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SWTOR 4.0 Marksmanship Sniper PvE Guide by Thrax

SWTOR 4.0 Marksmanship Sniper PvE Guide by Thrax.[toc]

Intro to Marksmanship Sniper

Hello I’m Thrax/Thraxara/Agent_Thrax and I’ve been playing SWTOR at a Nightmare progression level for about 2 years now as a Sniper. I have had the privilege of raiding with some of the best players to ever grace this game and hope my experience and expertise can help you become the best you can! I’ve raided with such guilds as Drop It Like it’s Hoth, Phantøms, Reckoning, Ufrog and Zorz at a Nightmare level. As of 5/11/2015 I have cleared all 4.0 Content with <Phantøms> playing all Sniper specs and keeping up with those Broken PT’s and hopefully you will too after reading this. I sometimes stream our raids on twitch if anyone’s interested, Can expect dank tunes and Nightmare bosses

With the release of 4.0 Marksmanship has gotten a small buff and this only changes 2 abilities in the priority so it is 90% the same rotation. This guide will be oriented towards PvE.

Overall Rating

I will cover 4 areas: DPS, Survivability, Spec Viability in Raids and Rotation Difficulty. Scores are rated from 1-10 followed by a short explanation (1 being the worst & 10 being the best. For Rotation, 1 is the easiest and 10 is hardest).

DPS: 8/10

4.0 Marksmanship is “Single Target Burst” damage and is the most flexible spec in game. You can target swap from “Target A” to “Target B” instantaneously and flawlessly. This makes this spec great for bursting down adds fast then swapping back on to the boss in an instant. Only downside to this spec is that it is quite crit dependent.

Survivability: 10/10

To quote the 3.0 Virulence guide writen by Yolo/Snickerr “To live a Sniper must remain in cover. We have a wide variety of defensive cooldowns to work with such as Shield Probe, Evasion, Covered Escape, Entrench, & Diversion. Shield Probe is used to mitigate moderate damage while Evasion (while in cover) would mitigate massive spikes. One of my favorite things about this class is being able to use Covered Escape at the perfect second to mitigate a high damaging ability 100% (think NiM Dread Guards).” Thanks to 4.0 we have all this TIMES TWO!! Imperial Preparation/Bag of Tricks! Resets the active cooldown on Evasion/Dodge, Countermeasures/Surrender, Shield Probe/Defense Screen, Cover Pulse/Pulse Detonator, Entrench/Hunker Down, and Covered Escape/Hightail It. This ability has a base cooldown of 3 minutes and is off of the Global Cooldown. This makes Snipers basically gods, I’ll talk more about this down below.

Spec Viability in Raids: 9/10 – Class Viability as a whole though is 9/10.

Snipers have always had a reserved spot in most raid groups and with the revival of the “Old Content” this holds true once again with 4.0. The combination of high damage and utilities like Diversion, Covered Escape and especially Ballistic Shield, Snipers are the best ranged DPS to take in most raid encounters (Everyone else re rolled to AP PT anyway it seems #Kappa). This spec is the best for instant, flawless and effective multi target swapping burst. Making it viable (might not always be optimal) for every single Boss Encounter.

Rotation Difficulty: 5/10

The Marksmanship rotation is not complex, it works on a simple priority system and only really gets hard when you start to push energy to the limit to maximize DPS.

4.0 Changes

Here is a list of all the Marksmanship changes from the 4.0 update if you haven’t already read the patch notes.

  • New Passive Skill: Marksman’s Finesse; Snipe grants Marksman’s Finesse, increasing the armour penetration and damage dealt by your next Followthrough by 10%. Stacks up to 2 times.
  • Followthrough is now trained at level 42 (up from 41).
  • Sniper Volley is now trained at level 58 (up from 57).
  • Honed Shots is now trained at level 60 (up from 59).

Abilities and Passives

Useful Passives

energytanks_thumb1 Energy Tanks: Increases maximum energy by 10.
steadyshots_thumb1 Steady Shots: Increases the damage dealt by Snipe, Lethal Shot, Series of Shots, and Penetrating Blasts by 5%.
holdposition_thumb1 Hold Position: While in cover, ranged defense is increased by 20%, you cannot be leaped to or pulled, and you are immune to interrupts and ability activation pushback. In addition, Evasion reduces the damage you take from Force and Tech attacks by 75% while in cover. Very good to note that to obtain the 75% reduction from Evasion you do need to be in cover.
imperialtargeting_thumb1 Imperial Targeting: Increases the range of Overload Shot, Flash Bang, and Distraction to 30 meters, and additionally increases the range of all rifle, probe, and dart attacks by 5 meters. In addition, Corrosive Dart marks its target for 45 seconds. Marked targets take 5% more damage from ranged weapon attacks. This passive makes the Sniper unique. You have 5 extra meter range compared to other classes (35 over 30). On top of all this, Corrosive Dart is now a huge ability for this class. It was important for it to be up at all times whenever possible, but now it is a raid utility providing 5% damage increase from ranged attacks.

