7.4 Mercenary Bodyguard Combat Style (Class) Guide

Xam Xam Mercenary Heal Guide

Combat Styles is the new reworked class system introduced to Star Wars The Old Republic in Game Update 7.0. I’ve put together an in-depth overview and guide of my favourite Combat Style (Class) in SWTOR, Mercenary Bodyguard. Read on for all the information you need about Mercenary Bodygiurad Healers.

My Commando Healing (Combat Medic) Combat Styles (Class) Guide can be found here.

Happy to receive feedback on this guide, especially improvements or corrections. Quality feedback will be compensated!

Last Updated – Updated for 7.4 (Feb 14 2024).

Guide Changelog & Updates
  • 13th May 2022
    • Updated the Legendary Implants section
    • Updated the Tactical Items section
    • Updated the Gearing and Stats section
  • 17th July 2022
    • Expanded the PvE Gear Section to clarify what stat thresholds you should aim for
  • 26th July 2022
    • Hyperlink Tooltips now work! Hover over any ability hyperlink with an icon next to it to see the ability’s description
  • 31st August 2022
    • Updated the Legendary Implants section
    • Updated the Tacticals section to discuss new Tactical
    • Overhauled the Gearing and Stats section
    • Added PvE info to the Stims, Medpacs and Adrenal’s section
    • Updated the Builds section
  • 19th September 2022
    • Added Beginners Infographic
  • 15th December 2022
    • Updated Beginners Infographic
    • Updated Ability Tree Table
    • Updated Gearing and Stats Section (PvP)
    • Updated the Builds section
  • 17th April 2023
    • Updated Begginners Infographic
    • Updated Gearing and Stats Section (PvP)
    • Updated the Builds section
  • 24th April 2023
    • Hyperlink Tooltips work again
    • Updated Gearing and Stats Section (PvP)
    • Updated Rotations, Priorities and Buffs section
  • 10th-12th February 2024
    • Condensing Sections into Tabs and other formatting changes.
    • Updated beginner infographic to GU 7.4.
    • Updated gearing sections to GU 7.4.

Table of Contents

Mercenary Bodyguard Healing for Beginners (PvP Basics)

Below is an infographic I put together designed for players new to the spec. Hopefully, it will help you get started with this combat style.

SWTOR Mercenary Bodyguard Healer PvP Basics Info sheet Game Update 7.4

If you want to know more details about why I picked specific things or exact details on my gear loadout, read the corresponding sections via the contents menu above.


How does one sum up the new Mercenary Bodyguard Combat Style? Meh. On the one hand, it could have been far worse. On the other hand, there are some bizarre and incredibly frustrating decisions we have to make in our new ability tree (especially PvPers).

In this guide, I discuss the differences between 6.0 vs. 7.0, do a deep dive on the new Ability Tree, talk about the new Legendary Implants (Set Bonus) options as well as Tacticals, cover Gearing and go over the Rotations and Priorities. I’ve also included a Build section that covers the different builds I use for those not interested in the nitty-gritty details. The guide concludes with a PvP Tips and Tricks section.

My goal with this guide is to give a foundational overview of the class and showcase the ins and out’s that will be of benefit to beginners and more experienced players alike.

I’ve definitely written this guide with more of a PvP slant (like my previous Mercenary/Commando Healer Guides). But for the first time, I’ve decided to include some PvE elements too. It’s definitely not my area of expertise though so take it with a grain of salt. I welcome any feedback from more experienced PvE healers!

Mercenary Bodyguard Changes (6.0 vs. 7.0)

Bodyguard Changes Details

A number of underlying changes have been made to Bodyguard Mercenary. As you will see below with the new ability tree, the level we are granted certain passives has changed and some passives have been removed completely. We are also losing some abilities or they are becoming optional in the ability tree. Here are some tables that show most of the changes.

