SWTOR 5.0 PvE Marksmanship Sniper Guide by Veldix

SWTOR 5.0 PvE Marksmanship Sniper guide by Veldix.

Intro to Marksmanship Sniper

Hi, I’m Veldix/Veldoodle/Veldimerc, a nightmare raider who plays mainly on the Harbinger server. I am a member of <Failure> and do a majority of my progression raiding with them. I am a newer member to the nightmare raiding community, raiding only since last February. In 4.0 I cleared all 8-man bosses with Failure and Shadow Council of the Ebon Hawk, all by hopping in Jay’s backpack (thx fam). Since 5.0 I have cleared all 8-man NiM bosses as well as all timed runs except DF and DP. I sometimes stream on twitch (www.twitch.tv/veldixdps). Feel free to drop by and ask any questions you have there or just comment on this guide.

5.0 Changes

Aside from the discipline path changes (which is pointless for me to cover in an endgame guide), the following are the only discipline/class changes in 5.0 that have affected Marksmanship:

New Passive:

Finish the Job – Dealing damage with Ambush to a target with less than 30% health grants Finish the Job, increasing the damage of your next takedown by 20%.

New Utilities:

Executioner

Passive

Flash Bang and Maim grant Executioner, allowing your next Takedown within 6 seconds to be used regardless of the target’s remaining health and deal 15% additional damage.

Controlled Chaos

Passive

For every target affected beyond the first, Diversion grants a charge of Controlled Chaos, increasing armor penetration by 15% per charge. This effect lasts 8 seconds.

Reinforcing Retreat

Passive

Covered Escape heals you for 10% of your maximum health. Additionally, Evasion now lasts 5 seconds.

Counteroffensive Safeguards

Passive

When Ballistic Shield is activated you gain a charge of Counteroffensive Safeguards for each enemy inside your Ballistic Shield, up to 4. This effect lasts 20 seconds and each charge increases your damage reduction by 5%. In addition, while inside your Ballistic Shield, you heal for 3% of your maximum health every second and you are immune to being pulled or knocked back.

Merged Utilities:

New Utility

Removed Utility

Stroke of Genius

Passive

Activating Cover Pulse makes the next Snipe or Lethal Shot activate instantly and increases your chance to resist Force and tech attacks by 20% for 6 seconds.

Counterstrike

Passive

Countermeasures will also purge all movement-impairing effects when activated.

Lumbering Impact

Passive

Shatter Shot reduces the movement speed of the target by 50% for 10 seconds. In addition, when Flash Bang ends it leaves behind Flash Powder that reduces the target’s accuracy by 20% for 8 seconds.

Flash Powder

Passive

Reduces target’s accuracy by 20% for 8 seconds after Flash Bang ends.

Reestablish Range

Passive

Striking a target with Shiv Countermeasures purges all movement-impairing effects when activated and grants Reestablish Range, increasing your movement speed by 50% 75% for 3 6 seconds. Additionally, the final shot of Series of Shots and Penetrating Blasts knocks back the target if they are within 10 meters.

Counterstrike

Passive

Countermeasures will also purge all movement-impairing effects when activated.

Hold Your Ground

Passive

Reduces the cooldowns of Shield Probe and Cover Pulse by 5 seconds, and Escape by 30 seconds. In addition, when you exit cover you gain a Cover Screen that increases your ranged defense by 20% for 6 seconds.

Cover Screen

Passive

When exiting cover, you increase your ranged defense by 20% for 6 seconds.

Changed Utilities:

Calculated Pursuit

Passive

You gain 4 charges of Calculated Pursuit upon exiting cover, which reduces the energy cost of Overload Shot by 100%. allow Snipe to be activated while moving. Each use of Overload Shot Snipe consumes 1 charge, and consumption of the first charge triggers a 20 second rate-limit on this skill. This effect lasts up to 15 seconds but is also removed by consuming all charges or reentering cover. , but reentering cover removes the effect prematurely.

Over-prepared

Passive

Reduces the cooldown of Imperial Preparation by 30 45 seconds and increases your damage reduction by 10%15% for 10 15 seconds after activating Imperial Preparation.

Vital Regulators

Passive

While in cover, you heal for 1% 2% of your total health every 3 seconds.

