SWTOR 7.0 Concealment Operative Guide (DPS PvE) for beginner players and more experienced veterans: Skills, Choices, Rotations, Gearing, Builds, Tips!

Table of Contents:

Introduction to Concealment Operative

Welcome to my 7.0 guide for Concealment Operative! This guide was created using information from 6.0 and the final build of the PTS, though it has been updated to reflect the live version of the game. 

Since there are so many changes, it’s hard to compare relative performance at this time, especially in terms of single-target sustained DPS. Energy management for Concealment is considerably easier than it was in 6.0. Now you really only have to worry about it outside of the single-target rotation, assuming you’re doing the rotation correctly. This seems to be the case for many disciplines.

In terms of survivability, Concealment is in a much worse place compared to 6.0, to the extent that they may not be viable in PvE content anymore. They lost access to Revitalizers and Curative Agent. They also lack AoE RDT, so the only things they have to mitigate damage are Shield Probe (thankfully with Med Shield) and Evasion, so they are forced to spend GCDs to mitigate bigger hits with Exfiltrate.

Unfortunately, you’re gonna have a bad time trying to bring Concealment to a raid. Their survivability is likely completely insufficient and they don’t offer any rotational AoE either, even through ability tree options.

Due to the final state of the PTS, it was difficult to do 100% conclusive rotational testing. Core rotations haven’t changed much, but some of the ability tree choices offer DPS increases that seem similar or you might have to pick between a DPS increase and a survivability buff. This means that my recommendations for some choices might not be 100% optimal right off the bat, though I will be working to update these guides once it is understood which choice is optimal.

BioWare will likely be making balance changes throughout the first few patches, so be sure to check back to this guide after each update. You can check at the top of the guide to see if the guide has been updated for the most recent patch.

Major Changes in 7.0

Utility points are gone! Instead, there is a new system called the Ability Tree. Each discipline has 8 choices where they pick 1 of 3 options. The options have several similarities across the Combat Styles:

  • 2 choices buff a discipline-specific ability (2 abilities, 1 choice each).
  • 3 choices which are just old Utility effects. These choices are almost always the same for all disciplines. 
  • 2 choices where you’re picking between 1 ability or 1 of 2 passives. One of the ability choices tends to be an offensive cooldown (OCD). The other seems to be related to PvP balance, but there isn’t a clear pattern beyond the choice forcing players to decide which of 3 capabilities they want to keep.
  • 1 choice where you’re picking 1 of 3 abilities. One of the abilities is always one of your primary CCs, either the 8s mez or 4s hard stun. Another of the abilities is the movement ability with the longest cooldown. The third option is less consistent, it seems to be there as an extra balance lever for BioWare since some abilities that got locked away are more impactful than others. The 3 abilities are almost always the same for each discipline.

This means almost all disciplines had 5 abilities locked away behind choices with the option for players to keep up to 3 of them. In addition, many extremely situational abilities were pruned entirely. Concealment permanently lost access to these abilities: 

  • Countermeasures (kind of)
  • Sever Tendon
  • Resuscitation Probe
  • Stealth Rez

Battle rezzes, in general, are now healer-only, but there is no longer a global 5 min lockout on those abilities, so it’s treated just like any other ability, albeit with a much longer cooldown. This was done because BioWare made it so stealthing out in Operations no longer actually pulls you out of combat, making stealth rezzing impossible. You can still activate Cloaking Screen and it will reduce your threat and make your next Backstab deal more damage.

Guarding is now a tank-only ability, which is the logical next step since the nerf to Guard for DPS partway through 6.0 was ineffective at stopping its ubiquity in PvP. 

The word Imperial has been replaced with something that is faction-agnostic since Republic Origin Stories now have access to the Combat Style. Unlike Snipers, Operatives didn’t have any abilities that included the word, but they did have a few passives that now have slightly different names. For example, Imperial Brew was changed to Potent Brew.

Group Composition Tips

In order to deal maximum damage, Concealment requires 1 other DPS debuff:

DPS Debuff Presence of debuff increases DPS by approximately
Armor 4.6%
Total DPS Gain:  4.6%

Concealment is somewhat unique in that it only requires 1 DPS debuff to deal maximum DPS, though just because it only requires a single debuff doesn’t mean it’s more independent.

Concealment gains a fair bit of DPS from that one debuff. Thankfully, almost all DPS specs benefit greatly from the armor debuff, so it’s likely you’ll have one in the group.

Operative DPS in general offers great synergy with its own DPS debuffs as well since it provides both the Tech and Internal / Elemental debuffs. 

DPS Mindset

How can I do as much damage as possible in each GCD (global cooldown, 1.5 second duration before you can activate another ability) given the constraints of the fight? Which ability do I use right now that will provide me the most DPS? How can I maximize my uptime? If I’m not activating an ability right now, why not? Can I finish this cast before I need to move? What happens if I don’t have time to finish a cast before moving? Can the healers deal with it without too much stress?  

Check out the SWTOR Damage Types and Damage Mitigation guide.

Abilities Explained

Please have the game open while reading through the next few sections. I will not be writing out ability descriptions and I will only be transcribing the components of discipline passives that directly relate to the ability and rotation. This forces you to read through what everything does so that you can understand what all of your passives and abilities do as well as locate these abilities in-game. Make sure you place all of these abilities on your bar in an order that makes sense to you. 

Single Target Rotational Abilities, Attributes, and Important Procs

Tactical Advantage Tactical Advantage

(proc)
I want to start this section by going over the Tactical Advantage (TA) proc since it is an integral part of playing Operative in general. You can read through the description for it listed alongside your other Combat Style passives, but the description isn’t very helpful in explaining what exactly a TA is. Basically, Tactical Advantage is an additional resource alongside Energy and in order to use some abilities you have to spend 1 TA. You can gain a TA from the following sources:

  • Dealing damage with Backstab initiated from stealth
  • Dealing damage with Veiled Strike
  • Activating Stim Boost
  • Landing the killing blow on an enemy

Most abilities have cooldowns, so this just represents an additional resource to manage, though this essentially functions as the cooldown for your Laceration ability. The following abilities cost a TA: 

  • Laceration
  • Toxic Haze
  • Tactical Superiority
  • Kolto Infusion

For Concealment, you typically want to generate TAs as often as possible, so long as it doesn’t get in the way of dealing damage with your strongest abilities or cause Acid Blade to fall off (if you’re using the Acid Lash tactical). When you have the opportunity to gain a TA, it’s important that you don’t already have the maximum number of TAs or else you will effectively be wasting it, so you have to predict when you’re about to get one to avoid this.

In addition, the Tactician Legendary Implant allows you to gain 10% crit chance for 10 seconds whenever you generate a TA. This effect is strong and in a perfect world, we’d want to make sure that gets proceed on cooldown and is active while our DPS cooldowns are active, but unfortunately, there are just too many other, far more consequential, things to worry about, so it basically just happens in the background.

Backstab Backstab

(Tech/Kinetic/Direct/Single Target/Instant)
This is the only ability in the game that requires you to be behind your target in order to be usable. In addition, if it is used from stealth, it deals more damage and grants a Tactical Advantage (TA).

Thankfully, Volatile Substance provides a debuff that allows you to use this ability while in front of your target as well and be treated as though you attacked from stealth, though it isn’t always up. When your target does not have this debuff and you aren’t in stealth, it’s important to use Cloaking Screen (if it’s available) so you can receive a TA and deal more damage. Even without the bonus damage, Backstab is one of your most damaging abilities. Backstab has 1 DoT, and 2 procs associated with it that are relevant to your rotation:

Acid Blade
Dealing damage with Backstab applies a 6 second DoT, called Poisoned (Acid Blade) in StarParse, and increases your armor penetration by 30% for 15 seconds. With the Acid Lash tactical, the DoT should have as high of uptime as possible, 100% on a dummy. For some boss fights, 100% uptime is impossible, but if there isn’t any downtime, you should never let this fall off. This DoT will usually also be the only thing that can trigger Volatile Substance, which is another reason to make sure that this stays up as much as possible. The armor penetration proc should also never fall off since it lasts much longer than Backstab’s cooldown. 

Calculated Frenzy
Dealing damage with Backstab grants Calculated Frenzy, which increases your ranged and tech critical chance by 10% for 15 seconds. Just like the Acid Blade proc, this should never fall off.

Volatile Substance Volatile Substance

(Tech/Internal/Direct/Single Target/Instant)
This extremely gruesome ability deals roughly the same amount of damage as Backstab (though the new autocrit makes Volatile Substance deal considerably more on average). Volatile Substance is quite unique as an ability because it can only deal damage after it has been on the target for 3 seconds and takes damage from one of your Poison effects, either Acid Blade or Corrosive Dart. 

