Guide to SWTOR Powertech / Vanguard Mechanics and PVP


This Guide provides in-depth information on the Bounty Hunter Powertech and Trooper Vanguard advanced classes (AC) in Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR). This Guide has been updated for Patch 1.3.

The Powertech and Vanguard ACs are mirrors of one another: the ability tooltips and talent trees are identical. As such, I am covering both ACs together in one Guide.

For ease of reading, whenever mentioning a Powertech ability or talent I will also provide the Vanguard mirror in parentheses.

Please post your feedback, tips, and questions!

Revision History

The first version of this Guide was posted on January 4, 2012. Here is the change log for recent revisions:

  • July 01, 2012: updated for patch 1.3. Removed “Iron Fist” from the list of recommended builds
  • April 27, 2012: fix spec links for PVE tank
  • April 26, 2012: added links for 31/10/0 tank spec
  • April 23, 2012: fixed typo about pull and root effects and Resolve
  • Apr 18, 2012: added links to TheOpf’s post on Advanced Prototype (Tactics). Fixed typos. Updated gear tiers

Table of Contents

  1. Advanced Class Overview and Playstyle
  2. Talent Tree and Stance Overview
  3. Talent Tree Analysis
  4. Heat (Ammo) Mechanics
  5. Damage Mechanics
  6. Defense Mechanics
  7. Crowd Control and Debuff Mechanics
  8. Mobility and CC Counter Mechanics
  9. DPS Rotation
  10. Recommended Specs
  11. Stat Prioritization
  12. Gear Recommendations
  13. Narrated Gameplay Videos
  14. About the Author

1. Advanced Class Overview and Playstyle

Powertech (Vanguard) is the “can-tank” AC for the Bounty Hunter (Trooper) base class.

Players often ask which they should play: Powertech (Vanguard) or Mercenary (Commando).

You should roll Powertech (Vanguard) if:

  • You are comfortable engaging in near-quarters (0-10m) combat
  • You want to maximize your ability to control casters and healers with interrupts
  • You want to have tools to close gaps to opponents and to increase your in-combat movement speed
  • You want to tank in PVE and in PVP. By tanking in PVP, I mean that you want to be able to Guard a friendly target, which redirects 50% of the incoming damage from them to you, and be able to Taunt opponents to debuff their damage on your friendlies. With the changes in 1.3, please note that tank damage is down significantly in PVP

You should roll Mercenary (Commando) if:

  • You want to be able to meaningfully heal yourself and your friendlies
  • You want to beef up your 30m RDPS capability
  • You want the option of playing a cast-time nuking spec, Arsenal (Gunnery)
  • You prefer to have abilities that keep opponents at range (e.g. knockbacks)

I’m a huge fan of melee strafing, i.e. running circles around stationary targets to break their Line of Sight (LoS) to lower their offensive and defensive capability, and kite-strafing MDPS while I burn them down, so Powertech (Vanguard) fits my preferred playstyle.

2. Talent Tree and Stance Overview

The AC has 3 talent trees from left-to-right, 1 for tanking and 2 for DPS:

  • Shield Tech (Shield Specialist): this is the tanking tree. As you’d expect, this is the tree to spec into for PVE tanking; there are talents that boost durability via Armor-based mitigation, flat mitigation, increased Shield Chance / Shield Absorption, etc. This tree provides utility in PVP including an in-combat charge, debuffs, a proc-snare effect, and buffs to our melee attack. The main downside to this tree is that your burst and sustained damage is significantly lower compared to the other 2 trees
  • Advanced Prototype (Tactics): this DPS tree provides a passive movement buff, an on-demand movement buff that provides movement-related CC immunity, excellent short-range (0-10m) capability, increased Elemental and Internal damage, crit mechanics, passive Heat venting (Ammo regen), strong CC capability, and 2 snares. This tree lacks the durability of the tank tree and the ranged capability of the Pyrotech (Assault Specialist) tree
  • Pyrotech (Assault Specialist): this DPS tree provides mechanics that revolve around a proc-reset for the cooldown of Rail Shot (High Impact Bolt) and strong Elemental Damage Over Time (DoT) damage and related damage buffs. This tree provides the strongest > 10m ranged capability of the trees, a spammable snare effect, high sustained damage, and excellent burst via the talent to reset the cooldown of Rail Shot (High Impact Bolt). The main downside to this tree is the lack of a charge / sprint

Before discussing the trees further, it’s important to understand the 3 “stances” that the AC can choose from. Each stances provide benefits that synergize with a particular talent tree:

  • Ion Gas Cylinder (Ion Cell): this tanking stance provides increased threat, mitigation, and shield chance and a damage proc for ranged attacks. You must be using this stance to activate the Guard ability
  • Energy Gas Cylinder (High Energy Cell): this DPS stance increases your Elemental and Internal damage, which are not mitigated by armor
  • Combustible Gas Cylinder (Plasma Cell): this DPS stance provides a chance for ranged attacks to proc a 6-sec Elemental DoT

Note that unlike the other “can-tank” ACs, switching stances for Powertech (Vanguard) requires a 1.5 sec cast time. For the most part, you’ll spec for and use a particular stance.

3. Talent Tree Analysis

Instead of breaking down every talent, let me short-circuit that by explaining the talents you can pass or should pass on.

Shield Tech (Shield Specialist)

  • Combust (Static Field) is must-have for PVE tanking. While the debuff is nice for PVP, this talent should be skipped for DPS specs
  • Rebraced Armor is must-have for PVE tanking. For PVP, you can skip this talent as it buffs Armor, which only works for 2 of the 4 damage types
  • Shield Vents (Shield Cycler) is must-have for PVE but for PVP 1/2 is fine given the internal cooldown and because Shield is a weak mechanic in PVP. See the Defense Mechanics section for the limitations of Shield
  • Ablative Upgrades (Ceramic Plating) is should-have for PVE but should be skipped for PVP
  • No Escape (Defensive Measures) can be skipped for PVE but is must-have for PVP
  • Supercharged Ion Gas (Supercharged Ion Cell) is must-have for PVE (AOE threat), but can be skipped for PVP
  • Ion Screen (Ion Shield) is must-have for PVE. Given the weakness of the Shield mechanic in PVP, this is a solid choice for PVP as well
  • Jet Speed (Charge!) is must-have for PVP
  • Empowered Tech (Counterattack) and Power Screen (Heat Screen) are must-have for PVE. For PVP tanks, only take these talents if you are trying to reach the 31-pt ability Energy Blast (Heat Blast)

Advanced Prototype (Tactics)

  • Prototype Electric Surge (Containment Tactics) is not needed for PVE, but it’s solid for PVP prior to getting the AOE stun at 46. At 46+ for PVP, take your pick of this talent or Power Armor in the next tier
  • Prototype Cylinders (Blaster Augs) is an excellent talent when running Energy Gas Cylinder (High Energy Cell) or Combustible Gas Cylinder (Plasma Cell) but is optional if you’re using Ion Gas Cylinder (Ion Cell)
  • Power Armor is very good for PVE tanking. For PVP it’s a solid choice, as it provides 2% mitigation against all damage types
  • If you are running Energy Gas Cylinder (High Energy Cell): the Pneumatic Boots (Battlefield Training) is must-have for PVP, and for PVE and PVP, Prototype Cylinder Ventilation (Cell Generator) is must-have
  • Serrated Blades + Charged Gauntlets (Combat Tactics): this is a controversial choice for PVP. Serrated Blades only buffs the DoT portion of Retractable Blade (Gut) by 15%, so that’s a poor ROI for 3 talent points. Charged Gauntlets (Combat Tactics) is a good talent, but keep in mind that unless you spec 18 points into Pyrotech (Assault Specialist), you’re only going to be able to use Rail Shot (High Impact Bolt) at most once every 15 seconds. For this reason for a heavy Advanced Prototype (Tactics) build (i.e. > 23 points) I recommend skipping these talents
  • Prototype Flame Thrower (Pulse Generator) is a must-have for PVP due to the 70% snare. As of patch 1.3, the snare effect is now working correctly for Vanguard
  • Hamstring is worth the point if you invested up through Charged Gauntlets (Combat Tactics)
  • Hydraulic Overrides (Hold the Line) is must-have for PVP but can be skipped for PVE
  • Stabilized Armor (Shock Absorbers) is a decent talent for PVP but should be skipped for PVE

Pyrotech (Assault Specialist)

  • Integrated Cardio Package (Soldier’s Endurance) is a good talent for PVE tanking. For PVP, if you are investing 18 points in the tree to get Prototype Particle Accelerator (Ionic Accelerator) talent but are not using Combustible Gas Cylinder (Plasma Cell), this talent makes sense to take so that you don’t waste talent points in Bursting Flame (Ionized Ignition)
  • Gyroscopic Alignment Jets (Parallactic Combat Stims) should be skipped for PVE DPS. For PVP, it is a useful talent for managing Heat (Ammo)
  • Infrared Sensors (Nightvision Scope) should be skipped for PVE. For PVP, this provides not only better Stealth San capability but also increased avoidance against Melee and Ranged attacks (but not against Force or Tech attacks)
  • Degauss should be skipped for PVE. For PVP, Degauss adds a root/snare-breaking effect to Energy Shield (Reactive Shield) which is situationally useful. That being said, my experience is that Infrared Sensors (Nightvision Scope) provides better utility in PVP, so I take that talent over Degauss to open up the 4th tier of the tree
  • Rapid Venting (Rapid Recharge) is valuable in PVE for sustained DPS in long boss fights. It is also a very good choice for PVP
  • Energy Rebounder (Reflexive Shield) should be skipped for PVE but is useful for PVP. Given the internal cooldown, you get the most bang for your buck at 1 talent point. In a premade context with a pocket healer, you can pass on this talent
  • You can skip Automated Defenses (Adrenaline Fueled)
  • Thermal Detonator (Assault Plastique) should be taken for full 31+ builds. Keep in mind that this ability replaces the base Explosive Dart (Sticky Grenade) and they share the 15-sec cooldown

4. Heat (Ammo) Mechanics

The “mana” bar for the AC goes different directions depending on your faction but they are functionally equivalent:

  • For Powertech, Heat builds up as you use abilities
  • For Vanguard, Ammo cells are consumed as you use abilities

The most important thing to understand about our “mana” bar is that it depletes (regens) at a non-linear rate, where the less mana you have the slower it regenerates. This is a rather unique mechanic, and the implication is that if you spam mana-heavy abilities, you will bury yourself in a resource deficit. Therefore, you want to manage your ability use carefully.