Offensive Cooldowns

lazetarget_thumb1 Laze Target: Increased the critical hit chance of your next Ambush/Aimed Shot, Explosive Probe/Sabotage Charge, or Cull/Wounding Shots by 100%. Lasts 20 seconds. (Cooldown: 1 minute). The 6 piece set bonus gives you an extra charge of this making the set bonus a must! This is one of the main offensives for your rotation and should be used on cooldown.
targetacquired_thumb1 Target Acquired: Increases ranged and tech accuracy by 30% and armor penetration by 15% for 10 seconds. The 4 piece set bonus buffs this ability significantly. “Reduces the cooldown of Target Acquired/Illegal Mods by 15 seconds and activating either ability restores 15 Energy instantly”. Another great offensive cooldown. You can either use this as an energy cooldown or a DPS cooldown from my experience.
adrenalineprobe2_thumb1 Adrenaline Probe: Summons a probe that helps you recover 50 energy over 3 seconds. A resource gain cooldown that lets you gradually gain back 50 energy over time. Very good cooldown in a couple of scenarios:A.) Rotation complications that cause energy problems B.) Intensive AoE spamming C.) Burn phases in raid fights aka Going Ham

Defensive Cooldowns

shieldprobe2_thumb1 Shield Probe: Summons a probe that projects a shield around the Agent, absorbing a moderate amount of incoming damage for 10 seconds. Does not break stealth. (Cooldown: 30 seconds)This defensive cooldown is great for mitigating small to moderate incoming damage, regardless of any damage type. Only use this when you can predict miniscule damage, and be very efficient with it.
evasion2_thumb1 Evasion: Increases your chance to dodge melee and ranged attacks by 200% for 3 seconds. Does not break stealth. (Cooldown: 1 minute)With Hold Position, Evasion gains the benefit of mitigating Force and tech attacks by 75%. Therefore, it is imperative that you use it only for massive incoming damage as well as staying in cover for maximum potential.
ballisticshield_thumb1 Ballistic Shield: Deploys a ballistic shield that spans 10 meters around you and reducing the damage taken by allies that remain inside by 20%. Lasts 20 seconds. (Cooldown: 3 minutes// 2 minutes 30 seconds if specced into Deployed Shields)Your raid wide cooldown for your operations group. A very situational, but powerful defensive. You would ideally save this for burn phases where damage gradually takes a toll on your group, and making healers’ lives easier.
entrench_thumb1 Entrench: Entrenches you into cover, becoming immune to all controlling effects. Only grants protection while in cover. Lasts 23 seconds (With Portable Bunker) (Cooldown: 1 minute // 45 seconds if specced into Pillbox Sniper). Entrench is your jack-of-all-trades cooldown with a myriad of utilities to support it. Immune to crowd control, movement-impairing effects, and physics, this cooldown is one of the best defensives a Sniper can have. There are plenty of utilities to list from:a.) Seek Cover: When Entrench ends or you leave cover while Entrench in active, you gain Seek Cover, which increases your movement speed by 50% and grants immunity to movement impairing effects. Lasts 6 seconds.b.) Pillbox Sniper: Reduces the cooldown of Entrench by 15 seconds and Cover Pulse knocks targets back an additional 4 meters.c.) Siege Bunker: Reduces all area effect damage taken by 60% while Entrench is active.
countermeasures_thumb1 Countermeasures: Activates countermeasures, instantly lowering threat by a moderate amount. Your main threat dropping ability. You would want to use it immediately after you perform your MAX DPS Opening Rotation or if you somehow pull threat from your tanks. Really, don’t be a hero and expect to pull threat from tanks. Use it immediately.

Crowd Control and Raid Utilities

coverpulse_thumb1 Cover Pulse: Detonates an emergency charge that knocks all nearby targets back several meters and immobilizes them for 5 seconds. Damage dealt after 2 seconds ends the effect prematurely. Only usable in cover. (Cooldown: 30 seconds). This is your main knockback and can be buffed in the Masterful Utility section with Pillbox Sniper.
debiliate2_thumb1 Debilitate: Deals X energy damage and stuns the target for 4 seconds. Your “hard” CC stun ability (“Hard” means a stun that persists through damage).
flashbang2_thumb1 Flash Bang: Detonates a flash bang that blinds the target for 8 seconds. Damage causes this effect to end prematurely. (Cooldown: 1 minute)Your other CC ability but breaks on damage aka a soft stun..
legshot_thumb1 Leg Shot: Fires a shot that deals X weapon damage and immobilizes the target for 5 seconds. Direct damage dealt after 2 seconds ends the effect prematurely. This can come in useful for keeping adds still.
coveredescape_thumb1 Covered Escape: Roll forward 18 meters, purging movement slowing effects and landing crouched behind cover. While rolling, your chance to dodge attacks is increased by 100%. Your “anti-mechanic ability” which allows you to be invulnerable in a short window of rolling about 1.5s. Examples of this are Rolling the Orbs on Brontes HM/Nightmare, The Lightning Storm on Dread Gaurds Nightmare, The Doom mechanic on Dread Gaurds Nightmare, Kephass’ leap on TFB Nightmare and many more mechanics we can fromage with this ability.
diversion_thumb1 Diversion: Reduces the accuracy by 45% and exposes from cover up to 8 targets within 8 meters for 8 seconds. Cannot be used on Operation bosses. Diversion has been buffed to become an AoE utility skill which is a nice change. In certain raid fights with adds, this is a valued cooldown you need to save to help both yourself and the raid.

