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Cae's Guide to Vanguard Tanking in 2.0


Justcae

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Hi Guys! I'm Cae! As of the date of this post I've successfully cleared all in game published content. I've cleared this content on my main which just so happens to be my Vanguard. I've noticed that there have been alot of questions about how to gear. Futhermore I've noticed there being some basic misunderstandings of the fundamentals of tanking. This is my effort to correct such things and try to provide you with the information you need to go forward in this game.

 

Basics!

 

That being said what are the basics of being a tank? At the very least what you need to strive to do is hold the attention/aggro/threat of the most damaging NPC's in the game. At the same time not falling apart like a hardcore game of drunken jenga. As you progress you will learn how to more effectively hold more, and survive longer.

 

The key to growing these is to be aware of what your class can do, how to gear your character, and developing an overall awareness to the content you are doing at that moment. Knowing what is going to happen when you pull a group of beasties is essential to long life, and group happiness.

 

Terminology and What They Do?

 

So lets break down the very basic tenents and terminology of being a tank.

 

Threat - Threat is literally what your group both lives by and dies by. If you have it the group lives, if your group has it your group dies at an alarming rate. When you engage in combat with any NPC is has a list of the people in combat with it. Based on the actions of the people in your group they move and fall on this list. Typically the person on the top of this list is the person whom this NPC is going to attack. Threat is gained by attacks done to the NPC by both you and the DPS, as well as the healers keeping you all standing.

 

Taunting - You as a vanguard have two abilities which will automatically give you the attention of an NPC, unless of course it is immune to taunting. A taunt will make you the NPC's primary target, as well as force them to attack you for a number of seconds. If you did nothing to further build threat on these NPC's after that time has passed they may well turn away from you. Luckily when you taunted the NPC what the game did is give you the amount of threat required to pull the creatures attention off of whatever it was on before. You can even use taunts to increase your own threat on creatures already on you. Advanced tanking, and end game raiding requires you to do this.

 

For more on the details of threat and tanking click below.

 

 

 

Threat Basics

 

1) Every point of damage you or your allies put out causes a threat value to that particular creature. This value may be modified by outside factors. ex) Ion stance gives you 100% threat. While in Ion stance, every point of threat you deal through damage is doubled. Typically 1 point of damage = 1 point of threat.

 

2) Every point of healing you or your allies put out causes an amount of threat to -everything- in combat. Luckily the amount of threat is relatively small. But because it affects every single NPC in combat it can lead to healers gaining aggro.

 

3) Some abilities are noted as "High Threat". This is a very lose term. Some of these abilities deal damage, and that damage is further modified by percentage. Other abilities like our Harpoon deal a set amount of threat that the devs felt was significant. For the record, Harpoon used to (have checked to see if this was changed) deal about the same amount of threat as a Stockstrike, it applies whether or not you can actually pull the NPC to you.

 

ZOMG Where Did The Aggro Go?

 

In order to pull threat in this game one character must exceed the currently aggro'ed targets threat by a certain percentage. There are two categories for this.

 

1) Melee. Melee targets threat must only exceed the currently aggro'ed target by 10%. If you have 1000 threat on a creature, and they gain 1100 or above, they will be the new target. In order to regain aggro on that target you will need to break 110% of their threat.

 

2) Range. Range targets threat must exceed the currently aggro'ed targets by 30%. If you have 1000 threat on a creature, and they gain 1300 or above, they will be the new target. If you were to attack that creature at range, you too would need to exceed their current threat by the same percentage.

 

Where the heck do taunts come in?

 

A taunt has two functions.

 

1) A taunt will force a target affected by it to attack you for 6s. Regardless of whatever else has occurred with threat for 6s, it's yours.

 

2) Whomever is the current highest on threat, it will take their threat and multiply it by the amount needed to pull aggro from them, and give that value to you. This value can be massive. Currently in game all taunts appear to be calculated as if from range. That's right. It gives you 130% of the highest threat on the mob currently. This is huge and follows into the next part.

 

Taunt Boosting

 

Your character while tanking is obviously on this threat table. Whomever has the highest value of threat on a mob is used for the threat added calculation. In most cases this person is you. That means if you are tanking a boss, and you are the highest person on threat, and you have still not lost aggro to someone but you hit your taunt anyways you will actually boost from yourself.

 

Every time you hit your taunt, take ALL of the threat you've generated on that mob. Add an additional 30% threat to what you've already done. Been fighting an NPC for 30s? Yeah by pressing that button that functions of GCD, you've just gained an addition 10s of threat magically.

 

Your taunt, regardless of if aggro has been pulled from you does this every single time you hit it. Your two taunts are your biggest aggro generating abilities in this game. Bar none.

 

 

 

Guard - Guard is an ability found in the Vanguard tab of your ability panel.

 

"While active, the guarded player takes 5% less damage and generates 25% less threat. In addition, so long as you remain within 15 meters of the guarded player, 50% of all incoming damage from enemy players is redirected to you."

 

The key for PvE is the first sentance of the text. If you are playing in a group and are consistently losing or battling for threat that person is the candidate for your guard. It will as the text says lower their threat by 25%. If they do pull from you, they'll take 5% less damage until you get it back. The second line of text is specifically for PvP and has no bearing in PvE.

 

Cooldown - Most abilities in SWTOR have some sort of internal cooldown after being used. That is not what this is referring to. Cooldowns in general are those abilities which are so defensively powerful they have a long cooldown. Its key to learn when to use these abilities. If you know they attacks you are going to be facing it becomes easier and easier to survive formerly difficult moments. Simply by using your cooldowns you can limit the damage to you, and to the the group by thousands and thousands of points of damage.

 

Stats

 

The bonus of being a tank is that stat balancing becomes a lot less complicated than other roles. We can get rid of several stats right off the get go. Those stats which would aid DPS or heals? Get rid of them. Alacrity, accuracy, and surge have no business being on your character. Bioware does indeed put them on some of your class sets. However, Bioware does not min/max your gear and hopefully you will. Those three specifically increase DPS, which though it would increase your threat generation, are not needed at all. Especially after you've mastered taunt boosting.

 

Defense (dodge) - This stat has improved for Vanguards in 2.0. When you initially hit 55 the fastest way you can increase your survivability is to stack this number. It gives you the most return for your stats early. It does however drop off, and is not needed past a certain point. Beyond that defense is only used in attacks against you that are classified as "Melee" or "Range." If it is not one of these categories you will not be able to defend against them with this stat.

 

 

I currently have 752 defense rating. This gives me 20.61% defense chance. I will not put any further points directly into this. its a very strong base to work off of. I would happily lower my defense to a flat 20% as I min/max.

 

 

Shield - Shield was significantly buffed in its role in 2.0. Before shield was exactly like defense in that it only worked on abilities classifed as "Melee" or "Range." Now however your shield will work those but also any ability that does kinetic, or energy. Most boss NPC's in this game have several hard hitting abilities. Almost all those abilities deal one of those two types of damage and are shieldable. This is huge for shield. It also makes out lives a little more complicated as far as balancing stats. As shield and defense still both work on what they did before, but now shield works on more it can complicate your stat balancing a little bit. Luckily for you, aside from augments and relics, shield does not compete with defense for points. Shield only competes with all those stats we previously pointed out we didn't want. Namely alacrity, accuracy, and surge.

 

 

I currently have 939 shield rating. This gives me a 39.87% shield chance. This stat will only be affected further by how many high shield vs high endurance enhancements I wishto use. For all intensive purposes this will remain my shield chance end game.

