Complete SWTOR Kinetic Combat 6.0+ Shadow PvP Guide, suitable for both beginner players and more advanced and experienced veterans, who seek to improve their performance! Written for VULKK.com by Siow (Satele Shan server)
UP TO DATE FOR PATCH 6.1.4
Table of contents
Hello there! I am Jedi Master Siow and I will be going over the Kinetic Combat Shadow in Star Wars: The Old Republic. This is the class I have played the most in The Old Republic and I would like to teach others on how to excel at it as well! This has always been my favorite class to play in SWTOR because I love the versatility this class offers. You’re a stealthy tank that can adjust their damage output to either weapon damage or Force damage, and your kit allows you to handle anything that comes your way with confidence!
I will be going over the basics of the Kinetic Combat Shadow, various gear and utility builds, and much more. When it comes to explaining stats, I prefer to use percentages over flat numbers unlike most guides. Though if you want a frame of reference for the numbers I’m using, there are screenshots of my stats which you can use for specific numbers.
With that said, let’s get started with the Kinetic Combat Shadow!
PvP Tanks and The Role of a Kinetic Combat Shadow in PvP
There are three different types of tanks in Star Wars: The Old Republic, the Vanguard/Powertech Tank, the Guardian/Juggernaut Tank, and the Shadow/Assassin Tank and each of these tanks have their own unique roles they can fulfill.
In PvP and even more so in Ranked PvP, the Guardian and Juggernaut tanks are among the most valued due to their ability to force other players to fight in their terms. They can also patch themselves up with Focused/Enraged Defense making them less dependent on a healer during tough battles, this is especially true if they have the utility that lowers this ability cooldown by 30 seconds paired with the Grit Teeth tactical.
These tanks can also be seen as the best at defending their allies. What sets them apart from other tanks is that they can leap to an ally within 30 meters to reduce their incoming damage by 20% (or 30% with the appropriate utility), and if they leap to a guarded target who has +5% damage reduction, that grants the target a 25-35% damage reduction for 6 seconds. They also have a utility that allows their AoE Taunt that hits allies within range to give them a temporary shield that absorbs a flat amount of damage.
Guardian/Juggernaut tanks also have the incredibly powerful Single Target potential of the three tanks, and there’s a gear set they’ll often run in PvP known as the Force Bound armor set. Whenever they use their AoE Fear, Awe/Intimidating Roar, those affected will have their Force and Tech Accuracy reduced by 70% for 6 seconds after the effect wears off.
Guardians and Juggernauts are melee based and thus, very easily kited and slowed. Those who have slows and can attack from a range without being in range of their Force Leap are easily able to whittle away at these units. Such units include Kinetic Combat Shadow/Darkness Assassin and casters such as Sages/Sorcerers and Commandos/Mercenaries.
Now let’s take a look at the Vanguard/Powertech tank. These tanks have excellent passive defensive stats and have the highest base Damage Reduction of the three tanks (around 49% DR), which can be increased by another 25% for 15 seconds through their shields.
To keep up with the other tanks gifted with Force abilities, Vanguard/Powertech tanks are equipped with a wide range of tools so they are ready for any situation. They have a Charge and a Pull, an AoE Stealth Scan, they can ignore slows, knockdowns and physics for 10 seconds, place down a smoke grenade/oil slick that reduces Melee and Ranged accuracy of those within it by 15%, and their shoulder cannons allow them to attack a target even while stunned.
Vanguard/Powertech tanks are the only tanks to have an AoE Hard Stun. With Transpose/Translocate, they can swap places with an ally in a sticky spot and grant them 6 seconds of CC immunity so long as they (their ally) take no hostile or healing actions themselves. Their self healing is decent but more commonly used in dire situations whereas a Guardian/Juggernaut tank may be more lax with using their self heal and a Shadow/Assassin must carefully decide when to use their self heals.
These tanks have access to a gear set which, when used, grants them another 5 seconds of their Shield ability so they gain 25% damage reduction for 20 seconds instead of 15. Another popular set is that when they activate their Tech casting buff, Battle Focus/Explosive Fuel, they’ll deal 20% more damage overall which can allow them to reach the highest DPS in the form of Area of Effect (AoE) attacks.
They are weak against Internal and Elemental attacks however as despite their high armor rating, they have no means of mitigating these types of damage nor can they cleanse them by themselves. Those with high armor penetration such as Combat Sentinels/Carnage Marauders or those who deal high Internal Damage such as Infiltration Shadows/Deception Assassins can make short work of them.
Then we have the Shadow and Assassin tanks. Compared to the other tanks, Shadows/Assassins are excellent at defending themselves but may struggle to defend allies to the degree as a Guardian/Juggernaut tank. We’ll go into ability details further along the guide but these are very mobile tanks that can be hard to pin down or get away from due to their use of Force Speed, Shadow Stride, Slowing abilities, and Stuns.
Shadow/Assassin tanks have a mitigation ability for any threat that comes their way, be it physical, Force, or tech. These tanks are also the best at defending against Force and Tech abilities due to their ability, Resilience/Force Shroud. This ability grants 3 seconds of 200% Force and Tech resistance and with the proper tactical, they can grant an ally they are guarding this same effect (more on that later). A great use for Resilience/Force Shroud is that it can be used to purge 99% of negative effects such as slows, damage debuffs, DoTs, and more. (The only exceptions being the Electronet ability and not being able to use Resilience while stunned).
To compliment their excellent self-defense, they have numerous control abilities that allow them to easily maintain a constant damage and accuracy debuff on a group of players, numerous slows, stuns, pushes, pulls, and incapacitates. And if all else fails, they can cloak out to gather their strength and reassess the situation they are in. Many of these abilities can be cast at a distance. These abilities often help the Shadow be the best tank for acting independently to capture various Warzone Objectives in a quick and efficient manner. A Vanguard/Powertech or Guardian/Juggernaut can be seen coming a mile away, a Shadow/Assassin can’t.
When the enemy knows a Shadow/Assassin is nearby, they will never have a moment’s rest due to the ever-watching presence that can come out of the shadows that will take them down in a matter of moments. Shadows/Assassins aim to not only beat a Player Character, but by breaking the Player controlling them through fear, paranoia, and mind games. Kinetic Combat Shadows/Darkness Assassins make some of the best duelists in the games due to their highly adaptable kits, allowing them to take on just about any class in a 1v1 setting.
Shadow/Assassin tanks are susceptible to burst damage however as they prefer longer battles, large amounts of burst too quickly can be too much for them to handle and thus they need to cloak out as their self heals are somewhat poor or require them to be stealthed to utilize. To compensate, they use high endurance gear or gain a high shield chance to decrease the power of any powerful burst attacks.
Kinetic Combat Shadow Strengths and Weaknesses
+ Has a Defensive Cooldown against every damage type
+ Highly Adaptable Kit and Rotation
+ Numerous Crowd Control Options
+ Excellent damage mitigation on themselves
+ The best tank for dealing with Force and Tech damage
+ Able to get 8.75+ seconds of Force and Tech Immunity
+ Has stealth
+ Can passively detect stealthed units
+Best Shield Chance out of all the tanks
+ Good AoE and Single Target damage
+ Excellent Defense Chance (when built as a Full Tank)
+ Double-bladed lightsaber
– A lot of buffs to keep track of to fully mitigate damage
– Requires knowledge of other classes to know which DCDs to use and when
– Lowest Base Damage Reduction of the 3 Tanks
– Kit is not as good for defending others
– Poor self-heals
– Weak to Burst Damage
Kinetic Combat Shadow Abilities
Basic Kinetic Combat Shadow Abilities
Before we delve into the Kinetic Combat Shadow specific abilities, we must first look at basic Kinetic Combat Shadow abilities and how they may be augmented by your Discipline.
Force Breach is a Shadow ability that deals Internal damage, meaning this cannot be mitigated. As a Kinetic Combat Shadow, you’ll be using this ability on your target(s) as an Area of Effect (AoE) ability. Applying Force Breach to a target as a Kinetic Combat Shadow makes your targets Unsteady for 45 seconds which reduces their melee and ranged accuracy by 5% as well as taking 15% more damage from your Whirling Blow ability.
“Slows the passage of time for up to 8 targets, dealing X-X kinetic damage, slowing the movement of all affected targets by 30% for 10 seconds, and weakening all targets for 45 seconds. Weakened targets deal 5% less melee and ranged damage. Does not damage sleeping, lifted, or incapacitated enemies. This ability generates a high amount of threat.”
This along with Force Breach, Project, and Cascading Debris is one of your Bread and Butter abilities. This can be used against a single target or multiple targets to deal Force damage, slow them, and reduce their weapon damage a tad. You can stack this with other slows at your disposal to bring enemies to a crawl and mitigating their overall performance through these slows.
“Throws debris at the target, dealing X-X kinetic damage. Standard and weak targets are additionally stunned for 0.5 seconds.”
You chuck a rock at a person, good stuff. You have a passive ability that increases its damage by 30% which is nice, but more importantly your passive ability Particle Acceleration gives you a 30% chance to have Project finish its cooldown early and makes your next Project a critical hit. You can tell when this is the case when Project has a glowing border around it. Additionally, if you use a glowing Project with a stack of Force Potency, it’s critical hit damage is increased by 50%. This ability REALLY hurts if you’re using a Skank Tank build (high endurance and crit) and can deal between 30,000-33,000 Kinetic Damage when empowered by Force Potency.
“Deals X kinetic damage to a target and consumes 40 Force over the duration of the channel. Slows the movement speed of the target by 50% and stuns weak or standard enemies while channeled. This ability can be channeled while moving.”
You chuck multiple rocks at a person, good stuff. Now this ability acts as both an offensive and defensive ability. Whenever you use Project or Slow Time, you gain a stack of Harnessed Shadows. At 3 stacks, your Cascading Debris begins to glow. This is really the only time you want to use cascading debris. When empowered like this, you cannot be interrupted, you don’t experience Pushback (meaning the duration of the channel isn’t slowed by getting attacked), and each successful landing of a rock increases your damage reduction by 1%.
Force Speed increases your movement speed by 150% for 2 seconds. This ability does not break Stealth.
“Deals X-X weapon damage spread across a flurry of 3 melee attacks.”
This is a single target melee attack that you generally use if you run out of Force and need to do something. It’s mostly useless but has the flashiest killing blow animations.
“Strikes the target twice. Each hit deals X-X weapon damage.”
This is your primary Melee attack against a single target and should be the only melee weapon attack you should be using unless you’re against a group of enemies where you can instead use Whirling Blow or Cleaving Cut, or use Shadow Strike if it is glowing, or if you can use Spinning Strike against a target.
“Deals X-X weapon damage to up to 8 targets within 5 meters. Requires a double-bladed lightsaber or electrostaff.”
This is your primary AoE Weapon Attack, a slight edge we have above other tanks is our ability to spam an AoE weapon attack far more often than they could ever dream to. Don’t use this against a single target as you’ll be losing potential damage output, though using this against a group of enemies can be a great way to proc your passives or relics.
“Issues a subduing strike, dealing X-X weapon damage. Only usable on targets at or below 30% max health.”
This is your hardest hitting melee weapon attack and you want to use it against a target whenever you can. While it’s often limited to low HP targets, there is a utility that allows you to use it against a target regardless of their HP. We’ll go more in-depth about that in the Utility portion of the guide.
“Deals X-X weapon damage to a single target if used from behind the target or Y-Y weapon damage otherwise. Requires a double-bladed lightsaber or electrostaff.”
This is a strong melee attack that DPS shadows would need to get behind a target to use it to its full damage potential. Kinetic Combat Shadows have a Passive Ability that lets us use Shadow Strike at 50% it’s Force Cost and deal its full damage regardless of the target’s position in relation to you. This is activated by using Double Strike, Whirling Blow, Spinning Strike, and Shadow Stride and will cause the Shadow Strike icon to glow on the hotbar. Only use this ability if the icon is glowing otherwise you’re wasting Force.
“Strikes targets in a cone, dealing X-X weapon damage and slowing their movement by 50% for 3 seconds. Requires a double-bladed lightsaber or electrostaff.”
SWTOR 6.0 granted Shadows this new ability, it’s a simple AoE Melee Weapon attack that slows its targets. It’s not particularly useful as a Kinetic Combat Shadow but it does have its uses. It deals more damage than Whirling Blow, it can apply a Slow to numerous targets hit by it, and it’s a good way to circumvent the reflective properties of the Commando/Mercenary ability, Echoing Deterrence/Responsive Safeguards along with your other offensive AoE abilities.
This ability increases your stealth level and makes you invisible to other players, though this comes at the cost of reducing your movement speed by 15%. It is possible for other players to see you if you get too close or if they have Passive or Active abilities that allow them to detect stealthed units. Using offensive abilities while stealth is active will break stealth but you have numerous abilities you can use that won’t break stealth. Such abilities will be stated of this capability in bold lettering.
“Use the Force to weave through the shadows, appearing at your enemy target and increasing your movement speed by 75% for 3 seconds. Does not break stealth. Cannot be used against targets in cover. Requires a double-bladed lightsaber or electrostaff.”
There are many opponents you will face that will attempt to run away from you to the best of their ability. Shadow Stride makes things otherwise as using this along with Force Speed helps you catch up to a target. With a utility, it can also be used to break roots and activate the use of Spinning Strike against a target regardless of their HP.
“While active, the guarded player takes 5% less damage and generates 25% less threat. In addition, so long as you remain within 15 meters of the guarded player, 50% of all incoming damage from enemy players is transferred back to you.”
This is your primary ability to reduce incoming damage for your ally in need. Be sure to stay within 15 meters of them so you can absorb their incoming damage in a warzone. Do note, you cannot shield damage being transferred from Guard, so this damage transfer is a flat HP reduction from your HP pool.
The Kinetic Combat Shadow has a wide variety of tools to mitigate the movement or capabilities of their opponents and these abilities can mean the difference between victory and defeat in a warzone.
“Lifts the target helplessly into the air, preventing all action for up to 8 seconds. Non-player, non-standard and non-weak enemies heal rapidly while lifted out of harm’s way. Damage will break the effect prematurely.”
This ability has a 2 second cast time and you generally want to use it to temporarily disable an annoying opponent who’s threatening the group. It’s a great ability to use against a Warzone Objective Guardian as the lift gives you just enough time to capture a target. Though I would only perform such endeavors with the utility that makes this cast instantly. Just be aware that if they get so much as a scratch, the effect of Force Lift will end UNLESS you use the Slow Time ability which doesn’t damage lifted, sleeping, or incapacitated targets.
“Uses the Force to draw the target in, instantly pulling it to your location and generating a high amount of threat. Does not work against targets in cover.”
You want to use this ability to pull a target that’s running away towards you, or to pull them out of an area to follow it up with a Force Lift to keep that enemy out of the way for a bit. It’s also another way to interrupt a channel if other means are not available. A fun trick is to pull an enemy towards a cliff and use Force Wave to push them off, efficiently dealing with them.
“Deals X-X kinetic damage and slows the target’s movement speed by 50% for 6 seconds.”
This is a great ability to use against a single target in combination with your Slow Time and Cascading Debris abilities which further slow a single target.
“Deals X-X kinetic damage and stuns the target for 4 seconds’
It stuns a single target, it’s very useful but be wise when using it as it has a lengthy cooldown. Though this cooldown can be reduced by 15 seconds with a utility. You generally want to use it to hold down an enemy player posing a huge threat to you or an ally, to hold a target in place so you and your allies can gang up on them, or as a last ditch effort to end a channel of an enemy if there are no other means available.
“Deals X-X kinetic damage and knocks back up to 8 enemies within a 15-meter cone in front of you. Standard and weak enemies are additionally knocked down for 3 seconds.”
This will be your primary group control ability as it’s quite powerful under the right circumstances. With a utility you can root affected targets for 5 seconds which can be incredibly useful in warzones, or you can just straight up knock them off terrain to reduce the number of enemies in the area if the fall doesn’t outright kill them.
“Controls the mind of the target, forcing it to attack you for 6 seconds. Player targets deal 30% less damage for 6 damage when attacking anyone other than you”
This is essentially your “Taunt” ability. I don’t bother using this if I’m alone guarding an objective but if there’s at least 1 ally fighting alongside me, I make sure I constantly use this against an enemy we’re fighting so my ally will take less damage. Prioritize enemies that can deal large amounts of damage such as Shadows/Assassins, DPS Vanguards/Powertechs, Sentinels/Marauders, or Gunslingers/Snipers.
Mass Mind Control
“Forces all enemies within 15 meters to attack you for 6 seconds if Combat Technique is active. If Combat Technique is not active, threat towards all current enemies is immediately reduced. Player targets deal 30% less damage for 6 seconds when attacking anyone other than you.”
It’s an AoE Taunt, use this against multiple targets or if you REALLY need to protect an ally under fire and Mind Control is on cooldown, though do try to save it for groups of enemies.
“Interrupts the target’s current action and prevents that ability from being used for 4 seconds.”
This is an excellent ability and you have no excuse not to use it under the proper circumstances. Many powerful abilities are channeled, these can be hard hitting offensive abilities or Healing Abilities. You can use this interrupt to break the flow of an opponent’s offense or to negate the healing of a healer performing a channeled heal. Just to make it clear, if you can, use this ability to stop channeled healing abilities!
“Confuses the target, leaving it bewildered and unable to act for 60 seconds (8 seconds for Player targets). Damage will break the effect prematurely. This ability is only usable in stealth mode and cannot be used against a target in combat. Only one target can be incapacitated at any given time. Cannot be used on droids.”
