Combat Styles is the new reworked class system introduced to Star Wars The Old Republic in Game Update 7.0. I’ve finally put together an in-depth overview and guide of my favourite Combat Style (Class), Mercenary Bodyguard. Here is my 7.2.1 Mercenary Bodyguard Combat Style Guide!
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 – 20th July 2023.
Guide Changelog & Updates
- Updated the Legendary Implants section
- Updated the Tactical Items section
- Updated the Gearing and Stats section since I have changed what gear I’m wearing.
- Expanded the PvE Gear Section to clarify what stat thresholds you should aim for.
- Hyperlink Tooltips now work! Hover over any ability hyperlink with an icon next to it to see the ability’s description.
13th May 2022
17th July 2022
26th July 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.
- Added Beginners Infographic.
31st August 2022
19th September 2022
- Updated Begginners Infographic.
- Updated Ability Tree Table.
- Updated Gearing and Stats Section (PvP).
- Updated the Builds section.
- Updated Begginners Infographic.
- Updated Gearing and Stats Section (PvP).
- Updated the Builds section.
- Hyperlink Tooltips work again.
- Updated Gearing and Stats Section (PvP).
- Updated Rotations, Priorities and Buffs section.
15th December 2022
17th April 2023
24th April 2023
Table of Contents
- Mercenary Bodyguard Healing for Beginners (PvP Basics)
- Mercenary Bodyguard Changes (6.0 vs. 7.0)
- Mercenary Bodyguard Combat Style Overview
- Mercenary Bodyguard Ability Tree Breakdown
- Key Abilities
- Legendary Implants (Set Bonuses)
- Mercenary Bodyguard Gearing and Stats
- Stims, Medpacs and Adrenals
- Mercenary Bodyguard Rotations, Priorities and Buffs
- UI Setup
- Essential PvP Tips and Tricks
- My PVP Experience and Thanks
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.
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)
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.
|Passive||Description||7.0 Level||6.0 Level|
|Powered Insulators||Increases damage reduction by 5% and tech critical chance by 3%.||15||24|
|Surgical Precision System||Reduces the pushback suffered while activating healing abilities by 70% and reduces the threat generated by healing abilities by 10%.||23||16|
|Med Tech||Increases the critical chance of Rapid Scan by 5%.||35||20|
|Warden||Increases the critical healing bonus of all heals by 5% and causes Rapid Scan to generate an extra stack of Supercharge when activated.||43||36|
|Critical Efficiency||Activating Rapid Scan grants a charge of Critical Efficiency, which reduces the heat generated by your next Healing Scan by 5. This effect can stack up to 3 charges.||51||44|
|Emergency Response||Eliminates the heat generated by Emergency Scan. In addition, activating Emergency Scan grants Emergency Response, which makes your next Healing Scan activate instantly. Lasts 15 seconds.||60||28|
|Kolto Residue||Kolto Missile leaves a residue on up to 8 enemies in its area of impact, reducing movement speed by 50% for 3 seconds. In addition, Healing Scan grants Invigorated to its target, increasing healing received by 3% for 45 seconds.||68||32|
|Kolto Boosters||Reduces the heat generated by Kolto Missile by 5, and increases the critical heal chance of Kolto Shell by 5%. Additionally, Kolto Shot vents 1 heat when it normally heals and 2 heat when it critically heals.||73||52|
|Proactive Medicine||Emergency Scan applies Proactive Medicine to the target, healing for an additional x over 9 seconds. Additionally, Progressive Scan grants the Protected effect to targets it heals, increasing their armor by 10% for 45 seconds.||78||64|
|6.0 Disiciple Passive||Description||6.0 Level|
|Combat Support Cylinder||Loads your blaster with a combat support cylinder. While active, all healing and damage done is increased by 3%.||12|
|Empowered Scans||Increases the healing done by Emergency Scan and Rapid Scan by 3%. In addition, Progressive can channel 20% faster.||60|
|Peacekeeper||Increases the healing done by Kolto Missile, Kolto Pods, and Progressive Scan by 3%.||68|
|Ability||6.0 Description||7.0 Description||7.0 Status|
|Stealth Scan ||Fires off probes that scan the area for stealthed opponents. Probes last for 10 seconds.||Fires off probes that scan the area for stealth opponents for 15 seconds and grants a charge of Battlefield Protocols, increasing the damage or healing dealt by your next non channelled direct damage or healing ability by 20%. For each target revealed from stealth, you generate an additional charge of Battlefield Protocols. This effect stacks up to 5 charges.||Optional ability in Combat Styles Ability Tree (Level 27).|
