5.0 Class Guides SWTOR

SWTOR 5.0 Vigilance Guardian PvE Guide by Rydarus

SWTOR 5.0 Vigilance Guardian PvE Guide written by Rydarus

Hello everybody!

If you wanted the imp guide, dulfy didn’t get around to uploading it. Here it is though,…guide.pdf.html

As far as rotational stuff, never take Freezing Force again, just slash (force push > Slash with the blade storm talent for dummy parses).


Intro to 5.0 Vigilance Guardian


Guide begins here.

Hello! Rydarus here. Once again, I will be writing the guide for the Vigilance Guardian for Knights of the Eternal Throne. This expansion brought several significant changes to the class as we know it, and as such many players will be almost completely relearning the spec. Throughout the guide, I would encourage the reader, whether they have played this spec before or not, to keep an open mind towards new ideas regarding the class.

I’ve designed this guide to adhere to a raid realistic rotation and outlook, as well as to be cognizant of potential future changes to the class. What this means is that the builds and rotations used within the guide may not be fully optimal for say, dummy parsing, but will be designed for maximizing raid realistic damage, as well as minimize pain on the part of the reader if they happen to nerf or buff certain areas of the spec. Without further ado, let’s begin

Overview of Vigilance Guardian

The Vigilance Guardian has changed a lot from it’s 4.0 incarnation. Rather than the melee turret class that was hamstrung by its melee channel but compensated for this limitation with monstrous AoE, the 5.0 vigilance guardian is significantly different. The KOTET Vigilance Guardian is armed with even MORE AoE potential, the flexibility of added mobility and range, and overall versatility. However, it is currently limited by mediocre single target DPS (though it gains about 500-1000 DPS OR MORE on actual bosses due to certain utilities). Regardless, it can be a serviceable, even competitive discipline in the correct hands. Overall, it’s a significantly improved discipline, and has the best playstyle the class has seen in years.

Ratings: Note that these ratings themselves are somewhat arbitrary. They’re more of a way to rank how important each element is to the class on a 1-10 scale, not a comparison to other disciplines in the game. The ratings are based purely on how the spec performs in fights, not against stationary targets.

  • Single Target DPS: 6/10
  • AoE Damage: 10/10
  • Group Utility:3/10
  • Rotation Complexity (ease of understanding): 4/10
  • Rotation Difficulty (execution): 6.5/10
  • RNG Dependency: 2/10
  • Burst: 6/10
  • Execute: 2/10

Gearing and Equipment

Gearing in Eternal Throne has been changed significantly with Galactic Command, so it is no longer realistic to assume players can meet specific mod and enhancement targets while gearing due to the disparity in gear ratings. As such, I will outline rough statistical guidelines. Aside from logistical aspects of gearing, I will now be recommending a gear setup that is markedly different from what is mathematically ideal (Bant’s guide). This is due to the reality that extremely high percentages of alacrity may not be completely optimal in actual boss fights with mechanics. As such, these targets are guidelines, not hard rules.

  • Versatile or Proficient Stim
  • Attack Adrenals
  • Versatile Hilt
  • Versatile Armorings with the Weaponmaster Set Bonus
  • All Lethal Mods (unlettered) for power
  • Reach accuracy cap with Initiative enhancements and accuracy augment 45s. Do not go under 110% accuracy (737 rating) as missing an interrupt in a fight is worse than doing a slightly less amount of dps.
  • Gun for 9-11% alacrity percentage. You CAN go higher but do so at your own risk. Reach this with Quick Savant Enhancements and Alacrity Augments.
  • Gun for ~1700 critical rating. Reach this with Adept Enhancements and Critical Augments.
  • Fill the remaining augment budget with Mastery Augments. In conversations with Bant we reached the conclusion that after a certain point mastery is a superior substitute to alacrity versus crit due to diminishing returns. At 242s with 9% alacrity it’s roughly 3 mastery augments and the mastery stim.

Utility Selection

This section will go over optimal utility selection. I will rate utilities using a 4-star system, with certain utilities changing their usefulness depending on the scenario. Parentheses indicate any situational changes in rating. All of the utilities listed are non PvP utilities, meaning a significant portion of them won’t even appear on the list. This is either because that utility is useless, or specific players might find them useful in situations others may not.

Allocate your utilities in either: 3/2/1/2, 3/3/0/2, 4/2/0/2, or 4/3/0/1

**** Mandatory

*** Useful

** Situationally useful on several fights

* Extremely Situational, not very useful / very useful on one or two fights

Skillful: Take 3-4

Name/Icon Rating When?
Battlefield Commandclip_image002 Mandatory**** Useful on all fights. Basically every fight that matters you’re going to have to leap, reducing the cooldown is really important.
Narrowed Focus
Mandatory**** Useful on all fights. Pretty much every fight has some degree of AoE hitting you.
Trailblazerclip_image006 Mandatory**** Useful on all fights. Anything that buffs your aoe is worth it and even on single target fights there isn’t another utility really worth respeccing for.
Defianceclip_image008 Extremely Situational* Useful when you have a spare slot, but generally you’ll cap out focus so much it won’t be worth it. Even in places where it’s useful you probably won’t take it.

Masterful: Take 2-3

Purifying Sweepclip_image010 Mandatory**** Useful on all fights, applies an extra armor debuff. Even in non AoE fights higher armor debuff uptime is a plus.
Unremittingclip_image012 Situational** (**** on certain fights) A controversial pick, this utility nevertheless does a lot for the specialization, allowing it to cheese certain knockback mechanics. Useful in fights like Revan, Kephess (TFB), Brontes, etc. I personally take it for every fight simply because there’s just not that many amazing utilities in this tier, plus deflecting knockbacks is always nice.
Gather Strengthclip_image014 Situational* (**** on one fight) An essential utility for Underlurker HM, absolute trash for pretty much anything else. Increases your damage dealt when you are slowed.

Masterful: Take 0-1

Peaceful Focus
Situational** (**** on fights with cleansable debuffs) An essential utility for fights like Dread Council or Hateful Entity, this utility allows a Jedi Guardian to self cleanse debuffs using Enure. Only take for select fights.
Through Peace
** (*** on certain fights where other utilities are not superior, use personal discretion.) Take this when not taking other situational utilities / you need to compensate for incoming damage that the healers cannot carry you through. Lowers the cooldown on Focused Defense.

Legendary: Take 1-2

Persistent Chill


Mandatory**** (A REQUIRED pick for rotational reasons) Makes Freezing Force do a substantial amount of damage and allows it to become a single target filler and AoE splash move. Must take.
Daunting Presenceclip_image022 Great*** (**** for any fight with reflectable damage) A very good utility to generally be in, and an AMAZING utility for the fights listed in the REFLECTODEX. See Saber Reflect and REFLECTODEX.
Unyielding Justice
Very Situational*(** for fights with reduced uptime) Really only useful for fights where you get ranged a lot, even then in a situation where you need to Blade Storm from 30 meters, 9 times out of 10 you can leap. Not recommended.


Defensive Abilities

The Vigilance Guardian has a variety of Defensive Cooldowns that serve a multitude of disparate purposes. Each cooldown has uses in many different scenarios. It is the job of a good DPS player to minimize total DTPS to the maximum extent with movement and proper cooldown usage while maintaining as close of an approximation to ideal DPS as possible.

