Welcome to my SWTOR Mercenary/Commando PvP Healing Guide! This guide covers Key Abilities, Rotations, Utilities, Stats, Amplifiers, Set Bonuses and Tacticals and some PvP oriented Tips and Tricks.
Disclaimer – I definitely am not the best at my class in PvP. I have however been playing it for a very long time and find it a highly enjoyable spec.
FEEDBACK IS ALWAYS WELCOME!
UPDATE – Game Update 6.2.1
Last Updated – (10th March) general clarifications and improvements particularly to Rotations/Priorities section.
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This Mercenary Bodyguard/Commando Combat Medic Guide is focused on PvP. It covers Key Abilities, Rotations, Utilities, Stats, Amplifiers, Set Bonuses and Tacticals and some PvP oriented Tips and Tricks. Some aspects of this guide are applicable to PvE.
For reference – I always put the Mercenary ability first then the Commando equivalent.
But before we get started, here are some common PvP Terms and what they mean.
PvP Terms and Meanings
Here is a list of common PvP terms you will regularly come across and what they mean:
- BIS – Best in slot.
- CC Breaker – An ability that removes all impairing effects such as CC.
- CC/Mezz – Crowd control ability that prevents you from doing anything for 8 seconds, but taking damage ends the effect.
- Cooldowns – Defensive abilities all Classes have that you can use to mitigate damage and survive longer.
- Focus – When someone says to ‘focus’ a player or marked target, it means you target them and kill them.
- Focus Fire (Focused) – When you are being focused on by the enemy team or when your team is focusing on a player.
- GCD – Global Cooldown = 1 second.
- Globaled – When you get killed within one or two GCD’s.
- Interrupt – An ability that interrupts the targeted player’s current action/ability they are channelling.
- LOS – When you ‘line of sight’ incoming damage (good) or healing (bad) using the terrain of the map or an object in the landscape.
- Node – The Control Point (or Capture Point). Denotes the objective for most Warzones.
- Off-node – Can refer to a node that is traditionally under control by the enemy team or the node furthest away from your spawn point or the node where there is no ‘action’ happening.
- Peel – Distracting enemy players away from a friendly teammate, such as a healer, to give the friendly teammate breathing room.
- Resolve – A system that helps to mitigate the effect of impairing effects. More details below.
- Sap (Sapped) – A stealth CC ability. When you’ve been stealth CC’ed.
- Sap Capped – When a Stealth class Saps you then caps the Node.
- Stun – An effect that makes you unable to do anything for 4 seconds but still take damage.
- Stun-locked – When you are at full resolve and stunned or CC’ed with no CC breaker.
- White-barred – When you are at full Resolve and are immune to effects such as stuns and CC’s.
Class Basics and Description
Mercenary/Commando Healers are primarily burst Healers with okay AOE Healing capability. Our abilities and utilities give us quite a few interrupt immunity options and excellent mobility.
The healing rotation is centred mainly on burst healing but our AOE heal provides decent sustain healing.
Key Abilities, Cooldowns & Passives
Key Healing Abilities
Key Defensive Cooldowns
Additional Key Abilities
- Advanced Targeting/Target Lock – Unload/Full Auto and Rail Shot/High Impact Bolt ignores 30% of the target armour. In addition, the critical chance of Rapid Scan/Medical Probe and Emergency Scan/Bacta Infusion is increased by 5%, and critical results with damage and healing abilities increase critical damage and healing by 10% for 6 seconds.
- Fuel Reserves/Extra Rounds – Rocket Out/Propulsion Round gets an additional charge.
- Supercharge – Activating Rapid Shots/Hammer Shot, Kolto Shot/Med Shot, Power Shot/Charged Bolts or Rapid Scan/Medical Probe generates a stack of Supercharge. Each stack increases all damage and healing done by 0.1%. Stacks up to 10 times and lasts 60 seconds.
- Upgraded Arsenal/Special Munitions – Reduces the pushback suffered while activating Power Shot/Charged Bolts, Concussion Missile/Concussion Round and Fusion Missile/Plasma Grenade by 75%.
Before each Warzone/Arena starts, there are two things you should do.