|Thermal Sensor Override||Your next ability generates no heat. Effect lasts 15 seconds.||Same, but effect duration is 45 seconds.||Integrated into Vent Heat Ability (Level 4).|
|Explosive Dart ||Fires a dart that will detonate after several seconds. Standard and weak enemies enter a state of panic while the dart is active. The explosion deals x - x kinetic damage to up to 8 nearby enemies when it detonates. Standard and weak targets are knocked back from the blast.||Same||Optional ability in Combat Styles Ability Tree (Level 27).|
|Supercharged Celerity ||Requires and converts 10 stacks of Supercharge to issue Supercharged Celerity to you and your Operation group members within 40 meters, increasing alacrity by 10%. Lasts 10 seconds.||Same||Optional ability in Combat Styles ability Tree (Level 47).|
|Hydraulic Overrides ||Grants 6 seconds of immunity from movement-impairing effects, knockdowns and physics and increases movement speed by 30%.||Grants 10 seconds of immunity from movement-impairing effects, knockdowns and physics and increases movement speed by 30%.||Optional ability in Combat Styles Ability Tree (Level 68).|
|Responsive Safeguards ||Activates an advanced response system that absorbs all incoming direct single target damage for the next 6 seconds, reflecting 50% of the absorbed damage back at the attacker and healing you for 5% of your maximum health each time an attack is absorbed. Can be used while stunned.||Same||Optional ability in Combat Styles Ability Tree (Level 68).|
|Electro Dart ||Fires an electro dart, dealing x - x energy damage and stunning the target for 4 seconds.||Same||Optional ability in Combat Styles Ability Tree (Level 68).|
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.
Here is a detailed overview of the Mercenary Bodyguard Ability Tree (right-click and open a new tab to see it better).
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!
All abilities and the passive at this level are automatically granted.
In 6.0, this ability was granted at Level 28.
In 6.0, this ability was granted at Level 10.
[Passive] Powered Insulators - Increases damage reduction by 5% and tech critical chance by 3%.This passive was granted at level 24 in 6.0.
Contains one passive that is automatically granted and you also choose one of three buffs to Healing Scan.
Pick one of the following passives to buff Healing Scan. All of these passives are new to the game.
Residual Globules isn't worth it in its current state. What's the point of having something that does an AoE on the ground that only one person can benefit from? The heal isn't that much either based on the testing I did maybe 10-15k at most.
Given the cooldown of Emergency Scan is ~16 seconds and assuming you only use Healing Scan when it's procced from Emergency Scan, this effectively means you can keep this passive up almost constantly. This definitely makes it a worthwhile choice.
This isn't a bad option to take. But, I would say it's better to increase your overall healing by 3% than to increase the critical chance of one heal by 5%.
[Passive] Surgical Precision System - Reduces the pushback suffered while activating healing abilities by 70% and reduces the threat generated by healing abilities by 10%.
This passive is automatically granted. In in 6.0, was granted at level 16.
Pick one of the following abilities or passive.
Honestly, this is one of the most bizarre things on the ability tree and not very useful healers at all in PvP. There are better options to choose from.
This is the best option on this row to take. You can effectively keep up some amount of DR constantly as a healer given how frequently we use Rapid Scan as a filler.
The description for this ability has changed significantly from live servers with the addition of the buffs to healing and DPS output per charge.
The likelihood of hitting more than one target with a stealth scan, however, is pretty low. Even if you do find a stealther, it's not really worth taking just for one charge. How often do you get the opportunity to use this ability in your typical unranked match? How often do you actually find someone with a Stealth Scan? As a healer, you're generally in the thick of battle and are rarely trying to find stealthers.
You are far better off giving yourself almost constant DR with Power Barrier.
Gain one core healing ability and one passive.
The base Kolto Shell ability remains unchanged from 6.0. The Bodyguard passive (granted in 6.0 at Level 56) has been integrated into the ability. This passive is what gives us an extra charge and increased each charge's healing by 3% and reduced the rate limit to 0.5 seconds.