To see the rates of heat venting (ammo regen), mouse over the >>>> mini-bar to the right of your resource bar while using abilities.

We have an on-demand ability on a base 2 min cooldown called Vent Heat (Recharge Cells) that will lower your heat (regen ammo).

At level 42, we get the ability Thermal Sensor Override (Reserve Powercell) that causes the next ability to not generate Heat (not consume Ammo). For maximum mana efficiency, activate TSO (RP) before a 25 Heat (3 Ammo) ability.

There are talents that boost your ability to vent Heat (regen Ammo) or reduce the cost of specific abilities:

  • Shield Tech (Shield Specialist): Shield Vents (Shield Cycler) provides a chance to vent 8 Heat (regens 1 Ammo) when you shield an attack. The 31-pt ability is off the global cooldown and vents 8 Heat (regens 1 Ammo)
  • Advanced Prototype (Tactics): Prototype Cylinder Ventilation (Cell Generator) vents 8 Heat (regens  1 Ammo) every 6 seconds and is awesome. Battering Ram (Flame Barrage) can make your next Rocket Punch (Stockstrike) free
  • Pyrotech (Assault Specialist): this tree has two excellent mana tools that revolve around Rail Shot (High Impact Bolt). Superheated Rails (High Friction Bolts) halves the cost of Rail Shot (High Impact Bolt). Prototype Particle Accelerator (Ionic Accelerator) makes the next Rail Shot (High Impact Bolt) free. Gyroscopic Alignment Jets (Parallactic Combat Stims) vents 8 Heat (regens 1 Ammo) every time you are stunned, rooted, knocked down, or incapacitated

Post-Patch 1.2 Note for Pyrotech (Assault Specialist)

Prior to 1.2, to apply a burn effect on a target within 10 meters, it made sense to use Ion Pulse (Flame Burst) instead of Incendiary Round (Incendiary Missile), because Ion Pulse delivered more damage in a shorter timeframe, cost less mana, applied a snare effect, and could trigger the Accelerator talent to make the subsequent High Impact Bolt (Rail Shot) free.

However, in Patch 1.2, an internal 6-sec cooldown was added to the Accelerator talent, so you want to trigger the proc only when your High Impact Bolt (Rail Shot) has been used and is on cooldown. Remember, even if your High Impact Bolt (Rail Shot) is not on cooldown, by using Ion Pulse (Flame Burst) or Stockstrike (Rocket Punch), you can trigger the Accelerator talent.

Therefore, in some cases you may want to open on a target with Incendiary Round (Incendiary Missile) on your target instead of Ion Pulse (Flame Burst), despite the higher mana cost.

5. Damage Mechanics

The AC delivers a combination of the following damage types:

  • Elemental damage
  • Kinetic damage
  • Weapon damage (always Energy AFAIK)

Elemental damage rocks because it is not mitigated by armor, and as our Elemental attacks are Tech-based, they are not Dodgeable nor Shieldable. If you’ve read my PVP Guides across games (e.g. WoW Prot Pally, WAR Swordmaster), I prefer “non-physical” damage types because they make targets feel equally squishy in terms of your damage output.

At level 10, the AC gets the core 10m ranged Elemental attack Flame Burst (Ion Pulse). Many of the talents in the non-tanking trees revolve around this ability, so we tend to deal our best single-target damage when within 10m of a target. The Pyrotech (Assault Specialist) tree provides strong Elemental DoT capability via Combustible Gas Cylinder (Plasma Cell) procs and Incendiary Missile (Incendiary Round).

As a Bounty Hunter (Trooper), we have two channeled AoE abilities: Death From Above (Mortar Volley) and Flame Thrower (Pulse Cannon). Flame Thrower (Pulse Cannon) is a 10m conal AoE which deals solid single-target damage, and you can rotate your character while channeling the ability the change the direction of the cone. FT (PC) is very effective against targets that are on a stationary object (e.g. a node) or are not moving. In Patch 1.2 FT (PC) when talented and stacked to 5 buffs also applies a 70% snare effect during the channel.

We have an excellent 30m ranged burst ability in Rail Shot (High Impact Bolt). This ability has a 15 sec cooldown, which can be reset via the Prototype Particle Accelerator (Ionic Accelerator) talent. The most important talents for buffing the damage on a RS (HIB) cast are the 60% armor penetration in the middle tree and the 30% armor penetration 12-pt talent in the right tree – and these armor penetration talents stack additively.

There is a delay before the damage from Explosive Dart (Sticky Grenade) triggers, but in PVP this is awesome as you’ll generate spike damage from the damage trigger plus other abilities.

At level 50 we get an on-demand buff ability called Explosive Fuel (Battle Focus) that boosts Ranged Crit Chance and Tech Crit Chance by 25% for 15 sec. EF (BF) and the on-demand buffs from Relics are off the GCD, and they stack together, so you can pop EF (BF) and a Relic to maximize your DPS and burst. Relics do share an internal cooldown so you can’t activate them together or chain them.

Per the class mechanics, there are a few abilities that you should be careful about using:

  • Flame Sweep (Explosive Surge): this PBAoE ability has high “mana” cost and low damage output without talents in the tanking tree. For AoE damage situations, DFA (MV) and FT (PC) are typically better options in terms of damage. The use cases for this ability are for tank-spec’d players to debuff the damage of multiple opponents, to damage opponents trying to cap a flag, or to build up to 5 stacks of Prototype Flame Thrower (Pulse Generator). Also note that the range of the PBAoE is 5m, so your targets need to be near-melee range
  • Missile Blast (Explosive Round): this instant-cast ranged AoE ability deals low damage relative to the high “mana” cost so don’t spam it. It is an effective tool for preventing a node cap, especially when you are closing the distance to multiple opponents capping a node.
  • Unload (Full Auto): this is a channeled 3-sec ability. As discussed above, this is a highly-mobile spec that tends to be most effective when within 10m of your target. This ability is a long self-root and it can be interrupted. There is only 1 talent across all 3 trees that buffs this ability, and that’s in the Pyrotech (Assault Specialist) tree. The main use case where this ability makes sense is when you are at long-range from a target who will remain in your field-of-fire for 3 seconds and your Explosive Dart (Sticky Grenade) and Rail Shot (High Impact Bolt) are on cooldown

6. Defense Mechanics

Avoidance and Mitigation

This section is a sub-set of the information that I provided in a separate article, so check that article out for more detail than what is provided below.

Here are the terms defined:

  • Avoidance: not being hit
  • Mitigation: reducing damage taken when hit

SWTOR leverages a 2-roll system for determining the outcome of an opponent’s attack as explained by BioWare’s Georg Zoeller (references: 1 2), bold emphasis mine:

First is a hit roll, accuracy versus defense, and if the attacker misses then no damage occurs. If the attacker rolled poorly enough to miss even discounting the target’s defense then a “Miss” result occurs. If he misses because of the defense then the result varies based on the attack type, the cover state of the target, and the target’s equipped weapons. All the possible results – Dodge, Parry, Deflect, Resist, Cover – are mathematically the same, but they can trigger different effects and are visualized in different ways.

If the attacker hits, then a second roll is made with the crit chance of the attacker versus the shield chance of the target. If a Crit or a Shield occurs then the damage is adjusted up or down (based on Surge/Absorb), and then it goes through to the armor and damage resistance. A critical can never be shielded, and an attacker with a high enough crit chance can push the target’s shield chance off the table. It shouldn’t be possible to get your passive crit chance high enough to start pushing off the target’s shield chance, but there are short-duration buffs that push these chances high enough to come into conflict.

There are 3 categories of Avoidance as captured in the Defence Chance tooltip:

  1. Melee Dodge: base of 5%, boosted by Defense, talents, and buffs
  2. Ranged Dodge: base of 5%, boosted by Defense, talents, and buffs
  3. Resistance: base of 0%, boosted by talents and buffs. This is against spells

There are several categories of Mitigation:

  1. Damage Reduction: provided by Armor against Energy and Kinetic damage, flat damage reduction via talents, Expertise, and the tanking stance, and a bubble in Energy Shield (Reactive Shield)
  2. Shield Chance / Shield Absorption: provided when you have a Shield offhand equipped and successfully Shield an attack that hit. The amount of damage mitigated (absorbed) is based on the offhand (e.g. 20%) and talents in the tanking tree

SWTOR’s Shield functions similarly to WoW’s Block or RIFT’s Block mechanic. The main difference is that in SWTOR you don’t have to keep oppponents in your frontal facing to Shield.

The important thing to understand are which types of attacks are Avoidable and Shieldable and which are not. There are 4 types of attacks: Force, Melee, Ranged, and Tech. Melee and Ranged types are Avoidable and Shieldable, whereas Force and Tech attacks are not. This is consistent with other games such as WoW and RIFT, where “spell” attacks are not dodgeable / parryable and not blockable. That being said, the main consideration for SWTOR is that all classes have either Force or Tech attacks. Therefore, you may not get as much mileage out of your Avoidance and Shield-related talents as you might expect. E.g. the melee stun and melee attack for the Imperial Agent (Smuggler) class are Tech and therefore given sufficient accuracy will always hit.

The AC has an on-demand mitigation bubble in Energy Shield (Reactive Shield), and the ability is off the GCD. This ability provides 25% mitigation against all damage types for 12 sec, so it’s important to activate it as soon as you start taking focus fire or you may die before the bubble expires.

