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

The guide is up-to-date for Patch 7.0.2a

Table of Contents:

Introduction to Virulence Sniper

Welcome to my 7.0 guide for Virulence Sniper! Virulence deals strong damage by applying several poisons to the target and triggering those poisons with specific weapon damage. Throughout this guide, I will reference Poison damage. It is not an official damage type, like Energy or Internal, but rather acts as a way for BioWare to quickly refer to many of your abilities at the same time.

Virulence is capable of dealing decent sustained damage, but it’s not as high in practice as what you’ll see from the top dummy parses on Parsely. The spec is able to do a lot of semi-cheesy things because so much of their damage comes from a single ability and their buffs are mostly based on duration rather than stacks.

Some of this cheesiness is possible to do in actual combat, but you’re gonna have a lot harder time with it than you would on a dummy, especially because you have to deal with cover and movement.

Virulence does offer a small amount of rotational AoE, but it is a lot weaker than what all other DoT specs are capable of to the extent that it overlaps with what some of the strongest burst specs can offer. If you need to do rotational AoE on a Sniper, you should play Engineering. That said, Virulence can get a single-target damage boost from the extra Energy generated by having its DoTs on multiple targets.

None of this should discourage you from playing the spec, Virulence is a great option, I just think it’s important to set realistic expectations.

Compared to other combat styles, Snipers lost more survivability than many with the release of 7.0, but they remain viable and are the only range combat style that still has access to AoE RDT. Thanks to how the ability tree choices were set up, each Sniper discipline is now a bit more unique in terms of damage mitigation.

Out of the 3 disciplines, Virulence is definitely the best at mitigating sustained damage, and thanks to its sub-30% damage boost and longer duration of Ballistic Shield, it is arguably one of the best specs in the game for fights that have tough burn phases.

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. Virulence 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, Virulence requires 3 other DPS debuffs:

DPS Debuff Presence of debuff increases DPS by approximately
Tech ~2.9%
Armor ~2.9%
AoE 1.7%
Total DPS Gain:  7.5%

Please note that the Tech and Armor values are approximate because StarParse doesn’t separate the Ranged and Tech components. Those numbers assume that Lethal Shot deals exactly half of its DPS from each damage type, which is not accurate. Don’t worry, the possible minor variations in damage type proportionality don’t change my conclusions.

Virulence is fairly standard as far as compositional dependency goes. It pairs perfectly with Powertech / Vanguard DPS because both parties provide 2 debuffs that the other can benefit from. I want to be clear that a PT / VG is by no means required in order for Virulence to deal maximum DPS, it just allows maximum compositional flexibility for the other players.

Since the individual amount from each debuff is fairly similar and small, I would try to get at least 1, preferably 2, if possible, but defer to other compositional needs when deciding which one in particular. It doesn’t make much of a difference which debuff you get so long as you get at least 1-2.

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?  

Damage over Time Abilities (DoTs) vs Direct Damage

DoTs are not special abilities that let you deal damage when you can’t target the boss with new attacks. Contrary to popular belief, throwing your DoTs on right before you become unable to attack the boss does not result in a DPS increase over an ability that deals the same amount of damage immediately because you’re still spending a GCD to cast the DoT. 

I think it’s most helpful to conceptualize DoTs compared to direct damage abilities (regular non-DoT / non-Periodic abilities) by imagining them as dealing all of their damage hitting at the end of their duration instead of being spread evenly throughout, or at least that’s when you’ll get the amount of damage listed on the packaging. 

Prior to that point, you’ll be getting less damage out of each GCD equal to the damage dealt per tick times the number of ticks that were left. This is why clipping your DoTs (reapplying them before they’ve expired) is generally considered a bad thing. When you clip your DoTs, you make the last GCD where you applied your DoTs retroactively deal less damage. 

In general, DoTs are worse than abilities that deal the same amount of damage immediately because the enemy could become immune, enraged, or dead by the time all of that damage will hit. In order to combat these disadvantages, DoTs tend to deal a bit more damage than direct damage abilities and almost always deal Internal/Elemental damage so they ignore armor. 

DoT specs have often been capable of dealing more sustained DPS than burst specs and usually have some sort of sub-30% HP execute window where DoT damage is increased. This helps to compensate for those targets dying before the DoT has finished ticking, though on targets that die quickly, this damage bonus isn’t enough to make it worth reapplying DoTs and makes it no different from clipping your DoTs. 

The sub-30% damage increase becomes more than just an equalizing effect on bosses since they usually last multiple DoT applications (and often several minutes) below 30% health, allowing enough time for DPS to actually increase. If DoTs have just fallen off of your target and you know it will die before the DoT completes all of its ticks, you should not reapply them to that target and either use one of your direct damage abilities (usually filler) or apply your DoTs to another target. 

Unless an enemy needs to die ASAP, it’s usually okay to switch targets preemptively since the vast majority of your damage contribution will be over in this situation. If you do decide to switch targets before the enemy dies, make sure you verify that the enemy actually died soon after you switched, sometimes the rest of your group might have the same idea and you’re left with an add wandering around with 1% HP left. 

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

Cull Cull

(Ranged/Energy/Direct/Single-Target/Channeled)
Cull is the central ability for Virulence because it causes basically all of your other attacks to deal damage. Your entire rotation is structured around using it as often as possible and getting the most out of each activation. Over the full channel, Cull will tick 4 times, allowing you to trigger up to 12 DoT ticks (or 8 without the Exploited Weakness tactical), and each of those ticks can individually trigger your Weakening Blast debuff too.

Cull also deals weapon damage, but it’s quite weak. Without the new ability tree buffs, it actually deals slightly less damage per activation than Takedown over the full duration. Cull has 1 discipline passives associated with it that is relevant to your rotation:

Decay
When Corrosive Dart and Corrosive Grenade end, they are replaced by a lingering version for 5 seconds that only deals damage when Cull deals damage. You can distinguish these debuffs because they are grayed out rather than in full color and tick down much faster. This effect of Decay makes it so you can use Cull on cooldown without ever having to worry about your DoTs falling off. Rather than reapplying Corrosive Grenade and Corrosive Dart as soon as they fall off, you wait until you do a final (usually fourth) Cull that will mostly take place while your Lingering Toxins are active.

Corrosive Grenade Skill Corrosive Grenade

(Tech/Internal/Periodic/AoE/Instant/Poison)
Corrosive Grenade is the first of your primary DoTs that must have 100% uptime on your primary target. Even without Cull, Corrosive Grenade deals enough damage to be worth using where it has 100% uptime, so you should apply it to secondary targets when possible in lieu of your weaker fillers.

