SWTOR 7.0 Marksman Sniper PvE Guide (DPS) for beginners and more experienced veterans: Skills, Choices, Rotations, Gearing, Builds, Tips!

Table of Contents:

Introduction to Marksman Sniper

Welcome to my 7.0 guide for Marksman Sniper! 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. Marksman’s burst capabilities have been improved both in 6.0 and 7.0, making them an excellent choice to bring for burst DPS checks.  

In terms of survivability, Marksman is in a worse place compared to 6.0. They lost Vital Regulators, roll heal, and typically don’t have access to the effects of Evasion. That said, almost all disciplines received some sort of survivability nerf, so I think Marksman is still in a good spot for 7.0.

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 almost always one of your primary CCs, either the 8s mez or 4s hard stun, though Sniper has their hard stun locked away in a different choice instead. 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. Marksman permanently lost access to 3 abilities: 

  • Evasion
  • Shatter Shot
  • Flash Bang

The word Imperial has been replaced with something that is faction-agnostic since Republic Origin Stories now have access to the Combat Style. The most notable change is Imperial Preparation > Meticulous Preparation, though it affects the names of a few passives as well. 

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. 

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. 

Group Composition Tips

In order to deal maximum damage, Marksman requires 2 other DPS debuffs:

DPS Debuff Presence of debuff increases DPS by approximately
Tech 1%
Internal / Elemental 1.4%
Total DPS Gain:  2.4%

Marksman is extremely independent when it comes to DPS debuffs. Corrosive Dart is the only ability that isn’t covered by the debuffs Marksman provides for itself. This allows it to be slotted into any group composition without causing problems.

Marksman Snipers pair best with Operative / Scoundrel DPS since both parties provide both of the DPS debuffs needed by the other and offer all necessary debuffs for any Tech DPS Combat Style (besides the non-essential AoE debuff). To be clear, Operative / Scoundrel DPS is by no means required and is not the only Combat Style that provides the DPS debuffs used by Marksman, they are just the most efficient and allow greater flexibility in terms of what the other group members can bring.

Honestly, I wouldn’t specifically cater to Marksman’s needs at all. There are very few disciplines that match Marksman’s level DPS debuff independence.

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

Followthrough Followthrough

(Ranged/Energy/Direct/Single-Target/Instant)
The existence of Followthrough is what makes Marksman so different from all the other specs in the game. You’re able to use it immediately after every single Penetrating Blasts, Ambush, or Takedown, or after 2 Snipes in a row. You’re able to do this because the ability is only usable within 5 seconds after using each of those abilities. While it may not be immediately obvious, the entire spec is set up around doing this. Followthrough has 2 procs that are relevant to your rotation:

Recoil Control
Firing Snipe twice in a row, firing Takedown or Ambush once, or completing a Penetrating Blasts channel now finishes the cooldown on Followthrough. Without this proc, Followthrough has a longer cooldown and would not be usable in the way that you’re supposed to use it. This proc also helps to reinforce that Followthrough is only supposed to be used once per every 2 Snipes. Please note that you can still activate non-damaging abilities in between the 2 Snipes and still get the cooldown reset on Followthrough, including Diversion.

Muzzle Fluting
ollowthrough reduces the Energy cost of your next 2 Snipes by 5. This is important because without this passive, Snipe is too expensive to use as often as we will be using it.

Snipe Snipe

(Ranged/Energy/Direct/Single-Target/Casted)
This is the weakest of your rotational abilities, though since you’ll be using it more than twice as often as your true heavy hitters, it still accounts for a considerable amount of your total damage output. It also has some fairly strong procs that help to compensate for its low damage and there isn’t really anything else you can use that isn’t weaker. Snipe will typically be used twice in a row or when the gap in your rotation comes, you’ll use it once. In addition, it can also be used while moving if you’re taking Calculated Pursuit. Snipe has has 3 procs associated with it that are relevant to your rotation that I haven’t already mentioned:

Zeroing Shots
Dealing damage with Snipe reduces the activation time of your next Ambush by 0.25 seconds. Stacks up to 2 times. This proc further reinforces that Snipe is supposed to be used twice and turns Ambush from a 2 second cast into a 1.5 second cast, meaning it is a GCD.

Honed Shots
Snipe grants Honed Shots, increasing the critical hit chance and damage done by Snipe by 3% for 20 seconds. Stacks up to 3 times. Unless there’s very significant downtime, this will only need to be built up at the start of the fight and then you’ll have it. If you do constantly have to rebuild it because the fight has a lot of downtime, you will have slightly less DPS overall.

Marksman’s Finesse
Snipe grants Marksman’s Finesse, increase the armor penetration and damage dealt by your next Followthrough by 10%. Stacks up to 2 times. This proc further reinforces that Snipe is supposed to be used twice per Followthrough. In addition, when you arrive at the gap in your rotation where you only have time to use a single Snipe, you’ll still get one stack of this proc to increase the damage dealt by your next Followthrough, which will typically be the one after using Ambush or Penetrating Blasts, which helps with your burst in some cases.

Ambush Ambush

(Ranged/Energy/Direct/Single-Target/Casted)
This is one of your hardest hitting abilities. It used to be Marksman’s most damaging ability, but thanks to the Agitating Energies tactical and Penetrating Blast ability tree choices, it has some competition when it comes to sustained DPS.

It’s still the Marksman’s strongest singular hit by a huge margin, especially when Laze Target is available. Remember to pre-cast even if you don’t have the Zeroing Shots proc from Snipe. Ambush has 1 proc associated with it that is relevant to your rotation.

Finish the Job
Dealing damage with Ambush to a target with less than 30% health grants Finish the Job, increasing the damage of your next Takedown by 20%. This proc is pretty straightforward, it just makes it so that Takedown is buffed when below 30%. Please note that the cooldown of Ambush is the same as the duration of the proc and since Takedown has a fairly long travel time, it is possible for the proc to fall off before the damage goes out, especially if you’re standing further away from the boss.

Takedown Takedown

(Ranged/Energy/Direct/Single-Target/Instant)
This ability is only usable on targets that have less than 30% of their max health, but it still hits pretty hard, much harder than Snipe or Followthrough. There is usually already a gap for a single extra ability every cycle, so it’s rather easy to insert Takedown into your rotation when sub-30, and above 30%, you’ve been using Snipe in this spot.

Using both Takedown and its Followthrough will cause you to delay Penetrating Blasts and Ambush, though since those abilities have such long cooldowns, it takes a little while for you to delay them long enough for it to result in you missing out on an extra use of each of them and you aren’t actually losing DPS until this happens. 

The cutoff is 9 uses of Takedown, which takes a little over 90 seconds, so if the boss has enough health to where you’re using more than 9 Takedowns, then you should skip using the Followthrough procced by Takedown and just use Takedown exclusively in the gap slot until there are 90 seconds left since Followthrough + a Corrosive Dart tick is less than the damage dealt by Ambush or Penetrating Blasts. 

There isn’t much of a discernable DPS difference between the two approaches and if you’d rather not have to worry about this sort of thing at all, it’s okay to just never use Followthrough if it’s procced by Takedown. The more notable distinction is that you’ll have to use Adrenaline Probe if you don’t use Followthrough. Takedown does not have any additional procs or discipline passives associated with it that are relevant to your rotation that I haven’t already mentioned. 

Corrosive Dart Corrosive Dart

(Tech/Internal/Periodic/Single-Target/Instant)
Corrosive Dart also helps to diversify the damage output of Marksman which would otherwise be entirely direct weapon damage (besides the very occasional Orbital Strike). Thanks to the Agitating Energies tactical, this ability accounts for a gigantic proportion of your total damage output. In actual raids, you’ll probably need to apply it more often. Whenever there’s downtime, make sure to check if it’s still applied and if it isn’t, make sure you reapply it before your next Followthrough. 