 

 

Absorb - Absorb works hand in hand with shield. It is also the fastest climbing of all the defensive stats because of this. Absorb means nothing without shield, and shield means nothing without absorb. Absorb is the percentage of damage that will be reduces by a shielded attack. Absorb and defense fight directly for points on your gear. A defensive mod or enhancement will either have absorb or defense. It will not have both. Luckily because your shield is going to be naturally high due to you being able to stack it, absorb benefits.

 

 

I currently have 380 absorb rating. This gives me 33.66% absorb. This stat will be increased as I fill out my gear and am able to drop my defense chance to a flat 20%.

 

 

Endurance - Directly affects your health, which consequently determines how much damage is required to defeat your character. A very simple stat that is easily understandable. As you gear your character to how you see fit, you will find a number that you appreciate. There is no right or wrong number for where you end up with this. It will be somewhere in the mid 30k health area.

 

Abilities

 

Trooper

 

Adrenaline Rush - "Activating this ability mmakes you Fired Up for up to 60 seconds, which triggers an Adreniline Rush when your health is reduced to 30% or less. If your health is already below 30%, Adrenaline Rush triggers immediately. Once triggered Adrenaline rush goes on cooldown for three minutes, and rapidly healths you for up to 30% of your max health for 8 seconds, but will not exceed 30% of your max health"

 

This ability can be a life saver. It was much easier to use in its previous incarnation but is far more powerful now. Its further improved in our tree by "Soldier's Grit" which allows it to heal you for 2% of your health every second even after its healed you to thirty. They've made it so that you can preemptively use this ability. If you know you are heading into a very damaging part of the fight and you are already wounded you can queue this ability to fire. Very useful ability. It will take you time to learn when best to use this.

 

Cryo Grenade - Fairly simple. Four second single target stun. Useful for interrupting abilities on NPC's while your interrupt is on CD. Also useful to help your group keep particularly damaging NPC's locked down while being DPS'ed.

 

Diversion - Threat drop. Not particularly useful for a MT. Though could be used in some overly complicated strategies. This is meant more for our DPS'ing fellows.

 

Explosive Round - A very poor ability for the Vanguard class. Feel free to not have it on your bar.

 

Full Auto - An extremely poor ability for the Vanguard class. Deals damage very similar to Hammer Shot, costs cells, and requires you stay in one place. Do not even train this ability. This is a Commando skill. Do not use. Ever. Ever? Ever.

 

 

Hammer Shot - Your default "auto attack." Very useful due to its range. Does decent damage do to stance procs. Because it fires off several attacks every use you will almost always be gaining some measure of threat.

 

High Impact Bolt - One of our high damage and thereby high threat abilities. Requires a DoT be on the target. No worries that's what the Ion cell proc is for. Try to use this ability whenever you have the chance. Due to spec later outlined, this will also build a stack of power screen and reduce your cooldown for Energy Blast.

 

Hold the Line - Formerly found high in the Tactics tree. Now all Vanguards and Commandos may use it. The increased run speed in combat is useful, but what will make it particularly useful to you as a tank is the immunity to all movement impairing, knockdown, and physics. By popping this at the right moment you can avoid most or all of some bosses "Burst phases."

 

An example of this is the bonus boss of Hammerstation. If you use this ability during the channel of his rampage phase he will not be able to knock you down. He'll just stand there looking at you intensely for a moment and then carry on regularly attacking you.

 

Mortar Volley - Our highest damaging skill. The fact that it's AOE is all the better. Very hard to actually use when you are pressed against a wall with a horrible camera angle. Very strong to use on the beginning of a pull. Both with bosses or just NPC packs.

 

Pulse Cannon - Amazing ability. Unfortunately subject to knockbacks so you may have to time it correctly while tanking some bosses. Use it whenever you can. With the proper spec you can actually fire off two almost back to back. FIres a cone extending 10 meters infront of you. Does AOE damage. Really couldn't ask for more. When you are doing the 3 second channel, you will almost recoup all of your ammo spent activating the ability originally.

 

Reactive Shield - Damage reduction of 25% for X number of seconds. Affected by your 2 piece set bonus. Amazing cooldown. Your very strongest cooldown for mitigating high damage phases of fights. Use it liberally after you know the timing of bosses big hits.

 

Recharge Cells - Gives you a portion of your ammo back. Huzzah!

 

Reserve Powercell - Makes your next ability free. I typically use this in conjunction with Mortar Volley at the beginning of fights.

 

Stealth Scan - Reveals stealthed enemies. Some NPC's like Stealth Killers in the raid Explosive Conflict have the ability to steath. By putting this underneath them they will no longer be able to stealth and allow DPS to remain on them.

 

Sticky Grenade - Very strong ability for its cost. Longe range, delayed damage AOE. Very useful for pulling NPC packs around corners like on Mandalorian Raiders. throw your grenade, and start high tailing it behind a corner. The NPC's won't start chasing until the grenade actually lands on the targeted NPC allowing you to be out of range and ducked behind a corner. Again, very strong ability.

 

Stockstrike - Your bread and butter attack. Always use it as soon as it is up. Applies your Ion Cell DoT whenever you use it, allowing you to use High Impact Bolt. Is reset by shielding attacks if specced for it. Very strong ability.

 

Tenacity - Your crowd control break. Some fights (Titan 6 in Scum and Villany) will require you to use this in order to prevent damage or not be one shot. Must have on your bar.

 

Vanguard

 

Battle Focus - More of a DPS Vanguard skill. But still useful to increasing the threat you do over a period of time. I will typically use it just before firing my motor volley at the start of a pull. It is improved by "Soldier's Grit" but the improvement is very minor.

 

Explosive Surge - Your spammable, if expensive AOE. If you have "Static Surge" in your tanking tree specialized, and you should, you will be able to use this ability for free twice after using Storm. Very useful for AOE phases of fights, or large packs of NPC's. Applies your Static Field debuff lowering those affected by it damage by 5%. Only thing that moderates its use is its high cost in cells.

 

Guard - Noted above.

 

Harpoon - Is your pull. A very useful ability for positioning mobs for AoE or just peeling them off someone at range. This skill is noted for being "High threat" but it realy only applies the same amount of threat as one stock strike. Don't expect it to make something change targets. The threat is applied even if the NPC is physics immune.

 

Into the Frey (Passive) - New from 2.0. Increases the duration of our Reactive shield (yay!), and while we are in AOE we regen ammo and are healed for 2.5% of our health. Now, no one is going to stand in an AOE on purpose because of this. But being that you are the Tank you are going to be targeted by all of the bosses cleaves, as well as be the target of other variously nasty AOE's. This helps mitigate some of that unavoidable damage and gives you more ammo to boot. As this is passive you do not need to activate it, you get it for simply being awesome.

 

Ion Pulse - Your spammable attack that costs cells. Improved in various ways through your spec. Most noted is the application of Static Field which lowers the targets damage by 5%. Use this whenever you have ammo to burn and everything else is on cooldown.

 

Neural Jolt - Single target taunt. Functions outside of the GCD. Can not miss. Ever.

 

Riot Strike - Your interrupt.

 

Shoulder Cannon - Very difficult ability to master. Loads 4 missiles over 20 seconds starting with the activation of the ability. They will stay loaded for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, or upon use of all 4 missiles the ability goes on cooldown for 90 seconds. Due to (suggested) spec, each missile will heal you for 5% of your max health. This ability functions outside the global cooldown. The missiles are able to be fired even if you are subject to crowd control.

 

I will typically have these loaded before starting a boss, and spam them at the start to increase my threat. In more serious content, I will have them loaded and waiting for parts of increased damage or where healing may have to be focused elsewhere. ex) Lots of Missiles on Titan 6.