Corrosive Grenade is considered an AoE attack and one of the only rotational AoE abilities in the game that can benefit from another discipline providing the AoE debuff. Most other rotational AoE is dealt by specs that already provide the AoE debuff. Corrosive Grenade has 2 discipline passives and 1 debuff associated with it that are relevant to your rotation:

Corrosive Dispersion
Corrosive Grenade spreads your Corrosive Dart to targets it damages, if it damages at least 1 target already affected by Corrosive Dart. This passive makes Corrosive Grenade your DoT spread. Unfortunately, Corrosive Grenade is a targeted ability and only has a 5m AoE radius, so it often doesn’t reach far enough to affect the whole group of trash, requiring you to choose between not spreading to the whole group or using it again, desynchronizing your DoTs and not getting as much of a benefit out of the second GCD.

It’s unfortunate that BioWare has never bothered to fix this. AoE abilities with 5m range are almost always placeable while targeted AoEs typically have an 8m radius to compensate for the reduced control. There are other AoE abilities that are targeted with 5m range, but those are universally terrible in part, but not only, because 5m is not enough.

Corrosive Microbes
Corrosive Grenade (and Corrosive Dart) have a 10% chance to harm their target twice whenever they deal damage. This damage is unreliable in the moment, but over the course of the whole fight, it will average out to 10% more ticks.

Assailable
Also provided by Corrosive Microbes, Assailable is the Internal/Elemental DPS debuff and is applied by Corrosive Grenade. The Internal/Elemental debuff is considered the second best DPS debuff in the game because it significantly benefits almost all DPS specs as many of the most powerful attacks in the game deal Internal/Elemental damage. For some disciplines, the Internal/Elemental debuff is actually better than the Armor debuff because a greater proportion of the damage dealt is considered Internal/Elemental compared to Energy/Kinetic and both debuffs offer the same effective 7% damage increase.

Since Virulence applies this debuff on an AoE ability, it’s even more valuable because almost all DoTs and DoT spreads in the game deal Internal/Elemental damage and DoT specs provide the most potent AoE in the game thanks to their DoT spreads.

Corrosive Dart Corrosive Dart

(Tech/Internal/Periodic/Single-Target/Instant/Poison)
Corrosive Dart is the second of your primary DoTs that must have 100% uptime on your primary target. Even without Cull, Corrosive Dart deals enough damage to be worth using where it has 100% uptime, so you should apply it to secondary targets when possible in lieu of your weaker fillers. Corrosive Dart has 1 debuff and 1 discipline passive associated with it that are relevant to your rotation that I haven’t already mentioned.

Lethal Injectors
Increases the duration of Corrosive Dart by 6 seconds. This passive is now hidden, but the effect remains. Corrosive Grenade lasts 24 seconds, so this passive just makes Corrosive Dart have the same duration.

Efficient Targeting
Increases the range of Flash Bang, Overload Shot (abilities you don’t even have anymore), and Distraction to 35m 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 combat style 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.

The Ranged debuff is slightly more useful in Virulence because Corrosive Dart can be spread, allowing you to apply this debuff in an AoE fashion, thereby increasing the damage dealt by ranged AoE attacks including Suppressive Fire, Weakening Blast (with Airborne Agents), and also the Mercenary / Commando spammable AoE.

Weakening Blast Weakening Blast

(Ranged/Energy/Direct/Single-Target/Instant)
This is one of your most damaging attacks and while it behaves similar to a DoT, it is not considered Poison, Periodic, or even Internal/Elemental damage. Weakening Blast deals Weapon (Ranged) damage, so it doesn’t get buffed by the various discipline passives that boost those types of damage, though it remains a powerful ability.

Since Cull ticks your DoTs and each DoT tick will individually trigger Weakening Blast, it’s essential to make sure that Weakening Blast is active for the entire duration of Cull. Technically, Weakening Blast can be used at any point in the rotation so long as it and Cull are being used on cooldown, but it’s much safer to always use Weakening Blast immediately before Cull to minimize the risk of missing out because of downtime. For example, if you don’t keep them synchronized, you could end up with a situation where the boss becomes immune before you have a chance to activate Cull. Weakening Blast has 1 discipline passive and 1 debuff associated with it that are relevant to your rotation:

Devouring Microbes
Increases the damage dealt by your Poison effects by 15% on targets that have less than 30% max HP. In addition, if a target is defeated while affected by Weakening Blast, the cooldown on Weakening Blast is reset. The sub-30% damage boost is equivalent to a nearly 9% DPS increase, which is pretty average for these sorts of buffs. The sub-30% damage boost allows you to deal more damage against bosses and compensate for the DPS loss if the target dies before all ticks have been harvested from the associated DoT application GCD.

The cooldown reset on Weakening Blast makes it so you don’t have to worry about wasting or delaying the ability because even if the target dies, you’ll get it back. In fact, it transforms Weakening Blast into your strongest filler because DoT ticks that occur over the course of a Cull channel will account for over 60% of the damage dealt by each activation of Weakening Blast, and Weakening Blast deals about 4x the damage per GCD of your Lethal Shot, Takedown, and Series of Shots, so it’s a significant DPS increase to apply Weakening Blast to targets that will die because you effectively just did more damage than one of those weaker fillers for free.

By the same token, using Weakening Blast on a target that is about to die that you have opted not to Cull can potentially be a DPS loss compared to swapping off that target early or just using a different ability instead. This also helps to reinforce the importance of only using Weakening Blast immediately before Cull.

Toxic Surge
Weakening Blast applies Toxic Surge to the target, which will trigger a corrosive explosion that deals a small amount of single-target Internal damage the next time that target takes damage from Corrosive Grenade. This debuff really just gives Weakening Blast a tiny bit of extra burst and pizzaz, but I wanted to bring it up since it does show up as its own entry in StarParse and point out that Toxic Surge is not considered a Poison.

Lethal Shot Lethal Shot

(Ranged and Tech/Energy and Internal/Direct/Single-Target/Casted/Partial Poison)
Lethal Shot is your main filler ability and will account for nearly half of your GCDs. It has a unique trait where it deals a portion of its damage as regular weapon damage while the other part is Tech and Internal as well as being classified as Poison damage. I think BioWare was trying to incorporate the idea of a radioactive or poison-laced bullet into the world of Star Wars.

In a vacuum, Lethal Shot would deal less damage than Takedown, but thanks to its Poison component, Lethal Shot is able to benefit from and utilize many of the passives that would otherwise only boost your DoTs, resulting in Lethal Shot typically being your most damaging filler. Lethal Shot has 1 tactical item associated with it that is relevant to your rotation:

Exploited Weakness
Increases the damage dealt by Weakening Blast by 50%. In addition, Lethal Shot applies a relatively weak Poison DoT that lasts 18 seconds. The DoT is affected by all of the Poison buffs just like Corrosive Dart and Corrosive Grenade, allowing each cast of Lethal Shot to double-dip on damage boosts.

