“Iron Fist” 25/14/2 PVP Tank Spec for SWTOR Powertech / Vanguard


UPDATE (2012/06/27): the nerfs in 1.3 to Flame Shield (Static Shield) and Flame Surge (Static Surge) have unfortunately made “Iron Fist” no longer viable in PVP. Given the current mechanics, I recommend running Pyrotech (Assault Specialist) or Advanced Prototype (Tactics). If you are set on tanking, you can run a 31-pt spec but understand that your damage output is going to be limited.

This video covers my “Iron Fist” 25/14/2 PVP tank spec for the Bounty Hunter Powertech and Trooper Vanguard advanced classes in Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR). Vanguard and Powertech are mirrors so this video is applicable to players of both classes.

I designed the spec after discerning the limitations of the Defense (avoidance) and Shield (block) mechanics for tanks in PVP. Mitigation is king in SWTOR, and therefore the spec provides a significant amount of flat mitigation against all damage types. Mitigation is king in SWTOR PVP. The two 2% mitigation talents and 5% mitigation from the tanking stance stack additively to provide 9% mitigation against all damage types (i.e. Elemental, Energy, Internal, and Kinetic) – you can see this by mousing over Damage Reduction on your Character window.

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.

Here is the spec used in the video: Powertech (Vanguard).

The “Iron Fist” spec is designed to support aggressive close-quarters combat gameplay: you can tank and burn down MDPS and pressure and shutdown casters and healers, while retaining Guard, charge, and debuff capability.

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

I queued solo for the Huttball match shown in the video.

Comments / Errata:

  1. I had an incorrect Relic bound on my Quickslot bar. The point made in the video still stands: the level 50 Crit buff stacks with a Relic

UPDATE (2012/06/27): the nerfs in 1.3 to Flame Shield (Static Shield) and Flame Surge (Static Surge) have unfortunately made “Iron Fist” no longer viable in PVP relative to specs based on the DPS trees. The mechanics of tank tree were modified to improve AOE tanking in PVE, but IMO the changes were unfavorable for PT / VG tanks in PVP.

UPDATE (2012/04/17)no changes for Patch 1.2 to this spec, as none of its talents were impacted in a significant way. Unfortunately, the Carolina Parakeet spec is now history :(

UPDATE (2012/03/26): moved the point in Prototype Cylinders (Blaster Augs) back to Retractable Blade (Gut). The point in PC (BA) only seems to buff the direct-damage portion, not the DoT.

UPDATE (2012/03/12): moved the point in Retractable Blade (Gut) to Prototype Cylinders (Blaster Augs).

UPDATE (2012/02/29): people keep asking about leveling. You can level with any tree. If you want to do a tank build such as Iron Fist, put your first 21-25 pts in the tank tree, then fill out the other trees.

UPDATE (2012/02/17): with the nerf to Surge Rating in 1.1.3, burst damage is down significantly for all players and time-to-kill has increased. An implication is that “mana” management has become more important.

As such, I moved the point in Oil Slick (Smoke Grenade) over to the second point in Shield Vents (Shield Cycler). The idea here is to get your internal cooldown on the Heat vent (Ammo regen) proc from SV (SC) ticking as fast as possible.

UPDATE (2012/02/08): read NoGoal’s insightful comment on the mechanics limitations for Rebraced Armor.

UPDATE (2012/02/02): people have been asking about gear for this spec. Here’s what you want to get:

  • Supercommando Shield offhand: to leverage the free +15% Shield Chance buff you get from the tanking stance. While I don’t believe the Shield Chance stat is worth stacking for PVP, the +15% benefit is worth leveraging
  • Combat Tech 4-pc set: for the awesome +15% Crit Chance to Rocket Punch (Stockstrike). Alternatively, if you prefer the Supercommando set bonuses, you can go 4-pc Supercommando and swap out the mods for DPS ones
  • Go for DPS stats for the remaining slots: this means Eliminator, Combat Tech, and in some cases Combat Medic. The priority for the stats is what I documented in the Stats and Gear section of my Powertech / Vanguard Guide

UPDATE (2012/01/29): to clarify why mitigation matters and how it stacks, consider the following…

Talents such as Power Armor are not affected by diminishing returns, and mitigation becomes more valuable the more you have.

Without points in the two 2% mitigation talents, my mitigation against Energy and Kinetic attacks is 45.5% from Armor and the tanking stance, so I suffer 54.5 points of damage out of every 100.

With Iron Fist, the mitigation increases to 49.5%, so I suffer 50.5 points of damage out of every 100.

Which means that a non-IF tank spec is going to take 7.9% (4 / 50.5) more damage than an IF build. The difference is significant and very noticeable in PVP.

By the same token, the damage that a non-IF spec takes from Elemental and Internal damage compared to an IF spec is > 4%.

I.e. non-IF in tank stance has 5% mitigation against those damage types, and IF has 9%. So 95 damage taken vs 91 damage taken, or an increase of 4.4%.

When you factor in the +10% mitigation buff from Sorcs / Sages, the gap between non-IF and IF tank specs widens to 4.9% (4 / 81).