 

Sonic Round - AoE taunt. Functions outside of the GCD. Can not ever miss. Ever.

 

Spec

 

Energy Blast - Altered significantly in 2.0. Still amazing. Regenerates ammo, and applies a buff to your absorb by 25%. Functions outside of the global cooldown. Cooldown is lowered by shielding attacks, and proc'ing your Ion cell. There is zero reason to take anything else over this. None. I can say with confidence if you do not have this skill you are doing it wrong.

 

Riot Gas - Also altered significantly in 2.0. Improved the accuracy debuff to 30%. Slows all enemies inside of it by 70%. This accuracy debuff does affect Bosses. It does only affect those attacks classified as "Melee" or "Ranged." You can look at this as increasing your defense (and everyone whom has a NPC attacking them in the gas) by 30%. Not bad.

 

Storm - Your charge/leap/teleport/jump. Whatever you want to call it. Takes your character from where you are, and puts you by that NPC way over there so you can hit them with your gun like a completely sane person would. Side note) This is why Eminem would play a Vanguard.

 

Specialization and Why?

 

36/6/??

 

My Current Spec (Nov 3, 2013)

 

You will have 4 (6) points that you can put wherever you feel necessary. But the points outlined by the following are basically must haves.

 

Shield Specialist Tree (36)

 

First Tier

 

Static Field 2/2 - Allows your Ion Pulse, and Explosive surge to apply a -5% damage debuff to target. Must have.

 

Steely Resolve 3/3 - 9% aim. Overall threat increase.

 

Second Tier

 

Ion Overload 2/2 - Makes your Stock Strike proc your Ion Cell. This will lower your cooldown on Energy blast, and allow you to use High Impact Bolt.

 

Overcharged Cell Capacitor 3/3 - Improves all elemental damage by 6%. Abilities affected? Ion Pulse, Pulse Cannon, Energy Blast and Explosive Surge. All go to moves.

 

Rebraced Armor 2/2 - Increases Armor rating by 16%. Armor affects Kinetic, and Energy damage. Which just so happens to be most of the damage in the game.

 

Third Tier

 

Riot Gas 1/1 - One of your strongest cooldowns. Must have. No excuses.

 

Shield Cycler 2/2 - Increases shield chance. In addition when you shield you regenerate cells.

 

Ceramic Plating 2/2 - Increases absorb by 4%.

 

Fourth Tier

 

Supercharged Ion Cell 1/1 - Makes High Impact Bolt trigger an AOE blast from Ion Cell. Increases Ion Overload damage by 25%. This also makes it so HiB builds a powerscreen, and reduces the cooldown for Energy Blast.

 

Ion Shield 2/2 - Flat 2% damage reduction to all incoming damage.

 

Static Shield 2/2 - Increases the crit chance of Stockstrike and Explosive Surge by 16%. But also, shielding an attack resets Stockstrike. Very important talent.

 

Fifth Tier

 

Storm 1/1 - A fantastic ability required for tank swap ease. No excuse to not take it.

 

Static Surge 2/2 - After using Storm, two free uses of Explosive Surge.

 

6th Tier

 

Deflective Guards 2/2 - 4% Dodge.

 

Pulse Engine 2/2 - Direct damage attacks reset Pulse Cannon, and make Pulse Cannon tick twice as fast. Second rank makes this proc a 18s cooldown, very important.

 

7th Tier

 

Power Screen 1/1 - Shielding or Triggering Ion Cell gives you a stack of Power Screen. Power Screen stacks 3x's. Each stack improves absorb by 1%. At three stacks allows the use of Energy blast.

 

Guard Cannon 2/2 - Improves Explosive Surge, and Shoulder cannon damage and threat by 5%. Each missile now heals for 5% of your total health.

 

Soldier's Grit 2/2 - Your Adrenaline Rush heals for 2% of your health every second above 30%. Battle focus increases alacrity by 5% (meh).

 

8th Tier

 

Energy Blast - As noted above. No excuse not to take it. Extremely powerful ability.

 

But Cae!? That's only 34 ability points? The points I outlined are the must haves of PvE tanking. I'm leaving you with two points to spend however you wish. Want more HiB damage? Pick up Brutal Impact 2/2. Want to run fast the entire duration of combat? Pick up Charge! 2/2. Want your Explosive Surge to snare all those caught by it by 50%? Pick up Sharp Satchel 2/2. None of these are going to make or break your character and are completely up to your individual play style.

 

Tactics

 

First Tier

 

Focused Impact 3/3 - Improves Accuracy by 3% for Ranged and Tech. Additionally High Impact Bolt ignores 45% of armor. Because Bosses have resists to Tech now this improves your threat and minimizes their resists.

 

Power Armor 2/2 - Increases damage reduction by 2%.

 

Second Tier

 

Tactical Tools 1/2 - Reduces Pulse Cannon by 1.5s.

 

 

Why is this important? If you refer back to your Shield Specialist tree you picked up Pulse Engine which resets your Pulse Cannon and makes it tick twice as fast. Your second point in that skill lowed that cooldown from 24, to 18 seconds. By taking at least one point in this skill you allow yourself to use Pulse Cannon back to back. You use Pulse Cannon before proccing Pulse engine, after you hit Hammer shot, which usually procs Pulse engine immediately resetting your ability and letting it tick twice as fast. Now your ability is on a 16.5s cooldown, and the ability to lower it also on a 16.5s cooldown.

 

 

But Cae I have 4 points left over?! I know. You can place those points however you see fit. I have them in Demolition 2/2, and Heavy Stock 2/2. But that isn't going to change how I tank any different than how you tank if you pick up Soldier's Endurance 3/3. Would I spend those points there? Clearly not, but you aren't wrong for putting them there, or any other place you wish.

Edited by Justcae
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Rotation/Priority System

There are typically two ways to open a fight as a Vanguard. Those two ways are entirely dependent on whether or not this single skill is on cooldown or not.

 

1. Mortar Volley -> Storm -> ES -> SS -> HiB -> (EB) -> (PC)

 

Mortar Volley is your strongest skill and its a pain in the *** to place while tanking. However you should take full advantage of it any pull you can. Every boss fight starts with my Mortar Volley as it gives you such a huge threat base to start off of. Storm to close and give you the two ES procs. Stockstrike to get its reset cooldown rolling and proc your Ion Cell. Your HiB is now open due to your DoT from Ion Cell. Between HiB and SS you now should have two stacks of Power Screen. As soon shield one attack you will have your three stacks required for Energy Blast which will always be fired on cooldown. Pulse Cannon is almost always procced by now, but even if it isn't you should use it. Its a very high damage skill even without the proc.

 

2. SG -> Storm -> As Above.

 

If Mortar Volley is on cooldown, use Stick Grenade as your opener. Because it's a doubly delayed (Travel time + delayed damage) the NPC's won't react until your already flying through the air from Storm. They'll start closing around you, your explosive surge will give you a threat base, followed very shortly by your delayed blast from sticky.

 

Priority System

 

1. Energy Blast

 

2. Stock Strike

 

3. HiB

 

4. Static Field debuff (which should be maintained at all times)

 

5. Pulse Cannon

 

6. If all of the above are on cooldown, or you are ammo starved, Hammershot.

 

Other notes

1. Shoulder Cannon is a very difficult skill to make use of effectively. You either have to look at it as extra threat, or healing. At the start of a boss fight I'll use it as extra threat, spamming the missiles during the opening rotation. As they function off cooldown they are not noted above. All other times I'll use it for the self heal. Make sure you load it as soon as its off cooldown for that reason. If there is a big hit or set of attacks coming my way I'll want to have 4/4 missiles readied. Because I'm using it most often for the 20% health over 2s, I can not tell you when you should use it otherwise.