Kolto Shell was granted at level 42 in 6.0.
[Passive] Med Tech - Increases the critical chance of Rapid Scan by 5%.
This passive is automatically granted. In 6.0 the passive was granted at level 20.
Pick one of the following passives to buff Kolto Shell. All of these passives are new to the game.
This isn't a bad option and it might save you some heat (although you are beholden to RNG). You are probably better off using Splashing Shells if heat management is not often an issue for you.
This is certainly a good option. It will generate a fair amount of cross healing in close quarters combat with a lot of AOE damage going out; if you're reapplying Kolto Shells on multiple players. Note there is no cooldown on this passive. You're only beholden to the native Kolto Shell cooldown. Keep in mind the 5-meter limit though.
This passive basically gives us our own version of Sorc Bubble. It's certainly a solid option to take. But given the cooldown, you may be better off with Splashing Shells.
Before you choose between Splashing Shells and Shell Shield, consider the positioning of your teammates in a typical match. How often are you healing teammates clumped together? Or are they usually more spread out? These questions should inform your decision.
Pick one of the following abilities. This is a fairly tough choice from a PvP perspective. You are also automatically granted a Passive.
Chaff Flare has had a significant upgrade from 6.0. It is now a lot more than just a threat drop. This is definitely a solid defensive option for us. However, it's going to be a tough choice between this and maintaining some occasional mobility with Power Overrides.
For PvP, you are better off with Power Overrides or Chaff Flare. Group buffs aren't really utilised in Unranked PvP. You're better off prioritising buffing your own healing output or defensive capability.
If you're like me and like the mobility that the Power Surge ability gives us as healers, then you'll probably want to go with this option. That second charge is really useful! However, having an additional defensive with a relatively short cooldown might outride having some mobility.
[Passive] Warden - Increases the critical healing bonus of all heals by 5% and causes Rapid Scan to generate an extra stack of Supercharge when activated.
This passive is automatically granted. In 6.0, the passive was granted at level 36.
Gain one core healing ability.
Instead of getting this ability at level 26 as we did in 6.0, we now get it at level 51. The Kolto Pods passive has been integrated into this ability. This passive left the pool of kolto on the ground that allies could walk into and get healed by if they missed the initial hit. The Peacekeeper Passive, however, has been removed. It increased the healing done by 3%. This nerfs the healing done by Kolto Missile.
Pick from one of the following passives. In choosing which passive to take, carefully consider your playstyle, how well you manage heat and the type of PvP content you mainly play. There is also one passive that is automatically granted.
This is nice to have but something you can also live without if you have no heat management issues. If you do have heat management issues once 7.0 launches, you may want to consider taking this passive at least initially. The other passives are however more valuable.
This is a very solid choice to take for increasing defensive capability. But reducing the cooldown of your CC breaker could be more valuable (depending on how frequently you use it during a typical warzone).
This passive is a very solid choice. Reducing the cooldown of your CC breaker is very valuable and the reduced cooldown on a couple of our utility abilities is the icing on the cake.
However, you really need to ask yourself how often you use your CC breaker in a typical warzone or ranked arena? Do you only save it for emergencies to prevent the loss of an objective? Or do you use it to save yourself from dire situations where you know that your survival is critical to your team's success or survival? In my opinion, this passive would be far more valuable in ranked than unranked.
[Passive] Critical Efficiency - Activating Rapid Scan grants a charge of Critical Efficiency, which reduces the heat generated by your next Healing Scan by 5. This effect can stack up to 3 charges.
This passive is automatically granted. It was granted at level 44 in 6.0.
Gain one core healing ability and one passive.
This ability was granted in 6.0 at level 58. We have also lost the Empowered Scan passive which increased the channel speed of Progressive Scan by 20%.
[Passive] Emergency Response - Eliminates the heat generated by Emergency Scan. In addition, activating Emergency Scan grants Emergency Response, which makes your next Healing Scan activate instantly. Lasts 15 seconds.
This passive is automatically granted. In 6.0, we got it at level 28.
Pick from one of the following passives. These are all decent choices whether you want to go for a more defensive route or be able to heal on the move. You can tailor this row to your playstyle at least.
This defensive is practically essential for Mercs. I'd recommend sacrificing mobility to take this passive!