And the above percentages again increase when you factor in our 4% damage debuff.

UPDATE (2012/01/28): people asked about the pros and cons of Carolina Parakeet (21/2/18) and Iron Fist. Here’s my brief take…

Here is what you gain with Carolina Parakeet:
+ improved ranged capability
+ better burst mechanics when Prototype Particle Accelerator (Ionic Accelerator) procs multiple times in a short time window

Here is what you gain with Iron Fist:
+ better mitigation and CC capability
+ no wasted talent points or set bonuses

They are both excellent specs – which you choose depends on your preferred capabilities.

To see me PVP’ing live, check out my TwitchTV channel. My stream features real-time commentary and between matches I interact with the Chat Room.

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Posted in PVP, SWTOR, Vanguard / Powertech, Video
97 comments on ““Iron Fist” 25/14/2 PVP Tank Spec for SWTOR Powertech / Vanguard
  1. badactionhiro says:

    Now that I’ve lvled my PVE guild a healer…I’m going full time on leveling a powertech & vanguard w/ your guides…as soon as I figure out why Bioware would have an unscheduled patch on a Friday night? SIGH…

    Great work on your guides and video!!

  2. Blåbär says:

    Yo mate, just wanted to thank u for the awsome vids and the insanely good blog. Full coverage and i reccommend this to all the peeps i see playing powertech.
    Keep up the good work!

  3. Two questions, Firstly how does the 13% stack with armour (im assuming that if you have 50% mitigation from armour that the 13% would be more like 6.5% but I just dont know). Also in your guide you spoke about crit pushing back shielding chance, does that mean that 20% crit makes 25% shielding chance a 5% chance or a 20% chance (since if you crit 1/5 of the time and you shield 25% of the remaining it works out to be 20%). Sorry if you have answered these questions anywhere else. Oh and like everyone else I love your videos guides and commentary. Most of all I like the way you explain things : )

    • taugrim says:

      Christopher Bracegirdle :

      Two questions, Firstly how does the 13% stack with armour (im assuming that if you have 50% mitigation from armour that the 13% would be more like 6.5% but I just dont know).

      Let’s leave the 4% damage debuff on a target aside for a moment.

      The two talents and tank stance stack additively: 2% + 2% + 5% = 9% mitigation

      You can easily tell this from mousing over the Damage Reduction tooltip – the mitigation amount for each of the 4 damage types (Energy, Elemental, Internal, and Kinetic) is increased by 9%.

      The fact that this stacks from a flat additive perspective not multiplicative perspective is what makes mitigation a very good PVP stat.

      Christopher Bracegirdle :

      Also in your guide you spoke about crit pushing back shielding chance, does that mean that 20% crit makes 25% shielding chance a 5% chance or a 20% chance (since if you crit 1/5 of the time and you shield 25% of the remaining it works out to be 20%).

      https://taugrim.com/2012/01/19/understanding-swtors-avoidance-and-mitigation-mechanics-for-tanks-in-pvp/#comment-7083

  4. Myve says:

    First of all I have to agree, you are doing a great job with your guides.

    Two things bothered me at first with this spec:

    1. Why did you choose Shield Cycler at all? Then I tried to rebuild it and saw the reason. Then I wondered isn’t Ceramic Plating better with its CD-Reduction on Adrenaline Rush? I crunched some numbers and saw the reason for that as well, so the question was moot after that.

    2. Why Gut over Blaster Augs? Isn’t the 8% damage increase inherently better than one extra DoT-Skill?

    To be noted: my Vanguard (35ish) was up to now all the time in Shield Spec, so I haven’t tried Gut at all so far (I’ll try out some other specs in the near future though)

    • taugrim says:

      Myve :

      1. Why did you choose Shield Cycler at all? Then I tried to rebuild it and saw the reason. Then I wondered isn’t Ceramic Plating better with its CD-Reduction on Adrenaline Rush? I crunched some numbers and saw the reason for that as well, so the question was moot after that.

      SC provides passive ability to vent heat (regen ammo) at the cost of 1 talent point. I don’t put 2 points in the talent due to the internal cooldown.

      AR is a low heal spread out over time, i.e. it’s better than nothing but not particularly strog.

      Myve :

      2. Why Gut over Blaster Augs? Isn’t the 8% damage increase inherently better than one extra DoT-Skill?

      The 8% damage increase is to one “ability” which doesn’t do much damage.

      It’s not worth the point. By comparison, the talents in the tanking tree that buff the the stance damage and effects are much better point-for-point and worth the investment.

      Blaster Augs is an excellent talent for either Pyrotech (Assault Specialist) or Advanced Prototype (Tactics) but not for a tank spec.

      Retractable Blade (Gut) provides a long DoT effective and has a very good “damage-to-mana-cost” ratio.

      So you can use it on opponents to delay a node cap after you die, and it’s helpful for wearing down healers.

      • Myve says:

        Oooh, I always read the tooltip as “8% more damage dealt while Ion Cell is active” not as “8% more damage from Ion Cell’s proc” as it actually states…

        Silly me, can’t read for whatever :)

        Well, with that in mind, a new spec is coming asap.

