SWTOR 5.0 Infiltration Shadow PvP Guide by Kre’a
SWTOR 5.0 Infiltration Shadow PvP Guide by Kre’a.
Intro to Infiltration Shadow
Infiltration Shadow is a rogue-like Discipline that specializes in short ranged combat. This Discipline excels at maintaining constant control over your enemies with your arsenal of crowd control tools while also supplying single target burst damage. You will want to play this Discipline over Serenity if you need extra control in Warzones, enjoy large objective based Warzone maps, want to perform a hard swap composition in Group Ranked, or if there is a large amount of Ranged DPS in the Solo Ranked queue.
- Single Target DPS: 8
- AoE Damage: 2
- Group Utility: 7
- Difficulty: 8
- RNG Dependent: Yes
- Burst: 7
- Sub 30% Talent or Ability Buffs: Yes
- Accuracy: 0
- Alacrity: 0
- Critical Rating: All of your tertiary stat points should be put into Critical Rating
- Power: All secondary stats should be put into power
- Relics: Serendipitous Assault &Devastating Vengeance
- Set Bonus: 6 Piece Stalker’s Set
- Technique: Shadow Technique
- Augments: Overkill Augments (Power)
With the abundance of defensive cool downs in PvP that increase defense chance, gearing for Accuracy becomes a moot point. On top of this, every point put into accuracy will lower your overall burst potential and Infiltration relies on the ability to heavily burst enemies down with the hopes of killing them to reset Force Potency to open up another burst window. Alacrity is a great stat for sustained damage, but as was previously stated, Infiltration is more about burst and Alacrity won’t help you accomplish this goal better than going purely into Critical Rating will.
In order to most efficiently gear yourself for PvP in 5.0, you will need Cybertech to craft Enhancements and Mods. Specifically, you want to get your hands on Advanced Adept Enhancement 52 and Advanced Lethal Mod 52. For armorings, you will want to save your 4.0 Ranked PvP armorings so that you have a full set bonus. You will replace these as you pull higher item level armorings from Command Crates. For augmentation, use the best Overkill (power) augments that you can afford or have access to.
The Stalker’s set bonus is vital. The 15 second cool down reduction on Force Potency is a good bonus and the auto-crit on Shadow Strike or Spinning Strike is paramount to lining up a burst opener and a succeeding in a kill window. This set bonus is a must have.
Utility choices will vary based on what type of PvP you’re partaking in and most importantly playstyle! I will go over 3 different utility load outs, one for Unranked Warzones, one for Aggressive Ranked play and one for Defensive Ranked play. Play around with all of these utilities to find which suit you the best.
- Celerity – Cooldown reduction on CC breaker, Force Speed and your interrupt. Must have.
- Mental Defense – Reduces damage taken while stunned by 30% and reduces AoE damage taken by 30%.
- Snaring Strikes – Double Strike, Clairvoyant Strike and Whirling Blow reduce the movement speed of the targets they damage by 30% for 6 seconds.
- Fade –Reduces the cooldown on your Force Cloak by 45 seconds and increases its duration by 5 seconds, this utility is infinitely more useful in Unranked Warzones since some of them can last anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes.
- Containment – Hands down, the most useful utility in this tier for objective based PvP. Most node caps require a 6 second channel. This is an 8 second mezz.
- Cloak of Resilience – Activating Force Cloak grants 2 seconds of Resilience.
- Egress – Force speed removes all movement impairing effects and grants immunity to them for the duration of Force Speed.
- One with the Shadows – Shadow Stride purges movement impairing effects and using Force Speed absorbs 60% of all incoming damage for the duration Force Speed.
Feel free to mix these utilities up to find what works best for you.
Aggressive Ranked Warzones (solo)
- Avoidance – This utility is mandatory.
- Snaring Strikes – Rotational 30% MS reduction on enemy players. For a hyper aggressive playstyle, this is an excellent utility.
- Kinetic Acceleration – Rotational 50% MS increase with 50% uptime. Combine this with Snaring Strikes to create an 80% MS deficit for your enemy target.
