SWTOR 5.0 Engineering Sniper PvP Guide by Kitchen Sink

SWTOR 5.0 Engineering Sniper PvP Guide by Kitchen Sink.

Intro to 5.0 Engineering Sniper

Engineering is definitely the most challenging of the three Sniper specs. I strongly recommend that you play the other two specs before trying this one. It is a very controversial spec, it’s basically a hybrid between DoT and burst specs but it has very strong AoE and CC as well. Because it contains all of these things there is a lot you have to think about when playing this spec, you need to be able to control all of your AoE, your DoTs, and your burst windows which is why I consider it the hardest of the specs.


Utilities for Engineering Sniper PvP



1849314209_1991484756-1_thumb Ballistic Dampers: Entering cover grants 3 charges of Ballistic Dampers. Each charge absorbs 30% of the damage dealt by an incoming attack. This effect cannot occur more than once every 1.5 seconds. Ballistic Dampers can only be gained once every 6 seconds.

This utility is a huge help for your defensives, be sure to re-enter cover constantly to refresh the three stacks. A MUST have utility.

519073940_1663542290 (1) Vital Regulators: While in cover, you heal for 2% of your total health every 3 seconds.

Since you aren’t going to be using Snipe a lot in this spec there isn’t really any reason to waste a utility point in Snap Shot, this is your next best option in the Skillful tree. Unless of course you want to go AoE spam at mid and get numbers.

3482625395_3507575059-1 Imperial Efficiency: Increases the damage dealt by Suppressive Fire by 25%.

This utility is purely for AoE spam purposes.


3048784136_2671232944-1_thumb Seek Cover: When Entrench ends or you leave cover while Entrench is active, you gain Seek Cover, which increases your movement speed by 50% and grants immunity to movement impairing effects. Lasts 6 seconds.

A nice utility mostly helpful for dealing with other snipers. Using this will cause other snipers to be unable to slow or immobilize you within his/her Diversion if you are entrenched, this means that if they take the utility which slows targets affected by diversion they will essentially have wasted a utility point since it has no effect on you (I will dedicate an entire paragraph to Diversion later in the guide).

1626143083_2805137530 Reestablish Range: Countermeasures purges all movement impairing effects when activated and grants Reestablish Range, increasing your movement speed by 75% for 6 seconds. Additionally, the final shot of Series of Shots or Penetrating Blasts knocks back the target if they are within 10 meters.

This is extremely helpful when it comes to dealing with melee. The movement speed makes kiting a lot easier and the extra knockback makes a melee’s life a living hell.

2289162421_3635850666-2 Evacuate: Reduces the cooldown of Maim and Flashbang by 15 seconds.


2325093148_925227914-1 Pillbox Sniper: Reduces the cooldown of Entrench by 15 seconds and Cover Pulse knocks targets back an additional 5 meters.

The reasoning behind investing a point in this utility is pretty self explanatory, you get even more time of stun immunity and your knockback gets buffed.


265384158_3363115073-1 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 (the full duration of Ballistic Shield) 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 is probably the most overpowered utility a Sniper has, it makes you almost unkillable while inside your Ballistic Shield. If you are fighting a melee, that player needs to be inside your Ballistic Shield to attack you which just increases your damage reduction even more. The heal you receive from taking this utility adds up to a 60% heal over the duration of 20 seconds which is incredible. This utility is an absolute MUST.

4014554438_885131366 Tactical Retreat: Covered Escape (your roll) heals you for 10% of your maximum health. Additionally, the duration of Evasion is increased by 2 seconds.

Again, this is a MUST HAVE utility. Covered Escape has a 20 second cooldown which which means that you get a 10% heal every 20 seconds, and you get an extra 2 seconds of immunity to melee and ranged damage with Evasion.


Critical Rating: Patch 4.0 removed Surge Rating from the game and merged Critical Chance and Critical Multiplier into one stat called Critical Rating. This means that stacking Critical Rating both increases your chance to land a crit and how much it will hit the target for. Since they nerfed bolster you’re no longer going to be able to have 45% critical chance so forget about that. I currently run with about 42% Critical Chance and 70% Critical Multiplier which is a little over 1700 Critical Rating. Please keep in mind that I am not fully 242 geared so my stats are not completely maxed out, but I doubt they will change by a lot when I hit full 242, it will definitely not become higher than 1800 Critical Rating.

