5.0 Class Guides SWTOR

SWTOR 5.6 Mercenary Bodyguard PvE Guide by Wakeñbake

SWTOR 5.6 Mercenary Bodyguard PvE Guide by Wakeñbake.


Intro to Mercenary Bodyguard

Overview of healing

To start with a bit of an outline of healing in general, this may seem unnecessary to state, but as a healer it’s your job to keep everyone in your team alive and help out with DPS wherever possible. Every team has its problems, and as a result you will inevitably run into unexpected damage going out and in some instances people dying to avoidable things. So as you progress as a healer and become more comfortable with your healing class, you should aim to be able to account for the inevitable human error that will occur on any number of boss encounters in a group, and try to squeeze in as much damage on the boss as you can between healing. It’s my experience that while doing Nightmare/Master mode progression, that you quite often run into a situation where either a tank or a DPS has made a mistake (lost agro, stood in a big red circle) and it’s your job to pick up the slack. So my aim in writing this guide is to help both beginner through to veteran bodyguard merc healers progress and be a valuable member of any story mode through to nightmare/master mode operations group.

Common acronyms used in this guide

  • CD = cooldown
  • DCD = defensive cooldown
  • GCD = global cooldown
  • HPS = healing per second
  • HoT = heal over time
  • DPS = damage per second
  • AOE = area of effect
  • PVE = player versus environment (essentially any encounter that is not player versus player)
  • NiM/MM = Nightmare/Master mode

Bodyguard healing

Bodyguard mercenary healing is, by far, my favorite class to play in this game. Bodyguard healers not only have extremely good burst healing (in response to both expected and unexpected spikes of damage), fair AOE healing and great heal DPS, but as of 5.0 merc now has 3 greatDCDs; Energy shield (heals for 40% of your health with trauma regulators utility) kolto overload (heals twice as fast, lasts 2 seconds longer and heals you to 60% with kolto surge utility), and responsive safeguards as our new reflect ability which absorbs all direct single target damage and heals you for 5% of your health for every attack absorbed. This combination makes bodyguard a more than viable healing class with great survivability in any PVE boss encounter in the game.

Briefly, to assess the value of each aspect of bodyguard healing I’ll break it into 5 categories; burst healing, AOE healing, sustained healing, survivability and heal DPS. In the 5.x operative healing guide for PVE that Mac wrote, he employed a very nice 3/3 system for comparative healing quality between the 3 healer classes, so I’m going to go ahead and steal that system from him and use it here (sorry Mac):

Burst healing: 3/3

Arguably the best single target burst healing class, and this is especially true post 5.3 and sorcerer healers have roaming mend healing reduced by 25%. Bodyguard merc healing is equipped with a potential ~30k single target heal ability (when it crits); healing scan. If you have supercharged gas ready to go and power surge off CD, this gigantic single target heal can be turned into an instant cast (double instant cast if you take the power surge utility) with no ability cooldown for as long as supercharged gas lasts. Not to mention the additional HoT of kolto shell if you have a full 7 stacks on your target.

AOE healing: 2/3

The AOE potential of bodyguard is pretty decent; Kolto missile and progressive scan are great AOE abilities, especially when all your group members have full stacks of kolto shells on them. The AOE healing output of bodyguardis significantly higher than sorcerer, but less than that of operative healers.

Sustained healing: 1/3

Honestly, merc healing in a sustained damage situation is not bad. But for the sake of comparison with operative and sorcerer healing, mercenary healing comes in last unfortunately.

Source: – shout out to Bant for doing the number crunching. I know these numbers are from 5.0, but even with the nerfs, sorcerers and mercs are still most likely about on par with each other so I’ve left merc healing with a 1/3 for sustained healing for now.

Survivability: 3/3

Heavy armor, 30% AOE damage reduction, heal for 40% HP with energy shield, 60% heal with kolto overload, a new reflect ability, and two great mobility cooldowns (rocket out/hydraulic override) makes mercenary by far the most survivable healer class currently.

Heal DPS (general): 2/3

As a merc you have a clear advantage for heal DPS over operative healers since all your DPS abilities are ranged, and the SWTOR developers have gone ahead and left us with electro net, unload and rail shot for some reason. Not to mention the AOE of death from above, fusion missile (AOE DoT) and sweeping blasters. However obviously there is a fight dependent nature of this advantage and in many situations operative and sorcerer heal DPS has the potential to be higher than a merc, for that reason, I’ve given merc a 2/3 for general DPS.

If you want to know more about optimum heal DPS, refer to the following link:

Note: this is just the 4.0 version made by Palydin, but it still holds true. Except of course mercs don’t have flamethrower anymore.


Healing abilities

clip_image002 Kolto shot · Instant heals for a small amount

· Builds 1 stack of supercharge

· Vents 1 heat (2 if critical).

This is your spammable filler and heat management ability. It heals for a small amount as a single target heal, and vents heat when used. This ability is absolutely key as a heat management ability.

This ability should be used very often between all abilities which build heat, such as rapid scan.

clip_image004 Kolto shell · Applies a buff with 7 stacks to the target. Upon damage taken 1 stack will be consumed and provide a small amount of healing (cannot occur more than once every 3 seconds). Heals for 2020 health each stack. This is your only HoT ability as a merc (aside from the small HoT that emergency scan applies). Put this on all group members before every fight, and aim to at least keep kolto shells on your tanks at all times during a fight.

