations/missions with whatever companion.

Great guide Oofalong, read it on the bus into college. Really nice work, was on the fence about going Mara this tier but I think I’ll give it a go.

to be clear i’m at level 58 trying to run the rotation, in Juyo form, and nothing is popping ravage off cool down right after I use it the first time in the opener. so how is it there twice in a row?

Great guide. My first toon in TOR a long, long time ago was a Watchman Sentinel. I used to really like it a lot, it was fun, powerful, and almost an off-healer pre-3.0. Then the nerfing began, lol, but what really killed it for me was 3.0, as with a lot of Annis/Watchmen out there. I proceeded to convert to Combat, but it was never as fun as the original Watchman AC for me. I might just give it another go again…

You might want to, it’s a lot more fun to play than in 3.x, with the short dot duration and increased resource generation

I know it’s kind of been answered but I’m still curious Oofalong, if you could reassure. Will turbo anni not be a viable thing anymore? I was used to running full alac augments, despite what everyone was saying and got a significant dps increase. Will this no longer be the case due to short dots?

I’m not sure full Alacrity augments is the optimal gearing choice. Still, I am using almost 900. In any event Alacrity just makes everything happen faster so it doesn’t necessarily matter what to rotation or DoT duration is.

Ty vm Oofalong, with the new expansion there are many changes, and guides like this helps a lot. Keep the good work!

I am curious as to whether or not assault is essential or not. Can I just take it off my hotbar? Note: Only level 43 at the moment.

Hi, I just have one quesiton concerning Armor set Bonus.
The set bonus didn’t change between 3.0 and 4.0 and I would like to know what is the best between keep the 3.0 2-piece set bonus and take 4.0 4-piece bonus or take 4.0 6-piece bonus ?
I tested yesterday with 3.0 4-piece set bonus and 4.0 2-piece bonus and when using Battering Assault, I have 2 procs ( increase damage dealt by 2% for 15s) => increase damage by 4% during 15s
Sorry if this information is in the guide, maybe I didn’t see it.

I know this is a bit of a QQ but would you consider doing a version of this with the Sentinel abilities substituted in? 90% of the content would be the same. I just get confused because I don’t know the Imp side abilities, only the Pub side ones.

Can someone really nice and kind and wonderful please upload a video of this rotation? I never played this class/spec before and just used the lvl 60 token to make one and am trying to figure out this rotation, but the two ravages in a row has gotten me confused.

Hey Oofalong, great guide! I’ve got a question that may or may not already be covered, but how high should your APM be on a boss, if you have near full uptime?

Bant’s calculations say 47.8 to 48.1 APM is required. That said, I’ve struggled to keep around 47.2 up; not sure how some people get such high APM .

Actually, just finished a 1.5 mil parse where I managed to keep up close to 49 APM, using a lot of fillers, which took a toll on the DPS unfortunately

I think APM on a particular boss (even a tank & spank) is too complex of a metric. Further, APM obscures alot of what’s going on as it counts every click of the button. Thus, just by using Force Camo, Cloak of Pain, Saber Ward & Undying Rage on CD will boost your APM by ~5 (or more depending on length of fight). The Bant’s APM calculation is probably the best target ~48 as it only includes attacks and their corresponding offensive CDs. In other words, it only covers the rotation.

Right, cheers. It’s just that I’ve been doing a lot lower APM than suggested, but still doing decent dps in non-optimized gear. Might have something to do with my latency though. I’ll keep practicing, I guess. Thanks for the guide again, it’s an amazing resource and a terrific help.

Hey, Oofalong! Ty for u guide i love it!
But i still can’t understand how i can move from opener to core rotation if last ability in opener isn’t annihilate 🙁 can u explaint it please?

Ok, I am probably doing something wrong, but even letting ravage go the full cast I still have to wait about 0.3 to 0.5 seconds before I can hit deadly saber on cool down. This happens even with using berserk after force rend. *Disclaimer* This is on a op target dummy as I want to have the rotation well in hand before going into a fight.

I’m not sure exactly what you mean by this. Still, since its off the GCD and since we tend to only press a single button at a time, Deadly Saber tends to be delayed a bit in our rotation. One thing that I have often thought about, but never done was changing my keybindings. Specifically, I use a Naga and all of my attacks on our it, including Deadly Saber. I have thought about moving Deadly Saber off my house. In effect, my right hand would use on-GCD attacks while the left is off-GCD abilities.

does anyone know what armor that is on the picture before you click on the article? I want to know because, it looks like the Tionese gear for levels 50 that Bioware removed/the last armor for the jug in the trailer.
also does anyone know if this the only armor that looks like the tionese gear or is this another armor set?
I would really appreciate if someone told me, thanks!