  • Cooldown: 45 seconds
  • Range: 20 meters
Blade Blitz

  • Increases your Defense and Resist chance by 100% and dashes you forward 20 meters, dealing minor damage to everyone in your path.
  • Sends you where your body is facing, not where your camera is facing.
  • Duration:10 seconds
  • Cooldown: 1 minute

  • Increases total health pool by 30% and heals you temporarily for 30%. When the duration of the cooldown is over the health is lost.
  • Increases damage reduction by 15%.
  • Duration: 12 seconds
  • Cooldown: 3 minutes

Blade Turning:

  • Duration: 2 seconds
Saber Ward

  • Increases Melee/Ranged Defense Chance by 50%. In addition, for the first 2 seconds you receive Blade Turning, granting the player immunity to all ranged and melee attacks.
  • Saber Ward also grants a 25% damage reduction to Force and Tech attacks.
  • Duration: 3 seconds
  • Cooldown: 1 minute
  • Damage Cap: 45k

With Daunting Presence

  • Duration: 5 seconds

  • Redirects all single target ranged, force, tech direct damage back at the target, causing you to take no damage and deal a significant amount.
  • Due to Bioware’s incompetence in raid design, Saber Reflect is an integral part of the Guardian’s DPS and mitigation. A crucial part of the guide will be covering what situations are ideal for the utilization of Saber Reflect.
  • Cooldown: 20 seconds
  • Range: 0-30 Meters
  • Targeted to friendlies
  • On the GCD
Guardian Leap

  • Grants your target damage reduction and decreases their threat by a significant amount. Leaps you at the target. DO NOT USE ON THE TANK. Situational.
  • Cooldown: 45 seconds
  • Duration: 15 seconds
Challenging Call

  • Grants the user 60% AoE Damage Reduction and decreases threat by a small amount. Lasts 15 seconds. One of your most useful DCDs and good in a pinch.
  • Application Range: 0-30 meters
  • Effect Range: infinite
  • Targeted to friendlies
  • On the GCD

  • Grants an ally of your choice 5% damage reduction and a 25% reduction to threat generation until either you or the target dies, or you disable it manually. Use at raid leader’s discretion.
  • Lasts 15 seconds
  • Grants 12 stacks
  • 2 minute cooldown

With Through Peace

  • 1 minute 30 second cooldown
Focused Defense

  • Heals you for 12 times on damage taken.
  • Each tick hits for roughly 6.5-10k.
  • Can crit.

Procs and Passive Effects

Before you as the player can understand how to play the class, you must understand a few crucial elements of the class. For a full scope on why the class is played how it is, please examine the skill tree.

clip_image002[6] Force Rush:

  • Grants a 50% critical chance increase to Blade Storm. Stacks twice to a maximum critical chance increase of 100%. Force Rush is generated via Vigilant Thrust, Overhead Slash, Plasma Brand, and Whirling Blade. Key part of your rotation.
clip_image004[6] Zen Strike:

  • Plasma Brand resets the cooldown on Blade Barrage. Key part of your rotation.
clip_image006[6] Keening:

  • Burning effects and Blade Barrage have a 30% chance to enable Whirling Blade to be used for free and at any health level. The buff lasts for 15 seconds and is NOT affected by alacrity, however the internal cooldown is 20 seconds and IS affected by alacrity. Key part of your rotation.
clip_image008[6] Shien Form:

  • Increases your damage dealt by 6% and increases your movement speed by 15%. Also decreases all focus costs by 1. In addition, certain abilities like Whirling Blade and Vigilant Thrust will actually generate one focus due to Shien Form.
clip_image010[6] Burning Storm:

  • Cyclone Slash deals 25% more damage to targets that are burning. This talent is important as it’s a crucial part of your AoE rotation.

Offensive Abilities

The Vigilance Guardian has many abilities that they must become familiar with before the actual rotation can be learned. The below abilities are NOT ordered by priority. All of these abilities are instant. I am assuming 0% alacrity for all cooldowns for the sake of readability, however actual cooldowns will be shorter due to alacrity.

  • Cooldown: 9 seconds
  • Requires: 4 Focus
  • Consumes: 3 Focus
  • Range: 0-4M
Overhead Slash:

  • Does high Melee Kinetic damage with a 6 second Force Elemental DoT that does moderate damage. This DoT effect can be spread by Vigilant Thrust. Generates one stack of Force Rush on activation. Each tick of the DoT effect has a 30 percent to generate Keening. Additionally, with the Weaponmaster’s 6 pc set bonus, Blade Storm grants Overhead Slash a 100% chance to critically hit every minute.
  • Cooldown: 12 seconds
  • Requires: 5 Focus
  • Consumes: 1 Focus
  • Range: 0-4M
Plasma Brand:

  • Does high Force Elemental damage on hit and applies a powerful Force Elemental DoT effect for 12 seconds. This DoT effect can be spread by Vigilant Thrust. Generates one stack of Force Rush on activation. The DoT effect has a 30% chance to proc keening.
  • Cooldown: 9 seconds
  • Requires: 4 Focus
  • Consumes: 3 Focus
  • Range: 0-10M
Blade Storm:

  • Does high Force Energy damage on hit and applies a small Force Elemental DoT effect for 6 seconds. This DoT effect can be spread by Vigilant Thrust. Blade Storm also has a 100% critical chance with two stacks of Force Rush. With the 6pc Weaponmaster Set Bonus, Blade Storm grants Overhead Slash an automatic critical hit once every minute.
clip_image008[8] Normal:

  • Cooldown: 18 seconds
  • Activation Range: 0-4M

With Plasma Brand proper usage

  • Cooldown: 12s
Blade Barrage:

  • Unleashes a flurry of strikes that do moderate Melee Kinetic damage. Plasma Brand resets the cooldown of Blade Barrage. As such, the cooldown of Blade Barrage is directly gated by Plasma Brand.
  • Focus Gain: 1 Focus
  • Cooldown: 9 seconds
  • Target Maximum: 8
  • AOE type: 360 degrees
  • Radius: 5 meters
Vigilant Thrust:

  • Is your primary AoE and part of your single target rotation. It is HIGHLY damaging, doing almost as much damage as Dispatch! Due to Burning Storm, Vigilant Thrust can be used to spread your DoT effects to multiple targets. When specced into Purifying Sweep, Vigilant Thrust applies an armor debuff to its victims.
clip_image012[6] General:

  • Range: 0-30M
  • Cooldown: 9 seconds

Without Keening:

  • Requires: 3
  • Consumes: 2

With Keening:

  • Focus Gain: 1 Focus
  • ICD: 20 seconds
  • Duration: 15 seconds
  • Requirements: N/A
Whirling Blade:

  • Hurls your Lightsaber at your target from afar, dealing high Melee Kinetic damage.
  • Requires: 2 Focus
  • Consumes: 1 Focus
  • Duration: 8 seconds
  • Target Maximum: 8
  • AOE type: 360 degrees
  • Radius: 8 meters
Freezing Force:

  • With the mandatory talent Piercing Chill, Freezing Force applies a Force Elemental AoE damage effect for 8 seconds to surrounding targets. High damage filler.
  • Focus Gain: 7 Focus
  • Range: 0-4 meters
  • Cooldown: 12 seconds
Sundering Strike:

  • Your primary focus generator, Sundering Strike also procs your 2pc Weaponmaster Set Bonus, increasing your damage dealt by 2% for 15 seconds. This effect can only occur every 30 seconds.
  • Focus Gain: 6 Focus
  • Cooldown: 45 seconds
  • Off GCD
Combat Focus:

  • Off the GCD, this is a key ability in your arsenal and your main short offensive cooldown. Your only way of generating Focus off the GCD.
  • Focus Gain: 3 Focus
  • Range: 0-30 Meters
  • Cooldown: 30 seconds
Saber Throw:

