Written by Jaydenz, Edited by Xam Xam.
Republished with permission from Jaydenz. Original Guide – https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-im6TYDdiwDyyKWv1ug-6rYi6HNPCk5qiMMRGIFdRao/edit#
For a Basic Assassin Tanking Guide, check out Swtorista & Jaydenz’ Assassin Tanking Guide on Swtorista’s website – https://swtorista.com/articles/darkness-assassin-sith-inquisitor-class-guide/
Updated for Game Update 6.1.2b | Last Updated – 27th July (Set Bonus, Tacticals and Amplifiers sections updated)
Assassin tanks are one of the three tank classes in SWTOR. This guide covers the basics about rotation, gearing (including tacticals and amplifiers) and abilities.
Gearing and Stats
DTPS X Spike Damage
I usually don’t care too much about my DTPS, because it’s more important to save cooldowns to avoid spike damage or to save them for phases of hard heal check rather than wasting everything during phases where you take almost no damage and die to spikes. I’ve seen situations where the tank takes no damage but then takes a lot of spikes and dies. It helps a lot if you know what type of damage/attack the boss will do and when, so you can avoid it. Record yourself playing, watch videos and you can also check your combat logs after the raid, be in Starparse so you can check your damage taken and death logs, so you can always see what killed you and what you can do to improve (there’s a difference between dying to a 140k spike because you didn’t pop a cooldown and you take a lot of damage in a 15 seconds window and die because healers didn’t heal you at all). DTPS won’t kill you most likely, spike damage can kill you easily.
Defensive stats/damage type
This section is important for gearing and understanding how defensives work.
- Damage types: Kinetic, Energy, Internal, Elemental
- Attack types: Melee/ Ranged (can be Kinetic/Energy) or Force/Tech (can be any of the four type of damage, Kinetic/Energy or Internal/Elemental)
- Armor: Reduces damage taken from Kinetic and Energy damage (the attack type can be Melee, Ranged, Force or Tech)
- Damage Reduction: Reduces damage taken from any type of damage (Internal, Elemental, Kinetic and Energy). The DR for Kinetic and Energy has a bonus from armor, while the Internal/Elemental DR isn’t affected by armor. For Internal/Elemental DR, Assassins/Shadows have 24%, Juggernauts/Guardians have 21% without Aegis Assault buff and Powertechs/Vanguard have 19%.
- Defense: the chance to avoid Melee/Ranged attacks, 2% chance to resist Force/Tech attacks. (you defend the hit completely or take the hit and that’s the issue with Defense itself, sometimes even with a Defense boost cooldown, you can’t defend Melee/Ranged attacks and there are spikes of that attack type looks at EC Kephess, Tyth and Calphayus).
- Shield: can reduce damage taken from Kinetic/Energy damage. If you don’t parry/resist/deflect, Shield has a chance of mitigating it (the Shield % you have). With that in mind, you cannot shield Internal/Elemental Damage (but you can resist it with Force/Tech resistance cooldowns). Requires a personal Shield (The Shield offhand).
- Absorb: Percentage of damage absorbed by your personal Shield.
Reduced Damage Taken X Damage Reduction:
It sounds like the same thing but it’s not the same. Have you ever noticed that Energy Shield is stronger than Cloak of Pain, even knowing they are supposed to be similar? So Energy Shield increases Damage Reduction, while Cloak of Pain reduces your damage taken. All the damage you see is post-mitigation. A lot of tooltips aren’t accurate and they say Damage Reduction but they reduce your damage taken.
The difference is simple: Damage Reduction is passive mitigation, if you’re going to take a 100k hit and you’re at 50% DR, it will reduce that hit to 50k.
Reduced damage taken is post-mitigation after that hit was mitigated. Let’s say you’re using a cooldown that reduces your damage taken by 20%, so it will reduce the 50k hit by 20%, which is going to reduce 10k from that hit, which means 40k hit. Not counting any shielding (absorb shields), which would make that number even lower. Overcharge Saber and Steely Spike are Damage Reduction cooldowns. Defensive cooldowns that increase Damage Reduction works for both Kinetic/Energy and Internal/Elemental DR. The various mitigations are multiplied together.
The process of mitigation should be something like:
Immunities/Deflecting/Parrying/Defending/Dodging/Resists > Shielding (from your Personal Shield) > Damage Reduction (includes Armor if it’s not Internal/Elemental) > Reduced Damage Taken cooldowns > Absorb shields (External Sources or not your personal Shield)
External Sources or outside personal Shield: Sonic Wall, Static Barrier, Shield Probe, Emergency Power.
Dark Ward – It’s important to mention Dark Ward. It’s a free 15% Shield increase (18% with Dark Bastion, passive level 68). It gives you 15 stacks. You want to keep it up 100% of the time, you should refresh when it’s about to fall off (Try to track your buff, if you can’t, just refresh when the ability is off cooldown and get used to tracking it, take your time). Dark Ward lasts 20 seconds and can be refreshed every 10 seconds. When you shield an attack, you lose one stack and gives 1% absorption (Dark Bulwark, passive level 32). The absorption can stack up to 8 times and lasts 20 seconds, but if you refresh Dark Ward, you lose the extra absorption. You only lose the extra shield if you let Dark Ward expire completely. You can increase the number of stacks to 20 with the Tactical Item Ward of Continuum.
My logic of gearing a tank is pretty similar for every class. When I decide to gear up my tank, I don’t go for numbers like 3000 or 400 of a certain stat, I go for the percentage at the end.
My stats are for 306 gear, for lower item rating just aim for something similar if you’re following my method.
- NOTE 1: Most survivability comes from defensive cooldowns.
- NOTE 2: I have full 306 gear + 286 augments
- NOTE 3: If you feel like using DPS stats, go for tier 2 alacrity (1213)
Something new with 6.0 is the Reverse Bolster in old raids, where it brings you down to level 70 instead of scaling up to 75, that means your stats are going to be capped (Endurance, Mastery and Power)
This is my prog set. During a progression environment, I prefer to play safer and use more heavy defence (mainly for Nightmare prog, for Hard Mode doesn’t matter as much) I just use regular armorings, High Endurance Mods (Warding B) and High Endurance Enhancements (Vigilant and Steadfast). My tactical I change depending on the encounter (been using Two Cloaks a lot, sometimes using Friend of the Force). For Amplifiers, I usually roll with Armor Penetration until I need to use a defensive one (which will require me to know the damage profile of the raid/encounter so I can pick the best ones for the situation)
This set is my general set, which I have Vigilant and Steadfast Enhancements (high endurance), Lethal Mods (Regular ones) and Resistive Armorings (Regular 80 or 80R-1, they have same stats). Amplifiers are Armor Penetration for more damage, but you can roll defensive amps (see Amplifiers section for more information).