*See extra detail below in ‘key concepts’

clip_image006 Rapid scan · Heals for a medium amount

· Builds 2 stack of supercharge.

This is the weaker of your two single target burst heals that have a cast time. For the amount this ability heals, it generates quite a bit of heat so try and pair this ability with a kolto shot when used to keep heat management in check.

Rapid scan should be used quite often, especially when emergency scan and healing scan are on cooldown. Rapid scan is very important for building stacks of supercharge, but also because each use of rapid scan builds 1 stack of critical efficiency; reduces the heat generated by healing scan by 5 heat each stack. Stacks up to 3 times.

For this reason, rapid scan is your second most important filler ability behind kolto shot and will be used fairly frequently.

clip_image008 Emergency scan · Instant heals for a medium/large amount

· Additionally leaves a small heal over time at the target.

· Proc’s Healing scan to be instant cast

This is one of your most important healing abilities. Not only does it do a descent amount of healing instantly and apply a small heal over time, it also costs no heat and makes your next healing scan activate instantly.

Use this on cooldown for single target healing.

clip_image010 Healing scan · Heals for a large amount

· Applies ‘invigorated’ buff to the target that increase all healing received by 3%

This is your largest single target heal. This ability has a fairly long cast time (~1.74 seconds) and has a cooldown of ~9.1 seconds while supercharged gas is NOT active. But remember, when supercharge gas IS active, healing scan has no cooldown.

Healing scan is also important because it’s the source of your ‘invigorated’ buff which increases all healing received by that target by 3%.

clip_image012 Progressive scan · Your ‘smart heal’; this means that (aside from who you initially cast this ability on) each tick over the course of its channel, progressive scan will jump to the player with the lowest HP (in range) and so on. Ticks 4 times over the channel. Each tick heals each ally for ~5-7k (up to 8-9k with a critical heal).

I.e. the person who this ability is initially cast on receives 4 ticks of healing (e.g. 4 lots of 5-7k heals), the first person this ability jumps to receives 3 ticks, and so on.

· Heals up to 4 targets for a small to large amount.

· Applies buff to all targets that increases armor by 10%

This is your largest and most effective heal ability if 2-4 people need healing, and should be used on cooldown in such situations. Progressive scan is also quite a good single target heal (a better single target heal than rapid scan for HPS on one target and in terms of heat generated – see note below), and especially so if you are healing an ally while needing to move at the same time (e.g. to avoid AOE damage).

Importantly, this ability is the source of your 10% armor buff; ‘protection’. Healing scan places this buff on 4 members of the group as they are healed over the course of the channel.

Note:although progressive scan is better than rapid scan as a single target ability, it’s often better to save progressive scan for healing 2-4 players to make better use of this ability.

clip_image014 Kolto missile · Heals up 8 targets in an area for a medium amount

· Additionally leaves a small heal over time at the target area

This is your AOE heal. Try to only use this ability if it will be effective on 3 players or more. This is an instant cast ability.
clip_image016 Supercharge gas · Boost all healing done by 5% for 8 seconds (12 seconds with 4pc setbonus)

· Vents 10 heat on activation

· Removes the cooldown and reduces the heat-cost of Healing Scan while active.

· Consumes 10 stacks of supercharge.

This is another one of your most important abilities. Activating supercharge gas increases all healing done by 5%, eliminates the cooldown of healing scan for the duration and vents 10 heat when activated. This ability is ideal to use on cooldown in heat/heal demanding situations.


*See extra detail below in ‘key concepts’ section

clip_image018 Cure · Cleanses debuffs from the target

· Heals for a small amount

This is your cleanse. Pretty straight forward; Cleanses up to 2 tech or physical debuffs from a friendly target and heals for a negligible amount.

Defensive cooldowns (DCDs):

clip_image002[4] Kolto Overload

· Quickly regenerates health if you are below 40% HP (lasts 2 seconds longer, heals you twice as fast and up to 60% of your total health if utility taken)

clip_image004[4] Energy Shield

· Reduces all incoming damage by 25% for x seconds. (Heals you for 40% of your health If 10 stacks of trauma regulators are generated; see utilities section below).

clip_image006[4] Responsive safeguards

· Activates an advanced response system that absorbs all incoming direct single target damage for the next 6 seconds, reflecting 50% of the absorbed damage back at the attacker and healing you for 5% of your maximum health each time an attack is absorbed. Can be used while stunned.

This is a great last resort ability to use if say your tank loses aggro on the boss and you need to defend yourself, but can also be used to reflect damage for extra DPS on a fight. As stated above, this ability only absorbs DIRECT single target damage, so be mindful of this when using this as a defensive ability.

clip_image008[4] Hydraulic Override

· Increases movement speed by 30% for 8 seconds

· Additionally breaks and grants immunity to all/most movement-impairing effects for the duration.

clip_image010[4] Rocket Out

· Shoots you backwards 20 metersinstantly (beware this ability can kill you easily if aimed the wrong way e.g. HM revan)

clip_image012[4] Determination

· Removes all stuns and movement-impairing effects from yourself

clip_image014[4] Chaff Flare

· Reduces agro towards all enemies in range

Offensive’ cooldowns:

clip_image016[4] Power Surge

· The next ability with cast time will activate instantly (next 2 abilities with utility skill).