Spec Specific Abilities

image Ambush: Casted Damage Ability. Fires a high powered shot that deals X weapon damage (Cooldown 12 seconds). Ambush thanks to 3.0 is a Marksmanship exclusive skill. Pre 3.0, this has been a global skill to use for all three specs. This your highest damaging skill in Marksmanship thanks to Laze Target/Smugglers Luck making Ambush auto crit for a consistent 20k+. Either your 2nd or 3rd highest damaging ability in your optimal rotation depending on crit. Nothing has changed on this skill other than the fact that you will be using it on cooldown.
image Penetrating Blasts: 2s Channelled Ability. Fires a number of blasts that deal X weapon damage and sunder the target for 45 seconds. Sundered targets have their armor rating reduced by 20%. Consumes 20 Energy over the duration of the channel. Shares a cooldown with Series of Shots (Cooldown: 12 seconds). Marksmanship’s buffed Series of Shots replacement. A 2.0 second base cast over the course of 5 shots and an additional Armor Sunder debuff and a 12 second CD makes this skill very lethal, and very critical to our rotation. Either your 2nd or 3rd highest damaging ability in your optimal rotation depending on crit. This skill obviously replaces Series of Shots/Speed Shot.
image Followthrough: Direct Damage ability. Fires a well-controlled follow-up shot at the target that deals X weapon damage. Only usable within the 5 seconds immediately following a Snipe, Ambush, Takedown, or a complete Penetrating Blasts (Cooldown: 9 seconds). This is a powerful filler skill and your 1st or 2nd highest damaging ability in your optimal rotation depending on crit. Thanks to 4.0 this ability got a nice buff from a new passive “New Passive Skill: Marksman’s Finesse Snipe grants Marksman’s Finesse, increasing the armour penetration and damage dealt by your next Followthrough by 10%. Stacks up to 2 times.”
image Sniper Volley: Immediately finishes the cooldown of Penetrating Blasts, increases base energy management rate by 2 per second, and increases Alacrity by 10%. Lasts 15 seconds (Cooldown: 45 seconds). This should be used on cooldown RIGHT after Penetrating Blasts goes on cooldown so you can instantly cast it again to maximize DPS. Will explain this in rotation section.
image Corrosive Dart: Single Target DoT ability. Lasts 18 seconds, deals X internal damage, costs 15 energy and can be applied to multiple targets. In addition, this ability marks its targets for 45 seconds. Marked targets take 5% more damage from ranged attacks.
image Takedown: Direct Damage Execute Ability, which has a cooldown of 12 seconds. Costs 15 energy and deals weapon X damage. This can only be used on targets under 30% HP.
image Snipe: Casted Damage Ability. Costs 15 energy and deals X weapon damage. Charged Burst grants Honed Shots, increasing the critical hit chance and damage done by Charged Burst by 5% for 20 seconds, Stacks up to 3 times. Snipe grants Marksmans’s Finesse, increasing the armour penetration and damage dealt by your next Followthrough by 10%. Stacks up to 2 times.”
image Suppressive Fire: A channeled AoE ability. Costs 35 energy, and deals weapon damage. This ability since the 3.0 update is a key Sniper AoE ability. It is now a viable AoE ability and with the increased 15% Crit Chance and 30% Crit damage from the Marksmanship tree with an additional 25% damage increase from the Utility points this makes this ability insane on multiple targets.

Utility List

I shall only highlight useful ones.


  • Ballistic Dampers: Entering cover grants 3 charges of Ballistic Dampers. Each charge absorbs 30% of the damage dealt by an incoming attack. This effect cannot occur more than once every 1.5 seconds. Ballistic Dampers can only be gained once every 6 seconds. This utility has the best use in PvE by adding another layer of defensives in Hold Position.
  • Snap Shot: Entering cover makes the next Snipe or Lethal Shot activate instantly. This effect cannot occur more than once every 6 seconds This utility is pretty situational. Every six seconds, you have the opportunity to gain an instant Snipe/Lethal Shot which is pretty great if you need to kill of an add or boss quicker in burn phases or If your relics proc and are running out instead of hardcasting and the damaging being at the end of the gcd it starts at the beginning but the gcd still remains the same time which is a common misconception because “it shoots quicker”.
  • Vital Regulators: While in cover, you heal for 1% of your total health every 3 seconds. Only use this if Bioware brake the relics again and make Damage and Healing proc different relics.
  • Imperial Efficiency: Increases the damage dealt by Suppressive Fire by 25%. For any boss encounter with cleave potential aka additions targets, this is the utility to go for.
  • Pulse Screen: Cover Pulse/Pulse Detonator increases your chance to resist Force and tech attacks by 20% for 6 seconds. This is an extremely solid cooldown only down side is it’s RNG based but 6 seconds is long enough and if for some reason it’s not it can also be activated again via Imperial Preparation/Bag of Tricks making this ability even more amazing.


  • Seek Cover: When Entrench ends or you leave cover while Entrench in active, you gain Seek Cover, which increases your movement speed by 50% and grants immunity to movement impairing effects. Lasts 6 seconds. I’ve listed Seek Cover because it has the potential to be useful. For example, if you don’t have a marauder or juggernaut tanks for the transition tentacle phase on Brontes Nightmare this ability is great to dodge the beams.
  • Augmented Shields: Increases the amount of damage absorbed by Shield Probe by 30%.I take this in conjunction with Pillbox Sniper 95% of the time because they are both a must for basically every boss encounter.
  • Pillbox Sniper: Reduces the cooldown of Entrench by 15 seconds and Cover Pulse knocks targets back an additional 4 meters. I take this in conjunction with Augmented Shields 95% of the time because they are both a must for basically every boss encounter.