Gear/Stats

I am not anywhere near BiS right now and cannot give a definitive gear setup that I will use, so I am recommending following Bant’s theory crafted numbers (you should try to get as close to these as possible):

242 Gear

8796+-416 DPS @ 48.5 APM | 8205 Endurance | 6536 Mastery (1xC) | 3694 Power

1765 Critical (7xE, 1xC) | 1486 Alacrity (2xE, 11xA) | 743 Accuracy (1xE, 3xA, Stim)

240 Gear

8449+-393 DPS @ 48.3 APM | 7881 Endurance | 6327 Mastery (2xC) | 3506 Power

1705 Critical (4xE, 7xA) | 1409 Alacrity (5xE, 4xA) | 733 Accuracy (1xE, 3xA, Stim)

236 Gear

8181+-374 DPS @ 48.1 APM | 7741 Endurance | 6259 Mastery (1xA, 1xC) | 3424 Power

1650 Critical (7xE, 1xC) | 1352 Alacrity (1xE, 12xA) | 736 Accuracy (2xE, 1xA, Stim)

234 Gear

7762+-347 DPS @ 47.5 APM | 7440 Endurance | 6128 Mastery (Stim) | 3337 Power

1518 Critical (6xE, 2xA, 2xC) | 1152 Alacrity (12xA) | 760 Accuracy (4xE)

230 Gear

7475+-329 DPS @ 47.4 APM | 7167 Endurance | 5901 Mastery (Stim) | 3183 Power

1469 Critical (5xE, 4xA, 2xC) | 1130 Alacrity (2xE, 8xA) | 735 Accuracy (3xE, 2xA)

Utilities

There are many utilities that are worth taking, and this section will cover the ones that I think have the most use or could be used in certain situations in operations. I usually spec into a 2/2/2/2 setup on single target fights, or 3/1/2/2 on AoE fights.

Skillful

1849314209_1991484756 Ballistic Dampers: – See defensives section. It is a must take at all times.
3105164610_473058525 Snap Shot – Entering cover makes the next Snipe or Lethal Shot activate instantly. This effect cannot occur more than once every 6 seconds.

Snap Shot allows you to front load your snipes, which helps with energy management. It also let’s you be a little more mobile.

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Imperial Efficiency – Increases the damage dealt by Suppressive Fire by 25%.

Take this on any fight where you are going to be using suppressive fire.

 

Masterful

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Seek Cover – When Entrench ends or you leave cover while Entrench in active, you gain Seek Cover, which increases your movement speed by 50% and grants immunity to movement impairing effects. Lasts 6 seconds.

Seek Cover is a personal favorite of mine. It lets you reposition much faster with entrench active so you spend less time out of cover.

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Stroke of Genius- Activating Cover Pulse makes the next Snipe or Lethal Shot activate instantly and increases your chance to resist Force and tech attacks by 20% for 6 seconds.

Mac brought this to my attention, and I must say he was right about this utility. Instant Snipe is a nice thing to have in case you need to be mobile, and the resist chance for force/tech attacks can help healers out in certain situations

Heroic

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Pillbox Sniper – Reduces the cooldown of Entrench by 15 seconds and Cover Pulse knocks targets back an additional 4 meters.

The Entrench CD reduction goes great with the other recommended utility in this tier.

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Siege Bunker – Reduces all area effect damage taken by 60% while Entrench is active.

Turns Entrench into a great defensive CD. Incredibly useful for many fights.

Legendary

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Defensive Safeguards – When Ballistic Shield is activated you gain a charge of Defensive Safeguards for each enemy inside your Ballistic Shield, up to 4. This effect lasts 20 seconds and each charge increases your damage reduction by 5%. In addition, while inside your Ballistic Shield, you heal for 3% of your maximum health every second and you are immune to being pulled or knocked back.

This utility makes Ballistic Shield more OP than it already was. Take it.

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Deployed Shields – Reduces all damage taken while in cover by 5% and reduces the cooldown of Ballistic Shield by 30 seconds.

The 5% damage reduction in cover is very helpful, as is the 30 second CD reduction on Super Ballistic Shield.

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Controlled Chaos – Diversion grants a charge of Controlled Chaos for every target initially affected beyond the first. Each charge increases armor penetration by 10%. This effect lasts for 8 seconds.

This has the potential to allow you some massive AoE damage while providing some defensive help for your group. Only take this on heavy AoE fights.

Abilities and Passives

Defensive Abilities

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Shield Probe (30 second CD): Summons a probe droid that projects a shield around the Agent, absorbing a moderate amount of incoming damage for 10 seconds.

This is very useful for blocking some incoming damage that you know is coming (like heave on Revan)

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Entrench (45 second CD with right utilities): Entrenches you into cover, becoming immune to all controlling effects. Only grants protection while in cover. Lasts 20 seconds.

Entrench is an incredibly useful tool. If you take the right utilities, it can be used to mitigate huge amounts of AoE damage, as well as prevent knockbacks/stuns.