If you’re switching targets temporarily, like to an add that needs to be focused down, only apply Corrosive Dart if you’ll get more than 5 ticks out of it, otherwise using Snipe instead will deal more damage. I would also like to point out that without the Agitating Energies tactical and prior to 6.0, the purpose of the gap in your rotation was partly so that you could apply this ability every 18 seconds without delaying anything else.

Corrosive Dart has 1 advanced class passive associated with it that is relevant to your rotation that I haven’t already mentioned:

Efficient Targeting
Increases the range of Flash Bang, Overload Shot (abilities you don’t even have anymore), and Distraction to 30m and increases the range of all rifle, probe, and dart attacks by 5m and Corrosive Dart marks its target for 45 seconds. Marked targets take 5% more damage from Ranged weapon attacks. This advanced class passive is responsible for giving Snipers their 35m range on damaging abilities and 30m range on CC, as well as giving them one of their DPS debuffs (the individual specs only provide 1 debuff as opposed to 2). I don’t know why they decided it would make sense from a lore perspective for a Tech attack to apply a Ranged debuff. The only reason I can see is that it’s a debuff that gets used by all 3 specs. Unfortunately, the Ranged debuff is arguably the worst DPS debuff in the game because all the specs that already deal a significant amount of their damage as Ranged damage already provide it themselves. Only a tiny portion of the other specs’ total damage output is considered Ranged damage. It’s still a noticeable DPS increase for the specs that provide it, but as a DPS debuff and piece of raid utility it doesn’t matter.

Penetrating Blasts Penetrating Blasts

(Ranged/Energy/Direct/Single-Target/Channeled)
This ability accounts for an absolutely gargantuan proportion of your damage output thanks to its dedicated ability tree buff choice, tactical item, respectable base damage, and tight integration with the rest of your rotation. It is essential that it is channeled on cooldown.  

In addition, since your Sniper Volley utility resets the cooldown on Penetrating Blasts, you end up getting to use it back to back, resulting in even more Corrosive Dart ticks. This makes Marksman pretty capable in burst checks even though it does have to apply Corrosive Dart. In case you needed another reason to want to use Penetrating Blasts on cooldown, it also applies the strongest of the DPS debuffs in the game, the armor debuff. Penetrating Blasts does not have any additional procs or discipline passives associated with it that are relevant to your rotation. 

Other Semi-Rotational Abilities

Orbital Strike Orbital Strike

(Tech/Elemental/Periodic/AoE/Casted)
This ability technically deals about the same amount of DPS as Snipe, though thanks to its longer cast time, higher Energy cost, and the fact that it gets placed on the ground, it isn’t typically used rotationally. Despite all that, it is still used in single-target situations when you get to pre-cast, like prior to pulling or right before downtime ends, particularly if that downtime is right before a burst DPS check. 

This ability can also be used in the gap slot for some rotational AoE, though make sure at least one target gets hit by the entire thing. You will slightly delay Ambush and Penetrating Blasts if you do this, but you’d only miss out on a single use of each of those abilities if you were using Orbital Strike on cooldown in a fight that lasts over 15 minutes. 

Fragmentation Grenade Frag Grenade

(Tech/Kinetic/Direct/AoE/Instant)
If you’re unable to take Calculated Pursuit, Frag Grenade is a great option to use while moving, though it does cost 20 Energy, so only use it if you can afford it. Please note that for Snipers, Frag Grenade only deals AoE damage to Standard and Weak enemies, which you usually don’t see at all in raids. 

Rifle Shot Rifle Shot

(Ranged/Energy/Direct/Single-Target/Instant)
Depending on your ability tree build, you may need to use this ability during the gap in your rotation sometimes when Adrenaline Probe is unavailable in order to keep your Energy at a safe level.

Crouch Crouch and Take Cover

When you create a new Sniper or Gunslinger, the ability that gets placed on your bar is called Take Cover. If there’s a cover position in range (denoted by a little green silhouette), you quickly roll to that location and if you aren’t in range, you deploy your portable cover shield where you stand. 

This inconsistent behavior can cause problems in raiding, which is why you should just remove the Take Cover ability from your bar entirely. Thankfully, there is another ability called Crouch, which just always deploys your portable cover shield wherever you are currently standing. This is the only ability you should ever use when entering cover. 

While it used to be the case that you couldn’t use most of your abilities unless you were in cover, nowadays the only abilities you have to be in cover for are Suppressive Fire, Cover Pulse, and Entrench. This means that the cover bar isn’t really useful anymore, so feel free to turn it off in the settings (User Interface > General > uncheck Enable Cover Bar). That said, there is still 1 discipline passive, 1 advanced class proc, and 1 advanced class passive that provide significant benefits to you while in cover:

Sniper’s Nest
Increases your Energy regeneration rate by 1 per second while in cover. This Energy regeneration is essential to you being able to do your rotation. If you aren’t in cover, you will run out of Energy.

Hold Position
While in cover, Ranged defense is increased by 20%, you cannot be leapt to or pulled, and you are immune to interrupts and ability activation pushback. The most important component of this passive is the pushback protection and in general, this is the most important reason to be in cover at all. You will lose a massive amount of DPS if you can’t be in cover since your APM will be much lower because all of your casts will take much longer to complete. In case you aren’t familiar, pushback is when the progress of your cast is pushed back as a result of taking damage. In-universe, this is supposed to represent that casting things requires more focus; for a Sniper, you’re going to have trouble lining up your shot if you’re taking a bunch of damage, so it will take longer. If you want to see it in action, just try to do your rotation on enemies out of cover. This used to be more prevalent back before 3.0 when you had to actually spec into pushback protection, but now every class gets a reduction on it as part of some passive.

Spotter
Upon entering cover, your stealth detection level begins to increase gradually, reaching up to 30 additional levels of stealth detection over the following 30 seconds. This effect ends when you leave cover. The only reason I mention this proc is because it will show up on your bar. Stealth detection capabilities generally don’t work correctly in PvE, so don’t rely on the fact that your stealth detection is higher to conclude that there aren’t any enemies in stealth. It would be kind of neat if they put more effort into having this work though since Snipers aren’t the only class that have something like this.

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. 

Suppressive Fire Suppressive Fire

(Ranged/Energy/Direct/AoE/Channeled)
This is your spammable AoE. It’s easily one of the strongest spammable AoE abilities in the entire game. Unfortunately, you can’t really use this rotationally, so unless there’s a phase where the entire group is only AoEing, it’s best to hold off on using it and see if other classes’ rotational AoE and DoT spread can take care of it or switch to Viru or Engi if you know them so that you can do rotational AoE.

You can also just do a single GCD of the channel in your gap, though sometimes you really do need to channel it for a while. Here is how many targets it takes for Suppressive Fire to surpass each of your rotational abilities in terms of damage per GCD, so if at least X number of targets are present, you can keep channeling Suppressive Fire instead of one going into one of these groupings:

  • 2 targets: Snipe grouping
  • 3 targets: Takedown and Ambush without Laze Target groupings
  • 5 targets: Ambush with Laze Target and Penetrating Blasts w/ Agitating Energies tactical groupings

If you ever use this ability in a boss fight, make sure you’re taking the Ruthless Efficiency ability tree buff. Suppressive Fire benefits from 1 discipline passive in Marksman:

Accurized Rifle
Increases the critical chance of Suppressive Fire by 15% and its critical damage dealt by 30%. Almost all of the burst specs in the game have a passive very similar to this one where their spammable AoE has increased critical chance and damage to compensate for not having a DoT spread.