  • Throws your saber at the target and does mediocre damage. Sparingly used filler when others are not available or you have been ranged.
  • Requires: 3 Focus
  • Consumes: 2 Focus
  • Radius: 5 Meters
  • Target Maximum: 8
  • AoE type: 180 Degrees
Cyclone Slash:

  • An important AoE ability, you cleave everyone in a 180 degrees arc within 5 meters away from you. If any of the cleaved are on fire, they take 25% more damage due to Burning Storm. If specced into Trailblazer, as you should be, it will also do ANOTHER 25% more damage.
  • Requires: 3 Focus
  • Consumes: 2 Focus
  • Range: 0-4 Meters

  • A rarely used filler, only used when you have too much focus, and either Freezing Force’s DoT is already present or won’t be fully utilized by the time the target is dead.
  • Focus Gain: 3 Focus
  • Stuns for 4 seconds
  • Range: 0-10 meters
Force Stasis:

  • Emergency ranged filler. Almost never used. Does some damage.
  • Knockback 10 meters
  • Range: 0-10 meters
Force Push:

  • Emergency ranged filler. Almost never used. Some damage.

Rotation and Priority


Vigilance is not a complex specialization to understand, instead it is about the basics, done well. No Vigilance player is ever going to claim this is the hardest specialization in the world, however playing the specialization effectively requires a good knowledge of the guiding principles of the class. Knowledge is power.

The Vigilance rotation centers around a single common static rotation with slots that allow for the drifting of certain abilities. My opener is specifically designed in order to facilitate an optimal rotation following it. No other opener is technically optimal unless it mimics the ability spacing, because the GCD spacing between the utilization of each ability is what allows the rotation to instantaneously flow, a crucial aspect towards learning the specialization.

Note that if you do not want to open with Saber Throw -> Force Leap, you can also utilize any focus generating ability set that leaves you with 6 focus before you begin the opener in earnest (ex: Sundering Strike -> Freezing Force -> Combat Focus = 6 net focus) However, the actual placement of every ability past Combat Focus is absolutely vital for correct execution of the rotation.

A note on triple dot openers: I am philosophically averse to them, and I do believe that a triple dot opener is not a significant difference, negative or otherwise.


After the opener, you then flow into the main rotation, which can be defined with multiple hard rules in a strict priority system. When done properly, the rotation should have a flow to it, it should feel natural, like art. When taken as a whole, the rotation fits together like the solution to a complex puzzle, a solution that suddenly explains that the puzzle is simple after all.

Single Target Priority

clip_image004[10]clip_image006[10]clip_image008[10]clip_image010[10] 1: Overhead Slash, Plasma Brand, Blade Storm, and Vigilant Thrust ALL on Cooldown ALL the time

  • This is a hard rule, and the key to understanding how to play Vigilance can be summed up with this rule. All of these abilities MUST be used on cooldown the entire time, with no delays. Often for newcomers to the specialization, there is some difficulty wrapping the mind around this concept, but the fact is that it is very possible. If you are correctly performing the opener in that sequence at the proper speed and there are no delays, the rotation will line up so that after the opener none of these core 4 abilities will ever be delayed. The Vigilance Rotation is a 24 GCD rotation, or 36 seconds. Should you execute it correctly, you should have 3 GCDs consumed by Plasma Brand, 4 GCDs each by Overhead Slash, Blade Storm, and Vigilant Thrust. This leaves 9 GCDs for you to carry out the remaining rotational priorities.Of course, in actual boss fights this may not be possible, but for dummy practice to familiarize yourself with the rotation, you must be able to perform this. On actual boss fights, you should try to maintain this rule, but in the event of an interruption, assume the priority within the rule from top to bottom in order to realign the rotation.
  • Every rotation cycle requires 7 focus, though some will consume more or less within the Plasma Brand window. However, the disparity in generation is less than previous expansions due to how Vigilant Thrust can now be used on cooldown, allowing a more stable focus generation. You should learn how to read the little tricks, for example, if you have a Plasma Brand off cooldown and you use it, and Overhead Slash is immediately subsequent, you only need 5 focus to utilize both. However the same cannot be said vice versa. Become familiar with the patterns of how Focus is utilized in the rotation, and how much you need for every scenario.
  • However, I cannot stress this enough: You MUST learn to be able to use all of these core rotational abilities on cooldown. This allows for maximum rotational AoE, maximum single target damage with DoT uptime and Blade Barrage procs, maximum burst, and maximum Force Rush generation and consumption, simultaneously.
clip_image012[8] 2: Blade Barrage

  • While the damage of Blade Barrage may not seem all that amazing, the fact remains that it still is free, and still does damage. As such, it is still a vital part of your rotation. As the cooldown is gated primarily by Plasma Brand, as long as you use it before your next Plasma Brand, you’re fine, so you should move it within your Plasma Brand windows as much as possible.However, UNLIKE in 4.0 and 3.0, Blade Barrage is not worth delaying Plasma Brand for. If Plasma Brand is already off cooldown due to downtime shenanigans, use Plasma Brand first. The exception to this rule is if the downtime is enough that you can apply your full opener. In that case, it is better to apply the full opener and realign the rotation, even if you delay DoTs.
clip_image014[8]clip_image016[8] 3: Whirling Blade (Keening Procced)

  • When Keening procs, it has an ICD of 20 seconds but a duration of 15 seconds. This means that for 15 seconds after it procs Whirling Blade MUST be used. However, it should never delay any of the above abilities, so just use it as long as Whirling Blade does not interfere with the above, with the priority of keening shifting upwards the longer it goes without being used.
clip_image018[6]clip_image020[6]clip_image021 4: Combat Focus + Freezing Force AND/OR Whirling Blow (in Execute)

  • Combat Focus essentially replaces Sundering Strike (see below) when it’s off cooldown, affording you an extra filler slot, and letting you push your resource to a larger degree. You should be using Combat Focus close to on cooldown, as it gives you the extra resource to use one Freezing Force. In general, you should try to pair the two abilities in relative proximity, before the next Sundering StrikeIn execute phase, Whirling Blow is available. Vigilance now has a stronger execute, and you can replace your one Freezing Force with one Whirling Blow. On dummy, this practice is much harder to carry out due to the lack of extra focus generation, so it’s optional but on actual bosses it is fairly feasible. Advanced players with good knowledge of the spec should be able to pair one Freezing Force and one Whirling Blow together in the execute, however be sure that when pairing Combat Focus with Focus consuming abilities that you do not disrupt the primary rotation.
clip_image023 5: Sundering Strike

  • Sundering Strike is your highest priority filler outside of the Combat Focus combination blocks, as it generates the most focus you can possibly generate in a single GCD. Use it close to on cooldown, but not quite. Generally most players will use roughly once every ~13.5 seconds. You can cap focus with this, but generally try to avoid it for maximum DPS. On actual bosses, advanced players can decrease usage of this in favor of other fillers due to increased Focus generation.
clip_image020[7] 6: Freezing Force