While damage output alone is enough to make it so that you have to use it on cooldown, you have to consider if the target will die before you can trigger the damage. When you switch targets, Acid Blade might not be on the target and Backstab may not be available, so you may have to use Corrosive Dart to trigger it, and that might not be worth applying if the target is about to die since it’s an 18 second DoT. Volatile Substance has 2 debuffs associated with it that are relevant to your rotation:

Assailable
This is the internal/elemental debuff and is part of the base ability. This debuff is considered the second-best DPS debuff in the game since almost every spec deals some sort of internal/elemental damage and the debuff is 7% compared to the 5% that most of the other debuffs provide. The armor debuff is typically better because it usually affects a greater proportion of the total damage dealt, but in certain compositions, it is possible for this debuff to be the best for your group. 

Revealing Weakness
Dealing damage with Volatile Substance applies Revealing Weakness to the target, allowing your next Backstab against the target to be usable while face-to-face with the target and treated as though you attacked from stealth. This debuff makes it so that Backstab gets to deal its additional damage, makes it so that you don’t have to care about positioning nearly as much, and makes it so that Backstab grants a TA. Since Volatile Substance and Backstab have different cooldown durations, sometimes you will have to use Backstab but won’t have this debuff available. The best way to tell if you’ll have this debuff is to just look at the cooldown on Volatile Substance immediately after using Backstab. If Volatile Substance’s cooldown is longer than Backstab’s, you won’t have the Revealing Weakness debuff for your next Backstab and will need to use Cloaking Screen. Remember that using Cloaking Screen while you have the Revealing Weakness debuff yields no additional benefits, so save Cloaking Screen for when you won’t have the Revealing Weakness debuff.

Laceration Laceration

(Tech/Kinetic/Direct/Single Target/Casted)
Like many of Concealment’s abilities, Laceration is rather unique because it’s used as often as many other classes’ filler abilities, but it hits a lot harder than most other fillers. Of course, Laceration isn’t as simple to use as other fillers because it requires and consumes a TA. In general, the goal of the rotation is to be able to use this ability as often as possible in order to minimize the number of weaker abilities you have to use. Laceration has 3 procs, 1 tactical item, and 1 discipline passive associated with it that are relevant to your rotation.

Collateral Strike
Laceration triggers a Collateral Strike, dealing additional kinetic damage. This is basically just extra damage on this ability. In PvE, the fact that it isn’t just a hidden percentage damage increase doesn’t really matter beyond being a flashy way to have other procs associated with Laceration. In PvP, it means that part of this attack’s damage has extra chances to go through mitigation like shield and defense chance. 

Tactical Opportunity
Collateral Strike immediately re-grants a TA when hitting a Poisoned target. Cannot occur more than once every 10 seconds. It’s technically important to make sure you’re getting this as often as possible, though because you have so many other important considerations, it’s difficult to actually change your rotation to benefit from this proc more often. The biggest thing you can do is just maximize Acid Blade’s uptime so you’re never missing out on the proc when you otherwise would have gotten it. Since this effect triggers off of the Collateral Strike damage, which happens after the Laceration damage, you may have to wait a split second before deciding which ability to use next if you had max stacks of TA when you activated Laceration. Try to get a sense of when you think this will proc or your APM will suffer. You need to be able to decide basically instantaneously whether you use Laceration next or something that generates a TA.

Culling
Increases the damage dealt by Laceration and Collateral Strike by 5%. In addition, when Collateral Strike damages a target, you recover 2 Energy. This proc makes the effective cost of Laceration only 8 Energy rather than 10. This is important to know as you get close to 60 Energy. The flat damage increase does not have any effect on your rotation, I only included it since it specifically mentioned this Laceration and Collateral Strike. The only thing that really matters rotationally is the Energy refund. 

Acid Lash Tactical Item
This is your default tactical item that makes it so your Acid Blade DoT deals more damage and dealing damage with Laceration refreshes the duration on the Acid Blade DoT and ticks its damage. This tactical item allows you to have 100% uptime on the Acid Blade DoT, assuming there isn’t any downtime. Since the DoT only lasts 6 seconds, there’s a high chance it will fall off if there is any sort of downtime. It can also fall off if you have to use 3 abilities in a row that are not Backstab or Laceration. I will talk about this in greater detail later on, but it is important to know the priority well enough so that you don’t let it fall off accidentally since it will create problems in your rotation, like dealing less damage overall due to less DoT ticks, dealing less damage with Laceration, and potentially not triggering Volatile Substance when need to. 

Prey on the Weak
Laceration deals 10% more damage to targets affected by your Acid Blade DoT. Thanks to Acid Lash, it is possible to always benefit from this passive, though it also represents yet another reason that you need to make sure that the target always has Acid Blade.

Veiled Strike Veiled Strike

(Tech/Kinetic/Direct/Single Target/Instant)
This ability’s primary purpose is to generate a TA for you to use on Laceration, and since the goal of the rotation is to be able to use Laceration as much as possible, you’ll be using this ability fairly often as well. It’s basically your second filler.

It’s a bit complicated to describe when to use Veiled Strike since it varies depending on what other abilities you have available and how many TAs you have. It deals less damage and costs more Energy than Laceration, so it should never be used when you have max TA. Since TAs are in relatively short supply, you generally do want to use this ability if it is available and you do not have max TAs, provided that Volatile Substance and/or Backstab are also not available.

You want to increase the number of TAs you have whenever you can, though you don’t want to let this get in the way of doing your most damaging abilities as often as possible. You also don’t want to let the Acid Blade DoT fall off, so you may need to use Lacerate first even if you don’t have max TAs.

Thankfully, Energy isn’t nearly as much of a concern as it was in the previous expansion. You are free to use this Veiled Strike as needed without having to worry about Energy level unless you start throwing in a lot of Toxic Hazes or Corrosive Darts. Veiled Strike does not have any passives or procs associated with it that I haven’t already mentioned.

Crippling Slice Crippling Slice

(Tech/Kinetic/Direct/Single Target/Instant)
This ability deals very little damage per use, though it’s free, and if you don’t use it roughly on cooldown, you will run out of Energy unless the fight has a lot of downtime. Crippling Slice should be used over Rifle Shot because it deals more damage; even without the new ability tree buff that makes Crippling Slice apply a debuff that causes your next direct attack to autocrit.

This new autocrit changes how often Crippling Slice should be used, it’s now part of a rigid rotation component where it’s always used the second GCD after activating Volatile Substance so that your Volatile Substance is always an autocrit. Volatile Substance’s cooldown is slightly longer than that of Crippling Slice, but this is fine, your Energy management can accommodate this much of a delay.

I would also like to note that Crippling Slice does prevent the target from turning, so if you have aggro of an add and need to use Backstab but don’t have the Revealing Weakness debuff from Volatile Substance, you can use Crippling Slice to get behind it. Crippling Slice does not have any additional procs, debuffs, or discipline passives associated with it that are relevant to your rotation.

Corrosive Dart Corrosive Dart

(Tech/Internal/Periodic/Single Target/Instant)
This DoT deals about as much damage as Laceration, and while it doesn’t require a TA to use, costs more Energy to use and potentially makes the rotation more difficult, so if you’re doing AoE, it isn’t sustainable for Corrosive Dart to have 100% uptime. There are 5 instances in your rotation where Corrosive Dart should be used:

  1. If everything is on cooldown and you don’t have any TAs for Laceration. It’s difficult to execute the priority perfectly and if you mess up, you will run into a situation where all of your abilities are on cooldown and you don’t have any TAs to do Lacerate. This makes it so that you don’t lose any DPS for a single GCD.
  2. If you are more than 10m away from the boss. This is by far your strongest ability with 30m range, and since it does about as much damage as Laceration, you won’t necessarily lose DPS if you leave melee range.
  3. If you have an opportunity to pre-cast during downtime. You will miss out on a tick or two, but if the boss has a shield up, you can apply this right before the shield goes down for additional damage.
  4. If you are about to activate your Adrenal or Tactical Superiority. These sorts of offensive cooldowns apply their damage boost to all damage that hits while the cooldown is active. By applying Corrosive Dart immediately before using one of those abilities, you get to apply that boost to an extra GCD, effectively extending the duration of the cooldown. This should only be done to increase your sustained DPS, do not use it for burst DPS checks unless you can precast. Don’t do this if you don’t have enough Energy though, you definitely don’t want to run out in the middle of your boosted DPS window. 
  5. If you just applied Volatile Substance, but the Acid Blade DoT is not on the target. This can happen if you switched targets or otherwise let the Acid Blade DoT fall off. Volatile Substance will not deal any damage unless the target takes Poison damage from either your Acid Blade DoT or Corrosive Dart. You shouldn’t wait until your next Backstab since the target might be dead by that point and you won’t get to benefit from the Revealing Weakness debuff. 