In PvP Warzones, you generally use this ability to stun a target while you capture an objective. This will often force enemy players to waste their Stun Breaker making them more susceptible to uninterrupted Crowd Control abilities. Though don’t waste this ability to toy with a target as this greatly fills their White Bar and if that fills completely, they’ll become immune to Crowd Control abilities thus increasing their offensive and/or healing potential.
“Performs a spin kick that deals X-X kinetic damage and stuns the target for 2 seconds. Standard and weak enemies are additionally knocked down. Requires a double-bladed lightsaber or electrostaff. Only usable in stealth mode.”
So this is a great ability as you can use it out of stealth as a Kinetic Combat Shadow. This ability counts as a Force ability so it can be reflected by certain defensive abilities, and it stuns the target for 2 seconds. This is great for killing someone’s momentum, stopping a channel if your interrupt is on cooldown, and it doesn’t fill the enemy’s white bar too much making them open to other stuns.
These abilities are commonly classified as Offensive Cooldown abilities, abilities that increase your offensive potential. Though as a Kinetic Combat Shadow, your passive abilities add additional effects to these active abilities making them good Defensive Cooldown abilities as well. So you can use them for either an Offensive or Defensive purpose as you see fit.
“Ready yourself with the Force, immediately restoring 15% of your max health, increasing the damage of all Techniques by 50%, increasing the chance to trigger their effects by 25%, and healing you for X when their effects are triggered. Lasts 15 seconds. The triggered healing cannot occur more than once per second. This ability does not break stealth.”
While this does have good offensive potential, I generally use it for its defensive properties than its offensive properties. As a Kinetic Combat Shadow, you’ll be using the Combat Technique which grants a 50% chance to deal around 432 internal damage with your melee strikes. While Battle Readiness is active, you have a 75% chance to deal an extra 648 internal damage with your melee strikes. It’s underwhelming to me at least, though it is still a powerful ability as a Kinetic Combat Shadow.
You have a passive ability that makes it that when you use Battle Readiness, you gain an extra 25% Damage Reduction for the duration. This makes this a great Defensive Cooldown ability to deal with large amounts of incoming burst damage. If you’re against a single target, use Double Strike to attempt to proc the additional healing effect, or use Cleaving Cut or Whirling Blow against multiple targets to proc the heal tick. It’s not that great of a heal but it’s better than nothing.
“Grants 2 charges of Force Potency, which increases the Force critical chance of your direct attacks and heals by 60%. Each time a direct Force ability or each time a channeled Force ability is activated, 1 charge is consumed. Lasts 20 seconds. This ability does not break stealth.”
This ability is shared among Sages and Shadows which is why it lists direct attacks and heals as gaining extra crit chance. As a Shadow, you use this for the increased Force attack damage. This additional critical chance is additive and not multiplicative, meaning if you have a 40% critical hit chance, you gain 100% critical hit chance with your direct Force attacks while you have stacks of Force Potency.
However, Force Potency gains an additional effect as a Kinetic Combat Shadow. Activated Force Potency will grant you an additional 30% Shield Absorption for 20 seconds, this is a good way to mitigate damage further. Whether you use this Offensively or Defensively is entirely dependent on your playstyle and I will be offering builds that work with either scenario.
Defensive Cooldown abilities (commonly referred to as DCDs) are abilities used for defensive purposes. Whereas a Vanguard/Powertech’s DCDs are great for dealing with physical threats, a Guardian/Juggernaut’s DCDs can flat out mitigate damage though their Force/Tech Damage reduction is tied to their Saber Ward which also acts as their Defense Chance boost.
DCDs for the Kinetic Combat Shadow come in many forms, each of which has a specific purpose to counteract certain types of damage. As you’ve read above, your Offensive Cooldown Abilities are transformed into DCDs as well. But below are dedicated DCDs you’ll be using often.
“Increases your ranged and melee defenses by 50% for 12 seconds. Requires a melee weapon.”
This one is fairly straight-forward. This increases your defense chance by 50% allowing you to potentially ignore Weapon Damage (also known as White Damage). This is great against Gunslingers/Snipers, Guardians/Juggernauts, and Sentinels/Marauders as these units are heavily reliant on weapon damage.
Though it gains a secondary effect when you are a Kinetic Combat Shadow. It creates an aura with an 8 meter radius that causes enemies found within it to deal 15% Force/Tech damage (also known as Yellow Damage). This effect is particularly useful for lowering the threat of Shadows/Assassins, Sages/Sorcerers, Scoundrels/Operatives, Commandos/Mercenaries, and Vanguards/Powertechs who use a lot of Force/Tech abilities. If you use it for the secondary effect, do so if you’re surrounded by these threats or if you want to aid a group fight by applying this debuff to enemies.
“Uses the Force to make you vanish from sight, immediately exiting combat and entering stealth mode. For 10 seconds, you become virtually undetectable.”
This is your “Nope” button, in that you use this to exit a fight and go into stealth. You have a utility that applies Resilience for 2 seconds when Force Cloak is activated so this can be used as a cleansing ability. Additionally, there’s a utility where you can heal while stealthed after using Force Cloak. This ability has only risen in popularity with the Tactical that grants 2 stacks of this ability, allowing you to use it again without waiting for the cooldown to finish.
A good combo to use with this is to use Force Cloak, use Mind Maze on your target, exit stealth and use Meditation to restore your health. Though this is generally done if you have the luxury of doing so if you’re in a 1v1, they already used their Crowd Control breaker, and don’t have the Force Cloak healing utility.
Force of Will
“Demonstrates your force of will, purging all incapacitating and movement-impairing effects.”
This is your Crowd Control breaker, meaning it removes stuns and slows. When you use this defines your overall skill as a PvPer. It can be tempting to use this the moment you get stunned but you must learn to recognize the various stuns and incapacitates there are. Is the stun you’re under broken by damage? It might be better to wait it out. Will getting hit by a hard stun determine your failure in a battle? If not, better to save it. Will using this prevent an enemy from obtaining objective? If not, it’s better to save it. It all comes down to your personal judgement and this judgement can only be refined with experience, insight, and retrospect.
“Erects a kinetic ward with 15 charges that increases your shield chance by 15% for 20 seconds. Each time you successfully shield, Kinetic Ward loses 1 charge. Does not break stealth.”
A passive ability you gain makes the shield chance gained from this ability become 18%, which is nice. How you use this ability defines if you are a good Shadow or a bad Shadow. It’s often said that the Shadow tank is the hardest of the three tanks to learn as you have numerous buffs and debuffs to manage. This right here is your primary buff you need to manage.
Some may pop Kinetic Ward the moment it’s off cooldown, but you really only want to refresh it if it’s down entirely or if it’s about to go down. You gain a passive called Kinetic Bulwark which increases your Shield Absorption for every stack of Kinetic Ward consumed, so the more Kinetic Ward Stacks are consumed, the stronger your shields will be. This is why you want to hang onto Kinetic Ward for as long as possible before refreshing it as when you do, you lose the extra Shield Absorption.
“Purges all hostile removable effects and increases your chance to resist Force and Tech attacks by 200% for 3 seconds. Does not break stealth.”
A wise, old man once said “Oh This… This is Beautiful” about a work of art, and that’s how I feel about this ability. This is one of your defining abilities that separates you from the other tanks. A Vanguard/Powertech tank will just have to bite the loss when getting hit by Force/Tech damage, while a Guardian/Juggernaut tank will have to use their flat damage mitigation ability, use their Saber Ward which reduces incoming Force/Tech damage by 25%, or Saber Reflect single target abilities.
You on the other hand, you can flat out ignore Force and Tech powers entirely with this ability. Resilience is often used as a cleanse, a way to remove various debuffs and Damage over Time abilities (also known as DoTs) from you. You have a utility that can increase this duration to 5 seconds, and there’s also a tactical that consumes Kinetic Ward Stacks which can bring up the duration to 8.75 seconds in combination with the utility. Being able to ignore Force/Tech attacks for 9 seconds is a very powerful tool.
This is also good to use while stealthed on certain occasions. Say you’re on the Voidstar map and a Sorcerer is using their AoE lightning channel over a bridge to deter stealthers like yourself. You can pop resilience while stealthed to sneak on by to ignore the damage and keep your stealth up.
But perhaps one of the most valuable utilities with this ability is that with a certain tactical, you can grant an ally you’re guarding the effects of Resilience. Though they do not benefit from the extended duration from utilities and only gain 3 seconds of Resilience if you are using the proper tactical.
And if you’re like me and prefer a build that has better defensive stats, any time you parry, reflect, dodge or shield an attack, the cooldown of Resilience is reduced by 1 second (though this can only occur once per second). So in the event you were under constant fire in a group scenario and you dodged or shielded every incoming attack, this makes the cooldown of Resilience 30 seconds. I can’t stress how much I love this ability.
Kinetic Combat Passive Abilities to note
Below will list some important passive abilities you gain as you level your shadow. Some provide passive bonus effects which we don’t pay much mind to but the following Passive Abilities define how you should play your Kinetic Combat Shadow.
“Project deals 20% more damage and consumes 15 less Force, and Double Strike and Whirling Blow inflict their targets with Trauma, which reduces healing received from all sources by 20% for 6 seconds.”
The key thing I want you to notice here is that using Double Strike and Whirling Blow applies the Trauma debuff to targets it hits that reduces their overall healing. It is important to keep this up in group fights or arena combat.
“Consuming a charge of Kinetic Ward increases shield absorption by 1%. Stacks up to 8 times. This effect lasts for 20 seconds or until Kinetic Ward is reactivated.”
Because of this passive, you want to avoid reactivating Kinetic Ward the moment it’s off cooldown. You’re going to have to learn to keep your eyes on your buffs to monitor how many stacks of Kinetic Ward you’ve lost. The more you lose, the stronger your shield absorption will be.
The passive Kinetic Bastion increases the total stacks of Kinetic Bulwark to 10, meaning you can gain an additional 10% shield absorption. Kinetic Bastion will remain even if you lose all stacks of Kinetic Ward. You must learn to time your refreshing of Kinetic Ward so as to fully utilize the power of Kinetic Bulwark.
“Damage dealt by Double Strike, Shadow Strike, Whirling Blow and Spinning Strike has a 30% chance to finish the cooldown on Project and make your next Project a critical hit. Accelerated Projects that consume a charge of Force Potency deal an additional 50% critical damage.”
This one is excellent as your Melee Weapon Attacks aside from Saber Strike give you a 30% chance at receiving an Auto-Crit on your next project. When your Project icon in your hotbar gains a glowing border, you know that you have Particle Acceleration Ready.
Against a single target, use Double Strike against the target unless you’re able to use Spinning Strike, or if Shadow Strike has a glowing border. Now let’s do some math to determine the odds of gaining an auto-crit on Project.
To determine this, we must use the following equation: 1-(1-0.3)^𝑛
In this equation, 𝑛 is the number of attacks that land against a target. For Double Strike, 𝑛 will be 2, and with Whirling Blow 𝑛 can be anywhere between 1 through 8.
This gives Double Strike a 51% chance to activate the Particle Acceleration compared to the 30% of Spinning Strike, Shadow Strike, or using Whirling Blow against one target.
Here’s the chance that it would hit a target using Whirling Blow
- 1 Target Hit = 30%
- 2 Targets Hit = 51%
- 3 Targets Hit = 65%
- 4 Targets Hit = 76%
- 5 Targets Hit = 83%
- 6 Targets Hit = 88%
- 7 Targets Hit = 91%
- 8 Targets Hit = 94%
So basically, you have a much greater chance of gaining Particle Acceleration by using Whirling Blow if you’re in a battle against 3+ enemies, but you should rely on Double Strike against a single target to proc Particle Acceleration more reliably than Spinning Strike or Shadow Strike when fighting a single target.
The best part of this passive is that when you use Force Potency on a Particle Acceleration empowered Project, it’ll deal 50% additional critical damage which can REALLY hurt if you’re playing a high crit skank tank build. You generally want to get 2 stacks of Harness Shadows, get an empowered Project, use Force Potency, Project and then a fully empowered Cascading Debris to deal your highest damage combo available.
Double-bladed Saber Tactics
“Increases your melee and ranged defense by 4%. Additionally, whenever you successfully shield, parry, or deflect an attack, you recover 2% of your total Force and increase the damage dealt by your next Force Breach by 75%. This effect cannot occur more than once a second and does not stack.”
If you decide to go with a more Defensive stat tank build, you’ll be happy to know that you have a good chance at gaining an empowered Force Breach, AND you’ll be good on Force energy so long as you’re shielding and dodging enough. The Rapid Recovery passive makes you regain 4% of your total Force instead of 2% every time you dodge or shield an attack, so that’s always good.
“Deflection grants Pulsating Force, causing all enemies within 8 meters to deal 15% less Force and Tech damage. This effect lasts for the duration of Deflection. Additionally, damage dealt by Force Breach and Slow Time is increased by 20%.”
This will cause you to make an aura around you with an 8 meter radius when you cast Deflection. This is great if you’re wanting to debuff numerous casters in a mosh pit of violence or if you happen to get ganged up on by numerous casters and want to reduce their overall effectiveness as you wait for backup. They only deal reduced damage so long as they are within the aura, so someone outside will still deal full damage.
“Project and Slow Time grant Harnessed Shadows, which makes the next Cascading Debris used uninterruptible and immune to pushback. In addition, each stack increases the damage dealt by your next Cascading Debris by 15%. Stacks up to 3 times. At 3 stacks, each tick of Cascading Debris trants Shadow Protection, which increases damage reduction by 1%. Shadow Protection stacks up to 4 times and lasts 12 seconds.”
This defines how you should use Cascading Debris. Gaining a single stack of Harnessed Shadows uninterruptible and immune to pushback (when the channel is slowed from getting hit). Though you really only want to use Cascading Debris when you have 3 stacks of Harnessed Shadows as not only will it deal more 45% more damage, but each successful tick of Cascading Debris grants you some much needed damage reduction.
The default amount of Damage Reduction you have at level 75 with 306 rated gear is 37.5%, so one tick brings it up to 38.5%, two ticks to 39.5%, three ticks to 40.5%, and four ticks to 41.5%. It is important to maintain this 41.5% damage reduction stat through Harnessed Shadow empowered Cascading Debris whenever possible.
Keep in mind that your channel of Cascading Debris can still be stopped by Physics and Stuns.
“Increases the amount of Force recovered by Double-bladed Saber Tactics by 100%. In addition, when you shield, parry, or deflect an attack, the active cooldown of Resilience is reduced by 1 second. This effect cannot occur more than once a second.”
The important thing here is knowing that every time you shield or dodge an attack, Resilience’s cooldown is lowered by 1 second. Theoretically, if you were to get hit once per second and each hit you either shielded or dodged, this would bring Resilience to a 30 second cooldown. This passive works better with a Full Tank setup over a Skank Tank setup.
“Exiting stealth instantly grants 4 stacks of Shadow Protection. In addition, Double Strike, Whirling Blow, Spinning Strike, and Shadow Stride grant Shadow Wrap, which makes your next Shadow Strike consume 50% less Force and deal less damage as if you are behind the target regardless of your actual positioning. This effect cannot occur more than once every 10 seconds.”
This is a great passive as the affected melee attacks allow you to use Shadow Strike at full power and at half the cost. Don’t go around spamming Shadow Strike, you’ll be wasting Force that way. Instead only use it when the border is glowing for full effect or if you’re behind the target and can land a finishing blow. This passive is what helps make Kinetic Combat Shadows such great duelists.
“Increases your Stealth detection level by 5, defense by 2%, and shield absorption by 4%. In addition, when you activate Battle Readiness, damage reduction is increased by 25% for the duration.”
Now you can better detect stealth units like Shadows/Assassins and Scoundrels/Operatives. But the key there here is that this makes Battle Readiness a DCD. Now you generally want to use it for both a small heal but more importantly, as a MASSIVE boost to your damage reduction for 15 seconds.
Without Shadow Protection: 62.5% Damage Reduction
With Shadow Protection: 66.5% Damage Reduction
With Shadow Protection AND Efficient Termination DR Bonus: 76.5% Damage Reduction
“Increases damage reduction and Endurance by 2% and allows for Spinning Kick to be used out of Stealth mode. Additionally, activating Force Potency grants 30% shield absorption for 20 seconds.”
This allows you to use Spinning Kick whenever which can be great as a small stun to slow down a target, make them vulnerable to attack, or to be used as a backup Interrupt if Mind Snap is on cooldown (assuming the opponent didn’t max their white bar earlier).
This passive also makes Force Potency behave like a DCD by giving you extra shield absorption. Someone more inclined to be on the defensive with their gear build will likely use Force Potency purely as a DCD for the increased absorption while a Skank Tank will want to use Force Potency as an offensive buff and the 30% extra absorption is just the cherry on top.
Utilities offer various passive effects of augmenting your abilities in some manner, though some are inherently better than others when used in PvP. There are three tiers of Utilities, Skillful, Masterful, and Heroic. The potency of the Utilities increase with the tiers. In order to access the Masterful tier, you need to spend 3 Utility Points. In order to access the Heroic tier, you need to spend 6 Utility points. This limits the amount of Heroic Utilities you can get by 3.
- Description: Reduces the cooldown of Mind Snap by 2 seconds, Force of Will by 30 seconds, and Force Speed by 5 seconds.
- Note: This one is a must for PvP as you can use your interrupt far more often to negate heals, you can break Crowd Control abilities far more often, and you become more mobile as Force Speed gets a cooldown of 15 seconds with this.