Orbital Strike Orbital Strike

(Tech/Elemental/Periodic/AoE/Casted)
This ability is quite powerful, though it’s not the easiest thing to use since it takes almost 5 seconds from the start of the cast to when damage actually starts going out and then it keeps going out for another 6 seconds. A lot of the time, adds just don’t survive that long. Don’t bother using this ability if the enemies will die before Orbital Strike really does anything.

Definitely still try to use it and be as preemptive as possible, but this ability really only works when you can predict when and where AoE will be needed well in advance, so this ability is better suited to fights with constant adds. Otherwise, you’re better off just using Suppressive Fire or letting the other players in your group handle it entirely. 

Due to all this and the fact that the cast fits in the gap in your rotation, you don’t have to worry about this taking priority over your other abilities. Just use it during the gap if you can reliably hit something that actually needs to take damage with every single tick.

Refraction Point Refraction Point Tactical Item

Marksman’s AoE tactical adds AoE damage to some of your abilities, so just keep doing your rotation and adhering to the priority I listed for when to use Suppressive Fire over your other abilities and you’ll be fine. The only difference is to always use Penetrating Blasts and its Followthrough on cooldown. 

If you’re having to use Suppressive Fire consistently during the fight and there isn’t a huge single-target DPS check, definitely use this tactical, but single-target DPS checks almost always take priority over AoE DPS checks. Refraction Point also has a very nice bonus, since it causes Penetrating Blasts to deal damage to multiple enemies and Penetrating Blasts applies the armor debuff, this tactical allows you to provide the armor debuff to multiple enemies at the same time, which is super rare. The only other specs that can do this are Juggernaut / Guardian DPS. 

Diversion Diversion

This ability technically does not do any AoE damage, but it will only ever be used in AoE situations so I am going to talk about it here. Diversion works wonders against adds. It’s about as strong as Saber Ward, Deflection, and Explosive Fuel + Oil Slick, which are the strongest DCDs tanks have against adds, though it doesn’t last quite as long. Usually the raid lead will tell you when they want it or a tank will ask for it, but if you see someone getting hit by a bunch of enemies, chuck this at them. 

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. 

Laze Target Laze Target

This ability now has a unique effect and name in each discipline. For Marksman, the unique effect is that it has 2 charges. Laze Target grants a buff that makes your next Ambush an autocrit. The buff lasts 20 seconds, but only affects the very next use of a single ability, and that specific ability has a cooldown that is less than 20 seconds. This means you should literally be activating it on cooldown unless there’s about to be downtime or you’re saving it for a burst DPS check. 

The earlier you activate it, the earlier you’ll be able to activate it again. If you want to go the extra mile, you can try to activate it 15 ish seconds before you being pre-casting before a pull so you will just barely have enough time left on the proc for when you cast Ambush, but I really don’t think it’s worth it because if you mess up, you end up having to wait and the most you’ll get is maybe an extra use at the very end of the fight. 

The 2 charges gives you a lot more flexibility with your burst since you can save them up without losing sustained DPS until after you have both charges available. Please be careful to not activate Laze Target again until you consume the previous stack. Activating Laze Target twice in a row will just refresh the duration of the buff. 

Adrenaline Probe Adrenaline Probe

This ability will get different amounts of usage depending on which build you’re using, though in general, you want to use it when you find yourself around 45-50% Energy. The goal is for the initial 25 Energy to get you back up to the maximum Energy regeneration rate and supply you with enough Energy for your next GCD so you don’t fall back into the lower regeneration rate bracket. It’s still necessary to activate Adrenaline Probe ASAP if you find yourself below 45 Energy, but it’s less optimal to wait that long if you can help it. 

In all builds, you’ll need to use it sub-30% after you’ve used Takedown a few times. Each use of Adrenaline Probe will allow you to use Snipe during 3-4 gaps instead of Rifle Shot, though you don’t have to think about it like that, just use Adrenaline Probe when you get down to 45-50% Energy and only use Snipe for your gap GCD if you’re above about 80% Energy. 

There should be no need to save Adrenaline Probe for emergencies in case you mess up your rotation. You should practice on the dummy if you’re not able to consistently execute the rotation correctly. 

Target Acquired Target Acquired

The only real effect of this cooldown is the 15% increased armor penetration for 10 seconds. This is equivalent to a 5.25% damage increase for your weapon attacks (so everything but Corrosive Dart and Orbital Strike). The best time to activate this is right after your 2 Snipes but before that Followthrough since it will be stronger thanks to the Marksman’s Finesse proc. Then you’ll be able to do both Ambush and Penetrating Blasts within that window. 

The accuracy increase is not applicable in PvE because bosses don’t have additional defense chance like that. You gear for the 10% defense/resist chance they have and then if there is some additional effect that messes with accuracy, like the cloud of dust on Foreman Crusher in KP, it’s generally much stronger so 30% wouldn’t do enough. 

In case you were curious, the accuracy increase helps Snipers do better against some classes in PvP since accuracy over 100% reduces your opponents defense chance, though it’s still not a perfect counter. The highest defense chance that DPS and healer classes have is 10%, though most classes have 5% so you gear for the majority and can use Target Acquired on the others. 

To get the full benefit, you’d use Target Acquired anytime on a tank or another role that’s using a DCD that increases their defense chance, like Deflection for Assassins, Saber Ward for Warriors, or Chaff Flare for Mercenaries . It would still be imperfect though since the worst of these DCDs still grant 35% defense chance while the others grant 50%. It still significantly reduces the effectiveness of their DCD, but not all the way. 

Sniper Volley Sniper Volley

This cooldown is unique to Marksman Snipers. It’s pretty straightforward, it increases your alacrity by more than enough to get you from the 1.4s GCD to the 1.3s GCD and lasts long enough to allow you to get an extra ability in the same amount of time, which means you can fit Penetrating Blasts alongside the additional Followthrough into the gap in your rotation. Your Energy regeneration is increased indirectly thanks to the alacrity increase in excess of the 1.3s GCD as well as through a direct increase in your Energy regeneration rate. 

Sniper Volley also finishes the cooldown on Penetrating Blasts when it is activated and there are two ways you can utilize this. You can either use Sniper Volley on cooldown whenever you have enough time to do a full Penetrating Blasts grouping, which generally means you won’t get the full benefit of the cooldown reduction, though you may get an additional use out of Sniper Volley over the course of the fight; or you can save Sniper Volley until right after you finish the Penetrating Blasts grouping to use that grouping twice in a row. 

From the perspective of highest burst, the second option is best, though from my limited testing, I didn’t see a noticeable difference between the two from the perspective of sustained DPS. It does not matter if you use it on cooldown or only immediately after a Penetrating Blasts grouping. You can use whichever feels more comfortable to you. 

Adrenal

The Adrenal should always be paired with 2 charges of Laze Target and a double Penetrating Blasts Sniper Volley. The best time to activate your Adrenal is right before casting Ambush, since this will allow you to cast it twice while the Adrenal is active alongside 

It is highly unlikely that a fight will last long enough where this delay will be enough to where it will result in missing out on a use of the Adrenal.

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. 

Don’t pop all of your DCDs at once or only use them when your health gets low. You should be attempting to mitigate as much damage as possible by using your DCDs against predictable damage.

In fights where you’ll be taking a high amount of sustained damage, it’s important to use your DCDs in the order that maximizes your overall uptime. If you can tweak the order that you use your DCDs where it allows you to get an extra use out of one of them over the course of a long burn phase, you should definitely do that instead of activating your potentially stronger DCDs first.