Protection Mechanics

You can reduce damage to friendlies, that is Protect them, by using Taunts and by Guarding them.

Taunts reduce the damage on debuffed opponents by 30% against anyone except you. The single-target Taunt is called Neural Dart (Neural Jolt) and the AOE Taunt is Sonic Missile (Sonic Round). Taunts are off the GCD so use them liberally.

SWTOR has thankfully implemented the Guard mechanic from WAR :)

Guard is a buff you can put on a friendly player when you’re in the tanking stance. Guard provides a flat 5% mitigation for the guarded friendly, and 50% of the incoming damage is redirected to you. This is an excellent tool for keeping your guarded target (e.g. a healer, flag carrier, etc) alive under focus fire.

The main catch with Guard is that you have to be in the tanking stance, and keep in mind the following:

  • Unlike the other 2 tank AC mirrors, we can not switch stances instantly. We have a 1.5-sec cast time. As this AC relies heavily on a mobile playstyle and staying within 10m of your target in most situations, stopping to switch stances may not always be ideal
  • If you invested talent points in the non-tanking stances, those talent points are not leveraged when you are in the tanking stance

Stealth Detection

Stealth detection is provided by the Stealth Scan ability, and it’s a terrific counter against an opponent who uses an in-combat stealth.

Self-Healing

At level 32, we gain a mild Heal-over-Time (HoT) in Kolto Overload (Adrenaline Rush), which heals for 15% of the character’s maximum health. This ability is off the GCD.

For a detailed writeup on tanking, check out Gankstah’s excellent Tanking: A Primer thread on the SWTOR tanking forum.

7. Crowd Control and Debuff Mechanics

I recommend that you read my article, Understanding SWTOR’s Resolve Mechanic, so that you understand how Resolve works.

The AC as a variety of CC’s to work with regardless of spec:

  • 30m range 4-sec stun in Electro Dart (Cryo Grenade) which has a 60 sec cooldown, 50 sec with Prototype Electro Surge (Containment Tactics)
  • 30m range pull in Grapple (Harpoon) which has a 45 sec cooldown, 35 sec with Advanced Tools (Tactical Tools). You can add a 3-sec root effect with the tanking tree talent No Escape (Defensive Measures). Keep in mind the root effect does not build Resolve, but the pull builds 400 Resolve
  • 4m range interrupt in Quell (Riot Strike) which has an 8-sec cooldown, 6 sec with Hitman (Frontline Defense). The interrupt locks the target out of using the interrupted spell for 4 sec. The interrupt is fantastic for shutting down healers and interrupting dangerous channeled abilities, and it’s off the GCD
  • PBAoE 2.5-sec stun in Carbonize (Neural Surge) which has a 45-sec cooldown

In addition, there are tree-specific CC effects:

  • 3-sec root effect and a ranged interrupt from the charge ability Jet Charge (Storm) in the tank tree
  • 50% snare for 2 sec from the Neural Overload talent in the tank tree
  • 30% snare for 6 sec from the Hamstring talent in the Advanced Prototype (Tactics) tree
  • 70% snare on affected targets during the channel of Flame Thrower (Pulse Cannon) if you have the Prototype Flame Thrower (Pulse Generator) buff stacked to 5
  • 50% snare for 2 sec from the Sweltering Heat talent in the Pyrotech (Assault Specialist) tree

The tank tree provides the following debuffs:

  • a PBAoE debuff in Oil Slick (Smoke Grenade) that lowers Ranged and Melee Accuracy by 20% for 18 sec
  • Flame Burst (Ion Pulse) and Flame Sweep (Explosive Surge) debuff the target’s damage by 4% for 15 sec

8. Mobility and CC Counter Mechanics

Mobility is king in PVP, even moreso given our 10m single-target mechanics and the design of the warzones, which have an emphasis on covering ground quickly.

There are talents that improve your mobility:

  • Shield Tech (Shield Specialist) provides an in-combat charge called Jet Charge (Storm), which can be further talented to provide a 30% movement buff for 4 sec
  • Advanced Prototype (Tactics) provides a passive 15% movement buff in Pneumatic Boots (Battlefield Training) and a 30% movement buff for 8 sec in Hydraulic Overrides (Hold the Line) that provides full immunity to movement-related CCs and knockbacks. You can use HO (HtL) as a CC breaker, and it has a relatively short 30-sec cooldown

When CC’d, we have the same base ability to break all CC effects in Tenacity (Determination) on a base 2-min cooldown that all classes get.

Aside from Tenacity, you can counter the following CC effects:

  • Roots / snares / knockbacks with HO (HtL) and Jet Charge (Storm)
  • Roots / snares with the Degauss talent for Energy Shield (Reactive Shield). The extent to which you can use this as a CC breaker depends on how many procs you get from Energy Rebounder (Reflexive Shield)

9. DPS Rotation

General

  • Weave in Rapid Shots (Hammer Shot) as needed to keep your Heat low (Ammo high)
  • Use Explosive Fuel (Battle Focus) as needed for the huge buff to Ranged and Tech Crit Chance
  • Remember that we deliver our highest sustained single-target damage when <= 10m of our target, based on our class mechanics, so manage your distance to your target accordingly

AOE Considerations

In PVE against standard and weak mobs, Explosive Dart (Sticky Grenade) is a good damage + AOE knockdown, but remember that the AOE knockdown will disperse your targets.

If you are spec’d into Shield Tech (Shield Specialist), your Flame Sweep (Explosive Surge) is a good choice for PBAoE damage and debuffing your targets’ damage. The changes in 1.3 for the Flame Surge (Static Surge) talent now enable two mana-free casts of FS (ES) after using Jet Charge (Storm). In addition, Supercharged Ion Gas (Supercharged Ion Cylinder) provides AOE damage when using Rail Shot (High Impact Bolt).

Single-Target Rotation for 18+ in Pyrotech (Assault Specialist)

The #1 tip for maximizing your sustained and burst damage is using Rail Shot (High Impact Bolt) as often as possible. Therefore, when you are <= 10m to your target and Rail Shot (High Impact Bolt) is on cooldown, your priority is to proc a reset of its cooldown via Flame Burst (Ion Pulse) and Rocket Punch (Stockstrike).

  1. Apply a ranged DoT on your target. Due to the changes to the Prototype Particle Accelerator (Ionic Accelerator) talent in 1.2, you should use Flame Burst (Ion Pulse) to apply the DoT only if the Prototype Particle Accelerator (Ionic Accelerator) talent is on cooldown. Otherwise, apply the more expensive Incendiary Missile (Incendiary Round)
  2. Rail Shot (High Impact Bolt) – this will only cost a net of 8 Heat (1 Ammo) when the target is burning
  3. If you are > 10m from the target, Explosive Dart (Sticky Grenade) or the 31-pt replacement Thermal Detonator (Assault Plastique), otherwise use Flame Burst (Ion Pulse)
  4. Rocket Punch (Stockstrike) and Flame Burst (Ion Pulse) to try to proc the cooldown reset for Rail Shot (High Impact Bolt)
  5. If you get a cooldown reset for Rail Shot (High Impact Bolt), use it
  6. Rinse and repeat 4-6

Be very careful about spamming Incendiary Missile (Incendiary Round), as it is very expensive to cast.

I have played with 31-pt Pyrotech (Assault Specialist) specs, and while Thermal Detonator (Assault Plastique) is a good tool, after extensive testing in PVP and duels, I have come to the conclusion that TD (AP) should *not* be used in favor of FB (IP) or RP (SS) when Rail Shot (High Impact Bolt) is on cooldown, because RS (HIB) is king.

Single-Target Rotation for 31-pt Shield Tech (Shield Specialist)

Aside from Rocket Punch (Stockstrike), you want to use Rail Shot (High Impact Bolt) ASAP to get the 15-sec cooldown ticking.

Make sure to use Heat Blast (Energy Blast) for managing your mana, and as of 1.2 that ability is off the GCD so you can use it to provide some additional instant burst damage.

Aside from those abilities, here is the rotation:

  1. From range, Explosive Dart (Sticky Grenade)
  2. While closing to melee range, Rail Shot (High Impact Bolt) if possible, Rapid Shots (Hammer Shot) if not
  3. As soon as you close to melee range, Rocket Punch (Stockstrike) and when that’s on cooldown, Flame Burst (Ion Pulse) until you can Rocket Punch (Stockstrike) again
  4. Rinse and repeat

Single-Target Rotation for Advanced Prototype (Tactics) with < 18 points in Pyrotech (Assault Specialist)

Please see TheOpf’s post.

10. Recommended Specs

I intentionally put this section after all of the previous ones, to make sure you understand the mechanics of your class before copying someone else’s spec. Too often on the forums people ask for specs but don’t understand the mechanics and therefore how to play them correctly.

PVP

I cover several specs below in my narrated Spec Guide video, so check that out for more information.

Here is a list of some of the viable PVP specs from “left-to-right”:

  • Tank: 31/10/0 Powertech (Vanguard) provides charge, Guard, solid melee capability, and excellent durability via passive mitigation. Limited ranged capability. In 1.2, Heat Blast (Energy Blast) was removed from the GCD. Empowered Tech (Counterattack) increases the chance to proc Shield Vents (Shield Cycler) and Flame Shield (Static Shield) to improve DPS
  • TheOpf’s “NORS” (No Rail Shot): 8/31/2 Powertech (Vanguard): provides mobility, an emphasis on damage that ignores Armor, excellent CC capability, and passive mana management. For a comprehensive look at viable 8/31/2 specs, check out TheOpf’s thread on the BH forum.
  • Run-and-Gun: 1/22/18 Powertech (Vanguard): blends the cooldown reset proc for Rail Shot (High Impact Bolt) with the in-combat sprint and short CC cooldowns of the middle tree. Oozo has created a series of videos on his blog for an almost identical 0/23/18 spec
  • Controlled Burst DPS: 4/12/25 Powertech (Vanguard): blends high burst and sustained damage with max interrupt capability. This spec passes on Thermal Detonator (Assault Plastique), because within 10m TD (AP) competes with Rocket Punch (Stockstrike) and Flame Burst (Ion Pulse) for the GCD, and the latter abilities take priority due to their ability to reset the cooldown of Rail Shot (High Impact Bolt). Credit for this spec goes to Omegix, a kick-ass Vanguard on Ajunta Pall
  • Full DPS: 4/6/31 Powertech (Vanguard): delivers the highest burst and sustained DPS for the AC at the cost of limited mobility. Fore more information, check out the blog article. There are many variants to this spec, e.g. 4/12/25, 5/5/31, 8/6/27, 8/8/25, etc.