Kolto Shot/Med Shot Rapid Scan/Medical Probe
Then add in
Emergency Scan/Bacta Infusion, Healing Scan/Advanced Medical Probe and Progressive Scan/Successive Treatment are your three main healing abilities which you should aim to use when they are off cooldown. You can use PS/ST before or after ES/BI – HS/AMP but you should always use ES/BI before HS/AMP. I use the filler abilities (Kolto Shot/Med Shot, Rapid Scan/Medical Probe & Kolto Missile/Kolot Bomb) in between the cooldowns of ES/BI, HS/AMP and PS/ST.
Supercharged Gas/Supercharged Cell – Use Kolto Shot/Med Shot (1 charge) and Rapid Scan/Medical Probe (2 charges) to build up 10 charges of Supercharge Gas/Supercharge Cell then activate it. Try to use it off cooldown. You should build up 10 stacks fairly quickly and regularly from using Kolto Shot/Med Shot frequently as fillers. If you’re using the SC-4 Treatment Scanner Tactical this will also build up to 4 stacks of supercharged.
Rapid Scan/Medical Probe also builds up stacks of Critical Efficiency/Field Triage which reduces the cost of your next Healing Scan/Advanced Medical Probe per stack (stacks up to 3 times). Having 3 stacks of Critical Efficiency/Field Triage will make your next Healing Scan/Advanced Medical Probe free.
As Rapid Scan/Medical Probe uses a fair bit of your Heat/Energy Cells use Kolto Shot/Med Shot in between to help keep your Heat/Energy management in check.
Watch who you target with Progressive Scan/Successive Treatment. The additional ticks of healing spread out to allies in a conal area so to use it efficiently, place it on an ally with friendlies close to them. For example, if you place Progressive Scan/Successive Treatment on yourself, it will then hit each ally in front of you. Alternatively it works well as a burst heal for yourself or a tank if required.
- Use Kolto Missile/Kolto Bomb on cool-down, if needed, it’s an effective and underutilised AOE heal.
- Refresh Kolto Shell/Trauma Probe on priority targets.
- Weave in Kolto Shot/Med Shot to build up your supercharge and pop it every time it’s off cooldown when in a fight or build it up and save when there are breaks and save it for the next engagement. Just get into the habit of continuously hitting your Kolto Shot/Med Shot!
- Don’t use Rapid Scan/Medical Probe too much. It will drain your resources so use it along with a Kolto Shot/Med Shot or two. Both of these abilities, again, are fillers.
The key to healing well is to be able to quickly switch targets and be able to predict who is going to take the most damage. Use your filler abilities when there isn’t much damage going out.
Utilities are divided into three Tiers (Skilful, Masterful, Heroic) and there are a total of nine Utility Points to spend.
I’m basically using a mobile build with interrupt immunity and some defensive capability at the moment. I’ve listed a couple of additional Utilities that are good that could be used instead if you prefer. See explanations for Utility choice in each Tier for more information.
Gyroscopic Alignment Jets/Paralletic Combat Stims and Jet Escape/Tenacious Defense are both essential Utilities, in my opinion. You can, however, be flexible with the 3rd slot. Heat Damping/Efficient Conversions and Improved Vents/Cell Capacitor both have their merits but it ultimately comes down to playstyle and how you manage Heat/Energy Cells.
Jet Boost (~22s), Concussion Missile (~41s) and Electro Dart (~55s) cost 5 heat while Cure/Field Aid (~8.2s with Supercharged Reserves Utility) costs 10 heat. Vent Heat/Recharge (~1:40 mins) vents/recharges 50 heat/cells. With the Utility, it’s 65. So really, it comes down to personal preference and healing style.
Supercharged Reserves and Powerrides/Overclock are both the main utilities you should take in this Tier. Reducing the cooldown of your Cleanse is invaluable in PvP while having a second charge of Power Surge/Tech Override is very beneficial. You also get 6 seconds of interrupt immunity (Unshakeable) once you have used the 2 charges or the 12-second timer to use the 2 charges runs out.