  • Due to the Piercing Chill utility, Freezing Force is now a part of the single target rotation. Use it as much as you can without delaying ANYTHING else. A common mistake is overestimating the damage of this ability, it does good damage, but not more than any ability in the core rotation, and as such you should not try to keep the DoT up permanently. Instead, use it when you have excess focus and you know you will not delay anything. BE SURE NOT TO OVERWRITE THE DoT, as doing so will decrease the damage dealt per activation significantly.Your goal when practicing is only to use this ability as necessary. You CAN get higher parses on dummy by spamming it in theory, taking up rotation slots held by vigilant thrust, but this is bad because on an actual boss your resource generation is much higher, giving you more filler slots. On actual bosses, you will be allowed to use Freezing Force more often, since you have significantly more filler slots, while maintaining the base rotation. However until you can perform the rotation and get good numbers on the dummy without spamming Freezing Force, you will not reach your full potential on the boss.
clip_image025 7: Saber Throw

  • A weaker filler, you generally only want to use this a few times in a fight, or when you’re being ranged. Most of the time you won’t use this outside of the opener in an actual boss fight, as Sundering Strike is a better filler.
clip_image021[1] 8: Whirling Blow (Execute)

  • A good filler when Ranged, but on dummy should really only be paired with Combat Focus (see above). On actual bosses, you can sort of fudge it a bit, but the line is not simple, use personal discretion and always follow the above rules before experimenting with stuff like this. Close to the bottom of the priority for a reason.
clip_image027 9: Slash

  • Rarely used, Freezing Force is basically better in every way. However, certain situations may occur where you must use this ability. For example, a target may die before Freezing Force gets its full utilization, and your Whirling Blow might not be off cooldown. In this event, Slash. Alternatively, if you have excess Focus and there’s still a Freezing Force ticking, Slash.

Single Target Rotation

In isolation, the priority system forces you into a rotation that looks like this. The first cycle begins after the initial focus build in the Opener that culminates in 12 focus.

Cycle 1: x2 Overhead Slash

Overhead Slash -> Empty -> Vigilant Thrust -> Empty ->

Blade Storm -> Empty -> Overhead Slash -> Plasma Brand ->

Cycle 2: x2 Vigilant Thrust

Vigilant Thrust -> Empty -> Blade Storm -> Empty ->

Overhead Slash -> Empty -> Vigilant Thrust -> Plasma Brand ->

Cycle 3: x2 Blade Storm

Blade Storm -> Empty -> Overhead Slash -> Empty ->

Vigilant Thrust -> Empty -> Blade Storm -> Plasma Brand ->

All the “Empty” slots can be filled by any of the abilities that are not in the 1st priority bracket.

One Blade Barrage has to be in every single cycle, leaving 2 spare GCDs in every cycle. These GCDs could be taken up by the non core abilities that are outlined in the priority, Whirling Blade when it procs, Freezing Force if you have enough resource, a Combat Focus + Freezing Force replacing a Sundering Strike, maybe even a Saber Throw. However each block has an identical amount of potential openings for drifting abilities, upon which is up to the user. If you follow the opener and priority to the letter, everything naturally falls together like this. You will always know what block you are in because the first ability after Plasma Brand will tell you which Cycle you are in. On a boss, downtime may make it so that you are not in any of these cycles, but having uptime will naturally realign the rotation so that you follow one of these three cycles. Study these cycles well, as a complete understanding of the mechanics of each cycle leads to a complete understanding of Vigilance.

A note on alternative rotations: Advanced players will be able to fool around with the priority of abilities in Empty. Some will use Freezing Force instead of Blade Barrage. As long as the spacing of the abilities outside of empty looks like this, one can technically modify all other priorities. This should only be done by advanced players however.

AoE DPS (3+)

AOE in Vigilance is fairly simplistic, and contrary to popular belief, is NOT based on a priority system, but a set rotation of sorts that endlessly repeats. This system is designed to swap all damage towards AOE. The principle behind this is to increase your Cyclone Slash damage using your Burning DoTs, and keeping at least one DoT on all encountered enemies at once.

As Plasma Brand is your longest DoT, you use Plasma Brand to maintain the Cyclone Slash / Sweeping Slash Damage Buff. Alternate with Plasma Brand with Overhead Slash to maintain the debuff for as long as possible, using Vigilant Thrust on cooldown, and Cyclone spam for days. It’s important NOT to delay Vigilant Thrust for Plasma Brand, as this lowers your aoe, this is why you cycle Overhead Slash in to cover the alternate DoT cycle, because Vigilant Thrust does not actually refresh DoTs, only spreads them if they are not already present on ancillary targets.

While doing this, you will then cycle in Freezing Force as the DoT duration lasts, especially in scenarios where your Cyclone cannot cleave everyone, as Freezing Force has a larger radius. My favorite place to use Freezing Force is when my resource hits the 2 mark, as it’s enough to use Freezing Force but not enough to use Cyclone Slash.

On 8 targets, doing a rotation like this will allow you to hit upwards of 40k AOE DPS.

Parsing and Analysis

Parsing is an important but highly overrated tool for determining DPS. Don’t use it as an epeen barometer. It means very little when it comes to DPS on bosses. What it DOES do is help develop a form of muscle memory. In order to fully master a rotation, you must first figure out every possible way to mess it up on the dummy.

This means you go through with every parse you have regardless of mistakes to learn your rotation inside out. Vigilance is an easy to learn but hard to master spec, and the rotation SEEMS easy to pick up and understand but a single mistake can alter the entire flow of the spec.

When looking at your parse, you should always notice a few things:

  • How close are my top priority abilities, Overhead Slash, Plasma Brand, Blade Storm, and Vigilant Thrust, to their minimum cooldowns?
  • When looking at the order of the abilities, are Overhead Slash, Blade Storm, and Vigilant Thrust always spaced the same distance apart? Did I ever delay any one of them and alter the timing? How did I fix it? How can I avoid it?
  • How many times did I Whirling Blade and Freezing Force?

Here is a sample parse of mine, following the general precepts of this guide (the first few GCDs are different but from Overhead Slash on it follows the opener of the guide).


9074 DPS on 1.5M dummy, Vigilance Guardian (242 Mainhand, 230 armorings, 240 enhancements, 240 mods.)

8873 on 2.5M dummy, Vigilance Guardian (242 Mainhand, 230 armorings, 240 enhancements, 240 mods

Notice the utilization of each ability, and how none are delayed farther than they need to be.

Application to the Boss

“You must unlearn what you have learned.”

– Master Yoda

Now that you’ve filled your mind with the semantics of the rotation in an idealized version of the rotation, you cannot be bound to it. The goal of the rotation in this guide is not to tell you how to play the class, but how to learn the class. The greatest strength of a Vigilance Guardian is that there’s very little that forces us to actually adhere to a true rotation like an IO merc. Instead, the rotation can be resolved and adjusted on the fly in pretty much any scenario.

This does not mean you can spam Strike and be a complete idiot to do amazing numbers, but it does mean that you must become comfortable resuming the rotation from every possible contingency. You must maintain APM and uptime by CONSTANTLY PRESSING BUTTONS. If this means adapting the rotation to create a combination of 3 abilities that you can use from 10 meters in order to do a mechanic, do it. Do not become bound to the rotation, instead use it as a framework that can be deviated from. Be aware of which of the three cycles you have been placed in, or whether you are in one of the three cycles at all.

Your goal on bosses is to stick to the first point in the priority as often as possible, and take advantage of the increased resource generation to utilize your focus consuming fillers, Freezing Force, Whirling Blade, and Slash as much as you can without disrupting the rotation. However without practicing the basic rotation that limits the utilization of filler, you will be incapable of correct execution on the boss.


The REFLECTODEX™ (Saber Reflect Tips and Tricks). Credit to Torvai, Vaidinah, Gyrfalcon, and Daharel for discovering many of these I did not find myself.