Multi-DoTing by applying Corrosive Dart to a second boss or enemy with a lot of health does not result in a DPS increase since Laceration is typically a superior option. The only benefit you’ll get from doing this is if you need to slightly redistribute your damage from one enemy to another in case they need to be killed at the same time. Corrosive Dart does not have any additional procs, debuffs, or discipline passives associated with it that are relevant to your rotation.

Other Semi-Rotational Abilities

Fragmentation Grenade Frag Grenade

(Tech/Kinetic/Direct/AoE/Instant)
If you’ve already used Corrosive Dart and are still more than 10m away from your target and Adrenaline Probe is available, use Frag Grenade since it is your second most damaging ability. Be extremely careful when activating this ability because it is extremely expensive, costing 20 Energy, so I wouldn’t use it unless you have at least 85 Energy or Adrenaline Probe available. Without such a high amount of Energy, you can suddenly find yourself in a sub-60 death spiral.

Rifle Shot Rifle Shot

(Ranged/Energy/Direct/Single Target/Instant)
This ability should only be used if Corrosive Dart is already on the target and none of your other abilities are available or if your Energy happens to be too low so you can’t afford to use Corrosive Dart or Frag Grenade.

If you ever dip below 60 Energy and Adrenaline Probe won’t be available anytime soon (this should only happen if you really mess up your rotation or get killed), use Rifle Shot once or twice ASAP, though don’t delay Volatile Substance or Backstab and don’t let the Acid Blade DoT fall off either. After a few cycles, you should be able to fully stabilize back around 75-80 Energy. 

Overload Shot Overload Shot

This ability should only ever be used if Corrosive Dart is already on the target and you are still out of melee range. It does deal more damage than Frag Grenade and is cheaper, though it does still cost 15 Energy and only has a 10m range, so you only have about 6m where this ability could possibly be ideal to use.

You may also use this ability once or twice when trying to do burst DPS checks with the Volatile Strike tactical in place of Corrosive Dart and Crippling Slice, though only during the checks, not during the rest of the fight.

AoE Abilities

The formula for determining how much damage an AoE ability does per GCD such that it can be compared to single-target abilities is: (Damage Dealt/Number of GCDs) x Number of Enemies. An AoE ability’s place in the priority is as high as it can be until it reaches a single-target ability that deals more damage than the AoE will deal to all enemies in the GCD.

AoE damage is considered fluff if the adds do not need to die immediately or if you are otherwise shirking your main responsibilities to deal more damage than necessary to adds. It’s pretty easy to tell what is and isn’t fluff, don’t be greedy and don’t hurt your group’s chances of beating the boss. 

Toxic Haze Toxic Haze

(Tech/Internal/Periodic/AoE/Instant)
This is your strongest AoE ability by far, though it does cost 15 Energy, just like Corrosive Dart as well as a TA, unlike Corrosive Dart. Since you have so many considerations to make already about how to spend and maintain your TAs, it’s extremely challenging to use Toxic Haze frequently or on-demand. 

Thankfully, there is a Legendary Item called Trapper that makes it so Toxic Haze refunds its TA and does not cost any Energy, which eliminates the major downsides of Toxic Haze and basically enables you to use it as needed. You still need to consider the rest of your rotation, particularly with refreshing Acid Blade, but it’s a lot more straightforward to use. You will have to sacrifice a bit of single-target DPS to take Trapper, though.

Since Toxic Haze has a somewhat long cooldown, you should only use it when you have a spare GCD that would go towards Veiled Strike, Corrosive Dart, or a Laceration GCD that isn’t essential to refreshing the duration of Acid Blade (assuming you don’t need Explosive Cells).

Noxious Knives Noxious Knives

(Tech/Internal and Kinetic/Direct/AoE/Instant)
This is your spammable AoE, but I only mean that in the sense that it doesn’t have a cooldown since it costs 15 Energy, so you can’t sustain it for long periods of time. If you want to do pure AoE, you can sustain it with an Adrenaline Probe for about 2 durations of Toxic Haze, with a Backstab + Volatile Substance for the buffs and TAs. If you just want to weave it into your general rotation, you only have enough Energy to sometimes swap it out for non-essential Lacerations. You’ll deal almost exactly the same damage as Laceration if you manage to hit 3 targets with Noxious Knives, but due to its higher Energy cost, you shouldn’t use it unless you manage to hit at least 4 targets.

It technically surpasses Volatile Substance’s single-target damage at 6 targets, but then you start cannibalizing your TA generation from Backstabs, so I don’t think it’s worth it to ever delay Volatile Substance. Backstab also grants valuable buffs that affect your AoE damage, so it isn’t worth delaying that ability either. 

Remember to take the Curbing Strategies ability tree choice if you plan to use Noxious Knives during a boss fight.

Explosive Cells Explosive Cells Tactical Item

Concealment’s AoE tactical just lets them do actual rotational AoE, so just keep doing your rotation and adhering to the single-target rotation and you’ll be fine. Make sure you use Volatile Substance on cooldown and unless you’re paying very close attention, it’s probably a good idea to apply Corrosive Dart as well so you don’t have to worry about it not detonating because the Acid Blade DoT fell off. 

If you’re having to use Noxious Knives consistently during the fight and there isn’t a huge single-target DPS check, definitely use this tactical, but historically, single-target DPS checks almost always take priority over AoE DPS checks, and you won’t get any sort of a single-target DPS increase off of this tactical. 

Explosive Cells also spreads the Revealing Weakness and Internal/Elemental debuffs. The former allows you to Backstab anyone who got hit by Volatile Substance and the latter makes all the DoT spread specs fall in love with you. Almost all of the DoTs that are spreadable by other specs deal Internal/Elemental damage, so even if you aren’t dealing a whole lot of AoE damage, you’ll give a decent damage boost to the other players in your group.

Fragmentation Grenade Frag Grenade

(Tech/Kinetic/Direct/AoE/Instant)
This ability only works reliably for AoE in solo content since it only deals damage to secondary targets if they’re Standard or Weak enemies, which are quite rare. On top of that, the AoE damage it does to secondary targets is less than what it deals to the primary target. It’s annoying to test, but I think that Frag Grenade’s AoE damage is weaker than Noxious Knives. If one is stronger than the other, it definitely isn’t by much. 

Do not use Frag Grenade for AoE in group content! It just won’t deal damage to most adds since they’re usually Strong or higher.

Offensive Cooldowns

All offensive cooldowns (OCDs) should be used as frequently as possible under the conditions stated here and should only be delayed if they need to be saved for a DPS check or burst window, but don’t start delaying them until you see that you have to. 

Stim Boost Stim Boost

Stim Boost now grants an additional effect that is unique to each discipline. For Concealment, this additional effect is that Stim Boost increases your critical damage dealt by 30%, resulting in the ability offering a more significant DPS increase than it has in the past. It also synergizes well with most of the ability tree buffs you should take for PvE content. 

The DPS increase from the alacrity is relatively small, though it can make a bigger difference during a burst DPS check. Over those 15 seconds, you’ll be able to do a single extra ability (12 abilities vs 11) thanks to the shorter GCD. 

The cooldown reductions from ability tree buffs enable Stim Boost to have approximately 60% uptime when taking the Tactical Critical option. I think this increase in uptime is the main contributor to the easier Energy management that Concealment has. The 2% unnecessary alacrity you end up with means your average Energy regeneration rate is slightly higher and more of your GCDs are taken up by Lacerations, which are a lot more Energy-efficient than Corrosive Dart. 

Unfortunately, Concealment lost access to the Revitalizers utility effect, which has become the unique Stim Boost effect for Lethality. It’s reasonable since Stim Boost has such a high uptime now, but this is the biggest reason why I think Concealment might not be viable for all PvE endgame content anymore, particularly NiM raids.  

Cloaking Screen Cloaking Screen

This ability should only ever be used immediately before a Backstab against a target that does not have the Revealing Weakness debuff. This will happen occasionally during your regular rotation, though it is more likely if you have to swap targets frequently. 

This is easily the smallest DPS increase of all your cooldowns though since all it really does is let your next Backstab do a little bit more damage and generate a TA, but there’s no longer a reason not to use it since stealth rez is no longer a thing in raids. 

Tactical Overdrive Tactical Overdrive

This cooldown is incredibly potent. It lets you use two of your most damaging abilities twice in a row, gives you an immediate second use of Stim Boost, and gives you an additional 20% Mastery for 15 seconds. Since it resets so many different cooldowns, it’s important to make sure everything is ready before activating Tactical Overdrive.

Shield Probe should be on cooldown (activate it now if it isn’t), and Stim Boost should be activated immediately prior to using Tactical Overdrive. It’s really clunky to properly time Backstab and Volatile Substance, so I wouldn’t worry about them too much. 

Since this ability has such a long cooldown, it doesn’t matter too much if you delay it for a little while since it’s unlikely to change the number of uses throughout the fight, though do be mindful of whether or not you are able to squeeze in an extra use before the end of the fight. 