PVE

Here is a list of some of the viable PVE specs from “left-to-right”:

  • Main Tank: 31/7/3 Powertech (Vanguard): provides every Armor, Shield Chance, Shield Absorption, and 2% mitigation talent. Also delivers solid damage from Rocket Punch (Stockstrike) and Elemental attacks to boost threat generation
  • DPS: 7/6/28 Powertech (Vanguard): delivers high sustained and burst damage with tools for managing your Heat (Ammo). The points in the 1st tier of the tree that boost Endurance are filler, as the other 3 options are talents more suited to PVP

11. Stat Prioritization

Diminishing Returns

The “secondary” stats, with the exception of Power, have diminishing returns.

Check out tuskake’s post on the official forums for a chart and numbers. Here are the approximate “soft caps” for some of the secondary stats:

Alacrity is similar to WoW’s Haste mechanic, and as the vast majority of your GCDs will be spent on instant-cast abilities, this stat is mostly wasted. Alacrity does shorten channeled ability cast times but all of our meaningful channeled abilities have significant cooldowns.

PVP

  • Primary stats: Aim = Endurance, favor one over the other for damage vs time-to-live
  • Secondary stats:
    • DPS builds: Expertise > Power = Crit Rating > Surge Rating = Accuracy Rating
    • Tank: Expertise > Defense Rating = Shield Rating > Power = Crit Rating > Surge Rating > Accuracy Rating

For specs with 18+ points in Pyrotech (Assault Spec), please note that Accuracy Rating is an important stat, and you should not replace what comes on PVP gear. You need that Accuracy to make sure your Rail Shot (High Impact Bolt) hits.

PVE

Expertise is useless in PVE.

  • Tanking
    • Primary stats: Endurance > Aim
    • Secondary stats: Accuracy Rating (under Hit cap) > Shield Rating > Absorption Rating > Defense Rating > Power > Crit Rating > Surge Rating > Accuracy Rating (at/above Hit cap)
  • DPS
    • Primary stats: Aim > Endurance
    • Secondary stats: Accuracy Rating* (under Hit cap) > Power = Crit Rating > Surge Rating > Accuracy Rating (at/above Hit cap)

* Note: I have not tested yet to see whether Accuracy is worth stacking over the Hit cap to reduce your target’s defenses.

12. Gear Recommendations

PVP Sets

There are 3 “tiers” of PVP gear

  1. Recruit: full set of purchasable blue gear for fresh 50 characters for ~320k credits
  2. Battlemaster: purchasable via normal Warzone commendations
  3. War Hero: purchaseable via Ranked Warzone commendations. The armor and weapon slots require that you trade-in the corresponding Battlemaster piece

There are 3 sets to consider for this AC (in alphabetical order) and their set bonuses:

  1. Combat Tech

    • 2-pc: +0.5 seconds to duration of PBAoE stun, reduces CC breaker cooldown by 15 sec
    • 4-pc: +15% Crit Chance to Rocket Punch (Stockstrike)
  2. Eliminator

    • 2-pc: N/A
    • 4-pc: +15% Crit Chance to Rail Shot (High Impact Bolt)
  3. Supercommando

    • 2-pc: -1.5 second to cooldown for Heat Blast (Energy Blast) and Jet Charge (Storm)
    • 4-pc: +5% damage while Guarding

Which 4-pc set bonus do you pursue? With Patch 1.3, the decision is simple and based on your primary tree:

  • Shield Tech (Shield Specialist): Supercommando. Pre-1.3, I used to recommend swapping out the tank mods for DPS ones, but in 1.3, the style of play that makes sense for tanks is durable meatshield
  • Advanced Prototype (Tactics): Combat Tech
  • Pyrotech (Assault Specialist): Eliminator

Aside from the 4-pc set bonus, for a given slot take pieces based on the stat prioritization.

Offhand

  • If you are running the tanking stance, you can not Shield unless you have a Shield offhand equipped, so use a Shield offhand
  • If you are not using the tanking stance, use a Generator offhand

13. Narrated Gameplay Videos

Writing Guides like this is part of what I contribute to the community. The other 2 major pieces of content that I provide are:

  1. Streaming live gameplay with commentary: http://twitch.tv/taugrim
  2. Narrated videos on YouTube: http://youtube.com/taugrimtaugrim

My narrated videos for this AC are included below in reverse-chronological order:

Avoiding False Accelerator Procs for Vanguard (Powertech) in SWTOR 1.2

In this video, I explain for Patch 1.2 how to avoid “false” procs for the Accelerator talent in the Assault Specialist (Pyrotech) tree for the Vanguard (Powertech) class.


4/6/31 All-Out DPS PVP Spec

This spec synergizes around the strong offensive capabilities of the Pyrotech (Assault Specialist) tree, in particular the mechanics for Rail Shot (High Impact Bolt) and Elemental damage.


Taugrim’s “Iron Fist” PVP Tank Spec (25/14/2)

I designed this spec after discerning the limitations of the Defense (avoidance) and Shield (block) mechanics for tanks in PVP. Mitigation is king in SWTOR; therefore the spec provides a significant amount of flat mitigation against all damage types.

The 4-pc Tech set bonus, Flame Shield (Static Shield) talent, and Flame Surge (Static Surge) talent synergize to generate a high frequency of high-damage Rocket Punch (Stockstrike) crits.

<3 this spec, it rocks :)


50 PVP Spec Guide

I discuss four PVP specs at level 50 in terms of their key talents, tradeoff decisions, and pros and cons.


Tips for Using the Ranged Pull Ability Grapple (Harpoon)

One of the best abilities of the AC is the ranged pull, which can be used to wreck enemy players and peel for friendlies.


Powertech PVP @ 20 as Advanced Prototype Spec in Huttball

In this PUG match I led all players with 273k damage, 51 kills, 23 killing blows, and 2 solo kills while using the tanking stance. Not that stats are the most important thing, but this gives you an idea of the offensive capability of the AC.


Vanguard PVP @ 14 as Tactics Spec in Alderaan

PUG match where I discuss the core class mechanics, match tactics, and combat tips.

14. About the Author

I’ve written Guides across multiple MMORPGs, including:

Posted in Guide, PVP, SWTOR, Vanguard / Powertech, Video
270 comments on “Guide to SWTOR Powertech / Vanguard Mechanics and PVP
  1. Skelethin says:

    I enjoyed the look of your “Iron Fist” PVP build and was curious how you would translate something similar into a PvE build?

    For strictly pve, I put together this (30/11/0) http://www.torhead.com/skill-calc#801G0GrdorogZMcrzo.1

    I’ve just hit 41, so I just got Gut in addition to Storm, so haven’t had much of a chance to test and see how different it makes things tanking FPs.

  2. Gottfried says:

    Hey Taugrim, I’ve been following your Prot Paladin guides and it helped me gain ratings above 1.5k (something my arena mates have been very skeptical about) and now I’m here looking at your Vanguard guides where I’m actually playing as well.

    Thank you for your guides, they’re easy to read, understand, your videos are well narrated and it keeps a casual like me to be at the top of my game instead of practicing Pvp or Pve rotations like a hermitty basement dweller. xD

    • taugrim says:

      Gottfried :

      Thank you for your guides, they’re easy to read, understand, your videos are well narrated and it keeps a casual like me to be at the top of my game instead of practicing Pvp or Pve rotations like a hermitty basement dweller. xD

      You’re welcome :)

  3. marathon says:

    “If you are running the tanking stance, you can not Shield unless you have a Shield offhand equipped, so use a Shield offhand”

    Not true, all you need is to be using IGC.

    • taugrim says:

      marathon :

      “If you are running the tanking stance, you can not Shield unless you have a Shield offhand equipped, so use a Shield offhand”

      Not true, all you need is to be using IGC.

      Incorrect.

      You can easily verify this in 10 seconds.

      Use your tanking stance, unequip your Shield item or equip a Generator, look at your Character panel. You’ll have 0% chance to Shield.

  4. OptimusPrime says:

    I was curious on how you accessorize your gear on the iron fist build? I understand you run the combat tech 5 piece set. Do you also run the eliminator off pieces? Also do you run the shield generator in off hand, since you are using ion cylinder, or do you use the dps off hand? thanks!

  5. […] For more information about Powertech / Vanguard PVP, please refer to my free in-depth Guide. […]

  6. Icalis says:

    What spec would you recommend leveling with PvP wise? I’ve been running 22/0/0 right now at 31

    • taugrim says:

      Icalis :

      What spec would you recommend leveling with PvP wise? I’ve been running 22/0/0 right now at 31

      There is no right answer for this, it really depends on your preferred playstyle.

      I leveled with the middle tree from 10->36, and with the right tree from 37->50. But that was primarily to try different non-tank specs out, as DPS kills faster in PVE.

      • Icalis says:

        Fair enough. I’ve been enjoying tank leveling so I’ll stick with it. I’m mostly focusing on PvP rather than PvE aside from getting my class quests done after I’ve out leveled the area for the most part.

  7. Juicer says:

    Hey Taugrim. I am wondering about the viability of a 8/15/18 spec http://www.torhead.com/skill-calc#301hMhZMsMMRMZbIbbdh.1
    I know it lacks the cc and dmg but its somewhat compensated by Pneumatic boots and it has virtually no heat build up whatsoever. + the dmg output is less rng than based on a crit chance mechanic of a pure dps spec.