For old raids, you will be capped at 9657 Endurance, 8265 Mastery and 2557 Power on tanks for anything NiM except Gods and 11898 Endurance, 9119 Mastery and 2983 Power inside Gods from the Machine, which means it’s not worth it to run Power mods, so just stick with Defense for that. Defense is not the greatest Stat but you won’t be wasting it since it’s not hard-capped for some reason. I made a set of gear for old raids since getting gear is extremely easy, including set bonuses.
On this specific set, I use high defense mods and high mitigation enhancements (the highest shield/absorb and defense ones, see Mods and Enhancements for more details)
I aim for the 50% shield build on every tank class. Why?
Because the way stats work. Shield and Absorption work together. If you don’t shield, you won’t absorb damage, so that means if you have higher shield, you have a higher chance of mitigating damage and the absorption is the amount of damage you will absorb. As Assassin, you have Dark Ward, which gives you 18% Shield, that means you can have 70% shield if you hit 52%.. (Shield makes you less spiky)
Why Alacrity over Critical for DPS stats?
If you can hit the 1.4s GCD (1213) it’s going to be better not only because you’re fitting more GCDs on your rotation, but due the reduced cooldown on some defensive abilities (the ones where the cooldown is affected by alacrity) like your Overcharge Saber and Recklessness. Below or too much above that number, Crit is going to be better.
My gear composition is:
- Armorings: Resistive (Normal 80 or 80R-1)
- Mods: Lethal Unlettered for unsynced raids (but for prog purposes, I recommend Warding B). You can use the Lethal B mods if you really want the extra HP or don’t have spare mods. For old raids, you should go for Warding Unlettered or any Warding Mod since Power is hard-capped at 2557. The mods with highest Defense rating are the Warding 80R-20, while for highest Mastery and Endurance they are the normal A and B respectively.
- Enhancement: I prefer Vigilant and Steadfast for the high endurance, but if you prefer the higher mitigation ones should work. For old content, it won’t matter a lot since the difference between using full High Endurance Enhancements X Full Mitigation will be less than 1% difference on your Shield and Absorb. For Enhancements, the highest Shield/Absorb are the Immunity 80R-1 and Sturdiness 80R-1, while highest Defense are Immunity 80R-20 and Sturdiness 80R-20. Now for the highest Endurance, go with regular Vigilant and Steadfast.
- Augments: It will totally depend on your enhancement/earpiece composition. I have 12 shield augments to hit the 52% shield and still have some decent absorption.
- Relics: My favorite relics are the Shield Matrix and Avoidance. They don’t have a proc but they give you 723 stat of Shield or Absorption (Which is pretty big on your stats, almost 2 enhancements 306). If you really want you can run DPS Relics for Dxun, which I prefer Focused Retribution and Devastating Vengeance (BiS for Tank DPS). For old content, Devastating Vengeance should work, but Focused Retribution proc will be wasted due Mastery cap.
- Implants/Ear: I use Sha’tek ones but there isn’t a big difference between them.Set Bonuses: With the new 6.0 set bonuses, all the old set bonuses aren’t a thing anymore. You have a lot of new sets for each spec and even general set bonuses (that works for every class). I searched each one of them and I selected a few that could be used for PVE Tanking (but you should pick one). Keep in mind that you lost your taunt cooldown reduction from 3.0-5.0. I use 6 pieces of Efficient Termination + 1 Amplified Champion. Set bonuses that aren’t the best options are greyed out.
With the new 6.0 set bonuses, all the old set bonuses aren’t a thing anymore. You have a lot of new sets for each spec and even general set bonuses (that works for every class). I searched each one of them and I selected a few that could be used for PVE Tanking (but you should pick one). Keep in mind that you lost your taunt cooldown reduction from 3.0-5.0. I use 6 pieces of Efficient Termination + 1 Amplified Champion.
|SET BONUS||2 SET||4 SET||6 SET|
|Efficient Termination||Endurance +2%||Spike’s stun and slow effects last for an additional second||Using Spike grants you 10% damage reduction for 6 seconds.|
|Saber Master||Endurance +2%||Reduces the cooldown of Overcharge Saber by 20 seconds||Killing an enemy during Overcharge Saber refreshes the duration of Overcharge Saber. Can occur up to 5 times during one Overcharge Saber|
|Death Knell||Mastery +2%||The cooldown of Recklessness is reduced by 15 seconds||Whenever you consume a charge of Recklessness you gain a stack of Reckless Slaughter, increasing melee damage done by 10% for 30 seconds. Stacks up to 3 times.|
|Ballast Point||2% Endurance||Deflection grants Ballistic Immunity for 6 seconds, giving you immunity to movement impairing effects, knockdowns and physics.||Elemental, Internal, Kinetic and Energy damage reduction is increased by 3%|
|Amplified Champion||This equipment shell is enhanced with additional powerful Amplifier opportunities.|
- Efficient Termination – This is my set bonus. Steely Spike got nerfed coming to live but it’s still a good option.
- Saber Master – Worth it for the reduced cooldown on Overcharge Saber.
- Death Knell – DPS set bonus if you wanna go for more damage
- Ballast Point – Master Mode Dxun drop. As much as it sounds like a good set, Efficient Termination is still going to be a better survivability gain overall. Deflection on Hydraulics isn’t really something you’re going to use (especially in Dxun, maybe you can use that to cheese push/pulls on bosses where Defense doesn’t matter at all, but I recommend using Deflection as defensive (even if it’s not reliable).
- Rebuking Assault – This specific Set Bonus drops from Dxun and isn’t available on the vendor. It can work for AoE situation but the maximum damage reduction you will get is 8% and I recommend to use only if you’re going to have 8 targets to keep your Damage Reduction up.
- Dire Retaliation – I would not use this specific set bonus unless I don’t have anything better.
- Shadow Purger – I could see this one being used in some situations but it’s weaker than a lot of other options.