For example, you want to use it 4 times in a 10-minute fight. If you delay it for more than a minute combined, you might only get to use it 3 times. Sometimes it can’t be helped though and having it up for a major DPS check or burn phase definitely takes priority over getting as many uses as possible.

Adrenaline Probe Adrenaline Probe

Concealment’s Energy consumption is designed such that there is barely enough Energy for the single-target rotation where you shouldn’t have to use Adrenaline Probe if you do it perfectly, but if you make some mistakes and try to cover them with Corrosive Dart, you may have to use it. 

Wait to use Adrenaline Probe until the moment you see your Energy drop below 50. If you’re using the Endorphin Rush ability tree buff for more Energy in AoE situations, you can wait until you’re closer to 35-40 before activating it.

You can use Rifle Shot instead of Corrosive Dart and shouldn’t have to ever use Adrenaline Probe in single-target situations, but you will lose a few hundred DPS by doing this and you need to have a good enough grasp on the rotation anyway if you plan to use Noxious Knives for AoE since it costs more Energy than Laceration. 

It’s pretty easy to predict and avoid running out of Energy in Concealment too. If Adrenaline Probe isn’t available, all you need to do is swap out non-essential Lacerations for Rifle Shots for a little bit as soon as you see an ability activation push your Energy level below 60. Once you see yourself hit 75-80 Energy, you continue your rotation as normal. 

Adrenal

The best time to activate the Adrenal right as you activate Stim Boost so that both effects are active over the same 15 second period. If you’re using Tactical Overdrive, you can activate that at the exact same time as well. It’s really convenient to pair Tactical Overdrive with the Adrenal since they both share the same active time and cooldown. 

You shouldn’t have to worry too much about timing your Adrenal with a specific point in your rotation since your high damage abilities have such different cooldowns from each other. Try to apply a Corrosive Dart right before activating your Adrenal though since the rest of that DoT’s ticks will be boosted.

Defensive Cooldowns and Mobility

Defensive cooldowns (DCDs) are not used just to stop you from getting killed, they’re there to minimize overall damage taken. For any Combat Style in any fight, your most effective DCDs should be mapped to the most damaging attacks in the fight while weaker DCDs should be used against weaker attacks. 

Normally, I include the same bit of introductory information about DCDs here, but Concealment’s defensive capabilities are just so garbage for PvE that most of it doesn’t apply. 

Shield Probe Shield Probe

This ability has a very short cooldown and is relatively weak, so it won’t really protect you from a whole lot on its own. Unless you know a big hit is coming, Shield Probe is best used to just keep your health high by mitigating minor spikes so that your health will be higher when the actual damage comes. If you think you will die if you don’t use Shield Probe, just use Exfiltrate instead. Dying is a bigger DPS loss than spending a GCD to roll. 

In fights without a lot of AoE, you’ll be able to take the Med Shield ability tree buff that makes Shield Probe a tiny bit stronger. 

Medpac

Don’t save it for a rainy day because today is that rainy day! Unless you get hit by a one-shot mechanic (which you shouldn’t), you should never let yourself die while your Medpac is still available and you certainly should never try to use one of your heals before using your Medpac.

If everyone’s health is getting low or there’s a heal check in the current phase, do not hesitate to use your Medpac if you can take full benefit of the health provided or need to be above a certain health level to survive an imminent mechanic.

If you think Medpacs are too expensive, it’s time to get Biochem on one of your alts or even better, your raiding toon so that you can make your own or get reusables. Choosing not to use a medpac for financial reasons and subsequently dying is not a valid excuse.

Evasion Agent Evasion

As part of the ability pruning process, BioWare chose to make Countermeasures unique to Snipers and Evasion unique to Operatives. The capabilities handled by the pruned ability for each discipline are now granted by an ability tree option as part of the level 35 choice. As a result, Evasion now does a ton of different things:

  • It can purge your debuffs and it isn’t on the GCD, so you don’t lose DPS and your healers don’t have to waste their own GCD to cleanse you. Purges are stronger than cleanses because they remove all removable debuffs rather than just two and can remove things that cleanses can’t always remove. The only other purges in the game are Force Shroud and Force Barrier. This purge comes from the Preparedness Combat Style passive.
  • It can increase your defense chance by 200%. This effect isn’t incredibly helpful for defensive purposes in raids since DPS don’t have to deal with Melee/Ranged damage too much. The only time you’ll really experience it is if you’re kiting a boss or have to deal with adds that the tanks aren’t able to keep aggro on, and neither situation is likely as a Concealment Operative. Furthermore, Melee/Ranged damage tends to last for a lot longer than 3 seconds. The best use of the defense chance is to protect you for a couple of seconds in case you get aggro of something and hopefully the tanks can taunt it off of you before Evasion wears off. 
  • With the Quick Countermeasures ability tree option, Evasion’s cooldown is reduced by 15 seconds, it makes Evasion act as your threat drop, and it makes Evasion increase your movement speed by 50% for 6 seconds. Always use Evasion as a threat drop at the beginning of the fight, right after your second Backstab. The movement speed increase used to be a discipline proc called Ghost, not a utility. I think it was migrated to the ability tree choice for PvP balance reasons, though it will technically be available more often for this purpose thanks to the Evasive Imperative ability tree buff. 
  • With the Blow for Blow ability tree option, Evasion reflects (but doesn’t absorb) 150% of direct single-target damage. Unfortunately, since Evasion has the purge effect, you can’t use it to reflect everything that you can with other classes’ reactive damage. Remember that you will take any damage that gets reflected, so it’s very dangerous to stand in circles to take unnecessary damage and your healers will hate it.Using the ability to reflect damage should always take priority over using it defensively, unless there happens to be a very specific high damage melee/ranged attack you can use it on. I can’t think of a situation where you’ll have to choose between reflecting damage and cleansing, and like I said, sometimes activating Evasion will purge the thing you could otherwise reflect. If there is a situation where you have to pick, ask your raid lead. 
  • The Curative Agent utility effect from prior expansions appears to have been removed completely.

Toxin Scan Toxin Scan

This is the cleanse for the Operative Combat Style. Generally, healers are responsible for dealing with most of the cleanses, though there are a few instances where the DPS should help, like on Dread Council with Tyrans’ Death Mark. Never use this on yourself if Evasion is available since that ability is off the GCD. 

Your job as a DPS is to spend your GCDs on dealing damage. Your healer’s job is to spend their GCDs on mitigating damage, which includes most cleansing.

Exfiltrate Exfiltrate and Shadow Operative Elite Shadow Operative Elite

Exfiltrate is Concealment’s cheese ability thanks to the Shadow Operative Elite discipline passive. During the roll, you increase your defense and resist chance by 200%, allowing you to avoid all incoming damage. Unfortunately, this does cost a GCD to use, so you shouldn’t use this ability to mitigate damage unless said damage would likely kill you. Thanks to Concealments nearly nonexistent defensive options, you’ll have to do this more often than you would like. 

Exfiltrate is also one of Operative’s mobility tools, though it doesn’t take you as far as most other movement abilities in the game. Since it’s on the GCD, you also shouldn’t use it if you’re within 30m of your target at least until you’ve already applied Corrosive Dart.

Since Exfiltrate has such a short cooldown and two charges, you shouldn’t ever have to decide between using it for mobility or cheesing, though if you do ever come across a situation where you have to choose, make sure you have one charge to cheese the damage. 

Holotraverse Holotraverse

This is your gap closer ability. It now has the effects from the Circumvention utility built in. Holotraverse is pretty straightforward; if you’re within 30m of the boss, Holotraverse instantly teleports you to melee range, gives you a 75% movement speed boost for 3 seconds, and grants a TA.

Using Holotraverse as a gap closer takes priority over using it just to generate a TA since you’ll lose more DPS by not being in range than you’ll gain from a single extra TA since you can’t use your most damaging abilities while out of range. 

In fights where you know you won’t end up out of range of the boss, feel free to use it as needed for TA generation. If you want to get a little greedy in fights where there is only occasional need for a gap closer, I prefer to use Corrosive Dart for regular gaps in my rotation and only use Holotraverse to grant a TA if it will destabilize my rotation, like if I don’t have a TA to refresh Acid Blade right before Volatile Strike detonates.

Raid Utility

tactical superiority Tactical Superiority

This is your raid buff. It should be used on cooldown just like any other offensive cooldown unless it needs to be used for a burst phase or DPS check, normally the raid lead will make the call on when these should be used. 

Remember, this is not a personal buff for you, it’s something that buffs the whole team. It also only has a 40m range, so be mindful on larger maps that it might not catch everyone and position yourself accordingly so that it catches as many people as possible. Use this on trash mobs if you want to troll your team.