  8. John says:

    Taugrim I have been reading on the forums that expertise has diminishing returns after 500. They are saying it is better to only have enough PVP gear to get between 500-550 expertise and then use PVE gear for the rest since high end PVE gear has better stats.

    I have a sentinel friend that only has 2 pieces of champ gear. The rest is PVE gear. Had a Hutt Ball where he just chewed through a guardian Battle Master. I also lost to him as a Vanguard with all champ gear. When he switches to mostly champ gear he does a lot less damage.

    He told me that he tried doing a dozen or so warzones with mostly champ gear and that it’s just worst. With the PVE gear he is always top 3 and gets a lot more kills.

    • taugrim says:

      John :

      Taugrim I have been reading on the forums that expertise has diminishing returns after 500. They are saying it is better to only have enough PVP gear to get between 500-550 expertise and then use PVE gear for the rest since high end PVE gear has better stats.

      All secondary stats aside from Power have diminishing returns.

      Here is a good article that Crowley linked for me, basically agreeing with what you wrote:
      http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=242994

      I’m not BM yet (halfway through 59->60!), so at least soon I’ll be able to speak to the gap between Champion and BM gear.

      Unfortunately as I plan on tanking in PVE, I will not be getting PVE DPS gear anytime soon. Whatever Rakata pieces I get would be turned in for tanking pieces so that I can improve my main tanking capability.

  9. Mike says:

    Hey man. Great write-up. I just rolled a powertech and will be refering back to this guide often. Can you do a quick write-up on the exact key binding you are using for pve tanking? I read your other guide on key mapping and curious how you have it set up for this game. I’d love to adopt it now while I’m a low level and hopefully have it mastered by the time I hit 50. Thanks for the help!

    • taugrim says:

      Mike :

      Can you do a quick write-up on the exact key binding you are using for pve tanking? I read your other guide on key mapping and curious how you have it set up for this game. I’d love to adopt it now while I’m a low level and hopefully have it mastered by the time I hit 50. Thanks for the help!

      I’m still tweaking my keybindings so I have been waiting to post my keybindings until they “settle down”.

      Stay tuned.

  10. Martin says:

    Hi there!

    I can only quote the other writhers before me in liking of you awsome guide. If I understood you correctly you mainly went with the Advanced prototype skills in the beggining of lvling and then switched for Pyrotech. My question is did you spend any points on Shield tech tree and Pyro tree on your way up the lvls like the finnished “Short-Range Shutdown DPS” set up or did you prioritate a something else?

    Thanks again for the guide that will kepp me playing my Powertech with joy!!

    • taugrim says:

      Martin :

      If I understood you correctly you mainly went with the Advanced prototype skills in the beggining of lvling and then switched for Pyrotech. My question is did you spend any points on Shield tech tree and Pyro tree on your way up the lvls like the finnished “Short-Range Shutdown DPS” set up or did you prioritate a something else?

      Between my 29 Powertech and 50 Vanguard, I tried a lot of different specs while leveling.

      Each of the 3 trees works while leveling, it just comes down to what playstyle you prefer.

  11. Deyo says:

    Hey Taugrim. First of all, I am playing a Vanguard right now and enjoying it almost entirely due to your videos, comments and coverage. So thanks a bunch.

    Two questions:
    1) Does the armor penetration for High Impact Bolt from the High Friction Bolt and the Focused Impact talents stack?

    2) Your guide, understandably talks about spec viability etc. for high level chars. Any advice for lower level PVP specs?

    Thanks.
    Deyo

    • taugrim says:

      Deyo :

      Two questions:
      1) Does the armor penetration for High Impact Bolt from the High Friction Bolt and the Focused Impact talents stack?

      2) Your guide, understandably talks about spec viability etc. for high level chars. Any advice for lower level PVP specs?

      1. yes. You’ll get the biggest hits / crits from HIB when you have FI and HFB talented

      2. aside from the level 14 and 20 videos I posted, as well as the video about leveraging pulls in Huttball? Those videos cover all the core tactics and mechanics.

      You can level with any of the 3 trees, it just comes down to playstyle preference.

  12. Nathan says:

    This post is awesome BTW. Keep up the good work!!!

  13. Juanonymous says:

    Great guide!
    Maybe I can’t see it if it does exist, but if not could you post a spec and/or guide to optimize powertech leveling?

  14. Jonneh says:

    I personally find that the shield chance still provides a decent amount of protection, even though it only works against the minority of attacks against you. I’m in full (almost) Battlemaster Supercommando and full tank pvp spec.

    It may not be the top end mathematically, but it suits my support tank play-style by giving me that little bit more survivability meaning I can disrupt door/point caps for that little bit longer. I have yet to find any dps spec on my server who can best me 1v1, and I still often kill someone in a 2v1 or even 3v1 – with cooldowns.

    Being hard to kill is pretty much the endgame pvp of SWTOR imo, being made much more significant by the design of the 3 Warzones.

    • taugrim says:

      Jonneh :

      I personally find that the shield chance still provides a decent amount of protection, even though it only works against the minority of attacks against you. I’m in full (almost) Battlemaster Supercommando and full tank pvp spec.

      It may not be the top end mathematically, but it suits my support tank play-style by giving me that little bit more survivability meaning I can disrupt door/point caps for that little bit longer. I have yet to find any dps spec on my server who can best me 1v1, and I still often kill someone in a 2v1 or even 3v1 – with cooldowns.

      Being hard to kill is pretty much the endgame pvp of SWTOR imo, being made much more significant by the design of the 3 Warzones.

      There is such a thing as being too tanky in PVP for SWTOR and other games.

      Having max survivability is excellent when defending a node, but the tradeoff is that on offense your DPS is going to take a significant hit. You won’t be able to burn down opponents in a meaningful timeframe, e.g. when trying to plant a bomb in Voidstar or when trying to flip a node in Alderaan.

      I recommend to anyone who wants to get 4-pc SC for the set bonus to replace the mods with DPS ones, and to go with non-SC gear for the rest of the slots. You just lose way too much damage with the Supercommando set as-is.

  15. Psychrome says:

    Hey Taugfrim its me Psychrome , and jsut wanted to say i still send all my guildies to your site for pvp info and keybinding i am currently running a 23/0/18 vanguard spec and i am loving it, even with the tech set.

    i use my incendiary round to great utility for guarding nodes and doors and the amount of damage i am seeing is insane im almost full BM now and really wish you would have stayed on JUNG MA. would have been nice to see how i fair against you :P

    anyhow glad to see you are keeping things going here and hope to see more of your stuff
    (please dont play tera anymore, at least not live, it makes me cry a little inside when i saw you having a fuzzy critter as a character)kidding somewhat:P

    good luck on your BM gear and kill alot of imps for me:P

    • taugrim says:

      Psychrome :

      jsut wanted to say i still send all my guildies to your site for pvp info and keybinding i am currently running a 23/0/18 vanguard spec and i am loving it, even with the tech set.

      Thanks, I appreciate it!

      Psychrome :

      (please dont play tera anymore, at least not live, it makes me cry a little inside when i saw you having a fuzzy critter as a character)kidding somewhat:P

      I wanted to see what the combat system in TERA looked like. Now I know.

      I’m having a great time in SWTOR so I’m not going anywhere.

  16. Psychrome says:

    This is the build i am Using!

    Keep in mind the 3 points in superheated plasma are needed to hit the 3rd tier abilities(especially High Friction bolts)

    This spec is strong in utility and great for defense and can still lay down some hurt! With full DPS gear mostly BM it can lay the hurt down. i am seeing 3100 Crits on Stockstrike and 3k hits on HIB, also this spec is very easy on Ammo. granted i dont have Riot strike talented but the remaining utility is pretty amazing.

    The Build:
    http://www.torhead.com/skill-calc#801hRGrboboMZZbIbbdh.1

  17. Tron says:

    Taugrim what are your thoughts on the 23/0/18 and the 21/2/18 spec? I prefer Iron Fist but I dont have the burst I need, I’m running out of ammo without paralatic combat stims/high friction bolts. Against BM geared opponents that are mixing and matching raid gear I can’t burst them down without abusing fire/acid pits in huttball.

    • taugrim says:

      Tron :

      Taugrim what are your thoughts on the 23/0/18 and the 21/2/18 spec? I prefer Iron Fist but I dont have the burst I need, I’m running out of ammo without paralatic combat stims/high friction bolts. Against BM geared opponents that are mixing and matching raid gear I can’t burst them down without abusing fire/acid pits in huttball.

      Well due to the Surge Rating nerf in 1.1.3, burst damage is down, so time-to-kill is up, which means “mana” longevity becomes more of an issue.

      Due to this, I’ve moved the point out of Oil Slick (Smoke Grenade) to max out Shield Vents (Shield Cycler) with Iron Fist, and it’s helped.

  18. Kary says:

    Hi, i would like to know your taugrim ironfist rotation, thx in advance and keep the good work!

  19. Moon says:

    Hi all and hi Taugrim. First I want to thank You for all the work you have done for vanguard/powertech classes. This page and your other content about vanguard are my main guide in playing vanguard class. I have made some heavy hybrid build and what yours and other people opinion on it, please.

    http://www.torhead.com/skill-calc#801GRMZMcrZbIbrzGM.1

    Here is explanation why I made build like that. First I noticed much more survivability using only ion cell without any other talents and since Im gona use ion cell I put points to support ion cell stance and didnt take plasma points on right. Second I noticed huge difference having reflexive shield talented. With that, I can use 25% damage reduction almost every 45sec-1min and that is the reason I went that far in assault tree. Third, beside high impact bolt MOST often used skill is ion cell so in middle tree I went to buff that and high impact bolt with more damage mitigation from power armor. Talents in shield spec are again to support elemental damage from ion cell and damage from high impact bolt together with points in more damage mitigation and as mentioned above points to support ion cell stance.

    I am about to hit 50 tonight and atm my price for changing talents is around 100k :-))) Atm I am full assault for leveling with some points in shield and tactics but need to change that since Im gona pvp only at 50. Expecting your comments please.