- Description: Reduces the cooldown of Force Stun by 15 seconds and increases the duration of Force Slow and reduces its cooldown by 6 seconds. In addition, your Force Lift affects up to 2 additional standard or weak enemies within 8 meters of the target.
- Note: This one is more situational but the lower cooldown on your Force Stun and a longer slow is nice. Though the Force Lift part does nothing for PvP as this only affects PvE NPCs.
- Description: As Kinetic Combat, reduces all damage taken while stunned by 30%. As Infiltration and Serenity, reduces the damage taken from area attacks by 30%.”
- Note: This one is also a must in PvP environments as you can expect to be stunned, A LOT. Taking 30% reduced damage is great as Shadow Tanks have the lowest base Damage Reduction of the three tanks so every bit of reduced damage helps. Be sure to keep your Kinetic Ward up to help mitigate damage further if you do get stunned.
- Description: Increases the damage done by Whirling Blow by 25%
- Note: Don’t bother with this in PvP, this utility is geared towards dealing with adds in PvE scenarios.
- Description: Force Wave unbalances its targets, immobilizing them for 5 seconds. Direct damage dealt after 2 seconds ends the effect prematurely.
- Note: This is a great one in many scenarios, particularly in group fights where you need to peel enemies off an ally so they can reposition or recuperate. Damage Over Time abilities do not break the root so allies who use DoTs would greatly benefit from damaging enemies rooted by this ability. Just note that some DoTs have initial direct damage which might break the root.
- Description: Double Strike, Clairvoyant Strike, and Whirling Blow reduce the movement speed of the targets they damage by 30% for 6 seconds.
- Note: This is one of my personal favorite utilities but in general warzone scenarios, there are others that can be better for overall group efforts (such as Force Wake). Being able to slow multiple enemies with your Whirling Blow is really nice as it’s cheap to use and uses the Global Cooldown so it can be spammed and maintain the slow.
- Description: Targets controlled by your Spinning Kick or Force Stun take 5% more damage from all sources.
- Note: This is a useful one albeit slightly situational. This would be very useful in arenas where groups focus on a single target and increasing the damage done to that target is always good. This will increase damage done by you, other players, or the environment (like the traps in Huttball).
- Description: Mass Mind Control provides Shadow’s Shelter to all allies within range, excluding yourself, reducing the damage they take by 5% for the next 6 seconds and healing them for X health over the duration.
- Note: Unless you have some group tactics that would somehow benefit from this, don’t bother with this utility. The heal is negligible and is akin to slapping on a dollar store bandage to a 3rd degree burn. The 5% damage reduction to all allies in range is nice but weak overall and not entirely worth it.
- Description: Reduces the cooldown of Force Cloak by 30 seconds and extends its duration by 5 seonds.
- Note: This can be a useful utility when combined with the Restorative Shade utility and the Two Cloaks Tactical.
- Description: Increases your movement speed by 15% and effective stealth level by 10.
- Note: This essentially negates your movement speed debuff when stealthed and makes you harder to detect by those with passive Stealth Detection abilities. It’s alright but I can think of better utilities to use as a Kinetic Combat Shadow.
- Description: Reduces the cooldown of Force Wave by 2.5 seconds and Force Potency grants 1 additional charge when activated.
- Note: This is a great offensive utility but I would only really recommend it if you’re a DPS Shadow or playing a Skank Tank, or if you’re someone who prefers the Death Knell armor set over the Efficient Termination set.
- Description: Activating Project, Psychokinetic Blaster, or Squelch increases your movement speed by 50% for 9 seconds. This effect cannot occur more than once every 18 seconds.
- Note: This is one I don’t find myself using very often. The prospect of increased movement speed is tempting but I can achieve similar effects by slowing my targets with the various slows already available to the Kinetic Combat Shadow.
- Description: When a target recovers from being stunned by your Spinning Kick or Force Stun, its movement is slowed for the following 3 seconds. Additionally, Force Cloak increases your movement speed by 50% while it is active, and Force Slow reduces the movement speed of its target by an additional 20%.
- Note: A situational one if you have a preferred playstyle built around slows. But if you want to be prepared for a wider variety of situations, you would be better off with other utilities. Using the Efficient Termination armor set makes the slow a total of 4 seconds which can be fun to annoy someone.
- Description: Activating Deflection grants 6 seconds of immunity to stun, sleep, lift, and incapacitating effects.
- Note: This can be a good utility to take if you’re not sure what you’re up against. This is really useful against Shadows/Assassins and Scoundrels/Operatives who rely on a lot of stuns and roots which can be negated by this.
- Description: Force Speed grants Egress, removing all movement-impairing effects and granting immunity to them for the duration.
- Note: This one is a must for PvP as this will help you maintain your mobility and cleanse any slows you may be suffering from.
- Description: If your Force Lift breaks early from damage, the target is stunned for 2 seconds. In addition, Force Lift activates instantly.
- Note: You would only want this utility for one of two circumstances: You’re trying to capture an objective on a map and your Mind Maze target broke free so you need to lift them to capture the objective. Or if you’re in an arena scenario and you need to lift an enemy player to reduce the enemy team’s effectiveness for a bit.
Cloak of Resilience
- Description: Activating Force Cloak grants 2 seconds of Resilience.
- Note: This is a must-have as it allows you to use Force Cloak as a cleanse and to ensure that any attempt to decloak you with Force or Tech powers will fail allowing you the ability to reassess the situation.
- Description: When damage breaks your Mind Maze prematurely, the target will suffer from Sapped Mind, reducing the damage they deal by 25% for 10 seconds. Additionally, you gain another benefit depending on your active discipline.
Kinetic Combat: Cascading Debris increases your movement speed by 35% for 6 seconds.
Infiltration, Serenity: Increases your armor rating by 30%“
- Note: This is not worth taking unless you really want to be good at kiting an opponent, but you already have numerous slows that can do the job just as well. I don’t find the 25% less damage from a target freed from Mind Maze a good tradeoff as one more stun against them will fill their whitebar and make them immune to Crowd Control once their current stun ends.
Mind Over Matter
- Description: Increases the durations of Resilience by 2 seconds and Force Speed by 0.5 seconds. Additionally, Force Speed slows all enemies within 5 meters by 75% for 2.5 seconds when activated.
- Note: I love this one as it applies to all instances of Resilience. Your main Resilience now lasts 5 seconds and this also affects the Resilience granted by the Cloak of Resilience Utility. This gives you a total of 9 seconds of Resilience which can be very powerful. If you want to slap on another 3.75 seconds with the Shroud of a Shadow tactical, then you can then achieve almost 13 seconds of Force and Tech immunity!
Also, the slow is really nice if you’re being ganged up on which will allow you to effectively get away from a group as the slows will make you hard to catch up with unless they have a dash, charge, or teleport.
- Description: Shadow Stride grants Stalker’s Swiftness, allowing your next Spinning Strike to be used on any target, regardless of remaining health. Stalker’s Swiftness lasts for 10 seconds. Additionally, if the target of your Shadow Stride is killed within 10 seconds of using Shadow Stride, Shadow Stride’s cooldown is reset.
- Note: This one is better off being used by an Infiltration Shadow or if you’re dealing with weak adds in PvE.
- Description: Force Pull immobilizes its target for 3 seconds, Serenity Strike immobilizes its target for 2 seconds, and Low Slash immobilizes its target for 1 second after the incapacitating effect wears off. In addition, successful use of Mind Maze grants Martial Prowess, increasing the critical chance of your next direct attack by 100%. This effect lasts for 20 seconds.
- Note: It’s overall not a great utility. While the prospect of having a root on a target you Force Pull is nice, you can use the Utility Point elsewhere and be more productive overall.
- Description: When entering stealth with Force Cloak, you generate a stack of Restorative Shade and heal 4% of your maximum health every 2 seconds for 10 seconds. Stacks last for 6 seconds. When stealth is broken, each stack of Restorative Shade heals you for 4% of your health.
- Note: This is a great Utility to use with the Two Cloaks tactical. When you use Force Cloak, you can restore 20% of your max HP over the 10 seconds, then if you decloak within 6 seconds after the first 10 seconds, you can restore another 20% HP for a total of 40% HP. Though I would use this as a warzone objective guardian where you need to be more independent.
In an arena scenario, every second you’re cloaked healing is time that you’re leaving your team to fight a 3v4 without a means of mitigating damage for them.
One with the Shadows
- Description: Shadow Stride can be used while immobilized and purges movement-impairing effects when used. Additionally, Force SPeed grants One with the Shadows, which bestows a different benefit depending on your active discipline.
Kinetic Combat: Increases your Force regeneration rate by 10 for the duration of Force Speed.
Infiltration, Serenity: Reduces all damage taken by 25% for the duration of Force Speed.
- Note: This is a popular utility and it’s easy to understand why. Your Shadow Stride becomes a DCD as you can break roots on yourself by using Shadow Stride on a target. It’s a shame Kinetic Combat Shadows don’t get a more useful secondary effect but the extra Force regen during Force Speed is okay at best.
- Description: Deflection grants Avenging Grip, reflecting 50% (or 100% for the Kinetic Combat discipline) of all direct single target Tech and Force damage back at the attacker. Avenging Grip lasts for 12 seconds and does not absorb incoming damage.
Avenging Grip lasts for 12 seconds and does not absorb incoming damage.“
- Note: This is a fun utility and it’s really only useful for a Kinetic Combat Shadow. Every direct Force and Tech attack is reflected back to the attacker for the duration of Deflection. It’s essentially a Special Thornmail and this is a great way to deal with Sages/Sorcerers and Commandos/Mercenaries. Though it is a highly situational utility and may not prove useful in every scenario.
Do note that using Resilience while Avenging Grip is active will negate the damage and therefore not reflect incoming damage back to the attacker.
Gearing and Stats
First thing to note, these stats are assuming you have applied your Class Buff stats (Force Valor, Force Might, Lucky Shots, and Fortification).
As I mentioned earlier in this guide, I’m not concerned with flat stat numbers. If I’m a new player and a guide tells me to get 3958 in Critical, what does this tell me? Essentially nothing, I’m more concerned with the Percentages. While the flat numbers do have their merit and having Min-Max math to back them up and such, I frankly don’t care and want to see percentages. This is what I’ll provide here for my guide.
There are one of two ways you can build your Kinetic Combat Shadow, as a Full Tank or a Skank Tank.
Full Tank Stats
A Full Tank is where you use the blue Armorings, Mods, and Enhancements that provide bonuses to stats such as Defense Chance, Shield Chance, and Shield Absorption. The enhancements in particular are what define and fine-tune your stats. Things like augments are a good way to supplement your overall stats and are vital for a Ranked Scenario.
With a Full Tank set, you are far more likely to proc an enhanced Force Breach, have better Force Regen, and have a lower cooldown on Resilience. Below are the stats for a Full Tank Build.
So when Kinetic Ward is activated, my Shield Chance becomes 70%, Force Potency makes my Shield Absorption becomes 76.31% for 20 seconds.
Deflection brings my Defense Chance to 87.5% for 15 seconds.
Shadow Protection makes my Damage Reduction 41.5% for 12 seconds, Battle Readiness can add an additional 25% on top of that for 15 seconds, and using Spinning Kick with the Efficient Termination Gear Set allows me to slap on ANOTHER 10% damage reduction on top of all that for 6 seconds.
As a Full Tank, you sacrifice offensive potential for defensive potential. You are to survive for as long as you can and these types of Shadows make great Objective Guards, such as guarding a Pylon, Turret, Capture Points, etc.
So here are the stats you’ll want to achieve with a Full Tank Set
-Damage Reduction = 37.5% (This will occur with 306 armorings)
-Defense Chance ≈ 38% (You don’t need to worry about this too much since mods and enhancements will provide you the necessary Defense Chance).
-Shield Chance: 52%
-Shield Absorption ≈ 45+%
So you want to hit that 52% Shield Chance rating so your Kinetic Ward will increase it to 70% Shield Chance while active. From there you want to focus on Shield Absorption. It’s due to this ability that you have the BEST shield chance out of all the tanks in SWTOR. And thanks to patch 5.9.2, Critical Hits no longer bypass Shield Chance meaning Full Tanks in PvP became much more viable for countering Crit-based builds.
Now you might be asking, “Why do I need 70% Shield Chance instead of something like 50% or 60% Shield Chance with more Absorption?”. To answer that, we’ll need to use some math! We’ll be using this following equation
𝓧 * 𝓨 = Net Damage Reduction
In this case, 𝓧 is your Shield Chance and 𝓨 is your Shield Absorption (50% would be written as 0.5 for the equation as an example).
Consider an attack that deals 100 damage. You have a 50% chance to mitigate 25% of damage. Out of 10 attacks, it is reasonable to assume 5 will hit unhindered and 5 will be shielded. This means 5 hits at normal (500) and 5 hits at mitigated (375) for 875 total damage, or 12.5% total reduction (875 compared to 1000).
Coincidentally, 12.5% is 1/8, which means your 1/2 chance at 1/4 reduction = 1/8 mitigation
So now let’s look at examples of Shield Chance and Absorption Combinations
- 38% Shield Chance with 70% Absorption = 26% Net Reduction
- 50% Shield Chance with 60% Absorption = 30% Net Reduction
- 60% Shield Chance with 50% Absorption = 30% Net Reduction
- 70% Shield Chance with 46% Absorption = 32% Net Reduction
With the higher chance to shield, the more likely you are to consistently reduce incoming damage, regain Force Energy, and increase your chance to reduce the Cooldown on Resilience. With the 70% Shield Chance with 46% Absorption I myself run, nearly one third of incoming damage is reduced.
Full Tank Earpiece, Implants, Mods, Relics and Augments
These are the pieces I use to obtain the stats listed above:
- 8 x Superior Resistive Armorings 80
- 1 x Superior Resistive Hilt 80
- 9 x Superior Warding Mod 80B
- 8 x Shield Rating Enhancements 80
- 1 x Shield Absorption Enhancement
- 1 x Sha’tek Bastion Device MK-19
- 2 x Sha’tek Bastion Package MK-19
- Sha’tek Relic of the Shield Matrix MK-19
- Sha’tek Relic of Avoidance Mk-19
- 3 x Advanced Shield Augment 74
- 11 x Advanced Absorb Augment 74
So you’ll want to go for the Resistive Armorings as these provide more Endurance than their DPS counterparts. Aim for B grade Tank Mods as these grant higher endurance than A mods, BR mods, etc. Steadfast Superior Enhancement 80R-2’s provide good Endurace (+429) and Shield Rating (+409) but a lot Defense Rating (+145). Though you can get away with mixing and matching enhancements to reach desired stat numbers so long as 6 of them are adding to your Shield Rating and 1 to boost your Shield Absorption.
Wait to add augments until you complete your Full Tank set so you can assess where you need to fine-tune your stats. You might need a few like I did to hit the 52% Shield Chance mark. Once you hit that mark, you want to place everything else into Shield Absorption.
The Sha’tek Earpiece and Implants provide excellent stats as do the Relics. The Relics have no special effect such as increasing a stat temporarily or absorbing a miniscule amount of damage. Rather, they provide some much needed raw stats which aid in your tankiness.
These specific mods are not the end-all be-all for which gear bits you should choose. You should feel free to swap pieces as you see fit to get the stats you desire but do try to aim for at least 52% Shield Chance with 45% Shield Absorption.
Skank Tank Stats
The term “Skank Tank” is one used to describe someone playing a character in the Tank Discipline, but they use DPS mods and enhancements. This is typically done by using Superior Lethal Mod 80B’s and Superior Discipline Enhancement 80’s as these provide the most Endurance of the DPS mods and critical enhancements. As for armorings and hilts, they use the blue variants used by Full Tanks as these grant more Endurance than their DPS counterparts. Below is an example of a Skank Tank’s stats.
You don’t need to invest in Accuracy Enhancements or Augments as your Discipline automatically grants +10% Accuracy. Generally Skank Tanks will focus entirely on crit and one reason Shadow Skank Tanks do this is to buff the power of their Force Potency + Particle Acceleration empowered Projects even further. The more Critical stat you have, the higher the Critical Damage Multiplier. The higher that multiplier is, the more overall damage will be done with you gaining the extra 50% critical multiplier on project from the Force Potency and Particle Acceleration combo.
The bare minimum for critical hit chance is 40% as Force Potency grants +60% meaning any Direct Force attacks you make with stacks of Force Potency are guaranteed critical hits. This is where the Shadow Skank Tank shines the best with their offensive potential. They want to gain 2 stacks of Harnessed Shadows, empower their Project with melee strikes, use Force Potency, deal high critical damage with the project followed up by a fully empowered Cascading Debris with each tick being a critical hit. This hurts to say the least.
Since you’re using DPS mods and enhancements, you’ll have more power thus the base damage of your melee and Force attacks are increased. Though one thing you’ll notice is that your defensive stats pale in comparison to the Full Tank. It is entirely up to you as to how you gear and how you play, the beauty of the Kinetic Combat Shadow is how adaptable it can be.
For your stats, you will focus more on gaining high endurance and high critical chance, so we’re really looking at the Critical chance when it comes for goals you should be striving for. You can either go Full Critical or Critical with Alacrity. Because you’re using DPS mods and enhancements, your defensive stats will be base defensive stats as they have no supplementary stats to increase them.
- Critical Chance (Melee and Force) = 47%
- Critical Multiplier (Melee and Force) = 75%
- Alacrity = 0%
- Defense Chance = 16%
- Shield Chance = 20%
- Shield Absorption = 24%
Critical with Alacrity
These stats are assuming you don’t any Alacrity buffs through guild passives or other sources.