Kolto Probe Off-Healing

If you ever have to do this, something has clearly gone wrong with the attempt, or someone is not pulling their weight and you should complain to the raid lead and make a big scene about having to off-heal. This game is designed around each role being able to fully perform all of its duties without the need for another off-role’s help. 

You should never off-heal yourself unless you literally think you will die if you do not receive healing right now and the pull is salvageable. You should also not waste your time healing anyone with Kolto Infusion since it costs a TA and 20 Energy, just apply a stack or two of Kolto Probe and return to DPSing. Diagnostic Scan is not gonna prevent anyone from dying. 

Besides it being not your job, a lot of bosses have fairly tight enrage timers, so if you’re having to waste your precious GCDs helping out another role because they can’t deal with what they are fully capable of dealing with, you’re gonna end up wiping to an enraged boss later anyway.

If there is downtime though where you can’t do anything else at all, apply Kolto Probe to yourself, but really make sure there’s nothing you can do at all that would increase your damage output first, then if you still have time you can channel Diagnostic Scan if you really want to, though I don’t even bother putting that ability on my bar because it’s so weak.

Crowd Control and Other Notable Abilities

There are only a handful of instances in operations where CC is required, so I will briefly go over what the Operative has at their disposal along with any other abilities I have not yet covered in this guide.

Debilitate Debilitate

This is your hard stun, meaning it does not break on damage. In PvE, this will generally only be used for specific mechanics since most things you’d care about stunning are immune. Be sure to pay attention when something is stunnable though, because that often means you’re intended to stun it. I would also like to note that since stunned enemies cannot turn, you can use Debilitate if you have aggro of an add and need to use Backstab but don’t have the Revealing Weakness debuff from Volatile Substance in order to be able to get behind it.

Distraction Distraction

This is your interrupt. For a melee DPS, the cooldown on your interrupt is a little on the long side, at 18 seconds its duration equivalent with Sorcerer and Sniper interrupts. If you really want to be a clicker, I highly recommend you at least keybind this ability or you will have trouble with some of the shorter casts that need to be interrupted. 

Flashbang Flash Bang

This is your mez, a CC ability that breaks on damage. Usually if you’re using this in-combat, you will want to use it very soon after the enemy spawns. Thanks to the Preparedness Combat Style passive, this ability can blind up to 7 additional nearby targets, making it quite potent. Since it breaks on damage, it’s best used against adds that you do not intend to kill immediately. 

Escape Escape

This is your CC break. Use it when you get CC’d. 

Sleep Dart Sleep Dart

This ability allows you to CC an enemy from stealth without entering combat. This can help you to skip some sets of trash in between bosses, though it isn’t worth using if you’re progging on that boss since someone is eventually gonna pull them all accidentally.

Stealth Stealth

This is a toggle ability that allows you to enter and exit stealth, which allows you to sneak past some enemies. You have to be in stealth in order to use Sleep Dart and Infiltrate. In actual combat, you won’t be using this ability at all and you’ll use Cloaking Screen to stealth out instead, though it’s important to be in stealth when the fight starts so you can deal extra damage with and generate a TA from Backstab. 

Infiltrate Infiltrate

This ability allows you to put your entire group in stealth. I have never seen it used successfully in PvE. You might be able to use it to sneak past some groups of trash enemies, but that requires the whole group to be more coordinated than it usually is during trash.

Ability Tree Choices

Make a habit of reading through all of your ability tree choices each time you log in. They are intended to be changed on the fly and having a clearer idea of what all of them do will help you to recognize situations where individual choices will be useful in-game.

Level 23 Choice – Laceration Buffs

Defensive Stance Concealment and Scrapper Defensive Stance

  • Effect: Dealing damage with Laceration applies Defensive Stance to you, increasing your damage reduction by 3% per stack. Stacks up to 3 times and lasts 6 seconds.
  • Recommendation: Never take this. 9% DR is nice, but it isn’t gonna save your life and Roll Knife provides a too much DPS to give up. Since it only lasts 6 seconds, there’s a good chance it will fall off sometimes too.

Deadly Field, Retargeting, Explosive Reset, Roll Knife Roll Knife

  • Effect: Laceration’s critical chance is increased by 10% and activating Laceration reduces Stim Boost’s cooldown by 10 seconds.
  • Recommendation: Always take this. The DPS increase from this option is massive. You can’t afford to ever give it up.

Targeted Ambush, Bleeding Pommel, Penetrating Slash for Rep and Imp, Relentless Blades Relentless Blades

  • Effect: Laceration no longer costs Energy and slows the target by 50% for 6 seconds.
  • Recommendation: Never take this. Laceration’s use is limited by your TAs, not by Energy cost. You can run out of Energy if you aren’t executing your rotation correctly, but your DPS is gonna be in the toilet if you can’t manage to do that anyway.

Level 27 Choice – Curbing Strategies, Debilitate, or Quick Countermeasures

Curbing Strategies Imp and Rep Curbing Strategies

  • Effect: Noxious Knives deals 25% more damage and applies Curbing Strategies, which reduces the movement speed of targets it damages by 40%. Lasts 6 seconds.
  • Recommendation: Take this in fights where you have to use Noxious Knives. You should only be using Noxious Knives against adds that need to die ASAP; otherwise, leave it to Toxic Haze and other players’ rotational AoE.

Debilitate Debilitate

  • Effect: Grants the Debilitate ability, which stuns the target for 4 seconds and deals a small amount of damage. Costs 5 Energy, 4m range, and has a 30s cooldown.
  • Recommendation: Take this in specific fights only. Some fights do require that enemies be stunned, and Operative DPS doesn’t have to give up very much to take their hard stun compared to some other Combat Styles. Furthermore, Debilitate has the shortest cooldown of any hard stun in the game.

Quick Countermeasures Quick Countermeasures

  • Effect: Reduces the cooldown of Evasion by 15 seconds. In addition, activating Evasion lowers threat by a moderate amount and grants Quick Countermeasures, which increases your movement speed by 50%. Lasts 6 seconds.
  • Recommendation: Almost always take this. It preserves your capacity to use Countermeasures as a movement speed boost and makes Evasion available more frequently in fights where it can be used for damage mitigation. The threat drop component is also valuable since you don’t want to use Cloaking Screen as soon as tanks would like.

Level 39 Choice – Crippling Slice Buffs

Crippling Throw Crippling Throw

  • Effect: Replaces Crippling Slice with an upgraded version of the ability that grants a TA and has a 10m range. It is the same in every other way.
  • Recommendation: Never take this. You don’t need 10m range on an ability that deals so little damage. If you need to hit something that is 10m away, you can use Overload Shot or one of your abilities that has 30m range. The TA generation is nice, but it isn’t enough to make it better than Crippling Wounds.

Pervasive Death, System Kick, Penetrating Rounds, The Best Defense The Best Defense

  • Effect: Dealing damage with Crippling Slice applies The Best Defense to the target, which reduces its damage dealt to you by 20%. Lasts 6 seconds.
  • Recommendation: Never take this. The effect may seem nice at first glance, but it’s pretty bad when you take a closer look. Even if Crippling Slice is used on cooldown, this mitigation will only have 40% uptime, resulting in 8% average mitigation. If you want to save it as a DCD, you have to give up a little DPS to use Rifle Shot for Energy management instead of relying on Crippling Slice. When examined from the perspective of a DCD, it’s pretty garbage, possibly one of the worst in the game. It’s on the GCD, grants a relatively small amount of mitigation that doesn’t last very long, and only protects you against a single target. Furthermore, if you’re gonna spend a GCD to mitigate damage anyway, your roll will likely be a better option since 6 seconds is typically only long enough to mitigate spikes anyway.

Befall, Energy Barrel (Agent and Smuggler), Critical Interrogation, Deep Cuts, Dusk Ward, Crippling Wounds Crippling Wounds

  • Effect: Crippling Slice applies Crippling Wounds, which causes your next direct damage attack against that target to automatically critically hit. Lasts up to 10 seconds.
  • Recommendation: Always take this. It’s the only actually good option in this tier for PvE and effectively eliminates the DPS loss from needing to use Crippling Slice for Energy management while also offering stronger and more consistent burst damage. It synergizes quite well with Stim Boost’s critical damage boost too.

Level 43 Choice – Tactical Critical, Advanced Stealth, or Tactical Overdrive

Tactical Critical Tactical Critical

  • Effect: Critically hitting with a direct damage attack applies a stack of Tactical Critical to you, which increases your critical chance by 2%. Stacks up to 5 times (10% total) and lasts 4 seconds. In addition, activating Stim Boost purges movement-impairing effects and grants 5 stacks of Tactical Critical.
  • Recommendation: Take this option when there are frequent burst DPS checks. Your sustained DPS with this option will roughly match what you can do with Tactical Overdrive when that ability is used on cooldown. This option makes Stim Boost available significantly more often, so it is better for frequent burst DPS checks where damage doesn’t carry over so you can have Stim Boost for each one like the Ignition Catalysts in the Scyva fight or the mini T6 droid in the second boss of Dxun. I think that when you’re fully geared and have higher crit chance, this option will be better. In my unaugged 320-ish gear, I wasn’t able to maintain the buff 100% of the time.