Alacrity Rating: Alacrity is of extreme importance for Snipers. The ability to be able to press a button before your opponent is essential. For example, Ambush has a 1.5 second activation time if you have the buff given from using two Snipes, the GCD (Global Cooldown) is 1.5 seconds as well, Alacrity decreases the Global Cooldown which means that your GCD will be lower than the time it takes for the Ambush cast causing you to have a small window to roll the Ambush, that’s 20-30k damage you can mitigate. Alacrity can be the difference between life and death, it is an absolute MUST. Alacrity also helps your energy regen and it makes your DoTs tick faster. Now I absolutely love Alacrity and the more I play with it the more I love it so I currently run with roughly 11% Alacrity.

Accuracy Rating: As a Sniper, tanks usually focus their taunts and other debuffs on you since they know how much Snipers can hit for. On top of that, tanks have a tendency to apply a debuff on you which reduces your Accuracy by 5%. To counter this, you need to have 105% Accuracy to make sure that you always hit your target no matter what the enemy tank has done to you. And most classes have a base of 5% defense chance so having 105% Accuracy is ideal, of course other classes like Sins/Shadows have more but I would not recommend getting even more Accuracy to counter that since you will start losing other stats you need.

Relics: Relic of Focused Retribution and Relic of Serendipitous Assault (Mastery buff and Power buff).

Crystals: Eviscerating Crystals (+41 Critical Rating)

Abilities and Rotation

Core Abilities

clip_image002[7] Explosive Probe: Puts an explosive probe on the target that detonates when the target takes damage, dealing X kinetic damage to the target. This is your hardest hitting ability in the Engineering spec. It hits almost as hard as Ambush does in the Marksmanship spec so it does a lot of burst. Should be used on cooldown followed by Series of Shots.
clip_image004 EMP Discharge: Deals X energy damage to the enemy affected by your Interrogation Probe and hard stuns the enemy for 2 seconds if it is also affected by your Plasma Probe. This is your second hardest hitting ability in the Engineering Spec, should be used on targets that have 3 stacks of Electrified Railgun and are within your Plasma Probe. It is worth noting that this ability CANNOT be LOS’d, you can always use this ability as long as the target is affected by Interrogation Probe.
clip_image006 Plasma Probe: Deploys a probe that attacks the target area, dealing X elemental damage over 9 seconds to up to 8 targets within 8 meters and slowing all affected targets by 70% while they remain in the target area. Only one Plasma Probe can be active at a time. In addition, Plasma Probe overwhelms the target it damages for 45 seconds. Overwhelmed targets take 10% more damage from area attacks. You should always have Plasma Probe, it is an incredibly strong AoE ability, especially against melee with that slow.
clip_image008 Interrogation Probe: Summons an interrogation probe that clings to the target and deals X energy damage over 18 seconds. Only one Interrogation Probe can be active at a time. This is one of your DoTs in the Engineering Spec, it does almost twice as much damage as Corrosive Dart and makes EMP Discharge usable so it should be prioritized over Corrosive Dart.
clip_image010 Corrosive Dart: Fires a dart at the target that deals X internal poison damage over 18 seconds. Additionally, Corrosive Dart marks its target for 45 seconds. Marked targets take 5% increased damage from ranged weapon attacks. Only use this if you already have Interrogation Probe active.
clip_image012 Fragmentation Grenade: Deals X kinetic damage to the target and applies 1 stack of Electrified Railgun. I personally prefer using this over Snipe in the Engineering Spec because you will deplete less energy (I will explain why in the Passives section) and because it is yellow damage which means that it has a bigger chance of actually hitting the target than Snipe does. But Snipe does a little more damage and causes your Cluster Bombs to do damage (assuming they aren’t already gone from using Series of Shots) so it is situational.
clip_image014 Snipe: Shoots a target X weapon damage and applies 1 stack of Electrified Railgun.
clip_image016 Series of Shots: Unleashes a series of shots over the duration of 3 seconds that deals X weapon damage and uses 20 energy over the duration. This should be used on cooldown and immediately after Explosive Probe to trigger the 4 stacks of Cluster Bombs.
clip_image018 Takedown: Attempts to take the target down with a single powerful shot that deals X weapon damage. Only usable on targets at or below 30% max health. This should be used instead of Fragmentation Grenade and Snipe on targets below 30% health since it does way more damage.
clip_image020 Suppressive Fire: Sprays a wave of bolts over the target area, dealing X damage to up to 8 enemies over the duration of 4.5 seconds. This ability is your AoE spam ability, use this if you see a group containing 3 or more enemies to get those DPS numbers that everyone wants.

