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SWTOR 4.0 Darkness Assassin PvP Guide by Kre’a

SWTOR 4.0 Darkness Assassin PvP guide by Kre’a.[toc]

Introduction to Darkness Assassin

Darkness Assassin is the Tanking Discipline for the Assassin advanced class. Out of the three Tanks available in PvP, Darkness has the highest single target burst as well as the most potential utility in a PvP environment. Your goal as Darkness will be to mitigate as much of your team’s incoming damage as possible and redirect it to yourself. Do you want to actively save your teammates while dealing out some pretty good damage as well? If so, Darkness is the Discipline for you.


  • Single Target DPS: 7
  • AoE Damage: 5
  • Group Utility: 8
  • Difficulty: 8
  • RNG Dependent: Yes
  • Burst: 7
  • Sub 30% Talent or Ability Buffs: Yes

Gearing & Stat Priority

  • Accuracy: 0
  • Alacrity: 0
  • Critical Rating: 903
  • Power: All Secondary stats should be put into Power (Lethal Mod 40B)
  • Defense: 366
  • Shield: 0
  • Absorb: 411
  • Relics: Serendipitous Assault & Devastating Vengeance
  • Set Bonus: 6 Piece Survivor’s Set
  • Charge: Dark Charge
  • Augments: Fortitude Augments (Endurance)

Here is a picture of my stats while in my Tank gear. This is with an Advanced Anodyne Fortitude stim active. This gear is also a mixture of Exemplar and Cynosure gear, about half and half, so keep in mind that with full Exemplar gear your stats will be slightly higher.


Gearing Overview

I want to preface this section by saying, the gearing specifications are the ones that I personally use in Solo Ranked, Group Ranked and Regular Warzones. I have found that this gear gives the best balance between damage mitigation as well as offensive damage output. The gearing stats that I have provided are obtained by using 7 Advanced Discipline Enhancement 40X, 9 Advanced Lethal Mod 40B-X, and 14 Advanced Fortitude Augment 40. The earpiece I use is Exemplar Bulwark Device and the implants in use are Exemplar Bulwark Package. I have chosen to use these implants and earpiece because they give more Endurance than DPS Implants/Earpieces do and they also help bump up your Tank stats just slightly to help with what little damage can be mitigated. DPS Relics help with your damage output, but they are also the only relics that have endurance on them naturally, as the Tanking relics give Mastery instead of Endurance.

I do not put any points into Shield rating because this Discipline has a skill that increases your shield chance by 18% and it has 100% uptime. I would rather use those points to gain more damage. The armorings should all be from the Survivor’s set bonus. The hilt should come from the Juggernaut/Guardian’s tank saber as this hilt has more endurance than the Assassin/Shadow sabers. With 4.0, came an interesting change to Tank PvP sets. There are no longer “High Endurance” versions of the armoring, they are all Versatile Armorings. This means that in order to gain the most endurance possible, it must be done completely through the use of Mods, Enhancements (Includes Implant/Ear), and augments.


Here is a screenshot of this gear set up (DPS tank gear) in a ranked environment pre in patch 3.3, just before 4.0 was released. Notice that I’m still able to perform my job, generating as much protection as possible, while also doing good damage.



As with all Disciplines, there are many viable options for utilities. I am going to provide the utilities that I personally use in Unranked Warzones, Solo Ranked Warzones and Group Ranked Warzones. I have chosen utilities that will give me a good mixture of survivability, group utility, and offensive output.



  • Avoidance – Reduces the cool down of Jolt by 2 seconds, Unbreakable Will by 30 seconds and Force Speed by 5 seconds.
  • Electric Bindings –Overload unbalances its targets, immobilizing them for 5 seconds. Direct damage dealt after 2 seconds ends this effect prematurely.
  • Shapeless Spirit – Take 30% less damage while stunned.

Explanation: Electric bindings is a great peeling tool for the Tanking Discipline. Mental Defense is a good utility to take to reduce damage taken while stunned, since you will be running high endurance DPS gear with very little mitigation. This will help you when you are being Tank tunneled.


  • Emersion – Force Speed grants Emersion, removing all movement-impairing effects and granting immunity to them for the duration.
  • Audacity – Reduces the cooldown of Overload by 2.5 seconds and Recklessness gives 1 extra charge.

Explanation: Emersion is a must have, there is nothing that will be more valuable in this tier of utilities than this one. This will not only break any and all roots/slows but also prevent you from being rooted/slowed for the duration of Force Speed. I take Audacity now because with the set of gear you will be running with, you will want all the DPS you can get as well as the cooldown reduction on your knockback, it will give you great peeling ability as well as a DPS upgrade.


  • Haunted Dreams – If your Whirlwind breaks early from damage, the target is stunned for 2 seconds. In addition, Force Lift/Whirlwind activates instantly.
  • Phasing Phantasm – Phantom Stride can now be used while immobilized and purges movement-impairing effects when used.

Explanation: The most beneficial utility in this tier is Haunted Dreams. It allows you to set up a lot of great plays, especially when used in conjunction with Phase Walk, Phantom Stride and Force Pull. Having Whirlwind as an instant cast is core to the utility of the Darkness Discipline and you are only gimping your utility as a Tank without it. Phasing Phantasm has replaced Shroud of Madness for two reasons. The first reason is because the 4.0 Meta is that of a mobility arms race. With the addition to many gap opening abilities as well as rotational slows/snares, it is very useful to have an additional root break. The second reason is because as Darkness, your Force Shroud has a lower cooldown than the other two Assassin Disciplines due to a passive in your Discipline tree. Because of this, you are less reliant on having an additional Force Shroud attached to your Force Cloak.