Eternity Vault:

  • Annihilation Droid: Stun + Group Cleave
  • Gharj: None
  • Pylons: Ew
  • Infernal Council: Ew
  • Soa: Blue Circles @ Floor 1

Karraga’s Palace:

  • Bonethrasher: None
  • J&S: Unload, direct attacks
  • Foreman Crusher: Red Circles (don’t do it, accuracy debuff)
  • Fire Droid thing: None
  • Karraga: Asscleave Fire, Mouse Droids Exploding, Fire Puddles, BASICALLY ANYTHING FIRE.

Explosive Conflict:

  • Zorn and Toth: All circles, including the red circle, and the following yellow circ le that turns purple. Fearful debuff also is reflectable, but be very careful when doing so.
  • Firebrand and Stormcaller: Double Destruction, attacks from adds, Lightning Pylons
  • Colonel Vorgath: Turrets
  • Kephess: Damage dealt to Trenchcutters is redirected to you if they are under a warrior shield, if you pop saber reflect when the damage is redirected, the damage redirected to you is sent to the warrior himself. You can also damage the walker with Saber Reflect by standing under it WHILE IT IS “IMMUNE.”

Terror from Beyond:

  • Writhing Horror: None
  • The Dread Guard: Doom (try to Blade Blitz instead of reflecting, use reflect as a backup cheese), Heirad’s Force Lightning
  • Operator 9: Nothing important, misc add single target attacks perhaps
  • Kephess the Undying: The red laser, the persistent raidwide AoE in burn phase
  • Terror from Beyond: The slam. Occurs roughly every 10 swipes, count very accurately

Scum and Villainy:

  • Dash’roode: Nothing important
  • Titan 6: Add damage, nothing important
  • Thrasher: Firebug’s AoE mostly
  • Operations Chief: Terminate (if your tank wants you to take it, be sure to pop a second cooldown after, threat can very much be an issue with reflecting Terminate)
  • Olok: Whatever
  • Cartel Warlords: If you get fixated on by Sunder, you can reflect it. You should never get hit by Vilus’ stabbing spree (but it is reflectable), because you have unremitting. Just leap at Vilus every time he moves to stab somebody, it’s a better cheese than Sniper entrench.
  • Styrak: His adds channel a Lightning Attack that is reflectable. In SM (story) and HM (veteran) , reflect that attack. In NiM (master), that reflect is a waste of DPS because your other DPS probably don’t have reflect so it doesn’t actually “speed up” the phase. However, when Styrak’s corporeal form does his lightning AoE and gives everyone the orange debuff, you can reflect your own debuff onto the Styrak boss himself. This actually contributes DPS that speeds up the encounter and is worth doing.


  • Sparky: Brutal Punch, Adds jump
  • Bulo: Scatter Blast, Mass Barrage, Ore Carts, Pirates attacks
  • Torque: Turrets, Fire Device, Shoots Lasers, Torque’s Knockback
  • Master and Blaster: Rain of Pain
  • Coratanni: Basically all of Cora and Ruugar’s attacks, Deck guns, Ruugar’s dots.


  • Malaphar: Spear Throw(red circle)
  • Walkers: None
  • Lurker: None
  • Commanders: Kurse’s Smash
  • Revan: Heave, Saber Overcharge (cleave), HK’s Mines(only if they’re cleansed, ie red circles), Middle Droid’s Attack, Core’s AoE (Essence Shear I believe, doesn’t prevent stacks)

Dread Fortress:

  • Nefra: None
  • Draxus: Subteroth Explosion, Draxus attacks excluding cleave, Guardian’s Thundering Blast, Force Lightning, Guardian’s Cleave
  • Grob’thok: Raidwide Roar
  • Corruptor Zero: Chest Laser, Missile Barrage, Ranged Adds attacks
  • Brontes: Orbs

Dread Palace:

  • Bestia: None
  • Tyrans: Fire at the DOOR, NOT INFERNO
  • Calphayus: None
  • Raptus: Force Execution
  • Council: Burn Phase AoE.

Toborro’s Courtyard:

  • Purple Circle, attacks from adds

Colossal Monolith:

  • Slam (Watch for the breathing animation for when he’s about to slam, with the lightning in his armpits.)
  • Initial tick of Curse (Generates MASSIVE THREAT)

About the Author

f you don’t know who I am, I’m Rydarus. I’ve written the Vigilance and Vengeance guide for Dulfy since mid 2.0. I’ve perfected and tinkered my approach to Vig/Veng under the principles of DoT uptime, and I hope to spread the Way of Uptime to other players.

This guide has and will always be written about how I play this spec. I try to be as close to ideal as I can be, but I will at some point inevitably have minor disagreements on how to play the spec, especially as to whether or not something is actually ideal on a boss and not just for a dummy.

I’m also slow to read the comments section, if you have concerns or want immediate feedback, please post here:

Additionally, if you appreciate the guide, please click my referral link!

I’ve downed all the 8man content in the game pre 4.0, including 10/10 Ravagers and Temple of Sacrifice on tier in 3.0.

In 4.0, I killed 5/5 HM ToS, 5/5 HM Ravagers, 4/5 Nightmare DF, 5/5 Nightmare DP, 5/5 Nightmare TFB, 4/4 NiM EC (Timed Run), and 7/7 NiM SnV, all in 4.0. You can find various kill videos on my Twitch,

In 5.0, I’ve been raiding casually, mostly queing PvP and grinding this stupidass Galactic Command System.

I’d like to thank many people for helping me write this guide, as well as helping me get where I am in progression today.

  • Genji for being a better hero than Jedi Guardian
  • She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, for carrying me (Those dank rescues in Core Phase, reminding me to respec utilities, you rock).
  • Gyrfalcon, 3.0 Alacrity augs so gud
  • Justin/ColonelPumpy of <Zorz>, for showing me what an actual good player is like. Otherwise we might think the dead game dickwad posers were good! THE HORROR!
  • Mattmonkey, for inspiring me to write a guide all those years ago.
  • Bioware, for making a game dead enough that I still get to write a guide.
  • PVP, for teaching me to be a better DPS
  • Training Dummies, for fluffing mah epeenz kappa keepo

72 replies on “SWTOR 5.0 Vigilance Guardian PvE Guide by Rydarus”

Well, it does more damage, generates 1 rage and has a cooldown. And Barrage is still gated by Plasma Brand, so as long as you use it once after every Plasma Brand, you can’t really use it more.

the original opener had thrust before barrage, but in testing I discovered that no matter what Vigilant Thrust has to be delayed by 1 GCD at the 3rd or 4th cycle due to cooldown intersection, so it minimized confusion for the reader if I just put it behind Barrage, as then there’s no delay for the rest of the rotation, rather than an awkward delay well into it that would make the reader question if they were performing the rotation incorrectly.

You are incorrect about the triple dot opener, I have used it for a very extensive period of time and if executed properly, none of your dots are ever delayed or coming off cool down at the same time. Looking at both of our parses, the min and max time under ability usage is the same, thus both your opener and the triple dot opener are achieving the same effect. Cheers

Not to mention, if using the triple dot sequence in the opener messes up the rotation later on, then using the same triple dot sequence to get back into the rotation mid-fight (as indicated by the guide) would do the same. SeemsGood

Wrong. I directly refute this in the guide.

“However, UNLIKE in 4.0 and 3.0, Blade Barrage is not worth delaying
Plasma Brand for. If Plasma Brand is already off cooldown due to
downtime shenanigans, use Plasma Brand first. The exception to this rule
is if the downtime is enough that you can apply your full opener. In
that case, it is better to apply the full opener and realign the
rotation, even if you delay DoTs.”