  • Siege Bunker: Reduces all area effect damage taken by 60% while Entrench is active. I mean not much more I can add to the description of that, It’s just an extremely solid defensive buff and is a must for basically all fights. This is one of the trademark Sniper utilities.
  • Deployed Shields: Reduces all damage taken while in cover by 6% and reduces the cooldown of Ballistic Shield by 30 seconds.This a great defensive passive that allows our Utility to shine again. -30s on the cooldown of Ballistic Shield is great for certain strat’s involving damage mitigation.

Common Builds

Build A.) This is generally for single target based encounters.

Build B.) This is for more AoE oriented encounters.


With 4.0 Crit and Alacrity are extremely valuable stats and this is no different with this spec. If you are unfamiliar with the changes you can read them here

I’m currently using this gearing set up (224 Gear):

  • 5372 Mastery
  • 2931 Power
  • 1236 (2xAug) (2xCrystals) Critical
  • 869 (5xAug) Alacrity
  • 679 (7xAug & 1 Enhancement) Accuracy (99.95%)
  • 6/6 Field Tech’s Set Bonus (Now the only Sniper Set Bonus, only negative 4.0 Sniper change)
  • Relics: Serendipitous Assault and Focused Retribution.

In my personal opinion 99.95% is more DPS but you can remove a Crit/Alacrity piece and add 1 more Accuracy enhancement and take out 2-3 Augments to be at 100.10%-ish if you prefer it.


Marksmanship in 4.0 is similar to its 3.0 rotation apart from 2 slight changes in the rotation. This being Laze Target Ambush > all, and Snipe > Snipe > 20% buffed Followthrough.

But there are a couple of things to keep in mind;

  • Ambush, Penetrating Blasts and Takedown should be used on cooldown, priority permitting of course.
  • Ambush should 100% be used with 2 stacks of Zeroing Shots, this is given once Snipe hits the target. The only time this does not apply is pre-casting Ambush on a target. Which is really mandatory for this spec as your main strength is burst.

The Opener!

For maximum dps use this as an opener. Not much to say on this just follow this and you will be golden. I would agro/threat drop on Adrenal to give tanks a fighting chance.


Alternate Opener

Sometimes you don’t get the chance to open perfectly on a Boss at the start of the pull or even if you are mid fight and due to mechanics you have to start again on a fresh target or need to swap targets this is what I would use. (FOR THIS EXAMPLE IM ASSUMING IT’S MID PULL AND LAZE TARGET, ADRENAL AND TARGET AQUIRED ARE ON COOLDOWN)


“The Main Rotation”

Once you have completed the opener you now move on to this rotation that doesn’t change until <30% which at that point Takedown replaces unbuffed Followthrough. I would use energy cooldowns such as Adrenaline Probe 40-50, Target Acquired on the filler gcd’s to try to squeeze more DPS if you are using the max DPS rotation or saving things for a burst DPS phase.


On picture/GCD 7 priority is from top to bottom.

Higher DPS Rotation

At points in the rotation you will have high energy or if you are entering a burn phase on a boss encounter and need maximum DPS, I would 100% encourage you to replace Followthrough and Basic Attacks with;

A.) Takedown > Corrosive Dart if they aren’t already on cooldown or the target (Including “Marked Target” debuff).

B.) Snipe if there is nothing else to fill and things are on CD, Triple or even Quad Snipe is 100% viable.

Of course, you’re going to want to use your high energy abilities when you have Target Acquired and Adrenaline Probe up, but be conservative when they are on CD as it can be very tricky to not burn through your energy, again try not to push too hard until energy cooldowns are available.

You can use Laze Target if you spam it Midcast of an Ambush and the auto crit still takes effect because the small travel time window is large enough to consume Laze Target making this a DPS increase as you don’t need to wait until the next Ambush to get auto crit.



Marksmanship is all about using your hardest hitting abilities in the right order to have optimal DPS output. The Priority system is as follows (Top being the highest priority):

  1. Laze Target + Ambush > Followthrough”
  2. Suppressive Fire on 3+ targets > Corrosive Dart (The target does not the “Marked Target” debuff) > Ambush
  3. “Penetrating Blasts > Followthrough”
  4. “Snipe > Snipe > Followthrough (20% Damage Increased)”
  5. Takedown
  6. Corrosive Dart (The target does have the “Marked Target” debuff)
  7. Followthrough
  8. Snipe > Corrosive Dart (Dart should only be applied to targets that don’t have the “Marked Target” debuff or targets that have over 200k HP for burst scenarios. It is generally better to precast this and just hope you get an 8k+ Snipe which with 3 stacks of Honed Shots is like 2/3 chance.
  9. Rifle Shot

Parse Analysis

Here you can get a general idea of what your highest damaging abilities will be on a stationary target with 1.5million HP and decent good crit.

Video Example of Rotation

A general parse not going for anything advanced just a simple rotation. Description of the video explains this more.


Playing Marksmanship in a Raiding Environment

Marksmanship is one of the few specs that can be played on ANY boss fight, though it may not always be optimal it’s always an option. The fact that target swapping is instantaneously seamless adds an invaluable quality to Marksmanship where on some fights it’s simply perfect. Take Brontes Nightmare as an example, this fight is constant target swapping with an emphasis on bursting down things as quickly as possible (Fingers, Tentacles, the b0ss, Kephass and the Hands) Marksmanship with the exception of AP PT’s is the spec for single to fights with a similar philosophy.

Use defensive cooldowns efficiently and effectively, Research certain fights/encounters and look for where damage is coming from and use your cooldowns accordingly.

Talk to the raid leader/tanks about when and where the boss/adds will be for maximum DPS it’s essential to always precast whenever you can and a greater understanding of the fight as a whole is always nice to have.