- Critical Chance (Melee and Force) = 40%
- Critical Multiplier (Melee and Force) ≈ 68%
- Alacrity ≈ 10%
- Defense Chance = 16%
- Shield Chance = 20%
- Shield Absorption = 24%
To make up for your subpar defensive stats, you will go with high endurance Mods and Enhancements with Tank armorings and Hilts to compensate. You use your beef to survive and pummel your opponents into submission rather than tanking it out while whittling them down slowly.
This also helps when Guarding a target as you’ll be able to guard a target for a longer duration with your high hit point pool created by focusing Endurance, this is particularly useful for Ranked PvP where you must constantly guard an ally who’s being focused upon.
Now you’re probably wondering which should you go for, Full Crit or Crit with Alacrity? That’s all personal choice and while many will argue full crit, having some alacrity can be nice as it lowers the Global Cooldown by 10% meaning you can shave off a couple tenths of a second to use your next ability faster, and you will be able to channel Cascading Debris ever so slightly faster. Or you can go for high crit to help you get even more critical hits and high damage numbers. It’s entirely up to you.
Skank Tank Earpiece, Implants, Mods, Relics and Augments
These are the pieces I use to obtain the stats listed above:
- 8 x Superior Resistive Armorings 80
- 1 x Superior Resistive Hilt 80
- 9 x Superior Lethal Mod 80B
- 9 x Superior Discipline Enhancement 80
- 1 x Mier-Lang Proficient Device MK-19
- 2 x Sund Tech Proficient Package MK-19
- Sha’tek Relic of Serendipitous Assault MK-19
- Sha’tek Relic of Focused Retribution MK-19
- 14 x Advanced Critical Augment 74
As you might have noticed, gearing up a Skank Tank is far simpler than gearing a Full Tank which requires more fine-tuning. You want the B mods and Superior Enhancements as they provide the most Endurance with Crit. Just don’t get tricked by “Discipline Superior Enhancements” that differ slightly from “Superior Discipline Enhancements”. If you want to add alacrity in your build, simply replace 3-4 Enhancements with High Endurance Alacrity Enhancements.
With the numerous gear sets available, it can be confusing to determine which one is right for you. There are two particular sets that are objectively the best for different reasons, the Efficient Termination Set and the Death Knell Set. I’ll also be glancing over other sets and their bonuses but really, you want to go with Efficient Termination or Death Knell.
You want to get 6 pieces of a 6-Piece bonus set and have the 7th piece be an Amplified Champion’s piece. This is due to the built-in amplifier available to the Amplified Champion set being able to access bonuses normally reserved to Armorings and Hilts, thus allowing you to boost your offensive or defensive potential even further. But we’ll go over Amplifiers in the next section.
|Efficient Termination Set|
|2 Piece Bonus: +2% Endurance
4 Piece Bonus: Spinning Kick stun and slow effects last for an additional second
6 Piece Bonus: Using Spinning Kick grants you 10% Damage Reduction for 6 seconds.
|This is my favorite set for general PvP and PvE as I just LOVE being as tanky as possible and having an extra 10% damage every so often is great. Especially when you stack it with Shadow Protection and Battle Readiness. Do note the added slow effects to Spinning Kick only applies if you take the Motion Control utility. With it, Spinning Kick stuns the target for 3 seconds and slows them by 90% for 4 seconds. This set is excellent for a Full Tank setup.|
|Death Knell Set|
|2 Piece Bonus: +2% Mastery
4 Piece Bonus: The Cooldown of Force Potency is reduced by 15 seconds. Whenever you activate Force Potency you gain Potent Critical, making your next Spinning Strike, Serenity Strike, or Shadow Strike critically hit.
6 Piece Bonus: Whenever you consume a charge of Force Potency, you gain a stack of Audacious Potency, increasing melee damage done by 10% for 30 seconds. Stacks up to 3 times.
|Death Knell is a good set as it provides an auto-crit when using Force Potency for your Spinning Strike and Shadow Strike. But in order to make full use of this gear set, you’ll need the Force Harmonics utility which grants you a third stack of Force Potency allowing you to get the extra +30% melee damage. This is the recommended set if you wish to join Ranked PvP and is commonly used with a Skank Tank setup.|
|2 Piece Bonus: +2% Mastery
4 Piece Bonus: Force Slow now has 2 charges. Using Force Slow on an enemy already under the effect of Force Slow slows them by an additional 20% and extends the duration.
|If you really love slowing people and want to use a Slow-based build, then you can use this set and use another set for +2% in some stat of your choice followed by an Amplified Champion Piece. It’s a very niche build and won’t be useful in every circumstance.|
|The Final Breath Set|
|2 Piece Bonus: Reduces damage taken by 2% while health is below 50%
4 Piece Bonus: Reduces damage taken by 3% while health is below 50%
6 Piece Bonus: Reduces defense rating by 10% while health is below 50%
|This set helps keep you alive ever so slightly when you’re low on health, but it’s really only good with the 6 piece set and even then, good against weapon damage only as you have a chance to dodge that. This wouldn’t do much to protect you from Force and Tech attacks. If you were to use this set, I’d recommend a full tank setup so you get a 48% Defense Chance when below 50% HP which can be made 98% with Deflection active.|
|Saber Master Set|
|2 Piece Bonus: +2% Mastery
4 Piece Bonus: Reduces the cooldown of Battle Readiness by 20 seconds.
6 Piece Bonus: Killing an enemy during Battle Readiness refreshes the duration of Battle Readiness. Can occur up to 5 times during one Battle Readiness.
|You might be tempted to get this set as this will allow you to get the +25% Damage Reduction more often and potentially increase its overall duration to up to 1 minute and 20 seconds. But this is really better in PvE scenarios where you’re killing weak adds and PvP opponents will often be much more difficult to kill efficiently and may not allow you to fully utilize this set bonus.|
|Shadow Purger’s Set|
|2 Piece Bonus: +2% Endurance
4 Piece Bonus: Cleaving Cut immobilizes the target for 2 seconds.
6 Piece Bonus: Using Cleaving Cut while under Resilience lowers the target’s accuracy and extends the duration of Resilience by 2 seconds
|This gear set actually makes Cleaving Cut useful for a Kinetic Combat Shadow, but it’s still a very niche set. Having a root applied to targets hit by Cleaving Cut is nice as this won’t fill the white bar as well as lowering their accuracy. WIth the 6 piece bonus, you can gain a total of 7 seconds of Resilience when you add on the extra 2 seconds from the Mind Over Matter utility. Add the Shroud of a Shadow, you can get 10.75 seconds of Resilience. If you count Force Cloak with the Cloak of Resilience utility, this can bring you up to a grand total of 14.75 seconds of Resilience.
This would be the anti-caster gear for dealing with those who would want to run away such as Sages/Sorcerers and Commandos/Mercenaries.
|2 Piece Bonus: +2% Mastery
4 Piece Bonus: Force Stun’s stun lasts for an additional 2 seconds.
|This is only good if you can capitalize on the Nerve Wracking utility as this makes your Force Stun stun a target for 6 seconds rather than 4. But there are better sets out there.|
|Trishin’s Retort Set|
|2 Piece Bonus: +2% Endurance
4 Piece Bonus: Shielding an attack causes your shield to overload, dealing 846-1268 weapon damage to up to 8 enemies within 5 meters. Your shield can only overload in this manner once every 3 seconds.
|This might seem like a fun one to use in PvP but this comes off as something designed to damage adds in PvE. Don’t bother with this in PvP.|
6.0 introduced a new gear type, the Tactical. At level 75, you gain access to these tacticals and they can provide passive and active effects with varying degrees of usefulness. I’ll be covering the Tacticals that a Kinetic Combat Shadow can benefit from.
|Force Cloak has 2 charges.|
|This is the most popular Tactical for Shadows as a whole due to the fact that you can gain a 3rd cleanse if you have the Shroud of Resilience Utility, and it can also greatly increase your self-healing with the Restorative Shade Utility. Using both Force Cloaks to gain all the healing from Restorative Shade will allow you to restore 80% of your HP. Granted this much healing requires you to stay cloaked and out of combat for 10 seconds each time you cloak but it’s still nice to have.|
|Ancient Tome of Wrath|
|Slow Time generates Redirected Retribution stacks for every enemy it hits, increases your shield absorption by 2% for 5 seconds.|
|This is a great Tactical to use if you’re fighting groups in PvE or PvP scenarios, especially with a Full Tank build. With 70% Shield Chance and 46% Shield Absorption, hitting 8 enemies with Slow Time gives you a total of 62% Shield Absorption, up to 72% with Kinetic Bulwark Stacks, then 100+% with Force Potency. Use this if you prefer getting into the mosh pits in Unranked PvP warzones.|
|Shroud of a Shadow|
|Using Resilience while Kinetic Ward is active consumes it, but extends the duration of Resilience by a quarter of a second for each Kinetic Ward stack consumed.|
|This is a niche Tactical used for fighting against Caster classes such as Sages/Sorcerers and Commandos/Mercenaries. While you sacrifice your stacks of Kinetic Bulwark, you can instead add an additional 3.75 seconds to your active Resilience. By the time Resilience is over, you should be able to reactivate Kinetic Ward and have your defenses up again (assuming you’re also using the Mind Over Matter utility). Not useful in every scenario but it can be good if the current queue is filled with casters.|
|Friend of the Force|
|Resilience also applies to any ally you are guarding.|
|This is the best Tactical for defending allies who may not have any way to defend themselves from Force or Tech-based attacks. This is especially true in Ranked PvP and this is what you should run in Ranked. With this, you give an ally you’re guarding a cleanse and protect them from large bursts of Force and Tech damage.
Though they will only benefit from this Tactical if the guarded ally is within 15 meters of you. Unfortunately, they do not benefit from extended durations of Resilience granted from utilities or gear.
|Ward of the Continuum|
|Kinetic Ward gains 5 additional charges, and parrying, deflecting, or resisting an attack while it is active increases defense chance by 1%. This effect stacks up to 3 times and lasts for 20 seconds or until Kinetic Ward is activated.|
|This is only useful if you’re against a lot of enemies in a PvE or PvP scenario while using a Full Tank stat setup. This makes it so you can shield more attacks that rapidly come your way while getting that 40% defense chance to dodge attacks. But in most instances, Ancient Tome of Wrath will be far more useful for dealing with multiple enemies. It’s not really worth getting.|
|Successfully parrying, deflecting, or dodging an attack while under 80% health increases your damage reduction by 1% for 5 seconds. Stacks up to 3 times.|
|Don’t bother, the damage reduction gained from this is negligible and you can get better mitigation from other tacticals.|
|The Life Warden|
|aking damage below 20% health will rapidly heal you for a large amount. 10 Minute Cooldown.|
|This is mostly good vs certain PvE bosses. The long cooldown makes this an unpopular choice for PvP for prolonged use but it has its uses in Arena warzones. Oftentimes, Vanguard/Powertech Tanks and Shadow/Assassin tanks are what’s called, “Tank Tunneled”. This is when the entire enemy group focuses on killing the tank to take away their team’s defense. This is done against these two tanks because they lack the powerful self heals that Guardians/Juggernauts get through Focused/Enraged Defense.
This tactical is good for dealing with being “Tank Tunneled” as it will give you a massive self heal when you are low on Hit Points. Your own self heals are rather poor or can cost too much time, so having this in the right situation can decide the outcome of the battle in your favor.
The addition of amplifiers made gearing somewhat more complex, but it can be a good boost to your offensive or defensive potential. There are Primary Amplifiers and Secondary Amplifiers. Primary Amplifiers are gained from Armorings, Hilts, and Barrels and this is what we’ll be focusing on in this section. Secondary Amplifiers give you Quality of Life bonuses such as crafting and gathering bonuses, increase mount speed, reduced repair cost, etc.
Every time you recalibrate the amplifier in a gear slot, the price increases slightly. The only way this price can be reset is if you slap in a new piece to replace the old one. I generally stop recalibrating once the price hits 50,000 credits and put in a replacement piece if I didn’t get my desired amplifier. You want to aim for the Gold Colored Amplifiers on armorings and hilts while you aim for the Blue Amplifier on the Amplified Champion piece you have. You can always click “Potential Amplifiers” to see the various tiers of amplifiers available for the piece you are recalibrating.
As a Kinetic Combat Shadow, you’ll want to focus on one of four Amplifiers: Aural Resistance, Reinforced Armor, Periodic Resilience, or Force Sensitivity.
Aural Resistance reduces the damage taken from Area of Effect attacks. This makes it one of the most versatile amplifiers for defensive purposes as there are many abilities that count as an AoE, so reducing that damage is great in many scenarios. You can get a total of 9.4% Aural Resistance, which is a flat 9.4% damage reduction from Area of Effect abilities. Keep in mind this only reduces damage from Area of Effect attacks, Single Target and DoT attacks will still deal full damage.
Reinforced Armor reduces damage taken from weapon attacks. This is good vs Guardians/Juggernauts, Sentinels/Marauders, Gunslingers/Snipers, and burst Shadows/Assassins. This is my personal amplifier of choice for my Full Tank set as it helps increase my damage reduction against physical attacks. You can benefit for a total of +11.28% Weapon Damage reduction with full Reinforced Armor amplifiers.
So my base Damage Reduction is 37.5%, this makes my damage reduction against weapon attacks 41.73%. With Shadow Protection Active, my base Damage Reduction is 41.5%, so my damage reduction against weapon attacks becomes 46.18%. This right here allows me to essentially have damage reduction equal to Heavy Armor so long as I maintain Shadow Protection, at least when defending against weapon attacks.
With Shadow Protection and Battle Readiness, my base Damage Reduction becomes 66.5%, so then my damage reduction against weapon attacks becomes 74%. If I’m benefitting from Shadow Protection, Battle Readiness, and the Damage Reduction granted from the Efficient Termination set, my Damage reduction becomes 76.5% with overall weapon damage reduction becoming 85%. This is great for dueling and if you like to Roleplay, you can pass this off as quality Armorweave. But if you’re finding yourself in group fights often, I would recommend Aural Resistance for group fights or Periodic Resistance to deal with DoTs.
Periodic Resilience is another good choice for a defensive amplifier. Many Damage Over Time abilities deal Internal or Elemental damage, meaning your armor won’t decrease the damage they do. Some may be kinetic or energy based but the Internal/Elemental damage DoTs are the ones you should be concerned about, especially if you’re getting stacks of these DoTs from multiple opponents.
You can always cleanse them with Resilience to remove the DoTs, but you’ll be vulnerable to further DoTs until it’s back up. With max Periodic Resilience Amplifiers, you can reduce the damage done by DoTs by 20.68%. Considering these damage you in small increments, the amount of damage reduced really adds up and can end up saving your life. While you can shield Kinetic or Energy based DoTs, you can’t shield Internal or Elemental DoTs which is where this amplifier becomes useful.
Force Sensitivity increases the damage done by your Force Attacks. As a Kinetic Combat Shadow, your strongest combo of Force Potency + Empowered Project + Empowered Cascading Debris is Force-based, so this would be a good way to increase its offensive potential. This will also increase the damage done by Force Slow, Slow Time, Force Breach, Force Wave, and Spinning Kick. Yes, Spinning Kick counts as a Force ability. This is good to pair with a Skank Tank/Death Knell setup to increase your overall damage potential to take out a priority target. You can gain a total of +9.4% extra Force Damage through maxed Force Sensitivity Amplifiers.
Kinetic Shadow PvP Builds
The following builds will have recommended Gear Sets, Utility setups, and complimentary Tacticals. I would recommend General PvP, Jedi Temple Guard, and Jedi Brute the most but I’m including two additional experimental niche builds. When it comes to Unranked Warzones, don’t be afraid to break the meta to experiment and have fun!
- Suggested Gear Set: Death Knell/Efficient Termination with either Full Tank or Skank Tank setup.
- Suggested Tactical: Two Cloaks
This is for General PvP whether you’re in a PvP zone on a planet or doing Unranked Warzones. This will allow you to remain mobile, healthy, and self-sufficient as you take Two Cloaks with the Restorative Shade utility. If you’re looking to be an objective guard who protects a turret or pylon, I recommend the Utility setup on the left. If you prefer taking objectives, I would recommend the one on the right.
With Force Wake, you can mitigate the movement of enemies which is good for either a 1v1 or group scenario. If you wish, you can replace Fade with Force Harmonics if you have the Death Knell Set and replace Mind Over Matter for One with the Shadows. Personally, I find longer durations of Resilience more useful but it’s all up to you.
The Jedi Temple Guard
- Suggested Gear Set: Efficient Termination with Full Tank setup.
- Suggested Tactical: Two Cloaks, Ancient Tome of Wrath, or Friend of the Force.
This build is focused on two things, self defense and mitigating the movement of your opponents. You aim to be an unbreakable wall utilizing the Full Tank setup which can give you greater dodge chance, better shields, and a better opportunity to lower the cooldown on Resilience.
Motion Control will help you unlock the full potential of the Efficient Termination Set and Snaring Strikes will make a target incredibly slow when stacked with Force Slow, Slow Time, and Cascading Debris. You’ll want to kite melee opponents by staying out of 4 meters but below 10 meters so they can’t charge or pull you. These slows also make it helpful to catch up to kiters like Sages/Sorcerers and Commandos/Mercenaries. By actively kiting a melee opponent, you actively reduce the damage they can do on you by staying out of range of their attacks.
This build is great for guarding objectives for extended periods of time.