2179446386_482411044-1

Evasion (1 minute CD): Increases your chance to dodge melee and ranged attacks by 200% for 3 seconds. Does not break Stealth.

Evasion can be a very situational defensive. You can completely avoid some attacks, but others it do nothing. Try to learn where it can and can’t be used to effectively mitigate. We also have a passive that reduces the damage of force/tech attacks by 75% with evasion active.

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Covered Escape (20 second CD): Roll forward 18 meters, purging movement-impairing effects and landing crouched behind cover. While rolling, your chance to dodge attacks is increased by 100%.

Covered Escape is an amazing defensive. It should primarily be used to mitigate all of the damage of a single attack or to get out of damage quickly.

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Imperial Preparation (3 minute CD): Immediately finishes the active cooldowns on Evasion, Countermeasures, Shield Probe, Cover Pulse, Entrench, and Covered Escape.

Our defensive were already great, but now we can have even more of them! Imperial Prep. resets the CD’s of the 4 defensives I listed above and can allow you to mitigate so much damage in a short window of time. Healers will love you.

2101654884_620665300-1

Ballistic Shield: Deploys a ballistic shield that spans 10 meters around you, reducing the damage taken by all allies that remain inside by 20%. Lasts 20 seconds.

Rather than getting an offensive raid buff, snipers got a defensive one. This shield is absolutely amazing for phases when a group is taking massive amounts of damage. With the Counteroffensive Safeguards utility, you can be pretty much unkillable (or at least until the pvp players get it nerfed). Drop this shield on council burn and you are mitigating 20% for everyone else and 40% for yourself while healing yourself 3% every second. It can also prevent knockbacks, which is useful on brontes.

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Ballistic Dampers: absorbs 30% of the damage dealt by incoming attacks. This effect cannot occur more than once every 1.5 seconds. Ballistic Dampers can only be gained once every 6 seconds.

This is a passive utility, but it is worth mentioning here because it is so useful and you should always have this utility and is one of your best defensives. Make sure you are constantly reentering cover to keep them up. If you are specced into snapshot, Ballistic Dampers will refresh when it does as well.

Key Passives

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Muzzle Fluting: Followthrough decreases the energy cost of your next two Snipes by 5.

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Recoil Control: Firing Snipe twice in a row, firing Takedown or Ambush once, or completing a cast of Penetrating Blasts finishes the cooldown on Followthrough.

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Zeroing Shots: Sniper zeroes in your sights, reducing the activation time of your next ambush by 0.25 seconds. Stacks up to 2 times.

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Sniper’s Nest: Increases the energy regeneration rate by 1 per second while in cover.

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Marksman’s Finesse: Snipe Grants Marksman’s Finesse, increasing the armor penetration and damage dealt by your next Followthrough by 10%. Stacks up to 2 times

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Honed Shots: Snipe grants Honed Shots, increasing the critical hit chance and damage done by Snipe by 5% for 20 seconds. Stacks up to 3 times.

Opener & Rotation

Opener

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This is an ideal single target opener on bosses that allow for you to precast. After the opener you should follow priorities.

Rotation

I prefer to think of Marksmanship as a priority system as I tend to only play it on fights with a lot of target swapping, and therefore an ideal rotation isn’t going to be as possible.

Priorities

  1. Corrosive Dart
  2. Ambush (2 stacks of zeroing shots)
  3. Snipe (only to keep up honed shots at 3 stacks if it will fall off before your next snipe)
  4. Penetrating Blasts (and Sniper Volley to reset its Cooldown)
  5. Takedown (sub 30%)
  6. Followthrough
  7. Snipe
  8. Ambush (1 or no stacks of zeroing shots)
  9. Rifle Shot

You should never delay a higher priority ability except under rare circumstances (such as precasting on the Kell Dragon on Styrak or Kephess 2.0: Kephess Harder).

Typically you will have 3 “blocks” in between sniper volley uses with good uptime. Each block will consist of Penetrating Blasts > Followthrough > 2x Snipe > Followthrough > Filler > Ambush > Followthrough. Fuller will be Corrosive Dart, Takedown, or Snipe normally. The 2x Snipe > Followthrough can float one GCD back to account for corrosive dart floating in the rotation. Sometimes you will want to delay Ambush or Penetrating Blast by a GCD to maintain Corrosive Dart uptime as well if it falls off in that place in the rotation.

AoE Rotation

Suppressive fire and rifle shots in between for energy management. Super Simple™. If you can precast it, orbital strike can be useful as well. If you take the Controlled Chaos utility on an add heavy fight you can also precast diversion.

Regarding Energy Management

Use snapshot to avoid over-capping your energy when you are high on energy and about to use snipe. Try to never go below 60% energy unless you have an energy cooldown to instantly bring it back over.