Semi-Rotational Abilities

These abilities don’t deal enough damage to be used rotationally, but still occasionally have value. If you want to do the absolute maximum DPS, you’ll need to know when it’s appropriate to use these abilities.

Takedown Takedown

(Ranged/Energy/Direct/Single-Target/Instant)
Takedown was once a far more important part of your rotation, but now only deals more damage than Lethal Shot when neither Weakening Blast nor Viral Targeting are active, and even then they will still deal roughly the same damage.

For the sake of simplicity, Takedown should only be used when you have to move or if your target will die or otherwise become unavailable to hit by the time Lethal Shot would finish casting. Takedown has 1 proc associated with it that is relevant to your rotation:

Lethal Takedown
Dealing damage with Cull has an 80% chance to trigger Lethal Takedown, which finishes the cooldown on Takedown and makes your next Takedown useable on any target and cost 3 less Energy. This proc effectively lets you use Takedown once per Cull and always cost 1 or 2 less Energy than Lethal Shot, but thanks to Weakening Blast, Viral Targeting, the Exploited Weakness tactical, additional Energy regeneration, and the Shatter Snipe ability tree buff, Takedown will only be worth using when you don’t have enough Energy or need to move.

Series Of Shots Series of Shots

(Ranged/Energy/Direct/Single-Target/Channeled)
Series of Shots deals significantly less DPS than Lethal Shot and Takedown, but it only costs 20 Energy, so you’ll actually gain Energy over the course of the channel thanks to your passive and triggered Energy regen. Series of Shots should only be used in a couple of specific situations:

  • You need more Energy. Typically, this will only come up if you aren’t using the Energy Regulators Legendary Implant or you just got revived and Adrenaline Probe is on cooldown for some reason.
  • You expect your target to die or become immune before you can finish a cast and want to deal a final bit of damage. If you don’t have time to apply your DoTs, Lethal Shot and Takedown are better options. Series should only be used as the very final GCD.

Series of Shots does not have any passives associated with it that are relevant to your rotation.

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 combat style proc and 1 combat style passive that provide significant benefits to you while in cover:

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 combat style 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 combat style 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. This isn’t terribly relevant for Engi since Energy demands and rotational interdependencies are more important, but it’s still good to know. 

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. It’s slightly more expensive than Lethal Shot and Takedown, but you have sufficient Energy with the Energy Regulators Legendary Implant to use it instead of Lethal Shot. If you want to spam it more than that, you’ll need to make sure to DoT spread.

Using a single full channel Suppressive Fire exclusively instead of Lethal Shot will result in a slight single-target DPS loss in exchange for a major AoE DPS gain that effectively becomes rotational AoE.

Orbital Strike Orbital Strike

(Tech/Elemental/Periodic/AoE/Casted)
This is another of the strongest AoEs in the game, though you are a bit more restricted around its usage. Orbital Strike ticks 3 times over 9 seconds and has a delay before the first tick goes out after casting, so adds have to survive a relatively long time in order to get the maximum amount of damage out of this ability.

Since you now have to give up an empowered Ballistic Shield to take Orbital Strike, I would not recommend taking this ability if you have to worry at all about not getting the absolute maximum damage out of the ability without losing any single-target DPS, so Orbital Strike should only be used to replace Lethal Shot.

Corrosive Grenade Skill Corrosive Grenade

(Tech/Elemental/Periodic/AoE/Instant)
Corrosive Grenade is your DoT spread thanks to the Corrosive Dispersion discipline passive. It’s arguably one of the worst in the game because it only spreads 1 DoT (Corrosive Grenade is already an AoE) and will disrupt your rotation. Corrosive Grenade does not spread Corrosive Dart the secondary target still has the Lingering Toxins version present in its system. In addition, Corrosive Grenade only has a 5m radius, so you may have to use it multiple times if you want to spread to a group of enemies that are spread out.

In order to re-spread Corrosive Dart, you have to wait until Lingering Toxins wears off of secondary targets, and this will happen 1 GCD after Lingering Toxins falls off of your primary target because Corrosive Grenade and Dart get applied at the same time to secondary targets.

In order to get the maximum damage out of your DoT spread when you want to respread it, you have to delay reapplying your DoTs and subsequently Cull along with maybe Weakening Blast if it’s available. Alternatively, you can just apply Corrosive Grenade a second time knowing it will be wasted on the primary target and desynchronize it from Corrosive Dart. Both of these options result in a single-target DPS loss. The first option (waiting until Lingering Toxins falls off) should result in a smaller single-target DPS loss.

Alternatively, you can just not respread Corrosive Dart and just accept lower AoE damage. The damage takes 24 seconds to go out, so it might not even be worthwhile to spread at all unless Viral Targeting is active if the adds are only gonna live for a few more seconds anyway. As an AoE, Corrosive Dart has 1 tactical item associated with it that is relevant to your rotation:

Airborne Agents
Corrosive Grenade also spreads Weakening Blast if it damages at least 1 target already affected by Weakening Blast. In addition, Lethal Shot deals damage to nearby enemies that are also affected by Corrosive Grenade. The Weakening Blast spread forces you to tweak your rotation by applying Weakening Blast before Corrosive Grenade. The Lethal Shot AoE component enables Lethal Shot to be situationally superior to Suppressive Fire. I think Lethal Shot’s AoE only works in a 5m raidus, so Suppressive Fire will still be better if you can hit more targets with it.

Fragmentation Grenade Fragmentation Grenade

(Tech/Kinetic/Direct/AoE/Instant)
This is not an AoE ability for endgame PvE. It only deals a small amount of AoE damage to Standard and Weak enemies, which you rarely encounter in group content. 

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 and that’s the only thing you can use it against since it doesn’t affect bosses. 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. 

Diversion does cost a GCD, so you’ll either have to use it instead of something that doesn’t have a cooldown, or delay something that does. Thankfully, it doesn’t matter too much which approach you take since Diversion has a fairly long cooldown so you won’t lose a tangible amount of DPS from using it. If you are going to use it in place of one of your abilities, try to minimize the amount of damage you lose by replacing one of your weakest GCDs, similar to what you’d do when you need to reapply Interrogation Probe.

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. 

Targeting Systems Viral Targeting and Integrated Toxins

Laze Target now has a unique effect and name in each discipline. For Virulence, the ability is called Viral Targeting and has the following effects: Increases the critical chance of your next Cull or Takedown by 100%. Viral Targeting grants Integrated Toxins, which causes all of your Poison damage to automatically critically hit. Lasts 10 (or sometimes 20) seconds.