They modify the way an ability or passive of your class works. I’ve been experimenting them and I decided to separate my favourites or more specific for tanking.
- Friend of the Force
- Two Cloaks
|Ancient Tome of Wrath||Wither generates Redirected Wrath stacks for every enemy it hits, increasing your Shield Absorption by 2% per stack for 5 seconds||Flashpoint Bosses|
|Shroud of a Shadow||Using Force Shroud while Dark Ward is active consumes Dark Ward and extends the duration of Force Shroud by .25 seconds for each Dark Ward stack consumed||Operation Bosses|
|Ward of the Continuum||Dark Ward gains 5 addition stacks and Phantom Stride resets its cooldown||Flashpoint Bosses|
- Ancient Tome of Wrath – This tactical got nerfed to the ground coming to live, so I recommend not using it unless you don’t have anything better.
- Shroud of a Shadow – That’s a really situational tactical, probably wouldn’t recommend buying.
- Ward of the Continuum – Doesn’t change anything, still not worth it since it’s Defense Chance.
|Friend of the Force||Force Shroud also applies to any ally you are guarding||Daily/Weekly Mission Crates|
|Two Cloaks||Force Cloak has 2 charges||PvP Crates|
- Friend of the Force – Really good tactical. Extra mitigation for a party member (it can save someone’s life too). Good for progression.
- Two Cloaks – Double Cloak. This is going to be your best tactical by far for the most encounters since you have a utility to gain 2 seconds of Force Shroud after you vanish. It also allows you to cheese more mechanics by stealthing and it’s the best tactical for progression.
|Durasteel Wall||Successfully parrying, deflecting, or dodging an attack while under 80% health increases your damage reduction by 1% for 5 seconds. Stacks up to 3 times.||Daily/Weekly Mission Crates|
|Krall’s Accord||Cycles between buffing Mastery, Accuracy, Power, Defense, Critical, Absorb, Alacrity and Shield in that order.||Onslaught Story|
|Overwhelming Offense||Dealing damage increases all damage done for 2 seconds. Stacks up to 5 times.||Daily/Weekly Mission Crates|
|The Life Warden||Taking damage below 20% health will heal you for a large amount, 10-minute cooldown.||Conquest Crates|
- Durasteel Wall – General tactical, if you don’t have anything else
- Krall’s Accord – Not a bad tactical for tanks, you can use that to start
- Overwhelming Offense – I recommend using this tactical for more damage
- The Life Warden – Heals you up super fast. Like having Kolto Overload. Not the worst thing.
With 6.0, the amplifiers were introduced into the game. What are Amplifiers?
They are buffs that come on your gear (Shell, Armoring, Mod, Hilt, Barrel, Relics, Earpiece, Implant). They can buff you on multiple aspects like combat (increasing your damage reduction, damage dealt, healing output), crafting and gathering (efficiency) and even some quality of life/rewards (flashpoint, operations, PvP, more experience).
Each amplifier can come on 4 tiers (Premium, Prototype, Artifact and Legendary) and every time you obtain a piece, it can come with a random amplifier that you can re-roll until you get the one you want. For each slot, there are different types of amplifiers. Every re-roll gets more and more expensive (starts at around 20k and stops at 1.2M more or less, so if it gets too expensive, I recommend getting a new Armoring/Hilt)
- Shells: Crafting and quality of life (combat if Amplified Champion Shell)
- Armourings/Hilts/Barrels: Combat
- Mods: Crafting and quality of life
- Implants/Earpiece: Crafting and quality of life
- Relics: Crafting and quality of life
Since the focus is PVE, I recommend focusing on getting Combat amplifiers first and focus on the others if you are crafter/gatherer.
Here are some relevant amplifiers: (NOTE: Amplified Champion can only have Premium and Prototype quality amplifiers; NOTE 2: the values are per amplifier).
|(DPS) Force Sensitivity||Increases the damage dealt by Force attacks||0.10% – 1.00%|
|(DPS) Armour Penetration||Kinetic and energy damage attacks ignore a portion of the target’s armour||1.10% – 2.50%|
|(DPS) Weapon Expertise||Increases the damage dealt by weapon attacks||0.24% – 1.20%|
|(Tank) Aural Resistance||Reduces the damage taken from attacks that affect an area||0.10% – 1.00%|
|(Tank) En Garde||Reduce damage taken for 10 seconds after entering combat||0.60% – 2.00%|
|(Tank) Force Protection||Reduces the damage taken from Force attacks||0.10% – 1.00%|
|(Tank) Fortuitous Redoubt||Reduces the damage taken from Force attacks||0.05% – 0.50%|
|(Tank) Periodic Resilience||Reduces the damage taken from periodic effects||0.22% – 2.20%|
|(Tank) Reinforced Armour||Reduces damage taken from weapon attacks||0.12% – 1.20%|
|(Tank) Tech Aegis||Reduces the damage taken from tech attacks||0.10% – 1.00%|
For every boss encounter, you would need different amplifiers, at the start of an expansion, you probably can’t afford making multiple sets due Tech Fragments being the limiting factor, so you have to make a choice of which amplifiers you wanna go for. As the expansion goes, you should be able to make multiple sets of gear for every encounter in the game and switch accordingly. That requires you to know the damage profile of every encounter. Always try to go for Legendary amplifiers or the best you can get.
As example, you can have a full Tech Aegis set made for Gods from the Machine where bosses deal a lot of Tech Damage, but the same amplifiers aren’t going to be good inside Dread Palace since every boss deals Force Damage.
My recommendations to start: if you want damage amplifiers, go for Armor Penetration. The reason is that most of your damage is Kinetic, and Armor Penetration affects Kinetic and Energy Damage (only Discharge is Internal, but you don’t spam it all the time).
If you want defensive amplifiers, start with Aural Resistance, since you take a lot of AoE damage on every raid in the game. En Garde isn’t a bad option either since you can have a mini Energy Shield every time you stealth and re-enter combat.
Once you’re doing Master Mode progression, if you feel like damage is overwhelming you a lot, try to find out what’s the most dangerous attack types within the encounter and get the appropriate amplifiers.
A good way to build sets of all amplifiers is if you get a legendary amplifier of X, just save it for when it’s needed.