Don’t needlessly dps meter pad (Inflating your DPS by cleaving adds when you should be hitting boss…ect). I see people do this all the time and it annoys me because it mostly results in a wipe or them getting agro and dying. Don’t be that guy “pls m8, pls”.

Suppressive Fire is great but don’t go overboard with it. I myself have done this on many a boss and completely shrekt my energy and had to rifle shot for 10s to get it back up. You can get away with 1 fully casted Supressive First without much of an energy hit but if you want to use multiple you need an energy cooldown such as Adrenaline Probe or Target Aquired.

This is a general Sniper rule but use your Raid Shield as much as you can as it’s free damage reduction to EVERYONE. Obviously there is some phases where you need to save it for example final burn on Brontes Nightmare but on this fight you can use it to reduce damage on the raid (This helps the healers heal the tank more as he gets rekt) at the 100-50 Kephass phase.

Bosses You can safely play this spec on.

(Where this spec out performs the others)

  • EV HM; All.
  • KP HM; All.
  • EC NiM; Zorn and Toth (If you don’t want to Engi because of the reflect), Firebrand and Stormcaller (If you don’t want to Engi or adds are taking too long), Minefield Boss and Kephass.
  • TFB NiM; Dread Guards (Virulence is strong here too), Operator XI (If your group lacks burst), Kephass and the TFB.
  • S&V NiM; Thrasher, Ops Chief, Olok, Warlords and Styrak.
  • DF NiM; (Can be played on every fight) Brontes most importantly.
  • DP NiM; Bestia (If you don’t want to Engi), Calphayus and Raptus.
  • Rav HM ; Torque.
  • ToS HM; Underlurker and Revanite Commanders.

Here you can see me playing Marksmanship on Brontes Nightmare. Things you might notice about what I do;

Pre-cast Orbital and Ambush as much as possible, always do this when you can more DPS!,

Swap fast and efficiently; Good positioning and raid awareness,

Use defensive cooldowns wisely,

Save my offensive cooldowns for phases that matter since I already know we are going to make it to last phase. No point in trying to top the meters on 100%-50% Phase and we wipe to the Explosive Droids because I didn’t have Laze Target or Sniper Volley off cooldown.

To pre cast maximum DPS to Brontes as the shield goes down on final phase use this (Make sure she has the trauma debuff to reduce her healing as this lowers her total HP via reduced healing):

@ 6 seconds on the cast

OS > Pyro Grenade > Corrosive Dart > Ambush + Laze Target + Adrenal

At final burn phase when we push the first hand you can see me precast on the boss but it’s what I do after it you should really watch is always, ALWAYS roll out the shield because Covered Escape (Roll) gets a buff in the Marksmanship tree to give you a 3s Entrench. It means you A.) Don’t get thrown to Africa B.) More uptime on actual Entrench and C.) Damage mitigation without wasting your more powerful ones that you should really keep for <20% burn. Plus it looks dank AF.


(For the record I still could of had higher DPS, Didn’t really want to go overboard because I knew we would be hitting final phase every pull. But there is always room for improvement!)

Closing Words

I would like to thank;

Dulfy for hosting my guide and being helpful in setting it up :),

Would like to thank all “my m9s and m10s” that I’ve had the pleasure to talk and to play with over the last 2 years via Twitch and Ingame Phantøms, Zorz, Severity, Death and Taxes, Hates You, Drop it Like It’s Hoth <3, RIP, NGE, and Failure. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Special Thanks to Yolo/Snickerr and Shulk who had some of the ability names and descriptions already written out and for being quality memers.

Special thanks to Winkso because I made him reroll to play MM and he actually was close on meters so he made me play good, he was a solid Lad #neva4ghettiRestInSpaghetti.

Only thing I can really add more is:

1.) don’t stand in red

2.) press 1-2-3-4-5

3.) $£$ Profit $£$

If you have any questions I’ll try to answer them below but I’m quite busy, I’ll try my best <3

Note: I uninstalled as of 06/12/2015 so not up to date on changes.

129 replies on “SWTOR 4.0 Marksmanship Sniper PvE Guide by Thrax”

what would you consider as stat priority? I’m almost full 220 decked, with a few 216 armor set pieces. cant make heads or tails of which stat levels i should aim for. i thought of it as mastery>accuracy>power>critical>alacrity. i know I’m wrong on this, so whats the right order to this?

Fair enough, and I do understand, but for beginners it might sound like they should prioritze mastery over crit/alac. For most gear pieces you don’t get that choice anyway, but for augments you do.

Well only real choices are on the enhancements and the augments.
And for that:
1. Accuracy to 685 (within 10 +/-)
2. Crit to 1100-1200 (depending on gear)
3. Alacrity to 700-800 (depending on gear).

Which means augments are split between accuracy, crit, alacrity, in that order.
216 gear = 3 acc enh, 3 acc augs,
220 gear= 2 acc enh, 5 acc augs
224 gear = 2 acc enh/5 acc augs or 1 acc enh 7 acc augs (your choice).

The vendor gear is actually optimized really well in 4.0 (unlike previous cycles), enhancements are same for each tier and for com or tokens.

Head – alacrity
chest – crit
gloves – accuracy
legs – crit
boots – accuracy
mh – crit
oh – accuracy
implant – any
ear – any

Personally I gear as above with exception of putting alacrity in my offhand, and I augment the same as the corresponding enhancement for that piece, except that i always put an accuracy augment on the headpiece.
At 216 gear level will put an accuracy enhancement in the headpiece instead of alacrity, Once i get ahold of 2 220 initiative enh (160 acc each) I will switch to 2 enh 5 aug for accuracy.