Prior to 7.0, Laze Target only increased the critical chance of Cull’s weapon damage, so Viral Targeting is now far more potent as an offensive cooldown for Virulence. Many of your ability tree buffs and legendary implants synergize with Viral Targeting and will enable you to pick between a 10s or 20s duration without changing the overall uptime so you can optimize the buff to suit your needs.

Viral Targeting follows the same rules and ideals as Weakening Blast. You should always activate Viral Targeting immediately before Cull, ideally where you won’t have to reapply your DoTs while Integrated Toxins is active, but it’s best not to delay it at all unless there will be a burst check very soon. This will enable you to get 1 full Cull and part of the next one alongside (hopefully) 3-4 Lethal Shots. If Energy permits, you’ll want to skip Takedown.

Please note that Weakening Blast does not synergize with Viral Targeting or Integrated Toxins at all because Weakening Blast deals weapon damage, it is not a Poison effect. There is no need to delay one for the other unless you are doing a burst DPS check.

It is also not worth delaying Viral Targeting until after you reapply your DoTs because Lethal Shot’s Poison damage is the alternative and doesn’t deal that much more damage than an individual DoT tick. You’ll quickly lose more DPS from missing out on additional activations, especially with the 10s/45s CD version than you would gain by ensuring more ideal Integrated Toxins windows. I do think it’s fine to delay Viral Targeting by a single cycle in order to synchronize it with other OCDs.

Adrenaline Probe Adrenaline Probe

This ability will get different amounts of usage depending on which build you’re using, including not at all in some cases, 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. 

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.  Adrenaline Probe has 1 discipline passive associated with it that is relevant to your rotation:

Lethal Purpose
Reduces the cooldown of Adrenaline Probe by 15s. In addition, dealing damage with a Poison effect restores 1 Energy. The cooldown reduction is definitely useful when you need to use Adrenaline Probe on cooldown, but the more significant impact of Lethal Purpose comes from the Poison Energy regen effect.

Each of your Poisons will tick enough times to recoup the Energy cost of their initial application and then some thanks to Cull, though you’ll still have to worry about the up-front Energy cost since it does take time for the Energy restoration to occur. In addition, multi-DoTing and DoT spreading make Energy management trivial allowing you to get rid of some Energy regen in fights where it’s consistently possible to do either.

Adrenal

The only time you should activate the Adrenal is at the same time as Viral Targeting because you want to benefit from the periodic supercrit damage since you’re boosting your critical rating rather than power. It’s fine to delay the Adrenal until Viral Targeting is available; it shouldn’t ever result in missing out on additional activations of the Adrenal.

Target Acquired Target Acquired

Both the 15 Energy regen and 15% increased armor penetration for 10 seconds provide a noticeable benefit. Only energy/kinetic attacks are mitigated by armor and all of Virulence’s energy/kinetic damage is anything that isn’t Poison damage, which will be denoted as weapon damage. Weapon damage (white damage) is what the game refers to as melee/ranged attacks that you deal and all melee/ranged damage is also energy/kinetic.

If that was a bit too confusing, don’t worry. The core idea with Target Acquired’s damage boost is that it’s equivalent to a 5.25% damage increase for your white damage. Your sources of white damage include:

  • Weakening Blast
  • Cull (not the DoT ticks it triggers)
  • Lethal Shot (not the Poison part)
  • Takedown
  • Series of Shots

The damage boost is small enough that it does not enable Series of Shots to be worthwhile, but you definitely want Weakening Blast to be active for the full duration since it is by far your most damaging weapon attack and should use Takedown in lieu of a Lethal Shot because it deals more weapon damage. You should not activate Target Acquired during rotation cycles where you have to refresh your DoTs because you won’t sufficiently benefit from Target Acquired during those GCDs.

In fights with very high uptime, you can’t afford to delay Target Acquired for longer than it takes for Weakening Blast to come off cooldown because you will be relying on the 15 Energy to stay afloat. You should only activate Target Acquired immediately after applying Weakening Blast.

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 combat styles 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 combat styles 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.

Shield Probe Shield Probe and Toxic Regulators

Shield Probe is normally just a very weak DCD that absorbs damage equivalent to about 8% of your max HP, though it has a very short cooldown so it’s up for just about every single hit, which helps to take the edge off even if it’s almost never enough on its own. Virulence has 1 discipline passive associated with it that is relevant to your survivability.

Toxic Regulators
Reduced damage taken by periodic effects by 30%. In addition, when your Shield Probe ends, you gain Toxic Regulators, which increases your damage reduction by `15% for 6 seconds. This passive makes Shield Probe significantly more useful at mitigating bigger hits and allows Virulence to take less damage from DoTs all the time.

Countermeasures Countermeasures and Reestablish Range

On its own, Countermeasures is your threat drop, but in Virulence, it can get buffed by 1 option in the ability tree that expands its usefulness.

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. Avoid activating both effects at the same time.

Reestablish Range also causes the final tick of Series of Shots to knock back its target if they are within 10m of you. This isn’t typically an issue in Virulence since Series of Shots doesn’t get used like at all, but it’s good to be aware of.

Meticulous Preparation Meticulous Preparation and 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. 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, but 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 levels. 

Ballistic Shield lasts 5 seconds longer (25s vs 20s) in Virulence than it does Marksmanship and Engineering thanks to the Corrosive Mine discipline passive.

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 combat styles 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 mitigable, 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. 

Virulence can deal a decent amount of damage when activating Covered Escape thanks to the Corrosive Mine discipline passive, so if you manage to get the boss inside the AoE, you can make up for the DPS you would otherwise lose from giving up this GCD to roll.

Strangely, Corrosive Mine is not considered a Poison effect, so it does not trigger or benefit from things like Weakening Blast or Integrated Toxins, meaning it will always deal less damage than Lethal Shot, so don’t give up another GCD to move into position so you can deal damage when you need to roll.

You may see some players use it in dummy parses when they aren’t taking any sort of increased Energy regen because it deals more damage than Series of Shots and Rifle Shot. It can be worth using in specific AoE situations as well since it deals slightly more damage than Suppressive Fire.

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 its disposal in addition to any other abilities I haven’t yet mentioned. 

Maim Maim

(Tech/Energy/Direct/Single-Target/Instant)
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 combat styles. 

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.

Adds are less likely to have CC immunity and you should be careful not to ruin nicely grouped-up adds, but Cover Pulse is free and off the GCD. This means you can use it to reposition adds slightly without losing DPS when you can’t quite get all of the adds and the boss in the AoE by standing at max knockback range to knock that final add into the AoE, assuming they are vulnerable to knockbacks. 

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 and are prevented from executing a required mechanic or dealing damage. 