Advanced Stealth Imperial Advanced Stealth

  • Effect: Gaining a Tactical Advantage with an attack that breaks stealth grants Active Stealth. While you are in Active Stealth, your chance to dodge Melee and Ranged attacks is increased by 200% and your next direct damage attack automatically critically hits. Lasts up to 3 seconds and dealing or taking damage breaks Active Stealth.
  • Recommendation: Take this for solo content only. Stealthed Backstab autocrits are fun and you can make a lot more use out of this option than either of the other two in solo content, but it won’t ever be able to compete with the other two options in terms of DPS.

Tactical Overdrive Tactical Overdrive

  • Effect: Grants the Tactical Overdrive ability, which resets the cooldown of Stim Boost, Volatile Substance, Backstab, and Shield Probe. In addition, your Mastery is increased by 20%. Lasts for 15 seconds. 3 min cooldown.
  • Recommendation: Take this option for when DPS is not always equally important. If you use Tactical Overdrive on cooldown, your sustained DPS will match what you can do with Tactical Critical, but it carries the added benefit of being able to concentrate your damage output, which is fantastic for (infrequent) burst DPS checks and burn phases. That said, the cooldown resets for Volatile Substance and Backstab might throw you off and due to Tactical Overdrive’s lengthy cooldown, it’s difficult to practice. I really wish this ability gave you some damage mitigation instead of the cooldown resets for on-GCD abilities.

Level 51 Choice – Infiltrator, Advanced Cloaking, or Chem-resistant Inlays

Infiltrator Infiltrator

  • Effect: Increases your movement speed by 15% and your effective stealth level by 3.
  • Recommendation: Always take this for solo content and for specific fights where high mobility is required. You won’t benefit from the movement speed boost out of combat since Sprint offers a greater movement speed boost, but the increased stealth effectiveness is nice. It might be worth taking in some fights where you often find yourself out of range of the boss, like TFB Kephess or Dash’roode. You are losing some DPS inherently by not taking Advanced Cloaking though, so only take this in fights where you see that it results in a DPS increase.

Advanced Cloaking Advanced Cloaking

  • Effect: Reduces the cooldown of Cloaking Screen by 30 seconds and activating Cloaking Screen increases movement speed by 50% for 6 seconds.
  • Recommendation: Almost always take this for group content. There are a lot of GCDs where you won’t have the Revealing Weakness debuff on your target when it’s time to use Backstab. The cooldown reduction on Cloaking Screen allows you to counteract this more frequently so you get to deal more damage and generate the TA. Contrary to what some believe, using Backstab from Stealth does nothing if the target has the Revealing Weakness debuff.

Chem-resistant Inlays Chem-resistant Inlays

  • Effect: Increases damage reduction by 5%.
  • Recommendation: Take this in specific fights only. It’s a nice effect, but I think Advanced Cloaking and Infiltrator are more useful in my opinion. I’d only use Chem-resistant Inlays if the fight didn’t have a DPS check and healers were under a lot of pressure.

Level 64 Choice – Med Shield, Endorphin Rush, or Evasive Screen

Med Shield Med Shield

  • Effect: Your Shield Probe heals you for 5% of your maximum health when it collapses.
  • Recommendation: Almost always take this. It is useful in every fight, though it isn’t essential.

Endorphin Rush Endorphin Rush

  • Effect: Adrenaline Probe immediately restores 15 additional Energy.
  • Recommendation: Take this only when you have to use a lot of AoE. You can’t make use of the extra Energy if you’re doing the single-target rotation correctly, but Noxious Knives costs almost twice as much as the effective cost of Laceration.

Evasive Screen Evasive Screen

  • Effect: When activated, Cloaking Screen grants 2 seconds of Evasion.
  • Recommendation: Never take this. You’re only ever out of combat for less than a GCD and the low cooldown on Evasion should be enough to purge all possible debuffs.

Level 73 Choice – Infiltrate, Flash Bang, or Holotraverse

Infiltrate Infiltrate

  • Effect: Grants the Infiltrate ability, which cloaks all group members within 10m of you in a temporary stealth field that lasts 15 seconds. Cannot be used while in combat. Only usable while in stealth mode.
  • Recommendation: Never take this. You might be able to use it to skip some trash, but I have never seen it actually work. There’s always someone who ends up outside of the stealth field; and that’s assuming that the adds actually respect the stealth field in the first place.

FlashbangFlash Bang

  • Effect: Grants the Flash Bang ability, which mezzes the target for 8 seconds. When Flash Bang ends, it leaves behind Flash Powder, which reduces the target’s accuracy by 20% for 8 seconds. 10m range, 1 min cooldown, (still AoE from Preparedness passive).
  • Recommendation: Never take this. The effect is nice, and it’s fine for solo content if you prefer, but I think Holotraverse is more useful. In group content, Flash Bang is almost always useless. If you need more CC, take debilitate instead.

Holotraverse Holotraverse

  • Effect: Grants the Holotraverse ability, which generates a TA and instantly moves you to your target (friend or foe) and increases your movement speed by 75% for 3 seconds. Can be used while immobilized and purges all movement-impairing effects. Does not break stealth and cannot be used against enemy targets in Cover.
  • Recommendation: Always take this. You’ll need the TA generation and mobility to deal maximum DPS. It’s really nice for traveling between groups of trash when doing solo content too.

Level 73 Choice – Evasive Imperative, Jarring Strike, or Blow for Blow

Evasive Imperative Evasive Imperative

  • Effect: Each time you get attacked, the active cooldown of your Evasion is reduced by 3 seconds. This effect cannot occur more than once every 1.5 seconds.
  • Recommendation: Almost always take this for group content. There aren’t too many fights where you can reflect things, and the cooldown reduction on Evasion means you’ll get your movement speed boost a lot more often.

Jarring Strike Jarring Strike

  • Effect: When used from stealth, Backstab interrupts and knocks down the target for 3 seconds. Player targets are immobilized for 3 seconds rather than being knocked down.
  • Recommendation: Take this for regular solo content and maybe for specific fights. It’s fun to pop out of stealth and knock things over with autocrit Backstabs. You’ll probably benefit more from this in easy solo content than Blow for Blow since most Standard enemies tend to not hit very hard. In group content, you might be able to utilize this in specific fights as an additional stun against a specific add, like a Grace droid in the Tyth fight.

Blow for Blow Blow for Blow

  • Effect: Activating Evasion grants Blow for Blow, which Reflects 150% of direct single-target Force and Tech damage back to the attacker while Evasion is active.
  • Recommendation: Take this for challenging solo content and fights where you take significant, unavoidable, reflectable damage. Please note that unlike other reflects, you do not absorb the damage that gets reflected. With Blow for Blow and Evasion, depending on the damage type, you either completely avoid the damage or take it and deal it back. It is impossible to avoid and reflect the same attack with this utility. There are 2 use cases for Blow for Blow. In solo content, you may prefer it to Jarring Strike, though Standard enemies typically don’t hit too hard, so it’s less useful outside of challenging solo content like MM Chapters, the Eternal Championship, and Heroics. In group content, the most tantalizing attacks to reflect will probably kill you in the process, so I only recommend taking this when you can reflect damage you can’t avoid taking.

Gearing and Stats Priorities

Tactical Items

Acid Lash Acid Lash
Effect
Laceration damage triggers Acid Blade damage and refreshes its duration. Acid Blade does 60% more damage.
Recommendation
This is your default tactical item. It provides the greatest single-target sustained DPS increase compared to the other Concealment tacticals. Your rotation will be a bit different and more challenging compared to what was done prior to 6.0 or if you are using one of the other tacticals. The majority of the guide is written assuming you have this tactical item.
Explosive Cells Explosive Cells
Effect
When Volatile Substance triggers, it deals damage to all enemies around the primary target and spreads its effects.
Recommendation
This is your AoE tactical item. It’s pretty straightforward, it just allows you to deal AoE damage rotationally and spreads your internal/elemental debuff. It is best used when you have a primary target with higher health alongside enemies with lower health, like on Dash’roode in S&V. Due to how Volatile Substance works, it can be difficult to use reliably when you don’t have a higher health primary target.
Volatile Strike Volatile Strike
Effect
Veiled Strike automatically critically hits targets affected by your unexploded Volatile Substance and triggers it immediately. Dealing damage this way causes your next Backstab to automatically critically hit.
Recommendation
This tactical is supposed to be for burst DPS, but it’s not good enough at its job. You’ll lose about a fair bit of sustained DPS with this tactical and burst damage is about equal to Acid Lash in even the shortest and most ideal shortest burst checks and it quickly pulls ahead the longer the check goes on.

