SWTOR 5.0 Virulence Sniper PvE Guide by Veldix. Updated for 5.3
Intro to Virulence Sniper
Hi, I’m Veldix/Veldoodle, a nightmare raider who plays mainly on the Harbinger server (5.0 killed all of my alts. FeelsBadMan). I am a member of <Failure> and do a majority of my progression raiding with them. I am a newer member to the nightmare raiding community, raiding only since last February. In 4.0 I cleared all 8-man bosses with Failure and Shadow Council of the Ebon Hawk, all by hopping in Jay’s backpack (thx fam). I sometimes stream on twitch (www.twitch.tv/veldixdps). Feel free to drop by and ask any questions you have there or just comment on this guide.
Aside from the discipline path changes (which is pointless for me to cover in an endgame guide), the following are the only discipline/class changes in 5.0 that have affected virulence:
Toxic Surge – Weakening Blast applies Toxic Surge to the target, which causes X internal damage the next time the target takes damage from your Corrosive Grenade.
Hew has been renamed to Decay
Flash Bang and Maim grant Executioner, allowing your next Takedown within 6 seconds to be used regardless of the target’s remaining health and deal 15% additional damage.
For every target affected beyond the first, Diversion grants a charge of Controlled Chaos, increasing armor penetration by 15% per charge. This effect lasts 8 seconds.
Covered Escape heals you for 10% of your maximum health. Additionally, Evasion now lasts 5 seconds.
When Ballistic Shield is activated you gain a charge of Counteroffensive Safeguards for each enemy inside your Ballistic Shield, up to 4. This effect lasts 20 seconds and each charge increases your damage reduction by 5%. In addition, while inside your Ballistic Shield, you heal for 3% of your maximum health every second and you are immune to being pulled or knocked back.
|New Utility||Removed Utility|
|Stroke of GeniusPassive
Activating Cover Pulse makes the next Snipe or Lethal Shot activate instantly and increases your chance to resist Force and tech attacks by 20% for 6 seconds.
Countermeasures will also purge all movement-impairing effects when activated.
Shatter Shot reduces the movement speed of the target by 50% for 10 seconds. In addition, when Flash Bang ends it leaves behind Flash Powder that reduces the target’s accuracy by 20% for 8 seconds.
Reduces target’s accuracy by 20% for 8 seconds after Flash Bang ends.
Countermeasures will also purge all movement-impairing effects when activated.
|Hold Your GroundPassive
Reduces the cooldowns of Shield Probe and Cover Pulse by 5 seconds, and Escape by 30 seconds. In addition, when you exit cover you gain a Cover Screen that increases your ranged defense by 20% for 6 seconds.
When exiting cover, you increase your ranged defense by 20% for 6 seconds.
You gain 4 charges of Calculated Pursuit upon exiting cover, which
Reduces the cooldown of Imperial Preparation by
While in cover, you heal for
Currently in all 240s except for armorings and relics, and my current stating is:
- 6192 Mastery
- 3285 Power
- 1704 Crit
- 1370 Alacrity
- 733 Accuracy
I am not anywhere near BiS right now and cannot give a definitive gear setup that I will use, so I am recommending following Bant’s theory crafted numbers:
9748+-144 DPS @ 37.7 APM | 8205 Endurance | 6536 Mastery (1xC) | 3694 Power
1719 Critical (5xE, 4xA, 1xC) | 1532 Alacrity (4xE, 7xA) | 743 Accuracy (1xE, 3xA, Stim)
9365+-136 DPS @ 37.6 APM | 7881 Endurance | 6327 Mastery (2xC) | 3506 Power
1648 Critical (7xE) | 1466 Alacrity (2xE, 11xA) | 733 Accuracy (1xE, 3xA, Stim)
9071+-129 DPS @ 37.4 APM | 7741 Endurance | 6259 Mastery (1xA, 1xC) | 3424 Power
1602 Critical (1xE, 12xA, 1xC) | 1400 Alacrity (7xE) | 736 Accuracy (2xE, 1xA, Stim)
8610+-119 DPS @ 37.1 APM | 7440 Endurance | 6128 Mastery (Stim) | 3337 Power
1434 Critical (13xA, 2xC) | 1236 Alacrity (6xE, 1xA) | 760 Accuracy (4xE)
8294+-112 DPS @ 36.9 APM | 7167 Endurance | 5901 Mastery (Stim) | 3183 Power
1417 Critical (1xE, 11xA, 2xC) | 1182 Alacrity (6xE, 1xA) | 735 Accuracy (3xE, 2xA)
There are many utilities that are worth taking, and this section will cover the ones that I think have the most use or could be used in certain situations in operations. I usually spec into a 3/1/2/2 setup.