What is a good number to be parsing at? I am in a mix of 216 and 220s, with 208 ear and implants and am parsing just over 6k. I only have my 4 set bonus as well. Is this a good number for 4.0?

we should be aiming at 10% alacrity or is it too much?? cause thats where im at with 216 gear.. actually 9.39 with 900 alacrity, and only 30% crit chance buffed, 575… but accuracy is correct

Can we get some actual recommended numbers for Accuracy, Crit and alacrity? Now that we can see them, I hate doing the math to figure out the percentages 🙂 Thanks

Hi Oofalong,

This is a very good guide for annihilation/watchman spec. Nice information on the new stat budget for this spec, etc.

I came up with an alternate rotation for this spec which is easier to remember and execute as it rotates around 2 major cool downs (Force Rend+Deadly Saber and Annihilate+Rupture). What may appear a bit weird is that smash is an integral part of my rotation so that overload saber 2nd stack ticks twice.
Opener – Charge+DS, Rend, Battering Assault, Annihilate (2 stacks of DS), Smash(2nd tick of DS), Rupture (3rd stack of DS)

From then on, Pair Annihilate+Rupture (always) and Rend+Deadly Saber (always). Smash after the 2nd stack of DS is applied. Berserk while applying 3rd stack of DS. Also, 1 stack applied with Slash or Pulverize proced DST can be followed by Ravage for the extra tick of DS as Ravage applies 2nd Stack at the start and 3rd stack at the end of channel.

I am in mostly 216 gear (some 220 and awful 216 implants, too bad they are harder to get now) and mostly pvp and this rotation is easy to execute in a dynamic fight. Perhaps this will have some utility in pve too.

2 sample parses are as follows – – 6258 dps -> This one has smash as a part of rotation – 6178 dps -> This one doesn’t use smash. Notice the drop of dps value of Deadly Saber due to 2nd stack not used.

Once again thanks for your work on the guide. Hope to hear your thoughts on this.

I have a question about Berserk timing. You say “You should aim to use Berserk right after Force Rend”. I can see getting all the Force Rend ticks in the 10s damage boost is nice (although I guess I should use Berserk just before Force Rend for that, not just after), but is it worth delaying Berserk significantly for this, potentially wasting fury stacks?

That is the time when you are about to gain three stacks of deadly saber on target. You pop berserk then to max deadly saber ticks instead of when it is only at 1 or 2 stacks which is a dps loss.

Ah ok, so it doesn’t really have anything to do with Force Rend, that just happens to always be ~6 sec after deadly saber in the ideal rotation. Thanks for the clarification, useful to know when DS gets out of sync for any reason (like me slacking)

One other remark, I’ve been running some numbers on the abilities, and it seems your list of damage done per activation is off a bit. Not that this changes anything about the rotation, but it underestimates Force Rend a bit. I got the following from a top parsely log (including clipped dots by combat end), my own logs show the same distribution:

Deadly saber 15243 dmg/activation
Ravage 14306 dmg/activation
Annihilate 11947 dmg/activation
Force Rend 10016 dmg/activation
Rupture 9973 dmg/activation
Vicious Throw 8820 dmg/activation
Dual Saber 8050 dmg/activation
Vicious Slash 5126 dmg/activation
Battering 3074 dmg/activation


Do you plan to update this for 4.1? Gearing will be different because of extra crit from relics and the accuracy stim anyways. Also, I noticed Bant added Force Scream to the rotation he used for his ‘Optimal Stats for all 24 Disciplines’ post.

blank spaces are fillers. battering assault, vicious slash, vicious assault and vicious throw(in execute part it takes highest priority). You need to choose which to use based on what amount of rage you have in exact moment. low on rage? battering assault. battering assault on CD? vicious assault. rage almost maxed? vicious slash(vicous throw in execute phase, check if rage ok first)

Hey, oofalong, I have question about rotation. I have feeling that what you shown here is just “dummy parsing rotation” i like idea of having everything on CD etc, but I dont get how should i proceed in situation like this: lets say, Underlurker, i am in the middle of lfor example cycle 2, and comes the moment to hide behind rocks. I hide, boss does his attack and now comes the moment of question. how to proceed with rotation from there? start it from opener? it ruins what i build in 1st opener(annihilator etc) Continue? my cd timers are aligned totally different in the moment.
Downtimes are, where I get confused what do do. If its in guide, i didnt notice it. Thanks in advance.
PS If anyone here knows answer to question, dont be shy and help brother-marauder-to-be 😀

Im not understanding the back to back RAVAGE, when i use it, it is unavailabe for a second go….obviously im the one likely not understanding. Can you clarify how i do this on the opening rotation?

When do you pop the Frenzy or bezerk during these rotations? Should Cloack of Pain and Predation always be running while doing your rotations?

Simple: Once your target falls below 30% you gain access to Vicious Throw; this
becomes your highest priority filler (resource permitting). In other
words don’t risk delaying any of the higher priority abilities.

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