Alternatively, you can view the tables for yourself using this link and going to the 'Changes' tab - Link

Mercenary Bodyguard Combat Style Overview

Weapons - Two Blaster Pistols
Resource - Heat
Basic Healing Description - Excellent burst capability with decent AOE healing and excellent DoT mitigation.
Base Heal - Kolto Shot

Here is what the new 7.0 Mercenary Bodyguard Combat Style UI looks like. You can see the ability tree on the right side of the UI.

SWTOR Game Update 7.2 Mercenary Bodyguard Combat Style

Here is a detailed overview of the Mercenary Bodyguard Ability Tree (right-click and open a new tab to see it better).

Ability Tree Breakdown Table
SWTOR Mercenary Bodyguard Ability Tree Breakdown

Alternatively, here's a link to view the Ability Tree Table for yourself - Link

Mercenary Bodyguard Ability Tree Breakdown

Here is an in-depth breakdown of the Ability Tree with some comparisons to 6.0 and some comments. Click on a Level to see the info!

Key Abilities

Here are lists of all the key abilities you will use and should have on your Hotbar. Also includes some optional abilities.

Mercenary Bodyguard Gearing and Stats

In this section of the guide, I go over bolster, gear and stats. if you are unfamiliar with how gearing works, I would encourage you to check out my Game Update 7.0 Gearing Guide (new guide coming soon) and my Game Update 7.1 Level 80 Item Modification Guide.

If you have only recently returned to the game, I would recommend gearing with modifications. It will be much faster.

PvP Gear and Stats

Now you have a couple of options here. Keep using the static/unmoddable Med Tech and/or Mender's gear or use Item Modifications.

It's only really beneficial to upgrade your static gear pieces to Item Rating 336 if you saved up your Weekly Crates prior to 7.2. It's much easier to use two 336 pieces to gain access to the modifications vendor. See my Game Update 7.1 Level 80 Item Modification Guide for details on how to get access to the Item Modification Vendor on your faction's Fleet.

As of Game Update 7.4, PvP bolster is now at Item Rating 336 and Augments still work. However, colour crystals still are not working (shrugs).

Remember Level Sync/Bolster will only start affecting your stats if you go above an overall rating of 336. In other words, it doesn't matter what the Item Rating of individual pieces/mods you have equipped are as long as your overall Item Rating is at 336. As long as your overall Item Rating is at 336, your stats will not get reduced. However, if your overall item Rating goes up to 337, then all your stats will get reduced by the bolster system to 336 Item Rating. This means you miss out on bonus stats.

You can make things easy for yourself and just stick with 336 mods/gear and wear your 340 Legendary Implants.

My general advice would be to not use static gear if you want to be optimised. But if you are happy to stay at just 336 Item Rating and not fuss around with your stats or mods, you can use static gear. Just stick with Med Tech pieces and maybe swap around one gear piece for Mender's depending on the Legendary Implants you use. If you are using two Alacrity Legendary Implants, you will have to swap out one Critical armour piece for an Alacrity armour piece.

Here is the stat distribution for Med-Tech and Mender's (Operative) Gear.


For non-armour pieces, you want to wear the following:

  • Thyrsian Adept Earpiece
  • Thyrsian Med-Tech's Blaster Pistol
  • Thyrsian Med-Tech's Offhand Blaster
  • Thyrsian Relic of Focused Retribution
  • Thyrsian Relic of Devastating Vengeance (< 4000 Critical Rating) OR Serendipitous Assault (> 4000 Critical Rating)

If you end up with any Rakata pieces from doing PvE content, wearing them is perfectly fine as stats are near identical to Thyrsian!

I would highly recommend going the moddable gear route so you can adjust your tertiary stats as needed.

BiS Item Rating Set-Up

The optimal Item Rating set-up for PvP currently is as follows.

  • 336 Relics
  • 340 Implants
  • 336 Mainhand and Offhand
  • 336 Rakata Earpiece
  • All Armour Pieces - 336

BiS Mods

These are the mods you should be using in your gear.