Key Abilities

darkcharge Dark Charge – This stance is required to use Guard, as a Tank you should not be in any other stance.
mindcontrol3 Mind Control/Mass Mind Control – Use these abilities always, they should never be available and should always be on cooldown. Taunting reduces the damage your enemies do to your allies by 30% for 6 seconds. Being a good Tank means always taunting the correct targets.
guard Guard – Guarded targets take 5% less damage. As long as you remain within 15 meters of the guarded target, 50% of all incoming damage from enemy players is transferred back to you. This literally halves the damage that your friendly target takes and is the most important ability in your arsenal as a Tank. You should not be only guarding one target. You should be swapping guard based on who is about to take a large amount of damage so that you mitigate as much damage as possible. You do not want to be swapping guard on a target that has already taken a large amount of damage. Your guard swaps should be determined by reading your enemy, recognizing when your enemies’ burst is available and paying constant attention to your enemy’s target. The best Tank in PvP is one who can swap guard before your enemy gets their burst on to their target, so that you can mitigate as much damage as possible. Good Tanks are proactive, not reactive. Do not be one of those Tanks that only guards a Healer and leaves it at that. That is not a good Tank; that is a lazy Tank.
forcepull Force Pull – A simple ability that pulls your target to you. This ability is key to pulling off a multitude of combos. Try not to waste this ability since it has a fairly long cooldown. Using Force Pull on an enemy that is affected by Whirlwind will not break the Whirlwind mezz
whirlwind Whirlwind – This ability is an 8 second mezz. It also stuns for 2 seconds when the mezz is broken by damage when you have the heroic utility, Haunted Dreams
phasewalk3 Phase Walk – This ability is mainly going to be used to get back into the fight, as opposed to the other Disciplines where you use it to escape a fight. Be aware of where your Phase Walk is. Using it improperly will teleport you away from your guarded target and open them up to potentially be heavily bursted down. Only use this ability when your team is safe, or when it will put you at an advantage, as will be described by the combo section of the guide.
phantomstride Phantom Stride – The main use of this ability will be to break roots and slows or to immediately get to a target that your team is planning on bursting down with a coordinated hard swap.

Offensive Abilities

shock Shock – Single target ability that deals medium to very high damage. This ability builds Harnessed Darkness stacks, which cause your Depredating Volts to do 25% more damage per stack, and make Depredating Volts uninterruptable. This ability is also affected by the passive, Energize, which will reset its cooldown and cause it to become an automatic critical hit. In addition, Energized shocks that consume a Recklessness charge will do 50% extra critical damage.
discharge2 Discharge – While in Dark Charge, this ability has a 10 second cool down and functions as a low-medium damage AoE ability. This ability is affected by the Lightning Reflexes passive, which increases the damage of your Discharge by 75% whenever you shield, parry, or deflect an attack. This ability is also affected by your Torment passive, which makes enemies hit by your Discharge to gain the ‘Unsteady’ debuff, reducing their ranged and melee accuracy by 5%.
wither Wither – AoE damaging ability that does moderate damage. All targets hit by this ability are slowed by 30% for 10 seconds. This ability will apply the ‘Weaken’ debuff to your enemy, decreasing all melee and ranged damage that the enemy does by 5% for 45 seconds. This ability also builds Harnessed Darkness stacks. This ability also activates your two piece set bonus, which increases your damage reduction by 2% for 3 seconds after using Wither.
maul Maul – Deals medium damage. This ability is affected by Conspirator’s Cloak passive, which allows you to use Maul while face-to-face with an enemy as well as reducing the force cost of this ability by 50%. Only ever use maul when it is buffed by Conspirator’s Cloak.
thrash Thrash – This is your filler ability. This ability has a 30% chance to proc your Energize passive. This ability will proc your Conspirator’s Cloak passive with a 10 second internal cooldown. This ability is also affected by your Electrify passive, which causes targets hit by this ability to suffer from Trauma, reducing their healing from all sources by 20% for 6 seconds.
lacerate2 Lacerate – Use this as filler instead of Thrash when you can hit at least 2 targets. This ability is affected by all the same passives as Thrash. This ability does 15% more damage on targets debuffed by your Discharge’s ‘Unsteady’ debuff.
spike Spike – 2 second hard stun that deals medium damage. You are able to use this ability out of stealth as a Tank, use this ability to interrupt Healer casts or to briefly stun a DPS to relieve pressure from your team.
depredatingvolts Depredating Volts –3 second channeled ability that deals high damage and slows the enemy by 50% for the duration of the channel. This ability replaces Force Lightning. This ability can be channeled while moving. Only ever use this ability with 3 stacks of Harnessed Darkness. The best use of this ability is to line it up with the burst of the DPS on your team, as it deals an extremely large amount of damage and cannot be interrupted or suffer from pushback with at least 1 stack of Harnessed Darkness active.