Here are all the utilities available for Assassin. Tiers were changed and Phasing Phantasm got completely changed for Tanks, which means you’re not forced to take it all the time anymore. The utilities not used very often for PVE are greyed out. You have 9 utilities and you need to take 3 on Skillful, 6 total between Skillful and Masterful then you can take 3 on Heroic.
Abilities, Cooldowns and Passives
Here are the important ones for PvE. Not mentioning how much damage each ability does because it will change depending on your gear.
As Assassin Darkness, you have a lot of defensive cooldowns, some of them are really powerful. It’s really important you use your defensives properly for the hardest content in-game, especially because Assassins mitigation come a lot from how you use your cooldowns, different from Juggernauts and Powertechs that triggers a lot of mitigation from rotation (a lot of passives from the tree will trigger with rotation, giving you extra stats, for Assassins, you have Dark Protection, which increases your damage reduction by 1% per stacks when you use your Depredating Volts with 3 stacks of Harnessed Darkness or exit stealth, stacks get capped at 4).
Like I mentioned before, the best way to know when you have to pop cooldowns is knowing the fight, when you can or need to use defensives due to bosses hitting hard or heal check coming. Most people don’t understand, but defensive cooldowns are used to mitigate damage or prevent them, so you pop before you are going to get hit, depending on the situation, the boss can just instant kill you for not popping anything since it will drop you from 100% to 0% in 2 seconds and healers aren’t going to be able to heal you. Even without Force Speed DR, the class is still great for progression (Force Shroud is really strong).
*Note: Real Damage/God damage you can’t mitigate normally with Defense/Shield/Absorb, those are rare but existent (Izax is the best example, like Omnicannon, Tether and other attacks).
One thing important in my opinion is knowing the passives of your spec to optimize your rotation and performance on the fights. No changes from 5.0.
You will use your highest threat skills and 2 taunts. You no longer have the set bonus that allows a 3rd taunt on the rotation that early, you can still do but will be a few seconds off. If you can, be in stealth before you pull since it gives you 4 stacks of Dark Protection when you come out.
This is my opener:
Note: Taunts and Recklessness doesn’t consume a Global Cooldown.
Note 2: You can run or Phantom Stride to the boss after your Force Pull, I don’t recommend using Phantom Stride for every situation (since it can bug out and send you off the map).
Note 3: If you have a Juggernaut or somebody else applying Unsteady Debuff, you can replace Discharge with a Thrash (Avoid using Discharge without proc).
Note 4: If you don’t proc Maul on your opener, just use a Thrash instead and replace the Thrash after Depredating Volts with Maul
Single Target Priority
Assassins have Priority System Rotation like many other classes. Note: Assassinate, Maul, Thrash and Lacerate proc Energize, which makes your Shock reset the cooldown and deals 50% more critical damage if consumes a Recklessness Stacks. You wanna get as many Energize proc as you can. Avoid using a gcd that does proc Shock if Shock is coming off cooldown on the next gcd. If you have a 6 set pieces Efficient Termination, you wanna fit Spike into your rotation, especially to prevent spike damage. You wanna try to replace a Thrash if possible but if you have to pop it as defensive and delay higher priority for that, do it, it’s more important your survivability.
For above 30% on boss HP:
- Depredating Volts (when it’s glowing/you have 3 stacks of Harnessed Darkness)
- Shock (on cooldown, unless you have 3 stacks of Harnessed Darkness)
- Wither (on cooldown)
- Maul (only when you have Conspirator’s Cloak up)
- Discharge (only once every 45 seconds to apply Unsteady on the target or 2+ targets and if you have a proc)
- Saber Strike (force management)
When you get to execute (sub 30%), this is your priority (Or Reaper’s Rush utility)
- Depredating Volts (when it’s glowing/you have 3 stacks of Harnessed Darkness)
- Shock (on cooldown, unless you have 3 stacks of Harnessed Darkness)
- Wither (on cooldown)
- Maul (only when you have Conspirator’s Cloak up)
- Discharge (only once every 45 seconds to apply Unsteady on the target or 2+ targets and if you have a proc)
- Saber Strike (force management)
Wither is your hardest hitting AoE ability and builds stacks of Harnessed Darkness. Discharge is your second hardest hitting AoE and applies Unsteady debuff and makes your Lacerate deals 15% more damage to affected targets. Severing Slash does more damage than Lacerate but it’s a conal, while Lacerate is a 360 cleave, so if you aren’t going to hit all your targets, don’t use Severing Slash.
Your priority will be
- Severing Slash (If you can hit all targets)
Tips and Tricks
How to Improve
I mentioned a bit of improvement on the DTPS X Spike Damage topic, but it’s important to mention again. If you just started tanking now and feel you’re still not at the level you wanted, you can always improve, everyone needs to start somewhere. Always practice, that’s the best way to improve your performance as Tank, even if you have to run SM Operations and Flashpoints, they definitely will help you. Don’t be afraid of attempting HM Operations, since they are the best way besides for NiM ops to increase your raid awareness and learn about defensive cooldowns since some bosses will hit you really hard. If you can, record yourself playing and use Starparse even if the raid doesn’t require (use for yourself) and check your combat logs. When you’re starting, one really important thing is don’t panic during pulls, that can lead you to lose your focus completely and wipes can happen from the Tank panicking during pulls. Unexpected things can happen during pulls and you need to learn what’s going on. If you can watch other people playing and ask advice, don’t be shy.
My main thing as a player, in general, is trying to understand how the mechanics and bosses attacks work. I try to find patterns so I can optimize my tanking path(if requires a lot of movement) and my cooldown usage (maybe I need to save a defensive for later or I don’t have to, only knowing how the encounter works to make sure). Also, I try to look at the fight as always something that I can do better. Each raid group you join might have different strategies, if you understand how the fight works, will be a lot easier to adapt to their way to do (yes, groups can have different positions for tanks when to swap or even avoid swap depending on the strategy they use).
It’s really important to know how every encounter works. For tanking, I really recommend learning the damage profiles and mechanics (including tank swaps). I will leave some raid tips for some raids assuming their highest difficulty mode. Knowing if you have to save defensive cooldowns for spikes or just use them to reduce DTPS is really important (reminding: Force Shroud isn’t a defensive cooldown if it’s Melee/Ranged, only Force/Tech).