Abilities and Passives
The 5.0 Virulence rotation is still that same as it was in 4.0 and 3.0:
*Broken down by GCD and NOT ability activated, hence Cull and Series of Shots take up 2 consecutive CGD’s
*Precasts are ideally Orbital Strike > (wait .5 seconds) Lethal Shot (hard casted), but if you cannot get both off (because tanks are evil) just try to precast lethal shot to proc your set bonus.
*Filler should be either Lethal Shot or Rifle Shot/Roll depending on energy.
*Replace Series of Shots with 2x Lethal Shot or Lethals Shot + Roll (if on dummy)
*Lazed Target should be used before all other precasts
*Broken down by GCD and NOT ability activated, hence Cull and Series of Shots take up 2 consecutive GCD’s
*Replace Lethal Shots with Rolls/Rifle Shots when you are low on energy.
Special Note: I delay dots by 1 GCD to get 1 extra tick of weakening blast in in the first row. This is probably very unnecessary and feel free to apply dots in the first two GCD’s instead
This rotation assumes 100% uptime on a boss, which is indeed very possible in a lot of situations, but not all the time. When we do not have 100% uptime, we resort to a priority system:
Keep Corrosive Dart + Corrosive Grenade or their Decay (Hew) effects up
Weakening Blast (Almost always used the GCD before Cull)
Lethal Shot (under Weakening Blast)
Series of Shots (if not under Weakening Blast)
Covered Escape (situational)
You should never delay a higher priority ability except under rare circumstances (such as precasting on the Kell Dragon on Styrak or Kephess 2.0: Kephess Harder).
Special notes on some of these priorities:
2. If you use Weakening Blast in the GCD right before Cull, you can fit the first tick of the following the Cull within the WB window, resulting in an extra boost to damage
6. Series of Shots should be replaced by 2x Lethal Shots if you have excess energy during raid, which often happens if you are double dotting. On a dummy and on a few fights, you can replace it with Lethal Shot + Covered Escape, but it is often going to be more efficient to do this on a 4x Lethal Shot Block instead.
7. Covered escape should only be used if you do not need it to mitigate any damage or quickly move out of something soon.
As far as energy regen abilities like Target Acquired (refunds 15 energy with the set bonus) and Adrenaline Probe (recovers 50 energy), you should generally use them when they are available to use more Lethal Shots and Takedowns. You should hold these if you are coming up on a burn phase, however
Multi-Dotting is a great dps increase when it can be used. It not only increases your DPS but also makes your energy management easier due to dot crits refunding energy. Fights that allow for effective multi-dotting include bosses such as Sword Squadron, Firebrand and Stormcaller, Master and Blaster, Coratanni, Brontes, Council, and a few others. When multi-dotting, the rotation looks like this:
2 target multi-dotting:
3 target multi-dotting (Pretty much exclusive to Dread Council):
You should use all of your normal attacks (like WB, Cull, Lethal Shot, Takedown) on your main target.
You should try to spread your DoTs whenever possible onto targets that actually need to be damaged. For example, DoT spreading from Styrak to Brontes on Council phase 2 you should do, but on dread guards you should not do so (at least on purpose) except to Ciphas on 1st phase. You should be able to replace a Takedown or Lethal Shot in the rotation with Corrosive Grenade to do so, or you could slightly delay Corrosive Grenade if it won’t delay a Cull. Sometimes it works out that you will dot spread without needing to change the rotation at all. Be happy when this happens.
When you have the ability to AoE, you can do massive damage. Your priorities will depend on much health the enemies have/how will die. If they will die relatively quickly, you should just use a Suppressive Fire or Covered Escape if you don’t need it soon. If they will live for a bit, you should
Spread DoTs > Suppressive Fire > Covered Escape > Rifle Shot
Spread your corrosive dart of of your main target with corrosive grenade if possible, otherwise just do corrosive dart > corrosive grenade on a pack of ads to spread. If there are more than 4 enemies and you are taking the new Controlled Chaos utility, you should throw a diversion right before suppressive firing. Sometimes we can precast as well, and if that is the case (like in Corruptor Zero), you should precast Orbital Strike.
Regarding Energy Management
Use snapshot if you will come out of a Cull with high energy (like 95%+) so you don’t cap/stay capped on energy. Try to never go below 60% energy unless you have an energy cooldown to instantly bring it back over.
Lazed Target Use
In general you should use Lazed Target should be used on cooldown. However, you should hold it if you need it for an upcoming burn phase such as on Brontes.