  • Versatile Barrel (336)
  • Versatile Armouring (336)
  • Lethal Mod (336)
  • Adept and Nimble Enhancements (336)

You do not need to worry about Mastery or Endurance. It is included by default on all of your Item Modifications. Your focus should be on getting your tertiary stats (Alacrity and Critical Rating) at the right thresholds.

StatDescriptorRaw Number
Alacrity1.4 GCD2,054
Critical RatingDiminishing Returns*~4,000
Rishi SH wearing 340 & 334 Implants, 300 & 286 Augments and everything else 336 with Versatile Stim.

For PvPers, it won't be possible to get to a 1.3 GCD (5431) with current gear levels (remember Guild Perks don't apply in instanced PvP). You need to get to 1.4 (2054) then from there, you can increase your Alacrity until you feel comfortable. I would recommend going 200 over the threshold at the bare minimum but do not go above 2800.

As for Critical Rating, this is where you will put the rest of your stat budget. Around ~4000 diminishing returns supposedly set in. However, it is okay to go higher even up to 5000.

PvE Gear and Stats

You do not need to worry about Mastery or Endurance. It is included by default on all of your Item Modifications. Your focus should be on getting your tertiary stats (Alacrity and Critical Rating) at the right thresholds.

StatDescriptorRaw Number
Alacrity (Guild)1.3 GCD Guild Perk3209
Alacrity1.4 GCD No Guild Perk2054
Critical RatingDiminishing Returns4000
SWTOR Mercenary/Commando PvP Stats
Rishi SH, Implants 340 & 334, everything else 336, Augments 300 x11 & 286 x3.

I would recommend running 1.3 GCD if your Guild has the Alacrity Perk. Going a little bit higher is fine, you do not need to be exact. If you play at a higher ping, it is beneficial for you to go 100-200 above the threshold anyway. Put the rest of your tertiary Stat Budget into Critical Rating.

If your Guild does not have the Alacrity Perk (or you are not in a Guild) then at the bare minimum run 1.4 GCD. I would highly recommend, however, going up to around 2200 Alacrity. Put the rest of your tertiary stat Budget into Critical Rating.


This applies to both PvP and PvE. Focused Retribution is the first relic you should have. The second relic will depend on your Critical Rating. If you are below 4000 Critical Rating, you should use Devastating Vengeance. If your Critical Rating is above 4000, you should use Serendipitous Assault.


For both PvP and PvE, you can utilise three tiers of augments depending on your budget. If you can, at least get the Purple Level 75 Augments (that extra Power is too good to pass up). Gold Augments are extremely expensive and are not worth the effort unless you have billions of credits lying around.

Augment 45 - Level 68 [Purple]

  • Advanced Critical Augment 45: +96 Critical Rating, +65 Endurance
  • Advanced Alacrity Augment 45: +96 Alacrity Rating, +65 Endurance

Augment 74 - Level 75 [Purple]

  • Advanced Critical Augment 74: +108 Critical Rating, +144 Power & Endurance
  • Advanced Alacrity Augment 74: +108 Alacrity, +144 Power & Endurance

Augment 77 - Level 75 [Gold]

  • Superior Critical Augment 77: +130 Critical Rating, +171 Power, +171 Endurance
  • Superior Alacrity Augment 77: +130 Alacrity, +171 Power, +171 Endurance

The following Crew Skills can craft Augments.

  • Armourmech - Alacrity Augment 74 & 77
  • Synthweaving - Critical Augment 45, 74, 77 & Alacrity Augment 45

Legendary Implants (Set Bonuses)

Set Bonuses have been moved to Implants in 7.0 and are now called Legendary implants. You can read more about how to obtain the new Legendary Implants in my Legendary Implants Guide.

Here is a list of all the relevant Bodyguard Legendary Implants. You will be able to have two different set bonuses (Implants) equipped at a time. You can not stack two identical Legendary Implants.