If you can apply the full opener, apply the full opener.

The min max time is inaccurate due to the alacrity bug, look at the spacing of the abilities.

If I pull up your parse…

Your initial opener has all three abilities side by side, Impale, Shatter, Force Scream. The relative spacing of impale to vengeful slam is wrong, which is why it seems that the triple dot opener has the same usages for the 3 DoTs but not Vengeful Slam. It’s perfectly fine if you consider Vengeful Slam a sub par ability to the original core 3. I do not. The triple dot opener cannot allow for a priority system that emphasizes ALL 4, not just 3. You can observe this by how your Vengeful Slam drifts in your rotation. It should always be the same distance from Impale / Force Scream every time, considering identical cooldowns. The reasoning for this can be established in some of my above comments.

The argument that I was trying to assert is that your statement “The TRIPLE DOT OPENER that is becoming popular is WRONG. If you do that, the DoTs become misaligned later on,” is not correct. The dots never become misaligned, though you are correct about vengeful slam, I definitely prioritize it differently than you. Looking again at our parses, another difference seems to be that I use zero saber throws and more chilling screams, whereas it’s vice versa for you.

Basically, if you use the triple dot and try to use vengeful slam on cooldown, one of those has to be delayed. I can’t recall which one it is exactly, but I remember it being something like Vengeful Slam is used right when Impale is coming off CD, delaying Impale. Of course, you could always delay Vengeful Slam, but either way it forces you to disobey the first precept of the guide.

I think Dongo did a parse with a triple dot that had similar rotational rules to mine a few weeks back, and he just brute forced his way past the issue (he had triple dot opener). The only reason why I don’t use the triple DoT is because it’s much easier to write a guide if you don’t have to tell people “don’t worry about this delay this one time, it happens due to the rotation” and then explain why a similar delay in another area is a rotational mistake. Better to design the rotation so that ALL delays are a rotational mistake, so the reader knows what they have to work on.

On a side note, philosophically yes I do treat Vengeful Slam as a DoT, in the context of “you use it on CD like the other 3 DoTs” so I just consider it a DoT as far as placement.

Ah, I’ve never had to delay impale or any of the 3 dots ever when dummy parsing with the triple dot opener, then again I do not use vengeful slam in the same priority rule set that you are. Anyways, thank you for discussing this with me, I think our differences in rotations will be marginal if anything lol. Cheers


I’d like to add that I have a fascination with the idea of cooldowns in the rotation, and always have, so any opportunity to impose a rule of “this on CD” all the time, fascinates me. It’s an OCD thing. I like the way the rotation flows with everything on CD and not having to worry about drift.

For the reflect section, there are some things you can reflect that are left off,
Council: All attacks from each member
Soa: Lightning Strikes
Zorn and Toth: Baradium Poisoning is also reflectable but you need to use a medpack afterwards
Tanks: Damage outside shields during that phase
Walkers: Basic attacks from each of the walkers
Commanders: Deron’s tracer missile and missile barrage
Brontes: Attacks from fingers during any phase (Even when you stand further away from your finger)
Bestia: Force Scream (Usually has a little bit after ravage/dread strike)
Council: Calphy’s crystal throw, Raptus’ spinning aoe
Horror: Stacking attack
Dread guards: Doom
Kephess: Laser Beam
Terror: Scream and slams from first phase
Titan 6: Basic attacks from adds
Thrasher: Snipers and fire bugs
Ops Chief: Turrets and Terminate
Olok: Droid attacks
Warlords: Stabbing Spree, Sunder
Styrak: Lightning Ghosts
These are what I know are missing, probably more out there, cheers

Really? That’s odd. I guess it doesn’t matter that much anymore since it is currently impossible to get sentinel set bonus using a guardian and vice versa. However when they reintroduce unassembled tokens it may lead to some problems.

Y my first loot with set bonus was weaponmaster’s boot and after i pulled the armor intog my gear i still got full 7/7 bonus.

Those instances don’t have much in the way of mechanics to reflect (I tended to keep only stuff that a DPS would viably need to reflect, not stuff that was reflectable but not necessary).

TFB only really has one major reflect, the Kephess reflect. Regardless in the next update pass I’ll fix that. Just a mistake on my part. 🙂

there’s multiple mechanics you can reflect in scum, and 1 or 2 in tfb
most notable in tfb: doom and kephess’ laser blast
most notable in scum: thrasher snipers and firebugs; city heat beam; and dot from styrak nim dragon spines

these are all things I consider all guardian dps should know (except maybe firebugs, as that’s more of a cheese reflect instead of survivability reflect)

I’d flip the equation over. If there’s a non reflect cheese available for it, I will also tend to ignore it. Doom isn’t a good idea because of threat, Blade Blitz is a far more efficient cheese. Firebugs contributes more damage to the boss so reflect that, thrasher snipers wouldn’t be reflected except for as a defensive cooldown, which in that case you’d use saber ward. The Dragon Spines is valid as a DCD, cause reflect is the only ability that mitigates that fully on a Guardian.

with regards to freezing force; you’re saying “A common mistake is overestimating the damage of this ability, it does
good damage, but not more than any ability in the core rotation”
but taking the average damage per activation from your top parse in parsely, sorted by damage/act
plasma brand: 19 361/act (this includes the dot)
OS: 16 798/act
freezing force: 14 263/act
BS: 13 821/act
whirling blade: 11 805/act
vigilant thrust: 10 161/act
MS: 8 404.6/act

I think it’s safe to say that what you stated isn’t correct (unless you only consider PB and OS to be part of the core rotation)
fact is, freezing force is very strong, the only actual downside is that it takes more focus that whirling blade, thrust, or MS
I would suggest trying to use it on CD, so long as it doesn’t delay any of your dots, keeping in mind the high focus cost (meaning you can’t use it on CD without either taking aoe dmg, or sacrificing your other fillers, which is a bad idea)

I disagree with this, and state it in the guide for multiple reasons.

The actual damage doesn’t matter because you are taking it in isolation of the resource cost. I have designed a rotation that is suboptimal for the dummy that is resource neutral, specifically because on a boss, it is resource positive, allowing you to push the energy harder with more freezing forces. If you design the rotation around freezing force, you cannot push the rotation as hard on the boss, because there’s less possible slots to fill with freezing force when the DoT is up so often, besides slashing, which does trash damage.

This is DIRECTLY MENTIONED in the guide.

“Your goal when practicing is only to use this ability as necessary. You
CAN get higher parses on dummy by spamming it in theory, taking up
rotation slots held by vigilant thrust, but this is bad because on an
actual boss your resource generation is much higher, giving you more
filler slots. On actual bosses, you will be allowed to use Freezing
Force more often, since you have significantly more filler slots, while
maintaining the base rotation. However until you can perform the
rotation and get good numbers on the dummy without spamming Freezing
Force, you will not reach your full potential on the boss.”