As a healer, this is a great ability, try to use it on cooldown with healing scan.

clip_image018[4] Thermal Sensor Override

· Upon use, the next ability will not generate any heat.

Again, a great utility for heat management as a healer. Use this with your next progressive scan to get the most out of it if you are in trouble with heat management.

clip_image020 Vent Heat

· Vent 65 heat over 3 seconds (utility skill, otherwise its only 50)

· Gives +10% alacrity for 6 seconds (utility skill)

Try not to use this if you can avoid it. It’s your last resort heat management ability.

clip_image022 Onboard AED

· In-combat revive; can only be used once every 5 minutes.

clip_image024 Supercharged Celerity

· Increase alacrity for all allies within 40 meters by 10% for 10 seconds

· Consumes 10 stacks of supercharge

Passive abilities to be mindful of:

clip_image026 Emergency response Eliminates the heat generated by Emergency scan. In addition, activating emergency scan grants emergency response, which makes your next healing scan activate instantly. Lasts 15 seconds This is the passive that makes emergency scan such a good ability. This passive makes emergency scan cost no heat, and gives you the instant cast buff for healing scan which lasts for 15 seconds. Hence why emergency scan is ideal to use on cooldown in many situations.
clip_image028 Kolto residue Kolto missile leaves a residue on up to 8 enemies in its area of impact, reducing movement speed by 50% for 3 seconds. In addition, healing scan grants invigorated to its target, increasing all healing received by 3% for 45 seconds This passive is the source of the invigorated buff – clip_image030 – from your healing scans. 3% increase in healing in all allies carrying this buff, yay!
clip_image032 Warden Rapid scan generates an extra stack of supercharge when activated and also increases the critical healing bonus of all heals by 5%. In addition, the effects of your supercharged gas ability are modified This is why rapid scan generates 2 stacks of supercharge. This passive ability is also slightly misleading, my understanding is that; whenever your healing abilities critically heal, you are granted ‘advanced targeting’ – looks like this clip_image034 – which increases the critical healing bonus of all heals by 5%.
clip_image036 Critical efficiency Activating rapid scan grants a charge of critical efficiency, which reduces the heat generated by your next healing scan by 5. This effect can stack up to 3 charges. This one of the reasons why rapid scan is such an important filler ability, as it reduces the heat generated by healing scan by essentially 1/3 each time you use it, stacks 3 times.
clip_image038 Kolto boosters Reduces the heat generated by kolto missile by 5, and increases the critical heal chance of kolto shell by 5%. Additionally, kolto shots vents 1 heat when it normally heals and 2 heat when it critically heals. This is what makes kolto shots your most important heat management ability; this passive gives kolto shots a potential to vent 2 heat if it crits.
clip_image040 Proactive medicine Emergency scan applies proactive medicine to the target, healing for an additional 3603 over 9 seconds. Additionally, progressive scan grants the Protected effect to targets it heals, increasing their armor by 10% for 45 seconds. This is the source of your 10% armor buff, ‘protection’- clip_image042 – granted when progressive scan heals an ally.

Key Concepts

Disclaimer: Let’s clear one thing up, there is no such thing as a healer rotation, only ability priorities and your triage.

As a healer you will rarely have a situation where you can just ‘tunnel vision’ your abilities bar and go by a rotation of ability usage, rather, this is highly advised against. What you should be aiming to get the hang of is being aware of what abilities are on/off cooldown at any given time, while making quick decisions as to who needs healing the most (this will often be the tanks). In the following few paragraphs I will outline a few key concepts of merc healing, your heal ability priorities, and provide a rough guide of ability usage that can be employed to get the hang of both single target burst healing and AOE healing. Keep in mind these are just examples to go by as you start out; you will most likely come up with your own way of healing as you become more experienced and comfortable with bodyguard healing.

Key Concept 1: Kolto Shells

This is somewhat an area of preference/debate on the best way to go about managing your kolto shells. I know people who are self-proclaimed OCD on their kolto shells, i.e. keep their heat as low as possible so they can afford to keep refreshing kolto shells on cooldown. This is good in theory and it works well for story mode and hard/veteran mode content, but is rarely viable to keep shells on everyone in your group constantly at a NiM/MM level. This is mainly because you will be having to deal with more frequent, larger spikes of damage, during which, refreshing a kolto shell is not the most effective use of your abilities. However you should try to at very least:

  1. Keep shells on tanks 100% of the time (or try your best to)
  2. Refresh kolto shells on non-tank players (starting with yourself and melee DPS) during phases of low outgoing damage e.g. droids phase of Brontes NiM/MM to put shells on all group members going into 6 finger phase.
  3. Try not to refresh a kolto shell if it still has any more than 2-3 stacks left; this is a waste of heat. So try to only refresh kolto shell as it runs out.