It’s good to have 1 emergency panic button too, but everything else should be used to prevent your health from getting low in the first place. Part of knowing a fight is understanding how much damage you take and what you can do to mitigate that damage.

Entrench Entrench

Entrench now directly provides the 60% AoE RDT (reduced damage taken); there is no utility point required. Without the Pillbox Sniper ability tree buff, Entrench has 30% uptime if it’s activated on cooldown. This means your average AoE RDT is only 20% compared to most other disciplines which have 100% uptime on 30% AoE RDT.

Even with the inconsistent uptime, you can easily wind up taking less damage than other classes since you can control when your mitigation is active to take less damage against big hits. You can also utilize this higher DR so you don’t have to move out of certain circles when other classes would. It doesn’t always work, but it’s worth trying to figure out which circles will kill you and which you can survive completely, or at least survive long enough that you can get to a point in your rotation where you will lose minimal DPS from moving.

The vast majority of damage that bosses deal in raids is considered AoE damage. Even if the attack looks like a single-target attack, there’s a good chance that it’s still considered AoE damage. This is why there’s always so much emphasis on the AoE RDT buffs and part of why Snipers should generally have very low DTPS. 

Entrench also provides CC immunity. This benefit comes up occasionally in PvE, usually during DPS checks, though it isn’t nearly as useful as it is in PvP. Marksman specifically also has 1 discipline passive that affects Entrench:

Portable Bunker
Increases the duration of Entrench by 3 seconds. In addition, when you enter cover after using Covered Escape, you gain Entrench for the first 3 seconds. This passive is a bit buggy. The increased duration of Entrench results in slightly higher uptime, but the animation still ends after 20 seconds even though the buff sticks around for the correct duration. The 3 seconds of Entrench after using Covered Escape synergizes really well with the Seek Cover ability tree buff. Basically, you get a 50% movement speed boost after every roll.

Shield Probe Shield Probe

Unless you know that a big hit is coming up and you don’t have anything else available, this ability is best used if you can time it for when Entrench is not active, or on cooldown if there’s just a bunch of damage going out. 

Since Shield Probe has such a short cooldown and is relatively weak, this ability won’t really protect you from a whole lot on its own and it’s much better served just keeping your health high and mitigating minor spikes so that your health will be higher when the actual damage comes.

Countermeasures Countermeasures, Reestablish Range Reestablish Range, and Evasive Maneuvers Evasive Maneuvers

On its own, Countermeasures is your threat drop, but it can get buffed by 2 separate options in the ability tree. 

With the Reestablish Range ability tree buff, Countermeasures becomes a very strong movement speed boost. Unless it’s clear that one of your other movement speed boosts is better, like if you have already placed Hololocate or you’re out of range of the boss, this should be your default movement speed boost ability since it’s the most versatile. Please note that speed boosts do not get added together, only the fastest speed boost is applied, so Reestablish Range it will take effect over Seek Cover, so if you already have that effect active, be sure to wait until it’s over to activate Countermeasures. 

Reestablish Range also causes the final tick of Penetrating Blasts to knock back its target if they are within 10m of you. I have yet to encounter a situation in PvE where this is a good thing, so you either need to be mindful of when that can happen and prevent it. Either pick a different option when it can happen (and your raid lead may ask you to stop taking it if it continues to be a problem) or make sure that you’re greater than 10m away from those enemies, which isn’t always possible. It isn’t the end of the world though if you can’t take the utility since Seek Cover is still pretty strong. 

With the Evasive Maneuvers ability tree buff, Snipers get effectively Evasion back. Operatives are in a similar situation where they lost Countermeasures, but have access to a passive that gives effects they lost to Evasion. You do need to be mindful of what type of damage you’re mitigating with Countermeasures because it changes what other defensives you’re allowed to use at the same time. If it’s Melee/Ranged damage, this will be the only DCD you’ll need because this will always mitigate all of the damage you take (provided you aren’t stunned). 

Discerning the damage type relevant to what Countermeasures mitigates is fairly easy; if the attack is coming directly from a lightsaber swing or blaster, it’s a Melee/Ranged attack and if it’s anything else, it’s probably force/tech. Melee/Ranged attacks also tend to be more frequent and individually weaker attacks, though you can look at your damage taken in StarParse if you want to be sure. If the damage is force/tech, you’re okay to activate your other DCDs and since it’s RDT, not DR that’s being provided, the 75% feels like it isn’t doing as much.

Meticulous Preparation Meticulous Preparation and Over-prepared Over-prepared

This ability resets the cooldowns of all the abilities I have mentioned in this section thus far plus Cover Pulse. Meticulous Preparation works great as your emergency panic button, but if you’re out of DCDs and about to take a hit that you’d rather have a DCD for, do not hesitate to activate this ability. Make sure that all DCDs are on cooldown before activating Meticulous Preparation.

If you’re able to take Over-prepared, you get a nice bit of extra DR for 15 seconds that should help when you find yourself needing to activate Meticulous Preparation. 

Ballistic Shield Ballistic Shield

This is not a personal defensive cooldown. It is a raid buff. Use it when the entire raid is taking a lot of damage or may wipe because one of the tanks just died and now the boss is running around whacking random people. 

Since damage intake management is primarily a tank and healer job, this ability is primarily to make their lives easier. If a tank is out of defensive cooldowns and needs another it’s okay to use. Tell them you have it available for them to ask for. Healers are also a lot more focused on the raid frame than you will be as a DPS, so they are far better equipped to know when it will be useful for the raid than you will. Tell them to call out if and when they want it and be ready to activate it. Here are some times when it’s generally a good idea to use Ballistic Shield:

  • During a burn phase. 
  • When one of the tanks or healers just died, pop it instantly, especially if a tank just died, because there’s a good chance that the boss is about to hit someone else or the group really hard.
  • If healers call out for players to use their medpacs or if you find yourself having to use yours and see that the rest of the group could also probably benefit from their medpac. 
  • If everyone’s health is below 40-50%. Get in the habit of taking a quick glance at the raid frame to see people’s health level. 

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. 

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.

No Cleanse

I just wanted to point out that Snipers are one of the two classes that do not have any sort of cleanse ability, the other is Powertech. A long time ago, they could cleanse with Evasion, just like Operatives can. 

Covered Escape Covered Escape

This ability is both a defensive cooldown and movement ability. As a defensive cooldown, it’s your cheese ability. It gives you 100% defense/resist chance for the duration of the roll, meaning you’re completely immune to taking damage during your roll, provided that it’s damage that is mitigatable, so it won’t work against things like 0 damage kills and typeless damage. Since the mitigation is so short, it can be fairly difficult to time, so you may need to practice it a little bit and don’t be afraid to completely stop DPSing for a moment if there’s something that will kill you if you don’t do the cheese correctly. 

As a movement ability, Covered Escape does help you cover a fair bit of distance, but it does cost a GCD to use, so it is best used when you’re out of range of the boss so you couldn’t deal damage anyway or after your other movement abilities have been used. It’s not the end of the world to use this ability for movement though since there isn’t a lot of damage you can do when out of cover anyway, so sometimes you just have to give up the GCD. Thanks to the Portable Bunker passive that makes it so you get Entrench for 3 seconds after using Covered Escape, you always get the Seek Cover speed boost after using your roll as well. 