Defensive Abilities

deflection2 Deflection – As Darkness, you probably don’t have the Dark Stability talent. Without the talent, this is only of any use against a class that deals mainly Melee/Ranged (M/R) damage or a hybrid of M/R damage and Force/Tech (F/T) damage, such as Assassins or Marauders. Pop this when you predict a large amount of white damage coming your way. For example, if you see a sniper casting ambush but you can’t break LoS, or if you see the enemy Deception Sin has no discharge stacks but has a duplicity proc ready. Or if you are falling into the execute range and fear the impending Assassinate, Takedown, or Viscous Throw coming your way. This ability is affected by your 6 piece set bonus, which increases its duration by 3 seconds and reduces its cooldown by 10 seconds.
forceshroud2 Force Shroud – This ability is best used to either a) avoid large amounts of Force/Tech damage or b) avoid Force/Tech based stuns and crowd control. Because of its rather short cooldown, it will more than likely be used before any other DCD. If you can predict when an enemy will stun you, pop this milliseconds beforehand to counter it. The same goes for if you can predict a large Force/Tech based damaging ability coming your way, such as a Powertech’s Energy Burst and/or Thermal Detonator. This ability is affected by your Lightning Recovery passive, which reduces its cooldown by 1 second each time you shield, parry, or deflect an attack.
darkward Dark Ward – This ability gives you 15 charges which increase your shield chance by 15% for 20 seconds. Each time you successfully shield an attack, you lose 1 Dark Ward charge. This ability is affected by your Dark Bastion passive, which reduces its cooldown by 5 seconds, increases the shield chance gained by 3%, totaling 18%, and shielding an attack while Dark Ward is active has a 20% chance to restore a charge and increase its active duration by 1 second. This ability is also affected by Dark Bulwark passive, which changes consumed Dark Ward charges into increased shield absorption at a rate of 1% per charge consumed. In PvP, it is less important to maintain maximum mitigation through proper maintenance of the Dark Bulwark passive but if you can, try to only refresh Dark Ward right before it’s about to fall off to maintain maximum Dark Bulwark charges.
overchargesaber2 Overcharge Saber – This is a good heal that I use after popping my Warzone Adrenal. Note, the self-heal portion of this ability does NOT proc from Force damage. It only procs when your Dark Charge procs and Dark Charge will only proc off of melee damage. This ability is also affected by your Premonition passive, which increases your damage reduction by 25% for the duration of Overcharge Saber.
recklessness Recklessness – This ability is in the Defensive Cooldown section because it is affected by your Shroud of Darkness passive as a Tank, which grants 30% shield absorption for 20 seconds after using Recklessness. I would personally use this ability mainly to coordinate burst on an enemy, but it can be used as a defensive cooldown.
forcecloak2 Force Cloak – Your bread and butter skill. This should be the last ability you use and is your ‘worst case scenario’ ability. Hold on to this for as long as possible. Only use this ability defensively to heal up if you first have taken guard off of your target, so you don’t get pulled back in to combat. With that being said, sometimes it’s better to just guard your teammates until you die instead of trying to cloak out to heal to full. Judge these things on a case by case scenario. If you are trying to break combat to heal to full, use Phase Walk FIRST followed by Force Cloak. This prevents you from being pulled back into combat from AoE taunts or abilities. Doing this will only be possible in circumstances where you are not using your Phase Walk offensively, which will be described in the combo section of the guide.

Rotation and Combos

First and foremost, the most important aspect to successfully Tanking in PvP is to perfect your Guard Swaps and peeling. Keeping your team alive always comes first, doing damage is always secondary to that. Second, with majority of your GCDs being spent on peeling abilities or guard swaps, there is little room for an ‘actual’ structured rotation. With that being said, here is a generic Tank rotation to generate the most DPS and procs as possible in the shortest time frame:

Start from stealth to build 4 stacks of Dark Protection.

Shock > Wither > Discharge > Thrash/Lacerate > Maul > Recklessness + Shock > Depredating Volts > Start back at Shock.

This is a very basic rotation. In practice, your actual rotation will vary depending on what procs you get. For example, sometimes you will reset your Shock by getting an Energize proc after using Thrash/Lacerate. In this case, you will want to use Shock and then go straight into Depredating Volts, pushing your Maul back since it has a long internal cooldown before you can proc Conspirator’s Cloak again (10 second internal cooldown). If you can, try to only use Discharge when it is proc’d and does 75% more damage or if you need to reapply the ‘Unsteady’ debuff to an enemy, otherwise, always use Lacerate in its place, as it puts up a very valuable Trauma debuff on the enemy. Only ever use Maul when it is buffed with Conspirator’s Cloak, as spamming it otherwise will starve you of Force. Darkness is a spec that really lacks a structured rotation and is all about procs. When you consider the fact that a large majority of your GCDs will be spent swapping guard or peeling, your rotation becomes even less important.

Guard Swapping – Guard swapping is the most important aspect of Tanking in a PvP environment. Use all of your tools available to you in order to swap guard efficiently and effectively.

Focus Target – Using this, you can set up a hot key to ‘Acquire Focus Target’s Target’ in order to immediately swap to whoever your Focus Target is and guard them immediately. To get the most out of this, you will want to put the enemy with the highest DPS potential on the enemy team as your Focus Target. In a Team Ranked scenario, more often than not, my Focus Target will be the Healer so that I can use Focus Target Modifier to interrupt the Healer’s heals without ever targeting them. Here is a quick video on Focus Target modifier.


Acquire Target’s Target Keybind – This keybind is good to immediately pick up the target of whoever you have targeted. For example, I target an enemy Marauder. I see his target switch from myself to my teammate. I press the hotkey to acquire his target and immediately swap guard. Now all of the burst that the enemy throws onto that target will be mitigated by 50%.

Acquire Focus Target’s Target – As explained above, this is used to pick up the target of your Focus target, allowing for easy guard swaps.

Focus target Modifier: This is used to use abilities on your focus target, without ever targeting that player. Here is a guide on how to set up and use Focus Target Modifier.