Legendary Items

BioWare has removed set bonuses from the game and replaced them with Legendary Items, which are just implants with old 4 or 6-piece set bonus effects on them, so rather than needing to collect 4 pieces of a gear set to get the 4-piece set bonus, or 6 pieces for the 6-piece, you’ll get either a 4 or 6-piece set bonus effect on an implant. 

This was done to improve customization (now you can mix and match set bonus effects), make them easier to obtain, and consume less inventory space. Here are the Legendary Items you should use as a Concealment Operative:

  • Tactician – Gaining Upper Hand / Tactical Advantage increases your crit chance by 10% for 10 seconds.
  • Locked and Loaded – Ranged and tech damage and healer are increased by 3%. 
  • Trapper – Bushwhack / Toxic Haze refunds an Upper Hand / Tactical Advantage and no longer costs Energy.

You can learn more from the dedicated Guide to Legendary Items in SWTOR 7.0. It also offers a full list of all currently available Legendary Implants in the game.

Note: I haven’t done testing on these Legendary Implants yet. Tactician should yield higher DPS than Locked and Loaded (assuming it actually lost the 18s rate limit), but you can utilize the latter on Snipers and Gunslingers and the difference is small. You can use both in single-target situations, but you will have to give one of them up for Trapper if you want to AoE.

I don’t think that Tactician’s Focus (not listed) will be competitive because Laceration doesn’t deal enough damage, but testing is required. I don’t expect the DPS difference to be very large.

Moddable Gear

No level 80 mods or moddable gear will be available with the launch of 7.0. In a later update, likely 7.1, a vendor that sells mods will become available to players with at high rating gear. I will update this section of the guide when that vendor is released.

Earpiece

The earpiece is the only piece of gear that you really get to pick your tertiary stats for. It will need to grant either Accuracy (Initiative, yellow icon) or Alacrity (Quick Savant / Nimble, green icon), depending on your mix of augments. 

Crystals

Advanced EvisceratingCrystals are still the best because +41 stat is a more significant upgrade for critical rating since your overall stat pool for tertiary stats is much smaller than it is for the alternative stat increases from crystals, which increase primary and secondary stats including mastery, endurance, and power. 

Relics

I recommend the Relic of Focused Retribution and Relic of Serendipitous Assault for all content. Equip whichever version of these relics that has the highest item rating. Thankfully, we don’t have to bother with carrying around a second set of relics anymore because all endgame content is being balanced for level 80.

Biochem Items

Since there is no new crafting tier being released with the launch of 7.0, the Biochem items from 6.0 remain BiS. I am recommending the Advanced Kyrprax Proficient Stim, Advanced Kyrprax Medpac, and Advanced Kyrprax Attack Adrenal

Augments

Since there isn’t a new crafting tier yet, there aren’t any new tiers of augments yet either, so just like with Biochem items, you’ll be using stuff from 6.0. There are 3 different tiers to consider. If you played in the last expansion, hold onto whatever you have, though it is unlikely that you’ll be able to salvage all of them.

Just like in 6.0, augments are largely about how much you want to spend. Most of the benefit can be had for pretty cheap, but if you need that extra performance boost and are willing to fork over the credits, you do have access to more powerful gear. Almost everyone should buy the blue 276 augments because they provide the greatest bang for the buck. Here are all your options:

  • Gold 300 augments (Superior [Type] Augment 77 + Augmentation Kit 11). These are overall best-in-slot (BiS) and will provide a noticeable DPS increase, but they are obscenely expensive. Unless you need them to reach a stat threshold, you’re better off spending your hard-earned credits on a cool armor set instead.
  • Purple 286 augments (Advanced [Type] Augment 74 + Augmentation Kit MK-11) are one step lower, however they are incredibly expensive, so I would only recommend getting them for your main and only if you have a bunch of extra credits burning a hole in your pocket. 
  • Blue 276 augments ([Type] Augment 73 + Augmentation Kit Mk-11) provide about 88% of the benefit for about 6% of the cost of the purple 286 augments. It’s really hard to justify using the purple 286 augments unless you or your group really needs that small stat increase to slightly boost your numbers. Almost everyone should get this tier of augments. 

Since we don’t have access to moddable gear, we’ll be completely dependent on augments to balance out the stats BioWare gives us. You’ll probably need a lot more accuracy and alacrity augments to reach the associated stat thresholds.

Stat Priority

  1. Accuracy to 110.00% – This is the most important stat to reach its threshold because attacks that miss deal 0 damage and no other stats matter if that happens. You need 110% accuracy and not just 100% because bosses have a 10% chance to dodge/resist player attacks and any percentage over 100% reduces this chance. 
  2. Alacrity to 7.15% – This stat has the second priority because you do not get the full benefit of the stat unless you are at one of the thresholds, though it’s still less important than accuracy because your attacks still need to hit. 
  3. Critical gets the rest – This stat is the lowest priority because it does not have a threshold associated with it like the other two tertiary stats. 

I will update this section as soon as I can with exact recommendations for number of specific pieces of mods.

Regarding the Zeal Guild Perk Alacrity Boost

If your guild is using the Zeal (cyan) guild perk set bonus 5% alacrity boost, you won’t need nearly as much alacrity stat to reach your desired alacrity threshold, so focus on the percentage thresholds rather than the stat amounts. Just keep adding one augment at a time until you reach the desired percentage.

Guild leaders, I personally recommend using the Fortune (yellow) guild perk set bonus instead, which grants 5% critical chance and also boosts the critical rate and time efficiency of all Crew Skills by 2%. The reason for this is that you don’t have to change the way you gear in order to benefit from the effect. 

Neither effect works in MM raids or PvP, so if you do either of those activities, you’ll need to tweak your gear to reach the desired threshold, which I find to be super tedious. The alacrity boost is much stronger than the critical chance boost, but content isn’t balanced around these guild perk set bonuses anyway, so I find it better to just have a smaller boost I don’t have to worry about as opposed to a larger boost that I have to interact with.

Best Concealment Operative Builds in 7.0

These are the builds that I recommend for different types of content and situations. The Build Essentials are what I consider to be the core components that make the build viable. Without them, the build no longer accomplishes its primary function. Build Essentials can include important ability tree buffs, a tactical item, and even legendary items occasionally. The ability tree buffs that aren’t listed as Build Essentials can be changed as needed without compromising the integrity of the build, though I have included a full set of default choices that will be most consistently helpful in accomplishing what the build sets out to do.

Single-Target Sustained Build

SWTOR 7.0 Concealment Operative PvE Single-Target Sustained Build

This build is the only one that’s viable for sustained DPS. The non-essential points can be swapped out depending on the needs of the fight, but by default, I recommend improvements to damage mitigation and mobility instead of AoE. 

Sustained AoE Build

SWTOR 7.0 Concealment Operative PvE Sustained AoE Build

This build is centered around dealing AoE damage in a group setting. You will give up a significant amount of single-target DPS and a little bit of survivability in order to use the build, so I’d only use it in situations where you’re AoEing throughout the entire fight and there aren’t any single-target DPS checks.

Solo Content Build

This build is similar to what I recommend for Sustained DPS, but it’s better suited to frequent trash pulls. As I mentioned, Advanced Stealth can’t match Tactical Overdrive or Tactical Critical in terms of sustained DPS; it’s not even close, but Advanced Stealth is much more useful when you’re able to enter stealth frequently as you can between trash pulls. 

I also suggest a different set of default non-essential options that better fit the kind of enemies you’ll be fighting. As you can see, there’s a greater emphasis on AoE and less on mitigation since your companion can protect you.

You can use whichever combination of Legendary Implants you prefer or have on hand. Trapper will allow you to more freely use Toxic Haze. Tactician’s should offer a higher sustained DPS increase than Locked and Loaded, but you might not be able to maintain its effect consistently.

Openers, Rotations, Priorities

This is the rotation you use at the very beginning of the fight and for burst DPS checks. It can be a little different than the standard rotation because everything is off cooldown, including all of your OCDs and relic procs. It’s important to get as much damage as possible while all of your damage boosts are available to maximize their impact. 

Openers

Concealment has 2 openers for PvE depending on whether Tactical Overdrive is being used.

Regular Opener

  1. Stealth Stealth
  2. Holotraverse Holotraverse
  3. Stim Boost Stim Boost 
  4. Adrenal + tactical superiority Tactical Superiority
  5. BackstabBackstab (from stealth)
  6. Volatile Substance Volatile Substance
  7. Laceration Laceration
  8. Crippling Slice Crippling Slice
  9. Laceration Laceration
  10. Veiled Strike Veiled Strike
  11. Laceration Laceration
  12. Laceration Laceration
  13. Backstab Backstab

Backstab has to be used first because you rely on the damage increase from being in stealth since you don’t have the Revealing Weakness debuff on the target yet. The remainder of the opener is just the regular rotation.  