The Jedi Brute
- Suggested Gear Set: Death Knell with Skank Tank Setup.
- Suggested Tactical: Two Cloaks, Friend of the Force, or Overwhelming Offense
This is the build you’ll want to rely on if you’re doing Ranked PvP where you should be using Friend of the Force to protect your allies or The Life Warden to deal with being Tank Tunneled. If you’re doing Unranked, then Two Cloaks is also always useful or if you want even more power go with Overwhelming Offense. This wasn’t listed in the Tactical list but what it does is that for every stack of Greased Lightning you gain with it, you deal 1% more damage (5 stacks total). It’s not much but if you like those damage numbers either go for it or play a DPS spec.
Due to your focus on high endurance, you’re well suited to guarding other players and living longer to protect them even further. You’ll pummel your opponents into submission with numerous boulders to the face and it’ll make them think twice before they try to pick a fight with you and your allies.
If you want to kick names and take butt, this is the build for you!
The Shadow Purger
- Suggested Gear Set: Shadow Purger’s Set with either Full Tank or Skank Tank setup.
- Suggested Tactical: Shroud of a Shadow, Two Cloaks, or Jerra’s Persistence.
This is one of two theoretical builds, this one being built around chasing kiters and making their life a nightmare. By using Shroud of a Shadow with Cleaving Cut while Resilience is active, you get 11.75 seconds of pure Force and Tech Immunity meaning all slows, stuns, and crowd control won’t work on you unless they’re physically based. If you want to be more sneaky, you can use Two Cloaks or if you want to constantly get all up in their face, use Jerra’s Persistence which grants 2 stacks of Shadow Stride.
Having Force Wake with the 4 Piece bonus of the Shadow Purger’s set can help you immobilize the target without filling their white bar and making them immune to Crowd Control. If you want, you could replace One with the Shadows with Martial Prowess to get another root with Force Pull. This build is heavily catered to fighting caster classes and won’t perform as well vs physical based classes such as Guardians/Juggernauts, Sentinels/Marauders, and Gunslingers/Snipers.
The Support Tank
- Suggested Gear Set: Decelerator/Soulbender’s Set (4 Piece) with Berserker/Preserver’s Set (2 Piece) with either Full Tank or Skank Tank Setup.
- Suggested Tactical: Shroud of a Shadow, Two Cloaks, Jerra’s Persistence, or Friend of the Force.
If you’re bored, have more tech fragments than you need, and just like to mess with people, there’s this silly build I put together. You sacrifice your personal defenses to maximize Crowd Control and aiding teammates through increased damage on stunned targets, damage resistance for allies within your Mass Mind Control, and just being annoying for your enemies in general.
This would be better suited for group fights where you can fully release the CC chaos. If you want to focus on slowing people, use 4 pieces of the Decelerator’s Set. If you want to capitalize on the extra damage on stunned targets go with the Soulbender’s Set. If you go with a Full Tank setup, get 2 pieces of the Preserver’s set for the +2% Shield Chance. For Skank Tank, go for 2 pieces of the Berserker Set for the +2 Critical chance which can bring you up to a 49% Critical Chance with a full critical set.
This build is for shiggles and not to be taken too seriously.
So there are two crucial rotations you really need to know, which I will dub the Defensive Rotation and the Offensive Rotation. The thing about the Kinetic Combat Shadow is that they’re very versatile in how they can fight their opponents. Need to fight a melee enemy? Kite them between 5-9 meters to prevent them charging or pulling you while preventing melee strives. Dealing with a kiter? Force Pull them or chase them with Force Speed and Shadow Stride. Enemy immune to Force and Tech for a bit? You have plenty of melee weapon options. Commando/Mercenary using their Single Target Reflect Shield? You have 5 AoEs that can bypass the shield. You get the idea.
What’s more important is how you use Force Potency and your other DCDs. It’s a common newbie mistake to pop all of your DCDs at once, but then you’re weak afterwards as you have no way to defend yourself outside of shielding attacks. If you’re dealing with Force/Tech attacks, pop Resilience. Getting hit by weapon attacks? Use Deflection or Force Potency if Deflection is Down. Expecting large bursts of damage? Use Battle Readiness. A lot of it is improvisation and adaptation to the current situation you are in.
- Kinetic Ward (while Stealthed, keep it up in case an enemy shows up)
- Slow Time
- Force Breach
- Double Strike
- Project (if procced) / Shadow Strike (if Project isn’t procced)
If Project wasn’t procced, you use Shadow Strike as that has been procced followed by Double Strikes in an attempt to proc Project. You should have 3 stacks of Harnessed Shadows through your next Project or Slow Time. It’s at this point you should use your now empowered
Cascading Debris to refresh your Shadow Protection to keep up your damage reduction.
This is your core basic rotation for maintaining slows, debuffs, dealing damage, and maintaining Shadow Protection. There are several abilities you could work into this. Perhaps you use your
Spinning Kick to stun a target from stealth. That might be a habit from Infiltration if you played that discipline before this one, but it’s better to keep Spinning Kick as an Interrupt or a Stun to kill someone’s flow and movement. If you have the Efficient Termination Set, you’ll want to work in Spinning Kick whenever you expect to get large bursts of damage. If you’re in a group fight, Double Strike can be replaced with Whirling Blow.
Once your target reaches 30% HP or lower, use
Spinning Strike whenever you can as this is your hardest hitting melee ability and will often end up being the finishing blow against a target.
This rotation is primarily used when Force Potency is available and is the Skank Tank’s favorite combo. It’s pretty much the same as the Defensive Rotation though once you proc the empowered Project, you want to use Force Potency, Empowered Project, then Empowered Cascading Debris. All of these rocks will critically hit, from there I suggest Double Strike or Whirling Blow depending on the amount of enemies in an attempt to proc Project again to use it with the 3rd Stack of Force Potency granted by the Force Harmonics Utility.
- Slow Time
- Force Breach
- Double Strike / Whirling Blow (Proc empowered Project)
- Force Potency
- Empowered Cascading Debris
- Double Strike / Whirling Blow (Proc empowered Project)
If you’re a Skank Tank, your Empowered Project with Force Potency will deal an average of 33,500 damage against a training dummy. Each tick of Cascading Debris when fully empowered and critically hitting with Force Potency will deal about 15,800 damage per tick. You then try to follow this up with the third and final empowered Project with a 3rd Force Potency Stack if you have it. Against a training dummy, you’ll deal 130,200 kinetic damage. Keep in mind this number will vary on actual targets with varying amounts of armor.
Another thing you can do is to apply
Force Slow after you use Force Breach to slow down a single target even further. Don’t underestimate the potential of Force Slow as it helps reduce the effectiveness of classes that rely on mobility. There’s a lot of room for improvisation with Kinetic Combat, use what you need to adapt to the situation.
It is imperative to know how to swap Guard when fighting alongside two or more allies. To do this, you’ll need the Guard Ability set to something quick to access (I use the F key). Next you’ll need to open your Interface Editor to make sure the “Target of Target” window is enabled. This should allow you to see something like this…
Nadia is looking at me and her target (me) is on the far right. This is what the “Target of Target” window enables. So if you’re in a battlefield, you can press Tab to swap enemy targets in front of you to see who they’re targeting. If the enemy is someone like a Sentinel/Marauder, Shadow/Assassin, or other enemies that can deal high damage to your ally you need to guard the ally they are targeting.
The fastest way to do this is to set a hotkey to acquire the target of your target. To set this hotkey, go to Preferences > Key Bindings > Targeting and scroll down until you find “Acquire Target’s Target”. Set the key to something you can quickly and easily access (I use the `~ key, the one right next to the 1 key). Now you have no excuse to NOT protect your allies in an efficient manner!
Stay within 15 meters of your guarded ally so their damage is reduced by 50%. The other 50% of that damage will be transferred to you and there’s no way to mitigate this damage as you cannot shield it or reduce it. Instead you must rely on your health pool and refresh it with self heals, medpacs, or have a healer patch you up. Guard Damage will break Stealth.
In an arena warzone like that found in Ranked Warzones, the enemy group will likely begin to focus on another target that you aren’t guarding. It is then your responsibility to find out who they’re focusing next, target their target, and guard that ally and repeat this process as necessary.
You might have noticed throughout the guide I have been referring to something called “The White Bar”. The proper term is “Resolve Bar”, I just like to call it the White Bar as it’s easier for most people to understand quickly.
Now, what is the Resolve Bar? The Resolve Bar is a PvP specific bar used for measuring how many more hard Crowd Control effects a unit can take. Hard Crowd Control includes Stuns, Incapacitates, Sleeps, and Physics such as Pushes and Pulls. If the white bar becomes full, the unit will gain several seconds of Crowd Control Immunity after they have recovered from their previous effect.
Resolve is measured in units of 0-1,000. When the Resolve Bar hits 1,000, the unit gains Crowd Control Immunity after the latest effect ends. The amount of Resolve you fill depends on the duration of the stun you use. Generally, 1 second of Stun = 200 Resolve filled.
Spinning Kick (2 seconds) = Fills 400 Resolve
Efficient Termination Empowered Spinning Kick (3 seconds) = Fills 600 Resolve
Force Stun (4 Second Stun) = Fills 800 Resolve
Mind Maze/Force Lift (8 Second Incapacitate) = Fills 800 Resolve
Force Pull = Fills 200 Resolve
Force Wave = Fills 200 Resolve per target hit
Your own personal Resolve Bar will appear as follows…
When it’s gray, you’re still vulnerable to Crowd Control effects. When the bar is white, you’ll be free from Stuns and Physics for the time being until it drains. It’s always good to keep your eye on this bar as if you’re hit by a particularly long stun such as a Flash Bomb, Force Lift, or a Fear, which lasts for 8 seconds unless damage is taken, it might be a good time to use your Force of Will to break the effects early and gain some time free from Crowd Control
On your opponent it will appear as follows…
It is also very important to keep an eye on your opponent’s Resolve Bar as well as this can mean the difference between Victory and Defeat. Your task is to not fill the bar on an opponent for as long as possible so they can be susceptible to more powerful Stuns or Stun Chain targets. It only takes about 2 good stuns to fully fill the Resolve Bar of a target, as a Kinetic Combat Shadow this means using Spinning Kick and Force Stun its succession will fill your target’s Resolve Bar.
Now there are some times where you’ll have to fill an opponent’s Resolve Bar. Say you’re on Voidstar trying to lay a bomb on a door, you find one opponent guarding it. You use Mind Maze on them filling 800 Resolve. You decloak to then plant the bomb, this forces them to pop their CC Break where you then Force Lift them, filling their white bar, leaving them to float for 8 seconds as you plant the bomb.
Now if you were to be working with a Guardian Tank, you can apply two small stuns and not fill their Resolve Bar. Your Spinning Kick and their Hilt Bash will fill a total of 800 Resolve, leaving them open to another 4-8 seconds of being stunned by a Force Stun, Force Stasis, or incapacitating effect. You’ve then negated 8+ seconds of their ability to act. Keep in mind of timing your Stuns and Incapacitates so you don’t give your opponent an opportunity to retaliate.
It’s because of the Resolve Bar I’ve come to favor the use of various Slows in my personal utility setup (The Jedi Temple Guard Build). Slows are what’s considered Soft Crowd Control, this only hinders their movements and doesn’t outright prevent them from acting. They may not be stunned but being slowed to a crawl is by far the next best thing.
Roots applied by either offensive abilities (like the Consular’s Sever Force Ability) or those applied by other Crowd Control (Force Wave with Force Wake) will not fill the opponent’s Resolve Bar additionally, so roots are a great way to circumvent the Resolve Bar. Just note that roots won’t apply if the target’s Resolve Bar is full.
To aid you in warzones, you’ll need some handy-dandy tools to both supplement your tankiness and make up for some weaknesses you possess.
Advanced Kyrprax Fortitude Stim
- Description:Increases Endurance by 264 and Defense by 109 for 480 minutes. Only one stimpackl can be active at a time. This effect persists through defeat.
- Note: Everyone in PvP will be running some form of Stim, as a tank whether Full Tank or Skank Tank you’ll want the extra endurance provided by the Kyrprax Fortitude Stim. That little bit of extra HP means you’re able to guard an ally for that much longer. Every second counts.
Advanced V-9 Pyro Grenade
- Description:Sets up to 5 enemy targets in a 6 meter area ablaze, dealing 8397 elemental damage over 12 seconds.
- Note: This grenade is good supplemental damage if your group is using a lot of AoEs or for burning through heavily armored enemies such as Tank Vanguard/Powertechs. Though the Seismic Grenade will be more useful in most situations than the Pyro Grenade. Note that both the Pyro Grenade and Seismic Grenade share the same cooldown, so if you use one you can’t use the other until the cooldown finishes.
Advanced V-9 Seismic Grenade
- Description: Disrupts the earth beneath all targets within 6 meters of the selected area, dealing 2112-2403 kinetic damage and knocking them unconscious for 5 seconds. Damage causes the effect to end prematurely.
Guardians/Juggernauts have an AoE Fear, Vanguards/Powertechs have an AoE Stun. You on the other hand… have an AoE push that can sometimes root assuming you have the utility. Not that impressive BUT this grenade makes up for this weakness by knocking those affected unconscious similar to how your Mind Maze stops a target. Just hope your allies recognize the animation of the grenade and don’t break the stun prematurely.
This is best used in group scenarios where someone is getting ganged up on (like a DPS or a Healer). Using this should give them time to run away and patch themselves up if they can. These are a requirement for ranked arenas to help peel your group when it’s necessary.
- Description:Increases damage reduction by 15% for 15 seconds while fighting other players. Only usable in Player versus Player environments.
- Note: This is a good damage reduction tool to pop if you’re getting surrounded or as a back-up DCD if your other DCDs are currently on cooldown. These cost 1,000 credits a piece but you can easily farm them just by playing Unranked Warzones.
- Description: IImmediately restores 35% of maximum health. Only usable in Player versus Player environments. Only usable once per fight.
- Note: This is your go-to medpac for on-the-go healing. Since you’re going to have between 300,000-330,000 hit points, this will restore 105,000-115,500 HP immediately. Once it’s off its cooldown, you won’t be able to use it again until combat ends. You can always use Force Cloak to cloak out and end combat, thus allowing you to use this Adrenal again. Though if you’re in a 1v1 your opponent will be able to use theirs again as well. In a group scenario where everyone is fighting each other, you’ll have the luxury of being the only one to exit combat and reset the Medpac.
Some classes you pair with better than others, I’ll be naming a few examples of such pairings and why you work well together!
Kinetic Combat Shadow + Healer Commando/Mercenary
Some tanks work better with certain healers, for example… Guardian/Juggernaut tanks work really well with Sage/Sorcerer healers since they can actively reduce each other’s incoming damage, if the healer needs to cast their Bubble to protect them for a bit the Guardian/Juggernaut can rely on their Focused/Enraged Defense to heal them for the time being.
Vanguard/Powertech tanks have the best passive mitigation and work well with Scoundrel/Operative Healers as their Heal Over Time abilities pair well with the tank’s high passive mitigation while allowing both to remain mobile.
Shadow Tanks work best with Commando/Mercenary healers because these healers are specialized in dealing large bursts of healing to a single target. Shadow Tanks just so happen to be weak to burst damage so having burst healing is great to make up for this weakness.
A neat ability these healers get is Trauma Probe/Kolto Shell which creates 6 stacks on their target (you) and every time you take damage, one stack will be consumed and heal you. This pairs very well with your high shield chance since as you shield an attack, this stack will reduce the damage you take even further. Even if your shield doesn’t go off, you’ll still get healed and it acts as a sort of pseudo-shield.
Kinetic Combat Shadows are excellent at defending themselves but not that great when protecting their allies when compared to other tanks. Commando/Mercenary healers are relatively low maintenance for you as they have heavy armor and will take less damage, have numerous back-up shields, powerful self heals, and generally less stress to worry about than say a squishy Sage/Sorcerer healer.
Kinetic Combat Shadow + DoT Sentinel/Marauder
This pairing works well due to the numerous debuffs you two can apply to your targets. The Sentinel/Marauder can lower a target’s accuracy by 90% for 6 seconds with their Pacify/Obfuscate. Sentinels/Marauders have numerous self defensive measures such as Rebuke/Cloak of Pain and Guarded by the Force/Undying Rage which can help reduce the amount of damage they take. Pair this with you guarding them, and they can survive even more punishment allowing them to apply more DoTs to their targets and burst down opponents with Merciless Slash/Annihilate.
The great thing about DoT Sentinels/Marauders is that they gain a Heals over Time when their DoTs damage a target, and they can temporarily extend these heals to you as well through an ability that shares the heals to all party members in range. This will help you get patched up a tad while you two wreak havoc on your targets.
Kinetic Combat Shadow + Burst Vanguard/Powertech
At the moment of this entry, Burst DPS Vanguard/Powertechs are currently the meta choice, meaning they have the highest burst potential out of all the classes until the Devs decide to rebalance classes at a later date. This means that in Ranked Arena scenarios, they’re going to be focused down first to negate their threat. It is up to you to protect them and you are one of the best qualified classes for the job.
If you have the Friend of the Force tactical, you can extend the effects of Resilience to the Vanguard/Powertech you’re guarding allowing them to ignore waves of Force/Tech damage that would heavily damage them, stun them, or eat away at them through DoTs. You become their cleansing tool to keep them alive longer and burst away at targets.