Hololocate Hololocate

In 6.0, they gave Snipers Phase Walk. While it seems pretty identical to Sorcerer / Sage Phase Walk on the surface, there are several key differences:

  • Hololocate’s cooldown is twice as long as Phase Walk’s.
  • The teleporting animation is significantly longer for Hololocate because there’s an actual teleportation animation you have to do prior to teleporting but after pressing the button rather than Phase Walk where you just wave your hand and pop up somewhere else instantaneously. This makes it more difficult to escape at the very last second.
  • The act of teleporting with Hololocate breaks your channel after teleporting, even if you’re still in range while Phase Walk does not break your channels (provided you’re still in range). 
  • In general, Hololocate’s animations are much smoother and happen more sequentially while Phase Walk’s animations just kind of happen on top of everything else. 

Luckily, the ability is still off the GCD, even though it has a castbar, so you can still use it while the GCD is active for another ability. In addition, you can still teleport while stunned, so even if the button is grayed out, it will still work.

Hololocate isn’t always useful as a movement ability, but it’s incredible when you can use it. The best time to use Hololocate is when you know of a specific location that you are certain you will want to return to at some point later in the fight that will be generally safe to return to. 

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 this Combat Style has at their disposal in addition to any other abilities I haven’t yet mentioned. 

Maim Maim

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. Snipers have a slightly shorter cooldown duration on their hard stun than most other classes. 

When Maim is used, you get a proc that enables Takedown to be used against any target regardless of remaining health and makes that use of Takedown deal 15% more damage. Be sure to take advantage of this proc whenever you have to use Maim since it mitigates the DPS loss from having to spend a GCD to stun something.

Distraction Distraction

This is your interrupt. Ranged DPS in general tend to have longer cooldowns on their interrupts, than Melee, so if there’s something specific that needs repeated interrupting, a Melee DPS or tank will be assigned to it, though this doesn’t mean you can’t interrupt things as well. 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. 

Cover Pulse Cover Pulse

This is your knockback. Outside of specific mechanics, it’s not usually something at your disposal in group content. A lot of the time things are immune to being knocked back and when they aren’t immune, it’s better that they’re all grouped up to be killed as fast as possible. 

Technically it’s okay to use this if you genuinely think you will die if you don’t knock the enemies back right now, but honestly I think the better play is to just let yourself die and then throw a tantrum about why the tanks didn’t keep the adds off of you and why you didn’t get enough heals, though make sure you’ve used your threat drop and all your DCDs already. 

Escape Escape

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

Leg Shot Leg Shot

This ability applies a root, which is an ability that stops you from moving, but does not stop you from activating abilities directly, it also breaks on damage after 2 seconds. It deals nearly identical damage to Rifle Shot, has a 35m range, and the actual root lasts for a fair bit of time, so I could see it getting some use in the same sort of situation that you might use a slow or a stun on a Melee add. It would also work as an alternative to stunning one of the Chained Manifestations on Styrak NiM.

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 – Ambush Buffs

Ruin Shrap Shot Shrap Shot

  • Effect: Ambush deals splash damage to nearby targets and slows them by 30% for 6 seconds.
  • Recommendation: Take this in AoE situations. Unfortunately, the splash damage only deals about 40% damage dealt to the primary target, so it becomes the optimal choice when you can consistently hit at least 3 or 4 targets. If you want a more traditional approach to defeating enemies in solo content, this option should be more efficient than Targeted Ambush, but you won’t get those glorious instakills.

Relentless Ambush Relentless Ambush

  • Effect: The Energy cost of Ambush is reduced by 5. Each use of Ambush grants Relentless Ambush, which reduces the cooldown of your next Ambush by 1.5 seconds. Stacks up to 3 times.
  • Recommendation: Take this in single-target situations. At 2 stacks, the cooldown reduction closes the gap in the rotation so you don’t have to do single Snipes anymore when you used to reapply Corrosive Dart. At 3 stacks, the cooldown reduction causes Ambush to become available more frequently than when the gap is available, requiring you to switch to a more traditional priority system in order to capitalize on the shorter cooldown. I haven’t been able to figure out a priority system that fully utilizes the reduced cooldown and manages to deal higher DPS than just not using Ambush on cooldown. I’m not sure if one exists, but if you find one, please share it in the comments so I can update the guide. Relentless Ambush becomes less effective the more often you need to reapply Corrosive Dart in cases of target swapping and downtime.

Targeted Ambush Targeted Ambush

  • Effect: Increases the critical hit damage of Ambush by 20%. Killing a target with an Ambush critical hit resets the cooldown of Laze Target and Ambush.
  • Recommendation: Take this option for solo content or when frequent burst DPS is required. It will enable you to one-shot kill every single standard enemy, reinforcing the Sniper identity. This option synergizes with other options that significantly reduce the cooldown on Laze Target, enabling you to deal higher DPS on frequent burst DPS checks. Since the gap still exists when using this option, it can also result in a DPS increase if you find yourself having to apply Corrosive Dart frequently.

Level 27 Choice – Evasive Maneuvers, Maim, or Shatter Snipe

Evasive Maneuvers Evasive Maneuvers

  • Effect: Countermeasures grants Evasive Maneuvers, which increases your chance to dodge Melee and Ranged attacks by 200% and reduces the damage you take from Force and Tech attacks by 75% for 3 seconds. In addition, Countermeasures resets the cooldown of Covered Escape.
  • Recommendation: Take this in specific situations only. Evasive Maneuvers is nice, but it doesn’t offer protection for very long. If you need to mitigate a big hit or avoid adds, Covered Escape is typically sufficient. The only time I’d take this option is if I’m getting aggro from a lot of adds in AoE situations or if Covered Escape is insufficient.

Maim Maim

  • Effect: Grants the Maim ability, which stuns the target for 4 seconds, deals a small amount of damage, and grants Executioner, which makes Takedown usable against any target regardless of remaining health and deal 15% additional damage.
  • Recommendation: Take this only as a last resort. It’s rare for stuns to be required in PvE content. It’s better to have stun mechanics handled by some other Combat Style who doesn’t have their hard stun locked away behind a choice.

Shatter Snipe Shatter Snipe

  • Effect: The critical hit damage of Snipe is increased by 20%. In addition, dealing damage with Snipe inflicts Trauma, which reduces all healing the target receives by 20%. Lasts 10 seconds.
  • Recommendation: Almost always take this. Marksman uses Snipe quite frequently and Shatter Snipe synergizes with the Honed Shots proc to amplify the DPS increase provided by this option. Only give it up in fights where one of the other options is essential to beating the fight.

Level 39 Choice – Penetrating Blasts Buffs

Pervasive Death, System Kick, Penetrating Rounds Penetrating Rounds

  • Effect: Increases the armor penetration of Penetrating Blasts by 20% and Penetrating Blasts now immobilizes targets for the duration of the channel.
  • Recommendation: Never take this in PvE. We can’t make use of the root and the +20% armor penetration is equivalent to a 7% damage increase, which is slightly less than what both of the other options provide.

Befall and Energy Barrel (Agent and Smuggler) Energy Barrel

  • Effect: Increases the Energy cost of Penetrating Blasts by 10 and increases the critical chance and critical damage by 20%.
  • Recommendation: Take this by default for single-target sustained situations. Always pair this option with Ballistic Redistribution. The Energy cost increase is not sustainable for long periods of time. Ballistic Redistribution mitigates this Energy cost. The Relentless Ambush option is insufficient in mitigating the Energy cost increase on its own and is overkill when paired with Ballistic Redistribution.

Deadly Field and Retargeting Retargeting

  • Effect: Whenever Penetrating Blasts deals damage, the cooldown of Laze Target is reduced by 2 seconds.
  • Recommendation: Take this option when you can’t take Energy Barrel or Ballistic Redistribution. It pairs best with Targeted Ambush and Laser Focus, but doesn’t offer as much sustained DPS as the other build.