Key Passives

clip_image002 Engineer’s Tool Belt: Increases the damage dealt by Fragmentation Grenade by 10% and when Fragmentation Grenade deals damage, it restores 5 energy. This is part of the reason why I prefer Fragmentation Grenade over Snipe.
clip_image004[5] Cluster Bombs: After Explosive Probe detonates, it drops 4 cluster bombs on the target. A cluster bomb explodes when damaged by blaster fire, dealing X kinetic damage to the target. Cluster bombs cannot be detonated more than once every half second. In addition, the cluster bombs detonate, you recover 5 energy. This is why I tell you to use Series of Shots right after Explosive Probe, to trigger those cluster bombs. It works perfectly since Series of Shots hits the target 4 times and Explosive Probe drops 4 cluster bombs.
clip_image006 Inventive Interrogation Techniques: Interrogation Probe reduces its targets movement speed by 30%.
clip_image008 Imperial Auto Loader: Reduces the cooldown of Series of Shots by 6 seconds, reduces the energy cost of Series of Shots by 1 per second, and reduces the energy cost of Snipe by 5.
clip_image010[6] Electrified Railgun: When Series of Shots deals damage, it electrifies the target, dealing X elemental damage over 6 seconds. Stacks up to 3 times. This is a DoT, you should try to keep 3 stacks of this on your target at all times. You should be able to do this if you use Series of Shots on cooldown and use either Fragmentation Grenade or Snipe once while Series of Shots is on cooldown.
clip_image012 Scatter Bombs: Reduces the energy cost of Fragmentation Grenade by 5 (this essentially means that Fragmentation Grenade only costs 10 energy if it hits its target whereas Snipe costs 15 energy). In addition, when rolling with Covered Escape, you drop 5 scatter bombs in a trail behind you. These bombs explode soon after, dealing X kinetic damage and immobilizing any nearby targets for 3 seconds. This is super annoying to deal with for melee characters.
clip_image014[6] Energy Overrides: After activating EMP Discharge, the next Fragmentation Grenade costs no energy. This is a great help for your energy management.
clip_image016[6] Electrified Conduit: When EMP Discharge damages a target, Electrified Conduit deals X additional energy damage per stack of Electrified Railgun on the target. Additionally, EMP Discharge harms up to 7 other enemy targets within 5 meters if the primary target is affected by Electrified Railgun. This adds to Engineering’s amazing AoE and this is also why you should have 3 stacks of Electrified Railgun on your target before using EMP Discharge.
clip_image018[6] Hold Position: While in cover, ranged defense is increased by 20%, you cannot be leapt to or pulled, and you are immune to interrupts and ability activation pushback. In addition, Evasion reduces the damage you take from force and tech attacks by 75% while it is active. This is probably the most important passive a Sniper has, it explains why being in cover is extremely beneficial and it provides a buff for Evasion. While I strongly think that it is always better to roll force and tech heavy burst attacks you don’t always have it available, Evasion is the next best thing to use, of course considering you haven’t already put it on cooldown to stop melee or ranged burst. Remember that you only get the buffed Evasion if you are in cover.

Offensive Cooldowns

clip_image002[9] Laze Target: Increases the critical hit chance of your next Ambush, Explosive Probe, or Cull by 100%. Lasts 20 seconds. Should be used ON COOLDOWN

NOTE: With the 6 piece set bonus Laze Target receives 2 stacks and its duration is doubled.

clip_image004[7] Target Acquired: Increases ranged and tech accuracy by 30% and armor penetration by 15% for 10 seconds. Use this ability with autocrit Explosive Probe.

NOTE: With the 4 piece set bonus Target Acquired gets a 15 second cooldown reduction and recovers 15 energy

clip_image006[5] Adrenaline Probe: Summons a droid that helps you recover 50 energy over 3 seconds. This is pretty self explanatory.


Now, we all know that having a set rotation in PvP isn’t really possible because of how situational it is. So I will tell you what I do at the start of a match and hopefully you can work from there.