Note: kolto shells are a very effective heal ability, and do wonders in high intensity AOE damage phases, so don’t neglect this ability, and try to squeeze them in wherever possible. For example, if all 7 stacks of a kolto shell are used, this heals for ~14,140 total without any criticals.This is huge, almost as much as a healing scan.

Key Concept 2: Stacks of Supercharge

Supercharge stacks are your most important ‘passive’ ability as a merc healer (see supercharge buff icon in the figure below). Supercharge stacks are where you gain 0.1% healing bonus for every stack, with 10 stacks being the maximum (therefore 1% healing bonus when at 10 stacks of supercharge). You gain 1 stack from every kolto shot and 2 stacks from every rapid scan used. 10 stacks of supercharge can be traded for the use of ‘supercharge gas’ ability, as described above, which effectively trades a 1% healing boost to a 5% healing boost for as long as supercharge gas lasts (12 seconds with set bonus) and vents 10 heat when activated. You should build up 10 stacks of supercharge before every fight.

I cannot stress enough how important supercharge has is as a heat management ability as well as a healing boost, and it should pretty much be used on cooldown in heal demanding situations for heat management + extra healing. So always try to keep an eye on your stacks of supercharge, because doing this will tell you:

  1. How soon do I have healing scan with no cooldown?
  2. Can I push my heat a little higher (e.g. afford an extra rapid scan) in anticipation of supercharge gas? If at 7+ stacks = yes; because a rapid scan + a kolto shot will put you at 10 stacks in effectively 1 GCD.

Ultimately, good management of supercharge stacks and timing your supercharge gas use is one of those things that really help you out in stressful situations.


Key Concept 3: Heat Management

  1. There are 3 levels of heat dissipation; fast (0-40 heat/%), moderate/slow (41-80 heat/%), and very slow (81-100 heat/%). Try and stay within the ‘fast’ range of heat dissipation (0-40 heat): this will result in more healing output per second over time. Having said this I know that this request is completely unrealistic especially in NiM/MM content, however you should still aim for this and try not to use vent heat.
  2. Kolto shots: Again, kolto shots are your main heat management ability; you should stick this ability in wherever possible to keep your heat low since a kolto shot that crits vents 2 heat. A good rule of thumb is to pair a kolto shot with a high heat generating ability such as rapid scan, progressive scan or kolto missile to keep your heat in check.
  3. Use supercharge gas for heat management: this is essentially the second most important heat management ability you have. As mentioned above this ability vents 10 heat once activated as well as increasing all healing done by 5% for the duration, making this an ideal ability to use on cooldown in heat/heal demanding situations.
  4. se thermal sensor overrides (TSO) to your advantage: Ideally use TSO only with progressive scan; this will be the best use for this ability. However if progressive scan is on cooldown and you are in danger of going over in heat management just use this on your next heat generating ability.
  5. Use vent heat – last resort: Use vent heat when you are completely screwed with heat management, which will happen quite a bit when learning to merc heal. This ability has a 2 minute cooldown, and if you go over in heat regularly, you will find yourself with way too much heat, vent heat on cooldown, and no other choice but to spam kolto shot and use emergency scan until back in the fast heat dissipation range; this is not a good spot to be in. (As you get more comfortable with merc healing vent heat can be used in heal demanding situations to push out more healing, however I would only recommend this for more experienced players).

Priorities and Rotation

Single target burst healing


1. clip_image002[6]PRECAST kolto shell (place on a target before spikes of damage hit, never directly after)

2. clip_image004[6] Supercharged gas

3. clip_image006[6]Emergency scan

4. clip_image008[6]Healing scan

5. clip_image010[6] + clip_image012[6]Rapid scan + kolto shot (when healing scan is on cooldown)

Note: You can also PRECAST healing scan clip_image008[7] if it’s off cooldown, otherwise precast rapid scanclip_image010[7]. I have also left out progressive scan from this list for single target healing just for simplicity reasons, and often it’s a better idea to save progressive scan for healing 2-4 players due to the 13 second cooldown.

Single target burst “rotation” example:

1. clip_image002[7]PRECAST kolto shell

2. clip_image006[7]Emergency scan

3. clip_image008[8]Healing scan

4. clip_image004[7] + clip_image014[6] Supercharged gas + Power surge

5. clip_image008[9]Healing scan

6. clip_image008[10]Healing scan channeled x4

7. clip_image008[11] + clip_image012[7]ORclip_image016[6] + clip_image008[12]TSO + Healing scan (until Supercharged gas ends & Healing scan goes on cooldown)

8. clip_image010[8] + clip_image012[8]Rapid scan + kolto shot

9. clip_image006[8]Emergency scan

10. Priority system

Note: if you don’t want to waste TSO on a simple single target heal rotation, just stick kolto shots after healing scans where applicable to keep your heat in the fast dissipation rate. Also,I will rarely use a healing adrenal for single target burst healing unless in dire situations. Healing adrenals are better used in AOE healing situations such as after a lightning field in NiM/MM dread guards.