 

2. Make sure every rotation, especially in the opening stages, you effectively taunt boost(see previous post). I'll use neural jolt on cooldown if the fight allows from the 5th skill pressed on. Only holding it in reserve if there is a tank swap, or threat drop. No one will touch your threat.

Edited by Justcae
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Hey Guys!

 

Long time since an update. A long time ago I went through each boss and tried to break down everything attack by attack and give an overload of information. It was actually kind of beyond what most people want to know. I'm going to give a bunch of break downs for the current edition of Hard Modes as it pertains to Vanguard tanking. Overall guides for the instances are available elsewhere. I'll even link Suckafish's guide somewhere in here if you need an overall guide towards strategy. Hopefully this guide will help you.

 

This guide will touch on small gearing suggestions as it pertains to relics as well, hopefully they provide you guys with some further insight into your gaming experience.

 

Edit) Disclaimer - When I go into the damage breakdowns all Dodgable is also shieldable as well. So if it were stated as 25% Dodgable/65%Shieldable/10% Unmitigatable a total of 90% of the damage is shieldable. The damage is collected from parses where my mitigation is the following.

 

Defense: 21.5% Shield: 41.5% Absorb: 37% (w/o Absorb Stacks)

 

If your stats vary from mine, the damage profiles of the mobs outlined below will change. But they will be ballpark.

 

Dread Fortress PvE Overall Guide

 

Nefra

 

 

Very easy boss from a tanking perspective as a Vanguard. The basic mechanic of this boss is that they have the tanks stack up to split a "cleave" type attack. The attack is called "Twin Attack" and it affects both you and your co-tank equally. Regardless of who holds aggro. There are two pillars on either side of a gateway that I use as tanking reference. I'll tank with my back to one with the boss spun away from the boss. There are no aggro drops, and you don't even need to tank swap on this boss.

 

This boss has a damage break down of 90% Dodgeable damage (as well as shield effective), and 10% Internal damage. Because this boss has such a high percentage of damage which is dodgeable you are in luck as a Vanguard.

 

Riot Gas - Should be used on cooldown (assuming that you don't have a bomber running towards you and your tanking partner). When I tank this fight I'll be the aggro holder from 100% to 0%, but even if you weren't he aggro holder make sure that you use Riot Gas continually as it will help your co-tank. As the boss continually hits both you and your co-tank equally this fight is almost designed to make Riot Gas as strong as it possibly could.

 

Reactive Shield - There are no high damage spikes on this fight towards the tank specifically. Save your Reactive Shield for a point where you feel your group is stressed. Keep an overall eye on your raid panel, if you see your healers falling behind, pop it then to give your healers that break.

 

Be very aware of the adds that spawn in this fight. If you see one of them running towards you, let it get to you and proceed to run to the opposite corner. Get out of the red! Perfect time to use Hold the Line if you feel you're going to get stuck in the red. Do not get out of range of your other tank though. Move as a pair of twins!

 

Relic Suggestions - Defense Proc Relic, S/A Click Relic. Defense is king on this fight. Because 90% of the overall damage (and 100 of the mitigatable damage) is defendable by dodge the defense proc relic works wonders. Use your click relic on cooldown after you have the boss positioned and aggro established.

 

 

Gate Commander Draxus

 

 

There are two basic phases of this fight and I don't mean the getting "puzzle" getting to the boss. I mean the boss specifically, and the adds in general.

 

Riot Gas - Draxus is another boss whose damage is defendable entirely by dodge as both his auto attack and his channeled attack are classified as a range attack. This means the exact same thing as the above. Whenever you pick up the boss, spin him away from the raid, and drop your Riot Gas. Whenever you are tanking this boss and you have Riot Gas up get that cooldown running.

 

Reactive Shield - I typically use this on the 5th Wave as because of our strategy, most of our raid will end up out of range of the Dispatcher adds while they deal with the Corruptors in the back. This makes you typically a target of their damage and the boss. Ill then hold it in reserve for the final phase simply to lower the healing I require while there are two Guardians leaping everywhere trying to kill everyone.

 

Specific Tanking Mechanics - Draxus is fairly simple. His biggest thing is that he has an aggro drop on a 15s cooldown. The exact same cooldown as your single target taunt. If you're MT on the boss, your single target taunt will be exclusively used on the boss until he jumps in the air. His aggro drop is absolutely predictable. The aggro drop happens after his channel. You'll be tempted to taunt immediately upon the end of his channel, just wait a moment. If you blow it too early, you'll need to use your AoE taunt to grab his attention again.

 

Pro Tip - Mark Draxus prior to pulling. When he comes down the symbol will appear on the ground before the animation of him landing will.

 

Additional Enemies - If you are Main Tanking, most phases your concern will be dealing with the boss. However, if you are OT'ing you'll be more concerned with adds. Guides linked will give you specific information as to which adds will be coming out in which wave.

 

Subteroths - AoE Damage upon death. Keep them out of the group if at all able. Very low damage mob aside from this mechanic.

 

Dispatcher - Low damage range mob that just sits and channels. Not much to say.

 

Dismantler - Get your kiting boots on. Use Hold The Line, to keep distance on the mob while you kite. I'll often quickly Focus Target the mob that I'll be kiting so I can use Storm to maintain distance further, and pick up the target again easily.

 

Guardian - Larger model NPC. Has a 120 degree cleave, keep turned away from the boss. They also have a threat drop where they will leap to a random member of the group, requiring you to reestablish aggro. Try to save your taunts for these moments if you can.

 

Relic Suggestion - Again as above for Nefra. Defense proc relic, and S/A clicky are what I run with. I use them in the same situations.

 

 

Grob'Thok

 

 

This boss can be a lot of fun if you are in the main tank role. You are going to be entirely responsible for boss positioning on this, and position determines just how smooth this fight is going to be. You are going to dictate just how much this boss is enjoyed.

 

I tank this boss in the middle of the room whenever I can so that I'm equidistant from the magnet whenever possible. At the percentages of 80, 60, 40, 20 the boss will initiate a channel called Pipe Smash. Only after the boss has completed the channel should you bring him under the magnet to be interrupted. If you interrupt the channel before it completes it will not go on cooldown and you will be missing a magnetic to stop it. Refrain from doing this. It makes the fight so much less enjoyable! After the stun has completed, return the boss to the center and moniter the bosses health again.

 

Side note to the above percentages, if you are behind on DPS there is a timed element to the Pipe Smash. I can't tell you wh at that is though guys as the percentages are reached before the timer goes off on my raid group. Feel free to post if you know what they are.

 

His damage profile is changed from the last boss. His highest damage skill is not defendable by dodge. This skill will account for ~45% of the damage you'll be facing in this encounter. The remaing ~55% of the damage is defendable by Dodge. None of his damage is Elemental/Internal.

 

Riot Gas - I use Riot Gas everytime I position the boss in the middle of the room. High uptime on this skill is a key to your damage mitigation of this fight. If you tank him in a different manner, just use Riot Gas after you've positioned him in a place where you are going to be standing still for those 18s.

 

Reactive Shield - I use this skill if a healer gets targeted by the mining droids. Keep an eye on the raid panel. If you were caught out of position for the pipe smash, use it then. Healers have great difficulty throwing heals when they are being knocked every 1.5s.

 

Pro Tip - If you are out of position for Pipe Smash, or interrupted use Hold The Line to ignore the knockdown while you move him to where you need to be.