Leg Shot Leg Shot

(Ranged/Energy/Direct/Single-Target/Instant)
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 stun on a Melee add. It would also work as an alternative to stunning one of the Chained Manifestations on Styrak NiM. 

Rifle Shot

(Ranged/Energy/Direct/Single-Target/Instant)
Rifle Shot can be used instead of Series of Shots if you see yourself dip below 60 Energy and don’t have Adrenaline Probe available, but this shouldn’t typically be an issue.

Fragmentation Grenade Fragmentation Grenade

(Tech/Kinetic/Direct/AoE/Instant)
There is no need to use Fragmentation Grenade in Virulence, even as an instant ability while moving because you’ll be able to cast Lethal Shots instead thanks to Calculated Pursuit and all of your other primary filler slot abilities are instant.

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.

Corrosive Grenade BuffsLevel 23 Choice

Arrow Passive 2 Corrosive Technologies

  • Effect: The initial hit of Corrosive Grenade deals 10% more damage. In addition, Corrosive Grenade extends the duration of Integrated Toxins by 1 second for each target it hits. 
  • Recommendation: Take this in solo content and specific fights only. If you’re getting less than 5 ticks out of each activation of Corrosive Grenade, which will tend to be the case in solo content and some add fights like Draxus, this option will yield more DPS. I think the duration extension just helps to compensate for minor fluctuations where Corrosive Technologies would lose out. When using Corrosive Technologies, activate Viral Targeting immediately before applying Corrosive Grenade instead of before Weakening Blast.

target icon Critical Grenade

  • Effect: Corrosive Grenade increases the critical damage dealt by your Periodic Poison effects by 5% on affected targets.
  • Recommendation: Almost always take this in group content. Critical Grenade offers a greater DPS increase than the +10% damage to the initial hit of Corrosive Grenade from Corrosive Technologies as soon as you can get 5 ticks of Corrosive Grenade per application (and per target). This means Critical Grenade is superior if you can get a full channel of Cull on each target or when the DoT deals at least half of its ticks to non-Culled secondary targets. Typically, Critical Grenade will be used when you aren’t taking Winnow, but Corrosive Technologies will be better with Winnow.

Fire Arrow Down Passive Icon Corrosive Refund

  • Effect: Corrosive Grenade refunds 2 Energy for each target it hits.
  • Recommendation: Never take this. I’ve been wracking my brain trying to think of a situation where you’d want to take Corrosive Refund instead of either Energy Regulators or Critical Compounds, but it just never seems to be worthwhile. I’ll update this section if I learn of a use case for Corrosive Refund.

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

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: Never take this in PvE. Shatter Snipe is too big of a DPS increase to give up. If something needs to be stunned, someone else in the group can do it.

Shatter Snipe Shatter Snipe

  • Effect: The critical hit damage of Lethal Shot is increased by 20%. In addition, dealing damage with Lethal Shot inflicts Trauma, which reduces all healing the target receives by 20%. Lasts 10 seconds.
  • Recommendation: Always take this. Lethal Shot will account for a quarter of your total damage output and nearly half of your GCDs. You can’t afford to give this up.

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: Never take this. Shatter Snipe is too big of a DPS increase to give up and you can use Covered Escape if you need to cheese an attack.

Cull Buffs – Level 39 Choice

shield Corrosive Impair

  • Effect: Cull deals 10% more weapon damage and slows the target by 50% for 6 seconds.
  • Recommendation: Never take this in PvE. The primary benefit of Corrosive Impair is the slow effect. The damage increase is much weaker than the other options.

3 arrows Winnow

  • Effect: Defeating a target during Cull resets the cooldown of Cull and deals Poison damage to nearby enemies if the target was affected by one of your Poisons.
  • Recommendation: Take this in solo content and in fights with frequent target swapping. Winnow is essential in solo content because it allows Cull to be used against every single enemy. This option should also offer superior sustained DPS in fights with frequent target swapping. You will have to sacrifice a small amount of burst compared to Corrosive Targeting, but if you’re playing Virulence, you’re not providing too much burst to begin with.

Curve Passive Icon Corrosive Targeting

  • Effect: While Integrated Toxins is active, the armor penetration, critical chance, and critical damage of Cull are increased by 20%.
  • Recommendation: Take this in fights with little to no target swapping. The sustained DPS increase from Corrosive Targeting is quite small because the buffs only apply to Cull’s weapon damage, not the DoT ticks it triggers, but Winnow will be useless in fights without frequent target swapping, so this is the next best option.

Focused Integration, Target Acquired, or Critical CompoundsLevel 47 Choice

Focused Integration Focused Integration

  • Effect: Viral Targeting’s cooldown is extended by 30 seconds, but its Integrated Toxins effect lasts twice as long.
  • Recommendation: Take this option when the extended duration of Integrated Toxins is valuable. Focused Integration makes Integrated Toxins last 20 seconds, but is available less frequently. This is good for infrequent burst DPS checks that last longer than 10 seconds. The poster child for a fight where you’d want Focused Integration is Warlord Kephess in EC so that you can have Integrated Toxins active for the full duration of every single Walker check. Always take Energy Regulators over Improved Targeting with Focused Integration so that you can always use Lethal Shot.

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: Take this when you need additional burst for very short, infrequent checks or can’t use another option. Always take Improved Targeting over Energy Regulators with Target Acquired. You can get by without Energy Regulators, but you have to use Takedown in every single rotation cycle and use Adrenaline Probe on cooldown. Since this makes the rotation more complicated, I do not recommend using it unless the extra burst is required or you have some other way to increase your Energy regen like with significant downtime, DoT spreading, or multi-DoTing. The damage increase from Target Acquired will compensate for the sustained DPS loss from not using as many Lethal Shots.

Critical Compounds Empire Critical Compounds

  • Effect: Critically hitting with periodic damage generates 1 Energy.
  • Recommendation: Take this option when you need more frequent burst or can’t make full use of Focused Integration Always take Improved Targeting over Energy Regulators with Critical Compounds. The additional Energy regen from Energy Regulators is always excessive with Critical Compounds and you need the cooldown reduction on Viral Targeting from Improved Targeting to match the uptime you’d get with Viral Targeting (10s every 45s = 20s every 90s). The best example of a fight where you’d want the shorter duration and cooldown on Viral Targeting is the second boss of Dxun NiM with the T6 droids that come every minute. In general, there are far more situations where the shorter duration and cooldown on Viral Targeting are valuable compared to what you get from Focused Integration, and Critical Compounds works better at recovering Energy in AoE situations and still works when you can’t be in cover, so I think it’s better as a default choice.