AOE healing

Priorities (assuming effective on 3+ people):

1. clip_image002[10]Kolto missile

2. clip_image004[10]Progressive scan

AOE Filler abilities priority:

1. clip_image006[12]Emergency scan

2. clip_image008[20]Kolto shot (extremely important in your AOE rotation for heat management = using this often allows kolto missile and progressive scan to be used on cooldown over a longer period of time without ruining your heat)

3. clip_image010[12]Healing scan

4. Refresh kolto shells clip_image012[12] when the old shells have run out

5. clip_image014[8]Rapid scan

Note: you can also potentially precast a progressive scan clip_image004[11] in anticipation of incoming AOE damage as this ability heals for significantly more on its later ticks.

AOE “Rotation” example (basic):

1. clip_image002[11]Kolto missile

2. clip_image004[12]Progressive scan

3. clip_image006[13]Emergency scan

4. clip_image008[21]Kolto shot

5. clip_image002[12]Kolto missile

6. clip_image010[13]Healing scan

7. clip_image008[22]Kolto shot

8. clip_image008[23]Kolto shot

9. clip_image002[13]Kolto missile

10. clip_image008[24]Kolto shot

11. clip_image004[13]Progressive scan

12. clip_image008[25]Kolto shot

13. clip_image002[14]Kolto missile

14. Priority system…


AOE “Rotation” example to push higher HPS:

1. clip_image002[1]Kolto missile

2. clip_image004[1]Progressive scan

3. clip_image006[1]Emergency scan

4. clip_image008[1]Healing scan

5. clip_image010[1] Supercharged gas

6. clip_image002[2]Kolto missile + ADRENAL

7. clip_image012[1] + clip_image008[2]Power surge + Healing scan

8. clip_image008[3] + clip_image014[1]Healing scan (channeled) + Kolto shot

9. clip_image002[3]Kolto missile

10. clip_image014[2]Kolto shot

11. clip_image016[1] + clip_image004[2]TSO + Progressive scan

12. clip_image014[3]Kolto shot

13. clip_image002[4]Kolto missile

14. clip_image018[1]Rapid scan

15. clip_image018[2]Rapid scan

16. clip_image006[2]Emergency scan

17. clip_image002[5]Kolto missile

18. clip_image008[4]Healing scan

19. If vent heat is off CD: Ignore heat management and just use the priority system outlined above without the use of kolto shot; this will quickly ramp your heat up. Once your heat gets to ~60% (or ~90% if extra heat drop utility taken), pop vent heat. This allows you to push extra healing when you’re under pressure in extremely heal demanding AOE healing situations e.g. burn phase of the dread council & dragon burn phase of dread master styrak. Only do this once you’re more experienced at merc healing.

20. Priority system…


Additional Note: If you’re interested in how each of your heal abilities fairs up to your overall healing done in an encounter, check out some of my logs:



clip_image001 Jet Escape Reduces the cooldown of Jet Boost by 5 seconds, Rocket Out by 3 seconds and Determination by 30 seconds. Useless as a PVE healer
clip_image002[11] Afterburners Missile Blast immobilizes the target for 4 seconds. Direct Damage caused after 2 seconds ends the effect. This effect can only occur every 8 seconds. In addition, Jet Boosts knockback effect is stronger and pushes enemies 4 meters farther away. Useless as a PVE healer
clip_image003 Gyroscopic Alignment Jets You vent 10 heat when stunned, immobilized, knocked down or otherwise incapacitated. Additionally your next tech ability deals 10% extra damage or healing. This is your best option other than ‘improved vents’ in this tier
clip_image004[5] Improved Vents Vent Heat now immediately vents an additional 15 hear and grants 10% alacrity for 6 seconds. 100% Essential for PVE healing
clip_image006[5] Boreseights Increases the damage dealt by Sweeping Blasters by 25%. Useless as a PVE healer
clip_image007 Adhesive Supplements Power Shot and Tracer Missile reduce the movement speed of targets they damage by 40% for 6 seconds. In addition, the slowing effect applied by Kolto Residue lasts an additional 3 seconds. Useless as a PVE healer



clip_image009 Power Barrier Power Shot, Tracer Missile, and Rapid Scan generate a Power Barrier that increased damage reduction by 1% for 15 seconds. Stacks up to 5 times. As a merc healer, you may as well take this utility. It’s a nice 5% damage reduction if 5 stacks are up, however this will not happen very often; it gets better used in PVP.
clip_image010[3] Torque Boosters Increases the duration of Hydraulic Overrides by 4 seconds. I personally never use this utility hydraulic overrides last long enough on fights like HM revan to negate the core heartbeat mechanic anyway. But swap this out with threat sensors if preferred.
clip_image011 Pyro Shield When activated, your Energy Shield ignites in a blaze, lashing attackers for X elemental damage when it remains active. This effect cannot occur more than once each second. This utility is very useful for putting a bit of extra DPS on the boss and for NiM/MM Terror From Beyond (final boss) to do extra DPS on your orbs. However for most situations this requires using Energy shield as a DPS increase ability and therefore runs the risk of not having this ability available for its defensive potential if you are actually in trouble. Only take this utility as a more experienced player; swap out with threat sensors.
clip_image012[3] Threat Sensors Increases stealth detection level by 3, melee and ranged defense by 3%, and reduces the cooldown of Stealth Scan by 5 seconds. Additionally, whenever you activate Cure on yourself all periodic damage taken is reduced by 30% for 12 seconds. As a merc healer, you may as well take this utility. Not much else worth taking in this tier. You can swap between this,heat dampening and pyro shield utilities where desired.
clip_image013 Heat Damping Eliminates the heat generated by Jet Boost, Concussion Missile, Cure, and Electro Dart. This is a fight dependent utility. Only take this on fights when lots of cleanses are needed to help heat management, like NiM/MM cartel warlords and draxus. Alternate between this and threat sensors accordingly.
clip_image014[7] Supercharged Reserves Reduces the cooldowns of Cure and Disabling Shot by 3 seconds. In addition, you build up to 10 stacks of Supercharge over the course of using Recharge and Reload. This effect cannot occur more than once every 30 seconds. I personally never use this utility. However it could be useful on fights like HM revan if you are having trouble keeping up with cleanses during the 1st phase.



