SWTOR 5.0 Plasmatech Vanguard PvE Guide by Jaymis

SWTOR 5.0 Plasmatech Vanguard PvE guide by Jaymis.

Intro to Plasmatech Vanguard

Plasmatech is a DoT based melee DPS discipline that offers high burst for a DoT spec, and decent AoE damage. This spec should only ever be used over Tactics on fights with a lot of adds.

Ratings

Single Target Damage: 4/10

With 5.0 Pulse Cannon has been renamed and redesigned to Ion Wave, it is now an instant ability. With this, the damage has been reduced significantly from this ability, thereby reducing our single target damage. However this also means our rotation is now 100% mobile and 6/7 of our core rotational abilities can be used at 10+ meters. With Reflective Armor and Electro Shield as utilities, we can still compete with higher parsing specs if played optimally.

AoE Damage: 7/10

Due to the damage nerfs on Pulse Cannon/Ion Wave, and a new gimped version of Mortar Volley (Artillery Blitz) our AoE damage is not quite what it was in the previous tiers. However we don’t have to sacrifice our single target rotation to do AoE so it is still quite good.

Burst Damage: 8/10

Despite being a DoT based spec, and roughly 30% of our damage coming from dots, Plasmatech can offer some very high burst. With an auto crit on High Impact Bolt every 15 seconds, and our new Overcharged Plasma proc on Plasma Flare, which can be abused in the opener along with Shoulder Cannon and Combat Focus to pull off some crazy opening numbers, our burst damage is on par with some of the burst specs when setup correctly.

Raid Utility: 7/10

With a taunt, Guard, reduced cooldown on Sonic Round and reduced cooldown on Adrenaline Rush (assuming you’re getting attacked) Plasmatech offers some decent raid utility, but not as good when compared to Tactics. If you try to offtank you will most likely explode due to no Reflexive Shield and no 30% AoE/Stun damage reduction. Also there is no Sundered debuff in Pyrotech, so keep that in mind when playing this spec.

Survivability: 6/10

With no Energy Reflexive Shield, and no 30% AoE/Stun damage reduction, Plasmatech can be quite squishy despite wearing Heavy Armor. This is probably the most squishy melee discipline now when compared to the other ones.

Gearing

The following numbers are taken from Bant’s Optimal Stats For All 24 Disciplines, KoTET Edition forum post on the SWToR website. For reference E = Enhancement (this includes Implants and Earpieces); A = Augment; C = Crystal.

Eternal Commander MK-3, Tier 1: Artifact (230 ilvl): 7556+-273 DPS @ 48.1 APM

  • 7167 Endurance
  • 5901 Mastery (Stim)
  • 3183 Power
  • 1469 Critical (5xE, 4xA, 2xC)
  • 1130 Alacrity (2xE, 8xA)
  • 735 Accuracy (3xE, 2xA)

Eternal Commander MK-13, Tier 2: Artifact (234 ilvl): 7847+-288 DPS @ 48.2 APM

  • 7440 Endurance
  • 6128 Mastery (Stim)
  • 3337 Power
  • 1518 Critical (6xE, 2xA, 2xC)
  • 1152 Alacrity (12xA)
  • 760 Accuracy (4xE)

Eternal Commander MK-15, Tier 2: Legendary (236 ilvl): 8272+-311 DPS @ 48.9 APM

  • 7741 Endurance
  • 6216 Mastery (1xA)
  • 3424 Power
  • 1667 Critical (4xE, 6xA, 2xC)
  • 1376 Alacrity (4xE, 6xA)
  • 736 Accuracy (2xE, 1xA, Stim)

Iokath MK-3, Tier 3: Artifact (240 ilvl): 8542+-326 DPS @ 49.1 APM

  • 7881 Endurance
  • 6284 Mastery (1xC)
  • 3506 Power
  • 1720 Critical (2xE, 11xA, 1xC)
  • 1435 Alacrity (7xE)
  • 733 Accuracy (1xE, 3xA, Stim)

Iokath MK-5, Tier 3: Legendary (242 ilvl): 8896+-345 DPS @ 49.3 APM

  • 8205 Endurance
  • 6493 Mastery
  • 3694 Power
  • 1783 Critical (6xE, 2xA, 2xC)
  • 1509 Alacrity (3xE, 9xA)
  • 743 Accuracy (1xE, 3xA, Stim)

The most important part about gearing is getting as close to the 736 accuracy cap as you can, the rest of the stats can be played around with a bit, as long as you don’t go over the top with it. As far as relics go you will still want to use the Focused Retribution and Serendipitous Assault ones. For Set bonus you will want the 6 piece Combat Tech set bonus to maximize DPS potential.