NameTertiary StatDescription
Advanced ScanningAlacrityReduces the cooldown of Healing Scan by 1.5 seconds and the cooldown of Emergency Scan by 3 seconds.
Concentrated FireCriticalActivating Supercharged Gas makes your next Rail Shot, Mag Shot, or Emergency Scan critically hit or heal.
Random ChargeAlacrityDamaging an enemy or healing an ally has a 10% chance to generate a stack of Supercharged. Cannot occur more than once every 5 seconds.
7.0 Mercenary Bodyguard Set Bonus
Xam Xam's Choice
7.0 Mercenary Bodyguard Set Bonus
Xam Xam's Choice
7.0 Mercenary Bodyguard Set Bonus

Details and Comments:

Advanced Scanning Package - in my opinion, is the best of the three Set Bonus options we have. Reducing the cooldown of Emergency Scan is a no-brainer as far as I'm concerned especially with the limited mobility we have now. The Emergency Scan -> Healing Scan combo every ~15 seconds (depending on alacrity) is one of the few opportunities we now have to do significant healing on the move. Obviously reducing the cooldown of Healing Scan is useless (since it's never cast only proc'ed by Emergency Scan) but I still think this legendary is worth it just for the 3-second cooldown reduction of Emergency Scan.

Concentrated Fire - is also a good option. Supercharge guaranteeing a crit on Emergency Scan especially paired with Advanced Scanning makes it a decent choice. How it works is as soon as you activate Supercharge Gas, you get a Concentrated Fire buff that lasts for 20 seconds. This means you have 20 seconds to use Emergency Scan to get it to crit, which is plenty of time. You are better off using it while Supercharge is active though to take advantage of the 5% heal increase from Supercharge.

Concentrated Fire Buff

Random Charge Package - A 10% chance to build a stack of Supercharge every heal or damage ability, with a 5-second cooldown, is pretty lame. Consider how many times you could potentially build a stack in a 15-second window. Is it really worth it when you could instead reduce the cooldown of Emergency Scan to ~15 seconds? Building supercharge is pretty easy as is (especially with the SC-4 Treatment Scanner Tactical).

Regardless of whether you PvP or PvE, you're going to want to use Concentrated Fire. As for picking your second Legendary, it comes down to personal preference. However, I believe reducing the cooldown of Emergency Scan (Advanced Scanning Package) is the better option.


Tacticals have not changed much from 6.0. However, Rocket Fuel Vapours was removed at the start of 7.0 and then put back in the game in 7.1 and renamed Kolto Vapours.

Here is a list of all the relevant Tacticals for Mercenary Bodyguard in 7.0. All Tacticals can be purchased from Morro the Reaper on the Supplies section of Fleet for 3,000 Tech Fragments.

SC-4 Treatment ScannerProgressive Scan heals for an additional 5% and generates Supercharge tacks while channelled, up to 4 stacks for a completed channel.
Kolto VaporsThe Kolto Pods left by Kolto Missile last a second longer and heal for an additional 5%.
Running Rapid RestorationHealing Scan can be cast while moving and heals for an additional 15%.
SWTOR SC-4 Mercenary Treatment Scanner Tactical
Xam Xam's Choice
SWTOR Mercenary SC-4 Kolto Vapours Tactical

More Info and Comments:

SC-4 Treatment Scanner is the best choice. Being able to build 4 stacks of Supercharge every ~13 seconds (assuming the cast is not interrupted) is very useful. It is consistently useful across all content.

Kolto Vapours is a situational option. Kolto Pods last for 3 seconds by default which is pretty decent already considering the Kolto Missile cooldown is ~5.5 seconds. With this Tactical, you're adding an extra second of Kolto Pods which equals one extra tick of healing. Kolto Pods ticks are around ~1600-3600 each.