        • Lannadhor says:

          You’re not alone in making this mistake — my first understanding was that it gave a flat 8% boost to ALL blaster skills when using Ion Cell, instead of only affecting Ion Cell’s proc damage.

          I came to realize that were that the case, this would undoubtedly be a three step talent, instead of a single point.

          • taugrim says:

            Lannadhor :

            You’re not alone in making this mistake — my first understanding was that it gave a flat 8% boost to ALL blaster skills when using Ion Cell, instead of only affecting Ion Cell’s proc damage.

            If that was how the talent works, it’d be the single best talent in the entire game :)

  5. IrishKreme says:

    What are you using in your offhand? Just a pure stat stick or do you use the shield generator?

  6. ziggy says:

    hi great vid. is ur guild recruiting? if so, can i grab some info? thanks

  7. […] Taugrim’s “Iron Fist”: 25/14/2 Powertech (Vanguard): provides charge, Guard, excellent melee capability and passive mitigation. Limited ranged capability. My custom build and personal favorite, as this build offers group utility and soloing capability. For more info, check out the blog article […]

  8. Oozo says:

    This is your best footage so far, IMO, with some nice plays in Huttball. This is one of the builds that gives me problems 1v1 when it’s backed by 20K HP.

    It would be nice to see some 1v1-focused content from you some time.

    • taugrim says:

      Oozo :

      This is your best footage so far, IMO, with some nice plays in Huttball. This is one of the builds that gives me problems 1v1 when it’s backed by 20K HP.

      Thanks Oozo!

      I’m planning on full DPS PVP gear with this spec, as the stats for Defense and Shield on the PVP tank items aren’t valuable in PVP, and I want to play an offensive durable tank not just a meatshield.

      So I won’t be getting anywhere near 20k HP. Maybe 17k HP with full Battlemaster gear without a stim.

      Oozo :

      It would be nice to see some 1v1-focused content from you some time.

      Yea, I’m going to get to that soon. This spec rocks in 1v1s. I can tank DPS and beat up tankier tanks or squishier tanks.

      I’ve been trying many different builds @ 50 and haven’t clicked with any spec yet until I played this one.

      I did enjoy a spec, 1/22/18, which is very close to the 0/23/18 spec you’ve often talked about in your videos.

      Are you still playing 0/23/18? I’ve unfortunately been too busy to check up on other people’s videos, and I know you’ve posted some in the past week or so.

      • Oozo says:

        Yes, still playing that build. It has some weaknesses but I like its playstyle.

      • Patrick says:

        For 1v1 against a melee class, do you strafe kite or face-tank with this spec? Your post implies face-tank, just wanted to confirm.

        • taugrim says:

          Patrick :

          For 1v1 against a melee class, do you strafe kite or face-tank with this spec? Your post implies face-tank, just wanted to confirm.

          Generally speaking, face-tank vs another melee.

          We don’t want to create a gap vs Warriors or they will charge us.

          You can situationally strafe kite a Shadow/Assassin while putting up your Explosive Dart (Sticky Grenade) and Rail Shot (High Impact Bolt).

  9. WeaponGnome says:

    Taugrim,
    Concerning leveling, are you going through PVE content or just purely doing PVP to level the characters you play?

    Thanks for all the great work you are doing for the community.

    WTG

    • taugrim says:

      WeaponGnome :

      Taugrim,
      Concerning leveling, are you going through PVE content or just purely doing PVP to level the characters you play?

      Thanks for all the great work you are doing for the community.

      WTG

      While leveling, I do my class quests, space dailies, and the rest of my time is in PVP.

      Partly because I love PVP, partly because it gives good XP and currency, and partly because I want to be at or close to Valor Rank 49 when I hit level 50 on each character.

      • WeaponGnome says:

        Thanks for the prompt reply Taugrim.

      • Niddi says:

        How do you equip your Character playing this way? Do you sprinkle in some Flashpoints or do you just buy new stuff from the GTN / get stuff from your Guild crafters?

        • taugrim says:

          Niddi :

          How do you equip your Character playing this way? Do you sprinkle in some Flashpoints or do you just buy new stuff from the GTN / get stuff from your Guild crafters?

          Right now my focus is getting to Battlemaster (Valor 60) and starting to pick up gear.

          That being said, I do plan to PVE tank flashpoints and when we have the numbers @ 50, operations.

  10. Cosmic Osmo says:

    Taugrim, just something you may not have considered: champion bags love to give out duplicates (I am now at 5 pairs of pants while stuck with centurion in 4 slots). I’ve been taking the DPS mods and enhancements out of combat tech/eliminator gear and putting them into supercommando set pieces. This way I get the same damage stats as the combat tech gear, but with the very powerful 5%-dmg-while-guarding set bonus of the supercommando set.

    • taugrim says:

      Cosmic Osmo :

      Taugrim, just something you may not have considered: champion bags love to give out duplicates (I am now at 5 pairs of pants while stuck with centurion in 4 slots). I’ve been taking the DPS mods and enhancements out of combat tech/eliminator gear and putting them into supercommando set pieces. This way I get the same damage stats as the combat tech gear, but with the very powerful 5%-dmg-while-guarding set bonus of the supercommando set.