Lazed Target

Generally, lazed target should be used on cooldown unless you need to save it for an upcoming burn phase (like Brontes)

Precasting on an in Combat Target

The key place this is important is on Brontes. Since you are already in combat, you can precast your dots on her before she is damageable. I have two precast methods that are dependant on whether I have the energy for orbital strike or if it is off cooldown. My timing for precasting on Brontes is as follows:

(Time Left on Channel / Time into Cast) -because the initial immunity phase is her channeling and when shields are active it is a cast, I am listing both times here.

With Orbital:

(10.0 / 0) snipe

(8.6 / 1.4) snipe

(4.5 / 5.5) Corrosive Dart

(3.1 / 6.9) Orbital Strike

(1.3 / 8.6) Ambush (Casted, not instant)

Without Orbital:

(10.0 / 0) snipe

(8.6 / 1.4) snipe

(2.7 / 7.3) Corrosive Dart

(1.3 / 8.6) Ambush (Casted, not instant)

Raiding

Marksmanship is not going to be the best spec to play on a majority of the fights, so I recommend learning virulence as well. Marksmanship will be ideal on fights with lots of target swapping. This list has been created as a recommendation for when to play each of the sniper specs (subject to nerfs and buffs).

Explosive Conflict

  • Zorn and Toth: Virulence
  • Firebrand and Stormcaller: Virulence
  • Colonel Vorgath: Virulence
  • OG Kephess: Virulence

Terror From Beyond

  • Writhing Horror: Virulence
  • Dread Guards: Virulence
  • Operator IX: Virulence or Marksmanship
  • Kephess II: Return of the Meme: Virulence
  • Terror from Beyond: Virulence

Scum and Villainy

  • Darude, Sandstorm: Engineering
  • Titan 6: Any spec works
  • Thrasher: Any spec works
  • Ops Chief and his Skittles Squad: Marksmanship
  • Olok the Shadow: Virulence
  • Cartel Warlords: Virulence
  • StyrAIDS™: Virulence or Marksmanship if NiM, Marksmanship if HM

Dread Fortress

  • Nefra: Virulence
  • Draxus: Any spec works
  • Grob’thok: Virulence or Engineering
  • Corruptor Zero: Any spec works
  • Brontes and Mini Kephess: Virulence

Dread Palace

  • Bestia: Virulence
  • Tyransasaurus Rekt: Virulence (or Engineering if you’re feeling gutsy and want to run with the melee like a champ)
  • Calphayus: Virulence or Engineering
  • Raptus:Marksmanship
  • Council: Virulence

Ravagers

  • Sparky: Virulence
  • Bulo: Virulence
  • Torque: Marksmanship
  • Master and Blaster: Virulence
  • Coratanni: Virulence

Temple of Sacrifice

  • Malaphar the Savage: Virulence
  • Sword Squadron: Virulence
  • The Underlurker: Any spec works
  • Revanite Commanders: Marksmanship
  • Revan: Virulence

Example Video

This was a Brontes kill I did in Marksmanship, and in burn phase I was able to keep up with a virulence sniper, carnage mara, and IO merc (despite worse gear). Marksmanship is 100% viable if you play it right.

How to be a Great Raider

You can be able to put out fantastic numbers on a dummy and easy bosses, but none of it matters if you can’t execute mechanics. To be a good raider, you need to but mechanics ahead of DPS. The key to being the best is being able to execute mechanics while maintaining great DPS. Learn to be aware of the things that are happening around you and prepare for mechanics in advance. Know when you need to move and be prepared to save a few abilities or pop defensives in advance.

Fluffing

There are two types of “fluff”. The good kind is when Mercs/PT’s use pyro shield or Marauders use cloak of pain and stand in things to add some dps to the boss when healing isn’t an issue. The bad kind is when you damage adds that you never need to damage, like reaches on brontes or the pirates on bulo. Don’t be a bad fluffer.

Being Ahead of the Tanks

Make sure you know where your tanks are tanking the boss. When a tank decides to taunt a boss far away from you when you just activated a Cull or Penetrating Blasts, it FeelsBadMan. Make sure you know the tanking pattern that will be used to make sure you have as much uptime as possible.

Also, don’t compare yourself to the logs on parsely for every fight. Your dps is going to be heavily dependant on the group composition for every fight. Lots of fights have AoE potential, and having a group of low AoE potential DPS allows you to get more AoE damage. There are only a few fights where RNG or Group composition will not have a large factor on dps.

Acknowledgements

Special thanks to people who have vastly helped me improved and learn:

Yolo for his original Virulence guide that I learned from.