Darkness is known for its wide array of utility and potential combos that can be pulled off to secure a kill. Here are a few:

1) Drop Phase walk into the group > Force Speed away from the fight > Force Pull the enemy Tank> Whirlwind the Tank> Phase Walk back to the fight.

  • This Isolates the enemy Tank and allows your team to burst any target of their choosing since they won’t have access to guard. This combo takes about 3-4 GCDs or 4.5-6 seconds to execute.

2) Electrocute your target > Drop phase walk and Phantom Stride to a group of enemies on one of your team mates > Throw a grenade > Phase Walk back to original target.

  • This keeps your original target CC’d on the spot while peeling for another teammate and incapacitating the enemy. This entire combo can be achieved in only 2 GCDs, or 3 seconds.

3) Run off the edge of tier 2 of a map (Makeb Arena Bridge, Orbital Catwalk) > Force Pull enemy Tank> Whirlwind them > Either Phase Walk back to Tier 2 or Phantom Stride back to an enemy on tier 2.

  • This will once again isolate the Tank and depending on the type of Tank, prevent them from getting back to the fight to guard a target for an extended period of time.

4) Overload a Tank to root them > Force Pull an enemy DPS or Healer away from the Tank> Burst them down.

  • This keeps the Tank rooted for 5 seconds while pulling their guarded target outside of the 15m Guard range, allowing for maximum burst to be achieved on this target while the Tank is rooted and cannot get back into guard range.

These are just a few of the combos that can be pulled off as Darkness Tank. I will upload video demonstrations of how to do these combos later.

About the Author

Hey guys, I’m Kre’a! I’ve mained an Assassin/Shadow for about 3 years now. In season 4,I achieved 2931 ELO, placing me as Rank #2 overall across all advanced classes and Rank #1 for the Shadow/Assassin advanced class. In season 6 I was Rank #3 for the Shadow/Assassin advanced class. You can check me out at

Special thanks – Special thanks to <Clickers> of the Bastion/Harbinger. Te’fia of Harbinger, Aelanis of Shadowlands and everyone on the Assassin/Shadow forum. Also, a special thanks to No’Touchy of Harbinger, check her out at


95 replies on “SWTOR 4.0 Darkness Assassin PvP Guide by Kre’a”

so is stacking endurance, but i mean really, almost 1k crit. its darkness not deception. how about to talk to me like ive done this before.

Endurance is really the only useful pvp tanking stat… and its been like that since launch. 95% of a pvp tank’s mitigation comes from stance/spec/cd’s, and not from gear. Aside from the whole defense not working when stunned thing, there are only a handful of player abilities that are M/R and can even trigger defense in the first place. Crit hits cannot be shielded, and with the abundance of auto-crit abilities and crit-heavy pvp builds, shield plays a very minor role in pvp mitigation.

Defense/shield/absorb don’t have much impact on your ttk, don’t affect your utility, and don’t affect your dmg output. Where he can, he gears for endurance, which does increase your ttk. For the remainder, when given a choice of a stat that does nothing (d/s/a) or a stat that increases his dmg output (crit), why wouldn’t he choose crit?

Basically this ^ Tank stats in PvP are FAR inferior to tank stats in PvE. For that reason, it’s best to largely forgo tank stats for PvP in favor of stats that will actually make an impact on the match.

Hi Krea great guide having a lot of fun/success with it I had one question what are the specific relics your using thanks

Obviously, you have never seen a sage deflect an mm sniper’s ambush with his basic defence chance. And we are talking about tanks here.

I will say again as will every PvP player half decent at this game, Defense is WORTHLESS. if you want to argue about it > I do so enjoy learning the casuals up

Tank stats in PvP do not function as efficiently as they do in a PvE environment. The damage profiles make Defense rating almost worthless, for this reason, you want Power mods, as it’s the only other choice now. As far as the crit rating goes, this is PvP, not PvE, a good tank will be doing good damage and mitigating their team’s damage by guard swapping. With these stats, you will do amazing damage as well as mitigate enough damage that your healer isn’t stressed when healing you. That’s the whole point of tank stats, to mitigate damage and relieve stress on the healer. Tank stats don’t do that very well in a PvP environment, so your only other option is damage. Accuracy doesn’t give you damage, and the only other option is alacrity and crit. Alacrity isn’t useless as a tank, but it’s not an increase in burst dps. That just leaves crit rating, therefore, you stack crit. As far as endurance augs, those have been BiS for PvP tanks since the beginning of the game, if you don’t understand this then I presume that you are new to PvP.

i am very much not new to pvp but ive gotten higher numbers than that with power mods/augments and full tank enhancements. this build looks very odd as someone who has played a year and a half as a shadow tank.

By all means, if you find your method of tanking to be better than mine, then use your own method. I would encourage you to read the part where I specifically state that this is the way that I personally gear and have had success with this method. If your own method is best for you, stick to your own method. But to discredit my entire guide and state that it’s not a tank guide because you don’t agree with what I’ve had success with is a bit ignorant.

Your son? dude how old are you?
Also tried focus target modifier on different keybinds, cursor doesn’t change colour, button doesn’t do anything.

I’m digging your guides dude, is there any chance of you putting up a marauder guide too? With best dps spec you think is in pvp?

Rage Mara is arguably one of the better PvP specs for that class. As far as a guide goes, to my knowledge, there will be others doing a guide for Mara, someone more experienced with the class than myself, so keep a look out for that.