 

Add Duty - If you are OT'ing in this scenario you will be picking up the little adds that want to murder your healers. Luckily they are fairly easy to pick up. Be sure to kite them through the little lava pools that are left behind. These pools will damage the adds. Actually a neat mechanic. Feel free to aid your fellow tank with your Riot Gas when they've positioned.

 

Relics - You can arguably switch out your Defense Proc Relic for the Absorb Proc relic. The S/A clicky is a mainstay of mine and I'll use it each time it comes up.

 

 

Corruptor Zero

 

 

Corruptor Zero is the first boss of the instance that is going to require cooperation of the tanks to complete. Corruptor Zero will put a stacking debuff on the current MT that ups his damage output on said tank. Switches should always be preformed @ 4 stacks. However, If your raid group is having problems dealing with the damage incoming damage you can swap as soon as your stacks fall off. This will mess with the timing of the fight though and you'll feel smoother if you just swap at 4.

 

This entire fight runs on a timed script till an event happens. That script is the following.

 

0 Boss Spawn

15 Adds Incoming (Ranged)

60 Boss -> Range ***GRAVITY CIRCLE***

75 Adds Incoming (Melee)

90 ***GRAVITY CIRCLE INCOMING***

120 Boss -> Melee

135 Adds Incoming (Ranged)

180 Boss -> Range ***GRAVITY CIRCLE***

195 Adds to Spawn When Boss Transitions

210 ***GRAVITY CIRCLE INCOMING*** (depending on DPS)

 

Our guild leader made a timer program that uses that script so we can see the transitions and such before they come. It's pretty handy. If you can't follow the break down I'll just lay it out very simple for you guys and ways to keep track of it while tanking.

 

The moment the boss spawns the timer starts. You can take as long as you want on those initial adds. But from the moment he spawns you're now on the clock. Fifteen seconds into any stance he will summon adds opposite to the stance that he is currently in. That means while he is in Melee mode the adds are much more of a hassle as they will stand back and typically snipe your healers.

 

One minute after being initiated and every minute there after he will swap his stance between Melee and Ranged. When he is in ranged mode there is an additional mechanic that you need to be aware of. That mechanic is Anti Gravity. He'll use it upon switching stances to ranged, and ~30s later. Use your Hold The Line both to Escape this and time it for the second one.

 

Corruptor Zero's damage profile is completely different from the previous two bosses. Very little of his damage is defendable by dodge. The damage breakdown is as follows ~20% Dodgable, ~70% is affected by Shield, and 10%+ (depending on how fast your healers cleanse) is unmitigated.

 

Riot Gas - Is almost entirely useless on the boss himself. On melee mode use it prior to/during his channel "Heavy Slash". During Melee phase this is where you'll get the most bang for your buck. During Range Phase, drop it on the adds when they come streaming in.

 

Reactive Shield - I use on the Range phases when being targeted by his channel. As Reactive is a 2 minute cooldown it lines up nice for these phases. However, do not be afraid to use it early should your group have trouble dealing with concussion mines.

 

Pro Tip - If you are OT'ing during an Anti Gravity, be outside of the radius from the get go, if your fellow tank gets stuck don't hesitate to taunt and pick it up. As noted above, Hold the Line shares the same cooldown as his Anti Gravity, use it to time the attack.

 

Relics - Absorb Proc Relic, and S/A Clicky. The Defense Proc relic is mostly useless on this fight.

 

 

Brontes

 

 

Brontes is an entirely choreographed fight from start to finish. If you follow the steps outlined in guides you will complete this fight. There are no real surprises to this fight and unfortunately until the very end of the fight can be quite boring to tank. Most of the fight is going to be carried out by scripted events. Very little choice as far as tanking goes.

 

The damage profile for this fight is very strange. Fully 30% of the damage is non-mitigatable damage. Roughly 50% of the damage remaining is dodgable but unfortunately the majority of that damage comes in the first phase where damage is relatively low anyways. Shieldable/Non Dodgable making up the rest. Previously I pointed out the uses of Reactive Shield and Riot Gas individually, but as this fight is so varied, i'll just go through it top to bottom.

 

First phase of the fight is just the R/L hand of Brontes, and some randomly spawning fingers. When you push a Hand to a certain percentage it'll do a channel and switch positions leaving you unable to tank that Hand while you have the debuff. Tank swap accordingly. Use your Riot Gas on cooldown. This is the one phase where all the damage is affected by dodge. Do not use your Reactive Shield. Fully ~65% of all dodgable damage comes from this phase alone.

 

Second phase involves a tank dance according to a a stacking debuff applied by channeled attack. Guides outline how to deal with this attack, if requested I can give the simple way we do this. Riot Gas is mostly useless on Brontes. Use your Reactive shield during her channeled attack, and the damage you recieve after having been debuffed. Have your Shoulder Cannon primed for this phase as well. Use your missiles when she is doing a channel on you and you don't have reactive shield. If you are picking up the clone, you can use Riot Gas on the clone, as apparently his Laser Blast is considered a ranged attack.

 

Third phase some adds spawn around the room, it's a DPS check. You pick up the adds and help DPS as you can. No real tanking. Nothing in regards to cooldowns.

 

Fourth phase requires more out of you as a tank. Tests your situational awareness more than anything. Point your Hand towards an orb spawn, and then stare at either your minimap or the corner opposite to the one behind you. Turn Hand accordingly. Riot Gas = 100% useless. Have your Shoulder Cannon loaded, and use Reactive Shield when your tentacle is buffed by 3 stacks or more. Use Hold the Line to avoid the knockback when it has higher stacks.

 

Pro Tip - Any orbs that get out are destroyed when both hands die. Avoid if at all possible.

 

Finally the last phase, where you will get to relive your glory days in TFB. Use a rotation of ST/AoE/ST as Brontes continually knocks you back and drops aggro. Using the triple taunt method you're able to handle every aggro drop. Simple count your taunts out over your VOIP server, and hand off responsibility after three. When they are done their three, you'll be able to preform your three again. Riot Gas is again mostly useless, but try to pop it when you have her in a corner. Use Reactive shield sometime during your tanking rotation. Save it for when she's higher buffed though.

 

Relics - Redoubt is mostly useless on this fight as seen by how useless Riot Gas is. I'd suggest Absorb Proc, and S/A Clicky. But honestly, you could change out the Absorb Proc with Warding if you want. They are about the same on this fight as far as i'm concerned. Other than your clicky relic you aren't going to see alot of help from your relics.

 

 

 

Dread Palace PvE Overall Guide

 

Bestia

 

 

Bestia is a boss that asks more of your DPS than you as a Tank, but still requires you to be on your toes. This fight is going to involve you picking up adds, being able to re-position boss/adds in a timely manner, and being quick on your tank swaps.

 

Bestia buffs the adds around her. Make sure you tank her away from the adds, and if you do find yourself in a situation that you are tanking her and an add be quick on the cooldowns. Specific to tanking Bestia sub 50% where the adds become a part of the fight again is where you'll have to up your tanking prowess. Throughout the fight when Bestia is being tanked she is going to be putting a stacking debuff on you. This debuff stacks fast once it begins stacking. Anytime you're above 5 stacks you need to have a cooldown running, anything over 8 is murderous, and 11 is a one shot. You must tank swap. Calling out 4 stacks if you and your co-tank are on their game, calling it out at 3 if your partner is a little slow.

 

When you do swap with your co-tank, ensure that the person swapping onto Bestia leaps to her before you leap to the beast (and vice versa). Bestia has a leap so if you are tanking and you leap first she will leap to you, and buff the beast you just leaped to. Not necessarily a huge deal but one you can completely avoid.

 

When you are tanking the Beast, be sure to drag it over a tentacle if one is up to double up on your groups AoE damage. Be aware the beast cleaves so face it away from your melee.