Power Shield/Combat Shield adds interrupt immunity to Energy Shield/Reactive Shield which is one of our key cooldowns. It gives us more interrupt immunity when we likely need it the most without having to time supercharge gas (if you have the Supercharged Defence utility).
It should be noted that currently when you have the Powerrides/Overclock Utility it only shows one charge on Power Surge/Tech Override in your UI. However, when you activate Power Surge/Tech Override, two charges will appear in your buff bar. So it does work as intended it’s just visually not showing the two charges in your UI.
Thrill of the Hunt/Force March is probably the most important of the four utilities (I’m a big fan of mobility, what can I say?) When picking our last 2 points to spend, there are a couple of things to consider. Do you want more interrupt immunity? Or do you want more defensive capability? Personally, at this stage, my favoured remaining Utilities are Supercharge Defence and Trauma Regulators/Trauma Stabilisers. As nice as Kolto Surge/Adrenaline Surge is, I just can’t pass up more interrupt immunity.
Gear, Stats and Amplifiers
See my Game Update 6.0 Gearing Guide for details on how to get Gear in Game Update 6.0.
Here are the Stats you want to run. Remember it I always better to be above the recommended values, not below.
For healers, it’s pretty simple. You go for a 1.3 GCD for Alacrity then put the rest of your stat budget into Critical Rating.
- Alacrity – 3208 (1.3 GCD)
- Critical Rating – 2600+
See the SWTOR Theory Crafters Discord for all the relevant math stuff if you’re interested in that kind of thing.
Mastery and Endurance are capped in PvP (as in due to bolster they do not change no matter how you change your gear in that environment*) so when applicable, go for higher Power but not at the expense of Tertiary Stats (Critical and Alacrity). Unlettered mods and enhancements are fine to use as well and are more readily available.
- Lethal Superior Mod 80R-1 – 313 Endurance 361 Power 366 Mastery
- Nimble Superior Enhancement 80R-1 – 285 Endurance 313 Power 431 Alacrity
- Adept Superior Enhancement 80R-1 – 285 Endurance 313 Power 431 Critical Rating
For BiSing it’s far more important to get your tertiary stats (Alacrity and Critical Rating) sorted first and obtaining the BiS enhancements for that alone will take time. Then, you can BiS your Modifications. BiSing your Armourings to be high Mastery, low Endurance isn’t really a priority at all. The only reason to do that would be if you want to do Dxun HM or get your BiS Amplifiers sooner.
- Superior Versatile Barrel 80 – 471 Mastery, 409 Endurance
- Superior Versatile Armouring 80 – 471 Mastery, 409 Endurance
*The exception to this is the Focused Retribution Relic which does increase your Mastery when it is procced.
Getting the new tier of Augments introduced in Game Update 6.0 is still expensive. Therefore, I would advise using the old 228 Augments from 5.0 until you can replace them with the new Tier. They give +96 Teritairy Stat which is pretty decent and will get you by until the new Tier is more accessible. Here are the Augments to get.
- Advanced Critical Augment 45: +96 Critical Rating, +65 Endurance
- Advanced Alacrity Augment 45: +96 Alacrity Rating, +65 Endurance
New Tier BiS Augments
Here are the BiS Augments.
- Advanced Critical Augment 74: +108 Critical Rating, +144 Power & Endurance
- Advanced Alacrity Augment 74: +108 Alacrity, +144 Power & Endurance
Relics and Implants/Earpiece
BIS Relics are the Sha’tek ones. It comes down to personal preference whether you want to use Devasating Vengeance (Crit Rating) or Focused Retribution (Mastery) with Serendipitous Assault (Power). I personally prefer Devastating Vengeance over Focused Retribution for Healing.
- Sha’tek Relic of Devastating Vengeance MK-19
- Sha’tek Relic of Serendipitous Assault MK-19
As for Implants and Earpiece, the BiS ones are the Sha’tek MK-19’s.
Amplifiers are a new bonus stat introduced in Game Update 6.0. You can read more about them in my Game Update 6.0 Amplifiers Guide.