Hey, for more endurance hilt and armoring, look at the juggernaut tank main- and offhand dude! Thanks for the new guide! 3.0+ was awesome with your build too!

Nice short guide, too rare of a pvp guide not to be mentioned !
As a tank shadow main in PvE who constantly swaps to DPS in PvP, I might just give it a try.
I first thought of full tank build with only DPS augments, but yeah, I forgot we got sh*ttons of defense everywhere now, so swapping it the other way around is indeed a clever choice.

Ho, and I noted that indeed, consular/inquisitor gear doesn’t have hilts with more endurance, even in survivor mainhand (which doesn’t make sense), however, war leader (tank guardian/juggernaut) mainhand does have a more endurance heavy hilt in it, and since mastery is common to all classes, I think you should recommend people to take this one instead.

I prefer Deception because of the superior control the spec has, but Darkness would be a very close second. I like Hatred the least of the three as the gameplay doesn’t feel as dynamic as the other two Disciplines.

Thanks a bunch. I have a Shadow I have been playing on the Republic side and have been using Serenity. I thought about giving the tank spec a try. I love the mobility and being able to pull people as well. I know it will play a lot differently…but it sounds fun.

i really do find it funny that he has the credentials that say he is 2nd best at the class in pvp so i kinda got to disagree with you on this one, i think he knows shit you don’t to be honest and if not you get off your ass and write another one explaining why everything he did was wrong and how to make a your “ideal” build prevail

credentials? of what? being a soloq hero when sins got buffed? and I think he doesn’t know shit, mainly because he has close to none tanking experience comapred to other people, fuck, even me, and in addition to that his mentality behind tanks and PvP in general is invalid.

Best sin in game yday on his stream showed his tank spec, gear and augments. I don’t need to tell you I trust that guy more than this soloq hero.

I like how people all get butthurt when someone disagrees.

Just interested, who would that “best sin in game” be?
As a complete noob I would like to see and compare myself before committing to anything

I’ve sin tanked for over a year and I half, you know nothing about me or what I have or haven’t done since I’ve played Swtor. You are a clever troll however 🙂

Disregard his comments, he would rather attempt to shame someone else’s name as opposed to help the community and offer valid suggestions on how the guide could be better. If and when I see concrete proof of suggestions that would improve the guide, I will always be willing to edit it. This is a community driven project and a lot of this information not only has come from myself and my personal experience, but also a large sum of Assassin/Shadow players on the Sin/Shadow sub forum on If this player disagrees and wants to start ‘drama’ for no reason, then let them. Everyone has their own opinion.

Shon/Joker/wonkinj, whatever your name is, since you created a bunch of accounts with the same email/ip. If you think something is not right, feel free to point it out instead of saying it is wrong. If you think are you so good at pvp, why don’t you link your pvp stats on the leaderboards or link your stream/video?

I like how defensive you are. I already pointed out whats wrong. I like the reaction when someone disagrees, do you honestly expect everyone to like evertyhing? Naive.

Whats up with this retarded logic of having to prove something, If I disagree? If you think some1 is a shit singer, go prove you sing better, link me a video. If you think some1 is a shit actor, go prove you act better, link me a video.

Im sorry, but it doesn’t work that way. If you guys are so up ur asses and can’t see obvious flaws of this guide( some of which other guy mentioned before me) or need something that proves my statement, go talk to top tanks/sins: exi, naid, roudy. You won’t get positive reviews, I’m sure of it.

If you want to be taken seriously, list the specifics of what you think is wrong with it. Saying something vague and general as wrong gearing, augments and rotations basically is a cop out move that neither help the author or other readers. If you think something is better, be specific and prove it. That is how things work.

For the player names you mentioned, if they think something is wrong, have them start a discussion with Kre’a.

I’ve seen you mention Roudy in at least 7 different posts across comments as well as the forums. It leads me to believe you either are this person and trying to boost your own name, or you are really infactuated with this person. I’ve also seen you make multiple claims that various things are wrong, all without any proof other than “but Roudy does it Kappa! It must be the right way if he does it!”. Please show mathematical proof of a lower TTK with my set up as well as lower damage output as well as display to me proof of using your own set ups in PvP and I will gladly amend my guide. However since Dulfy has pointed out to me that you have actually be posting as 3 different people and responding to yourself, I’m going to assume you’re no more than a common troll attempting to shame another player to further your own agenda. If that’s your goal, then so be it, continue with whatever agenda that you’re trying to push, effortlessly of course.

Good job K’rea. Your tank must be a machine. Need to try smthn like that with my vanguard (not the same because of passives but I still gonna use 90% of this guide)
Btw don’t listen to those arrogant whiners who are not here to just disagree but also to troll you because you are better then them)

Glad you liked the guide! As far as the person you’re referencing, apparently they’ve made like 3-4 different accounts and have been replying and liking their own comments, therefore I don’t take them seriously at all lol. Pretty desperate imo.

Nice guide. I play something similiar. Before 4.0 depradating Volts gave assassins nice damage boost so I started testing darkness in pvp with dps gear. As you said in pvp mostly you must know on whom to put guard, be flexible using many cc’s and do nice dps. You are not walking ton of bricks like juggs or powertechs. I tried dps tank with them, but didn’t like the result. People can criticise you in the comments for not being “true” tank, but it’s their loss if they don’t understand the point. However, I use different basic/initial rotation nowdays – for more initial burst on single opponent: Phantom Stride > Spike (mostly trying to interrupt skill) > Wither > Shock > Maul (cause of conspirator cloak with p.stride) > Thrash (if shock still on cooldown) >
Recklessness + Shock > Depradating Volts > Discharge + Lacerate (only in crowd) > Start back at Shock.