- Fade – Reduces the cooldown of Force cloak by 45 seconds, this enables you to use Recklessness more often.
- Containment – The utility of this skill outweighs any other utility in this tier. The ability to instantly mezz any target for 8 seconds is too good to pass up, especially when used in conjunction with Focus Target and the Focus Target Modifier keybind to mezz a player without actually targeting them.
- Cloak of Resilience –Resilience is affected by the Mind over Matter utility so if you want to take Mind over Matter then it would make sense to take this utility as well due to the synergy between the two utilities. This utility is great for aggressive gameplay by giving you an extra 4 seconds of Resilience, which translates to an additional 4 seconds of immunity to Force and Tech based CC.
- Egress – Force Speed removes movement impairing effects and gives immunity to them for its duration. This utility gives you a lot of sticking power and makes it harder to be kited.
Defensive Ranked Warzones (solo)
- Avoidance – Once again, mandatory utility.
- Mental Defence – 30% Damage Reduction while stunned is great, but an additional 30% Damage reduction from AoE abilities synergizes well with the Kinetic Field passive.
- Fade – Enables more use of Force Potency.
- Misdirection – You will never be detected in stealth, with the exception of some specific stealth detecting abilities. Additionally, the movement speed is nice.
- Cloak of Resilience – Once again, combined with Mind over Matter, this makes for a great tool to reduce and mitigate a large amount of damage. Given that the damage profile in PvP primarily consists of Force and Tech damage, this is the best utility point in this tier for defensive play.
- Egress – The ability to break roots is a boon that cannot be overlooked. This helps you get out of line of sight as well as stick to your target.
- Mind over Matter – Has insane synergy with Egress and Cloak of Resilience.
- Avenging Grip – This utility makes your Deflection reflect 50% of all single target damage for 12 seconds. That’s an insane anti-aggro tool that will force your enemies to play around this ability for 12 seconds.
Abilities and Rotation
This is Player versus Player. There is NO real rotation. You adapt based on your surroundings! However, some versatile openers are listed below.
The most generic opener for PvP is to open with a Spinning Kick from stealth >Force Potency, Clairvoyant Strike(CS)>Force Breach>Shadow Strike>Psychokinetic Blast> Vaulting Slash
Spinning Kick from stealth >Force Potency, CS>Shadow Strike>Force Breach>Psychokinetic Blast> Vaulting Slash
This is 6 global cooldowns. The reason for popping Force Potency as soon as you Spinning Kick is so that the cooldown timer can start counting down quicker. This way, if your target dies, you can reset Force Potency even quicker since you used it at the beginning of your opener instead of using it right before you use Force Breach. You want to use Clairvoyant Strike before Shadow Strike so that it is an auto-crit.
Whether you use Shadow Strike or Force Breach first will depend on how your target reacted. If, for example, your target is an Assassin and pops Force Shroud, it wouldn’t make sense to use Force Breach, so you would use Shadow Strike instead with a follow up of Clairvoyant Strikes or Low Slash until their Shroud wears off. If the target is a Sorcerer and has bubble stun, you will want to open with Foce Breach from 6+ meters away so that you don’t get caught in the mezz radius of the bubble. I have purposely omitted Vaulting Slash as an opening as opposed to Spinning Kick. This is because I find that it’s more valuable to incapacitate your target, as opposed to using Vaulting Slash. Vaulting Slash is a melee hit, so it could miss, while Force Breach is Force damage, so it will never miss. On top of that, if you use a Force Potency charge on Spinning Kick, it will hit for moderate damage and immediately enable your Vaulting Slash to be used out of stealth. PvP is dynamic, and as such, your rotation should be altered based on what’s happening at the moment. With that being said, if the situation allows it, put a higher priority on rotation 2 as it will debuff your enemy’s armor and allow the rest of your moves to hit a little bit harder.