    • taugrim says:

      Moon :

      Hi all and hi Taugrim. First I want to thank You for all the work you have done for vanguard/powertech classes. This page and your other content about vanguard are my main guide in playing vanguard class. I have made some heavy hybrid build and what yours and other people opinion on it, please.

      http://www.torhead.com/skill-calc#801GRMZMcrZbIbrzGM.1

      Here is explanation why I made build like that. First I noticed much more survivability using only ion cell without any other talents and since Im gona use ion cell I put points to support ion cell stance and didnt take plasma points on right. Second I noticed huge difference having reflexive shield talented. With that, I can use 25% damage reduction almost every 45sec-1min and that is the reason I went that far in assault tree. Third, beside high impact bolt MOST often used skill is ion cell so in middle tree I went to buff that and high impact bolt with more damage mitigation from power armor. Talents in shield spec are again to support elemental damage from ion cell and damage from high impact bolt together with points in more damage mitigation and as mentioned above points to support ion cell stance.

      I am about to hit 50 tonight and atm my price for changing talents is around 100k :-) )) Atm I am full assault for leveling with some points in shield and tactics but need to change that since Im gona pvp only at 50. Expecting your comments please.

      So what you have looks too hybridized, in terms of spreading points between the 3 trees.

      In general, you want to try to get at least 2 of the class-defining talents. You have one of them in Ionic Accelerator, but you don’t have either of the 21-pt talents in the other trees.

  20. cecil says:

    new to mmo’s what do you do when a guy jumps up and down and i can’t target or seem to hit him alot?

  21. Catatonic says:

    Taugrim, love your guide, you have helped me immensly when it comes to PVP.

    My question is about leveling gear. Once I hit level 20 with my Vanguard I equipped the level 20 PVP gear. I am now halfway through level 27. I was wondering what gear to try and get since there is no level 30 PVP gear and I have already purchased my level 40 gear with my warzone tokens from PVP?

    Thanks for the time you spend writing these guides and streams.

    • taugrim says:

      Catatonic :

      Taugrim, love your guide, you have helped me immensly when it comes to PVP.

      Awesome to hear.

      Catatonic :

      My question is about leveling gear. Once I hit level 20 with my Vanguard I equipped the level 20 PVP gear. I am now halfway through level 27. I was wondering what gear to try and get since there is no level 30 PVP gear and I have already purchased my level 40 gear with my warzone tokens from PVP?

      Get modable gear for as many slots as you can, befriend a CyberTech and Artificier, and have them craft mods for you. It’s the easiest way to stay geared up to your current level.

  22. Beans says:

    Hey Tau, tyvm for the really good guide and tips.

    Ive just started a commando and was wondering if u knew about standar pvp specs for gunnery or medic? Or if theres some guide i can check out. Cant seem to find any good ones. Maybe u are planning on a commando guide aswell? Would be more then awsome;)

    Ty for the awsome work u do for the trooper/bh community;)

  23. Osion says:

    My introduction to you (Taugrim) was through twitch.tv when I needed a SW:TOR fix in between beta test weekends. The information you provide is very comprehensive and thoughtful, which is why I hope to engage you and the communities’ knowledge. Wall of text inc:

    I have recently switched to and really enjoy -the- “Iron Fist” spec, while I didn’t copy it exactly I find it far superior to my previous Heat Blast build. (I play BH so all my references are naturally going to be BH, my apologies). However, I still am using my Supercommando set to fulfill a tank specific role in pvp. I’ll try to explain.

    In a previous comment you stated that there is such a thing as being too tanky. I’m wondering if you would say the same thing about healers. Can you be too healy? The only healer I have in TOR right now is a level 26 operative, but based on my other MMO healer experiences the answer would be yes, you can design a healer that is too healy for pvp. I would contend that what is up for discussion would be where the line is in terms of how healy and how tanky a support class should be. Obviously talking about pvp includes a large variety of situations, so for my perspective in attempting to optimize for warzones the line in which a healer gets too healy is set rather high. For the most part in 8v8 they should be healing the vast majority of time. (I purposefully refer to healing rather than tanking as a way to prime the subject of tanking as a unique role, akin to healing, feel free to disagree about the parallels of this analogy.) If I was trying to optimize for arena style combat of at most 5v5 then the amount of healy-ness (can’t believe I just typed that) would be far less.

    Watching videos and reading forum posts of people who play tank classes in pvp I have noticed that the vast majority of them play a tank class as if it is just a dps class with guard and taunt abilities. Now this does not apply to your videos because you play as smart pvper and make the right decisions based on the logical next step to win the match. That says little about the class, however, as whatever class you selected would play the same if the rest your team abandoned the node you were defending. I believe playing a tanking class looks different from dps in very important ways, I don’t want to list them all but I’ll just summarize that they revolve around using our classes’ excellent mobility and control to defend healers, the huttball carrier, being the huttball carrier and so forth. In essence I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m focused on keeping my teammates (mostly healers) alive rather than killing the enemy. These can go hand in hand but I think the subtle difference is telling. My point would be: Yes, if you are going to play like a dps you should wear dps gear!

    I agree absorption and shield chance are pretty worthless mechanics in pvp. (Thank you for explaining it so well, by the way) The amount of crit available and the specs that people use to increase or guarantee crit chance makes this ability only worth while to proc our talents that revolve around having shields. The stat that I have focused on to maintain my tankiness is Defense. I am currently at a defense chance of 13.99% (silly, Y U NO 14%?). Now here comes the theory. Having that much defense may be good or it may not be worth it. The idea is that I am not only wanting to dodge etc, but I am wanting to counter-act the high amount of accuracy that dps classes have. Pushing their accuracy against me below 100% would be great. If I could just get it to 100% so that they are not getting natural armor penetration against me would be good too. I tried different sets and noticed a difference in survivability, however I have no numbers to check to see if this is worth it. Was hoping to get feedback and or guidance on this! So my method so far is of course upgrade all stats if I can, then focus on defense so I can fulfill my tank role, and through out all +shield and +absorb for dps gear and mods.

    On a more constructive note: I’m curious into your thoughts about what would make tanking worth it? You mention that there are limits to the defense, and I agree, the skills and mechanics of tanking are not as beneficial as I originally thought, however, I could imagine a case wherein being able to avoid or mitigate every single attack would be overpowered. Now I’m not inserting words into people’s mouths, cause I don’t think anybody would say tanks need that much survivability, however, what changes -would- make it viable to tank in pvp?

    Online communication being what it is, I would like to state in a matter of fact tone that although this post may seem argumentative I have no such negative feelings at all. I just have great appreciation for you, Taugrim. This is and always will remain nothing more than a game and so to take discussions like these as serious business is just silly. So here are some smily faces! :) :) :) :) :) :)

    • taugrim says:

      Osion :

      I have recently switched to and really enjoy -the- “Iron Fist” spec, while I didn’t copy it exactly I find it far superior to my previous Heat Blast build. (I play BH so all my references are naturally going to be BH, my apologies). However, I still am using my Supercommando set to fulfill a tank specific role in pvp. I’ll try to explain.

      Are you using more than 5 pieces of SC gear for PVP – 4 for the set bonus and the 1 Shield offhand?

      Osion :

      I believe playing a tanking class looks different from dps in very important ways, I don’t want to list them all but I’ll just summarize that they revolve around using our classes’ excellent mobility and control to defend healers, the huttball carrier, being the huttball carrier and so forth. In essence I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m focused on keeping my teammates (mostly healers) alive rather than killing the enemy. These can go hand in hand but I think the subtle difference is telling. My point would be: Yes, if you are going to play like a dps you should wear dps gear!

      I agree absorption and shield chance are pretty worthless mechanics in pvp. (Thank you for explaining it so well, by the way) The amount of crit available and the specs that people use to increase or guarantee crit chance makes this ability only worth while to proc our talents that revolve around having shields. The stat that I have focused on to maintain my tankiness is Defense. I am currently at a defense chance of 13.99% (silly, Y U NO 14%?). Now here comes the theory. Having that much defense may be good or it may not be worth it. The idea is that I am not only wanting to dodge etc, but I am wanting to counter-act the high amount of accuracy that dps classes have. Pushing their accuracy against me below 100% would be great. If I could just get it to 100% so that they are not getting natural armor penetration against me would be good too. I tried different sets and noticed a difference in survivability, however I have no numbers to check to see if this is worth it. Was hoping to get feedback and or guidance on this! So my method so far is of course upgrade all stats if I can, then focus on defense so I can fulfill my tank role, and through out all +shield and +absorb for dps gear and mods.

      Until there is a Combat Log, it’s really difficult to calculate the effect of Accuracy vs Defense and other stats.

      The one thing I have read is that Defense scales very slowly in terms of % benefit from Defense Rating and there is DR, so from a practical standpoint it may be difficult to stack it sufficiently to offset the amount of Accuracy that comes on PVP gear.

      But this all really depends on what you want to do in PVP? Do you want to be the ultimate meatshield, who can solo defend a door or node for a long time until help can come? Or do you want to balance out having good durability with offensive punch as well?

      Osion :

      Now I’m not inserting words into people’s mouths, cause I don’t think anybody would say tanks need that much survivability, however, what changes -would- make it viable to tank in pvp?

      Well, there are have been a fair number of people on the forums complaining about the relative weakness of Defense and Shield in PVP.

      The issue is if the mechanics are changed and they are buffed meaningfully, then tanks might have too much survivability.

      • Osion says:

        I believe I currently have all SC gear except for my belt and bracers. Basically anything that gives me more endurance and defense I keep over Tech and Eliminator gear. I failed to mention, evidently, that I have run full Eliminator gear and noticed no meaningful increase in dps (Once again without numbers). I haven’t tried a full Tech gear set up yet, but I’ll give it a shot.