Toth/Zorn: You can Shroud the damage from Fearful and Zorn attacks. Toth deals melee damage and during his berserk phase, you should use a cooldown (Force Shroud isn’t a defensive here) since he will hurt a lot. To make moving during tank swaps a bit easier, I recommend saving your Force Speed to run across the room (if you are about to take Zorn, you can Phantom Stride to him too). Toth deals mostly Kinetic damage while Zorn is the Internal/Elemental boss.
Firebrand/Stormcaller: They both deal a different kind of damage and they have frontal cleaves too. Firebrand will hit you with Ranged attacks, while Stormcaller will go full Tech. If you are taking Firebrand, make sure to rotate through your cooldowns since the frontal cleave hurts a lot. Don’t point it at Stormcaller to avoid killing the group. You can stealth out the Incinerate Armor to make it go to someone else or use Deflection if group takes a while to push (your co-tank can also taunt Firebrand during Double Destruction). While you take Stormcaller, make sure to use a cooldown for the cleaves and don’t point it at the rest of the group unless you need to share Double Destruction. If you are taunting Firebrand for the debuff, make sure to do during the cast and turn Stormcaller away from the group as soon as the cast ends. Make sure to not outrange the healer while kiting the electrical spires. If you feel in danger, you can use your Deflection since Firebrand will be hitting you while kiting.
Vorgath: Nothing special here. Just pray for the puzzle to not kill you if doing tower and use defensives to reduce your damage during the droid part if you staying down. Vorgath puts a dot on you that actually hurts, cleanse or using a defensive should be enough.
Kephess: This encounter has some heavy melee/ranged damage profile. I really recommend using a defensive for every set of Trenchcutters if you are taking them (Shroud isn’t a defensive here). Deflection is perfect to tank them! When Kephess comes down, make sure to swap after the dot (you should Shroud the dot, it will still apply but you will not take damage from him applying it and a bit of the dot damage itself, healers will have to heal you a lot here since it hurts). Kephess hurts a lot too, most melee attacks. If you have a defensive available, use it while tanking him.
Writhing Horror: the boss itself hurts a lot, so make sure to use your defensives (most attacks are melee). You can Force Cloak when the Jealous Male spawn for tank swaps so the other adds won’t spawn. If you are the off-tank in burn phase, try to pick up the adds that spawn since they apply a dot that stacks up (I have seen that dot at like 10+ stacks)
Dread Guards: Don’t be afraid to use your defensives here. Save your Force Shroud for Lightning Field so you can negate the damage completely. The bosses have cleave, so make sure to not point them at other players. During Kel’sara phase, you can Force Shroud during the Force Leech cast, so you avoid taking damage from that and dying from damage + healing. She does a lot of damage, so mitigating some damage here will be a key to surviving.
Operator IX: Use cooldowns while tanking Regulators, they hurt (specially if you are tanking 2 of them, make sure to have Stun DR). When Operator comes down, he will also do a lot of damage, you can even tank swap for defensives in here to avoid globals (I have seem that happening). Also make sure to always taunt the boss on the moments he threat drops (communicate with your co-tank).
Kephess: Different from EC Kephess, this boss doesn’t really hurt a lot. Having an orb can hurt if you take too long to kill, but you can Force Cloak to make your orb go away or just taunt the boss and get the tank swap debuff (it will kill the orb, so make sure at least one of the tanks pick up an orb). Last phase will be the part where the group takes the most damage.
Terror: Tentacles will slam every ~12s, you will wanna mitigate all you can (slams are Force/Tech, while slaps are Melee/Ranged). If you time your defensive, it can last through 2 slams. You can save your Force Shroud for the enraged slam depending on your group’s dps (the next slam after the 2nd set of adds spawn). On the second phase, you can use Deflection while taking the boss, but make sure to use a defensive for the scream (Force Shroud or Deflection are not a cooldown for it). If you are at 100% health, you should survive, but don’t rely on it all the time, since the boss does 8 auto attacks, then spit and scream, you can time an Overcharge Saber or Adrenal for the last auto attack. A fun fact is that the boss does different type of damage depending on which platform you’re tanking him on. The 2 platforms on the sides (where tanks normally tank) and the one in the middle front between the 2 platforms where the sets of tentacles 1 and 3 spawn are the safe ones. That’s because he will do Melee attacks, if you are on any other, he will do Force/Tech attacks, that means you can even time a Shroud for 2 attacks (can do for the last 2 if you have extended Shroud). Going towards the end, make sure to save something for Tantrum.
Dashroode: Nothing special here, boss can hurt when he does his knockback and can do some spikes on the main tank, so just make sure to use cooldowns to minimize damage.
Titan 6: Titan 6 hurts a lot with melee/ranged attacks, while adds will do tech damage (reflect time xD). For the grenades, you can’t shroud them (except on the last phase). Do not face the boss towards the group as he cleaves.
Thrasher: This boss will destroy the tanks if you don’t use cooldowns, due the taunt cooldown reduction being gone, you should swap every time a tank goes up. Use something to tank the boss (it has a force/tech attack, you need to figure out the timing since there’s no cast), most damage is melee, make sure to not outrange the boss too much as it will start screaming and deal aoe damage. When you go up, make sure to use a defensive for the snipers (Shroud is banned here).
City Boss: It will all depend which team you’re going for. If you go to red, you can interrupt some of their casts and make sure to use defensives as they can hurt. If you go to green, you can pull them inside one of the buildings and LOS their casts. On gold, you should take Retaliatory Grip and reflect the right mob. If you go to blue, you can force shroud the dot they apply to cleanse it, make sure to not get hit by their cleave. On the sniper guy, you can use Deflection to try defending his terminate or you can LOS it around the pillar on the right side (might be patched at some point).
Olok: Go afk for 15 minutes jk. The first part of the encounter doesn’t really hurt, make sure to tank the adds. You will start getting hit hard when Olok comes down since he hurts a lot. He will keep stabbing you, which means tech attacks (rip Deflection). Make sure to not stay out of range as he will throw Corrosive Grenades on the entire group if you outrange him.