Kinetic Combat Shadow + Any DPS Stealth Unit
If you’re looking to cause trouble and gain an objective, it never hurts to bring another fellow stealther with you. It would be best to bring along a DPS Stealth unit (which most are) to make up for your lack of offensive potential. Either you or they can harass an objective guard while the other discreetly captures the objective while the other guard is distracted. If backup arrives, the DPS Stealther can aid your allies combatting the enemies who now have less manpower due to some of them leaving to aid the guard. From here, you distract the guard and his reinforcements for as long as you can so the reinforcements don’t leave, allowing your allies to outnumber and overpower their opponents and capture another point.
Combatting other Classes
And now here is where we learn the various buffs and animations you should look out for to ensure you don’t end up assisting your enemy instead of harming them.
Guardians and Juggernauts
These opponents fight you by flinging you around like a ragdoll to have you fight on their terms. You on the other hand can kite them rather easily by applying Force Slow, Slow Time, Snaring Strikes (if you have it), and Cascading Debris. While tricky, it’s worth practicing kiting melee opponents by staying between 5-9 meters away from them. Their melee attacks only extend to 4 meters so you’re out of range for them to hit. Meanwhile, their charge has a minimum length of 10 meters which means you’ll have to not go beyond that range so they can’t catch up to you.
There’s one key buff you REALLY want to look out for, and that’s the Focused/Enraged Defense Buff like the ones seen above. There’s no obvious animation for it so you need to keep an eye on their buff bar. They’ll gain 12 stacks of Focused/Enraged Defense which will heal them every time they receive damage. When fully consumed, this can easily bring them back to full health. When you see these buffs, do not attack them, wait it out until it’s gone.
Guardians and Juggernauts have a utility that decreases the Cooldown of these abilities by 30 seconds and in PvP, they’ll often take the Grit Teeth tactical that reduces the cooldown of Focused/Enraged defense by 1 second every time they are hit (activates once per second). You want to avoid prolonged battles with Guardians and Juggernauts and their self healing capabilities are MUCH better than yours. You must learn to be patient and wait it out so you don’t heal them.
Vigilance Guardians and Vengeance Juggernauts (DoT DPS)
If you’re against a Guardian/Juggernaut using the DoT Spec, look for the buffs seen above. These are the Robust and Brawn buffs. After using Force Leap, they gain immunity to CC and take 20% less damage for 4 seconds. While this buff is active, do not use any CC abilities or it will be wasted.
Focus Guardians and Rage Juggernauts (Burst DPS)
Burst DPS Guardians and Juggernauts will be much harder to effectively kite as they gain a short-range leap attack to deal with kiters like you. Burst DPS is also your greatest weakness so these foes are not to be taken lightly. After they use a leap at you, look for these buffs. This will make their next Focused Burst/Raging Burst critically hit against you. These are Force-based attacks so you can negate it with Resilience. If Resilience is on cooldown, I suggest Battle Readiness to increase your Damage Reduction since these attacks deal Kinetic Damage.
Sentinels and Marauders
These units focus on negating your ability to attack and damage them temporarily while they unleash a flurry of blows on you. There are numerous buffs and debuffs to watch out for.
Above are the Pacify (Sentinel) and Obfuscate (Marauder) debuffs. These take away 90% of the target’s accuracy for 6 seconds. If you are under the effects of one of these, use Force based attacks as you’ll still be able to damage them with those where melee attacks will miss.
Above are the Guarded by the Force (Sentinel) and Undying Rage (Marauder) buffs. This reduces all incoming damage on the Sentinel/Marauder by 99% for 4 seconds (6 seconds if they have the utility). Don’t waste your Force Potency, Project, and Cascading Debris combo while this buff is active.
Above are the Rebuke (Sentinel) and Cloak of Pain (Marauder) buffs. These act as a personal shield to the Sentinel/Marauder that reduces all damage taken by 20% for 6 seconds. Every time they are attacked, the duration refreshes and they reflect energy damage back to the attacker. If you see them use this buff, stop attacking for 6 seconds so it wears off. This ability can be refreshed to last a total of 30 seconds and you don’t want to give them 20% damage reduction for 30 seconds.
Watchman Sentinels and Annihilation Marauders (DoT DPS)
A key thing to look out for is the amount of stacks they have in Merciless Slash (Sentinel)/Annihilate (Marauder). This buff can stack up to 4 times and at max stats, they can more often use the Merciless Slash/Annihilate ability which is the strongest burst melee attack available for the class. These are weapon attacks so you can dodge or shield them but do be careful that the longer you are in a battle with a DoT Sentinel/Marauder, the more damage they’ll do thanks to their Juyo Form buff which increases damage the longer they are in combat.
Combat Sentinels and Carnage Marauders (Sustained DPS)
These Sentinels/Marauders don’t quite focus on Burst or DoTs, rather, they focus on maintaining a high rate of attacks to keep up a sustained damage output. These units favor weapon attacks and will occasionally unleash a burst of Force energy damage to up to 10 meters. Deflection is especially useful against these units though there are some things you need to be aware of…
Above are the Precision (Sentinel) and Ferocity (Marauder) buffs that are one of two giveaways that you’re fighting a Combat Sentinel/Carnage Marauder. This buff grants either 2 or 3 stacks of Precision/Ferocity, allowing their next melee attack of Clashing/Devastating Blast to ignore 100% of the target’s armor. They will hurt when this is active, but these attacks can be ignored entirely by having a good Defense Chance or using Resilience to negate their blast ability.
There’s a tactical that Sentinels/Marauders have access to known as Andeddu’s Malevolence. This allows Precision/Ferocity to remain active at all times but grants 50% armor penetration instead of 100%. This is still very deadly to anyone and the only good defense against this is distance through kiting, having a good Defense Chance, or beating them before they can beat you.
Above are the Lance (Sentinel) and Gore (Marauder) icons, you’ll find these against yourself as a debuff so remember these icons. You’ll know when they perform this attack when the unit stabs you with both lightsabers. For the next 1.5 seconds, you’ll be unable to use Force Speed, Shadow Stride, or Force Cloak while under the effects of Lance/Gore. This ability has a 15 second cooldown (likely even more since these units love to build Alacrity which lowers cooldowns ever so slightly) so they’ll use this to kill your flow.
This is a good example on why you should kite your melee opponents. This ability is melee and has a 4 meter range, so staying between 5-9 meters while kiting will prevent them from using Lance/Gore on you.
Concentration Sentinels and Fury Marauders (Burst DPS)
Burst Sentinels/Marauders receive the same buff, Gravity Vortex, after using their Force Exhaustion/Force Crush ability. Force Exhaustion/Force Crush is noticeable when you progressively get slower and receive a burst damage when the slow expires. Once they use them, they receive the Gravity Vortex Buff which makes them immune to CC and Interrupts for 6 seconds. Fortunately this effect can only occur once every 30 seconds but it’s important to keep an eye out for so you don’t waste any stuns.
Shadows and Assassins
As a Shadow yourself, you should be well aware of your own strengths and weaknesses. This applies to the same as Assassins as they are your mirror class. In PvP you’ll mainly see Burst Shadows and Assassins with tanks often guarding objectives. DoT Shadows/Assassins are more common in Ranked Arenas due to their good mixture of DoTs, Burst, and being able to stay on top of a target.
Above are the Resilience (Shadow) and Force Shroud (Assassin) buffs. As you should already know, this makes them immune to Force and Tech abilities for 3+ seconds. Don’t waste CC while these are active nor waste your powerful combos. Instead use your lightsaber melee attacks to continue doing damage to them.
Above are the Deflection buffs for the Shadow and Assassin respectively. When this is activated, you’ll want to use more Force based attacks as melee attacks will miss more often during the 12 second duration. Do note that if they’re a tank, they’ll create an aura around them that will lower the power of your Force attacks so stay between 9-10 meters so you can apply Force Attacks at full power.
Infiltration Shadows and Deception Assassins (Burst DPS)
Burst Shadows and Assassins are the best class for quickly killing a single target, allowing them to dispatch a guard with ease and take the objective. You’re one of the best tanks suited for combatting burst Shadows/Assassins due to your use of Resilience. You can easily discern a burst Shadow/Assassin if they use the floating, spinning saber attack against you.
The key thing here is to recognize the Force Potency (Shadow) and Recklessness (Assassin) buffs. This is made obvious when a Shadow’s hands glow with blue orb energy while the Assassin’s hands begin to spark with electricity. This means that their Force breach is fully empowered and their next Force Breach will deal MASSIVE internal damage which can’t be mitigated. UNLESS!!! You pop Resilience the moment you see their hands glow with energy then they’ll waste their empower Force Breach. If they use Shadow Stride/Phantom Stride on you, they’ll have a fully empowered Force Breach ready.
If they use Force Cloak, their cooldown on Force Potency/Recklessness is reduced by 1 minute, so be prepared to deal with another set of critically hitting empowered Force Breaches the moment they exit stealth. This is one reason why the Two Cloaks Tactical is so popular among Shadows and Assassins, this helps them gain more offensive potential by actively lowering the cooldown of Force Potency/Recklessness.
Here’s a tip for dealing with any stealthers in general. If they cloak out and exit combat while in a 1v1 scenario, immediately use your Meditation ability to restore HP. This will give them one of two choices depending on how much they were hurt in the previous battle. If they were low on HP, they either have to retreat to heal up themselves or they’ll be forced to attack you and negate any in-cloak healing they might be trying to receive. This allows you to finish them off since you can out-tank them easily. This trick will not work outside of a 1v1 scenario.
Serenity Shadows and Hatred Assassins (DoT DPS)
These are technically the squishiest of the three Shadow/Assassin disciplines, but do not be fooled by this as they too are likely aware of this. These units can deal a solid mixture between Damage Over Time abilities with hard hitting melee weapon attacks that can quickly dispatch a target.
Above are the Mind and Body (Shadow) and Nefarious Methods (Assassin) buffs unique to their DoT disciplines. If you see this, they have their Mass Mind Control (AoE Taunt) to increase their Damage Reduction by 30% for 6 seconds. They’ll often use this buff when they are going in for melee strikes or expect large bursts of damage in return. Their base damage reduction is 16% but becomes 46% when this buff is active. If they have the proper utility, their base Damage Reduction is instead 20% and becomes 50% when empowered by this buff. Between this buff, Resilience, and Cloaking for another Resilience, these units can be deceptively tanky at the right moments.
Another thing to watch out for is this stacking buff. If you see the Shadow/Assassin gain this buff with a number between 1-4, you’ll know they’re using the Quick Escalation Tactical. This makes them extremely dangerous as this allows their Serenity Strike/Leeching Strike to chain Critical Hits up to 4 times in a row.
Serenity/Leeching Strike is a melee weapon attack that deals a lot of damage while also healing the user for 50% of the damage dealt. Since DPS Shadows/Assassins are going to be running at least 40% critical hit chance with Death Knell Armor, this means they’ll Force Potency/Recklessness to make their Squelch/Eradicate DoT critically hit against the target and have their next melee attack critically hit. If they have this Tactical, they’ll make their Serenity/Leeching Strike critically hit.
This gives their first empowered Serenity/Leeching Strike a 100% critical hit chance, and they can instantly use Serenity/Leeching Strike up to 4 times in succession, each strike gaining another 25% critical hit chance. Their second strike will have a 65% Critical chance, their next has a 90%, and their last will be a guaranteed critical hit. After this 4th hit, their ability will finally go on cooldown. But even then, it’s a 10 second cooldown so they can potentially crit chain again shortly and restore lots of HP for themselves.
Some key things to defend against this is to know that the more of their 3 DoTs are on a target, the more damage they’ll do with Serenity/Leeching Strike, thus this means they heal even more. If you’re their focus, cleanse the DoTs and apply Trauma with Double Strike or Whirling Blow to reduce their healing done.
Sages and Sorcerers
In order to deal with Sages and Sorcerers, you must be able to discern what their discipline is purely based on their animations. I will be providing gifs to help you identify which Sages/Sorcerers are which. Regardless of their discipline, you’ll want to use their Mind Snap against their many channeled abilities. This is especially so if the Sage/Sorcerer is a healer.
The most powerful DCD for the Sage/Sorcerer is the ability known as Force Barrier. They will channel a bubble around them that makes them immune to all damage and hostile effects for up to 8 seconds. If they are attacked while bubbled, they’ll gain stacks of Enduring Bastion which will act as a damage absorbing shield that lasts for several seconds after Force Barrier is channeled. The more you attack them while Force Barrier is up, the more stacks of Enduring Bastion they’ll have. Having Enduring Bastion will make them immune to interrupts so long as this buff is up. Don’t attack them when their super bubble is up, they can’t do anything anyways while channeling it and you’ll only make them more vulnerable when they inevitably come out.
Phasewalk was an ability stolen from us Shadows/Assassins only to be given to Sages/Sorcs then later removed from Shadows/Assassins entirely because it made us “too mobile”. I’m still salty about that. What this does is that it allows the Sage/Sorcerer to mark a spot with what appears like some ghostly flame (yellow if sage, purple if sorcerer). If they are within 60 meters of this spot, they can reactivate Phasewalk to immediately teleport to that spot. This can be done even while under the effects of stuns. If you see one of these marked locations, make a mental note of it in case a Sage/Sorcerer teleports away.
Healer Sages and Sorcerers
Above are the animations used by Healer Sages and Sorcerers. Each of these abilities are channeled and can be stopped by your Mind Snap or hard CC such as your Force Wave or Force Stun. You must always disrupt the enemy healer from channeling their abilities whenever possible. Since you’re a tank, you’ll lack the damage to actually kill a healer so the best thing to do is be very annoying to them and stop them from healing their group.
Burst Sages and Sorcerers
Above are the animations used by Burst Sages and Sorcerers. Their damage isn’t too bad, it’s just that they’re able to chain multiple telekinetics/lightning in succession and can be hard to catch up to as they’ll kite you. Oftentimes they’ll take a Utility that’ll make their bubble erupt in light blinding those nearby temporarily so you won’t be able to move if you’re caught up in that. This effect ends upon taking damage so it’s better to save your Force of WIll for something less easily broken. Using Avenging Grip against these opponents is really fun since you reflect the damage back towards them.
DoT Sages and Sorcerers
Then we have the Damage Over Time Sages and Sorcerers. Their animations are more subtle than the others but you can identify them with these two animations. The AoE fields will spread their DoTs to multiple targets hit in the field assuming one of those targets already has the DoTs applied to them. This in turn allows them to heal from the DoTs in the form of HoTs on themselves. The second ability is a Force-based Leech ability that allows them to transfer life from their target to themselves, this effect grows more powerful the more DoTs they have on their target.
These Sages/Sorcerers can be especially annoying as they’ll often work in Telekinetic Throw/Force Lightning which is a channeled ability that will slow your movement speed. Egress is great here as you can ignore the slows while Force Speed with Egress is active. You should have 2-3 cleanses so you can always rid yourself of the DoTs so it shouldn’t be anything you can’t handle. Avenging Grip isn’t as good against these Sages/Sorcerers as they focus less on Direct Damage and use more Indirect Damage through their DoTs.
Vanguards and Powertechs
Vanguards and Powertechs are able to stun up to 8 enemies within a 5 meter radius for 2.5 seconds, can reveal all stealthed units in a designated area for 10 seconds and can increase their movement speed while making themselves immune to slows and controlling effects.
Where the Vanguard/Powertech shines best is their powerful durability. They can deploy a personal shield that reduces all damage by 25% for 15 seconds. They also have the ability to quickly regenerate health when below 35% HP, however they can only heal themselves up to 35% hp while using this ability.
Vanguards and Powertechs can make use of a shoulder cannon which launches a small missile at a single target. It can have up to 4 charges (7 for the burst specs) and it can be used while they are stunned. This ability can be augmented with a utility that makes each use of the shoulder cannon restore 3% of the user’s max hp.
Below are the various buffs they can apply and what you should look out for.
The above buffs are known as Hold the Line (Troopers) and Hydraulic Overrides (Bounty Hunters). Both Vanguard/Powertechs and Commandos/Mercenaries have access to this DCD. While active, the unit becomes immune to movement impairing effects, knockdowns, physics, and gains 30% increased movement speed for 6 seconds. Your slows, Force Lift, and Force Wave will have no effect on the unit while these buffs are active. For Troopers, this appears as an orange circle on the floor right beneath them. For Bounty Hunters, this is a circle shaped yellow gear on the floor right beneath them.
The Reactive Shield (Trooper) / Energy Shield (Bounty Hunter) raises the unit’s Damage Reduction by 25% for 15 seconds. For DPS units, they’ll have 55% DR for 15 seconds while Tank units will have 74% DR for 15 seconds. This is their only good DCD and it has a cooldown of 2 minutes, so once it’s down they’ll be fairly vulnerable.
Adrenaline Rush (Trooper) and Kolto Overload (Bounty Hunter) share the same buff icon. This buff can prepare up to 1 minute in advance of getting below 35% HP. It can also be activated when getting below 35% HP. When activated, this restores 35% of the unit’s health over 6 seconds but cannot exceed 35% total HP. Once this is over they’ll end up with 35% HP or less but it’ll be very difficult to kill them during this time. Remember to use Double Strike or Whirling Blow to apply Trauma which will reduce their healing by 20%. This will reduce their overall healing from 35% HP recovered to 28% HP recovered.
Stealth Scan is a Utility AoE ability that reveals stealthed units within a 12 meter diameter circle. This circle can be cast up to a 30 meter range. It’s an annoying tool to be sure as this will remove you from stealth if you’re caught in it. It’s often used on bridges or tight spaces with high traffic to expose stealthers and it is also used near turrets, pylons, control points, etc when one team is trying to capture it and keeping an eye out for stealthers. It makes a bright green circle with Probe Droids spinning around in it so it’s hard to miss. Don’t step into it.