I’m not disagreeing with your dummy rotation
I’m disagreeing with you saying that freezing force does less damage than our core rotation abilities, since the fact of the matter is that it’s the 3rd hardest hitting ability/activation (and depending on the fight, the highest or 2nd highest dps ability)
the only reason to give it a lower priority is the focus cost; focus management on dummy is near impossible if trying to use it on CD
but to put it nearly on the bottom of your priority list is a bit extreme in my opinion

as long as you have the focus to spare (which on aoe dmg taken heavy fights you definitely will), it should be your 4th highest priority
on dummy fights this will never be the case, which is why it’ll drop in priority to at least below vig thrust
but on quite a few boss fights it totally works (even more so if there’s more than 1 target; and mind that an 8 meter radius is huge, and will hit more things than most other abilities)

I guess our main difference in opinion is more of a guide/practise philosophy
I dummy parse to practise rotations that will look as much like ops fights as possible (which is why I use a bad opener)
when dummy parsing, I try to use the priority system that’s most effective for ops fights, and not for dummy fights
ideally I can do the exact same thing on a boss fight as I would do on a dummy
if you prefer to give a priority list that is only valid for dummy fights, that’s your right as an author 🙂

Read what I’m saying. A priority list that works for both dummy and boss works suboptimally because the scenarios are vastly different. This rotation was designed to be suboptimal for a dummy because on a boss it is far more optimal. It’s impossible to meet this goal:

“ideally I can do the exact same thing on a boss fight as I would do on a dummy
if you prefer to give a priority list that is only valid for dummy fights, that’s your right as an author :)”

If you generate 3 focus from a single tick of AoE damage, two ticks of AoE damage can almost replace a sundering strike. There’s no way to replicate that on a dummy. Instead, I can design a rotation that has filler slots like Sundering Strike, that I can then tell you to replace with freezing force on a boss, LIKE I DO IN THE GUIDE.

I’m sorry if I misunderstand you, it’s not my intention to say you know know the priority system or something 🙂

most people consider the priority system to be nearly divine knowledge
you correctly say in your guide that if you have lots and lots of focus, you should use freezing force more often than on a dummy parse

but in my opinion freezing force should be the 4th highest priority (if not 3rd); with the BIG BIG IF you have lots of focus to waste
if you don’t have enough focus to be able to use your core abilities when they come of CD, use a focus building filler instead

though tbh I don’t think this is a discussion that’ll go anywhere, I was simply curious about your phrasing; because as I said, I’d have done it differently

I’m basically saying Freezing Force hits for a minimum of 9132 damage according to my parse, without any crits. Vigilant Thrust hits for a minimum of 7043, without crits. However, Vigilant Thrust has a higher critical chance, so it roughly evens out. Coupled with the fact that it’s resource positive and I think it does better damage overall.

Also, at the introduction:

“What this means is that the builds and rotations used within the guide may not be fully optimal for say, dummy parsing, but will be designed for maximizing raid realistic damage, as well as minimize pain on the part of the reader if they happen to nerf or buff certain areas of the spec. Without further ado, let’s begin.”

This is specifically in response to the potential that the Freezing Force utility gets nerfed, or changed somehow.

that’s very probably true if there’s no aoe dmg taken (since using freezing force on cd means you have to use weak focus builders more often)
but if you do have the focus (and some extra focus for using your 3 dots within a gcd or two), then freezing force is better

I’ll have to do some more testing both on dummy and ops; freezing force and instant MS takes some getting used to

If you do have the focus on a boss, you can use vigilant thrust on CD, and still put in 1-2 freezing forces every rotation. Considering it’s a 12 second rotation and freezing force is 8 seconds, that’s a significant DPS increase. My argument is that it’s better to add the freezing forces in on boss than try to adapt to using them on a dummy, when such an adaptation is not actually worthwhile.

“The Vigilance Rotation is a 24 GCD rotation, or 36 seconds. Should you execute it correctly, you should have 3 GCDs consumed by Plasma Brand, 4 GCDs each by Overhead Slash, Blade Storm, and Vigilant Thrust. This leaves 21 GCDs for you to carry out the remaining rotational priorities.”

Either 24-15 = 21 or I found a typo 🙂

Thanks for the guide Rydarus. Good to see there are still a few good people left who havent been chased away by the galactic command system.

I have one small change that I use that makes the rotation flow better for me personally into an AOE rotation.

In your opener I swap blade barrage and plasma brand. This moves plasma brand from block 4 to block 2 of the regular rotation. This allows me to restart the rotation if I need AOE with combat focus/sundering strike, Overhead Slash, Plasma Brand, Vigilant thrust.

So my 24 block/36 second rotation looks like this:

Round one (8 GCD/12 seconds)
OS,PB,VT,(filler 1),BS,(filler 2),OS,(filler 3)

Round two (8 GCD/12 seconds)
VT, PB, BS, (filler 1), OS, (filler 2), VT, (filler 3)

Round three (8GC/12 seconds)
BS, PB, OS, (filler 1), VT, (filler 2), BS, (filler 3).

If you want to super-simplify it (suboptimal I know)
You can even make the fillers static
Filler 1 = blade barrage
Filler 2 = Whirling Blade/Freezing Force
Filler 3 – Sundering strike

My rotation since 3.0 has had Plasma brand and sundering strike in blocks 2 and 8 so this is easy muscle memory for me.

This is the same as your rotation except Plasma Brand and filler 1 are switched.

It requires 9 focus before you start round 1 (10 if you are going to use freezing force as filler 2).
Round 1 and 3 are focus negative, so without extra focus from raid damage, if you are using freezing force as a filler you are going to need judicious use of combat focus to pull off the rotation. May even want to use Saber throw in place of a blade barrage if desperate.

I don’t think they wanted to make freezing force so much better than blade barrage, its poor design and I think if they ever get around to rebalancing they will rectify that.
Blade barrage should hit for at least 10k and its sad what they did to what used to be the showcase ability of the spec.

No matter what you do, if you are keeping all 4 key abilities on cooldown, you end up with 2 manadatory abilities in each 8 GCD block sandwiched around a plasma brand, meaning there is an unavoidable 6 seconds between fillers every 12 seconds no matter where you place plasma brand in your rotation. Which means trying to rotate freezing force more than once every 12 seconds isn’t viable, even if focus isn’t a consideration..

Interesting. You’ve created a triple dot opener that seems to align. I think the difference is mostly cosmetic, but I’m glad someone else understands what I was generally going for with a quad priority.

I agree with FF vs Blade Barrage, it’s why I intentionally kept Freezing Force lower in the priority.

So press most of the blue buttons… taunt to keep aggro off Tanks… and activate all my DCs at the start of the fight. Got it. They should not let me guardian. lol Looks good man.

I learned from this guide that the under walker damage in EC is reflectable and can damage an immune walker. EC was the groupfinder today and so I gave it a try and it worked great. A single use of reflect (5s utility boosted) before the walker was vulnerable and it went down to 88%. A couple words of caution: Large amounts of damage on an immune target generally give you aggro. I had the walker taking potshots at me most of the fight. Also DO NOT KILL THE WALKER WHILE IT IS IMMUNE. After the pulsar droids but before the bomber I reflected again and finished off the walker and the raid moved on to DPS Kephess, only because the walker didn’t die during the expected time it bugged, at ~ 75% health Kephess shielded himself (with a shield supposedly coming from the walker) becoming immune to damage. The only way to remove that shield would be to kill the walker that was already dead. After that wipe I was sure to let the bomber take the walker to the ground before killing it….

Hello, I’m a Guardian dps and my group is having trouble on Master Mode Brontes. Do you have a video of you killing it that could help me out? Thanks

Hey, i need to learn this rotation as the triple dot isn’t that good anymore. Is it possible to get a imperial version that way i don’t have to think what’s what when i’m mid parse?

You can use the disciplines calculator. From the menu SWTOR – Tools – Disciplines calculator. Just select the class and the disciple and choose the imperial side on the top right.

I’m completely lost, I’ve just started the game and had no idea there was an ideal rotation… Do you keybind the rotation in order or do you know exactly when to press the correct power?