After the initial opener cycle through Clairvoyant Strike filler, use Psychokinetic Blast whenever you can but preferably when it is fully buffed by Clairvoyant strike as to not delay your static charge stacks, and only use Force Breach at 3 stacks. Only use Shadow Strike with Infiltration Tactics procs. Use Low Slash on cooldown on your Focus Target.
There are a multitude of situational “rotations” in which you could cycle through your offensive and defensive cooldowns. They cannot all be listed however, because in PvP, no two fights will be the same, there is always some slight variance which will change the outcome of the fight in the long term. It’s up to YOU as the player to determine when your chance to strike is and when you should sit back in stealth for a bit longer. These situations will be easier to identify with time and practice. With that being said, I will go through a brief and very basic use of defensive cool downs.
Infiltration Shadows have a large array of crowd control. First and foremost, use these abilities to peel for your team, especially in ranked. Peeling will put your team at an advantage and once you have that advantage, you want to push it further and turn it into a victory. Setting up that advantage starts with you as an Infiltration player, to use your mezzes, stuns and plethora of utility to lock down as many enemies as possible to keep your team alive and establish situational control over the enemy team. Peels and team play wins games. Farming damage does not win games.
This section will show you key locations on each map to use for line of sight as well as locations where you want to force fights to happen.
This map is one of the best for an Assassin player. Try to initiate the fight by getting a stealth knockdown on as many enemies as possible. Force the fight up on the catwalk and use your knock back to force imbalanced fights for the enemy. If you’re under focus fire, jump down and If the enemy chases you, Phantom Stride back up and you have now forced a 3v4 in favor of your team.
Makeb Mesa Arena
The red circles indicate common locations that a ranged or even melee class will run to kite you or to escape being focused by your team. Make sure to force fights around certain choke points that allow you to Line of sight.
If you are being focused, you will want to jump down off of the bridge to the ground level. If you jump at the appropriate time (about 50-60% HP range) your enemy will 8 times out of 10 attempt to chase you down for the kill. This is when you will use Phantom Stride to an enemy to teleport you back on top of the bridge. This creates an extremely favorable position for your team, as you have now secluded 1 or more of the enemy team on the ground level, forcing their team to fight a 3v4 or even 2v4 if more than one person chases you down.
You will want to communicate with your team that you want to force the fight on the bridge. Initiate the fight by properly timing your knock back to knock as many off of the bridge as possible, creating an imbalanced fight for the enemy team, and giving you the advantage as now, whoever was knocked down will have to use movement increasing effects to try to re-engage into the fight, effectively wasting their time and reducing the overall damage your team will take. If you can help it, always try to force the fight up top. The only exception to this is in Tank/Heal/2 DPS matches, as attempting to fight up is just a waste of time. In Heal/3 DPS matches, you will still want to fight on the bridge, even more so, because if you can knock the healer down, you put yourself at a very large advantage towards winning the round.
Red squares indicate offensive positions to potentially cut off a running enemy. This map plain sucks for Assassin players. It is the widest open of the 4 maps, and as such, is terrible to play on when you are facing a multitude of ranged DPS classes because it makes it difficult to Line of Sight. There are a few LoS objects, but they are situated in such a way that you will not be able to always continue to DPS while LoS’ing. The best thing you can do in a map such as this is to wait for the enemy team to engage on your terms, by simply waiting around a LoS object and attempting to attack from behind it. This strategy actually works well if the enemy team has at least 1 melee DPS, as they will be forced into the center of your team, allowing you to both DPS the Melee enemy while simultaneously LoS’ing the ranged DPS. With practice, this becomes easier.
The green indicates locations that are generally safe to heal to full from. This map is really good for Hatred players. The small size of the map forces fights to be in one centralized location, which is optimal for DoT spreading. There is also a large sum of LoS objects for kiting purposes. A small trick that many don’t utilize is using the outer edge of the pit to LoS players who are on the top of the ledge of the pit. The angle is just slight enough that players will be unable to see you if you hug the wall inside of the pit, effectively allowing you to LoS ranged classes with ease. Make sure that as a melee DPS, you do not find yourself DPSing your target with your back to the pit, as you will inevitably be knocked in, which is a hassle considering there is only 1 focal way to escape the pit and get back to the fight, depending on which side of the arena you are playing on.