Ear and implants are always crit or alacrity, I go with 2 crit 1 alacrity on my sniper. rest of augments are then divvied out to meet the goal of 1100/1200 cirt and 700/800 alacrity.

This way of gearing is useful for any dps class.
As a rule I always put accuracy only on my set bonus pieces (head/chest/gloves/legs/boots/belt/bracers) for the reason that if I’m playing a class that can also heal (or want to send my gear to that class) makes it easier to swap out gear. (dont have to carry around extra imp/ear, and mainhand offhand can be used to both dps or heal on this toon and any other toon that can use it via legacy gear).

nice. thanks everyone for the feedback. i think i know what needs to be done. i wasn’t too far off the mark than i thought i was.

for more survivability in a raid i tend to run Ballistic dampers, Snap Shot, Cover Screen, Vital Regulators, Augmented Shields, Siege Bunker, Deployed Shields. this will let you sit back around 30-35 usually staying out of most attack range of monsters, with most range of monsters being at max 30 meters. and allowing the healer to concentrate on the other raid people more. this is what i run and it does good for survivability of the marks build

I’m probably not following the graphic for it right, but in regards to the main rotation section with the three snipes is that something I should always be doing, or should I be reading it as use snipe and CD if they don’t have the marked debuff and Rifle shot and CD if they do?

I’m wondering now if I have been wrong this whole time, whenever I did my rotation instead of that I just did the two snipes, then fit my Corrosive Dart in between Followthrough and Ambush, since I sometimes found I had roughly half a second before I could use ambush.

If the target already has the marked target debuff then either snipe if you have the energy for 3 snipes in a row or 2 snipes and rifle shot, It the target does not have marked target then double snipe then corrosive dart. Even though the ability casts instantly it still triggers the 1.5s GCD before you can activate another ability so Snipe would take the same time anyway, with this there isn’t really any gaps in the rotation until like 12% on a dummy but you have Takedown and Followthrough to cover for that

I do the same thing snipe>snipe>takedown>filler>ambush (cd/snipe/rifle shot).

If you do 3 snipes in a row without a takedown in between, the 3rd (and 4th) snipe will cost 5 extra energy each. doesnt sound like much but it can quickly wreck your energy management if you do it a couple times in a row.

I also time my corrosive dart to go in the 3-4 gcd around sniper volley depending on when its coming off cd. May not be 100% optimal dps but its easy to remember and helps me keep the marked debuff up consistently.

That buff to followthrough was all it needed. To be honest, I was always surprised it was NOT the highest contributor in damage.

Good stuff, Thrax, might just go ahead and try MM now.
Waiting for your Viru guide, if there’s ever going to be one 😛

between 40-50 energy use adrenaline probe and republic side it’s between 50-60 because they start from 0 energy not 100 like snipers

Hello @disqus_I0XPUSXXUB:disqus im sniper main back in 2013 and recently returned to game , im little confused about gearing, can you elaborate it i mean besides full set 7/7 gear what type of ear/pocket/implant are you using ( that being said your rifle and dagger acc/power or crit/power or alac/power) and if u so kind to write it like im using implant x1 crit/power or im using implant x2 alac/power , im really confused about it. I have enjoyed your guide so much its like flawless to me.Thank you for your help in advance.

The earpiece and implants count as 3 enhancements, so you take which ones you need based on what enhancements you have.

I have all power mods, 5 CRIT pieces, 6 ALACRITY pieces and 1 Accuracy piece (Implants, Ear and Enhancements) Doesn’t really matter where you have the pieces.

For a lazy casual who doesn’t want to swap specs and have to remember where to put powers from different trees after each swap, would you stay in Engineering / Sab or Marksman for general play including Heroic +2 Dailies, weekly Tacticals, and maybe the occasional storymode op?

Markmanship is probably the best all around and you’ll be fine running it through just about anything. I personally also like engineering for dailies or flashpoints because you can Plasma Probe -> Suppressive Fire and pretty much kill most groups of enemies, but I guess it’s up to your opinion

would it not be better to do two snipes the followthrough, then another snipe? doing 3 snipes in a row would just make you loose out on a stack of buffed followthrough

To get 3 stacks of Honed Shots straight away that snipe gives, But normally it’s S > S > FT > S. I’m fairy sure the 3rd snipe doesn’t reset the buff.

Two questions:

1. Could you explain Corrosive Dart priority? I’m not sure if you should keep the DoT up all the time, or only use Corrosive Dart for the Marked Target Debuff.

2. Why do “3x Snipe -> FT -> Ambush” instead of “2x Snipe -> FT -> Snipe -> Ambush”? Isn’t that 3rd Snipe in the first rotation more expensive?

1.) Only use it for the marked target.
2.) To get 3 stacks of Honed Shots straight away that snipe gives, But normally it’s S > S > FT > S.

at 1) sorry but if u want to refresh dot just each 45s why have u put it to refresh for it’s duration (18s) in the main rotation? (where u specific with or without marked)

What do you mean exactly by “press 1-2-3-4-5”?

Snipers/Sharpshooters are the only class I haven’t played yet, but I’m trying to help my girlfriend figure out gearing and rotations compared to 3.0


Ah, thats what I sort of thought but then I thought that maybe you meant you had your keybindings to 1-5 and that was it lol

I remember in 3.0 I said “all they needed to do to make marksman top tier was to buff followthrough”

And now in 4.0, they did exactly that.