While most Amplifiers are crafting or QoL based, the Amplifiers on Armourings and Barrels are mostly combat-focused. There are a couple of Healing-related Amplifiers available.
|Medtech||Increases the healing done by Tech abilities||1.00%|
|Periodic Restoration||Increases the healing done by periodic effects||2.20%|
|Aural Rejuvenation||Increases the healing done by abilities that affect an area||2.00%|
The best all-round Amplifier for Mercenary Healers is Medtech. This will increase the healing capability of all our heals. Other Amplifiers such as Periodic Restoration and Aural Rejuvenation may sound good but, for now, it is better to invest in an Amplifier that will improve all our heals, not just some of them.
Set Bonuses and Tacticals
See my Game Update 6.0 Gearing Guide for details on how to get Gear in Game Update 6.0.
There are a couple of decent Set Bonuses to get your hands on for Mercenary Healers.
|GEAR||2 SET||4 SET||6 SET|
|Apex Predator||Mastery +2%||Activating Power Shot, Tracer Missile or Rapid Scan increases the critical chance of your next Power Shot, Tracer Missile or Rapid Scan by 10%. Stacks up to 5 times but is removed on 6th stack.||Dealing damage with Power Shot or Tracer Missile and healing with Rapid Scan grant a stack of Power Step, stacking up to 5 times. At 5 stacks, your next Power Shot, Tracer Missile, or Rapid Scan is more effective and generates no Heat.|
|Concentrated Fire||Mastery +2%||Damaging an enemy or healing an ally has a 10% chance to generate a stack of Supercharge. Cannot occur more than once every 5 seconds.||Activating Supercharged Gas makes your next Rail Shot or Mag Shot, or Emergency Scan critically hit or heal.|
|Restorative Drive||Mastery +2%||Activating a healing ability has a 15% chance to grant Combat Medic’s Critical Bonus which causes your next Rapid Scan to be a critical. This effect can only occur once every 30 seconds.||Healing an ally with Rapid Scan applies Restorative Drive to them for 10 seconds. Each enemy defeated by this ally increases your healing by 2% for 10 seconds, stacking up to 5 times.|
|Tech Medic||Mastery +2%||Onboard AED becomes an instant-cast.||Kolto Shot leaves Lasting Meds on its target, restoring x health over 18 seconds.|
|Amplified Champion||This equipment shell is enhanced with additional powerful Amplifier opportunities|
All of these (except for Apex Predator and Restorative Drive) can also be bought directly from the Set Bonus and Tacticals Vendors on your Factions Fleet.
|Amplified Champion||All||Conquest Crates|
|Concentrated Fire||Mercenary||PvP Crates|
|Tech Medic||Mercenary||Conquest Crates|
|Restorative Drive||Mercenary||NIM Dxun and Kai Zykken box if lucky|
- Tech Medic has now been buffed so the 6-set is actually worthwhile. Highly recommend getting this set for PvP.
- Restorative Drive sounds interesting, in theory, but it has not been possible to test in PvP since it is only obtainable through NIM Dxun. I’m going to try to get the set via boxes to test it (currently have 4/6 pieces from Kai Zykken boxes).
- Concentrated Fire is no longer the most optimal set for healing. It got nerfed, unfortunately. Good for off-DPSing in PvE though.
- Apex Predator isn’t too bad a set but only improves Rapid Scan/Medical Probe. So overall, it’s not as good as Tech Medic or Concentrated Fire.
- Amplified Champion armour shells have combat Amplifiers (instead of crafting/utility ones that all other armour shells have). Basically, Amplified Champion set-piece armour shells have the same Amplifiers as Armourings but the max percentage is less than half of that on Armourings. For example, instead of a 1.00% max Medtech Amplifier that Armourings can get, the max is only 0.40% on the Amplified Champion Shells.
I am currently using out 6-Set Tech Medic and 1-Set Amplified Champion. But RNGing my way to a full Restorative Drive Set to test.
As far a Tacticals are concerned, there are again a couple of good options for Mercenary Healer’s
My favoured Tactical is now Rocket Fuel Vapors. People ave always underestimated how much healing Kolto Missile can do and Rocket Fuel Vapors amps up Kolto Missiles healing by basically turning it into an almost permanent AOE heal if you spam if off cooldown.