        I wonder what would happen if they tweaked shield and absorb to defend against the currently unavoidable damage in Tech and Force type attacks. So instead of the 2-roll system for 50% of the types, have the stronger avoidance (Defense) stay against the more typical attacks that it currently is, and have the weaker defense (shield and absorb) defend against the better attacks. That might keep it from being overpowered. I could just imagine the frustration of trying to stun a tank and having it dodged.

      • Osion says:

        Sorry for the double post, I would have stuck it in as an edit.

        I took a look at the Defense chance formula. Defense chance is fairly linear. You need roughly 30 defense rating to go from 5% to 6% defense chance and 40 defense rating to go from 14% to 15% defense chance.
        Which means you should be able to get about 1% defense chance per SC gear piece. Is it worth it? Debatable.

  24. Very nice guide.

    Forgive the stupid question (and I might have missed the info/answer), but am I correct in understanding that you’re tank specced (Powertech “Iron Fist”) in solely DPS gear (combat tech etc)?

    • taugrim says:

      Jan Andrew Bloxham :

      Very nice guide.

      Forgive the stupid question (and I might have missed the info/answer), but am I correct in understanding that you’re tank specced (Powertech “Iron Fist”) in solely DPS gear (combat tech etc)?

      Correct.

  25. Warlen says:

    Great guide. Sorry if its been brought up already (didn’t want to read through all 134 posts) but in your “11. Recommended Specs” under PvE you say “Here is a list of some of the viable PVP specs from “left-to-right”:” it should be PvE not PvP.

    • taugrim says:

      Warlen :

      Great guide. Sorry if its been brought up already (didn’t want to read through all 134 posts) but in your “11. Recommended Specs” under PvE you say “Here is a list of some of the viable PVP specs from “left-to-right”:” it should be PvE not PvP.

      Thanks for the catch. Fixed.

  26. Helgan says:

    Thanks for your superior guide! I totally LOVE your “Iron Fist” spec!

    50+% Mitigation just rocks! Average DMG and good mobility and CC … it´s awesome!

    Now it takes 3 DDs to get me down (in a reasonable timeframe) … just funny.

    Greetings from Germany!

  27. Murp says:

    Expertise is useless in PVE.

    •Tanking
    ◦Primary stats: Endurance > Aim
    ◦Secondary stats: Accuracy Rating (under Hit cap) > Shield Rating > Defense Rating > Power > Crit Rating > Surge Rating > Accuracy Rating (at/above Hit cap)

    Where would you put Absorb in this secondary stats priority for PVE tanking? I am trying to build a tanking set and am wondering what stats to focus on.

    Thanks,

    • taugrim says:

      Murp :

      Expertise is useless in PVE.

      •Tanking
      ◦Primary stats: Endurance > Aim
      ◦Secondary stats: Accuracy Rating (under Hit cap) > Shield Rating > Defense Rating > Power > Crit Rating > Surge Rating > Accuracy Rating (at/above Hit cap)

      Where would you put Absorb in this secondary stats priority for PVE tanking? I am trying to build a tanking set and am wondering what stats to focus on.

      Thanks,

      Absorb would be right after Shield Rating.

  28. Chuggs says:

    I still can’t believe this guide is a real, free thing on the internet. The most comprehensive, authoritative, and overall excellent MMO class guide I have ever read. Big ups to you Taugrim for all of the effort. It is appreciated.

  29. Dave says:

    Hi, Just started playing a Vanguard, I like the look of the Iron Fist spec. Please could you give me a brief idea of where I should be putting my points first as I level up. Do I want to go all in the Shield Tree first then pick use the rest of the points in the other trees? Are some more important than others?

    I will be playing alot of WZ and then mainly solo play for PvE.

    Thanks, hope you have time to reply Taugrim

    • taugrim says:

      Dave :

      Hi, Just started playing a Vanguard, I like the look of the Iron Fist spec. Please could you give me a brief idea of where I should be putting my points first as I level up. Do I want to go all in the Shield Tree first then pick use the rest of the points in the other trees? Are some more important than others?

      I will be playing alot of WZ and then mainly solo play for PvE.

      Thanks, hope you have time to reply Taugrim

      Go to 25 in tank tree first, then fill out the other trees (order won’t really matter much).

  30. Yorgl says:

    Hi Taugrim !

    First, I’d like to thank you because due to your guide, I tried PvP-ing with my BH (Shield spec) and boy, did I have fun ! (I will probably make a french version of your Ironfist spec guide on official forum ^^)

    My concern was about the PvE Tank stats, I’m a bit puzzled by the order you give in this guide and one answer you made to a previous comment regarding Absorption rating(“Below Shield Chance. Absorption is only relevant when you Shield”).

    While reading guides, as the one on Sith Warrior, they usually advise the following order “Abs > Def > Shield” which seems to make sense as we have already a quite high Shield chance (32% without any Shield Rating) so it seems better to improve its efficiency to smooth incoming damage.
    It also seems that this order is a result of them simulating several scenario in term of stats, with the tankin spreadsheet available in the Game Mechanic section (of Sith Warrior).

    Don’t you think you might have been wrong regarding this matter ? Or did I miss something ?
    (Hope that doesn’t seem rude to ask it like that, because it’s not meant to. English not being my native language, it’s not alway easy to pass the idea you have ^^).

    T(h)anks ! ^_^

    • taugrim says:

      Yorgl :

      My concern was about the PvE Tank stats, I’m a bit puzzled by the order you give in this guide and one answer you made to a previous comment regarding Absorption rating(“Below Shield Chance. Absorption is only relevant when you Shield”).

      While reading guides, as the one on Sith Warrior, they usually advise the following order “Abs > Def > Shield” which seems to make sense as we have already a quite high Shield chance (32% without any Shield Rating) so it seems better to improve its efficiency to smooth incoming damage.
      It also seems that this order is a result of them simulating several scenario in term of stats, with the tankin spreadsheet available in the Game Mechanic section (of Sith Warrior).

      Don’t you think you might have been wrong regarding this matter ? Or did I miss something ?

      I’ve heard different things. If I’m interpreting the following correctly, they order it as:
      Shield Rating > Shield Absorption > Defense Rating (Avoidance)
      http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=425#8

      I haven’t tanked Ops yet so I haven’t been able to test myself.

  31. Daniel says:

    Hi Taugrim,

    First of all thanks for your awesome guide. I was wondering what you think of giving up some points in the iron fist under shield specialist to get up to hold the line on tactics. I was thinking something along the lines of http://www.torhead.com/skill-calc#801GRGb0MbZRcrrobck.1

    You loose a bit of stockstrike damage and mitigation, but gain better hib and some free stockstrikes.

    • taugrim says:

      Daniel :

      First of all thanks for your awesome guide. I was wondering what you think of giving up some points in the iron fist under shield specialist to get up to hold the line on tactics. I was thinking something along the lines of http://www.torhead.com/skill-calc#801GRGb0MbZRcrrobck.1

      You loose a bit of stockstrike damage and mitigation, but gain better hib and some free stockstrikes.

      You give up Charge with interrupt and root to gain an in-combat sprint with immunity to root/snare/physics, so that is kind of a wash in terms of utility.

      You do gain a better HIB but you only use it once every 15 seconds with this spec as you don’t have Ionic Accelerator. I think it’s too high a cost to get the talent if you don’t have IA.

  32. Hauska Tavata says:

    Great guides you’ve put together! A lot of people stress that the top-tier abilities are worth going for, but after getting Energy Blast (31 pts in Shield Specialist) I was really unsatisfied with the damage and the utility. After shopping around I found your Iron Fist build and love the results — it emphasizes the build’s strong points and minimizes the weaknesses. Cheers

  33. Noollig says:

    In Taugrim’s Iron Fist spec, would it be worth dropping a point in advanced tools in favor of jet speed if I’m having trouble catching up to some targets that just seem to be able to stay out of range of the rocket punch / retractable blade?

    • taugrim says:

      Noollig :

      In Taugrim’s Iron Fist spec, would it be worth dropping a point in advanced tools in favor of jet speed if I’m having trouble catching up to some targets that just seem to be able to stay out of range of the rocket punch / retractable blade?

      You can keep targets in range by using Charge then follow up with Rocket Punch for the proc snare.

  34. Tabarkus says:

    Thanks for the great guide.

    With the patch today, 3/6/12, DOTs no longer prevent capping. On the Ironfist build. Question is: is the point spent on Retractable Blade/Gut better spent elsewhere?

    • taugrim says:

      Tabarkus :

      Thanks for the great guide.

      With the patch today, 3/6/12, DOTs no longer prevent capping. On the Ironfist build. Question is: is the point spent on Retractable Blade/Gut better spent elsewhere?

      Probably in Prototype Cylinders or Oil Slick

      • I’ve been considering this also. RB obviously has drawbacks (melee range, half the damage over a long time), but it’s also useful for when all other abilities are on CD, and heat is still low.

        How good is that accuracy reduction for Oil Slick exactly?

      • Tabarkus says:

        Yeah those were my thoughts. I decided to go with Prototype Cylinders for a little more passive damage increase as opposed to another button to push. Plus doesn’t Oil Slick produce a “ground target effect” from which people just move? Unless you drop it at your feet.

  35. obamia says:

    Taugrim, do you know how much accuracy you need for High Impact Bolt to be 100% effective against targets with base defensive stats in PVP?
    Is 5% enough? Or is it count like a basic attack and you need 10% more?
    Seems to me that is deflected lot of times in PVP. (I have the +5% Accuracy)

    • taugrim says:

      obamia :

      Taugrim, do you know how much accuracy you need for High Impact Bolt to be 100% effective against targets with base defensive stats in PVP?
      Is 5% enough? Or is it count like a basic attack and you need 10% more?
      Seems to me that is deflected lot of times in PVP. (I have the +5% Accuracy)

      It depends how much Defense % your target has. E.g. a tank may have stacked a lot of it via gear, talents, or buffs.

      The base Accuracy you get from PVP gear should be fine IMO. I wouldn’t stack it, you’ll lose too much on other important stats.

  36. jamers says:

    Hey Taugrim, played with you in LOTRO!