      Yea that’s a great tip.

      It does cost ~35-40k to pull out each mod, but for min-maxing it’s a good idea.

      For now, I’m holding on to my duplicate Champion pieces for now in case BioWare implements a trade-in system at some point in the future.

  11. Chandalen123 says:

    Taugrim I told you about playing tank spec in dps gear for charge/being tanky/stockstrike a while ago during a livestream, but you didn’t read what I said and assumed it was with tank gear :(. I think credit for the first person to play with this spec (or a poorly optimized version of it) goes to Shadow on terentatek.

    Anyway, thanks for the guides on the defensive mechanics/tips on how to optimize them, and its always fun to see you play

    • taugrim says:

      Chandalen123 :

      Taugrim I told you about playing tank spec in dps gear for charge/being tanky/stockstrike a while ago during a livestream, but you didn’t read what I said and assumed it was with tank gear :( . I think credit for the first person to play with this spec (or a poorly optimized version of it) goes to Shadow on terentatek.

      I’ve been telling people for several weeks that DPS gear would work well for tanks given how not strong Defense and Shielding are in PVP.

      There wasn’t anyone on the Powertech or Vanguard forums who was talking about how weak those mechanics are, until I brought up some of my findings.

      Chandalen123 :

      I think credit for the first person to play with this spec (or a poorly optimized version of it) goes to Shadow on terentatek.

      Hmm, never heard of that player.

      FWIW: I’ve never seen anyone post the same spec as “Iron Fist”.

      • Oozo says:

        Given the number of people playing SWTOR players are going to independently come up with the same or similar builds.

  12. Freddo says:

    Hey Taugrim, thx for another great vid!

    I have a question. When I use my shoulder slam on incapacitated npcs it works just fine but in WZ it never works. Do you have the same issue?

    • Oozo says:

      All classes have a “finisher” ability that only works on NPCs. The tooltip descriptions of these abilities does not make that clear. Mine is called Blitz. It does not work in PvP.

      • taugrim says:

        Oozo :

        All classes have a “finisher” ability that only works on NPCs. The tooltip descriptions of these abilities does not make that clear. Mine is called Blitz. It does not work in PvP.

        Yep.

        The ironic thing about abilities such as Blitz is that they only work on the weakest mobs. You can’t use it against elite mobs either.

        So they’re kind of pointless.

  13. Vykiel says:

    Taugrim, I love your work. I don’t get enough time to research specs these days (but still love MMOs). I’ve pretty much been following your spec and having a blast. Thanks. Here’s my question, I am only level 34 at the moment and I figure I need to have at least have 11 points in Tactics to get Gut before I put points into Shield Spec. Am I better going straight up Tactics until I get to at least level 36 and can then get my 15 point talents in Shield Spec?

    • taugrim says:

      Vykiel :

      Taugrim, I love your work. I don’t get enough time to research specs these days (but still love MMOs). I’ve pretty much been following your spec and having a blast. Thanks. Here’s my question, I am only level 34 at the moment and I figure I need to have at least have 11 points in Tactics to get Gut before I put points into Shield Spec. Am I better going straight up Tactics until I get to at least level 36 and can then get my 15 point talents in Shield Spec?

      11 points in Tactics to get Gut is a fine stopping point, every talent point you spend on the way will provide value. Well, except for Blaster Augs if you switch to Ion Cell. BA is good for running either DPS stance but not the tanking one.

      If and when you decide to switch to tanking and using the tank stance, make sure you have at least 8 talent points to invest in the tank tree, so that you can get the 2 talents that make your tanking stance proc apply a DoT and snare effect

  14. Crimsonbolt says:

    Curious as to what you think of this spec:
    http://www.torhead.com/skill-calc#801GRGMzRroMZMcdroZb.1
    Trades out a point in Front Line Defense and the single point you invested into Shield Cycler and places them into 16% more armor. Figured the 3% loss in Gut and Ion Pulse probably wouldn’t mean much, and a 20% chance to proc a 25% chance talent to return 1 ammo didn’t seem worth it. 16% armor seems like it would help more in the long run, as mitigation seems so good.

    • taugrim says:

      Crimsonbolt :

      Trades out a point in Front Line Defense and the single point you invested into Shield Cycler and places them into 16% more armor. Figured the 3% loss in Gut and Ion Pulse probably wouldn’t mean much, and a 20% chance to proc a 25% chance talent to return 1 ammo didn’t seem worth it. 16% armor seems like it would help more in the long run, as mitigation seems so good.

      16% more armor is a low single-digit % increase in mitigation against Energy and Kinetic damage types.

      • Crimsonbolt says:

        Only 42, so that may have something to do with it, but 16% more armor is more than 5% reduction in both.

        • Crimsonbolt says:

          I take that back, instead of just removing a piece of gear to simulate the lack of 16% extra, I respecced to get a clear number. Turns out it is a little over 3%, which feels on par with the other mitigation talents. More armor would make this even better, but leveling up may make it worse, who knows, I’m clearly not a mathematician. Assuming it stays the same, 3% mitigation on the non-shieldable attacks can’t be bad.