Warlords: Regardless of which boss you’re taking, have Emersion. You can cleanse Horic’s grenades with Force Speed if you have Emersion, you can CC Break it or Shroud (if you take Tu’chuk, you can save it if healers mess up on cleanses). As Tu’chuk tank, use your defensives for when you are taking a lot of damage (if it’s close to the debuff application, you can get hit by something as the debuff applies and be super low + boss hitting you). The first part hits extremely hard, so reducing some dtps can help the healers. Just make sure to not use all your cooldowns at the same time. If you are taking Sunder, kite him around and make sure to taunt after he finishes casting fixate (he also goes to closest target). For when Garr starts backstabing, he goes to the closest person (spec into stun DR and try to stand next to him if you aren’t kiting Sunder). If your group goes for Sunder last strategy like 5.0, just reminding you don’t have Force Speed DR anymore, so you might have to tank swap for defensives once you run out.
Styrak: There’s a lot of damage going out during first dragon phase. Save your deflection for when the dragon starts spinning and you have to soak for the group. You can mitigate the dot afterwards with Shroud. Use your other defensives when you’re tanking the dragon. I usually tank swap during the chokes only, but all changes on group preference. For when Styrak is down, damage taken reduces a lot, you should still try to mitigate his Thundering Blast since it hurts (sometimes he will do that + a melee attack at the same time). You can Force Shroud it. After 10 minutes of manifestations, second dragon should be up. One of the tanks should save their Defense based cooldown for after the dragon dies (Deflection, Saber Ward, Fuel) so they take Styrak and have some chance of living. While dragon is alive, if you a cooldown like Overcharge Saber or Adrenal, you might be able to keep him until like 10 stacks (back in 5.0, I was able to hit 15 stacks, but that was with Force Speed DR being a thing too), if you don’t have defensives, just swap at low stacks to avoid deaths.
Nefra: the easiest NiM boss by far. For the most part you don’t even need to use your defensives, but you can do that to reduce dtps and use your Force Shroud to cleanse the dot.
Draxus: This boss can have some tough healing parts (talking about wave 5). I usually use my Force Shroud to take all the subteroths at the begin (try to time it for when they are going to die, or you are going to die). I use my deflection while tanking him when he comes down again, save my Force Shroud for Dismantler cast since you can just take both and time it to not get debuffed, otherwise just taunt off people that got kicked. On the wave 5, I use Overcharge Saber and Adrenal while tanking him since group will be taking massive damage and healers will have to focus on healing the group (since there were triple Bulwarks and you don’t get healed inside their shields). If you have your Deflection back, you can use to tank the Dismantlers, but make sure to use your Force Shroud for the kicks.
Grob’thok: I recommend using defensives if you are tanking massive amount of adds (having 2 or 3 waves of adds up hurts more than the boss, that will happen if you do solo tank strat).
Corruptor Zero: The boss himself hurts a lot, so I recommend using your defensives while you are main tanking him (there are times you can tank the boss + adds at same time and use one defensive). You can use Force Shroud for Chest Laser since the final hit hurts a lot (if you’re low, you might die).
Brontes: There’s a lot of pressure on tanks during this boss encounter. If you are going to tank a hand and you have the attunement debuff, make sure to use Deflection, if you don’t have it up, Overcharge Saber will help. Save your Force Shroud to eat orbs at any stacks (don’t let it hit 20). If you decide to solo tank Brontes during Kephess phase, make sure to have your Force Shroud and Force Cloak up (I usually use it after I have 8 stacks), but my favorite strategy is to tank swap when the Kephess jumps, so you have your Force/Tech immunity to eat orbs later. You can use Deflection during the clock phase to defend some droids hit. During six fingers phase, you should only use your Shroud once at the begin and maybe Recklessness at the begin, save the other defensives for burn (if you die here, you should legit blame the healer for not healing you). Now for burn phase, if you take far hand, you can use all your defensives (not all at once), start using at around 3 stacks and if you feel like you’re going to die to the last slam going into the shield, use your Force Shroud. If you take close hand, you need to save something for when you take the far hand during the swap. For the final burn, make sure you are not letting any orb 20 stacks (usually the first orb on your side will 20 stack a few seconds before the 3rd orb spawns on your side, I recommend using focus target on the first orb that spawned if you wanna be safe).
Bestia: If you are going to take doubles, timing your defensives are much more important for spike damage than it was before, you can’t just Force Speed your way through it and get out without using Overcharge Saber or Adrenal like before. Prioritize Force Shroud and Force Cloak with Shroud for the Pulverizes (12s cooldown), try to time the other defensives for the spikes, as you can have it up for 2 sets of Pulverizes. If you are taking single monsters, you can just use defensives to minimize damage taken. For when Bestia comes down, you can Force Shroud the stack application (usually happens after the cast, looks like Ravage icon).
Tyrans: Make sure to use a defensive for most Thundering Blasts as it hurts a lot (you can legit go from 100% to 5% without a defensive). His Thundering Blast is Force, but his Shock is melee (so you can use Deflection for his auto attacks, while you can negate damage from Thundering Blast with Force Shroud). Unlike before, you will have to use Overcharge Saber and Adrenal to mitigate his Thundering Blasts as you no longer have Force Speed DR.
Calphayus: I recommend pre-using Deflection before taking him as his Force Charge hits super hard, same goes for his melee attacks (He’s pretty much an Assassin Tank that hits super hard, I wish my attacks hit that hard). Use cooldowns as necessary when you go inside the portal, I usually save something to tank the boss for after portals. Make sure to not use your Force Cloak all the time as you might need to save it to do the final phase (stealthing out with the seed)
Raptus: if it’s your first time, you will be surprised that he hits a lot less on NiM than HM for some reason. You can negate Force Execution damage with Shroud, you can also use Deflection to try defend some of his hits (including when he randomly throws you into the sky, you can defend that, not talking about the conal knockback that you need to move out). You should use defensive cooldowns inside the challenge and after the 2 challenges, you can just use to minimize dtps and to not get globaled by execution. The challenge is all AoE Force damage.
Council: It will all depends on which boss you’re taking. But regardless, I recommend saving your Force Shroud to cleanse Death Marks. If you are taking Calphayus, make sure to not stand in his puddles as you take 90% reduced healing and he takes 90% reduced damage. He has an ability named Crystal Projection, he doesn’t cast or anything, just throws crystals at you every 12 seconds and the crystal hurts a lot. You should definitely try to mitigate it as it can kill you (hopefully Bestia tank won’t buff it or you’re dead). If you are taking Bestia, make sure to mitigate Force Push (the knockback) since that hurts a lot, you can use your Deflection for normal Melee attacks too. If you are good at timing, for the most part, you can time your Force Shroud to cleanse the Death Mark with the Force Push, so you completely ignore the damage + cleanse the mark. Make sure to not run Bestia on top of the other Dread Masters or you will buff their damage and might wipe the group as they can one shot people (Tyrans can one shot with his Thundering Blast if buffed). If you have a defensive to tank the Dragon, I recommend using it. Third phase is the same except they do more damage if you don’t pick up crystals on thrones, if you do, it’s less damage taken.