The Shoulder Cannon ability is an ability available to both Vanguards and Power Techs. This can be activated and store up to 4 charges, when fired these home in on their target to deal a small amount of Kinetic Damage. What makes these annoying is that the Shoulder Cannon can be fired even when the Vanguard/Powertech is stunned. Many will get a utility that allows them to restore 3% of their HP with each rocket fired, for a total of 12% HP restored. Burst Vanguards and Powertechs gain 7 charges which means they can restore 21% of their HP if they have the appropriate utility.
Burst Vanguards and Powertechs
There’s not much to say about these guys, they’re mobile and love to lob explosives at you and fire powerful Energy Bursts at you. They will hurt but it’s nothing you shouldn’t be able to handle. They will throw a sticky grenade at you known as the Assault Plastique (Vanguard) / Thermal Detonator (Powertech) that will beep faster and at a higher pitch until it explodes after several seconds. You’ll want to use Resilience against these to negate the explosives.
Commandos and Mercenaries
Commando and Mercenaries share the Hold the Line/Hydraulic Overrides, Reactive Shield/Energy Shield, and Adrenaline Rush/Kolto Overload that the Vanguards/Powertechs have. Though Commandos/Mercenaries can augment their Reactive Shield/Energy Shield with a utility and it’s important to look out for.
The Reactive Shield can apply the new buff seen above, this is Trauma Stabilizers/Trauma Regulators. If they have this utility, they will gain a stack of Trauma Stabilizers and can gain a maximum of 10. When their shield ends after 15 seconds, they’ll restore 4% of their HP for each stack of Trauma. This allows them to restore 40% of their HP at max stacks. If you hit them with the shield up and you see them gain a stack of Trauma, stop attacking them. Non-violent actions to disable them are best such as Force Lift or cloaking out and using Mind-Maze until their shield is gone. Your next best option is to use Force Stun to reduce their offensive potential while their shield is up. They want you to stop attacking so they can attack you freely in return, don’t give them the satisfaction.
This ability is known as Echoing Deterrence. All single target direct attacks have 50% of their damage reflected back to the attacker, absorbs that damage so they don’t take the damage, and heals them for 5% of their HP for every single target attack that hits them. This ability’s effect lasts for 6 seconds. When you see these shields, only use Slow Time, Force Breach, Cleaving Cut, Whirling Blow, and Force Wave. These abilities will attack them at full power, not reflect the damage, and not heal them. Don’t confuse these with Reactive Shield/Energy Shield, you can tell them apart by their colors and the numerous lines on the bubble.
The ability Electronet is a hard counter to you as a Shadow. While under the effects of electronet, your speed is reduced by 50%, you take energy damage for the duration of 9 seconds. The worst part, whenever you move you take 20% more damage from electronet. This extra damage can stack up to 10 times for a bonus of +200% damage to you with electronet. If you’re hit by this ability, don’t move and wait it out. Just turn to face your opponent and use your ranged abilities to fight in the meantime.
Identifying a Healer Commando/Mercenary
This is easily done, if you see them firing a persistent, large, green laser at an ally repeatedly, you have yourself a healer. Also if you see a rocket fired on the ground that releases green healing goo, that’s also a good indication. Very hard to miss so I won’t bother putting up gifs.
Scoundrels and Operatives
These classes are very similar to Shadow’s and Assassins. Both rely on stealth, have similar abilities, but where the Scoundrel/Operative lacks in Potency that we Shadows/Assassins have, they make up for in consistency. The most common type of Scoundrel/Operative you’ll find in PvP is the Burst DPS discipline. This is because they deal good damage, have insane damage mitigation abilities and utilities, and I’ve seen one of these operatives kite and tank 4 enemy players at the same time and live. Do know they have an ability that allows them to create a stealth field where they and their allies can be cloaked for up to 15 seconds. What you need to look out for is the following…
Scrapper Scoundrels and Concealment Operatives (Burst DPS)
Before I show you animations to watch out for, let me just say it now. This class is the hardest counter to Kinetic Combat Shadow. They can dodge that has a built-in reflect with this utility they always get, every time they are attacked this Dodge cooldown is lowered by 3 seconds and cannot occur more than once every 1.5 seconds. This means if they’re under constant fire, they’ll be ready to Dodge again in 20 seconds. Watch out for the following animation…
This green bubble indicates that they’ll dodge all melee attacks for 3 seconds and will reflect all Single Target Force and Tech attacks back to the attacker at 150% of the damage. DO NOT USE EMPOWERED PROJECT OR CASCADING DEBRIS WHEN YOU SEE THIS. Sometimes you may not have a choice since they will use it as a reaction to you using Cascading Debris. Use Force Wave to cancel your channel and prevent yourself from getting the reflected damage. Slow Time, Force Breach, and Force Wave should be able to hurt them while this buff is active.
They’re also incredibly annoying as they have many roots that’ll not only keep you in place, but prevent you from turning. This is incredibly annoying and not fun in any way, so if one pops out from stealth use your Resilience since those attacks are Tech based. They’re gonna taunt you, kite you, dodge and shield attacks, all while gradually healing themselves through Kolto Probes. It is unlikely you’ll be able to defeat them in an efficient manner or at all so call for backup to scare them off. Though they will be back so prepare yourself.
Good ways to deal with them in general is to have someone apply Force-based DoTs as they are unable to cleanse these as easily as ones that are Tech or Physical based. Like you, they are incredibly susceptible to burst damage so a DPS Vanguard/Powertech or a DPS Guardian/Juggernaut should be able to dispatch them.
One more thing to note, whenever they roll they will have a built-in dodge that will resist all Force/Tech attacks and reflect the damage as well. Don’t use force attacks when they roll or dodge and you should be able to whittle them down. Force Slow, Slow Time, Snaring Strikes, and Cascading Debris is useful here because they want to remain mobile and you can negate that mobility.
Sawbones Scoundrels and Medicine Operatives (Healer)
Nowhere near as common as Burst Scoundrels and Operatives, you must still be familiar with their heal animations to determine if they’re healer or DPS. Once you determine they’re a healer, they’re more of an annoyance than a threat. Many of their heals are Heal Over TIme abilities (also known as HoTs) which are instantly activated, only three of their heals are channeled. Keep an eye out for these animations to identify an Operative healer.
Out of all the healers, these ones have the best Area of Effect heals all found in the form of HoTs, using Whirling Blow against a group of enemies benefitting from these heals would be prudent so you can mitigate their heals received.
Ruffian Scoundrels and Lethality Operatives (DoT DPS)
While not often seen, these Scoundrels/Operatives can be a considerable threat especially if their opponents are grouping close together. They’re able to lob an AoE Grenade at a spot with a 5 meter radius that causes enemies affected by it to take Internal Damage over 24 seconds. They will continue to unload more DoTs on their opponents which further increase the power of some of their blaster attacks. The key animation to look out for is when they fire numerous blaster bolts in a cone. When this cone hits a target, it deals additional Internal Damage based on the amount of DoTs they put on the target. Rare but dangerous, don’t group up close if you spot a DoT Scoundrel/Operative. Keep an eye out for the following debuffs…
Vital Shot (Scoundrel) / Corrosive Dart (Operative) is a base class single DoT that while weak alone, will add up with their numerous DoTs and abilities.
Shrap Grenade (Scoundrel) / Corrosive Grenade (Operative) is a discipline-specific AoE attack that will cause all affected targets within its 5 meter AoE to take Internal Damage Over Time.
Gunslingers and Snipers
There isn’t too much to say about these guys, I’ve never considered them a threat and they’re annoying at best. Though they may be a bit more of a threat if you’re a Skank Tank as you’ll have less chance to dodge and shield their weapon attacks. If they are under cover, they cannot be dashed to with Shadow Stride so you’ll have to run to them. If you see that their portable cover gains floating borders, they are immune to Crowd Control for 23 seconds so long as they are in that cover.
You’ll want to pressure them with damage and make them feel helpless by negating all their damage. Deflection is especially good against them. Force them to roll away and lose their CC Immunity. You’ll notice that like the Scoundrels/Operatives, Gunslingers/Snipers also have a dodge. But unlike the Scoundrels/Operatives, they can’t reflect Force/Tech Damage so use Force attacks when you see the green dodge bubble animation.
Against burst specs, just pressure them off a spot and dispatch them. Their Burst/AoE creates a lot of fire AoEs, use your Resilience to get past these frields. Their DoT specs deal with lots of ranged attacks that will cause internal DoTs, use your cleanses such as Resilience to clear the dots and pressure them out of their hidey hole. There are two of their DCDs you should be aware of though…
Hideout (Gunslinger) / Hololocate (Sniper) is an ability that is essentially a mirror of the Sage’s/Sorcerer’s Phasewalk. They set a point which looks like a small tech circle with pillars of light emanating from the center where they can teleport to at any time. Keep an eye out for these spots as they’re more subtle than Phasewalk spots.
Scrambling Field (Gunslinger) / Ballistic Shield (Sniper) is a large AoE that projects from the point of casting. This shield has a 10 meter radius and reduces damage of the Gunslinger/Sniper and their allies within it by 20% so long as they remain within the field. This is easily noticed by the giant green semi-sphere on the map.
Sharpshooter Gunslinger and Marksmanship Snipers (Sustained DPS)
When you’re against these units, expect to get shot a LOT as after many of their damaging abilities, they can quickly follow up with Trickshot/Followthrough which only aim to pick off even more of your HP. Deflection as a Full Tank is great against these units but keep an eye out for this ability…
Penetrating Shots (Gunslinger) and Penetrating Blast (Sniper) is a channeled, single target attack that rapidly fires shots at the target. This reduces their armor by 20% for 45 seconds and with the proper utility, can slow you for each tick it damages you for. This is a 20% slow that stacks up to 4 times over the channel, meaning they can slow you with this ability by 80% for 3 seconds. Force Speed is a great way to counter this slow as your Force Speed lasts between 2-2.5 seconds and depending on your timing, they’ll only get 1 stack of the slow on you or none at all.
These units gain an ability later on to instantly end the cooldown of Penetrating Shots/Blast which can be used to slow down a target even further, so watch out.
Saboteur Gunslinger and Engineering Sniper (Burst DPS)
These disciplines aren’t often seen in PvP due to them requiring a good chunk of setup time but hoo-boy can they be annoying. These units will deal Weapon, Kinetic, Energy, Elemental, and Internal damage on their targets so it can be tricky to defend against them efficiently.
The Shock Charge (Gunslinger)/Interrogation Probe (Sniper) is a DoT that applies to one target, dealing energy damage over 18 seconds. Be careful if you see this on yourself or your allies as those with this DoT are now susceptible to their Sabotage/EMP Discharge. This will damage the target with Shock Charge/Interrogation Probe to take a burst of energy damage and if they are also affected by Incendiary Grenade/Plasma Probe, they will also become stunned for 2 seconds.
Incendiary Grenade (Gunslinger)/Plasma Probe (Sniper) will create a circular field of fire that deals elemental damage over 8 seconds. Targets also in this AoE will be slowed by 50% while they are in the affected area. Do your best to stay out of this field, especially if you have Shock Charge/Interrogation Probe on you as you can get stunned here.
Dirty Fighting Gunslingers and Virulence Snipers (DoT DPS)
While rare as well, these units should not be left alone as when they are, they can deal devastating internal damage to a target of their choosing. They’ll stack numerous DoTs on their target and use their Wound Shots/??? Ability that causes each DoT effect to deal damage again while their Dirty Blast/??? Deals a mixture of Kinetic and Internal Damage. Internal damage cannot be mitigated by armor so don’t underestimate them simply because they appear to not be doing a lot of damage to you at first. Keep an eye out for the following debuffs…
Vital Shot (Gunslinger) / Corrosive Dart (Sniper) is a base class single target DoT that while weak alone, will add up with their numerous DoTs and abilities.
Shrap Grenade (Gunslinger) / Corrosive Grenade (Sniper) is a discipline-specific AoE attack that will cause all affected targets within its 5 meter AoE to take Internal Damage Over Time.
Unranked Warzone Maps
And now we get down to the nitty gritty. In this portion of the guide, we’ll be going over the most common scenarios you’ll encounter in these maps and what you can do for your team to help ensure victory.
From my experience when working with a random group, people (particularly those new to PvP) are more concerned with getting kills, high damage numbers and feeling like a bad*ss and not on objectives. DO NOT BE LIKE THESE PEOPLE!!! PvP is a group effort and in order to win, everyone has to work with each other.
Below are the various warzones you’ll encounter with maps. On these maps are various symbols and I will be explaining these now.
Disclaimer: I might have missed a couple buff locations. Some maps might lack the following symbols as they may not apply or because unit movement is either too random or erratic to use the movement lines. More will be discussed in their respective sections.
- Tank Movement: These lines indicate the typical paths tanks will take, usually one to guard an objective and another to fight on the front lines.
- DPS Movement: These lines indicate the typical paths DPS units will take, usually straight to the heat of the battle.
- Healer Movement: These lines indicate the typical paths healers will take.
- Cloaker Movement: This indicates where stealth units such as Shadows/Assassins and Scoundrels/Operatives move, typically at the start of the battle.
- Warzone Buff: This is a buff that increases damage done, healing done and reduces damage taken for a short time.
- Healing Node: Touching this restores an extremely large chunk of your health instantly.
- Movement Speed Buff: Self explanatory, “Gotta go fast!”
- High Traffic Zone: This is where you’ll often see a lot of movement, typically of incoming enemies or allies. If you’re guarding an objective, you’ll want your eyes on these areas as this is where enemies will be coming from (assuming they aren’t cloakers).
You might notice some new symbols on certain maps, those will be explained in those sections. And now, let us continue with the warzones.
Alderaan Civil War
With the crown up for grabs on Alderaan, the various houses of Alderaan fight one another to claim the crown and lead Alderaan. The most prominent houses vying for power are House Alderaan and House Thul. What started as an argument done through meetings and paperwork devolved into one of bloodshed and violence. The Republic backs House Alderaan while the Sith Empire backs House Thul, each hoping to instate their supported house’s power so that their body of government can have more influence on Alderaan.
The way this map works is that there are two warships, one belonging to the Republic and one to the Empire. Each ship has 600 hit points and the goal here is to capture turrets that will deal damage to these ships. There are three turrets and when captured, will deal 10 damage to the enemy’s ship. Each team will want to destroy the other team’s ship first.
The minimum requirement to effectively win this map is to capture two out of the three turrets. So long as this control is maintained, you’ll be doing twice as much damage as the enemy team. The most common tactic used will be to send one to grass (or snow if you’re Imperial) while seven others go to the middle turret.
If you’re going to capture a side turret, get there as soon as possible and capture the turret behind the terminal. The reason you want to capture the turret from behind is to remove yourself from an enemy’s line of sight should one arrive. This will usually buy you an extra second and you’ll need 8 seconds to capture the turret, so make every second count. Be sure to keep your eyes on the high traffic zones and tell your team if you see people coming, even if it’s one person. Example: “1 inc grass merc”.
If you’re going mid, your duty depends on whether you’re a tank, healer or a DPS. Everyone should be looking out for healers whether through icons or animations and mark them for their team. DPS units should kill healers and DPS units first and foremost, typically those who have the weakest defenses or pose a large threat. The tank should keep their team’s healer alive and guarding other allies as well. The healer’s job is simple, just heal.
If you’re a stealth unit such as a burst DPS Shadow/Assassin or a burst DPS Scoundrel/Operative, you can go capture the enemy’s side turret. Burst DPS is better for this purpose so you can quickly kill off their guard and capture their turret before help comes to arrive. Before you attempt to capture their turret, look at their post to see if it’s one or two people there. Wait a bit if there are 2 people there to see if one leaves. If not, you’re better off going to the middle as your team will outnumber theirs.
One very important aspect in defense, if you’re side turret guard calls “inc 3 grass”, don’t send 5 people to grass otherwise you’ll make the middle or snow needlessly vulnerable. At most, send two or three to even out the people there. Also, if you’re a turret guard, look out for where the red warzone buff is located, the one near the tunnel that goes underneath the middle. Enemies can jump down here and come your way.
On a final note, if you have two turrets, don’t get overzealous and try to capture the third. This will divide your team far too much and leave the turrets with little to no defenses. Just take what you have and ensure victory, even if it takes a few minutes longer.
This map is similar to Alderaan Civil War in that there are three turrets that the teams try to capture. However, this one differs in that you NEED at least two turrets to reduce the enemy base’s HP. Most of the action will be at the south turret. If you’re attempting to capture an enemy controlled turret, you’ll need 16 seconds to do so, though you can decrease this time if multiple people capture it at the same time. You also don’t need to be right in front of the terminal to capture it as you’ll notice a semi circle border on the ground that indicates the maximum distance you can capture a turret from. Capture from this distance if you’re capturing a side turret at the start of a match.
If you’re a side turret guard, keep your eye on the high traffic zones. For the most part, you’ll want to look at the three high traffic zones near each other as shown on the map. You’ll notice a single solitary traffic zone near the edge of the map. So long as you keep your eye on the three zones near the center, you can see any uncloaked units coming that way.