          • NoGoal says:

            First, armor only works against kinetic and energy damage. It doesn’t work against elemental and internal damage.

            Second, classes that use strong attacks mitigated by armor usually have debuffs.

            Third, the % is based on your base armor, not base+60% from your tanking ´stance´.

            Last, maths! Let’s say you have 5000 armor rating @ L50.
            – 5000 armor rating = 31.65% damage reduction [5000 / ( 5000 + 200 * 50 + 800 ) * 100]
            – 8000 with tanking stance (+60%) = 42.55%
            – 8800 [5000+(5000*0.6)+(5000*0.16)] with the talent = 44.90% (+2.35%)

            Most will have the -60% talent to boost Rail Shot (HIB) so:
            – 2000 (5000-60%) armor rating = 16.62%
            – 3200 = 22.86%
            – 3520 = 24.58% (+1.72%)

            It’s obviously not bad but, in your template, you lost 25% chance to vent 8 heat when struck, 1% shield chance and 3% damage on Flame Burst (Ion Pulse) and RB (Gut) for it.

            If you want to keep the armor talent, I’d take the (25%) chance to vent heat and drop Oil Slick (Smoke Grenade). It’s great on void star as people are usually packed but everywhere else it won’t affect many targets (not sure of the range. is it 10m?). It shines when people have Defense on their armor (and enemies don’t have accuracy) but they’ll rather want offensive stats. It costs 8 heat (1 ammo), 60s cd..

            3% damage is a small loss but I find it more useful than -5s on Grapple (Harpoon).

            • taugrim says:

              NoGoal :

              First, armor only works against kinetic and energy damage. It doesn’t work against elemental and internal damage.

              Second, classes that use strong attacks mitigated by armor usually have debuffs.

              Third, the % is based on your base armor, not base+60% from your tanking ´stance´.

              Brilliant post, couldn’t have said it better myself.

            • Crimsonbolt says:

              It’s not really 25% to vent when you are struck, but a 20% chance (21 with talent) to enter another 25% chance to gain/vent 1/8 ammo/heat. That is also 21% on only the shieldable attacks.

              As for the armor, the -60% is for the one attack, and how many other classes get something that is that high for a certain ability, and how many get straight armor pen? (Not making a point, generally curious).

              The smoke grenade doesn’t show the range, but I’m assuming it is 5, just like Explosive Surge. It also doesn’t cost me anything me anything to use.

              Right now I don’t have the talents in the reduced Harpoon, and the 45s cd is eating away at my soul.

              These 3-4 points aside, the spec looks great and I can’t wait to try it at 50. Awesome job Taugrim. There were some people on the forums stating that some players on their servers gen chat arguing that devs where looking into reworking how shields work in pvp. Obviously “a friend of a friend of a friend” information isn’t the best to go off of, so I’m just wondering if you’ve heard anything about it.

              • taugrim says:

                Crimsonbolt :

                It’s not really 25% to vent when you are struck, but a 20% chance (21 with talent) to enter another 25% chance to gain/vent 1/8 ammo/heat. That is also 21% on only the shieldable attacks.

                Correct.

                Crimsonbolt :

                As for the armor, the -60% is for the one attack, and how many other classes get something that is that high for a certain ability, and how many get straight armor pen? (Not making a point, generally curious).

                Combat-spec’d Sentinel gets a 100% Armor pene for 6 sec every 15 sec.
                Operative/Scoundrel gets a flat 30% Armor pene.
                The shared tree for Jedi Knight / Sith Warrior has Armor pene talent far up in the tree.

                Those are some offhand.

                Crimsonbolt :

                The smoke grenade doesn’t show the range, but I’m assuming it is 5, just like Explosive Surge. It also doesn’t cost me anything me anything to use.

                Correct.

                Crimsonbolt :

                There were some people on the forums stating that some players on their servers gen chat arguing that devs where looking into reworking how shields work in pvp. Obviously “a friend of a friend of a friend” information isn’t the best to go off of, so I’m just wondering if you’ve heard anything about it.

                Haven’t heard about this.

  15. Murp says:

    Playing with the concepts that you laid out, I moved the points from quell and supercharged ion gas to endurance.
    http://db.darthhater.com/skill_calc/bounty_hunter/powertech/#::fefe6f3defe5fe2f6ef4e2f4ef4ef11:

    My reasoning is that Ion Cylinder dot is weak, and 2 seconds off quell CD not that necessary.. Why not improve how long I last by adding 3 endurance.

    In your experience and research on these pvp specs, how much weight would you give endurance compared to quell and supercharged ion gas? If you had to use 3 points and quell and supercharged ion gas were not options, where would you put them?

    If not endurance I think I would fill out shield vents and jet speed.

    Thoughts?