Hey Kre’a. Thanks for all the PvP guides, they’ve made my sin a beast. Also, my computer is a bit slow and I seem to be having a hard proactively tanking. Any suggestions on how to throw guard around easier?

Focus target, target of target and “target next ally” keybinds are all the most proficient ways of guard swapping. Clicking on the ops frame is a good method as well.

Something not a lot of players realize that I’m gonna point out, if it wasn’t mentioned in the guide.

Now that players are stacking crit like crazy (to like 35%-40%), shield/absorb is next to useless in PvP. Explanation: tl;dr, crit overrides shield, autocrits basically IGNORE shield and hit you even harder now, and that’s all the DPS meta is right now, so your shield is worthless. Defense is also worthless against more than half of the DPS meta.

Full explanation: Crit % interacts with Shield % much like how Accuracy interacts with Defense.
There are two rolls for damage, the hit roll is the first one (accuracy vs. defense, accuracy over 100 subtracts defense on the hit). The crit/absorb roll is the second one (crit vs. absorb, if crit + absorb > 100, then New Absorb = Old Absorb (crit – Old Absorb).). In other words, say you have 60 absorb and the opponent has a 45% chance to crit. You now have 55% absorb, and they have a 45% chance to crit.

Now the more prevalent version: Let’s say you have 55% absorb, but they have 100% chance to crit. That attack is not getting absorbed, prepare to get rekt.

So therefore, tanks could PROBABLY make a difference by stacking defense augs and going full dodge tank. Except you can’t, because even bonus defense does not give you a chance to resist force/tech. So basically, defense is useful against less than half the specs in the game (vigilance, sharpshooter, dirty fighting, combat, gunnery, infiltration, watchman, I think that’s it.). I can still see this being somewhat ok for guardians, but not for shadows and vanguards.

So unless you want to be a marauder/sentinel killer, defense is now completely worthless. So you’re next facet of being useful? Do damage, of course. You have 110% accuracy for free. You still have tankiness from your stance. You still have guard, and taunts, which are all fantastic, and you have abilities that reduce player damage. Why can’t you do that and DPS too?

And of course, I’m sure that people probably can explain this better than me (and more truthfully and relevant than I can). Feel free to comment if I made a mistake with this analysis.

I think you have this wrong. Crit + Shield is the second roll. Crinn posted this on forums awhile ago: “Crit and Shield are on the same RNG roll. Crit does not bypass
shield at all, you just simply can’t have both a crit and a shield occur
at the same time. The myth of crit hurting shield originated from the
fact that when crit%+shield % > 100 the extra shield chance is pushed

So in this case, shield is quite valuable. And if shield is valuable, then absorb is valuable too, since it absorbs a certain amount of the shielded damage.

That’s what I meant by overriding crit though.
Yes, crit doesn’t hurt shield until crit and shield > 100.
But right now we’re in a situation where that’s becoming true.
Scoundrels are a great example. Fully statted up, they get 40 crit chance. They get 45% on any and all of their scrapper abilities for X seconds after they backblast.
Typical shadow shield rating is normally around 65% (or could be). In this situation that I was talking about.

You’re right about my interpreting of the data though. Just because crit has priority over shield whenever they overflow 100% doesn’t mean you should not stack shield. So for this I’m completely wrong: Shield is fine, as long as you don’t stack it over values where it can be negated by crit (you’d have to stack near to 70%).

My sentiments over defense are the same though. I’ll edit the original post.

You are correct that crit only hurts shield when crit+shield > 100%. As Kshrike said below already, don’t forget other abilities such as the scrapper bonus; many specs also have passive % crit bonus to specific key abilities. Even if you take a madness sorc, one of the least crit/burst specs possible, force leech/lightning strike get 5% crit bonus, and dots get 8% crit bonus. Assuming 40% base crit, any shield over 52% is worthless against dots. Now look at marksmanship, autocrit ambush via laze target, and 15% crit bonus to penetrating blasts and takedown, 4% to followthrough, 19% to snipe. Every key ability other than followthrough has a 15%+ crit bonus, which on a base 40% crit chance means any shield over 45% is useless. Next, consider that a sin with base shield (0 rating) is 20% shield chance +18% from dark ward, for 38% shield with 0 rating. That number is rather close to the useful %.

However, there is more to the picture than just mathematical averages. How often in an arena (assuming tank/heal/dps/dps) does the tank die from slow, sustained damage? Almost every time, it is from the enemy team aligning their burst when the healer is cc’d. Aside from the burst abilities themselves often being autocrit, that is when people will also burn their autocrit abilities (e.g. Recklessness, Laze Target, etc.). Thus, while shield does helps with fluff damage in-between burst, it is unlikely to help during the burst itself when it actually matters.

That conclusion essentially states that tanks as class are worthless in pvp. Because for example a rage jugg with dcds up is far more useful. Is that what you mean?

A rage juggernaut doesn’t have healing debuffs.
In fact (IIRC), only tanks have healing debuffs, damage reduction debuffs, guards, and shield, and AoE taunt. All of this is very useful for PvP.
It’s not like the scaling for damage is terrible either. You won’t be doing much, but it still will make the difference in bursting that target down with your group.

One important thing: if you’re trying to cap something, ALWAYS remove your guard
Because if the enemy attacks your friend, and you get guard dmg, it’ll interrupt your cap

I realize there isn’t a rotation ‘per se’, but could you make a rotation based on priority?