Level 43 Choice – Ballistic Redistribution, Target Acquired, or Laser Focus

Ballistic Redistribution Imp Ballistic Redistribution

  • Effect: Critically hitting with a weapon attack restores 2 Energy.
  • Recommendation: Only take this option when taking Energy Barrel or if you’re running out of Energy from using Suppressive Fire so much. The Energy regeneration from this option is excessive without the increased Energy consumption from Energy Barrel or AoE spam. Technically, you can benefit from it outside of those situations, but Adrenaline Probe and a couple of Rifle Shots during the gap in your rotation can cover it.

Target Acquired Target Acquired

  • Effect: Grants the ability Target Acquired, which immediately restores 15 Energy. In addition, Ranged and Tech accuracy are increased by 30% and armor penetration is increased by 15%. Lasts 10 seconds.
  • Recommendation: Only take this for extremely tight singular burst DPS checks. The actual DPS increase from the 15% armor penetration works out to being only 5.25%. Target Acquired isn’t even close to being strong enough to compete with the other options in sustained damage output and its long cooldown means that you can’t utilize it for frequent DPS checks.

Lazer Focus Lazer Focus

  • Effect: Critically hitting with a weapon attack reduces the cooldown of Laze Target by 2 seconds.
  • Recommendation: Take this when you need more frequent burst and don’t need one of the other two options. Usually, this option will be paired with Targeted Ambush so that you can more frequently benefit from the increased critical damage dealt by Ambush + Laze Target autocrits.

Level 51 Choice – Snap Shot, Ballistic Dampers, or Pillbox Sniper

Snap Shot Snap Shot

  • Effect: Entering cover makes your next Snipe activate instantly. Cannot occur more than once every 6 seconds.
  • Recommendation: Never take this. Since Snipe already costs a GCD to use and you can’t move while in cover, making Snipe instant does not provide a DPS increase on its own. All you’re doing is moving the damage from the end of the GCD to the beginning. The only possible way to increase your DPS with this utility is if you manage to get an extra ability into some sort of damage boost window like one of your relic procs or if your Adrenal is about to fall off. The DPS increase from something like that is quite small and very unreliable since you still have a priority to follow. Furthermore, the other two options are far more valuable.

Ballistic Dampers Ballistic Dampers

  • Effect: Entering cover grants 3 stacks of Ballistic Dampers, which absorb 30% of the damage dealt by an incoming attack. This effect cannot occur more than once every 1.5s and Ballistic can only be gained once every 6 seconds.
  • Recommendation: Take this in fights where you’re moving a lot or aren’t able to use Entrench on cooldown. Ballistic Dampers needs to be refreshed by exiting and reentering cover. Some experienced Snipers will cover hop, where they jump to exit cover and immediately reenter cover to reapply Ballistic Dampers, but that is annoying to do and can be quite distracting if it isn’t muscle memory for you. If you don’t cover hop and aren’t moving a whole lot, the uptime on Ballistic Dampers is gonna be pretty low and not end up mitigating very much damage.

Pillbox Sniper Pillbox Sniper

  • Effect: Reduces the cooldown of Entrench by 15 seconds and Cover Pulse knocks targets back an additional 5m.
  • Recommendation: Take this in fights where you aren’t moving very much and are able to use Entrench on cooldown. The benefit of Pillbox Sniper in PvE is 25% increased uptime on your 60% AoE RDT from Entrench, resulting in average AoE RDT being increased by 15% when Entrench is used on cooldown. This makes it seem like Ballistic Dampers is the obvious winner because it provides twice as much damage absorption, but since Ballistic Dampers can have much lower uptime and Entrench can’t always be used on cooldown, it isn’t so clear-cut. Honestly, you kind of need to make this decision on a fight-by-fight basis. Take a look at your DTPS in StarParse with both Pillbox Sniper and Ballistic Dampers and keep using whichever option results in lower DTPS.

Level 64 Choice – Reestablish Range, Ruthless Efficiency, or Over-prepared

Reestablish Range Reestablish Range

  • Effect: Countermeasures purges all movement-impairing effects when activated and grants Reestablish Range, which increases your movement speed by 75%. Lasts 6 seconds. In addition, the final shot of Penetrating Blasts knocks back the target if they are within 10m.
  • Recommendation: Take this in fights that require a lot of movement. Do not take this in fights where you will knock back whatever you’re hitting with Penetrating Blasts.

Ruthless Efficiency Ruthless Efficiency

  • Effect: Increases the damage dealt by Suppressive Fire by 25%.
  • Recommendation: Take this in fights where you’re using Suppressive Fire. You should only be using Suppressive Fire against adds that need to die ASAP; otherwise, leave it to Ambush splash damage from the Shrap Shot option and other players’ rotational AoE.

Over-prepared Over-prepared

  • Effect: Reduces the cooldown of Meticulous Preparation by 45 seconds and activating Meticulous Preparation grants Over-prepared, which increases your damage reduction by 15%. Lasts 15 seconds.
  • Recommendation: Take this in fights where you desperately need more damage mitigation or can’t use one of the other options. Over-prepared is weak. The cooldown reduction will only ever sometimes result in a single additional use of the ability. The 15% DR is pretty small, but useful in situations where you actually need to use Meticulous Preparation, though you won’t get to utilize it too often in actual fights. The other two options are typically much better, though they aren’t useful in every fight while you’ll be able to get something out of Over-prepared in every fight.

Level 68 Choice – Hololocate, Orbital Strike, or Ballistic Shield

Hololocate Hololocate

  • Effect: Grants the Hololocate ability, which allows you to place a mark on the ground that lasts up to 10 minutes. At any point, you can teleport back to that mark if you are within 60m, at which point the ability goes on cooldown for 2 min.
  • Recommendation: Take this in specific situations only. In single-target situations where you can use Hololocate to move a great distance, you’ll likely lose less DPS than you’d gain by being able pre-cast Orbital Strike. That being said, Hololocate can be tricky to use outside of dealing with specific mechanics and the potential DPS increase doesn’t always work in Hololocate’s favor, so if you’d prefer not to bother with this ability outside of very specific situations, that’s fine. Determining whether to take Ballistic Shield is more important anyway. If there’s a Sorcerer or Sage in the group, they should use Phase Walk to the fullest extent for a mechanic before you take Hololocate. In solo content, I find Hololocate to be quite useful if you need to come back the way you came after completing some sort of objective. It also helps to train you to identify situations in group content where Hololocate would be useful.

Orbital Strike Orbital Strike

  • Effect: Grants the Orbital Strike ability, which deals a high amount of damage to up to 8 enemies within 8m of the target area. Standard and Weak enemies are knocked down by the blasts. Lasts 9 seconds. 2s cast, costs 20 Energy, 45s cooldown.
  • Recommendation: Take this for solo content and fights with extremely tight burst DPS checks that allow you to pre-cast. For group content, Ballistic Shield is too good and Orbital Strike is too small of a DPS increase outside of the tightest applicable DPS checks to be worth taking. In AoE situations, it’s flat-out unnecessary. Suppressive Fire spam should be sufficient for killing adds.

Ballistic Shield Ballistic Shield

  • Effect: Grants the Ballistic Shield ability, which places a shield at your present location that spans 10m and reduces the damage taken by all allies that remain inside by 20%. Lasts 20 seconds, 3 min cooldown.
  • Recommendation: Almost always take this for group content. Ballistic Shield is fantastic. It helps significantly with recovery when a tank or healer dies unexpectedly and makes heal checks a lot easier. Remember, the goal is to beat the fight, and Ballistic Shield helps with that a whole lot more often than Orbital Strike.