clip_image016[3] Trauma Regulators While Energy Shield is active you generate a stack of Trauma Regulators each time you receive direct damage. Stacks up to 10 times. When Energy Shield expires each stack of Trauma Regulators instantly heals you for 4% of your Maximum Health. This is a good utility in situations of sustained or periodic damage. However in most fights you’ll find that power overrides, energy rebounder and/or kolto surge is a better use of this utility point.
clip_image018[5] Power Shield Energy Shield now further decreases ability activation pushback by 30%. Increases all healing received by 20% and makes you immune to interrupts. I never take this utility; there are much better option in this tier.
clip_image020[1] 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. In theory, this is a great damage reduction utility, plus it reduces the cooldown of energy shield. However as a healer, depending on your group and the boss which you are on it is sometimes more viable to take power overrides for the double instant cast heal ability. This is especially true if you are taking kolto surge over trauma regulators utility.

*See below discussion for more

clip_image021 Power Overrides Reduces the cooldowns of Concussion Missile and Power Surge by 15 second charge, making your next two abilities with an activation time activate instantly. This is a great utility for merc healers as the cast time of healing scan is significantly longer than 1 GCD. Unfortunately to take this utility you have sacrifice energy rebounder utility which is a controversial topic to some people.

*See below discussion for more

clip_image022[1] Stabilized Armor Reduces damage taken from area effects by 30%. Additionally, while stunned, you take 30% less damage from all sources. This is a must have utility for almost every fight. 30% AOE damage reduction; yes please.
clip_image023 Jet Rebounder Increases the damage dealt by Jet Boost by 30% and heals you and up to 7 other allies for X – Y. In addition, taking damage reduces the active cooldown of Jet Boost by 1 second. This effect cannot occur more than once every 1.5 seconds. Don’t let this utility fool you, it is a terrible heal ability and a waste of a GCD. Never take this.



clip_image025 Kolto Surge Kolto Overload heals you for twice as fast and heals you up to 60% of your maximum health. Additionally the duration of Kolto Overload is increased by 2 seconds. This is personally one of my favorite and most overpowered utilities; you should take this utility over trauma regulators in most fights.
clip_image026 Smoke Screen Rocket Out generates a Smoke Screen when used, keeping you from being leapt to or pulled and making you immune to interrupts and ability activation push backs for the next 4 seconds. Useless as a PVE healer
clip_image027 Supercharged Defense Activating Supercharged Gas increases your defense chance by 15% and grants immunity to interrupts for 8 seconds. In addition your Endurance is increased by 3% and all healing received is increased by 3 %. This used to be a ‘go to’ in 4.0, however now in 5.0 both thrill of the hunt and trauma regulators are better options in this tier. Therefore, I never take this.
clip_image029 Battlefield Protocols Stealth Scan increased the damage or healing ability by your next non-channeled direct damage or healing ability by 20%. For each target revealed from stealth, you generate an additional charge of Battlefield Protocols. This effect stacks up to 5 charges and lasts for 10 seconds. Useless as a PVE healer
clip_image030 Thrill of the Hunt Thrill of the Hunt – Allows Unload, Blazing Bolts and Progressive Scan to be activated while moving. Absolutely essential. Always take this. Increased mobility is always a good option as a healer.
clip_image032 Tag and Bag Hindering a target with Electro Net grants Tag and Bag, increasing your alacrity by 15% for 9 seconds. Additionally supercharged gas reduces the cooldown of Kolto Overload by 5 seconds. Useless as a PVE healer.

Utilities discussion:

Above I bring up the fact that power overrides is sometimes better served than energy rebounder. Depending on the type/frequency of damage going out in any particular fight, power overrides may be a better option. For instance, your healing scan has a channel time which is longer than 1 GCD (1.74 seconds @ 1827 alacrity) and by taking the double instant cast of power overrides and using it in a supercharge gas window, you are not only pushing your first healing scan forward by more than 1 GCD, your second instant cast healing scan will also save precious time on the following activation cast time (reducing it to 1 GCD). This utility also reduces the cooldown of power surge to ~40 seconds, therefore you’ll have this up for more or less every second supercharge gas window. I would never recommend taking any utility over stabilized armor or kolto surge, however there is credit to taking power override over energy rebounder in a number of situations (especially so if you are not taking the trauma regulators utility for energy shield).

General build 1/General build 2

clip_image002 clip_image004

  • Take general build 1 if you just can’t stand to give up power override.
  • Take general build 2 for increased general survivability.