If you’re going south, you’re in for a rough time. Mark the enemy healers, kill them, and their squishy DPS units to decrease their overall numbers. Any attempt to capture this turret must be done immediately as this area is very close to the team spawn zones and reinforcements will arrive quickly. More often than not, people will attempt to capture the turret underneath the shelter in hopes of at least getting a small portion captured and will keep doing this in hopes of eventually getting the turret. It’s a slow and rather ineffective way of capturing that will more likely than not leave the team vulnerable. A good way to counter this is to use any AoEs you have in this area to constantly stop these would be captors.
As a stealth unit, you cannot afford to waste a second when attempting to capture a turret. You’ll need 16 seconds to capture the turret so you’ll want the guard dead ASAP and capture the turret from the maximum capture distance so you don’t waste a second or two by running up to the turret and capturing it there. As soon as you capture it, cloak out and guard it. Expect company as the enemy team will be heading your way as soon as you revealed yourself.
The most common movement you’ll see is to have 7 go south and 1 go West/East. If you’re team has a DPS cloaker that wants to capture the enemy’s side turret, they can join their team’s side turret guard in capturing the turret to quickly ensure it’s capture and then go scout the enemy’s turret to see how many are guarding it, capturing it if possible. Like Alderaan Civil War, if you have two, just guard those two to the best of your ability.
Here’s another common scenario you’ll encounter on this map. If your team has West and South and the enemy has lost a battle south, they’ll head west in hopes of capturing it while only one is defending it. That turret’s guard must keep an eye out and call incoming to prevent this. They tend to go full force when attempting this and it can leave their side turret vulnerable and open for capture.
This map is my personal favorite. There are only two points to capture, the pylons to the west and east. Your goal is to capture at least one of the pylons and hold them while the rest of the team goes mid to either capture orbs or kill enemy players. By capturing orbs or by killing enemy players, you’ll give your team more points.
There are four points in the central chamber that spawn orbs, these will look like Companion Cubes from Portal with little blue orbs floating around them. You must capture these and bring them back to your team’s pylon in order to gain more points for your team. After a certain amount of time, the pylons will lock up and after a few seconds, will create a powerful explosion that will kill anyone outside of the central chamber or the side tunnels.
A common strategy is to send 1 to the pylon that’s left of the team’s spawn zone and 7 to the center in an attempt to capture the orbs and control the area. However, if the enemy team has a cloaker they’ll often head to your team’s pylon to stun anyone trying to capture it. It might be a good idea to send two to the pylon and have the backup use AoEs near the guard as they capture the pylon. Afterwards, the backup needs to go to the center to help out the team.
For whatever reason as of 5.0, people have been getting cocky in this map and start sending 2-3 people to their enemy’s pylon. If this keeps happening to you, send someone with the pylon guard. Whoever has more CC or group CC should run to the incoming enemies and stall them while their allies capture the pylon. From there, defend the pylon if need be.
If you’re a pylon guard, don’t stay close to the pylon. Instead, stay 30 meters away from it. The reason you want to do this is in case a cloaker stuns you from stealth, they’ll waste a second or two as they run to the pylon. You can wait out their stun and have two seconds to use a 30 meter ranged attack to stop them. If you’re a Shadow, use Force Pull or Force Potency then Telekinetic Throw/Cascading Debris. If you’re a Guardian, use Saber Throw. If you’re a Vanguard, use a basic attack. You’ll have your CC breaking ability for a more important, in-combat stun rather than leaving yourself defenseless against something like a flash bang.
If you’re a Sage/Sorcerer, run to the side tunnels (preferably the one under your team’s spawn zone) and place a Phase Walk halfway between the tunnel and the pylon. You must get inside before the pylons discharge or you’ll get stuck outside. Once the shields are about to go down, grab the speed boost and run to the pylon, using Phase Walk to lower the time to get there then using Force Speed.
If you’re going to the center, go for the orbs as soon as you can and you manage to capture one, take it back to your pylon. While you can gain points by getting kills, you can gain more by capturing orbs. It can get rather hectic here so do your best to stay alive to deny the enemy points. If you have a push or a stun, it’s a good idea to keep enemies outside the border outside to ensure they get killed by the pylon’s discharge.
If you want to capture the enemy’s pylon as a cloaker, you’ll need 8 seconds to capture their pylon. It might be best to try to capture theirs when there are 45 seconds left in the round. This should leave you enough time to kill their guard, capture their turret and allow you to defend it for a short amount of time. You can take your leave when 8 seconds are left as anyone attempting to recapture it beyond that point will be unable to due to time constraints.
This is one of the more frustrating maps to deal with whether you’re defending or attacking. The goal for the attackers is to reach the doors or terminals (as indicated as orange pentagons) and to either place explosives on the doors or slice the terminals. Eventually, they must reach the central computer (as indicated by a yellow star) and capture it, which requires a half second. The defending team must prevent the enemy team from progressing at all costs.
Each door or terminal requires 8 seconds to capture and the door bombs require 20 seconds to explode. The defending team can diffuse the bombs but require 2 seconds to do so.
For the most part, the attackers will go heavily on one side while one or two stealth units go to the other side to capture it at the start of a match. Most of the fighting will be in close proximity to the doors, so DoTs and AoEs are great on this map to apply pressure to the enemy whether you’re defending or attacking.
Sages and Sorcerers are great on this map due to their ability to maintain their Force Quakes/Force Storms near the door either protect the door from captors or prevent the defending team from defusing the bomb.
If you’re defending the Voidstar, here’s the most important thing to keep in mind about defending the doors… DO NOT CHASE ENEMIES FAR OUT, DO NOT SEEK ONE ON ONE DUELS AND FIGHT AT THE DOOR, NOT NEAR IT, NOT AROUND IT, AT IT. I cannot stress this enough. If you’re a Shadow/Assassin defending the door, place a Phase Walk at the door in the event you get pulled away or need to heal up via the healing node and need to quickly defend the door.
Another thing to keep in mind if you’re defending is to keep an eye out on all the objectives and pay attention to the chat in case someone calls for help. At the start of the match, people will call the west door “right” and the east door “left”. This can be confusing at first and the doors are called “left” or “right” as that’s where they appear from the spawn door. If you’re defending the final zone, do not forget the door to the east. People always prefer to go to the north door where the action is but they will neglect the other door leaving it open to capture.
Odessen Proving Grounds
This is the newest warzone map. It is essentially “King of the Hill” except that there are multiple control points to capture. Here, you will often find yourself working with people of the opposite faction. Regardless of your loyalties, you must set them aside to win this warzone.
The goal here is to capture the active control points and make stay in them at all costs to maintain control while fending off the enemy team. Whoever gets to 600 points first wins. You cannot hold or capture a point while stealthed! If you have Phase Walk, place it in the center of the control zone you hold in case you get pushed out and need to instantly get back inside of it to defend it. DoT/AoE attacks are great here as the enemy will always remain bunched up inside the control points, making them extremely vulnerable to these types of attacks.
On the map, you’ll notice that there are Battle Mod spawn zones. Battle Mods affect zones open for capture in different ways.
Blue battle mods are a score multiplier that increases the amount of points your team gains from a control point each second.
Orange battle mods increase how quickly a control point generates points and can make the zone finish it’s run sooner than the others.
Red battle mods can be used on an active control point to deactivate it for the round. DO NOT USE THIS ON YOUR OWN TEAM’S CONTROL POINT, SAVE IT FOR THE ENEMY. You could use it in your own IF, AND ONLY IF you’re about to lose that zone to the enemy. Deny them that control point.
Green battle mods can activate a non active control point, thus allowing your team to gather even more points.
Up to the north, it’s very easy to fall off a cliff. Be mindful of your current position to prevent yourself from being pushed off. It’s also easy for you to push the enemy off as well, assuming you have a push.
Whether you’re part of the Republic or the Empire, I’m sure that we can agree that the Hutts are jerks and shouldn’t be allowed to create sports. Regardless, we have to deal with Huttball. This game is akin to soccer only you can die and there are traps everywhere. Someone must capture the Huttball and carry it to the enemy’s goal line (it’s hard to miss, it’s a giant purple/yellow line on the ground and arrows will point the way for the Huttball carrier).
This one requires a great amount of teamwork to win. The best Huttball carriers are Scoundrels/Operatives, Vanguards/Powertechs and Guardians/Juggernauts, in that order. Scoundrels/Operatives have great defensive abilities and can roll through the various Huttball traps while taking little damage and while covering a lot of ground as well.
NEVER leave your team’s Huttball carrier to fend for themselves, you must protect them through heals, stuns, CC or guarding. Shadow/Assassin tanks make great Huttball carrier defenders as they can guard them and keep multiple enemies at bay while reducing their accuracy and damage output. Due to the short cooldown of Force Wave, they can easily push enemies off ledges or into traps while rooting them, ensuring they don’t run out.
Also remember to control mid to help secure the huttball in the next round. Be sure to also use the traps to your advantage to kill off pesky enemies like Guardians and Juggernauts. You might relate this game to soccer and want to assume the role of goalie, DO NOT DO THIS. If anyone is to do this role, it has to be Shadow/Assassin tanks. They have the CC to push enemies away and can cloak themselves out making enemies unable to leap to them. Even then they should only do this while cloaked and if the enemy ball carrier is close to their goal.
For the love of all that is holy, DO NOT stand near your goal line as the enemy Huttball carrier can potentially jump to you, ignoring the traps and ledges to instantly score a point. Also, be mindful of your stuns to prevent the enemy Huttball carrier from White-Barring, making them immune to CC and free to reach the goal line without interference (though they are still susceptible to slows).
Teamwork is key here. Getting scores with the Huttball is a far more effective way to ensure victory for your team.
There are two Huttball maps at the moment, one on Vandin (the one with the sickly green hue) and one onQuesh (the one with the sickly orange hue).
This is the more infuriating of the two Huttball maps. Traversing the ledges without getting pushed off and into the pit is a challenge to say the least. You’re also at the whim of the fire traps that activate every few seconds. Don’t stand in these for obvious reasons and be careful when you’re near them as the enemy will often attempt to push you into the fire or stun you as you attempt to walk across them.
Near the Huttball are acid pits. Should you get into these, they’ll slow you and you’ll take damage. The damage isn’t much but it adds up so it’s best to get out of there as soon as you can. To the north and south of the Huttball are these pads shooting out air. If you stand on these, you’ll be launched into the air and thrown into a random location. Sometimes it’ll take you to a nearby ledge and sometimes it’ll place you in the center of the map. Do not rely on this for transportation if you have the Huttball.
The layout of this map is a bit confusing as it’s built of three layers. The bottom layer has the Huttball and 4 speed boosts. The second or middle layer, has two healing nodes and is the most stable zone. The top layer is built up of the goal lines and a thin pipe that connects the two goal lines. Beware the toxic sludge pipes as indicated by large green circles on the map. These will slow you and kill you in a second.
Sages/Sorcerers are great on this map as they can pull their Huttball carrier up to the middle and top layers and to better ensure their score. They are also useful in that they can push off enemy Huttball carriers off the ramps as they try to reach the goal line. Vanguard/Powertech tanks also prove useful here as they can swap places with the Huttball carrier to help them traverse active sludge pipes.
Last but not least, we have the arena maps. These are 4 vs 4 Deathmatch arenas provided courtesy of the Hutt Cartel. This map is the true test of your skill and your team’s ability to cooperate. There are no warzone buffs, no healing nodes, no speed boost, just the terrain and the people inside it. This is also the only type of warzone you’ll encounter in Ranked PvP. It’s 2 out of 3, so win 2 times to ensure victory.
At the start of a match, you can tell who’s on the enemy team and if they’re a tank, dps or a healer. From there, you must check to see if anyone is being guarded. If their healer is being guarded, place your focus on the DPS that has the least HP or is the easiest to kill due to game mechanics. Once you select your target, everyone must work together to bring them down ASAP. If you each go off attacking your own targets, you’ll get nothing done and chances are you won’t kill anyone and end up getting your teammates killed.
As much as I would prefer it not be, this really comes down to a roll of the dice. Some classes are just simply better than others in terms of damage output and dueling ability. In order to do well in this warzone, you must work with your team and know your abilities as well as the abilities of your enemy.
There are currently five maps available for arenas, Makeb, Corellia, Tatooine, Rishi, and the Mandalorian Battle Ring.
The Arena Maps are taken from Aviriia’s SWTOR 6.0 PvP at level 75 Guide, available here on VULKK.com.
So, you’ve come this far in both PvP and in reading this guide (congrats!). Do you think you’re ready to take on the best of the best?
Ask yourself this…
- Do you know exactly how your preferred discipline works?
- Do you know your weaknesses?
- Do you know the capabilities of every class and each of their disciplines?
- Do you know the weaknesses of every other class?
- Do you feel you have your rotation down?
- Are you confident that you can do well in the most strenuous of PvP settings?
- Do you have full 306 gear that’s fully augmented with a minimum of 286 augments?
If you have said no to any of these, then I do not believe you are ready for a Ranked PvP setting. This is not a place for casuals as many people here are attempting to get placed high on the leaderboard and chances are, they know exactly what they’re doing and how to fight anyone that comes their way.
Ranked PvP takes place solely in Arenas, so you only have your allies and warzone adrenals to depend on. You’re best off doing Ranked PvP with friends you can depend on and are able to talk through via Discord. You need to keep everyone updated instantly and this is best done through voice communication. You can’t afford to waste a second. Hesitation is the main source of defeat in PvP, do NOT hesitate. If voice communication is not an option, work out a plan with your teammates through the Ops or Party chat.
You’re going up against the best of the best. Your lightsaber, your blaster nor your use of the Force won’t let you prevail. The most dangerous weapon you can bring into Ranked PvP warzones is your mind and the knowledge it contains. I realize that this guide has been rather text heavy but it should teach you everything you need to know in the event you choose to join the ranks of Ranked PvP players. It might seem to be a lot of information to retain but it can be done.
If you tell yourself that you can’t remember this information or if you’re not able to do ranked PvP, know that these are self imposed barriers. Both of these can be obtained through practice and studying. You have a lot of potential, it’s up to you and ONLY you to reach that potential. Your knowledge and cooperation with your team ensures victory.
Be sure to pack Advanced V-9 Seismic and Pyro Grenades, pack Fortitude Stims, and keep up the guard swapping!
At the moment of writing this guide (v6.1.3), Vanguards and Powertechs are among the most popular DPS specs in PvP right now due to their insane burst damage potential. Because of this, they’ll be focused down first since they only have 1 reliable DCD, their Reactive/Energy Shield. You as a Kinetic Combat Shadow tank must guard them and use Friend of the Force to grant them the effects of Resilience.
Your most common Tank found in Ranked PvP will be Guardian/Juggernaut tanks due to their good DCDs and Self Healing abilities. If you’re against a team with 3 DPS and one tank, you can try focusing entirely on the tank with your team so they lose their defensive potential. This can happen to you if the situation is reversed however.
Oftentimes, people’s first instinct will be to run to a higher elevation and fight up on a bridge or scaffolding. Before you run off like a lemming to these points, assess the situation. Do they have units with an AoE push and if so, how many? Does your team have lots of AoE pushes? These pushes can be used to knock down enemy teammates on either side which can leave your guarded target more vulnerable.
If their team has the better high ground comp, stay on the low ground and use Force pull to drag a target to you. Ranged units will try to attack you from above in an attempt to kill or bait you, simply bring their ally under the bridge or scaffolding so they can’t attack you where their ally has to run away from you gravely injured or their team has to come down to save them.
Well, you’ve reached the end of this guide. Thank you for taking the time to read up and I hope this serves useful to you in some manner! Before you go, I wish to teach you one more lesson, this one is about attitude.
In my experience, it does not occur to many that attitude is an important factor to winning a match. Some might think that “I’m so effing bad*ss that I can handle anything with little effort!” or perhaps they’re thinking “GRRR!!! I’LL MAKE THE SHADOW WHO KILLED ME PAY!!!” (Hoo-boy, I’ve been on the receiving end of that many times -Siow). PvP is a competitive scene and some people can take this way too seriously.
Sometimes, you’ll encounter people who whine, give up, troll or pm you after a match telling you how bad you are even though you scored higher than them. It’s best to either ignore, block or kick these people from the match. You must avoid doing this behavior yourself. Negative attitudes spread easily throughout your team, bumming them out and possibly affecting their performance.
From personal experience, the best way to keep your performance up is to remain calm and stay focused on your task. Don’t let other people distract you, and don’t take things too seriously, it’s a video game after all. Be sure you’re having fun with it! But if you’re not, don’t bring others down with you. At the end of a match, it’s always good sportsmanship to say “gg” or “good game” after a match and you can also say this in /say chat so your opponents can read what you said as well.
These attitudes are greatly exacerbated in Ranked PvP. The best you can do is remain nice and positive as it takes 1 positive attitude to make a world of difference. I was doing Ranked PvP not too long ago to obtain the Black-Silver Crystals and the atmosphere was getting to me. But there was one Powertech that was always supportive, nice, cooperative, and did a good job. That person kept me going because I ended up being queued on their team and we worked our way to victory.
Be the change you want to see and others will follow.
Good luck out there and may the Force be with you!
-Jedi Master Siow
About the Author
Christopher Siow (known as Siow in Star Wars: The Old Republic) describes himself as “some Native-American dude who loves Star Wars and other nerd stuff”. He currently operates a Star Wars YouTube channel known as “Siow’s Holocron”, where he touches upon various Lore subjects relating to Star Wars. Such videos include Lore videos about the Jedi Temple Guard, various Occupations that the Jedi would take on, and plans to include many more in-depth lore videos over time.
The art of Siow featured in the Guide’s Intro portion was given permission to be used in this guide by original artist, Joelle Blot, of Star Dragon Art.