This is one of the main defensive utilities I used in 6.0. Having the interrupt immunity is amazing. However, Kolto Surge is the better choice for buffing defensives.
This is a good choice if you're like me and like being able to heal on the move. On the other hand, Kolto Surge is a brilliant buff to Kolto Overload. So you have to decide if you want an amazing defensive or if you want a little extra mobility.
In my experience with 7.0 so far, having a solid defensive is more important than having mobility in PvP. It does take some getting used to not being able to cast Progressive Scan while moving though. In PvE, for the most part, you are better off with Thrill of the Hunt. Generally speaking being able to heal while moving is more beneficial then buffing a defensive. Base defensives should be fine for most encounters.
Pick one of the following abilities. There is also one Passive that is automatically granted. This is a really tough row. It's really frustrating that our stun is now an optional choice in the tree along with an excellent defensive and a mobility ability.
As much as I would love nothing more than to have the mobility from this ability, Responsive Safeguards is an essential defensive in PvP.
This is an essential ability to take.
It is unfortunate that this is even a choice in the first place. It's even more unfortunate that this is not the most important ability to take at this level.
[Passive] Kolto Residue - Kolto Missile leaves a residue on up to 8 enemies in its area of impact, reducing movement speed by 50% for 3 seconds. In addition, Healing Scan grants Invigorated to its target, increasing healing received by 3% for 45 seconds.
This passive is automatically granted. It was granted in 6.0 at Level 32.
This row contains one completely useless passive and two really good passives. Choosing between these two won't be easy. There is also one automatically granted passive.
This isn't useful for healers at all.
This is a very useful Passive for Healers. We are constantly getting stunned so turning that into some heat regen isn't a bad idea at all!
A very useful buff to Energy Shield and a utility I've used over the years. Now it's a tough choice between this and Gyroscopic Alignment Jets.
[Passive] Kolto Boosters - Reduces the heat generated by Kolto Missile by 5, and increases the critical heal chance of Kolto Shell by 5%. Additionally, Kolto Shot vents 1 heat when it normally heals and 2 heat when it critically heals.
This passive is automatically granted. In 6.0 we got it at level 52.
Gain one passive at this level. This passive was granted at level 64 in 6.0.
[Passive ] Proactive Medicine - Emergency Scan applies Proactive Medicine to the target, healing for an additional x over 9 seconds. Additionally, Progressive Scan grants the Protected effect to targets it heals, increasing their armour by 10% for 45 seconds.
Here are lists of all the key abilities you will use and should have on your Hotbar. Also includes some optional abilities.
|Supercharge Gas||Requires and converts 10 stacks of Supercharge to vent 10 heat and increase healing done by 5% for 8 seconds. While active, Healing Scan has no cooldown and generates 5 less heat.||0|
|Kolto Shot||Heals a friendly target for x - x.||0|
|Kolto Missile||Heals up to 8 allies within 8 meters of the targeted area for x - x and leaves a pool of Kolto Pods on the ground, healing allies within it for x over 3 seconds.||15|
|Progressive Scan||Heals a friendly target for x over the duration and heals one new friendly target with 20 meters for x with each tick, healing up to four total targets with the final tick. 28 heat is generated over the channel duration.||0|
|Kolto Shell||Deploys a Kolto Shell around the target that has 7 charges and lasts up to 3 minutes. When the target is damaged, Kolto Shell loses 1 charge and heals the target for x. This effect cannot occur more than once every 2.5 seconds. A target may have more that one Kolto Shell active.||10|
|Emergency Scan||Intantly heals a friendly target for x - x.||0|
|Healing Scan||Heals a friendly target for x - x.||20|
|Rapid Scan||Heals a friendly target for x - x.||18|
|Cure||Cleanses a friendly target of up to 2 negative tech, mental or physical effects and heals them for x - x.||10|
|Kolto Overload||Activating this ability applies a Health Monitor that lasts up to 60 seconds, which triggers a Kolto Overload when your health is reduced to 35% or less. If your health is already 35% or less, kolto Overload triggers immediately. Once triggered, Kolto Overload goes on coolodown for 3 minutes and rapidly heals you up to 35% of your max health for 10 seconds but will not exceeed 35% of your max health.|
|Energy Shield||Increases damage reduction by 25% for 12 seconds.|