Utilities

Recommended utilities are in bold

Skillful

clip_image002  Iron Will Reduces the cooldown of Tenacity by 30 seconds and the cooldown of Hold the Line by 10 seconds. Reduced cooldown on Hold the Line is good for both mobility and completely ignoring mechanics. Reduced cooldown on Tenacity is more of a PvP thing.
clip_image004 Parallactic Combat Stims You recharge 20 Energy Cells when stunned, immobilized, knocked down or otherwise incapacitated. Additionally your next Tech ability deals 10% extra damage or healing. Situational, but good on fights where you get stunned a lot like Brontes, or the Drouks in Explosive Conflict.  Take this over Battlefield Training if that is the case.
clip_image006 Reflective Armor When Into the Fray is triggered, it will also deal X elemental damage to the attacker if the attacker is within 10 meters. 100% mandatory to have, as there is usually some sort of AoE damage going out on almost all fights, and it’s free elemental damage each time you get hit.
clip_image008 Entangling Tools Tactical Surge, Ion Pulse and Explosive Surge reduce the movement speed of affected targets by 25% for 3 seconds. Additionally, Neural Jolt slows the target by 50% for 6 seconds. PvP utility
clip_image010 Muzzle Augs Increases the range of Ion Pulse and Tactical Surge by 2 meters and the radius of Explosive Surge by 1 meter Worthless, 2 meter increase? LUL
clip_image012 Shrap Satchel Increases Explosive Surge damage by 25% Take this if you are in a fight with a lot of adds.

Masterful

clip_image002[4] Battlefield Training Increases movement speed by 15%. (only works while in combat) Only taken as there’s not much else for PvE, but 15% extra movement speed is always good.
clip_image004[4] Electro Shield When activated, your Reactive Shield charges with electricity, zapping attackers for elemental damage when they deal direct damage to you. This effect cannot occur more than once each second. 100% mandatory, free elemental damage when getting hit while Reactive Shield is active.
clip_image006[5] Accelerated Reel Reduces the cooldown of Harpoon by 10 seconds. PvP utility
clip_image008[5] Sonic Rebounder Sonic Round protects all friendly targets in its area of impact, excluding you, granting Sonic Rebounder, which reflects the next direct, single-target attack back at the attacker. 100% mandatory, helps out the healers and DPS checks. This is one of the best utilities we bring so use it!
clip_image010[5] Containment Tactics Reduces the cooldown of Cryo Grenade by 15 seconds. PvP utility
clip_image012[5] Frontline Defense Reduces the cooldown of Riot Strike by 2 seconds. PvP Utility

Heroic

clip_image002[6] Strategic Supremacy Harpoon immobilizes the target for 3 seconds. In addition the cooldown of Stealth Scan is reduced by 5 seconds, and any target it reveals is immobilized for 3 seconds and increases the movement speed of all allies within the scan area, excluding yourself, by 50% for as long as they remain within it and for 6 seconds after it expires or they leave the area. PvP utility
clip_image004[6] Advance the Line Increases the duration of Hold the Line by 4 seconds. Good for increased mobility and being able to ignore some mechanics.
clip_image006[7] Smothering Slag Flak Shell reduces the movement speed of all affected targets by 75%. This effect can only occur once every 30 seconds. PvP utility
clip_image008[7] Paralytic Augs Increases the durations of Cryo Grenade by 1 second and Neural Surge by .5 seconds. PvP utility
clip_image010[7] Re-energizers When Reserve Powecell is activated, it recharges 10 energy cells over the next 5 seconds and immediately increases threat towards all current enemies by a small amount if Ion Cell is active, or reduces threat towards all current enemies if Ion Cell is not active. Gives an extra 10 energy cells to play around with, take it.
clip_image012[7] Efficient Tools Allows Adrenaline Rush to be activated while stunned and causes Adrenaline Rush to purge stun effects when activated. This will not work against other types of incapacitating effects or scripted stuns, which are often used by Flashpoint and Operation bosses or other special non-player characters. In addition, increases the range of Harpoon and Shoulder Cannon by 10 meters and eliminates the heat generated by Cryo Grenade and Neural Surge. PvP utility