    • Crimsonbolt says:

      Supercharged Ion Gas is taken for the 3 seconds added to the dot which in turn makes the 50% slow last that much longer. Turns the slow from 8 seconds (6 second dot, last tick procs the 2 second slow) to 11 seconds, with the last tick hitting at 9 and slowing for another 2 seconds, being 11 total. At least that is why I took it.
      I’ve also read that the damage and the dot damage aren’t as strong as the tooltip says, so if they fix it buff it up to that, then the talent will be even better. If they just change the tooltip to the actual damage it does, then you still get that 3 seconds longer on the slow, plus a little more damage.

      I’ve personally found that 8s on the interrupt (Quell its called for you, I think) is just long enough to prevent me from hitting the next heal or whatever. Cannot count how many times I’ve gone to interrupt and seen the button greyed out for a second or so to go.

      • taugrim says:

        Crimsonbolt :

        Supercharged Ion Gas is taken for the 3 seconds added to the dot which in turn makes the 50% slow last that much longer. Turns the slow from 8 seconds (6 second dot, last tick procs the 2 second slow) to 11 seconds, with the last tick hitting at 9 and slowing for another 2 seconds, being 11 total.

        Snare duration is fixed at 2 seconds.

        • NoGoal says:

          Tooltip says damage, not ´apply´ unlike the pyro ´stance´. I’m not in shield spec atm so I can’t check and I must admit I’ve never paid attention to it. If it’s like Crimsonbolt claims it to be, the extra tick is a must have in PvP.

          Even without that the talent is good to keep the DoT rolling and make sure you can rail shot on CD. It also adds an extra tick so it increases the damage of the DoT.

          PS: darthhater tooltips on some talents are wrong. Use Torhead instead.

          • Crimsonbolt says:

            No, Taugrim is right. Did a test last night to see.
            Tried kiting an elite, and the snare only lasted the two seconds, and was only reapplied when I would use Hammer Shot (other ranged attacks can do it too, just did that for simplicity) and it would only apply the snare when Ion Cell procced again. The dot doesn’t reapply the dot like you (I, more specifically) would have assumed by reading the talents. Would be nice to have the game tell me and not confuse with bad wording. After some thought while walking back to my car from class, I primarily melee class having an 11 second snare that was easily applied by using a free 30m range attack (not to mention HIB/Rail) would be pretty dumb. Still going to keep the talent for the initial hit from proccing being increased and the longer dot duration for more damage/keeping someone from capping.

            @Taugrim: I think what I disliked about the Shield Cycler was that, when reading it after reading your post about tanks in pvp, it seemed like a low chance, lower than I would like to really rely on. With my limited (as shown above more than once) math skills and assuming 1/3 of the attacks I receive are shieldable:

            21% chance to shield, 25% to proc, and 33% chance to even initiate the shield, equals out to a seemingly low number.

            Lannadhor posted the spec but with taking two points into Shield Cycler instead of 2, and for whatever reason, the extra 25% chance to have the block give you the ammo feels way more comfortable to me. Going to respec and try that.

            Glad I found this site though, like being able to ask questions to someone about a class/game I’m new to without scrambling around on google or harassing some geared guy in the fleet.

    • taugrim says:

      Murp :

      My reasoning is that Ion Cylinder dot is weak, and 2 seconds off quell CD not that necessary.. Why not improve how long I last by adding 3 endurance.

      In your experience and research on these pvp specs, how much weight would you give endurance compared to quell and supercharged ion gas? If you had to use 3 points and quell and supercharged ion gas were not options, where would you put them?

      If not endurance I think I would fill out shield vents and jet speed.

      Endurance provides a linear increase to time-to-live, at my gear it would give me ~400 HP. I don’t think it’s worth 3 very valuable talent points.

      I find being able to interrupt every 6 sec instead of 8 sec to be a significant difference in locking down healers and casters.

      • Murp says:

        You convinced me. I am lvl 31 and respecced today grabbing the RB so I can get used to that dynamic, and I put the rest of my points into the shield tech tree. Will be leveling with this spec doing PVP mostly. Will keep coming back here for more info.

        • Murp says:

          36 now and I have just been wrecking shop in warzones topping the charts almost every game averaging 8 medals.

          • Murp says:

            Been 50 for a couple weeks now and compared this spec with the all out DPS and the Parakeet. I found my survivability in Iron Fist far outweighed the increased damage from the DPS spec, and the Parakeet spec did not seem to have additional damage at all and the loss of utility was frustrating.

            Only downside is that in 4 piece centurion, and a few champ pieces, my dps does not seem to be enough to really hurt a lot of people. I guess this will improve when I get more champion gear? However, I can be really annoying… lol

            Should I got for full champ mainsets / offsets or grab the champ gun first?

  16. Lannadhor says:

    Celebrated my first 50 today by spending on the respec and correcting the missteps to bring my Vanguard into fuller alignment with this build. Opted for the second point into Shield Cycler instead of the Smoke Grenade.

    Taugrim: Your time and effort is so greatly appreciated, along with your professional and dignified presentation in both your posts and videos. You’re a gentleman amongst apes.

    (tips helm)

    • taugrim says:

      Lannadhor :

      Celebrated my first 50 today by spending on the respec and correcting the missteps to bring my Vanguard into fuller alignment with this build. Opted for the second point into Shield Cycler instead of the Smoke Grenade.