SC-4 Treatment Scanner is a good option as well. But Rocket Fuel Vapours is better AOE healing overall in my opinion (not sure if this opinion is backed by ‘math’ or not). I need to do more testing to see how it works but I’m liking Rocket Fuel Vapors too much.
Unfortunately, the developers nerfed Running Rapid Response so it now only works on Healing Scan. It’s a completely pointless change too since nobody should be casting Healing Scan, ever. It’s only ever used when procced to instant-cast by Emergency Scan.
Tip – you can also put Tacticals on your quick bar and keybind them so you can swap between them quickly when you are not in combat.
Tips and Tricks
Here’s an overview of essential systems you need to understand to master PvP including Resolve and Cleansing as well as some general tips and strategies.
Resolve is a system that mitigates the effect of impairing/crowd control abilities on a player. Even as a healer you need to understand how resolve works, how it will affect you and how your stun, CC (crowd control/mezz) and knockback (all CC effects) will affect resolve. When you stun, CC or use a knockback your opponent it will fill up their white bar incrementally. Once their bar is full they are immune to stun’s, CC’s and knockbacks for a short duration until their white bar gets reset to zero. The resolve bar appears under the character name.
If you have a full resolve bar most of the time, this generally gives you an advantage. However good players can use the resolve system against you. If they know how much resolve an ability builds, they can time their abilities out to prevent you from getting white-barred. Or they can deliberately white-bar you (when they know you’ve used your CC breaker already) and potentially cap an objective.
The Resolve Bar is divided into 4 sections which each have 4 parts totalling 16 parts.
Here is a table that shows how much Resolve Stuns, CC’s and knockback builds.
The rate at which resolve diminishes is 1/16 per 2 seconds.
Warzone Tips and Survival Strategies
- Positioning – Make sure you position yourself towards the back of the pack. Stand near something like a pillar that you can use to ‘line of sight’ incoming damage. Use the environment to your advantage.
- Kite – Learn to move around while healing (yes you can do that) regularly even if it is not necessary so that when you do have to run away or run around pillars (eg. Civil War Mid & Voidstar) you can keep healing.
- Find a Pocket Tank – If you can find one (good luck finding one who knows what they’re doing) you won’t know yourself! Trust me, it makes a difference to your survivability having a tank around to taunt incoming damage, peel, stun and annoy anyone trying to kill you.
- Learn to not use your CC Breaker – you’ll find yourself white barred and stun locked pretty frequently. So save your CC breaker for only dire circumstances and only use it when you’re white barred except in exceptional circumstances.
- Space out your defensive cooldowns – Never ever use more than one defensive cooldown at a time. When you’re being focused by multiple people and losing health fast, use Responsive Safeguards/Echoing Deterrence. Do not use it if you’re below 10% health as the first 2 seconds of damage won’t be reflected back and you’ll likely die anyway. AOE damage is not reflected back so keep that in mind when using this ability. Energy Shield/Reactive (if specced into Trauma Regulators/Trauma Stabilisers) is also good for burst damage if you can keep yourself above ~40% health until you get to 10 stacks. Once you hit 10 stacks you can click off the shield on your buff bar and get healed to full. Kolto Overload/Adrenaline Rush is a nice way to top up your health if you’re under pressure as well.
- Smart Healing – Accept that you’re not going to be able to keep everyone alive. This is the reality of healing. Don’t waste your time chasing after someone who is LOSing you or chasing a melee that is too far away from the node. Know your limitations. If someone is close to death don’t waste your resources trying to get them back up unless you know you can do it without compromising you Heat/Energy Cells or if it’s crucial for keeping the objective. This is where playing other classes comes in handy (more on that below) as you can know the type of damage going out and then know what you can and can’t heal through.
- Node Guarding – Yes, this will likely happen on the odd occasion (but really, you shouldn’t be guarding unless there are 2-3+ other healers on your team). All you need to do is stand around 30 meters away from the objective and out of sight if possible. That way, it makes it harder for stealther’s to sap cap you. Remember to call out as soon as you see someone coming. While you wait for reinforcements run around, LOS and stay alive for as long as possible while you wait for reinforcements.