Legendary

clip_image002[8] Aim Extensions Battle Focus grants Aim Extensions, allowing Ion Pulse, Tactical Surge, Ion Wave, Ion Storm, Flak Shell, Artillery Blitz, Energy Blast, Cell Burst, Plasma Flare, and Plasmatize to be used at 30 meters for 15 seconds. Useless, looks cool, but that’s about it.
clip_image004[8] Guard Cannon Damaging a target with your Shoulder Cannon Missiles heals you for 3% of your total health. Might be good for solo content, but worthless in endgame PvE.
clip_image006[9] Pull and Pummel Harpoon deals tech damage to pulled targets and grants Pull and Pummel, causing your next Stock Strike or Shock Strike against the pulled target to deal 20% additional kinetic damage and stun the target for 1.5 seconds. This effect lasts for 6 seconds. Useful when dummy parsing to replace a Rapid Shots but that’s about it.
clip_image008[9] Focus Stims Battle Focus increases damage done by 5% while Ion Cell is being utilized and increases damage reduction by 5% while Ion Cell is not being utilized. Worthless
clip_image010[9] Charge the Line Hold the Line increases movement speed by an additional 45% while active. Good for on demand speed boost.
clip_image012[9] Battering Blitz Using Storm grants Battering Blitz, resetting the cooldown of Storm and increasing movement speed by 30% for 6 seconds. While Battering Blitz is active, Storm may be used once within 10 meters of the target and deals 50% additional damage but does not cause an additional interrupt, immobilize or charge. This effect cannot occur more than once every 15 seconds. Might be useful for leveling, but other than that, worthless.

Abilities and Passives

Passives

Plasmatech Passives

clip_image002[10] Ionized Ignition Shockstrike, Ion Pulse and Explosive Surge trigger Plasma Cell on all affected targets.
clip_image004[10] Heated Tools Reduces the cooldown of Ion Wave by 3 seconds , and causes Shockstrike to root the target for 2 seconds.
clip_image006[11] Superheated Plasma Increases the damage dealt by Plasma Cell by 10% and its chance to be triggered by 5%.
clip_image008[11] Assault Frame Reduces damage taken from all periodic effects by 15%.
clip_image010[11] Cell Generator Increases critical hit chance of elemental attacks by 3% and you recharge 2 energy cells every 1.5 seconds while Plasma Cell is being utilized.
clip_image012[11] Insulating Augs Increases elemental and internal damage reduction by 5% and reduces the cooldown of Sonic Round by 10 seconds.
clip_image014 Hyper Assault Cell Activating Shockstrike makes your next High Impact Bolt an automatic critical hit.
clip_image016 Pulse Generator Ion Pulse, Explosive Surge, and Plasma Flare grant Pulse Generator, increasing the damage of your next Ion Wave by 20% causing it to slow affected targets by 45%. This effect can stack up to 2 times.
clip_image018 Rain of Fire Ion Wave spreads your periodic Incendiary Round effect to the targets it damages, as long as it damages targets already affected by your Incendiary Round.
clip_image020 Plasmatic Assault Increases the critical damage bonus of Ion Wave, Shockstrike, Plasmatize, and Plasma Flare by 10%.
clip_image022 Adrenaline Fueled While Adrenaline Rush is active, your damage reduction is increased by 30%. Additionally the active cooldown of Adrenaline Rush is reduced by 6 seconds when you are attacked. This effect cannot occur more than once per second.
clip_image024 Plasma Barrage Plasma Flare makes your next Ion Pulse or Explosive Surge generate deplete no energy cells. Additionally, Ion Wave will now Overwhelm the targets it damages. Overwhelmed targets take 10% more damage from ar attacks.
clip_image026 Burnout Increases the damage dealt by Elemental attacks by 10% on targets below 30% max health. Additionally, Plasmatize costs 5 less energy cells.
clip_image028 Hazardous Heat Increases the critical chance of Plasma Flare by 10%.
clip_image030 Overcharged Plasma Ion Wave causes the next Plasma Flare to deal 20% more damage.