Sparky: If you are picking up adds, just make sure to keep them away from the circle and the main tank. Depending on your group, you might wanna tank swap on the Delicious debuff. If you are tanking Sparky and decide to not tank swap, make sure to use something when you are at higher stacks (around 3 or higher than that). You can Force Shroud her Shoulder Throw (the backwards knockback) to avoid getting knocked into the middle of the room. If you’re lucky, you will see a Jwizzix’xthor :3
Bulo: Make sure you are one of the 2 highest threat as the boss keeps swapping between first 2 threat. You don’t have to do barrels anymore, but if you wanna do, make sure to swap with your co-tank on who is doing barrels after every single one. I usually use my defensives when I feel like it’s needed in here.
Torque: If you are doing the solo tank strategy, I recommend saving defensives for the swap moment, so you can just face tank him. Avoid fire.
Master/Blaster: This boss is usually painful for most groups and requires progression. If your co-tank is a Juggernaut or Powertech, you should take Master. His auto attacks hurt a lot and they are Tech attacks, so Overcharge Saber, Adrenal, Recklessness, Steely Spike and Force Shroud are your friends here. I save my Force Cloak to vanish his Ion Cutter so no one has to soak it. If you have people that can soak (sorcs as example), you can just vanish every other cast (Two Cloaks allows you to cheese almost all) and tell people to soak the ones in between (vanish 1 and 3 or 2 and 4, soak on the others), but if no one can soak, you can save your Force Shroud to eat a beam, but make sure to use it half way through the cast as it won’t last and you take more damage from it at high stacks. On the last phase, I recommend using defensives at high stacks and swapping bosses for cooldowns depending on the amount of stacks as they do different type of attacks (Blaster is ranged, Master is tech).
Cora: this encounter is about doing the mechanics. If you are tanking Pearl, make sure to use a cooldown for when Cora dies as he’s going to enrage (have stun DR too) and taunt him as soon as he isn’t immune to taunts anymore. Ruugar hits harder than Cora, but make sure to swap at 2-3 stacks and never point your back towards him as he will stab you and do a lot of damage. I usually don’t worry about standing in the mines.
Malaphar: you can Force Shroud the red circle.
Walkers: if you are doing solo tank strategy, you will need a good cooldown usage, while during normal strategy, just stand out of circles and use cooldown to minimize dtps.
Underlurker: I recommend pre-using Deflection before you pull the boss to avoid global.
Commanders: There’s nothing special here.
Revan: you can use Dark Stability on Deflection to avoid getting knocked off the edge (it doesn’t prevent knockback, it will prevent Revan from stunning you, so if you are not stunned, he can’t push you, that’s why CC breaker works). You can cloak it too. It’s recommended to use a defensive cooldown on second floor since his damage dealt is buffed. Your Overload is very useful to knock blades off the edge. You can Force Shroud some of his cleaves and Trail of Agony stacks and damage. For core, you can Phantom Stride the core to move out for pull ins (it should be up for most of them).
The first boss of GFTM can be pretty difficult to deal with for the first time due the add management and tanks learning how to deal with Energy Wave knockback. One of the most common issues are tanks trying to avoid getting knocked off the edge and end up cleaving an add due all his attacks being a cleave (including melee attacks).
Assassins/Shadows got ways to deal with Energy Wave knockback besides the normal way (pointing the cleave to open spots). Force Cloak can cancel the cast and avoid the knockback since he won’t re-cast it for a while (I usually use it for high stacks energy wave where I have to edge tank the boss and there aren’t too many open spots). There’s a way to deal with it using Phantom Stride/Shadow Stride, which is inconsistent and I only recommend if there’s no other option, where you get knocked off the edge and activate Phantom Stride mid air, there’s a 50% chance it will work even timing properly.
Energy Wave is the ability that deals the most damage as well, but Assassins can mitigate every single one while they are tanking the boss. Tyth usually casts 3 energy waves before inversion and you can mitigate it with Force Shroud, Adrenal, Overcharge Saber and even Steely Spike. Don’t forget to have a defensive cooldown popped whenever you’re tanking Tyth since the adds don’t do as much damage and the boss hits really hard.
Important Note: If boss is enraged, he won’t gain any stack if cleave an add. (he’s already at full rage).
Don’t forget to spec into Electric Bindings, you can root guardians during inversion and make tank swaps easier since you probably don’t wanna vanish to drop threat on adds (like I mentioned before, Force Cloak can be used to avoid getting knocked off the edge). (Click on table to enlarge it).
Compared to HM pre-nerf, the fight doesn’t change for tanks. Make sure to focus on having the correct color, tank swaps and grabbing countermeasures as soon as possible if your group have tanks doing it. A lot of damage is avoidable by just using the proper color.
Important note: Sometimes they will cast Remote Access right before the jump (usually only one tank gets it), so make sure to swap before they come down in case that happens or tank might get spiked. (Click on table below to enlarge it).
Reminder: Aivela does Positive damage (blue) and Esne does Negative damage (red).
To mitigate Positive/Negative damage, my priority is:
Purification > Polarized Energy Burst > Radiance/Polarized Ranged Attack
The boss does a lot of damage and has a tight DPS check, but you can run skank for this fight if you know when you’re going to get hit hard and pop something. If you have a Juggernaut Tank in the group, they are going to be better at skanking than Assassins (they do a lot of damage and can survive the boss very well while they have cooldowns up). It is important to know when to use cooldowns since everybody will take a lot of damage during certain phases and avoid eating spike damages without cooldowns (Energized Slice and Reflexive Slice deals the big spikes, but you will take a lot of damage from Slash).
Knowing positioning (where mines are located, burn phase and where to place mass distortions) and when to pop cooldowns are keys to succeed and make easier for everybody.
Note: Be careful with tank swaps due his Reflexive Slice.