 

Damage Profile - Bestia's profile is 30% Dodgable/65% Only Shield/5% Non-mitigatable Damage. Beasts damage profile 50% Dodge/50% Only Shield. Beastia's damage will be ~54% of the damage you take depending on how your raid is setup. Her damage is far more dangerous though if you do not keep your stacks under control.

 

Riot Gas - I usually end up using this on a Beast simply because more dodgable damage will come from them over the duration of the boss fight. However, If you found yourself in a predicament on Bestia don't be afraid. It won't do as much, but it will help.

 

Reactive Shield - Hold this in reserve for a point where your stacks start to get out of hand which they likely will at some point. If you see a raid member go down to circles, or some other mechanic and healing needs a break feel free to use it there as well.

 

Relics - Absorb and Redoubt run about the same for me on this, and as always I run my S/A clicky. The Absorb proc relic will help you more on Bestia and the Defense Proc on the Beasts.

 

 

Tyrans

 

 

Tyrans is a boss that will require great positioning out of you more than anything. Unfortunately a lot of the tanking advice I can give on this fight is going to pertain to individual strategy. So I will really try to keep it focused to Vanguards in particular.

 

Damage Profile - Tyrans damage is the following, ~55% Dodgable/45% Shieldable. There is damage that comes from Inferno which is unmitigatable but is completely avoidable.

 

Riot Gas - Use on cooldown after a tank swap. Again the key to using Riot Gas as a damage mitigation skill is to use it as often as possible. Keep it's uptime as high as you can. It won't save you when you get into a terrible place, but hopefully keep you in your healers good books.

 

Reactive Shield - Use this when things go to hell and a hand basket, which this fight can certainly become. Be aware of your raid, and how panicked the healers sound. If your raid is super-pro and there is never any panick, nor flubs with Inferno, try to use it when you do not have Riot Gas up, and are freshly swapped.

 

Pro Tip - If you do get Inferno while tanking, try to place it in the very corner of a cell (without moving out). If done properly, you won't have to move just because of the flames.

 

Relics - Redoubt will give you more bang for your buck than the absorb proc. However the absorb proc relic will help you on the larger hits. I use the redoubt, feel free to use the absorb though. As always, I keep my secondary as my S/A clicky to give me on demand mitigation.

 

 

Calphayus

 

 

Another choreographed fight. Unfortunately I can't give too many tips on how to tank this fight as it depends on which group you get arranged in as to what you should do. Beyond that, the boss only seems to hit hard in his original present phase. In the other phases, you are pretty much good to go with whatever you're doing.

 

Damage Profile - Roughly 85% of the damage Calphayus does is capable of being dodged. The rest is shield only.

 

Riot Gas - To be used on cooldown while tanking Calphayus in whatever phase he finds himself in. Very effective against his damage.

 

Reactive Shield - I use this primarily on his present phase, and definitely during the final phase of the fight when you probably only have one healer up. These are the places where you are going to find your highest spikes in damage.

 

Relic - Redoubt hands down, paired with the S/A clicky relic.

 

 

Raptus

 

 

Raptus is a very tanking coordinated fight. How well you work with your partner will make or break this fight for your raid. This is probably the most demanding fight from a tanking perspective. You can murder your raid with improper positioning. Unfortunately most of the tanking advice is going to be general positioning. That can be found in the guides available and I'll try not to bore you with mine. Forgive me if any fall in. This fight is going to ask you to be fairly mobile.

 

Though the fight adds abilities as it progresses along the biggest thing I can tell you is to be aware of your tank swaps. The more you're able to successfully complete the better you'll be able to control the bosses position and keep the raid happy.

 

Damage Profile - 25% Dodge/75% Shield is how his profile breaks down. The only unmitigated damage comes in the form of the tank challenge.

 

Riot Gas - Is not very effective on Raptus. However, you should try and use it when you know he's going to be stationary for a little bit. Unfortunately most of this time is in the first 50% of the fight as the last 50% can be a very mobile fight depending on execution.

 

Reactive Shield - I use in a couple of circumstances. The first will be outlined down below in the pro tip. The second however is the following. I'll try and hold reactive shield for a Force Execution, or if I know i have a high incoming spike (picking the boss up again after a challenge phase). Be very liberal in the use of this skill sub 50%, try and hold it for those Executions but if things go sideways don't hesitate at all. Pre-emptive cooldown usage is a mark of skilled tanks. Reactionary usage leads to wipes.

 

Pro Tip - Vanguards can survive the challenge with relative easy. Especially if you are afforded a Bubble, SRMP, or any other form of heals prior to entering. Have your Shoulder Cannon loaded, and pop your Reactive shield upon activating the challenge. Between your Reactive, and your shoulder cannon you'll be able to exit the fight with 40%-50% health. This allows your co-tank to stay outside and have an easy boss pickup

 

Relics - Absorb proc relic, coupled with my S/A clicky. Standard setup for any boss where I find dodgable damage to be sub 50%.

 

 

The Dread Council

 

 

What you'll be looking forward to? Knockbacks, pulls, and tank swaps. Depending on how you do this fight will obviously lead to different results in any combat log. As I can't tell you how your group is going to go forward in this fight it will be another fight that I can not offer too much specific detail when it comes to the damage you'll be tanking.

 

Damage Profile - Varied.

 

Riot Gas - Phase 1 Bestia is a great place to use riot gas assuming you'll be able to tank her in a manner you are not getting knocked all over the show. You'll be building stacks of debuff like in the original fight with Bestia. I alert my co-tank at three stacks, so that he'll be able to swap with me by 4 no matter where he's kiting Calphayus. Phase 2 Styrak is vulnerable to Riot Gas, use it on cooldown as long as he is up. Phase 3 repeat the first.

 

Reactive Shield - Phase 1 I use reactive shield to help mitigate Calphayus's damage. As the job to tank him is fairly mobile due to his dropping of circles. Phase 2 if you end up using a strategy where you keep Styrak alive to do damage to Brontes as you're able, use Reactive shield when Styrak is at 20+ stacks and call for the kill. Phase 3 depends entirely on whichever boss you are tanking. Make sure you have it up for the final burn. You likely are not going to see any heals during the burn.

 

Pro Tips - Tank Bestia against the lamps where you come in. Try to get her in between the two of them so she doesn't favour one side or the other. This will keep her from randomly buffing Tyrans as he teleports around the room. By tanking her against the lamps you will not get knocked all over the place, and also avoid the big hit she does after she leaps.

 

When you are tanking Bestia be ready to pop Hold the Line if Tyrans pulls you into a dangerous place.

 

If you are tanking Calphayus when you get him to his hold percentage, just pop hold the line and run around kiting him. Calphayus does move faster than 100%, but he stops to drop his circle, and takes time to close. If you have Charge! 2/2 you'll be able to do this even better. You'll take almost no damage while doing this.

 

Relics - Varied. I use Defense proc, and S/A clicky.

 

 

Best wishes guys feel free to ask any questions

 

Operations Guide Links

 

 

Edited by Justcae
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Can I have your babies?

 

Side Note: I am Cae's healer in Ops..and can say without hesitation that he is a healer's dream. So listen up and pay attention! When building your tank - stop listening to the babbling about what looks correct on a graph and listen to someone that can actually get down the content and not make it a nightmare!

 

P.S. Full Auto is a terrible skill!

Edited by Nursejenna
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For relics I am currently using...

 

1) Arkanian Relic of Shield Amplification. This relic is available from your basic comms vendor.

 

Equip: Shielding an incoming attack grants 510 Absorb Rating for 6 seconds. This effect can only occur once every 20 seconds, and shares this limit with similar defensive effects.