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

Snap Shot Snap Shot

  • Effect: Entering cover makes your next Lethal Shot activate instantly. Cannot occur more than once every 6 seconds.
  • Recommendation: Never take this. Since Lethal Shot already costs a GCD to use and you can’t move while in cover, making Lethal Shot 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 option 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 use whichever option results in lower DTPS in that fight.

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

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 Series of Shots 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 Series of Shots.

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 your 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.

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

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 in 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.

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 solo content and specific fights only. It’s never worth it to give up the massive damage mitigation from Ballistic Shield for the DPS increase that comes from mobility but it can be pretty valuable in fights like Mutant Trandoshans to call the train immediately, so only take it in fights where it presents a specific utility for your group. 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.

Ballistic Shield Ballistic Shield

  • Effect: rants 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.

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

Augmented Shields Augmented Shields

  • Effect: Increases the amount of damage absorbed by Shield Probe by 30%.
  • Recommendation: Only take this in fights where you don’t have to move like at all. The boost to survivability is pretty small and the other options will almost always be more valuable, but sometimes you don’t need increased mobility and Augmented Shields will technically always be beneficial. If you need Augmented Shields for survivability, something else is wrong.

Calculated Pursuit Calculated Pursuit

  • Effect: Upon exiting Cover, you gain 4 stacks of Calculated Pursuit, which allow Lethal Shot 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: Almost always take this. Calculated Pursuit enables you to be completely mobile outside of channeling Cull, which helps prevent DPS losses from having to move. This allows you to reposition to the boss when you anticipate that you’ll have to roll, so you can hit the boss with Corrosive Mine. Be mindful that while you are out of cover, you do not have any pushback protection, so if you are taking frequent ticks of damage, you may have a tough time getting Lethal Shot casts off. You also won’t be able to benefit from Energy Regulators, so be prepared to use Adrenaline Probe. Since there is a 20s rate limit whenever you spend the first stack, try to use Takedown as your first ability out of cover in case a single GCD is enough.

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 in specific fights only. Calculated Pursuit will typically be better if you’re just concerned about not losing DPS when you have to move, but sometimes pushback is too intense, making it better to just try and get somewhere faster. Underlurker HM and the Reaches in Brontes NiM are great examples of fights where you might want to take Seek Cover instead for the movement-impairing effect immunity so you can avoid the slows.

Gearing and Stats Priorities

Tactical Items

Exploited Weakness Exploited Weakness
Effect: Weakening Blast deals 50% more damage. Dealing damage with Lethal Shot causes the target to take a small amount of Internal Poison damage over 18s.
Recommendation: This is your single-target tactical. The Lethal Shot DoT synergizes with all abilities and passives that interact with Periodic Poison damage, so this DoT will tick from Cull, trigger Weakening Blast, benefit from Integrated Toxins, and restore Energy along with receiving other basic damage boosts. The fact that the Exploited Weakness DoT restores Energy is significant because it enables you to not have to use Series of Shots nearly as often. Since this DoT deals damage upon application, the effective Energy cost of Lethal Shot becomes 13 rather than 14.
Airborne Agents Airborne Agents
Effect: Corrosive Grenade now also spreads the effect of Weakening Blast. In addition, Lethal Shot deals splash damage to all targets affected by Corrosive Grenade.
Recommendation: This is your AoE tactical. It doesn’t increase your single-target damage output, but enables you to deal a fair bit more AoE damage. The extra ticks from your DoTs being on multiple targets will compensate for reduced Energy restoration that would have been provided by the Exploited Weakness DoT, but you will have to use Series of Shots more frequently in single-target situations. It probably won’t come up too often in solo content, but Arborne Agents enables Lethal Shot to deal more AoE damage than Suppressive Fire per GCD and be cheaper. Overall, Airborne Agents is great for solo content, but I don’t think there are too many boss fights where you’d want to give up so much single-target DPS.

Legendary Implants

BioWare has removed set bonuses from the game and replaced them with Legendary Implants, 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 Implants you should use as a Virulence Sniper.

  • Locked and Loaded – Ranged and Tech damage (and healing) increased by 5%.
  • Energy Regulator – You gain 1 Energy per second while in cover.
  • Improved Targeting – Reduces the cooldown of Laze Target, Viral Targeting, and Targeting Systems by 15 seconds.

Locked and Loaded is always BiS, but isn’t required to make a specific build work. Energy Regulator enables you to never have to use Takedown or Series of Shots, but is excessive with Critical Compounds and Target Acquired, so it will typically only be paired with Focused Integration. Improved Targeting allows you to have the same uptime on Integrated Toxins as you would with Focused Integration, enabling you to customize the duration of Integrated Toxins to fit the fight.

You’ll typically using Locked and Loaded + either Improved Targeting or Energy Regulator. It’s important to get all 3 for Virulence and you’ll be able to make use of them for other Agent / Smuggler disciplines.

Learn more about Legendary Items in SWTOR 7.0 from the dedicated guide, which also includes a full list for all combat styles.

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 Eviscerating Crystals 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 Devastating Vengeance 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.

The Relic of Devastating Vengeance is preferred over the Relic of Serendipitous Assault for Virulence because you have lots of effects that increase your critical damage dealt and all of that crit will get converted into supercrit if the relic procs while Integrated Toxins is active.

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. Since you’ll be swapping between Energy Regulators (grants alacrity) and Improved Targeting (grants crit), you’ll need an additional piece of gear to stay at this threshold.
  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 Virulence 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 seem a bit overwhelming that there are a whopping 5 builds, but they’re not super different from one another. You’ll mainly just need to determine if AoE is required and whether or not it’s ideal to have longer, but less frequent, Integrated Toxins windows.

Short Burst (Default Single-Target Sustained)

The Short Burst build is meant to deal maximum single-target sustained DPS in group content. Integrated Toxins is optimized for short, frequent burst DPS checks so you can have Viral Targeting up for every burst check and don’t have to worry about sudden downtime causing you to waste precious seconds of Integrated Toxins. Energy regeneration comes from Critical Compounds or Target Acquired.

This build leverages the short cooldown on Viral Targeting to match the uptime of the Long Burst build. You should not use this build in fights with short burn phases, particularly ones where you can’t get multiple Viral Targeting activations. You should also not use this build in fights with longer burst checks where Integrated Toxins will fall off long before the check is done. Your goal is to make sure that no second of Integrated Toxins goes to waste.

You’ll really only ever need to swap 3 choices at levels 43, 51, and 64. At level 43, take Target Acquired instead of Critical Compounds if you have occasional situations where you want additional burst. At level 51, which to Pillbox Sniper if you aren’t moving too much or need Entrench more often. At level 64, swap to Over-prepared if there is a lot of damage going out at a specific point in the fight and you don’t need the additional mobility.