If you get Mass Distortion and you’re standing on awkward spots, you can pop Force Shroud and move with it without taking damage. Force Cloak makes tank swaps easier since you can vanish once for a swap as long as your co-tank has 2nd threat on boss (for next swap, you gotta taunt since you won’t have 2nd threat on the boss since you vanished). Vanishing for a swap makes everything a lot smoother since boss won’t cleave both tanks or the group even.
Having Insta Whirlwind can help the group and yourself since you can CC a healing add in case your reveal is on cooldown (depending on candle order) during couplings or if you are trying to control an Extermination Droid during phase 3 and wants to grab a power cell while you have threat. Same goes for Electric Bindings, they are really good if you’re trying to kite the adds and wants to grab power cell or just to be safe in general. (Click on table to enlarge).
Didn’t really change from HM except everything deals a lot more damage and having to tank turrets for a longer period.
During Omega Protocol Droid phase, make sure to pay attention to his Priming Ignition stacks so you know when Accelerated Destruction is coming (around 11 stacks, you can identify by a buff he gains 1 second before, looks like Blazing Bolts). As Assassin, you can Force Shroud the full duration of Accelerated Destruction and take no damage (hurts really hard without shroud popped, you will die in 1 gcd). He builds stacks faster if you interrupt any of his casts while he’s vindictive, so your shroud might not be up in time if people keep interrupting during vindictive. Make sure to not interrupt Accelerated Destruction unless you need to buy time for your shroud to be back up. While you’re offtanking, you can help healers by interrupting and taunting off adds on them.
The blue turret in phase 2 hurts a lot, most of damage is Melee/Ranged, so defense isn’t bad at all here. The red turret doesn’t need to be tanked for the most part and doesn’t damage as much. Remind: If you taunt blue turret mid cast, it won’t swap target, it will keep casting shots at the previous target, so make sure to soak the shots and use cooldowns specially when you don’t have stacks. If you time your defensives for the blue turret shots, you can have it up for 2 casts.
Since everything hurts way too much, make sure to not stand in purple and to swap for defensive cooldowns on the turret, don’t hit lit up orbs and soak Deconstruct and Destroy (tank swap for cooldowns if you need to). (Click on table to enlarge it).
If you have cleared Izax HM pre-nerf, you will find the fight is super similar. Same mechanics for tanks, just have to execute perfectly or near perfect. Cooldown usage matters a lot more than did before since you can easily go from 100% to 20% hp within 2 seconds. There’s a lot of pressure on you while getting used to the NiM version due all the damage going out. (Click on tables to enlarge them).
Red: you can Force Shroud the Acid Jet. I recommend using defensives while tanking Thrasher (if you can even see them).
Encounter 1: nothing special, use cooldowns as necessary (specially when there’s a lot of adds or Felshade Reapers)
Encounter 2: same as above
Kephess Squad: It will depend which boss you’re tanking at the time. They do a lot of melee attacks but they can also deal force/tech attacks (like Kronissius breath, fire from Greus, the puddles from Hissyphus, Titax Strike). Your cooldown usage will depend a lot on your strategy and how you are dealing with each boss. Note: Emersion doesn’t break the root from Kronissius as he keeps stunning you, cleanse works.
Huntmaster: He has ranged attacks, while adds will melee you a lot. You can Force Shroud the Penetrating Shot but won’t prevent the debuff from applying, only the damage. If you have to tank a lot of adds, I recommend saving all you can to do that as more adds = a lot of damage taken.
Apex: again, another encounter that will depend on how you are dealing with mechanics (tank swap or not). You can cleanse your Contagion with Force Shroud (be aware where you are cleansing it). Your mobility is also really good due Force Speed (as you can do that before you pick up the battery and run super fast). You might wanna use cooldowns for when the boss is enraged or if he is at high stacks. You can also Force Shroud the Acid Blast damage but you wanna save it for cleanses. Getting the mechanics done are more important than anything.
How to get it and use
One important tool used by raiders on SWTOR is Starparse, a program that read your combat logs generated in-game. You can download it here: http://ixparse.com/
To enable Combat Logs, you need to go to Preferences > Combat Logging > check the “Enable combat logging to file” and restart your game.
Once you have Combat Logs enabled and Starparse downloaded, you need to join a group on Starparse. To join a group, go on Raiding > Settings and type the group name + password (your raid leader will probably have it made for the team to use). You can make your own group too if you want for parsing or something. Once you have everything set up, click on Raid.
Once you join the Raid on Starparse, should show a lot of info like DPS, DTPS, TPS, HPS, EHPS, APM. After each pull it should display death log for when you die, showing the exact time you or somebody died.
Once you click on one of the Deaths, should display the last 10 seconds of all the actions (includes bosses attacks, healing received, damage done, damage taken). Checking death logs can be important since it can tell you how you died so quickly if you could pop a cooldown or was just lack of heals. Here is an example of a death log, you can check and uncheck the options for a better view.
If you wanna have Starparse overlays displaying on your screen, go to Interface and check the ones you want and move them around your screen (place it where you want them to be). Once you set them the way you want, just check “Lock Overlays”, so you don’t move them around by accident for just clicking them.
About the Author
People call me Jaydenz or Omegadenz, I play SWTOR since 3.0 came out but I didn’t start raid until the last couple weeks of 3.0 and since then, I’ve cleared all the HM/NiM content available in the game pre 6.0 as Tank and DPS. Played all the 3 tank classes and Powertech DPS for the most part. Cleared most content as a healer too. All the clears includes World First 5/5 Gods From The Machine NiM/MM and World Second Timed Run. Cleared Dxun HM/VM on live servers and most old content in 6.0. I raid with <Failure> Group Emerald on Satele Shan and used to raid with <Origin> on Star Forge. I would like to thanks Dongo and Sevenfaced for the opportunity in Failure, Roscoe for giving me a chance in Origin, Firebrand and Jacen for giving me some of my first raiding opportunities in Entity and all my teammates and friends like Sabz, Var, Kell, Nyyah, Ryann, Adorbs, Deatch, Mac, Auro, Mon, Blas, Spice, Laet, Marisi, Narwhal, Karnage, Mari, Myschaa, Famine, Sion and Zin. Thanks to Freaky, Nyyah, Mac and Shotzz for reviews and help while writing this guide.
If you would like to contact me, message me in-game (I have a Jaydenz character on every server) or Discord Jaydenz#6788. If you wanna make me really happy, send me a Fiery Grophet :3