 

2) War Hero Relic of the Shrouded Crusader. I do not know if this is still available to new Vanguards.

 

41 Endurance, 113 Shield

 

The reason why I am using it is that it currently gives me 1.77 shield all the time.

 

Other Relics Available

 

1) Arkanian Relic of Imperiling Serenity

 

89 Endurance, 29 Power.

 

Use: Increases Defense Rating by 395 for 20 seconds.

 

This increases Defense/Dodge by roughly 4% depending on where you are on the curve.

 

2) Arkanian Relic of the Shrouded Crusader

 

89 Endurance, 29 Power.

 

Use: Increases Shield, and Absorb Ratings by 245 for 30 seconds.

 

Lasts for 10 seconds longer than the defense clicky. Gives me roughly 3.5% Shield and 5% Absorb.

 

Of the two, I am closer to switching over to the second than the first. The problem is they just are not game changing enough to really get you out of a bad situation. They will both offer you minor changes in your damage avoidance but its so small its hard to go with them. If you try to hold the on use ability for a bad situation not only does it impair your overall mitigation, but as just mentioned they do not actually help you all that much. Due to the longer duration of the second one if I did not have access to the War Hero relic I would opt for that one.

 

Just for perspective all the avoidable attacks in S&V(have not gone through TFB to confirm) are either Kinetic or Energy. These damages are affected by your armor. The old Rakata armor adrenal increases your damage reduction for these attacks by ~8%. That is over twice as good as the Defense clicky.

 

Why twice as good? Assuming that every attack you faced was of the category Melee/Range the dodge relic would act the following way. You would avoid 100% of the damage 4% of the time. The armor adrenal would help you avoid 8% of the damage 100% of the time.

 

But wait, I said that it is over twice as good. Your defense only affects attacks that are melee/ranged. Much of the damage you face comes from tech/force attacks. Any attacks that you face that are tech/force that deal kinetic/energy damage would make the old Rakata adrenal even more effective in comparison. That is how badly the new click relics are for tanking currently. It is actually sad.

 

Maybe I am expecting too much out of the on use relics. You can argue that the old War Hero relic does not actually change things all that much either. For summary though those are the two relics I am using, and if I did not have access to the War Hero one I would use the Shield/Absorb on use for its improved duration and affecting a greater number of attacks.

Edited by Justcae
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Heya, nice guide so far.

 

Regarding choosing Focused Impact over Demolition and Blaster Augs 8%.. I know that 'everyone' traits this way however...

 

Demolition will increase crit chance of all elemental attacks by 6%. In a common rotation you will spam ion pulse, Pulse Cannon (when it procs), and Energy Blast. I would propose that the damage and threat gained by a 6% increase in critical chance to these skills outweighs the increase to HiB accuracy that Focused Impact gives, especially since HiB is something of an 'off rotation' skill... (you will likely prioritize skills that generate powerscreen for your Energy Blast over HiB).

 

Taking this argument further if you trait Blaster Augs your Damage by Ion Cell is increased 8%. Surely this 8% is also going to generate greater damage and more threat than Focused Impact as well. Thoughts?

 

Again, Thanks for the guide! - M.

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Hey Maeghs,

 

First and foremost thank you for your thoughtful reply. Let me respond in kind.

 

I would propose that the damage and threat gained by a 6% increase in critical chance to these skills outweighs the increase to HiB accuracy that Focused Impact gives, especially since HiB is something of an 'off rotation' skill... (you will likely prioritize skills that generate powerscreen for your Energy Blast over HiB).

 

The Vanguard class, and other force/tech classes, were fundamentally changed in 2.0. Gold mobs, and those above them have a resist chance to force and tech. All Vanguard skills are now affected by the 3% accuracy. You should never have any accuracy on your gear but taking this talent will help your damage and thereby threat overall.

 

Short version: Since 2.0 tech and force attacks also have a "miss chance." This helps every single one of your attacks now.

 

If you note above I have left 4 points free in your skill tree to do whatever you wish. You can take Blaster Augs, Demolition, Heavy Stock, or Soldier's Endurance to your hearts content. I do think that Demolition is an excellent skill. I take Demolition 2/2 in my full build. I also use my remaining two points and put them into Heavy Stock 2/2 as my Stock Strike damage far exceeds my Ion Cell damage.

 

I hope you can see what the above is getting at.

 

Side Note: You no longer build power screens as you once did. Only by shielding, or by activating your Ion cell (which because of the outlined spec Stock Strike will automatically do). Ion Pulse spam is not required as it once was. HiB should be used on CD.

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If you don't mind, I'd like to throw in my two cents on a few points.

1. Full Auto: Yes its crap, but in my year and a half of playing van and tanking through all the content, I can say that every now and then you will find that one special moment where you will gasp and say "Holy ****, full auto would be great here". An example of this would be Olok the Shadow in S&V. When you are on the showroom floor dealing with droids, a certain droid named the Artillery droid I believe will drop a large aoe similar to the first boss of Lost Island. When you are in a 16 man raid, real estate is limited and precious. The tactic to keep this aoe away from everyone is to become somewhat of a pseudo ranged tank. Moments like these are few and far between, but Its always good to have all options at your disposal.

 

2. Ion Pulse is our spam filler ability: In my experience, with the way Energy Blast has been redone, Lowering its cooldown as much as possible to keep the buff up and thus, survivability up, requires that hammer shot take on a more prominent role as the filler to maximize ion cell procs. Ion Pulse for me has been assigned more of a use to apply the debuff role.

 

3: Talent point in Tactical Tools: I can say with some certainty that rarely does my pulse cannon actually finish its cooldown naturally. Unless you are extremely unlucky, the proc for pulse engine should nearly always take care of the cooldown for you. Harpoon wont see enough use in boss fights aside from the opening pull usually to benefit from this talent either.

 

4: Accuracy: I personally believe that accuracy is a huge asset. Resists on Stock Strike and Misses with High Impact bolt hurt our survivability by keeping the cooldown of Energy blast high and cutting down on the uptime of the buff. Not to mention, it ruins DPS and TPS. The tradeoff of shield is pretty minimal in the 72 gear range as you are so far along the DR curve for shield that the actual % you will lose from swapping shield rating will be surprisingly low.

 

Just to give my word some credibility, I've MT'd through S&V HM 16 and for those who are fearful that the survivability of van's is gone....it's not. trust me.

 

Anyway....those are some of my thoughts.

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Heya, nice guide so far.

 

Regarding choosing Focused Impact over Demolition and Blaster Augs 8%.. I know that 'everyone' traits this way however...

 

Demolition will increase crit chance of all elemental attacks by 6%. In a common rotation you will spam ion pulse, Pulse Cannon (when it procs), and Energy Blast. I would propose that the damage and threat gained by a 6% increase in critical chance to these skills outweighs the increase to HiB accuracy that Focused Impact gives, especially since HiB is something of an 'off rotation' skill... (you will likely prioritize skills that generate powerscreen for your Energy Blast over HiB).

 

Taking this argument further if you trait Blaster Augs your Damage by Ion Cell is increased 8%. Surely this 8% is also going to generate greater damage and more threat than Focused Impact as well. Thoughts?

 

Again, Thanks for the guide! - M.

 

Taking blaster augs will give you about 3000 damage over a 15 minute fight...its worthless. I've tested it into the ground and have been posting on the forums for about a year now about how horrible of a talent it is for shield spec. It only affects the initial damage of an Ion cell proc. It does not affect the Shocked (Tech) dot that comes afterwards, nor does it affect any of your other skills. If this were somewhere around 200% instead of 8 % it might be worth taking.