I realize that the randomness of procs makes it a bit random. Having a priority to fall back on makes playing a bit easier.

So in order of priority :

1: Shock
2: Wither
3: Discharge (10 sec cd)
4: Thrash/Lacerate
5: Maul (on Proc)
6: Depredating Volts


Where would you put Assasinate?

This just seems/feels like an opener…. But correct me if wrong.

In order of priority:

1. 3 Stack Depredating Volts (Tons of damage)
2. Shock (Builds DV stacks)
3. Wither (Builds DV stacks + AoE slow + Damage debuff)
4. Lacerate/Thrash (Gives trauma debuff, very important)
5. Discharge (Only when proc’d to do 75% more damage)
6. Maul (Only with Conspirator’s cloak)

I would use Assassinate on cooldown if your target is in the execute range. Where it fits in the rotation is dependent on the situation, but if you’re only against one other player I would probably fit it in after wither and before thrash/lacerate.

As the total PvP noob I am, I finally found why PvPing with PvE tank gear sucks xD..thats why Im gonna start using this guide as a basis to learn to PvP on my Sin…Also really sad to see all the people who get butthurt at you stacking End :/

Endurance is the #1 mitigation stat for tanks in PvP. All other stats are secondary to it. This is because Endurance will mitigate all types of damage where as Defense only works on Melee/Ranged damage and Shield/Absorb only works on Force/Tech damage.

Wait, shield/absorb only works on force/tech? Not correct from everything I’ve seen and experimented with (most PvE damage is white damage, also). Can’t shield crits, but any/all damage (including damage taken through guard) can be shielded.

And health pool doesn’t mitigate per se, but I get what you mean.

Assholes and trolls aside, this guide looks pretty solid. I almost want to start sin tanking in PvP now… but I’ll stick to deception for the time being 😛

…using another of your guides, which was also good XD

I highly recommend giving Darkness a try or two. It’s a unique playstyle in that it offers the game play of a DPS while also having the survivability that comes with being a tanking Discipline, which makes you a lethal weapon indeed 🙂

So, what are the advantages to playing a sin tank in pvp versus the other classes? What are the disadvantages? How does a sin survive compared to the other tanks in pvp?
Would be amazing to see a guide that shows the whole picture and not just gear, stats, some random situations, and bang I am a PVP god with my ELO rating.

Hi. I think I’ve stated this in the guide earlier on but maybe I didn’t, but Sin tank is probably slightly better than PT tank now, PT tank is 2nd, and then Jugg tank is 3rd as far as the tanks go. This rating is based on Utility, Defensive CDs and damage. Sin tank advantages are its extreme versatility and supreme utility as well as peeling potential as well as its extremely high single target damage, higher than both of the other tanks by miles. Its disadvantages are its lack of DCDs. In terms of DCDs, it would probably be ranked 2nd, which Jug tank having the #1 spot there and PT tank having the least amount of DCDs since most of their mitigation is just passive.

As far as ‘the whole picture, not just gear, stats, some random situations, and bang I am a PvP god with my ELO rating?” That is the definition of a guide my friend…to show just what you don’t want to see…gear, stats, random situations for the class of the guide you are looking for. To get the bigger picture you will have to play the class yourself and see how it works in practice, a guide is just a starting point. There is little point to go into great detail about powertech tanks or jugg tanks here because this is not the mode of communication to do such things, this is an Assassin tank guide, not an overall tank guide (i.e. also covering powertech and jugg tanks). My ELO is merely a reference to show what I achieved using the stats/gear/setup I detail in the guide, nothing more, nothing less. ELO is more or less worthless anyway beyond achieving tier 1 rewards.

On your closing note, you are in fact a tank at the end of the day, but thinking the way you are is very close minded. If you think I’m using too much of a DPS mindset with this guide in mind, then perhaps this guide isn’t for you, because I explicitly state that this guide is for those who wish to put out optimal DPS as well as tank optimally. You don’t tank optimally by having good mitigation in PvP, you tank optimally by swapping guard and peeling. Resilience is nice, but think of it from the other side friend, you are instead taking a utility that offers 2 things instead of 1. It doesn’t JUST give you a DPS gain, it also reduces the CD of your knockback root, which can be an extremely good peeling utility, especially the root portion as it also works on tanks. PERSONALLY I value the 2.5 second CD reduction on your main peeling tool against Melee DPS + Tanks over the extra Shroud duration. But the beauty of the utility system is that everyone can choose their own and there are no real right or wrong answers, just some utilities are better than others in certain situations. For example, if the enemy team had 2 ranged DPS, I probably would take the shroud increase over the knock back because there is really no use in rooting ranged DPS anyway. I could use it to just root the tank, but that would be extremely situational anyway.

So yea, to address your concerns, this is a Sin guide man, I could go over the other two tanks in detail as well, but the purpose of this guide is to simply get the ball rolling, not to detail how to become an expert in all things tank. You’ll have to just wait for the jugg and PT tank guides to come out to then compare and contrast to see which you would prefer to play and then play in some actual group ranked arenas to get “the bigger picture” that you are looking for. But in short, as I’ve stated, Sin tank is for single target damage + utility, PT tank is taken for it’s supreme AoE damage/cleave potential and it’s passive mitigations + carbonize and jug tank really isn’t taken at all specifically because of it’s extremely poor damage (bioware needs to buff their damage). When they are taken, however, it’s mainly due to a team wanting to run a hard swap comp, but at the same time, a skilled Sin tank can replace a jugg tank in a hard swap comp anyway, so there’s not much reason to play Jugg tank in team ranked.