Since Tactical Superiority consumes a TA, if you don’t use it at the beginning of the fight, you will have an additional TA to work with. If you want, you can insert a Corrosive Dart after the first Crippling Slice, especially if you aren’t using Holotraverse at the very beginning.

Tactical Overdrive Opener

  1. Stealth Stealth
  2. Stim Boost Stim Boost + tactical superiority Tactical Superiority
  3. Backstab Backstab (from stealth)
  4. Volatile Substance Volatile Substance
  5. Tactical Overdrive Tactical Overdrive + Adrenal 
  6. Laceration Laceration
  7. Crippling Slice Crippling Slice
  8. Backstab Backstab
  9. Volatile Substance Volatile Substance
  10. Laceration Laceration
  11. Stim Boost Stim Boost
  12. Laceration Laceration
  13. Laceration Laceration
  14. Veiled StrikeVeiled Strike
  15. Backstab Backstab

The first 4 GCDs are basically identical to the regular opener, you just do your hardest hitting abilities, wait for Volatile Substance to detonate, and then instead of going into the priority component, you go back around and do Backstab into Volatile Substance again, but without the autocrit from Crippling Slice this time.

I think it’s probably better to wait to use the Adrenal until you activate Tactical Overdrive so both are active for the entire duration of each other, but it shouldn’t matter too much either way since you’re either giving up 2 GCDs of synergistic overlap between the cooldowns or you’re deliberately swapping out 1 of your strongest GCDs for a weaker attack. Due to the super long cooldowns on your OCDs, it’s very time-consuming to test, so I won’t be able to verify this myself. If someone shows me a few 1mil HP dummy parses with each approach, I’ll update the guide according to the results. 

You should still use the raid buff at the same time that you activate Stim Boost because many other disciplines use their strongest ability within their first or second GCD, and it isn’t worth them losing out on a buff to that ability in case it might be slightly more optimal for you.

Crippling Slice will come off cooldown a bit earlier than usual, this is fine and unavoidable. You may feel tempted to use it, but don’t give in! Just wait and use it as the second GCD after Volatile Substance is applied. 

The exact timing of the second activation of Stim Boost isn’t too important, you just want to use it right at the end of the previous use of Stim Boost so you maximize the overall uptime. If there’s a slightly better spot where you can better benefit from the 1 TA it generates, go ahead and use it then instead. 

Standard Rotation

The Sustained DPS build has a rotation component and a priority component. The rotation component is structured that way because it is the only way that satisfies all requirements (I will explain why in greater detail after going over the actual rotation). The priority component exists because of TA generation and different abilities dealing different amounts of damage.

Mini Rotation Component

  1. Volatile Substance Volatile Substance
  2. Laceration Laceration
  3. Crippling Slice Crippling Slice
  4. Priority

Volatile Substance is the first ability because it’s our most damaging attack and enables Backstab to deal more damage. Laceration is used second because there’s a good chance that Acid Blade needs to be refreshed during this GCD so we don’t have to worry about it falling off later on as a result of the variability of the priority system.

Crippling Slice is third because it grants an autocrit to your next direct damage ability, which happens to be the detonation of Volatile Substance that will happen less than a second after Crippling Slice deals damage. Just so we’re clear, Crippling Slice can’t detonate Volatile Substance, it just gets triggered at the same time that Crippling Slice is activated. Crippling Slice only grants the autocrit to your next direct damage attack, so it’s crucial that you execute the rotation without pausing between abilities. 

The cooldown duration of Crippling Slice is slightly shorter than that of Volatile Substance, but we can’t use it more often than that. There are instances where you won’t have needed to use Laceration to refresh the duration of Acid Blade before Crippling Slice, but you need a GCD in between while Volatile Substance settles in and it’s easier to just always use Laceration there than it is to determine if you can use something else instead.

If you don’t have a spare TA for Laceration and no way to earn one, you can use Veiled Strike in that GCD instead. If Acid Blade falls off before Volatile Substance has detonated, apply Corrosive Dart immediately after using Crippling Slice unless Backstab is available.

Priority Component

  1. Backstab Backstab
  2. Laceration Laceration (only if Acid Blade will fall off in the next GCD or you have max TA)
  3. Targeted Ambush, Bleeding Pommel, Penetrating Slash for Rep and Imp, Relentless Blades Mini Rotation Component
  4. Veiled Strike Veiled Strike
  5. Laceration Laceration
  6. Corrosive DartCorrosive Dart
  7. Rifle ShotRifle Shot

Backstab has the highest priority because it deals the most damage out of our priority abilities, usually generates a TA, and always applies / refreshes Acid Blade (without requiring a TA), and grants / refreshes a couple of crucial buffs.

When Backstab is on cooldown, you have to decide between using Veiled Strike or Laceration. Laceration must be used if you have max stacks of TA or if it’s the final GCD to refresh Acid Blade before it will fall off. Veiled Strike should be used if you don’t have max TA and you have at least 1 GCD before Acid Blade falls off. It’s important to use Veiled Strike to generate TA when you don’t have to use Laceration so you minimize the number of GCDs where you’re forced to use Corrosive Dart or Rifle Shot instead.

Corrosive Dart will not have 100% uptime if you’re executing the rotation correctly, at least not in fights where you have high uptime on the boss. 

Rifle Shot should only be used if none of the other abilities are available, it deals very little damage and only serves as an alternative to doing no damage at all. If none of your abilities in the priority are available, it indicates that If you have to use it more than like 5 times in a single fight because you don’t have enough TAs, you need to spend more time practicing on the dummy. 

Make sure you have a spare TA to use for the GCD after applying Volatile Substance. This may require holding onto your final TA and using Corrosive Dart instead, or it could come from a Backstab you’re about to do, or it could be from a Stim Boost that will come off cooldown by the time it’s needed. Holotraverse should serve as a last resort for this TA, though this is the best time to use Holotraverse if you need one. 

Since Corrosive Dart deals nearly identical damage to the Laceration GCD  (Laceration + Collateral Strike + Acid Blade tick), they are functionally interchangeable in terms of immediate priority when using the Acid Blade tactical and Sustained DPS build. There are some small factors depending on your specific build that can add up over the course of an entire fight that will result in slightly lower sustained DPS, so you should still prioritize using Laceration when possible.

Stim Boost will come off cooldown quite frequently. Remember that you can’t really delay using it since it gets such a massive cooldown reduction from each use of Laceration, but if you know Stim Boost is about to come off cooldown, try to factor that into which ability you use. Perhaps it might be better to delay Veiled Strike by a GCD if Stim Boost would come off cooldown when you would have max TA. 

Sometimes, Backstab and Volatile Substance will come off cooldown at the same time. I prefer to use Backstab first even though I won’t have the Revealing Weakness debuff because there is less of a delay overall and it takes far longer for delays of Volatile Substance to add up into a lost use of the ability compared to Backstab because Volatile Substance has a much longer cooldown. Furthermore, you’re only delaying the entire block by a GCD as opposed to one ability by 3 GCDs.

Non-Acid Lash Rotation

If you aren’t using Acid Lash, you won’t always have the Acid Blade DoT up to detonate Volatile Substance, boost the damage dealt by Laceration, or be able to trigger the Tactical Opportunity proc, so you need to use Corrosive Dart on cooldown as part of the mini rotation component so it has 100% uptime. 

Mini Rotation Component

  1. Volatile Substance Volatile Substance
  2. Laceration Laceration or Veiled Strike Veiled Strike
  3. Crippling Slice Crippling Slice
  4. Corrosive Dart Corrosive Dart
  5. Priority

Priority Component

  1. Backstab Backstab
  2. Targeted Ambush, Bleeding Pommel, Penetrating Slash for Rep and Imp, Relentless Blades Mini Rotation Component
  3. Laceration Laceration (if at max TA)
  4. Veiled Strike Veiled Strike
  5. Laceration Laceration
  6. Rifle Shot Rifle Shot

As you can see, it’s pretty similar, the big difference is a greater emphasis on the Mini Rotation Component. As Stim Boost falls off, sometimes there will be a tick left in Corrosive Dart when it’s time to reapply it. There’s not much we can do to avoid this from happening without causing other problems, so it’s fine to clip it. You’ll find yourself consuming slightly more Energy and using more Rifle Shots since you won’t have Corrosive Dart to fall back on. 

Acknowledgements and Special Thanks

I want to thank my raid team, Time Turners. I’ve had an amazing time over the years and can’t wait to see what’s in store for the years to come. 

I will be updating all of my class guides as I become able to test them more thoroughly and as balance changes are released, though this will take time as I am just one person with many different class guides to maintain. If you come across something you believe I haven’t considered, like a build, rotation, or opener, that performs equal to or better than what I recommend, please tell me about it in the comment.

Author Lokzmir
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