Is it worth missing out on Supercharge stacks from Progressive Scan for a small extra tick of healing on Kolto Pods? It really comes down to how often you can effectively use Kolto Missile. Are four or more people constantly grouped together in a particular encounter? To summarise, it may be situationally useful but for the majority of content, you're better off with SC-4 Treatment Scanner.

Running Rapid Restoration is completely useless. The only time you should be using Healing Scan is when it's proc'ed to instantly cast by Emergency Scan. So don't even bother buying this Tactical.

Stims, Medpacs and Adrenals

In PvP and PvE, you want to be using the Versatile Stim.

For PvP, you want to be using the Warzone Medpacs and Adrenals. You get these as a drop from your match completion crates. The Medpac does not restore a fixed amount of health. Instead, it restores 35% of your maximum health. The adrenal increases your Damage Reduction by 15% for 15 seconds. So use it as another defensive cooldown.

SWTOR Warzone Medpac
SWTOR Warzone Adrenal

For PvE, the Advanced Kyrprax Medpac and Advanced Kyrprax Adrenals are the highest level available. You can craft them on Biochem and if your raid toon is Biochem, you can craft reusable versions to use instead. Only characters with the Biochem Crew Skill can use reusable Stims.

Mercenary Bodyguard Rotations, Priorities and Buffs

Here are all the various rotations and priorities and important buffs. But first let's discuss our resource, Heat. Click on the tabs below for the details you're interested in.

The key to healing well is to be able to quickly switch targets and to predict who is going to take the most damage. Use your filler abilities when there isn’t much damage going out.

Mercenary Healers use Heat as their resource. Using an ability costs Heat. The more abilities you use that cost Heat, the higher your Heat goes. Some abilities cost more Heat than others. Kolto Shot our base Heal does not cost any Heat and should be weaved in (used) regularly between your other Abilities that cost Heat.

SWTOR Mercenry Heat Tooltip

Mercenary Healers have a loose rotation centered around the Emergency Scan -> Healing Scan combo, using Progressive Scan off cooldown and the efficient use of Supercharge.

SWTOR Mercenary Bodyguard Healer Rotations

Key things to consider:

  • Try to use Emergency Scan -> Healing Scan off cooldown. You want to do this for a couple of reasons. To take advantage of Advanced Scanning (Legendary implant) cooldown reduction of Emergency Scan (if you're using it) and to keep Integrated Scanning up (Ability Tree Passive). Integrated Scanning lasts for 15 seconds.
  • Watch who you target with Progressive Scan. The additional ticks of healing spread out to allies around the initial target of the heal. To use it efficiently, place it on an ally with friendlies close to them or yourself if you're next to your teammates. Alternatively, it works well as a burst heal for yourself or a tank if required. Use it off cooldown ideally towards the end of Supercharge.
  • Activating Supercharge Gas makes your Emergency Scan critically heal (if you're using the Concentrated Fire Legendary implant). So you should try to use Emergency Scan AFTER activating Supercharge. The buff that this Legendary applies when you use Supercharge Gas is available to you for 20 seconds. While it is better to use Emergency Scan -> Healing Scan with Supercharge active to take advantage of the 5% healing increase, the Concentrated Fire buff lasts beyond that 6-second duration of Supercharge. In the event you muck up your rotation, you will still be able to utilise the buff just not as effectively since you are missing out on the 5% healing increase from Supercharge.
  • Use Kolto Shot (1 charge) and Rapid Scan (2 charges) to build up 10 charges of Supercharge Gas then activate it. Try to use it off cooldown. You should build up 10 stacks fairly quickly and regularly by using Kolto Shot frequently as a filler. If you're using the SC-4 Treatment Scanner Tactical this will make Progressive Scan build up to 4 stacks of supercharged.
  • Rapid Scan builds up stacks of Critical Efficiency which reduces the cost of your next Healing Scan per stack (stacks up to 3 times). Having 3 stacks of Critical Efficiency will make your next Healing Scan free. Rapid Scan if you're specced into Power Barrier (Ability Tree Passive) also gives you 2% Damage Reduction per charge. You can have up to three charges (6% DR).
  • Kolto Shell can be refreshed on priority targets or stacked players as your heat management allows. Always refresh Shells on everyone during downtimes including when there aren't many enemies around or not much damage is going out.
  • Kolto Missile is not only an AoE heal but also acts as an AoE Slow reducing the movement speed of up to 8 enemies hit by 50% for 3 seconds. This is particularly useful in Huttball.
  • Weave in Kolto Shot to build up your supercharge and to help manage your heat! It is your base heal and does not cost any Heat.