|Repsonsive Safeguards||Activates an advanced response system that absorbs all incoming direct single target damage for the next 6 seconds, reflecting 50% of the absorbed damage back at the attacker and healing you for 5% of your maximum health each time an attack is absorbed. Can be used while stunned.|
|Chaff Flare||Reduces threat towards all current enemies, and for 6 seconds after use it increases melee and ranged defense chance by 35%, provides interrupt immunity, and grants 2 charges of Decoy. Each charge of Decoy intercepts and absorbs 1 incoming Force or Tech attack.|
|Rocket Out||Jet backward 20 meters, gaining immunity to controlling effects while jetting. Cannot be used while immobilized or hindered. Requiries two blasters.|
|Power Surge||Your next ability used within 15 seconds with an activation time will activate intantly and then grant immunity to pushback and interrupts for 6 seconds.|
|Vent Heat||Your next ability generates no heat, and you vent 50 over 3 seconds after using it.|
|Electro Net||Fires an electro net that ensnares the target, reducing it smovement speed by 50% and dealing x energy damage over 9 seconds. While affected, a target that moves 20% more damage from electro net, and this effect can stack up to 10 times on enemy players or 5 times on any other target. Additionally, the electro net hinders the target, preventing the use of high mobility actions and escapes such as charges, vanishes, and speed boosts. Lasts 9 seconds.|
|Jet Boost||Blats 8 nearby enemies back and away. Targets hit by this take x - x elemeental damage and have their movement slowed by 50% for 4 seconds.|
|Sweeping Blasters||Fires waves of blaster bolts at up to 8 targets within 5 meters of the target area, dealing x - x weapon damage over the duration. Standard and weak targets are sometimes knocked back by the sweeping bolts. Requires twoblasters. Builds 32 heat over the duration.|
|Disabling Shot||Interrupts the target's current action and prevents that ability from being used for 4 seconds.|
|Determination||Purges all incapacitating and movement-impairing efects.|
|Hydraulic Overrides||Grants 10 seconds of immunity from movement-impairing effects, knockdowns and physics and increases movement speed by 30%.|
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 equipped at a time. You can not stack two identical Legendary Implants.
|Advanced Scanning||Alacrity||Reduces the cooldown of Healing Scan by 1.5 seconds and the cooldown of Emergency Scan by 3 seconds.|
|Concentrated Fire||Critical||Activating Supercharged Gas makes your next Rail Shot, Mag Shot, or Emergency Scan critically hit or heal.|
|Random Charge||Alacrity||Damaging an enemy or healing an ally has a 10% chance to generate a stack of Supercharged. Cannot occur more than once every 5 seconds.|
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.
Random Charge Package - A 10% chance to build a stack of Supercharge every heal or damage ability, with a 5-second cooldown, is kinda meh. 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 really comes down to personal preference.
Tacticals have not changed 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 Scanner||Progressive Scan heals for an additional 5% and generates Supercharge tacks while channelled, up to 4 stacks for a completed channel.|
|Kolto Vapors||The Kolto Pods left by Kolto Missile last a second longer and heal for an aditional 5%.|
|Running Rapid Restoration||Healing Scan can be cast while moving and heals for an additional 15%.|
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.
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 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 332 if you saved up your Weekly Crates prior to 7.2. It's much easier to use two 332 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.
Item Rating and Bolster
As of Game Update 7.2, PvP bolster is now at Item Rating 332 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 332. 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 332. As long as your overall Item Rating is at 332, your stats will not get reduced. However, if your overall item Rating goes up to 333, then all your stats will get reduced by the bolster system to 332 Item Rating. This means you miss out on bonus stats.
You can make things easy for yourself and just stick with 332 mods/gear and wear your 334 Legendary Implants.
- 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)
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 332 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 Gear.
For non-armour pieces, you want to wear the following:
If you end up with any Rakata pieces from doing PvE content, wearing them is perfectly fine as stats are near identical to Thyrsian!
- 332 Relics
- 334 Implants
- 332 Mainhand and Offhand
- 332 Rakata Earpiece
- All Armour pieces - 332
- Versatile Barrel 101 (332)
- Versatile Armouring 101 (332)
- Lethal Mod 101 (332)
- Adept and Nimble Enhancements 97 (332)2
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.