Could you elaborate on this?
“until <30% which at that point Takedown replaces unbuffed Followthrough"

So far I just used Takedown as a filler inbetween any ability and a Followthrough. How do you deal with your energy issues if you keep it on CD? When exactly am I supposed to use it and when am I supposed to use the resulting Followthrough?

I watched your video but couldn't find the answers there.

After you Ambush or Penetrating Blasts instead of followthrough you replace UNBUFFED followthrough with takedown so it would look like this; A > TD > PB > FT > S > S > FT > S > A > FT > PB > TD > S > S….

sorry but if you concatenate the opener with normal rotation you let your DoT to fall down for a lot of seconds…don’t you?

Also the rotation, that I’m trying..there is something weird cuz cycling it with itself, you are not applying each 18s your DoT to mantaining your debuff…I’m a bit confused.
Also at the end of the rotation with double Snipe, restarting from the beginning you should have Followtrough, not aimed shot obv so I’m reading it wrong?

yes 45s so we don’t aim to have ~100% uptime of DoT for its damage?

What about my second question?

Thanks, I just started a guns yesterday and want to understand better this discipline.

Snipe does more damage than dart and I’m not sure what you mean you read it from left to right and it continues on the bottom from left to right?

Ok ok, I got it about sniper and DoT refreshing..but since snipe dones’t have a CD we will never refreshing DoT for its damage purpose, don’t we?

Yeah..from left to right and from top to bottom, maing that after second sniper [14th and last icon of the main rotation pic] we start again from the top of it, so with Ambush, right? But if it is so, shouldn’t we use a trickshot between the second snipe and the ambush?

Only refresh it if: Marked Target is falling off or You can’t snipe.
Yes you are correct, I just didn’t have room in the picture to put it and when you do the rotation you will notice the gap if you try to ambush after 2 snipe’s without a Followthourgh/trickshot.

ok thanks! Anyway seems I’m getting it good enough, sometimes anyway seems you can’t do Penetring Blast perfectly at CD but at 1GCD later..I’m doing always the same chain: Ambush chain /// 3 snipes + Ambush chain > Penetratin chain > repeat it’s mechanical. sometimes I have to refresh marked debuff at 1st snipe instead at the 3rd..uhm

I have another question:

1)“Laze Target + Ambush > Followthrough”

2) “Penetrating Blasts > Followthrough”

3) “Snipe > Snipe > Followthrough (20% Damage Increased)”

Ok these are our 3 couple of skills to handle but, which priority has Ambush without Laze Target buff? under snipe? under Penetrating blast or still at 1° priority?


1.) “Laze Target + Ambush > Followthrough”
2.) Suppressive Fire on 3+ targets > Corrosive Dart (The target does not the “Marked Target” debuff) > Ambush
3.) “Penetrating Blasts > Followthrough”
4.) “Snipe > Snipe > Followthrough (20% Damage Increased)”

I clipped the suppressive fire cuz I’m focusing the single target priority but u didint answer the question: “which priority has Ambush without Laze Target buff?”

I realized another thing but anyway it’s not clear..Ambush needs 2 casted Snipes but (and this is the point that i just relized) 4) has “Snipe > Snipe > Followthrough (20% Damage Increased)” and this means automatically that after the followthough there is an Ambush. so if are tellign me that Ambush is a second priority, there is a bug in this system.

Tbh the guide is god some points, it’s not totally clear :<

You are over complicating the whole thing, “the main rotation” is what you use 90% of the time and the only time you change it is when you need to max burst by using the priority you should have 2 stacks of Zeroing Shots from snipe anyway

ah okok..and on swapping target i follow the second opener followign anyway the priority based on which skills I have in cd.

Last thing for now 😛 : So tell me if i got it Followtrough or a Penetrating Round > Followtrough, the Followtroughwith a Takedown and that’s it. I will not use Followthough after the takedown, right?

Thanks! Good. I imagine that you don’t just add but repleace the followtrough with takedown cuz of energy managment or because you screw your rotation and u don’t use your other main abilities at cd?

So do you use Burst Volley on CD? Is it fight-specific? I use it for the most part on CD, except in fights where the burn phase is coming up or a fight like HM Raptus DPS challenge.
Also, where is the best place to use your DoT? I tend to get REAL static in my rotation and completely forget about it, which is a DPS loss, I know.

My rotation: (offensive CD’s on CD) Aimed Shot -> Trickshot -> Penetrating Rounds -> Trickshot -> Charged Burst(x2) -> Trickshot -> Aimed Shot -> Repeat

I use it right after penetrating 90% of the time unless i need to save it for something. Only use the dot to refresh Marked target debuff or if you are moving.

I could be wrong but if you, sup use:

Aimed Shot -> Trickshot -> Penetrating Rounds -> Trickshot -> Charged Burst(x2) -> Trickshot -> Aimed Shot -> Repeat

There is a GCD missing, 1/2 times you have 2 Charged Bursts – 1 GCD – Trick Shot > etc

The 1GCD is used for a 3rd Charged Burst or a Marked debuff refresh.

Thrax, tell me if it’s correct.

Yeah I thinks you do, this is shown even in your guide. One time 3 snipe or 2snipes+DoT, one time 2 snipes etc. they alternate themself.

I never use 3 Charged Bursts in my rotation. As soon as my second Charged Burst is finished, Aimed Shot is either off CD or will be off CD by the time I’m done with Trickshot (i.e., <.5 sec). I don't have a missing GCD, at least the way I'm doing it.