This is an absolutely critical skill that you should work on if you truly want to master PvP.
What is Situational Awareness? Basically, it is the ability to be aware of your surroundings (what is happening around you) while simultaneously being able to perform your designated role within the ruleset of whatever environment you’re in.
In PvP in SWTOR, this means simultaneously:
- Being aware of the current circumstance of the Warzone. Is your team winning or losing? How many points does your team have?
- Constantly being aware of where your teammates are and where the enemy team is. Essentially, you should be asking yourself: Do I need to be here? Should I be elsewhere? Where is my team? How are they doing? AKA the numbers game.
- Being aware of your own situation. If you’re taking a lot of damage, pop a defensive cooldown or LOS the damage. Melee DPS in particular need to be mindful of if they’ve strayed too far from their team. A good melee DPS will go back to their teammates for healing when their health starts to drop real low. Healers generally will not chase after melee DPS who stray too far away and don’t have the smarts to come back into range of healing.
To further expand on the second point, here are a few strategies you can use to help you be more situationally aware.
- If you are not defending, at the very least, note who is. That way, if you see their health drop, you know they’re under attack! Yes, the person defending should call out but most of the time this does not happen or they call too slow or too late. Being aware of who is defending and being able to get to them to help them quickly could mean the difference between winning and losing a match. One way to help you keep a better eye on who is defending the node is to have them on ‘Focus Target’. That way, you can see if they’re get sapped as well as more easily monitor their health.
- Yes, you literally should constantly count (or vaguely be aware of) how many teammates are with you versus how many enemies there are.
- For example, if you’re in a Civil War or Yavin Ruins and there are 6 of you verses 4 of the enemy team at a control point, then you should be asking yourself, where is the rest of the enemy team? Am I needed elsewhere? Depending on the enemy teams composition, the answer will almost certainly be yes.
If you can master situational awareness then you will absolutely excel at PvP. It does take time to master as it does take time to learn all about the various things you need to be aware of simultaneously.
Cleansing is an important part of being a competent PvP healer. However, in instanced PvP environments only effects that impede or hinder players (such as CC’s, Slows, Snares etc.) can be cleansed. Dots that do damage can not be cleansed.
Mercenary Healers can cleanse Tech, Physical and Mental Effects.
Here are some examples of some of the effects we can cleanse.
|Operative/Scoundrel, Sniper/Gunslinger||Flashbang / Flash Grenade|
|Operative/Scoundrel||Sleep Dart / Tranquilizer|
|Juggernaut/Guardian||Intimidating Roar / Awe|
|Mercenary/Commando||Concussion Charge / Concussion Missile|
|Juggernaut/Guardian||Chilling Scream/Freezing Force||Mental|
|Operative/Scoundrel||Sever Tendon/Tendon Blast||Tech|
|Interrogation Probe/Explosive Charge||Tech|
Check out my PvP Healers Guide to Cleansing for more detailed information on how to cleanse in PvP.
Practice! Practice! Practice!
When you’re healing being able to predict who is going to take damage, how much damage and judging the rate someone is taking damage so you know which heals to use on them and who gets healing priority takes time and practice.
PvP a lot. Don’t get discouraged by yourself or anyone else. Just keep at it and you will get better!
Final Thoughts and PvP Experience
The key to being a good player is knowing which abilities are useful to your spec, when to use the ones that are useful and how to best use all your abilities. As a healer this involves knowing when and who to heal, predicting incoming damage and knowing when to use your secondary abilities/utilities. Most of that comes with experience and practice.
My PVP Experience
I have a Warlord Commando (96) and an Elite Warlord Mercenary (100). I’ve been playing Mercenary/Commando heals at max level since 1.x days. I have experience PvPing on almost every Advanced Class and Discipline. Some more than others. I’ve levelled most of my alts through PvP (or predominantly PVP). Other classes, I have experience with include Carnage Marauder, Sage/Sorc DPS & Heals, Scoundrel/Operative Heals. I do not claim to be the best PvPer, PvP is a game mode I really enjoy and I’m always looking to improve and be a better PvPer.
Thank you for reading my guide! If you have any tips, suggestions or questions about my guide, let me know/ask!