If you’re talking about solo ranked, I would say the order is PT > Sin > Jugg, but that’s only because of the skill cap required to play Sin tank very well as opposed to PT tank very well. PT tank has an extremely low skill floor and almost anyone can perform to standards to this tank. Sin tank’s skill floor is a bit higher to play it on an “average” level, and the ceiling is even higher to play it proficiently, whereas a PT tank has a lower skill ceiling than a Sin tank because there isn’t much room for creativity based on the abilities available to you as a PT tank. Jugg tank is the worst for solo queue simply because of it’s poor damage, it’s utility being very situational in that it requires good team coordination and it’s supreme DCDs can be completely ignored by just CC’ing the tank.

As far as sturdiness goes, Jugg tank is the most sturdy, followed by PT tank, and then Sin tank, however Jugg tank will also be the fist to die to a Tank tunnel (the irony), followed by Sin tank and then PT tank.

I’m not sure what else I can give you that you are looking for as far as ‘the whole picture’ goes. If there’s anything that I haven’t covered here that you are still interested in, let me know. Thanks as always for the constructive feedback, it’s always appreciated.

Edit: Btw, the main selling point of why you would bring a sin tank over the others is Damage and Utility, not damage and survivability. If you wanted damage and survivability you would take a PT tank instead 🙂

Thank you very much kind sir! This should have been part of your guide because it is valuable information.
Hats off!

I don’t see this asked or answered anywhere, so I feel like an idiot because I assume that everyone must know or the answer must be obvious, but where do the enhancements and mods come from? Other classes gear? I’m not finding it on any of them, maybe I’m not looking in the right place.

Hi Kre’a,
Thanks for your hard work on this guide. I really love the fact that a lot of the prominent players in the PvP community are making such comprehensive guides and sharing their wealth of knowledge! Much appreciated!

Kre’a – I’m a fairly good pve tank but not so pvp. I have a hard time with guard swapping and my protection scores are pathetic. How do you determine when you need to guard swap? Do you primarily use target of target? I’m embarrassed that I can’t seem to get this right.

Obviously I am not krea, but I do a fair bit of PvP tanking. You try to activly keep guard on people taking damage, obviously. In arenas, a good thing to do (imo atleast) is either focus target, keep an eye on, or just tunnel the enemy teams highest burst dps, and swap guard every time he swaps target.

In 8v8s, keep a general eye on who most of the enemy seems to be attacking, swapping guard accordingly, while keeping a priority list so if many are in trouble guard healers first, then ranged dps then anyone else.

I have aquire target’s target keybinded to shift v, and guard to v, so I can just attack some enemy and shift v + v to guard whoever they are attacking. Also, you should always keep an eye on the actual group frame and if you see someone taking damage and your current guarded target seems fine, switch to that someone.

As I said I am not krea, but I hope this helps you or anyone else even a little bit.

PvE taunting makes you NPCs attack you.
PvP taunting debuffs enemy players against everyone except yourself. They can continue attacking your allies, but your taunt makes their attacks a lot less effective. In theory they need to deal with you before they can burst down anyone else.

Thanks! Ever since I read this guide I’ve started paying a bit more attention to taunting and Guarding in PVP, two things I had previously not paid any mind to as most PVP groups I’ve been in are more a collection of individuals than a team.

Hiya Kre’a, thanks for taking the time to make this guide! I been getting into Assassin tanking myself, and been instructed to focus on augmenting absorption along with fort. Is this merely a preference or has absorption become pointless like Defense rating? Wouldn’t mitigation still play a role in critical hits from opponents?

All of your augments should be Fortitude if you want the best possible TTK. Absorption is only as useful as your shield rating, which is high enough given that you have an ability to buff your shield chance as a Sin tank.

I realize this isn’t a Jugg/Guardian thread, but with your expertise on tanking, maybe you could answer my question anyways, based on experiences playing with/against Jugg/Guardian tanks.

What is their stat priority? Or if you don’t know, what would you prefer one tanking for you to stat into? Or while playing against one, what do you notice being the most effective?

I’m cool with speculation too.

You could use 1-2% as it will in fact lower the cooldown of *some* but not all of your DCDs, but I wouldn’t recommend going beyond that 1-2%.

I tried going in your footsteps with my build, but whatever I do, I end up having ca 300 endurance less than you, and that is with stim and full exemplar. Not sure what am i missing…

Where do you get Advanced Discipline Enhancement 40X from? Not of the enhancements on the PvP gear seem to match that one and I can’t see it available on the GTN anywhere.

Just wondering if the lethality operative is the achilles heel class that has a massive upper hand on the darkness ssin. In my engagements I’ve found they are able to slow me down while doing massive damage. What am I doing wrong?

There’s nothing you really CAN do against the CC portion I’m afraid- sin is super vulnerable to slows. Take Emersion to purge it whenever you use it, and shroud as soon as they put both dots on you to kill their opening burst. No sane person takes lethality over concealment in ranked, however, so it’s likely only an issue you will ever face in regs.

PvP is not the same without you! I miss you and your witty banter. I hope you doing good and I am tryin to tank on my sin with your helpful hints maybe I can be just as good as I am tankin on my jug/guardian come back and say hi hope all is goin good miss you baby!

Just started using darkness in pvp. My protection numbers always seem to be quite low compared to other tanks. I’m taunting as often as I can. I seem to have issues with guard swapping though as often people are already guarding or being guarded since 5.0

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