This map is terrible for melee players in general. The map is very buggy, so when you attempt to Phantom Stride or use any type of leaping ability to get to the upper level, sometimes you will clip through the boardwalk and just rubberband back to your original location. If you can help it, try not to use leap/teleport type of abilities on this map, as it will only hurt you more than help you.
5.0 Meta Analysis
With a new expansion comes a new meta and 5.0 has definitely changed up the meta game for PvP. In this section, I aim to highlight each of the advanced classes and describe what the changes to these classes mean for Assassin players. In summarization, I will compile a Tier list of which classes and disciplines perform better than others in PvP. This analysis caters to the Solo Ranked community and not Regular Warzones, since all classes are more or less balanced in regs. T
The tiers are as follows:
- Tier 1: Well optimized class or discipline with extremely efficient and overwhelming ability and utility synergies that makes losing to this class feel helpless and unfair
- Tier 2: Competitive classes and disciplines that have a few slight weaknesses (Easily kited, no self-healing, etc); can still beat Tier 1 classes but requires skill to do so.
- Tier 3: Classes or disciplines that are extremely fun to play but are not competitive for the average user. Usually requires extreme knowledge of the class or disciplines limitations and boundaries to excel and beat higher tier classes. These classes and disciplines fill a very niche roll.
- Innovative Ordnance Mercenary
- Arsenal Mercenary
- Darkness Assassin
- Corruption Sorcerer
Explanation: IO and Arsenal Merc find themselves in Tier 1 as of the 5.0.1. Both of these specs have access to some utilities that synergize completely with the playstyle of the class and that augment the glaring weaknesses that the class had in all prior expansions. What specifically makes these classes Tier 1 worthy is the fact that they have access to immense amounts of damage and burst, while simultaneously having access to some of the best defensive cooldowns in the game. As an example of the insane synergy in their utilities, they can take both Power shield and Energy Rebounder as well as Trauma Regulators. For those of you who don’t know what these abilities do, here’s a description:
Power Shield: Energy Shield now further decreases ability activation pushback by 30%, increases all healing received by 20% and makes you immune to interrupts.
Energy Rebounder: When you take damage, the active cooldown of Energy Shield is reduced by 3 seconds. This effect cannot occur more than once every 1.5 seconds. In addition, when taking damage, you have a 20% chance to emit an Energy Redoubt, which absorbs a low amount of damage and lasts 6 seconds. This effect cannot occur more than once every 10 seconds.
Trauma Regulators: While Energy Shield is active, you generate a stack of Trauma Regulators each time you receive direct damage. Stacks up to 15 times. When Energy Shield expires, each stack of Trauma Regulators instantly heals you for 5% of your maximum health.
Mercenaries are using Energy Shield when they are being tunneled and specifically while they are full on resolve (immune to further CC for 10-16 seconds). This makes them uninterruptable for the duration of Energy Shield, which is 12 seconds, allowing them to free fire at will. On top of this, because they are full resolve, you cannot CC them to stop them, and if you hit them, you will lower the cooldown of their Energy Shield in conjunction with healing them up to 75% of their max health when the shield ends. You cannot simply kill a good merc while this shield is up because they can preemptively end the shield by right clicking the buff on their bar, which will heal them for however many stacks they have available. This means the only way to escape this is by running away for 12 seconds. These utilities synergize extremely well with their playstyle of ‘run and gun’ since they are essentially a more mobile version of the Sniper class, and they augment the main weakness that Mercenaries had, which was the fact that they lacked defensive cooldowns. Combine these utilities and Energy Shield with their new ability, Responsive Safeguards (absorbs all damage, reflects 50% of it, and is usuable while stunned), and their insane damage, and finally their Electro-net, and you will see why Mercenaries are a Tier 1 class.