Level 73 Choice – Augmented Shields, Calculated Pursuit, or Seek Cover

Augmented Shields Augmented Shields

  • Effect: Increases the amount of damage absorbed by Shield Probe by 30%.
  • Recommendation: Take this in fights with almost no movement. The effect is pretty weak, but always useful. Only take this option when Calculated Pursuit and Seek Cover are not useful.

Calculated Pursuit Calculated Pursuit

  • Effect: Upon exiting Cover, you gain 4 stacks of Calculated Pursuit, which allow Snipe to be activated and cast while moving. Can only occur once every 20 seconds once a stack has been consumed. Lasts up to 15 seconds. Reentering Cover removes the effect.
  • Recommendation: Take this in fights where there is a lot of movement, but you can stay in range of your target. Calculated Pursuit is useful for maintaining uptime on the boss.

Seek Cover Seek Cover

  • Effect: When Entrench ends or you leave Cover while Entrench is active, you gain Seek Cover, which increases your movement speed by 50% and grants immunity to movement-impairing effects. Lasts 6 seconds.
  • Recommendation: Take this for solo content and when you find yourself frequently out of range of the boss. Seek Cover is useful for covering distance. This option becomes more valuable when paired with Pillbox Sniper due to the higher uptime on Entrench. It also synergizes with Marksman which gets Entrench for 3 seconds after using Covered Escape, so you always get a movement speed boost after rolling.

Gearing and Stats Priorities

Tactical Items

Agitating Energies Agitating Energies
Effect:
Corrosive Dart deals more damage and dealing damage with Followthrough and Penetrating Blasts refreshes its bleed effect on its target and ticks its damage.
Recommendation:
This is your default tactical item. It provides the greatest single-target DPS increase compared to the other MM tacticals and gives you additional burst when using Sniper Volley.
Refraction Point Refraction Point
Effect:
Penetrating Blasts does splash damage to targets around the primary target and causes your next Followthrough to deal splash damage as well.
Recommendation:
This is your AoE tactical item. It’s pretty straightforward, it just allows you to deal AoE damage rotationally and spreads your armor 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. That said, anytime you are using Suppressive Fire frequently during a fight, you should consider taking this. Viru and Engi do both provide rotational AoE though without having to use a tactical, so if the adds can be handled by other players, keep your single-target tactical on or switch to Viru or Engi if you know them.

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 Marksman Sniper.

  • Locked and LoadedRanged and Tech damage (and healing) increased by 5%.
  • Improved Targeting [Bugged]Reduces the cooldown of Laze Target, Viral Targeting, and Targeting Systems by 15 seconds. (currently bugged, does not appear to provide the cooldown reduction)

You can learn more about Legendary Items in SWTOR 7.0 from my dedicated guide. It also has a full list of all currently available Legendary Implants for all classes.

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 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. 

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 Marksman Sniper 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.

It may have been a bit confusing from reading through the ability tree descriptions, but there’s basically 3 main builds for Marksman. These builds result in the highest DPS because the individual options synergize with each other to amplify the individual effects. If you try to mix and match, you will find that you either run out of Energy too quickly or otherwise deal less DPS. 

Sustained DPS and Light AoE Build

SWTOR 7.0 Marksman Sniper PvE Best Sustained DPS and Light AoE Build

This build offers a minor amount additional sustained DPS, but that DPS increase is derived from cooldown reductions and Energy efficiency, so it is incredibly dependent on high uptime. Since this build uses Relentless Ambush, the gap in your rotation is completely eliminated. I get the impression that this build was developed with raiding in mind, though I’m not sure it will be the best option for all fights.

Thanks to the excessive cooldown reduction from Relentless Ambush, this option should still perform well in burst situations since you should be able to activate Ambush twice in any single check, but this build is limited by the reduced availability of Laze Target, so it won’t perform quite as well with more frequent checks like the Ignition Catalysts in the Scyva fight or the Walker during EC Kephess. 

Ballistic Redistribution allows you to spam Suppressive Fire for as long as you need to while spending very little, if any, Energy. Remember to take Ruthless Efficiency if you plan to do AoE.

Note: It’s possible that Energy Regulators could be enough to make Ballistic Redistribution unnecessary with this build. In that case, you would take Lazer Focus instead.

Burst and Versatility Build

SWTOR 7.0 Marksman Sniper PvE Best Burst and Versatility Build

This build offers slightly less sustained DPS compared to the Sustained DPS build (shocking, I know), but it’s a lot more flexible. It’s great for burst DPS checks are tight enough and frequent enough to where you need 2 charges of Laze Target for each one and can’t get that with the normal cooldown.

This build doesn’t eliminate the gap in your rotation and still offers a good sustained DPS increase. The existence of the gap helps to cover for a lot of things that occur in an actual raiding environment, but not on a dummy, like needing to spend a GCD to roll, activate Diversion, hard stun, etc., so you might end up performing better in a lot of fights, particularly ones with a lot of mechanics, by using this build instead of the Sustained DPS build.

Dedicated AoE Build

SWTOR 7.0 Marksman Sniper PvE Best Dedicated AoE Build

This build is designed to do AoE damage and will not be viable for sustained DPS checks. You should be able to spam Suppressive Fire to your heart’s content and deal extra splash damage with Ambush. This build can kill groups of trash quicker in solo content, but you miss out feeling like a Sniper.

Only use the Evasive Maneuvers option to mitigate damage from the adds. If the tanks or other players are able to keep aggro, take Shatter Snipe instead. Remember, Orbital Strike is a tiny bit stronger than Suppressive Fire for AoE, but it won’t ever be essential to taking down groups of adds and you can’t spam it, so you’re better off not taking it for group content if you only need to AoE.

Solo Content Build

SWTOR 7.0 Marksman Sniper PvE Best Solo Content Build

This build is super fun for solo content since it enables you to one-hit kill Standard enemies with Ambush autocrits, making you really feel like a Sniper. Targeted Ambush is a bit redundant next to Lazer Focus and Retargeting, but they’ll really help with resetting the cooldown on Strong and Elite enemies where you won’t be able to easily benefit from Targeted Ambush’s cooldown reset.

Tactical and Legendary Items are less essential to this build. I’d probably use Agitating Energies and Improved Targeting alongside the build essentials, but you could use Energy Regulators and/or Refraction Point if you prefer.

Please note that the autocrit Ambush won’t be enough to defeat Strongs and Elites (Silvers and Golds) from full health, so you will have to rely on Penetrating Blasts, likely with Agitating Energies, or AoE to get them low enough to where you can end them with Ambush if you want the cooldown to be reset. You may want to consider using the AoE build for Heroics.

Openers, Rotations, Priorities

Opener

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 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. 

  1. Laze Target Laze Target
  2. Orbital Strike Orbital Strike (pre-cast, if applicable)
  3. Crouch Enter Cover
  4. Adrenal 
  5. Target Acquired Target Acquired (if applicable)
  6. Ambush Ambush (pre-cast)
  7. Laze Target Laze Target
  8. Corrosive DartCorrosive Dart
  9. Followthrough Followthrough
  10. Penetrating Blasts Penetrating Blasts
  11. Followthrough Followthrough
  12. Sniper VolleySniper Volley
  13. Penetrating Blasts Penetrating Blasts
  14. Followthrough Followthrough
  15. Countermeasures Countermeasures (threat drop)
  16. Snipe Snipe
  17. Snipe Snipe
  18. Followthrough Followthrough
  19. Normal Rotation

Laze Target is used before everything else because the buff lasts for 20 seconds and only affects the very next use of Ambush, so the earlier to activate Laze target, the earlier it will become available again, just be sure to not pop it so early that it falls off before you get to actually use Ambush.