Cloake for being the first person to put me on a NiM team.

Tool for providing quality laughs when he said he taught me how to sniper.

Dongo for being an inspiration to be better.

My boy Jay for having the most comfortable backpack in the world.

Mac cause he’s a beast and the best sniper down under.

And everyone in Failure that I run with.

  • Havik79

    Thank you, was looking to try this spec out, as I already have a couple of virulence and its gun mirror.

  • calamiti

    thank you for this guide, i m not really sure that’s Bant’s Theory are the better way to play this spec, if someone have the best stuff it would be interesting to up the power/master and down the alacrity.

  • I question what application is best for watching on score ? parse etc ? starparse I think is bugged (see dekstop bottom) ? is there any normal app which one monistor your dps/hps/threat in game and isnt bugged?

    • Corwin

      StarParse isn’t bugged, working perfectly fine for me.

      • How if its working in full mode (windowed) only , when you clicking on stats I getting desktop to a game ?

  • Var

    Excellent guide, as always. One thing I’d note for AoE: Sniper Volley is extremely useful here as the extra energy regen makes Suppressive Fire spam almost energy neutral. Especially if SV is used/started at higher (80+) energy.

  • Gemring

    “While it can be used offensively due to corrosive mine being attached to it…”
    -Covered Escape
    Did you make a Marksmanship Guide, or a Guide for Virulence? 😀

    • Veldix

      I copied the defensives section from the virulence guide, guess I forgot to remove that part. Should be fixed soon.

  • Great guide. But the overall jist is that still, Marksmanship is hands down the worst of the 3 sniper specs for PVE 🙁

    • Paulo Gomes

      True. But it’s still the most fun. My least favourite is actually the best “by numbers” spec, Virulence. I absolutely love Engineering. But Marksmanship is an easy spec, and lots of fun. And it’s great for leveling.

  • Yam’unun
  • Secrus

    Are you going to do Engineering guide as well? I am picking up sniper as rDPS and I like how you explain things in your guides

    • Veldix

      Engi guide is actually finished and awaiting publishing

      • Matthew

        I am rather interested to see what utility choices you picked for engineering, as that was my biggest hurdle when 5.0 dropped.

        It got to the point of using Vital Regulators (Heal 2%HP / 3Seconds while in cover) due to lack of good options in the Skillful and Masterful sections.

  • Stanley White

    is it even worth playing this spec at all anywhere except pvp?

    • Leont Stepanov

      Barely. Only if you are totally in love with it or/and hate other 2. Or for some reason unable to play Virulence with a correct rotation. Virulence is better in like 95% of the fights. MM can be played in most fights and you could pass dps checks, just know that Virulence would do the same thing better. And you definitely can’t carry as MM. If your other dps in the group are average and you need to step up and get some more numbers going, MM is a bad choice for that.

  • Matthew

    Two General Sniper things.
    1) In a lot of my non-raid PVE endeavors, there are a lot of times where incoming AoE is a bit pitiful, so I am wondering what you think about my swapping Siege Bunker (60% less AoE during Entrench) for Augmented Shields (Shield Probe absorbs 30% more damage)

    2) It’s a Flashpoint tip, but it’s useful to know for Lost Island. Using Entrench to ignore Project Sav-Rak’s “Smash” knockback to channel the console faster works. Using Covered Escape (Roll) for the same did not work and I got One-Shot for (0 damage) which I believe means that it is an auto-kill.
    Might have been a bug, but in case its not…

  • Havik79

    So I respecced one of my snipers from virulence, and I have a question, why does your rotation not have target acquired in it?.

    • Veldix

      I use Target Acquired as an energy management tool due to our 4 piece set bonus rather than an offensive cool down.

  • Leont Stepanov

    Nice guide, Veldix, as always.

    Sadly MM is pretty much like Lightning for sorcs.

  • The only thing I do different is to put the filler after ambush, because takedown gets a damage buff from ambush hitting an under 30% enemy, so takedown neatly slots into the rotation to take advantage.

  • Scott James Baker

    noticed a mestate with the 230 gear you only have 7 enhancement slots and on

    critical accricty and accuracy you put more then 7 when you combine the total.

    • Veldix

      it’s 10 if you include ear and implants

      • Scott James Baker

        ear and implanys and ehnahcments, so should be counted seperated

        • Elruth

          they have the same stats as an armor piece and are counted the same lol

  • Di’dac

    hey man great guide, thanks

    kind of specific question. do you throw a corrosive dart on the lightning manifestation in HM/NiM styrak? is it worth it? there are others in the group who can apply the marked debuff as well.

    let me know. thanks again.

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