It might actually be before Penetrating, I don’t remember haven’t logged in; in like 2 weeks :p

I mean, no matter where I put the DoT, with the amount of alacrity I have (which is around ~820 or so) I’m going to be delaying Aimed Shot and that deals a lot of damage. Not saying it’s based on my alacrity rating, but I could refresh it every 3rd rotation before Aimed Shot, I suppose.

Actually you are loosing APM if you “wait” 0.5s on Aime shot/penetrating rounds.

Anyway yes, you have 3 spots for charged bursts or 2charged+1GCD 1cycle on 2 of the pattern if you are using your skill at GCD.

It does matter where you put your DoT because it costs like hell in term of energy and you want to refresh it when you aren’t at the limit to drop a “tier” of energy regen.

I have never had a problem with SS in energy. Ever. (Unless you count using sweeping gunfire to clean up adds, thanks Sparky/Lurker/Commanders, etc)
I guess I’ll have to play with my rotation more, or just scrap the whole thing and just play DF. Which I like to do anyway. 🙂

Well since your APM is less it’s normal you don’t have that issue 🙂 but if you try (with 1 instant snipe) , unless you have some down time on your dps cuz of fight mechanics, your energy go down too much

Well if I know it’s a fight that requires a lot of movement (for some reason Lurker is the only one that comes to mind right now, but I know there are others) I usually opt for something besides slinger, because I like to sit in cover and not move the whole fight as slinger.

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In the main rotation, shouldn’t the third snipe in a row be switched with follow through so that you gain 10% damage on the follow through after ambush as well as saving 5 energy on that snipe?

@disqus_I0XPUSXXUB:disqus Statement: Wouldn’t pairing 3 Snipes/Charged burst Tank your energy on the third? I’m a big fan of throwing in the 3rd snipe, but usually after Followthrough/Trickshot… but i hit energy problems when i miss even one through a raid… Even with optimal Numbers and no energy regen CDs. TL;DR why “3x Snipe > FT” and not “2x Snipe > FT > Snipe”

Followup: Are you doing a Virulence/Dirty Fighting guide? 😀

Awesome, thanks for answering my questions Thrax. Btw, Thanks to your Sab rotation, i pulled a 6.3 on a dummy… and i’m still pulling well in operations.
Thank you for putting out these guides. They’ve reinforced my love of this class.
–Jimwest/Jim-West (Harbinger)

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@Thrax: In your experience thus far, Marksmanship beats out Virulence for most raid bosses? I’ve been using Virulence up until now, but I’ve been struggling with staying consistent in my DPS. Hopefully with the swap back to MM and a few tweaks here and there, I can get back to 4k+ and stay there.

I am not Thrax but yeah MM is better pretty much anywhere and by the way, you should be easily hitting 5k in 216 gear.

Not at full 216 yet, and probably need to adjust my stats so they are where they should be. But good to know I can dominate my Op group when I’m done.

SO this may be really noob, but i took a break 6ish months ago when it
was still 3.0, so im not sure about this. Do you still need 110%
accuracy? I’ve seen a few guides on Dulfy with them running 100% max,
yet on the forums and all of my guildies say 110% is still needed. So i
guess im asking why your not running it? your a nightmare level Raider
and missing lowers DPS, so the only reason i could come up with that
explains not having the 110% accuracy would be that you dont need it
anymore. I might be sounding like the biggest noob but if you could
clarify this issue for me i would greatly appreciate it!!!

110% is Tech Accuracy which is always 10% higher than ranged. The 100% referred to here is ranged accuracy since almost all your abilities are ranged.

Ok, a couple of things I will admit about myself up front, i’m not
really a part of any progression group nor have I gotten into
theorycrafting, nor do I claim to be a better sniper than Thrax but i
still think snapshot is the most misunderstood understood utility in the
game. Every sniper/slinger guide I have read has stated that the
misconception with snapshot is that it will lead to a dps increase
because it turns a causted ability into an instant ability, and every
last guide that makes this claim is correct. But then guides try to
shoe horn the idea of taking this utility as a dps increase( they
essentially say snap shot can help finish off add more quickly or help
you to squeeze a snipe/charged burst into a relic window). Having
charged burst/snipe happen at the begining of the GCD or end doesn’t
matter from an actual dps stand point. The reason why a sniper/slinger
should take it is to increase their mobility. Basically if you find your
self in a transition point in a boss fight it is going to force you to
abandon your rotation, marksmanship is still the most immobile spec in
the game, but with snap shot you can still use charged burst/snipe in
these transition phases meaning the transition phases don’t hurt this
spec as much as they could should you be forced to use
quickshot/overload shot or some other instant ability you would be
forced to use should be in a transition phase. That is just my 30 cents

Also what set use for the gear and if there is no set we SHOULD use, then what enhancements, mods, and armoring, also barrels should we use (set = Force Masters, Targeters, ect.) like give the name and I can look for them in the vendor

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

Ok so I’m a sharpshooter GS and looking for opening/rotation. I’m looking on your rotation picture which has only icons and as soon as i see second icon (under laze target) I’m unable to identify it. May be it’s obvious for sniper but unusable for GS. Please clarify.

Sad that you’ve uninstalled, great guide and very understandable manner of writing:) many thaks and ++ to karma:P

Please refer to other guides this might be outdated as I uninstalled 1/2 months after the 4.0 update.
Cheers :)! (Playing League now kill me pls :>

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