Clipping Your Channels
You can clip your Cull and Series of Shots channels to squeeze out an extra bit of dps. You can clip and 0.0 or 0.1 seconds remaining and still have all 4 hits of each hit. This helps your DPS in two ways: 1) decreases the time it takes to do the same abilities, and 2) helps to make sure you get the first tick of a second cull under Weakening Blast.
Precasting on an in Combat Target
The key place this is important is on Brontes. Since you are already in combat, you can precast your dots on her before she is damageable. I have two precast methods that are dependant on whether I have the energy for orbital strike or if it is off cooldown. My timing for precasting on Brontes is as follows:
(Time Left on Channel / Time into Cast) -because the initial immunity phase is her channeling and when shields are active it is a cast, I am listing both times here.
(7.4 / 2.6) Corrosive Dart
(6.0 / 4.0) Corrosive Grenade
(4.6 / 5.4) Orbital Strike
(2.7 / 7.2) Weakening Blast
(1.3 / 8.6) Lethal Shot (Casted, not instant)
(5.6 / 4.4) Corrosive Dart
(4.2 / 5.8) Corrosive Grenade
(2.8 / 7.2) Weakening Blast
(1.4 / 8.6) Lethal Shot (Casted, not instant)
And from there I go into a Cull and usually a 3x Lethal Shot + Takedown Block.
Playing Virulence In Raid
Virulence is a viable spec on every fight if you can play it right, although it is definitely less ideal on certain fights. This list has been created as a recommendation for when to play each of the sniper specs (subject to nerfs and buffs).
Note: This list is no longer viable due to the class changes in 5.3. Will be redone at a later date.
- Zorn and Toth: Virulence
- Firebrand and Stormcaller: Virulence
- Colonel Vorgath: Virulence
- OG Kephess: Virulence
Terror From Beyond
- Writhing Horror: Virulence
- Dread Guards: Virulence
- Operator IX: Virulence or Marksmanship
- Kephess II: Return of the Meme: Virulence
- Terror from Beyond: Virulence
Scum and Villainy
- Darude, Sandstorm: Engineering
- Titan 6: Any spec works
- Thrasher: Virulence or Marksmanship
- Ops Chief and his Skittles Squad: Marksmanship
- Olok the Shadow: Virulence
- Cartel Warlords: Virulence
- StyrAIDS™: Virulence if NiM, Marksmanship if HM
- Nefra: Virulence
- Draxus: Any spec works
- Grob’thok: Virulence or Engineering
- Corruptor Zero: Any spec works
- Brontes and Mini Kephess: Virulence
- Bestia: Virulence
- Tyransasaurus Rekt: Virulence (or Engineering if you’re feeling gutsy and want to run with the melee like a champ)
- Calphayus: Virulence or Engineering
- Council: Virulence
- Sparky: Virulence
- Bulo: Virulence
- Torque: Marksmanship
- Master and Blaster: Virulence
- Coratanni: Virulence
Temple of Sacrifice
- Malaphar the Savage: Virulence
- Sword Squadron: Virulence
- The Underlurker: ANy spec works
- Revanite Commanders: Marksmanship
- Revan: Virulence
How to Be Great Raider
You can be able to put out fantastic numbers on a dummy and easy bosses, but none of it matters if you can’t execute mechanics. To be a good raider, you need to but mechanics ahead of DPS. The key to being the best is being able to execute mechanics while maintaining great DPS. Learn to be aware of the things that are happening around you and prepare for mechanics in advance. Know when you need to move and be prepared to save a few abilities or pop defensives in advance.
There are two types of “fluff”. The good kind is when Mercs/PT’s use pyro shield or Marauders use cloak of pain and stand in things to add some dps to the boss when healing isn’t an issue. The bad kind is when you damage adds that you never need to damage, like reaches on brontes are the pirates on bulo. Don’t be a bad fluffer.
Being Ahead of the Tanks
Make sure you know where your tanks are tanking the boss. When a tank decides to taunt a boss far away from you when you just activated a Cull, it FeelsBadMan. Make sure you know the tanking pattern that will be used to make sure you have as much uptime as possible.
Also, don’t compare yourself to the logs on parsely for every fight. Your dps is going to be heavily dependant on the group composition for every fight. Lots of fights have AoE potential, and having a group of low AoE potential DPS allows you to get more AoE damage. There are only a few fights where RNG or Group composition will not have a large factor on dps.
Special thanks to people who have vastly helped me improved and learn:
Yolo for his original Virulence guide that I learned from.
Cloake for being the first person to put me on a NiM team.
Tool for providing quality laughs when he said he taught me how to sniper.
Dongo for being an inspiration to be better.
My boy Jay for having the most comfortable backpack in the world.
And everyone in Failure that I run with.