It doesn’t really matter when you use your second charge of Laze Target so long as it’s after your first Ambush and before the next. Its cooldown won’t begin recharging until the cooldown on the first activation completes. Please note that properly timing subsequent Laze Targets can result in a slightly shorter cooldown duration. The only time that timing is irrelevant is when you already have a charge on cooldown.

Orbital Strike is used as your first pre-cast ability because it has a 3 second delay before it actually deals its first tick of damage, enabling you to precast another ability before pulling. Most tanks are already familiar with timing the countdown with Orbital Strike, but if yours isn’t, just tell them to wait to do the countdown until after your Orbital cast has completed. You won’t be using this too often anymore in group content. 

Next up you have to enter cover. You should wait to enter cover until after you cast Orbital Strike though because you don’t want to proc your relics from the passive healing from your Vital Regulators utility before you actually enter combat.

Adrenal and Target Acquired are all up next, it doesn’t matter which order these get activated in, but you just want them to all be active for Ambush since it’s such a big hit. If you have super fast APM, you can activate one of them immediately after the cast finishes on Ambush during the travel time of the blaster bolt and it will still apply the damage boost. This gives you an extra GCD on your Adrenal which can help in tight checks.  

Corrosive Dart is applied prior to your first Followthrough because you only need to use Followthrough before your next ability that procs it and Corrosive Dart does not proc Followthrough. This means you can cause your very first Followthrough to tick Corrosive Dart with the Agitating Energies tactical. It’s also ideal to apply Corrosive Dart as early as possible so you can benefit from the Ranged debuff on as many attacks as possible.

Unlike most other DoTs, it does not appear that you’ll get more ticks of Corrosive Dart if you apply it during a period of increased alacrity like you’d get during Sniper Volley. I’m not sure why this is.

It really doesn’t matter when exactly Sniper Volley gets used in relation to Followthrough and the next Penetrating Blasts, though it will probably help your sanity if you keep things consistent. Personally, I wait to activate Sniper Volley until after I’ve used Followthrough.

Countermeasures is used at this point because the tank’s AoE Taunt will likely be wearing off soon, so this is when you will cause your threat drop to reduce your threat by the greatest amount.

Now we’re basically transitioning into the normal rotation once we start doing Snipe. Since Corrosive Dart has to be applied and Sniper Volley was activated, the gap in your rotation has already been used and then some, so Ambush will likely be coming off cooldown partway through your Snipe x2 grouping, which is fine. 

Single-Target Rotation

In Marksman, you use a rotation because it is possible to use all of your core abilities on cooldown without multiple high-damage abilities being available at the same time. Rotations are usually pretty consistent, though there can be some decision-making for a few GCDs. It’s important to practice your rotation on a dummy at least until you can execute it without having to constantly look at your bar.

If there is downtime during a fight, remember that you can precast things and often place your DoTs on shortly before the boss can actually take damage. You won’t get the full damage of your DoTs but you also won’t have to spend a GCD to apply them when the boss is vulnerable, so you will end up dealing more damage.

The key to being a great DPS is to always be DPSing. Using any damaging ability is better than just standing there not doing anything. Some DPS is better than zero DPS. Even if you mess up, keep doing the rotation! Unless there’s a mechanic that prevents you from dealing damage or forces you to stop DPSing, you should not stop DPSing. 

If a tank is telling you to stop DPS or hold off for a few seconds because they can’t keep aggro, don’t listen to them, they’re the one that doesn’t know the proper way to keep aggro. Tell them to git gud and read a tank guide!

Marksman’s rotation is basically to just cycle through 3 main groupings of abilities, all of which include a single use of Followthrough, and then there’s a single GCD gap before Ambush tends to come off cooldown. Once the boss’s health goes below 30%, a 4th grouping will emerge to overfill the gap in the rotation, causing your other abilities to get delayed. Here are the groupings:

  1. Ambush Ambush w/ 1.5s Cast > Followthrough Followthrough
  2. Penetrating Blasts Penetrating Blasts > Followthrough Followthrough
  3. Snipe Snipe > Snipe Snipe > Followthrough Followthrough
  4. Takedown Takedown > Followthrough Followthrough (only available sub-30%)

Using the Ambush and Penetrating Blasts groupings on cooldown always take priority, and then you use the Snipe x2 grouping and then you’ll have about a 1 GCD gap before Ambush comes off cooldown. Due to the Followthrough ability and how all the different procs and damage boosts interact, it doesn’t really help to just use all your abilities on cooldown. The spec is designed such that you use the other two groupings of abilities once each before the third becomes available again. Trying to use abilities before you have all the procs just means you’ll end up having to do more Snipes later. The typical rotation will look like this:

  1. AmbushAmbush
  2. Followthrough Followthrough
  3. Penetrating Blasts Penetrating Blasts
  4. Followthrough Followthrough
  5. Snipe Snipe
  6. SnipeSnipe
  7. Followthrough Followthrough
  8. Gap (if applicable)
  9. Repeat

Sometimes you have Sniper Volley available, so the first cycle will look like this:

  1. Ambush Ambush
  2. Followthrough Followthrough
  3. Penetrating Blasts Penetrating Blasts
  4. Followthrough Followthrough
  5. Sniper VolleySniper Volley
  6. Penetrating Blasts Penetrating Blasts
  7. Followthrough Followthrough
  8. SnipeSnipe
  9. Snipe Snipe
  10. Followthrough Followthrough
  11. Repeat

Gap Priority
(not applicable with Relentless Ambush)

  1. Takedown Takedown
  2. Rifle Shot Rifle Shot x1 (if below 80 Energy and Adrenaline Probe is unavailable)
  3. Snipe Snipe x1

This gap is not present if you are taking the Relentless Ambush ability tree buff. When you do Sniper Volley > Penetrating Blasts > Followthrough, you can treat it as if the gap just doesn’t appear; if that makes more sense.  

When Sniper Volley is available, you will not see a gap in that cycle since you’ll be using Sniper Volley before you would observe it. The increased alacrity makes it so you can fit the Penetrating Blasts channel and an additional Followthrough into a similarly sized window of time, even though the gap is normally only a GCD. You will probably still see Ambush get delayed slightly and this is fine. You can also put Sniper Volley > Penetrating Blasts > Followthrough at the top of the Gap priority if that makes more sense to you. 

If you’re taking Orbital Strike, you can cast it in AoE situations if at least 2 enemies will get hit by at least one tick and at least one enemy gets hit by every single tick. This needs to happen or you will deal less DPS than if you just casted one Snipe. Much like Sniper Volley, the gap will not appear when Orbital Strike is used. It’s the same situation if Corrosive Dart needs to be applied. 

Much like what has to happen with Sniper Volley, you can leverage the existence of the gap to not delay your high priority abilities by using a non-rotational ability earlier than you would observe the gap. You can use a non-rotational ability as soon as you finish channeling Penetrating Blasts even before using that accompanying Followthrough since you have a 5 second window to use Followthrough. You can also use any non-damaging ability between the 2 Snipes, including ones on the GCD like Diversion. 

You can still use non-rotational abilities that are on the GCD even before it’s time for the Snipe grouping, though it’s less ideal since the gap will get moved for the next cycle to before Penetrating Blasts instead. This will be fixed the next time you use Sniper Volley though.

Acknowledgements and Special Thanks

I want to give special thanks to everyone who is or has ever been a member of 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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