Trooper Passives

clip_image002[12] Into the Fray Increases the duration of Reactive Shield by 3 seconds. In addition, suffering direct damage from area attacks heals you for 2.5% of your total health. This effect cannot occur more than once every 3 seconds.
clip_image004[12] Focused Impact High Impact Bolt ignores 60% of the targets armor and Stockstrike or Shockstrike deals 10% more damage.

Abilities

Rotational Abilities

clip_image002[14] Ion Pulse Fires an Ion Pulse at the target, dealing X elemental damage.Cost: 15 Cells, Cooldown: None, Range: 10m
clip_image004[14] Ion Wave Blasts everything in a 10-meter cone with ionized energy, dealing X elemental damage to up to 8 targets.Cost: 20 Cells, Cooldown: 15s, Range: 10m
clip_image006[13] High Impact Bolt Fires a very powerful round at the target that deals X weapon damage. Only usable against incapacitated targets or targets suffering from periodic damage.Cost: 15 Cells, Cooldown: 15s, Range: 10m
clip_image008[13] Shockstrike Strikes the target with an overcharged rifle butt, dealing X kinetic damage and releasing a powerful discharge that deals X elemental damage. Replaces Stockstrike.Cost: 15 Cells, Cooldown: 9s, Range: 4m
clip_image010[13] Incendiary Round Launches an Incendiary projectile, setting the target ablaze for X elemental damage and an additional X elemental damage over 15 seconds.Cost: 15 Cells, Cooldown: None, Range: 30m
clip_image012[13] Plasma Flare Emits an energetic plasma burst, dealing X elemental damage to the target.Cost: 12 Cells, Cooldown: 15s, Range: 10m
clip_image014[4] Plasmatize Drenches the target with a blast of plasma, melting them for X elemental damage over 30 seconds. Plasmatize also makes the target susceptible for 45 seconds, increasing the damage the target takes from tech attacks by 5%. When a target affected by Plasmatize dies, Plasmatize will spread to the closest enemy within 10 meters that is not already affected by your Plasmatize.Cost: 10 Cells, Cooldown: None, Range: 10m
clip_image016[4] Hammer Shot Fires a series of hammering shots that deals X weapon damage to the target.Cost: None, Cooldown: None, Range: 30m

AoE Abilities

clip_image002[16] Flak Shell Fires a high impact shell that instantly explodes on contact with the target, spraying the area with shrapnel shards that deal X kinetic damage to up to 8 enemies within 8 meters of the initial target.Cost: 15 Cells, Cooldown: 15s, Range: 10m
clip_image004[16] Artillery Blitz Call in a strike while unloading your own plasma blitz upon an area dealing X kinetic damage and X elemental damage over the duration to up to 8 enemie. Standard and weak targets are knocked down by the blast. Can be used while moving.Channel Duration: 3s, Cost: , Cooldown: 45s, Range: 10m
clip_image006[15] Explosive Surge Emits an Explosive Surge, dealing X elemental damage to up to 8 targets within 5 meters.Cost: 15 Cells, Cooldown: None, Range: 5m