Stats and Raid Supplies

Optimal stats

Rating Endurance Mastery Power Critical Alacrity Accuracy
248 + full 236 new augments 8827 7136 4525 2094 1802 0
248 8673 7136 4063 2080 1788 0
242 8439 6745 3793 1999 1697 0
240 8106 6493 3605 1963 1627 0
236 7962 6367 3523 1936 1600 0
234 7653 6128 3337 1896 1534 0
230 7372 5901 3183 1853 1481 0

Note: stats presented in the above table do not take into account the GCD rounding effect. To account for GCD rounding effect, trade Critical for Alacrity so as to have 1860+ alacrity.

Source 1:

Source 2:

Using 110% accuracy as a healer:

As Mac outlined in his operative guide, there are a number of fights in which you can sacrifice some mastery/crit/alac to get 110% accuracy. My two cents on the matter is to choose your boss fight wisely to do this on, and know your group. Do not do this unless you’re an experienced healer and have done the fight before, and you know your tanks/DPS are good and don’t take unnecessary damage. For example, for fights such as NiM/MM Raptus, there is quite a lot of room for extra DPS on the boss, and not very much damage going out, you can quite comfortably use 110% accuracy to help out.


Item Rating Name Main stat
Augment 236 Advanced alacrity augment 46 / Superior critical augment 46 Alacrity/Critical
Stim 228 Advanced polybiotic versatile stim Mastery
Barrel 248 Advanced versatile barrel 52 (offhand and mainhand) Mastery
Color crystal 136 Advanced eviscerating crystal Critical
Mod 248 Advanced lethal mod 52 Mastery/Power
Enhancement 248 Advanced quick savant enhancement 52/ Advanced adept enhancement 52 Alacrity/Critical
Armoring 248 Advanced versatile armoring 52 Mastery
Earpiece 248 Gemini mk-5 quick savant device/ Gemini mk-5 adept device Alacrity/Critical
Implant 248 Gemini mk-5 quick savant package/ Gemini mk-5 adept package Alacrity/Critical
Relic 248 Gemini mk-5 relic of serendipitous assault Power grant
Relic 248 Gemini mk-5 relic of focused retribution Mastery grant

Set bonus

2-piece Activating a healing ability has a 15% chance to grant Combat Medic’s Critical Bonus which causes your next Rapid Scan or Medical Probe to be a critical. This effect can only occur once every 30 seconds.
4-piece While in Combat Cylinder or Combat Support Cell the duration of Supercharged Gas and Supercharged Cells is increased by 4 seconds.
6-piece Reduces the cooldown of Healing Scan or Advanced Medical Probe by 1.5 seconds.

Essential raid items

Item Item roll level Name Main stat
Adrenal 102 Advanced polybiotic triage adrenal/ Advanced polybiotic efficacy adrenal tech power/ alacrity
Medpac 102 Advanced polybiotic medpac health
Grenade 92 Advanced v-9 pyro grenade damage

User Interface and Key Binding

Key bindings

Please have all your healing abilities key bound. There is no credit to clicking your healing abilities as every time you change target you’ll have to click the raid frame, then go back to your abilities bar to click your heal; that is an absolute waste of time and focus which could be better spent on raid awareness. Below are a few tips:

  1. Use the numbers 1-5, numbers 6+ are a bit of a stretch for your hand if you have a standardsized keyboard.
  2. I use key bindings which suit your thumb position e.g. the letter V is bound to emergency scan, and B to healing scan.
  3. Shift keys are also a good option for binding if you run out of keys which seem viable.


Group/operations frames

  1. Always have group window set to ops-window (this option is in; preferences > user interface > Operations Frames > Use Operations Frames as Group Frames). For operations, I keep my frames at the default location, however some people prefer to move it to between their abilities bar for ease of use. This is just a preference thing.
  2. It helps to fiddle with the height and width of your raid frame health bars to make them extra big and visible so you don’t have any excuses for not seeing someone’s health chunk down (go to; system > interface editor > click on the operations frame > fiddle with settings). Some people like to have health bar details up to see exact health and % of each player constantly; up to you.
  3. I like to make all player BUFFs as small as they go; you don’t really need to see these.
  4. Make all player De-BUFFs substantially larger than default, but don’t make them so big that they clutter up your raid frame; see the figure below of NiM/MM Dread Council, notice the size of the ‘deathmark’ debuffs for an example of how large I have mine.
  5. Never have ‘show only removable debuffs’ checked. A lot of removable debuffs are registered by the game as ‘not removable’. For example, essence corruption in first phase HM revan. Moreover, keeping track of any other not cleansable debuffs the group has on them helps to give you an idea of the type of damage that they may/will be taking as a result.



Focus target/target of target

  • Focus target is very useful and should be enabled (see ‘focus target’ figure below). To do this, go to; system > interface editor > locate and select the focus target window (should be a red window) > check enable. As a healer having the boss focus targeted allows you to see what abilities he is casting. This can help substantially with healing if you are not familiar with the timing of damage from the boss in a fight. Furthermore, you can enlarge the scale of your focus target’s cast bar in user interface to be more visible (see ‘focus target cast bar’ figure below).
  • Target of target is another important function you should have enabled, this allows you to see who the boss (or whoever your target is) has targeted. This helps tell you who you should be targeting to heal more often. Similarly to focus target, to do this go to; system > interface editor > locate and select the target of target window (should be a red window) > check enable.