These are the mods you should be using in your gear.
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.
|Critical Rating||Diminishing Returns||~4000|
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.
|Alacrity||1.3 GCD Guild Perk||3209|
|Alacrity||1.4 GCD No Guild Perk||2054|
|Critical Rating||Diminishing Returns||4000|
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.
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.
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.
- Advanced Critical Augment 45: +96 Critical Rating, +65 Endurance
- Advanced Alacrity Augment 45: +96 Alacrity Rating, +65 Endurance
Augment 45 - Level 68 [Purple]
- Advanced Critical Augment 74: +108 Critical Rating, +144 Power & Endurance
- Advanced Alacrity Augment 74: +108 Alacrity, +144 Power & Endurance
Augment 74 - Level 75 [Purple]
- Superior Critical Augment 77: +130 Critical Rating, +171 Power, +171 Endurance
- Superior Alacrity Augment 77: +130 Alacrity, +171 Power, +171 Endurance
Augment 77 - Level 75 [Gold]
The following Crew Skills can craft Augments.
- Armourmech - Alacrity Augment 74 & 77
- Synthweaving - Critical Augment 45, 74, 77 & Alacrity Augment 45
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.
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.
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.
Rotations and Priorities
Mercenary Healers have a loose rotation centred around the Emergency Scan -> Healing Scan combo, using Progressive Scan off cooldown and the efficient use of Supercharge.
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.
When minimal damage is going out, refresh Kolto Shell and help your teammates finish off low-health targets. Top up everyone's health.
How to use your Defensives and Utilities
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).
In this section, I cover a couple of different builds I'm currently running.
PvP Build 1
This is my current PvP build. This build is defensive-heavy with some interrupt immunity and has little mobility.
Crit pieces/Enhancement - Mainhand, Earpiece, Head, Boots, Gloves, Legs, Implant (Implant 334, everything else 332)
Alacrity pieces/Enhancement - Offhand, Chest, Implant (Implant 334, everything else 332)
Belt & Bracers - 332
Relics - Focused Retribution and Serendipitous Assault (332)
Earpiece - Thyrsian Adept Earpiece (332)
Legendary Implants - Advanced Scanning, Concentrated Fire (334)
Tactical - SC-4 Treatment Scanner
Augments - Crit: 9 Alacrity: 5 (286 purple)
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.
PvE Build 1
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 actually get to fill in as healer for my Guild.
Veratile Armouring 100 x7, Versatile Barrel 100 x2, Lethal Mod 100 x9
Adept Enhancement 96 (Crit)- Mainhand, Boots, Gloves, Legs
Nimble Enhancement 96 (Alacrity)- Offhand, Head, Chest
Relics - Focused Retribution and Devastating Vengeance (330)
Earpiece - Rakata Adept Earpiece (330)
Legendary Implants - Advanced Scanning (Alacrity), Concentrated Fire (Crit) (334)
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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:
To further expand on the second point, here are a few strategies you can use to help you be more situationally aware.
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.
Cleansing is an important part of being a competent PvP healer. However, in instanced PvP environments only effects that impede or hinder players (such as CC's, Slows, Snares etc.) can be cleansed. Dots that do damage can not be cleansed.
Mercenary Healers can cleanse Tech, Physical and Mental Effects.
Here are some examples of some of the effects we can cleanse.
|Imperial Agent / Smuggler||Flashbang / Flash Grenade|
|Operative / Scoundrel||Sleep Dart / Tranquilizer|
|Juggernaut / Guardian||Intimidating Roar / Awe|
|Mercenary / Commando||Concussion Missile / Charge|
|Juggernaut / Guardian||Chilling Scream / Freezing Force||Mental|
|Operative / Scoundrel||Sever Tendon / Tendon Blast||Tech|
|Sniper / Gunslinger||Leg Shot||Tech|
|Interrogation Probe/ Explosive Charge||Tech|
Check out my PvP Healers Guide to Cleansing for more detailed information on how to cleanse in PvP.
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 Type||Resolve Bar||Resolve|
|AoE Crowd Control||10/16|
The rate at which resolve diminishes is 1/16 per 2 seconds.
Practice! Practice! Practice!
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 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 Pyrotech Powertech. 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.