Cover + Plasma Probe > Laze Target + Target Acquired + Explosive Probe > Series of Shots > Interrogation Probe > EMP Discharge > Fragmentation Grenade > Re-enter cover + Plasma Probe > Corrosive Dart > Series of Shots > Fragmentation Grenade or Snipe.

Things to take note of:

  • I do not pre-cast Laze Target because Explosive Probe has a very long cooldown which means I might risk losing a stack. Better to be on the safe side.
  • Cover is able to be used at the same time as Plasma Probe because cover does NOT have a GCD
  • I re-enter cover to reset my stacks of Ballistic Dampers, you need to be re-entering cover constantly.

Defensive Cooldowns

clip_image002[13] 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. With Defensive Safeguards, which made it’s way to SWTOR with the release of 5.0, Ballistic Shield has now become an oh sh*t moment ability. It provides greater defense than Enraged Defense on Juggernauts which honestly is completely stupid. If you feel like your health is dropping fast then use Ballistic Shield to keep it under control.
clip_image004[9] Imperial Preparation: Immediately finishes the active cooldowns on Evasion, Countermeasures, Shield Probe, Cover Pulse, Entrench, and Covered Escape. Use this ability ONLY if you are certain that you are going to die and you have no DCDs available.
clip_image006[7] Evasion: Increases chance to dodge melee and ranged attacks by 200% for 3 seconds (5 seconds with correct utilities). This ability needs to be timed correctly if you want as much out of it as possible. This means that if you see a burst window coming up from your opponent which involves either melee or ranged attacks then use Evasion to stop the damage from hitting you. A good example of this is when you see a Sniper casting either Cull or Ambush, if you time Evasion correctly you will dodge ALL damage coming from those abilities which means that a good chunk of their burst is gone.
clip_image008[5] Entrench: Entrenches you into cover, becoming immune to all controlling effects. Only grants protection while in cover. Lasts 20 seconds. This ability should be used ON COOLDOWN UNLESS you are white barred.
clip_image010[8] Countermeasures: Instantly lowers threat by a moderate amount. Additionally, because of the utility, Countermeasures purges movement impairing effects and increases movement speed by 75% for 6 seconds. Of course in PvP we don’t really care about lowering our threat, so this ability is good if you need to kite, LoS a ranged class attacking you, or get out of an annoying AoE ability like Diversion.
clip_image012[5] Shield Probe: Summons a probe droid that projects a shield around the Agent, absorbing a moderate amount of incoming damage for 10 seconds. Use this on cooldown whenever someone is attacking you.
clip_image014[8] Covered Escape: Roll forward 18 meters, purging movement impairing effects and landing crouched behind cover. While rolling, your chance to dodge attacks is increased by 100%. Notice that this ability causes you to dodge ALL damage, it is perfect for stopping incoming tech or force burst, or even melee and ranged if Evasion is on cooldown. The idea of how to use Evasion correctly applies here too, try to anticipate incoming burst and roll to mitigate all the damage. Covered Escape is also helpful for countering melee, the root from Scatter Bombs is amazing.
clip_image016[8] Ballistic Dampers: Grants 3 charges of Ballistic Dampers. Each charge absorbs 30% of the damage dealt by an incoming attack. This effect cannot occur more than once every 1.5 seconds. Ballistic Dampers can only be gained once every 6 seconds. Re-enter cover as much as possible to keep Ballistic Dampers on you.

NOTE: While I am fully aware that this is a utility, I do consider it a DCD because of how important it is to staying alive as a Sniper.

Crowd Control

clip_image002[17] Diversion: Reduces the accuracy by 45% and exposes from cover up to 8 enemies within 8 meters for 8 seconds. I will not be talking about this ability here since I am dedicating a whole paragraph to it later in the guide.
clip_image004[12] Flash Bang: Detonates a flash bang that blinds the target 8 seconds. Damage causes this effect to end prematurely. This is your mez (a stun that breaks on damage).
clip_image006[10] Maim: Deals X amount of damage and stuns the target for 4 seconds. This is your hard stun ability (a stun that does NOT break on damage).
clip_image008[8] Cover Pulse: Detonates an emergency charge that knocks all nearby targets back several meters and immobilizes them for 5 seconds. Damage dealt after two seconds ends the effect prematurely. This should be used if you need to get 1 or more melee away from you, or if you need to interrupt someone who’s casting. I mostly use it to interrupt healers and knock them away from the people they are healing or out of guard range.
clip_image010[11] Leg Shot: Fires a shot that deals X weapon damage and immobilizes the target for 5 seconds. This is just another root. You have a lot of these in the Engineering spec.