Offensive Cooldowns

clip_image002[18] Combat Focus Increases ranged and tech critical chance by 25% for 15 seconds.Cooldown: 120s
clip_image004[18] Shoulder Cannon Deploys a Shoulder Cannon that gradually loads 4 missiles over time. Once loaded, the Shoulder Cannon can be triggered again to fire against an enemy target within 10 meters, launching 1 missile that deals X kinetic damage. A missile can be launched up to once per 1.5 seconds. Loading and launching the Shoulder Cannon does not respect the global cooldown and can be done while controlled. Once all missiles have been loaded, depleting all missiles puts the Shoulder Cannon on cooldown for 1.5 minutes.Cooldown: 90s
clip_image006[17] Recharge Cells Recharges 50 energy cells over 3 seconds.Cooldown: 120s
clip_image008[15] Reserve Powercell Your next ability depletes no energy cells. This effect lasts 15 seconds.Cooldown: 120s
clip_image010[15] Advanced Polybiotic Attack Adrenal Increases Power by 870 and reduces all healing done by 20%. Lasts 15 seconds.Cooldown: 180s

Defensive Cooldowns

clip_image002[20] Reactive Shield Increases damage reduction by 25% for 15 seconds.Cooldown: 120s
clip_image004[20] Adrenaline Rush Activating this ability makes you Fired Up for 60 seconds, which triggers an Adrenaline Rush when your health is reduced to 35% or less. If your health is already 35% or less, Adrenaline Rush triggers immediately. Once Triggered Adrenaline Rush goes on cooldown for 3 minutes and rapidly heals you up to 35% of your max health for 8 seconds but will not exceed 35% of you max health.Cooldown: 180s
clip_image006[19] Advanced Polybiotic Medpac Restores 37,225 – 44,545 health and an additional 11,136 health over 15 seconds. Only usable once per fight.Cooldown: 90s

Other Abilities

clip_image002[22] Tenacity Purges all incapacitating and movement-impairing effects.Cooldown: 120s
clip_image004[22] Cryo Grenade Hurls a cryo grenade that freezes the target, dealing X energy damage and stunning it for 4 seconds.Cost: 5 Cells, Cooldown: 60s, Range: 10m
clip_image006[21] Neural Surge Deals X internal damage to up to 8 enemies within 8 meters, stunning them for 2.5 seconds.Cost: 5 Cells, Cooldown: 45s, Range: 8m
clip_image008[17] Hold the Line Grants 6 seconds of immunity from movement-impairing effects, knockdowns and physics and increases movement speed by 30%.Cooldown: 45s
clip_image010[17] Stealth Scan Fires off probes that scan the area for stealthed opponents. Probes last for 10 seconds.Cooldown: 20s, Range: 30m
clip_image012[15] Neural Jolt Fires a neural dart that taunts the target, forcing it to attack you. Player targets deal 30% less damage when attacking anyone other than you. Effect lasts 6 seconds.Cooldown: 15s, Range: 30m
clip_image014[6] Sonic Round Drops threat towards all current enemies. Enemy players have their damage reduced by 30% for 6 seconds unless they attack you.Cooldown: 20s, Range: 30m
clip_image016[6] Guard While active the guarded player takes 5% less damage and generates 25% less threat. In addition so long as you remain within 15 meters of the guarded player, 50% of all incoming damage from enemy players is transferred back to you. Note: as of 5.0 this can be used as a DPS.Range: 30m
clip_image018[4] Riot Strike Interrupts the targets current action and prevents that ability from being used for the next 4 seconds.Cooldown: 12s, Range: 4m
clip_image020[4] Harpoon Fires a Harpoon line that pulls the target to your location and generates a high amount of threat. Cannot be used on targets in cover.Cooldown: 45s, Range: 30m
clip_image022[4] Storm Storm to a distant target, dealing X kinetic damage, interrupting the target’s current action and immobilizing the target for 2 seconds. Cannot be used against targets in cover.Cooldown: 15s, Range: 30m

Rotation

Opener

I found this opener to be best for burst, and to keep things running smoothly in the long run. I start off by using Ion Wave to get the Overcharged Plasma proc for Plasma Flare, this is done before entering combat.

swtor-plasmatech-vanguard-opener

General Rotation

The rotation is completely static, the only thing that changes is where your Shockstrike lands. Note that I place a GCD between Plasmatize and Incendiary Round, this is done so that Shockstrike can be used on cooldown.

swtor-plasmatech-vanguard-rotation

Your 3 fillers are

  1. Shockstrike
  2. Ion Pulse
  3. Hammer Shot

Shockstrike should be used 100% on cooldown, Ion Pulse and Hammer Shot should be used depending on your Energy level and whether or not you have Recharge Cells or Reserve Powercell coming off of cooldown.