The key to healing well is to be able to quickly switch targets and to predict who is going to take the most damage. Use your filler abilities when there isn’t much damage going out.

In this section, I'm going to talk about how and when you utilise each of your defensive abilities including positioning utilities.

  • Responsive Safeguards - use when taking a lot of incoming damage especially burst damage from multiple sources. Keep in mind that you can use it while stunned.
  • Energy Shield - use when taking a steady amount of damage. If you are specced into Trauma Regulators (Ability Tree Passive) use it when you are getting hit by a few enemies so you can build your 10 stacks up quickly. You can click off the stacks (you can see them on your buff bar) to apply the heal immediately if you're low on health.
  • Kolto Overload - use when taking a decent amount of damage. You can precast it before going into fights and it will trigger automatically once you go below 35% (or 60% if you take the Kolto Surge passive).
  • Chaff Flare - use when getting hit by a couple of enemies to absorb some damage and in more heated fights to give yourself 6 seconds of interrupt immunity. Keep in mind that players can still stun you.
  • Electro Net - ideally used on enemy team healers, enemy ball carriers in Huttball or pesky melee DPS who won't leave you alone.
  • Jet Boost - use to give yourself or a (ranged) teammate some breathing room. If knocking melee with leaps away, use your knockback near a LoS (line of sight) point so they can't leap back to you straight away to get them off your tail for a few extra seconds. For example, if you're near a pillar use the knockback while standing near the corner of it, then go around the corner to prevent melee from leaping to you.
  • Power Surge - use to give yourself an instant cast (no channel) on Rapid Scan. Also, gives you 6 seconds of interrupt immunity. Again, players can still stun you. Note it does not work with channelled abilities (damage/heal ticks multiple times throughout cast) eg. Progressive Scan, Unload.
  • Vent Heat - use to reduce your Heat in the event you max out your Heat and really need to be able to keep healing. Also makes the next ability you use generate no Heat.

Here is an overview of some of the key buffs that you can apply to yourself and other players. These tooltips help inform when and who to use your abilities on.

Buffs you can apply to yourself and other players:

  • Progressive Scan
    • Proactive Medicine (Passive) - heals the primary target of Progressive Scan for an additional x over 9 seconds.
    • Protected - increases armour of all targets hit by Progressive Scan by 10% for 45 seconds (Proactive Medicine Passive).
  • Healing Scan
    • Invigorated - increases healing received by 3% for 45 seconds (Kolto Residue Passive).
  • Emergency Scan
    • Emergency Response - makes the next Healing Scan activate instantly.

Buffs you can apply that benefit yourself:

  • Kolto Shot
    • Vents 1 Heat when it normally heals and 2 heat when it critically heals (Kolto Boosters Passive).

Cleansing is an important part of being a competent PvP healer. 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 Bodyguard Healers can cleanse Tech, Physical and Mental Effects.

The Mercenary Cleansing ability is: Cure

Here are some examples of some of the effects we can cleanse. The Icon pictured is how the debuff will look on the Operations Frame.


Imperial Agent / SmugglerFlashbang / Flash Grenade
Operative / ScoundrelSleep Dart / Tranquilizer
Juggernaut / GuardianIntimidating Roar / Awe
Mercenary / CommandoConcussion Missile / Charge


Juggernaut / GuardianChilling Scream / Freezing ForceMental
Operative / ScoundrelSever Tendon / Tendon BlastTech
Sniper / GunslingerLeg ShotTech

Mercenary Bodyguard Builds

In this section, I cover a couple of different builds I'm currently running.