If these choices seem a bit overwhelming just want a single build that will do okay in just about every fight, use this build all the time, but take Winnow instead of Corrosive Targeting. The single-target DPS loss will be minimal and you’ll be a lot more effective in multi-target situations. I want to be clear that if you’re wiping, you need to take a closer look at the other builds and optimize for the specific fight.

Long Burst Build

The Long Burst build is meant to deal maximum single-target sustained DPS in group content. Integrated Toxins is optimized for long, infrequent burst DPS checks and shorter burn phases where you’d only be able to activate the shorter version of Viral Targeting once or twice at most before the burn phase is over and can have Viral Targeting up for the entirety of longer burst DPS checks where 10s isn’t long enough. Energy regeneration comes from the Energy Regulators implant.

This build compensates for the longer cooldown on Viral Targeting by having a significantly longer duration on Integrated Toxins per activation. It will perform worse if you can’t consistently benefit from the full duration of Integrated Toxins, so make sure you pay attention to when your target will become immune, dead, or otherwise unavailable. Delay activating Viral Targeting or switch to the Short Burst build if this is happening consistently. Since fights with a lot of adds tend to require a lot of target swapping and downtime, I do not recommend using Focused Integration in fights where a lot of AoE is required.

Similar to the Short Burst build, you only have to worry about swapping 2 choices to optimize your survivability. Take Ballistic Dampers instead of Pillbox Sniper if you’re moving frequently and don’t need Entrench more than once per minute. Take Reestablish Range instead of Over-prepared whenever you need to move great distances, especially if there isn’t a phase where you’re taking a ton of damage.

Light AoE Build (Default AoE)

This is the primary sustained AoE build for Virulence. The goal is to boost AoE DPS as much as possible while minimizing the loss of single-target DPS. You’ll be able to switch freely between the single-target rotation and Winnowing by DoT spreading, Culling targets that are about to die, and using Suppressive Fire instead of Lethal Shot (don’t forget to take Ruthless Efficiency!).

Heavy AoE

You should probably (learn to) play Engineering or some other spec with stronger AoE that doesn’t have to give up so much sustained DPS rather than use this build, but if you only know Virulence and there’s a ton of AoE required without much of a single-target DPS check, this build is designed for maximum sustained AoE damage.

Remember that because you’re using the Airborne Agents tactical, you should use Lethal Shot instead of Suppressive Fire and activate Viral Targeting right before using Corrosive Grenade.

You’ll typically be using Corrosive Technologies because Corrosive Grenade will be getting a lot of use, but in fights where adds have high health and you don’t have to spam Corrosive Grenade, you should use Critical Grenade instead.

Solo Content Build

The Solo Content build enables you to poison and weaken every enemy in the immediate vicinity with Corrosive Dart -> Weakening Blast -> Corrosive Grenade and then pick off each target with a partial channel of Cull with each death creating a poison explosion. Corrosive Grenade only has a 5m radius, so it’s hard to get the entire group with 1 throw, so you might need to lob multiple grenades to spread your Poisons to the whole group. Hopefully BioWare buffs the radius of Corrosive Grenade to 8m, but the ability has been this way for the entire lifetime of the game, so it probably won’t happen.

Since Winnow only resets the cooldown of Cull if you kill during Cull, you want to start with targets that have the lowest health and work your way up to the ones with the highest health. If there’s a Strong (silver) or Elite (gold) enemy in the group, be sure to activate Viral Targeting and Target Acquired (if applicable) as soon as you apply Weakening Blast. If you don’t think you’ll be able to snuff the life out of the target by the time Cull is over, throw in 1-2 Lethal Shots first.

I recommend using Improved Targeting and Critical Compounds because you’re less dependent on being in cover and usually don’t need more than 10s of Viral Targeting, especially with the duration extension from Corrosive Technologies, so the reduced cooldown will be super helpful.

I recommend switching between Orbital Strike and Hololocate as needed. Like I mentioned before, Hololocate is great to teleport back if you just need to get into one area to click on something and then go back the way you came. Orbital Strike can be used in the meantime since it has a 2 min cooldown.

Openers, Rotations, Priorities

Group Content Opener

The opener is the rotation you use at the very beginning of the fight and for burst DPS checks, though I don’t recommend using Virulence for burst DPS checks. It’s important to get as much damage as possible while all of your damage boosts are available to maximize their impact.

This opener expects that you’ll be using the Exploited Weakness tactical, which is optimal against almost all bosses in group content.

  1. Orbital Strike Orbital Strike (pre-cast only, if applicable)
  2. Lethal Shot Lethal Shot (pre-cast)
  3. Corrosive Dart Corrosive Dart
  4. Corrosive Grenade Skill Corrosive Grenade
  5. Weakening Blast Weakening Blast
  6. Laze Target Viral Targeting + Adrenal
  7. Target Acquired Target Acquired (if applicable)
  8. Cull Cull
  9. Lethal Shot Lethal Shot
  10. Lethal Shot Lethal Shot
  11. Lethal Shot Lethal Shot
  12. Lethal Shot Lethal Shot
  13. Cull Cull
  14. circle arrows icon passiveRotation

Orbital Strike should be pre-casted only if you can pre-cast, don’t bother using it if someone already pulled. It’s only a DPS increase because it’s practically free damage since the cast time is so long and doesn’t go out immediately. Conversely, you will always want to use Lethal Shot first with the Exploited Weakness tactical so you can apply the DoT.

The Adrenal, Viral Targeting, Target Acquired should be used after applying Weakening Blast because damage boosts apply to all damage as it hits, so they only boost DoT damage that ticks while the buff is active. Alacrity boosts have more complicated rules, but Virulence doesn’t have any of those, so I won’t talk about that here. It does not matter which OCD is activated first, all 3 abilities need to be activated at roughly the same time.

Lethal Shot is used 4 times in a row during the opener, even with Focused Integration because Adrenaline Probe will be off cooldown at the beginning of the fight and half of Lethal Shot’s damage is an autocrit thanks to Integrated Toxins which is a stronger buff than Target Acquired.

The first part of the second Cull should be buffed by Target Acquired and 10s Viral Targeting; the buff(s) should fall off partway through the channel. If this isn’t happening, you need to increase your APM (press buttons faster).

Solo Content Opener and Rotation

This opener assumes that you’ll be using the Airborne Agents tactical, which is optimal in solo content and other situations where trash is common.