AoE Rotation

For the AoE rotation I recommend just following the single target rotation and swapping out Fillers with Explosive Surges or Flak Shells, it’s best to use Explosive Surge 1st to apply the burning DoT from Plasma Cell then use Flak Shell if they already have the DoT. I do not recommend using Artillery Blitz as it costs more Heat than the 2 abilities I just mentioned and does less damage than Flak Shell per GCD.

Sample Parse and Video

Here’s a link to my current highest parse. The parse is done in mostly 240+ gear minus armorings.

Fights you can use Plasmtech over Tactics

Eternity Vault:

  • None

Karraga’s Palace:

  • Jarg and Sorno
  • Foreman Crusher

Explosive Conflict:

  • Warlord Kephess – Only if assigned to Trenchcutters

Terror from Beyond:

  • None

Scum and Villainy:

  • Dash’roode
  • Titan 6

Dread Fortress:

  • Draxus
  • Grob’thok
  • Corruptor Zero

Dread Palace:

  • Bestia
  • Calphayus – Only if going Orange side 1st

The Ravagers:

  • Torque

Temple of Sacrifice:

  • Malaphar
  • Revanite Commanders

Keep in mind on all of these that you are sacrificing 30% AoE damage reduction for more damage towards adds.

Acknowledgements

Acknowledgements

Special thanks to Kevin/Them for giving me a chance to tryout for <Failure> and to Nalia for putting me on a raid team. Shoutout to my current team members: Auro, Aretha, Beast, Blas, Dongo, Mac, Mon, Narwhal, Nestle, and Phreaky. Shoutout to my good friends Veldix and Rhegas. Lastly, thanks to Dulfy for hosting this guide.

About Me

Most people know me as Jay/Jaymis, or by my Marauder’s name Septumis. I have been playing SWTOR since 2.0 but never got into hardcore raiding until late 3.0. I joined <Failure> on the Harbinger in 4.0 and have since then cleared all content this game has to offer in 4.0 including Timed Runs and everything but Master Mode Dread Master Styrak in 5.0. You can watch me live on Twitch here.

  • Brioli

    Good guide. I just started back after quitting shortly after 4.0, and was trying to wrap my head using shockstrike on cooldown. Guess it can be done since pulse cannon, which was a 3 sec channel, was replaced by the instant ability. Just took me a while to remember why it couldn’t be used on cooldown in the past.

    • Jaymis

      Glad I could be of help.

  • Dude

    thank you for the guide, it helped me a lot, seeing as i was gone for a bit it made it easy to figure out a beginning point to set up my stuff at….thanks.

    • Jaymis

      You’re welcome.

  • Jayden Wintertainment

    I know this is late, but in heroics there are 2 armor pack things as mission rewards to choose from, Boltblaster’s and Demolisher’s, which one is preferred for plasma tech? I’m asking because it’s a damage class but has a lot of tank features.

    • Krut Zer

      Boltmaster’s

      You are a damage dealer, you want to do as much damage as possible

      • Jaymis

        ^ What he said.

  • Jasken

    That critical rating number should be 1371 not 1469 since you said you are using a mastery stim with that build. 5 enhancements would give you 905, 4 augments gives you 384, and the 2 eviscerating crystals will give you 82. Totaling to 1371 with a mastery stim active. I am assuming the numbers were just ripped from Bant’s post since he also has the same number. Question: Are his numbers still accurate? Or should they be used more of as a guide now after the changes made in 5.2?

    Other than that I like the guide.

  • Richard Hufnagel

    Since my Powertech runs AP, I wanted to make my VG use Plasmatech. I find it quite good so far. I came back and my VG was 55, I am now 68. With 5.6 has anything changed with the build or rotation? I am not sure I am doing it right. Thank you

  • Leont Stepanov

    The irony… Single target damage 4/10, look at it now, highest parse is Pyrotech 😀

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