This is my current PvP build. This build is defensive-heavy with some interrupt immunity and has little mobility.

Xam Xam 7.4 Mercenary Bodyguard PvP Ability Tree Build


  • Crit pieces/Enhancement - Mainhand, Earpiece, Head, Boots, Gloves, Legs, Implant (Implant 340, everything else 336)
  • Alacrity pieces/Enhancement - Offhand, Chest, Implant (Implant 340, everything else 336)
  • Belt & Bracers - 336
  • Relics - Focused Retribution and Serendipitous Assault (336)
  • Earpiece - Thyrsian Adept Earpiece (336)
  • Legendary Implants - Advanced Scanning, Concentrated Fire (340)
  • Tactical - SC-4 Treatment Scanner
  • Augments - Crit: 9 Alacrity: 5 (286 & 300)
  • Colour Crystals - Eviscerating (Crit)
  • Stim - Advanced Kyrprax Versatile Stim


  • Level 39 - This is definitely one of those rows that comes down to personal preference. There isn't a wrong choice here. Personally, I like Splashing Shells as most of the time my teammates are bunched up within 5 meters of each other anyway in PvP. So the cross-healing from Splashing Shells can add up quite a bit!
  • Level 73 - If you want that extra oomph in defensive capability, then you can absolutely take Trauma Regulators instead of Gyroscopic Alignment Jets. However, I personally find that given how prevalent immobilising and incapacitating effects are at the moment, it certainly doesn't hurt to give yourself that extra help when it comes to heat management. Note, that there is no cooldown on it.


The Integrated Scanning (23) passive pairs well with the Advanced Scanning Legendary Implant effectively enabling you to almost always have a 3% buff to all the healing you do. If you then add in the Concentrated Fire Legendary Implant, you get yourself a potent burst heal combo if you use Emergency Scan after activating Supercharge.

Each cast of Rapid Scan builds a stack of Power Barrier (27) which increases your damage reduction by 2% per stack and lasts for 15 seconds. So taking Power Barrier effectively can give you constant Damage Reduction. It stacks up to 3 times so if you have 3 stacks of Power Barrier, you have 3% DR.

You can definitely build to be more mobile for PvE. For most encounters, the base defensives (without ability tree buffs) will suffice. Basically, I threw this build together for the rare occasions where I do PvE content. There are a couple of flex options depending on the encounter.

7.4 Mercenary Bodyguard PvE Ability Tree build


Gear will come down to whether you have access to 344 gear or not. Note Rakata Gear can be upgraded to 344. I am personally using a mix of 340 Item Modifications and Rakata Gear.

  • Veratile Armouring 105 x7, Versatile Barrel 105 x2, Lethal Mod 105 x9 (340)
  • Adept Enhancement 101 (Crit)- Mainhand, Boots, Gloves, Legs (340)
  • Nimble Enhancement 101 (Alacrity)- Offhand, Head, Chest (340)
  • Relics - Rakata Focused Retribution and Rakata Devastating Vengeance (344)
  • Earpiece - Rakata Adept Earpiece (344)
  • Legendary Implants - Advanced Scanning (Alacrity), Concentrated Fire (Crit) (340)
  • Augments - Crit: 4 Alacrity: 10 (286 purple)
  • Colour Crystals - Eviscerating (Crit)
  • Stim - Advanced Kyrprax Versatile Stim


Depending on the encounter there are a couple of rows you will want to change.

  • Level 39 - If you don't want to fuss around with your ability tree, then Efficient Shells is a good option to take. Depending on the encounter though, you can tailor which passive you take. For encounters where your group is going to be spread out, you can use Shell Shield and for encounters where your group is going to be mostly stacked, you can use Splashing Shells.
  • Level 43 - you may want to take the raid buff instead. But that will depend on your group. Otherwise having two charges of Power Surge is very nice in mobile fights.
  • Level 68 - you can swap out Responsive Safeguards for Hydraulic Overrides as needed.