  1. Orbital Strike Orbital Strike (pre-cast, if applicable)
  2. Lethal Shot Lethal Shot (pre-cast, situational)
  3. Corrosive Dart Corrosive Dart
  4. Weakening Blast Weakening Blast
  5. Laze Target Viral Targeting
  6. Corrosive Grenade Skill Corrosive Grenade
  7. Cull Cull (repeat as needed)

Orbital Strike’s usage is dependent on whether you have the ability available and/or want to use it on that set of trash mobs. I’d recommend saving it for groups that have a stronger enemy. Lethal Shot is in a similar boat. I’d hold off on using it unless there’s an enemy in the group that you think will need a bit more damage to take down. A lot of regular trash can be taken out with just the DoT spread + individual Culls.

Make sure you use Weakening Blast and Viral Targeting before Corrosive Grenade so that you can spread the Weakening Blast debuff and get the duration increase on Integrated Toxins from Corrosive Technologies.

Once you’re done with the opener in solo content, you’ll continue to Cull each enemy one by one until the whole group is dead. Remember to DoT spread from the target that is most central to the group so you hit the most targets, but when Culling enemies, start from the enemy with the lowest HP and work your way up. Throw in 1-2 Lethal Shots if you don’t think you’ll be able to defeat the next enemy by the time the Cull channel has ended.

Sustained DPS Rotation and Priority

Virulence has a sort of hybrid between a rotation and priority system. Your goal is to activate Cull on cooldown and then you have 4 GCDs in between Cull activations to activate other abilities to ensure that your Culls are as powerful as possible like so:

  1. Cull Cull
  2. Filler 1
  3. Filler 2
  4. Filler 3
  5. Filler 4
  6. Cull Cull

The fillers basically come in 2 flavors: the high-priority abilities you can’t use all the time and more standard fillers that don’t do much damage; you use them because you have nothing else.

Your highest-priority ability activations during the 4 filler GCDs are applying Weakening Blast and reapplying your DoTs. Weakening Blast will be available right before every other Cull activation and should only ever be activated immediately before Cull. Your DoTs will enter their lingering state around the time you activate every 4th Cull and you’ll want to reapply them immediately after finishing that Cull channel.

Since DoT reapplication will happen during the 1st and 2nd GCDs while Weakening Blast always happens in the 4th, you’ll never have to worry about deciding which to activate like you would with a normal priority system.

Priority

It’s still important to look at the Virulence fillers from the perspective of a priority system

  1. Corrosive Dart Corrosive Dart and Corrosive Grenade Skill Corrosive Grenade (only if not on target)
  2. Lethal Shot Lethal Shot (if Exploited Weakness DoT is not on target)
  3. Weakening Blast Weakening Blast (only immediately before Cull)
  4. Takedown Takedown (if needed)
  5. Series Of Shots Series of Shots (if between 55-60 on Energy)
  6. Lethal Shot Lethal Shot

This priority structure is a bit deceptive because most of the time, you’ll be using Lethal Shot and you basically never have to pick between high-priority abilities to use first. That said, there are common situations where you shouldn’t just spam Lethal Shot.

Reapplying your main DoTs has the highest priority because Cull doesn’t deal much damage if those DoTs aren’t on your target. Corrosive Grenade should typically be used second so it can spread Corrosive Dart, unless you don’t want to DoT spread like in the second phase of the TFB fight in NiM. Thanks to Lingering Toxins, you can wait until the end of the Cull channel before reapplication.

Lethal Shot is also important to use before Cull only if you do not have the DoT from the Exploited Weakness on the target. I think it’s worthwhile to delay Cull by a GCD since delaying it for this purpose shouldn’t happen that often and you get 4 additional DoT ticks out of a single channel.

Weakening Blast should only be used immediately before Cull so that you can guarantee a full Cull channel occurs while the Weakening Blast debuff is applied. Technically, the timing doesn’t matter too much in a dummy parse, but it reduces the chance that you’ll miss out on a Weakening Cull due to mechanics and makes it easier to align your damage boosts.

Takedown is a superior option to Lethal Shot whenever movement is required because Takedown is instant while Lethal Shot requires a clunky ability tree buff to be usable at all while moving. Takedown should also be incorporated whenever Energy management is a concern, which will typically only be when you just got rezzed or are using Target Acquired. Virulence’s Energy management does sometimes come down to the difference between 1-2 Energy, so this is important to keep in mind.

Since Energy is spent when the damage goes out and Takedown is instant while Lethal Shot is casted, it’s better to use Takedown before a salvo of Lethal Shots (so immediately after Cull) rather than after a Lethal Shot so that you aren’t spending 30 Energy all at once, potentially dipping below 60% Energy and getting less Energy back with your passive regen.

Series of Shots is ever so slightly weaker than Lethal Shot and Takedown, but since it’s a lot cheaper, it’s a far superior option when the alternative is running out of Energy and being forced to use Rifle Shot instead. Please note that Series of Shots is completely unnecessary alongside Critical Compounds or Energy Regulator unless you mess up somehow. Remember, try to avoid using Series of Shots when Weakening Blast, Integrated Toxins, or your Adrenal is active.

Lethal Shot is used when all the other abilities are on cooldown.

Common Filler Quartets

When the priority is executed correctly, there are 3 different filler quartets that you’ll come across. At most, you’ll only ever be deciding between 2 abilities and the choice is usually pretty obvious since it is governed by factors I mentioned before.

DoT Reapplication
This filler quartet will happen every 4 Culls as you need to reapply your DoTs.

  1. Corrosive Dart Corrosive Dart
  2. Corrosive Grenade Skill Corrosive Grenade
  3. Lethal Shot Lethal Shot or Takedown Takedown
  4. Lethal Shot Lethal Shot or Weakening Blast Weakening Blast

Energy Regeneration
This option will typically only be necessary if Adrenaline Probe is on cooldown and you don’t have either Critical Compounds or Energy Regulators.

  1. Takedown Takedown
  2. Lethal Shot Lethal Shot or Series Of Shots Series of Shots (start)
  3. Lethal Shot Lethal Shot or Series Of Shots Series of Shots (end)
  4. Lethal Shot Lethal Shot or Weakening Blast Weakening Blast

Lethal Shots
This is the most expensive filler quartet, but it offers slightly stronger DPS than the quartet above. You’ll be using this most of the time, but especially when damage boosts are active or burst is required.

  1. Lethal Shot Lethal Shot
  2. Lethal Shot Lethal Shot
  3. Lethal Shot Lethal Shot
  4. Lethal Shot Lethal Shot or Weakening Blast Weakening Blast

Acknowledgments and Special Thanks

I want to thank Zab for reviewing this guide and 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 comments!

Essential SWTOR 7.0 Guides to New Game Features, Mechanics and Systems

This is a collection of new Guides dedicated to specific new ore redesigned/revamped gameplay features, new mechanics and game systems. If you are looking for information on what Combat Styles are, how Loadouts work, what are Legendary Items and how to get them, what Galactic Seasons are and EndGame Gearing advise, this is the place to check!

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