    Glad to see you’re still doing awesome game guides — you’re great at them. Enjoying this one immensely.

    Cheers!

  37. Razik says:

    First off I would like to say I love you blog post and have been following it for a while now. Thanks for all the hard work to have put into this highly informational post!

    I have played wow for 6 years and SWTOR since launch, and I have a question about your personal opinion on something.

    I know in wow going hybrid spec was only done in PvP so I disregarded this idea in Swtor until our pyrotech full DPS spec went to 7/6/28 EVEN IN PVE! I have even noticed this on my level 50 juggernaut, IMO going 14/23 is just completely stronger of a build than full tank. As a powertech, I like Iron fist, Carolina parakeet and ooze’s build so much better than any 31pt build and thermal detonator looks like such a waste, all it gives you is a bit more damage, nothing new at all.

    Q: What is your opinion on the current talent trees in Swtor seemingly being set to ditch the 31st point and just go hybrid?
    Do you think this is poor design or just people being crafty or just failure at making useful 31pt talents that feel rewarding?

    • taugrim says:

      Razik :

      I know in wow going hybrid spec was only done in PvP so I disregarded this idea in Swtor until our pyrotech full DPS spec went to 7/6/28 EVEN IN PVE! I have even noticed this on my level 50 juggernaut, IMO going 14/23 is just completely stronger of a build than full tank. As a powertech, I like Iron fist, Carolina parakeet and ooze’s build so much better than any 31pt build and thermal detonator looks like such a waste, all it gives you is a bit more damage, nothing new at all.

      Q: What is your opinion on the current talent trees in Swtor seemingly being set to ditch the 31st point and just go hybrid?
      Do you think this is poor design or just people being crafty or just failure at making useful 31pt talents that feel rewarding?

      The 31-pt talents for some trees is definitely worth taking. E.g. the 31-pt talent in the tank tree for Shadow / Assassin has high value in PVP and PVE.

      We go hybrid with a lot of specs for PT/VG because the mechanics favor going hybrid. The only 31-pt talent ability of the 3 trees for the AC worth considering AP / TD, but the opinions on that ability range from must-have to nice-to-have.

  38. Greta says:

    Hi Taugrim!

    Interested in hearing why you switched from IF to Pyro specc, haven’t found an answer on this in the videos you got up. Other then that, loving this site, awesome job and keep it up!

    • taugrim says:

      Greta :

      Hi Taugrim!

      Interested in hearing why you switched from IF to Pyro specc, haven’t found an answer on this in the videos you got up. Other then that, loving this site, awesome job and keep it up!

      Vanguard is the class I play, and I like to try different specs to test their capabilities. It wasn’t until last week that I had the 4-pc Champ Eliminator set bonus for the first time.

  39. Farik says:

    Why you didn’t put Flame Thrower (FT) in DPS rotation for Advanced Prototype (AP) spec? based on talent Prototype Flame Thrower you can increase the FT damage by 50%. it is a nice addition to AP dps to use FT after you get 5 stacks using Flame Burst. Also in AOE situations after DFA you can use FB a few times to get stacks then use FT for a huge AOE burst.

    Also i have a question about relics. which ones gives you more burst when you pop it with Explosive Fuel. crit/surge or power ?

    Farik (Correlian Run)

    • taugrim says:

      Farik :

      Why you didn’t put Flame Thrower (FT) in DPS rotation for Advanced Prototype (AP) spec? based on talent Prototype Flame Thrower you can increase the FT damage by 50%. it is a nice addition to AP dps to use FT after you get 5 stacks using Flame Burst. Also in AOE situations after DFA you can use FB a few times to get stacks then use FT for a huge AOE burst.

      If you re-read the section on Rotations, you’ll see that I broke up AOE and Single Target into separate sections.

      If you mean using FT for Single Target after you get the buff stack to 5, that’s a fair point.

      Farik :

      Also i have a question about relics. which ones gives you more burst when you pop it with Explosive Fuel. crit/surge or power ?

      Power is the way to go now.

      The Crit bonus from the relic will give you approximately +5% Crit Chance, and with the DR to Surge Rating in 1.1.3, you’ll maybe get 5-8% more damage from Crits.

  40. Turbopuschel says:

    Hi Taugrim, thanks for your wonderful blog.
    In your guide you wrote about the skill Energy Rebounder/Reflexive Shield: “Given the internal cooldown, you get the most bang for your buck at 1 talent point.”
    I thinks that is not true. If you invest double the skill points (meaning 2 instead of 1), your benefit when the skill procs doubles, too, AND you have double the chance of it procing, meaning even when every damage you take procs the skill with only 1 skill point (despite having only 50% chance) you have at worst the same benefit per skill point.

    • taugrim says:

      You have double the chance to get the proc, but when it procs you have the same internal cooldown. That’s the issue.

  41. amv351 says:

    Is there a better alternative for build previews? Torhead seems to never fully load the graphic to show your build (or any other blogger’s build). I’ve tried through Chrome and Firefox with no success

  42. amv351 says:

    amv351 :

    Is there a better alternative for build previews? Torhead seems to never fully load the graphic to show your build (or any other blogger’s build). I’ve tried through Chrome and Firefox with no success

    And of course as I post this, the site decides to work after the Nth attempt of trying to access it.

  43. Kemuri says:

    i really like your guides but for some reason, i cant seem to to see anything for the links on your point distribution… is it just me?

    • taugrim says:

      Kemuri :

      i really like your guides but for some reason, i cant seem to to see anything for the links on your point distribution… is it just me?

      When Patch 1.1.5 was released, the calculators on torhead.com weren’t working. They’re fine now.

  44. Viktor says:

    How would you set up your keybindings for the powertech?

  45. Bobafetish says:

    I am a pyro PowerTechI take 3/3 steely resolve for a 8/6/27 build. Isn’t 9% aim worth it?

    even at a lowly 1000 aim, 9% is 90 aim which quite a helluvalot isn’t it?

    • Bobafetish says:

      I didn’t mean to say I have 1000 aim, just using 1000 as a round number

    • Mike says:

      The PvE dps build is 7/6/28 with 2/3 steely resolve, but I kind of agree with you. I’m thinking the extra 3% aim of an 8/6/27 build probably makes up for the 1% tech crit chance and the 10% dot damage on sub 30% targets. I’m sure you can math it out and find what the break point is on your Aim stat, but it seems like it would make sense even on middle range level 50 gear.

    • taugrim says:

      Bobafetish :

      I am a pyro PowerTechI take 3/3 steely resolve for a 8/6/27 build. Isn’t 9% aim worth it?

      even at a lowly 1000 aim, 9% is 90 aim which quite a helluvalot isn’t it?

      There are several variants for Pyrotech (Assault Spec) builds, e.g.:
      4/6/31
      4/12/25
      8/6/27
      8/8/25

      They’re all viable.

      We don’t have a Combat Log so it’s not easy to test at the moment.

  46. Hey Taugrim big props to you for your guides and live streams, I’ve pointed many guildies in your direction. I’ve played your Iron Fist spec for a while as well as a full Tactics spec. One thing I still find in Tactics spec (despite being full BM) is I can be rather ‘squishy’.

    Would you recommend the Tactics spec with Ion Overload at the expense of ammo regen or is the ‘squishyness’ of Tactics something we will just have to deal with and hope the Gut snare in 1.2 will help with?

    Thanks in advance!

    • taugrim says:

      AFreshCupofGeek :

      Hey Taugrim big props to you for your guides and live streams, I’ve pointed many guildies in your direction. I’ve played your Iron Fist spec for a while as well as a full Tactics spec. One thing I still find in Tactics spec (despite being full BM) is I can be rather ‘squishy’.

      Would you recommend the Tactics spec with Ion Overload at the expense of ammo regen or is the ‘squishyness’ of Tactics something we will just have to deal with and hope the Gut snare in 1.2 will help with?

      Yea you pointed out the main issue with Tactics. It’s a close-range spec but does not have the innate durability of a tank spec.

      If you run the tank stance with Tactics, you give up the awesome +15% passive movement and the 1 Ammo per 6 seconds talents.

  47. Unski says:

    Hey Taugrim, have you tried something like this http://www.torhead.com/skill-calc#801GobMZRcrrobfkds.1 ?

    This spec has about same amount of mitigation as your Iron Fist spec, losing 2% from Ion Shield but gaining 3,5% kinetic/energy from Rebraced Armor. In some situations it has more survivability (20% less damage when stunned and superior kiting with Hold the Line). Losing Storm will hurt against ranged and in huttball but against melee train I prefer Hold the Line.

    Also ammo management is easy even when running with Ion Cell, free Stock Strikes and Fire Pulse only costing 1 ammo. Tactics also doesn’t have any major RNG damage/ammo mechanics so it is very predictable spec to play.

    I feel Tactics will be very strong after 1.2 when they buff HiB crit proc, Pulse Cannon becomes uninterruptible and has 70% snare at 5 stacks and Gut gets 30% snare. Spec will have tank like mitigation, good mobility and control and pretty decent anti armor damage.

  48. Razik says:

    So is the only difference between supercommander and eliminator (other than the set bonus), the mods and enhancements?

    Also, i cant decide as to if 15% exp or 535 power for my CD in PvP. Which do you think would be best for a dps oriented Iron fist?

  49. Jade says:

    Hi, I follow all your progress and I think you’re amazing. I’m running the iron fist built, and have a question: You seem unsure about the Retractable blade (Gut) skill, as to take it or not. Is it because of the 1.2 coming up?

    Thx again.

    • taugrim says:

      Jade :

      Hi, I follow all your progress and I think you’re amazing. I’m running the iron fist built, and have a question: You seem unsure about the Retractable blade (Gut) skill, as to take it or not. Is it because of the 1.2 coming up?

      Thx again.

      I initially took Retractable Blade (Gut) out when 1.1.5 launched. But I’ve put it back in after playing Iron Fist some more that ability offers a very good damage-to-mana ratio, and the DoT component is not mitigated by armor.

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