UI Setup

This is how I currently have my UI set up for PvP. I use a Logitech G600 Mouse so having the bars set up vertically, three across matches perfectly with the side buttons of the G600.

Xam Xam Mercenary Bodyguard PvP UI Setup
7.0 PvP UI.

Here is a link to my UI if you wish to download it for yourself (via Dropbox) - Xam Xam 01

Essential PvP Tips and Tricks

In this section of the guide, I go over some essential PvP tips and tricks. They will help you better understand how to heal in PvP and how to be a better PvPer.

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.
  • You should be vaguely aware of how many teammates are with you and 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, you're almost certainly needed elsewhere.

If you can master situational awareness then you will 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.

  • 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.
  • 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 or if it’s crucial for keeping the objective. This is where playing other classes comes in handy as it helps you learnwhat other classes are capable of in terms of damage output which will inturn help you learn what you can 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.

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 will fill up their white bar incrementally. Once their bar is full they are immune to stuns, CC’s and knockbacks for a short duration until their white bar gets reset to zero. The resolve bar appears under the character name.

Partially filled resolve bar (can still be affected by CC).
Full resolve bar (immune to CC effects).
Resolve bar resetting (still immune to CC effects).

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 knockbacks build.

Ability TypeResolve BarResolve
Crowd Control13/16
AoE Crowd Control10/16

The rate at which resolve diminishes is 1/16 per 2 seconds.

The most important tip of all! Being able to predict who is going to take damage, how much damage they're going to take and judging the rate they're taking damage takes time and practice. Knowing which heals to use and who gets healing priority also takes time and practice.

PvP a lot. Don’t get discouraged by yourself or anyone else. Have patience with yourself. Keep at it and you will get better!

My PVP Experience and Thanks

Thank you for reading this guide! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or on Social Media. And a special thank you to my Patrons and Twitch Subscribers for your continued support!

Thanks and PvP Experience

Special Thanks

Thank you to Andynul for teaching me the HTML coding used in this guide. Thank you to the folks in the Theorycrafters Discord who do all the math and testing to figure out all the things. And thank you Cease for your insights on gearing and stats for PvP.

My PvP Experience

I have a Warlord Commando (99) 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 Combat Style/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 and Powertech DPS. 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.

8 thoughts on “7.4 Mercenary Bodyguard Combat Style (Class) Guide”

  1. Hi, thanks ALOT for this guide! Must’ve taken ages to do. Really appreciate it thanks. It’ll be helpful as I respec my Merc and level him up.
    It’s great to see dedicated interest in swtor. ????

  2. Pingback: Game Update 7.1.1 Healer Balance Changes Overview and Thoughts - MMO Bits

  3. Pingback: SWTOR PvP Healing Tips and Tricks - Xam Xam

  4. Hello,

    You mention BiS Mods under the PVP section. Where are these mods located because I don’t see any 332 mods at the PVP vendors?

    Thanks in advance for the information.

    1. BiS = Best in Slot. If you do not have access to the Alacrity Guild Perk (Zeal), then 2800 should be okay. But if you have over 4,000 Crit, put some more stat budget into alacrity.

      If you have the Alacrity Guild Perk, run just over 3209 Alacrity.

  5. I see alot of Mercenary bodyguards using rocket out whilst also having the responsive safeguards in pvp. How are they doing that when they are both level 68 choices on the abilities tree?

    1. It’s a bug. Since Rocket Out was moved to the tree with 7.2, the game didn’t remove the ability off of some players’ bars when 7.2. launched (especially if they were already specced into Responsive Prior to 7.2). As long as they don’t respec or change their loadout, Mercs can keep rocket out and responsive safeguards.

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