Focus target figure


Focus target cast bar figure


Target of target figure

Additional remarks

  1. Know your group, I can’t stress this enough. If you know how your group plays and the ability level of each of your group members, this may help you pre-empt any kind of unexpected/abnormally large chunks of damage that player may take as a result of their playstyle or fault. For example:
    • Is there a new tank/DPS?
    • Does the tank know this fight/when to use cooldowns?
    • Who usually stands in AOE?
  2. All said and done, in writing this guide I aimed to pass on my experience/knowledge, but this only goes so far in-game. The best way to progress as a healer is to play hours and hours of healing in your class to get used to the feel of your healing abilities, become familiar with your user interface, and get more comfortable with the class overall.



First of all, shout-out to NeNiMel who’s 4.0 merc heal guide gave a great base for this 5.0 guide. Also shout-out to Glor, Mon, Macand Auro for reviewing this guide for me. I’d also like to thankeveryone I’ve raided with over the last 2 years or so, who have been supportive of me as I was introduced to my first NiM/MM content and helped me learn and grow as a healer and a raider overall.

And finally, extra special thanks to Dulfy for hosting this guide. I feel very privileged to be able to contribute to her awesome work over the years on, where she has provided a platform for the SWTOR (and other MMO) community to share knowledge and skills with those who seek it.

About the author:

I go by the name of Wakeñbake. I started raiding mid-to-late 4.0, so I’m fairly new to NiM/MM raiding. I play on the Harbinger server, however you probably won’t see me log in much these days as work has somewhat consumed most of my life, but I still raid once or twice a week. I do also play sorcerer and operative healing classes however I’m most experienced in/passionate about Merc healing. Finally, please don’t hesitate to use the comments section to ask questions and/or point out any errors I may have made or overlooked; I’m fairly busy throughout the week but I’ll try my best to reply to all comments ASAP.

By Dulfy

MMO guide writer and blogger. Currently playing and covering SWTOR, GW2, and TSW.

24 replies on “SWTOR 5.6 Mercenary Bodyguard PvE Guide by Wakeñbake”

Great guide. Finally someone gave Merc healers the love they deserve. The most satisfying healer class to play.

We need mooaar guides!
Great job writing the guide man!
Cheers from a player with a combat medic mando main and bodyguard merc main 😉

Damn, Wakenbake. I love seeing this and how far you’ve come. I remember raiding with you years ago (Woody btw). Guide looks great. Keep up the good work and I’m glad to see you’re still having fun playing.

Side note, do you use the kolta shell option from Starparse? I never cared for it for easy stuff but for progression it made a world of difference since I could track the number of shells on everyone in the group at all times without clicking through everyone to see their buffs.

Yo mang! Long time no see. Yea did a lot of progression raiding since we last played. I’d have seen more of you but my availability for raiding is pretty strict around work :.

I personally don’t use the kolto shell option for starparse, however it’s definitely a good option if you are getting used to how often to refresh your kolto shells, and even if you’re more experienced. Maybe i’ll add a little section about how to do this and/or link TcThief’s guid on it. Cheers for the heads up.

hope you’re well!

Great guide. But I’m pretty sure that you can’t see target of focus target in swtor, only target of your “regular” target. Correct me if I’m wrong

Yep @onemoreshepard:disqus you are 100% correct. Sorry if it wasn’t clear enough, but in the 3 figures i present, i only meant to show how to enable:
1/ focus target
2/ focus target castbar
3/ target of target (not associated with focus target)
4/ target of target castbar

If I remember correctly, there’s an option for “Acquire Focus Target’s Target.” I haven’t used it, nor do I remember if that’s exactly what it’s called, but I thought there was something along those lines.

I’ve personally never heard of it, but i’ll have a look into it. If you can find a link to how to enable it please link it and i’ll add it to the guide for sure 🙂

Aaah righto. Yea i think for the purposes of this guide i might just leave that out. Its a cool function but not particularly practical for healing i guess.

so this is what swtors main news has gone to huh. guides from other people.

has bioware been announced dead yet?

BW has been apart of EA for years so I’ll let you figure that one out. This guide is nice since it helps those that like to learn. If Dulfy post some other new guides would be cool also.

I’m the first one in line to bash BioWare or EA any chance I get but what in the hell are you talking about? Guides have always been written by players. Does it make sense to release them as slowly as they are here? No. But what can you do? Not BioWare’s fault (for once.)

To be fair, i wrote the guide 5 months ago but dulfy had too much on her plate to put it up till now. Apologies for the delayed release tho.

Wakenbake, no apologies needed (particularly to someone who doesn’t play SWTOR anymore and just pops on here to throw darts at and be amused at EA/BW for their clown shoes handling of the Star Wars IP.) Kudos to you for writing what seems to be a great guide based on the comments here. I’m impressed you have the dedication to a game that, IMO, is phoning it in these days.

There are several reasons guides come out so slow here and I assume those writing them have zero control over it.

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