      Yea that’s fine.

      Lannadhor :

      Taugrim: Your time and effort is so greatly appreciated, along with your professional and dignified presentation in both your posts and videos. You’re a gentleman amongst apes.

      (tips helm)

      Thanks :)

  17. Crayon says:

    Maybe I missed it somewhere but what gear pieces are you using outside of the combat tech 4 piece. Rest combat tech or super commando.. eliminator?

  18. Rekor says:

    Just hit level 40 and have been pvping using this build. It’s amazing. I don’t pump out a whole lot of damage but I’m tough to take down. Grapple and storm are a must in huttball. Solid build will use it straight to 50 and beyond. Thanks for your videos. Maybe we will see you on the battlefield on Ajunta Pall.

  19. zoltarr says:

    Hi Taugrim,
    I have an off topic question for you. What are your thoughts about an iron fist like Jedi guardian spec??

  20. […] (2012/02/08): read NoGoal’s insightful comment on the mechanics limitations for Rebraced […]

  21. stltomb says:

    Any idea how this spec would work in Karragga’s Palace as an off tank for normal mode?

  22. berg says:

    whats your basic pvp skill rotation?

    you didnt comment much on gut, is it worth it?

    • taugrim says:

      berg :

      whats your basic pvp skill rotation?

      you didnt comment much on gut, is it worth it?

      Gut pre-1.1.5 has been worth it to prevent node caps. That will change in 1.1.5. See comments below.

  23. […] “Iron Fist” 25/14/2 PVP Tank Spec for SWTOR Powertech / Vanguard (taugrim.com) […]

  24. Draiko says:

    For your specs, such as iron fist, what order do you allocate points into as you level? Shield tech first, then left to right? What tree is first?

    • taugrim says:

      Draiko :

      For your specs, such as iron fist, what order do you allocate points into as you level? Shield tech first, then left to right? What tree is first?

      UPDATE (2012/02/29): people keep asking about leveling. You can level with any tree. If you want to do a tank build such as Iron Fist, put your first 21-25 pts in the tank tree, then fill out the other trees.

  25. Lannadhor says:

    Hi Taugrim,

    So with the incoming situational change to DoTs in SWTOR (no longer interrupting caps), do you see a need to alter this particular build?

    • taugrim says:

      Lannadhor :

      Hi Taugrim,

      So with the incoming situational change to DoTs in SWTOR (no longer interrupting caps), do you see a need to alter this particular build?

      Yes, the point in Retractable Blade (Gut) will need to move elsewhere. TBD.

  26. Draiko says:

    Hey taugrim, with the recent update today, are there going to be any changes to skill point allocations in “Iron Fist”?

    • taugrim says:

      Draiko :

      Hey taugrim, with the recent update today, are there going to be any changes to skill point allocations in “Iron Fist”?

      Probably move the point to Prototype Cylinders (Blaster Augs).

  27. rokhed says:

    Just started playing swtor and picked Vanguard as my class. Just wanted to say thanks for all the guides…it’s been a big help. However none of the links to the torhead skill calculator seem to work for me(torhead site comes up but just blank). Any idea what might cause this?

    • taugrim says:

      rokhed :

      Just started playing swtor and picked Vanguard as my class. Just wanted to say thanks for all the guides…it’s been a big help. However none of the links to the torhead skill calculator seem to work for me(torhead site comes up but just blank). Any idea what might cause this?

      Just wait til torhead sorts it out. The spec calculator is broken for all classes.

  28. Raknar says:

    Hey Taugrim,

    Excellent guides. I have tanked since day one of SWTOR and I am very comfortable with the Iron Fist spec. Just wanted your opinion on Charge. Hutball can be a pain at times to stop the flag carrier (especially the characters with speed increases). Do you think it would be worth taking a point out of Blaster Augs and Frontline Offense and put them in Charge? I understand this is very situational, but the loss of dps seems low for the tradeoff.

    • taugrim says:

      The spec includes the Charge already. Any 21+ pt spec in the tank tree should include i.

      • Raknar says:

        Maybe I am looking at an old spec chart, I have haven’t seen any builds using the it. I am refering to the talent Charge (100% chance for 30% speed increase for 4 seconds after storm) not the charge abitly (storm). Thanks for your time.

  29. Doubleunder says:

    @ taugrim. Was there a specific reason why Empowered Tech was not given any points? I am new to tanking (lvl 15) and thought that the 10% increased shield chance would be pretty great for PvP.

  30. Doubleunder says:

    Disregard my last question, but I am curious why two points would not go into Ablative Upgrades instead of Shield vents.

  31. Nik says:

    I was putting the Iron Fist into my calculator for reference and when I was putting the points in it looked like there were some unused ones. I double checked and I was able to have everything in Iron fist and had enough for cylinders and oil slick as well.

    • Nik says:

      NVM, I had missed the Quell talent and that’s where the extra points came from, but thinking on it now do you need the 2 secs? Couldn’t you just supplement the cooldown time with electro dart?