First of all, thanks for the guides – your 4.0 guide was greatly helpful when I was learning the class.

I have done some testing myself in game and have a few things to say about your rotation:

1. The “Triple DoT opener” does actually work. I use
Saber Throw + Combat Focus -> Overhead Slash -> Plasma Brand -> Blade Storm -> Sundering Strike -> Vigilant Thrust -> etc
And that aligns everything correctly, with no downtime on the DoTs or delay of Vigilant Thrust. I find this opener gives consistently higher DPS due to front-loading the DoTs, using all of your highest damage abilities right at the beginning.

2. I ran 10 parses in game and found the following average damage/activation values:
Vigilant Thrust: 10466.9
Freezing Force: 12618.6
Blade Barrage: 9337.8
Whirling Blade: 11524.7
The numbers themselves aren’t particularly important, what’s important is that Freezing Force is by far the highest damaging ability out of all of your “filler” abilities. Blade Barrage is, actually, very low damage.

If Plasma Brand, Overhead Slash, Blade Storm, and Vigilant Thrust are all aligned correctly, each major cycle of the rotation should consume 9 + 9 + 5 = 23 focus from core abilities. For those fillers, 3-4 will be Sundering Strike, 1-2 will be Whirling Blade, and that leaves 3-5 empty spots. Freezing Force is clearly the highest damaging ability, so it should fill as many of those spots as possible. Using Combat Focus or a fourth Sundering Strike generates enough focus to offset the increased focus consumption compared to Blade Barrage. Thus, despite the fact that it’s free, I don’t think Blade Barrage qualifies as anything more than a low-priority filler ability. I’ve found that using it as little as possible leads to higher DPS.

You can take a look at my parse to see these ideas actualized.

Good comment. The main reason why I haven’t edited the filler portion of the guide is because I’m fairly certain freezing force will be nerfed in the future, and additionally because in actual boss fights using freezing force more often in the filler slots is quite common anyway, and I’d rather the practice rotation listed in the guide be perfectly focus neutral. There’s also a practical constraint in that actual bosses move a lot, and blade barrage is guaranteed to hit the target. Freezing Force not necessarily, due to the finicky nature of TOR’s positioning in the engine, so I still use blade barrage as a major part of my rotation.

I also philosophically am averse to a triple dot opener, even when it was probably better in 4.0. I’m weird like that. As long as the abilities line up so that there’s a gap between the three 9s abilities, any opener will work.

In my opinion, what they should have done is made Blade Barrage akin to the scoundrel’s roll, as in, when you use it you gain a buff that lasts for some time, and if you use it again while that buff is active it goes on cooldown. Then, Plasma Brand would remove the buff (if active) and reset the active cooldown. It would have played a bit of havoc if the buff wasn’t affected by alacrity or the cooldown timing was messed up, but otherwise that would have made it instant without having the side effect of drastically altering the rotation. In fact, it may have even led to an increase in DPS because it would allow Vigilant Thrust to be used on cooldown still.

I have mixed feelings about Freezing Force. I really hate using it in my rotation, but it’s *so* powerful right now that I don’t want it to be nerfed. It makes Focus have pretty good AoE despite not being an AoE spec! At the same time, it’d be really nice to be able to choose a second utility in Legendary tier in some fights, and I’m personally averse to the idea of utilities that are so mandatory for highest DPS.

Fair enough on the opener. Yours definitely works, though I’d say it’s a slight disadvantage in burst situations. Then again, the only times I can think of where the burst window is that tight are Soa (who cares?) and Calphayus.

Completely agree. I’ve been lazy about updating the guide, but I generally use Freezing Force interchangeably with Blade Barrage. For example, I frequently alter my opener to replace the first blade barrage with a freezing force due to how much damage freezing force can do, which is while lower burst, I think is very good for sustained dps.

This is why I made my original comment. Just because you are philosophically averse to the opener, you shouldn’t say “The triple dot opener is WRONG,” lol.

I’m using a simple rotation smth like that:


Saber Throw -> Force Charge -> Enrage -> Hew(War Bringer perk) -> Ravage -> Shatter -> Impale -> Force Scream -> Ravage -> Hew -> Vengeful Slam -> Sundering Assault


Chilling Scream -> Shatter -> Impale -> Force Scream(Enrage if you lack of resource) -> Ravage

(if Destroyer procs)-> Hew -> Vengeful Slam -> Sundering Assault
(else)-> Vengeful Slam -> Vicious Slash(still can use Hew here if it procs after Vengeful Slam) -> Sundering Assault

This is fine as a simple rotation (keyword being simple) but the reality is that there’s a litany of things that are wrong with it. That’s fine if you don’t plan on bringing the spec to it’s maximum potential, as it’s certainly simple to an extreme degree.

You can make any rotation technically work as long as Vengeful Slam, Force Scream, and Impale all are spaced out by exactly one GCD, and you use Shatter on cooldown. Doing so will naturally create 3 cycles punctuated by one of the initial 3 abilities being before and after Shatter.

Ever think of making a 5.0 Juggernaught Vengeance spec guide? I hardly ever play Republic side of SWOTR and when I pull this guide up for reference points I tend to get the skill icons/skill names confused with the correlation of the Vengeance spec for the Sith Juggernaught. I like the class and I would love to try to perfect myself at playing it better.

So after careful study I realized that the opener is essentially comprised of the last 4 skills in ‘cycle 3’ and the first 4 skills in ‘cycle 1’. That makes the cycles you’ve defined seem somewhat arbitrary.

I prefer to view it as follows:
Cycle 1 – aka Opener – aka Overhead Slash x2
Cycle 2 – Vigilant Thrust x2
Cycle 3 – Blade Storm x2

But to each his own. Thanks for the guide.

I realized this, I’ve been just too lazy to correct it 🙂

Also the opener image requires me to use photoshop, but in essence you are correct, after the initial pool of 6 focus is generated, the Overhead Slash cycle begins (or what the guide lists as cycle 3). Consider the cycles as an alternate method of interpretation, but most people who are first learning don’t understand them so I kept them as more of an afterthought than anything else.

As always, great job on the guide, but would it be possible for you to write a mirrored version of the guide for lazy people like me. Much appreciated and again thanks for your guides.

Ry! It’s Maal, good to see you still playing, I’d love to come back but life has not allowed me too. Maybe I will soon, but not sure, but it was great to have raided with you in the past, great guide as always, and thanks for helping me be one of the best guardian/jugs to play this game, was fun while it lasted man 🙂

Good guide, just have to try and apply bits of it for PvP now. One question I did have, though, was the use of Gathering Strength/Pooled Hatred as a utility at all, under any situation. Because our DoT’s register as rage consuming moves, I heard the stacks of Gathered Strength are merely expended on the every DoT tick, resulting in a negligible DPS increase. Has BioWare bothered to fix this?

Rydarus what are the stats for pvp in viglance that you are following and what augments ur using . Ty

is persistent chill still mandatory after the nerf? if not, what to replace it with? (both utility and filler wise)

Wow, just hopped on here from BDO guides of Dulfy, surprised that people still write guides for the game, especially this spec.

It’s a bitter medicine, seeing what the game I devoted 3 years of my life spent playing has become. And skimming this guide, I can see they further bastardized what made Vigilance Guardian what it was back in 1.0 and 2.0 days even more.

Thx, i was lucky to find a Empire version (from you) , but why is it not on this website? Is the game that far gone? Ive been away for a while and was hoping that the merge brought back life in the game

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