Corruption Sorcerer are considered the Tier 1 healer this patch because of the fact that Sorcerers received some nice new healing tools and because of the fact that this meta has shifted away from pressure damage comps (DoTs/cleave) to burst damage comps. Operatives shined previously in the pressure meta, but Sorcerers have always been considered the kings of burst healing, and the shift in the meta has caused Corruption Sorcerer viability to rise to Tier 1 status.
Darkness Assassins are the Tier 1 tanks for this current patch. They received some insane new defensive cooldowns in the form of Phasing Phantasm (Force Speed reduces damage taken by 60%) and Retaliatory Grip (Deflection reflects 100% of damage taken). They also received some great team buffs in the form of their updated passive ability, Mounting Darkness, which makes Deflection give out an AoEdebuff to all Force and Tech damage by 15% on the enemy team. All of these new utilities and abilities synergize extremely well in making Darkness Assassins a lot tankier than they were in previous expansions, enough so that they have now surpassed Powertech tanks in competitive viability, pushing them down to Tier 2 and moving this spec up to Tier 1.
- Marksman Sniper
- Virulence Sniper
- Carnage Marauder
- Fury Marauder
- Concealment Operative
- Deception Assassin
- Hatred Assassin
- Madness Sorcerer
- Vengeance Juggernaut
- Rage Juggernaut
- Advanced Prototype Powertech
- Medicine Operative
- Shield Tech Powertech
Explanation: All of the classes that are in this list are here because they are very competitive specs that feel fair and balanced to play against, unlike their Tier 1 counterparts which feel unfair and almost oppressive to face. These specs perform well in a ranked environment because they all have either a large window for burst, or have extremely reliable damage (sustained damage). The reason that these disciplines are considered Tier 2 is because they all have very specific weaknesses that can hinder the success of the spec.
There are too many specs in this list to go through them all, but as an example, Concealment Operatives have reliable and high burst windows and excel at killing a single target, but are extremely weak at AoE and lack team fight presence. Medicine Operative excels at AoE healing but are considered subpar when it comes to single target healing a target that is being bursted down. Carnage Marauder has an amazing burst window and can even lock down a single target with their new Gore ability, but they are very susceptible to being kited, shutting down their single target burst entirely. The list goes on, but the point is that disciplines in this tier have obvious weakness that can be played around, and feel balanced as far as playing them and counterplaying them goes.
- Annihilation Marauder
- Lightning Sorcerer
- Engineering Sniper
- Lethality Operative
- Bodyguard Mercenary
- Immortal Juggernaut
- Pyro Powertech
Explanation: These classes or disciplines are simply too niche to fit anywhere in the meta. They are only really used in a specific composition (such as in team ranked) and only really shine when they have specific teammates to back them up. All of these disciplines need to be supported by teammates in order to perform well or they require extreme knowledge of your classes limitations and boundaries to do well. In fact, many of the specs in this tier will require an immense amount of effort to utilize them, but will only ever yield average to below average results for the effort spent, which makes using these specs feel ‘worthless’ or like a waste of time. This is not to say that these specs cannot be good, it simply means that it takes more effort to make them good, which isn’t good enough when it comes to solo ranked.
So what does this mean as an Assassin player? We have access to one Tier 1 discipline and two Tier 2 disciplines, so the class as a whole remains competitive. With the abundance of Tier 1 disciplines in play at the moment, I would highly recommend playing Darkness Assassin if you are only interested in climbing the ladder effortlessly, but Hatred and Deception are equally viable to climb with, although they require a bit more effort and very careful use of defensive cooldowns due to the large amount of Mercenaries running around. Good luck and happy climbing!
About the Author
Hey guys, I’m Kre’a! I’ve mained an Assassin/Shadow for about 3 years now. In season 4, I achieved 2931 ELO, placing me as Rank #2 overall across all advanced classes and Rank #1 for the Shadow/Assassin advanced class. In season 6 I was Rank #3 for the Shadow/Assassin advanced class. You can check me out at Twitch.tv/Kreea.