      • taugrim says:

        Nik :

        NVM, I had missed the Quell talent and that’s where the extra points came from, but thinking on it now do you need the 2 secs? Couldn’t you just supplement the cooldown time with electro dart?

        The interrupt locks a spell out for 4 seconds. Being able to do the interrupt every 6 instead of 8 seconds makes it much easier to shutdown a cast-time nuking Arsenal BH (Gunnery Commando), DPS Sorc (Sage), or healer.

  32. Bomba says:

    Great job on this guide and the many updates that have followed. Thank you for the time and effort you put into making chumps like me better.

  33. Chipch13 says:

    I just ran my first PvP match since 1.2 with the same skill build-out that I had pre-1.2 (I’m a level 43) and I felt a LOT squishier. Some folks were saying that Expertise is crucial, to which I agreed, but I don’t think the low level PvP gear has Expertise, and besides, I have been trying to save my Comms for level 50.

    Anyway, were the Iron Fist skills nerfed and I failed to see it in the SWTOR forums because of all of the Sorc change complaints? I’ve never felt so squishy before when running this spec.

    Thanks for any feedback you have on the IF build for 1.2.

    -Stancema – Die Hards – Hyperspace Cannon

  34. Sean Critchfield says:

    Love what you do. I am a long time PvE gamer. You single-handedly turned me into a PvP gamer. So, thank you. Huge fan. What Battlemaster set do you recommend to best compliment this spec?

  35. Taugrim, i really like this build, personally i used the carolina parakeet before but seeing its extinct, i really like to give this a try, i really want to play shield tech, i cant live without jet charge, yet the highest of tier of ST is so horrendous that i rather play hibryd like carolike parakeet or this build, i waas just wondering something, wouldnt it be better to go overboard with protection, having Oil Slick, instead of 1 point in hitman, as when your getting pummeled you just trow oil slick and its extra avoidance, specially in close quarters now with novare coast, as sometimes your stuck on defending with multiple melee on you, just trow oil slick, shield and flame sweep (for 4% debuff), then you would get 38% extra mitigation (with shield), and lets say 20% extra dodge (less accuracy for them)

    • taugrim says:

      Hector Jose Serrano Lejarza :

      i waas just wondering something, wouldnt it be better to go overboard with protection, having Oil Slick, instead of 1 point in hitman, as when your getting pummeled you just trow oil slick and its extra avoidance, specially in close quarters now with novare coast, as sometimes your stuck on defending with multiple melee on you, just trow oil slick, shield and flame sweep (for 4% debuff), then you would get 38% extra mitigation (with shield), and lets say 20% extra dodge (less accuracy for them)

      Oil Slick is a solid situational ability. It’s really up to you if you want to move a point over to take it.

  36. hhm, oh i gave it a thought, if you dont get hit you dont proc shield, so no RP

  37. Zaberk says:

    Is was wondering what you think of the upcoming changes and the effect on the Iron fist build? I was reading the below stated thread on the community (which isn’t always that objectively….):

    http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=473937

  38. DarcXnite says:

    as im watching your video i cant seem to figure out how you move with your current key bindings. it would help if you explained that for me cause i can only really hit 5 keys and i want to increase how many keys i can use.

  39. Switchy says:

    Hey man, thinking about trying out this set up on my vanguard, however i have not found any comments about changes in 1.3, do you know of anything that has changed that will effect the build used in 1.2? :)

  40. Crom'shand says:

    Hi been following taugrim for a bit and wanted to say thanks ,
    But one thing don’t know if you know or I am doing something wrong but the link to your build is kinda wonky it was doing well and such and I was following it but now it seems all skeewed .
    Also in using this build do you use all defense gear types or more like power and crit type items with small amounts of defense sprinkled in?
    Me i have the shield and 2 implants that i use with shielding . don’t know if that what i should be doing or not . I did read most of your stuff but on this build I either missed it saying what type of gear to use.

  41. Cocles says:

    Some online are now saying that the Iron Fist spec is no longer viable as of 1.3. I understand it might be a few days before we see a full review from you, but could you please in the meantime way in on whether you think we should probably abandon ship?

    Obviously we can jump in and play on our own… but sometimes it’s good to receive an informed decision when questions like “Is the spec fine, or am I just kidding myself?” or “Am I just playing like crap tonight, or has the spec really been nerfed that hard?”

    • cocles says:

      *weigh* in. Yeesh.

    • taugrim says:

      Cocles :

      Some online are now saying that the Iron Fist spec is no longer viable as of 1.3.

      Obviously we can jump in and play on our own… but sometimes it’s good to receive an informed decision when questions like “Is the spec fine, or am I just kidding myself?” or “Am I just playing like crap tonight, or has the spec really been nerfed that hard?”

      Those people are correct.

      The nerfs in 1.3 to Flame Shield (Static Shield) and Flame Surge (Static Surge) have unfortunately made “Iron Fist” no longer viable in PVP relative to specs based on the DPS trees. The mechanics of tank tree were modified to improve AOE tanking in PVE, but IMO the changes were unfavorable for PT / VG tanks in PVP.

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