Diversion can be both helpful and a nuisance to Snipers. I will cover both aspects of it here. Using Diversion properly is key when it comes to fighting other Snipers, it will most likely be the most annoying thing you experience when playing the Sniper class, but because of the utilities I have told you to use, hopefully Diversion won’t be as annoying as it has the potential to be. The best and worst thing about Diversion (depending on whether you’re on the giving or receiving end of it) is that it instantly puts you out of cover, and cover makes you IMMUNE to interrupts. This means that if Diversion is thrown at you, you CAN be interrupted and on top of that, your accuracy is reduced by 45% which is why you need to get away from it ASAP. I recommend that if there is a Sniper on the enemy team, always save one of your speed boosts for Diversion. If you have Entrench up (which you most likely will) and are using the correct utilities, you CANNOT be immobilized or slowed (because of Seek Cover) which means that you can get out of Diversion considerably faster than most. Another way to counter Diversion is rolling at the right time, if you know what the animation looks like you can usually roll before it lands on you. The animation looks like the character is using his/her LEFT arm to throw a grenade with green smoke coming out of it. Since Diversion has a short travel time you do have a small window of opportunity to roll resist it.


Huge thanks to all of the following:

  • Duck and Den for helping me with the research required to make this guide.
  • Jinzu for letting me post on his Youtube Channel, Nexu Gaming.
  • Nightrain for giving me the idea for the best guild name ever, and for making worse outfits than me :p
  • Lev__x for working very hard to prove that he is the biggest scrub in Take a Seat, not me.
  • Katrinka for saying my peels are MLG.
  • Macgeiler for insta-kicking me from Mactoria’s secret because my outfits were too good, no one else would have a chance.
  • The rest of Scare Bears, Omega Knights, and Take a Seat for showing endless and awesome support.
  • Dulfy for devoting a lot of time and effort into this awesome website designed to help as many people as possible with basically everything SWTOR related.

About the Author

Most people call me Sink, I play on The Red Eclipse where I am a member of Take a Seat (a pvp guild) and I play on The Harbinger where I am a member of The Scare Bears and Omega Knights. I’ve mained the Sniper class since 2.0 and have loved it ever since. All of my character names contain the word “Sink” within them so if you ever need to get in touch with me in-game you can just type Sink in the Who tab. I have played the game since launch and have had a few long breaks, most consisting of 6-12 months. With the release of the last chapter of KOTFE I started playing again and am having so much fun with the thrill of the hunt (command crates). Thank you for taking the time to read this guide, I do hope it was helpful!

  • Marafokker

    Good sniper can confirm he knows his shit.

    • Sink


  • Bob

    How do you feel this spec works in ranked? Engineering/Sabo works GREAT in WZ’s, but in ranked arenas it seems the damage can be healed over too easily.

    • Sink

      Recently I have actually been playing Engineering more than the other two specs in ranked. The burst is really good and the new plasma probe radius increase just makes it better. The biggest problem I find though is that you need to be really careful with the placement of your plasma probe, you don’t want to unmez people you just mezzed by accident. For healer games, if I know the enemy healer is smart, I usually don’t put down plasma probe unless the enemy healer is whitebarred otherwise he is just gonna stand in it and make mez impossible.

  • Matthew

    I know there’s no “set rotation for PVP” and all that, and it might just be lucky matchups, but for something like Voidstar, I do really well just following the old 4.x PVE Rotation for this spec

    It was the 1st time I ever broke 4 million damage in a Warzone.

    • Sink

      Yeah of course if you are left to free cast you might as well refer to the PvE rotation, which happens in regs sometimes but for ranked that almost never happens. And nice job with the 4 mil 🙂

    • Alivan

      Either that or you can do this rotation: Plasma probe- > Suppressive fire >Suppressive fire. Very good for numbers in Voidstar, you can do lots of millions of damage. End of guide.

      • Sink


        • Vlad

          yeah , do that and watch your energy gone with the wind

          • Sink


  • S’renx

    Virulence or Engineering for PvP?

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