 

ALSO!!!!! High Impact Bolt DOES Generate power screen for your energy blast thanks to the Supercharged Ion Cell talent. This makes HIB a priority skill while Energy Blast is on cooldown. You can walk into a group of mobs and HIB and how every many mobs there are, thats how many seconds will be taken off the cooldown of Energy blast. Supercharged Ion Cell is one of the unsung hero's of the Shield Spec tree. Also, it's not just HIB accuracy you are getting. from focused insight. Every offensive ability can be resisted or dodged now so it goes towards all offensive abilities.

Edited by GreenLantern
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Taking blaster augs will give you about 3000 damage over a 15 minute fight...its worthless. I've tested it into the ground and have been posting on the forums for about a year now about how horrible of a talent it is for shield spec. It only affects the initial damage of an Ion cell proc. It does not affect the Shocked (Tech) dot that comes afterwards, nor does it affect any of your other skills. If this were somewhere around 200% instead of 8 % it might be worth taking..

 

ahhh.... it's broken then? It reads as if it would affect all of your other skills in that tree. As you say it doesn't it is quite fail then.

 

EDIT: I'm still off on this. With 2.0 Ion Cell nerfs all damage dealt by 5%. Shouldn't the 8% increase in damage from blaster augs likewise apply to all damage? by implication it would seem that the devs meant to offset the nerf if you traited this skill (it used to be a 3% buff pre 2.0 if I remember right). If it really doesn't apply to all skills then I'd say it is broken and needs to be fixed.

Edited by meaghs
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If you don't mind, I'd like to throw in my two cents on a few points.

 

Not at all. All points all welcome to newbie, and experienced Vanguards alike.

 

1. Full Auto: Yes its crap, but in my year and a half of playing van and tanking through all the content, I can say that every now and then you will find that one special moment where you will gasp and say "Holy ****, full auto would be great here". An example of this would be Olok the Shadow in S&V. When you are on the showroom floor dealing with droids, a certain droid named the Artillery droid I believe will drop a large aoe similar to the first boss of Lost Island. When you are in a 16 man raid, real estate is limited and precious. The tactic to keep this aoe away from everyone is to become somewhat of a pseudo ranged tank. Moments like these are few and far between, but Its always good to have all options at your disposal.

 

Hammer shot will deal almost the same amount of damage as full auto. It doesn't cost ammo, and it doesn't lock you in place. Full auto is a terrible skill honestly. It doesn't out preform hammer shot by any margin. I know the fight you're speaking off and the only skills I'll use on tanking those, even if it's the initial target depending on how the board is set up, are hammer shot, HiB, Energy Blast, Sticky Grenade, Mortar Volley, and your taunts for taunt boosting.

 

 

Pro Tip: For S&V HM (and to a lesser extent SM) when you are tanking your artillery droid drop your spires in a triangle. You will only have two spires active at any one time. When you see the 2nd last spire fade, immediately start running for that open spot. Do not wait for the red circle to show under your feet. If you start moving when the spire fades you'll avoid the initial tick of damage and continue to use the same amount of the room.

 

 

2. Ion Pulse is our spam filler ability: In my experience, with the way Energy Blast has been redone, Lowering its cooldown as much as possible to keep the buff up and thus, survivability up, requires that hammer shot take on a more prominent role as the filler to maximize ion cell procs. Ion Pulse for me has been assigned more of a use to apply the debuff role.

 

Ion pulse is now only used to 1) Apply your debuff 2) Spend cells when everything else should be on cooldown. They changed how the skill works for us significantly.

 

3: Talent point in Tactical Tools: I can say with some certainty that rarely does my pulse cannon actually finish its cooldown naturally. Unless you are extremely unlucky, the proc for pulse engine should nearly always take care of the cooldown for you. Harpoon wont see enough use in boss fights aside from the opening pull usually to benefit from this talent either.

 

Forgive me my initial wall of text must be dry or overly long. You take a single point in Tactical tools so that you can double up on Pulse Cannon. Pulse Generator 2/2 has an internal cooldown of 18 seconds. The natural cooldown of Pulse Cannon is 18s. If you do not take a single point in this talent for all intensive purposes you can expect to only be using the procc'ed version of this skill. By taking a single point you allow yourself to double up on the skill. Pulse cannon is a very high damage skill even on a 3s channel on a single target.

 

tldr: Take a single point so you can use it almost back to back. PC > HS > PC

 

4: Accuracy: I personally believe that accuracy is a huge asset. Resists on Stock Strike and Misses with High Impact bolt hurt our survivability by keeping the cooldown of Energy blast high and cutting down on the uptime of the buff. Not to mention, it ruins DPS and TPS. The tradeoff of shield is pretty minimal in the 72 gear range as you are so far along the DR curve for shield that the actual % you will lose from swapping shield rating will be surprisingly low.

 

You gain 3% accuracy from spec, and another single point from a maxxed out affection companion. That's already half of the max miss/resist rate. Shield, even well into the DR curve, is going to give you some mititation. Some mitigation > no mitigation. If they change how threat works in this game and make it an issue then accuracy would have an increased value. At this point in the game though there is honestly no reason to have it on your gear aside from personal build preference.

 

Just to give my word some credibility, I've MT'd through S&V HM 16 and for those who are fearful that the survivability of van's is gone....it's not. trust me.

 

Wouldn't reroll to any other tanking class that is currently available. Thanks for posting!

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Cae,

Thanks for the report from the field. I noticed your allotments are sorta flipped with what KeyboardNinja and dipstik are calculating. Their goal is to optimize mitigation and their Def and Shield numbers are what you posted, but switched, with you giving Shield the higher values. Is this because of the benefits Shield tree folks get from actually shielding an attack? For example faster stacks of Power Shield to allow quicker Energy Blasts that do damage (not so important) regen cells (nice to have) and bump Absorb by 25% (with no DR effect)?

Edited by Betadurin
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Hey Beta! Thank you for your post, sorry for the late reply. Early may is a busy time for me!

 

Cae,

Thanks for the report from the field. I noticed your allotments are sorta flipped with what KeyboardNinja and dipstik are calculating. Their goal is to optimize mitigation and their Def and Shield numbers are what you posted, but switched, with you giving Shield the higher values. Is this because of the benefits Shield tree folks get from actually shielding an attack? For example faster stacks of Power Shield to allow quicker Energy Blasts that do damage (not so important) regen cells (nice to have) and bump Absorb by 25% (with no DR effect)?

 

There are several reasons why I've arrayed my stats the way that I have and you have touched on several of them. I'm a tank who really does promote class function over maximum calculated mitigation. Mitigating damage is absolutely a very large part of your identity as we are called "tanks" for that very reason. However, I like to think there is some nuance in the game that is not straight formula.

 

Lets touch on what you have already brought up. The Vanguard tank is still a "Shield Specialist" though not as prolific as before. We no longer are running about with 75% or more absorb, however we can easily be in the high 60's still with our buff from energy blast. We function better through shielding attacks than straight dodging them. Just reiterating what you have already said.

 

1) Shield Cycler - Regen 4 energy cells when you shield an attack. Is this a huge reason to swing points towards absorb? No it isn't. But it is a secondary ability of the class, and we can benefit by capitalizing on it.

 

2) Power Screen - Shield builds a stack of Power Screen (to a max of three) and each time you shield you lower your CD of Energy Blast, and can better maintain your 25% absorb buff. Not to mention that every time you use Energy Blast you regen more cells. Building your character to capitalize on your 36 point talent (capstone) is not a mistake.

 

 

Now beyond pure character function as a Vanguard and just touching on the topic of pure mitigation. I have a lot of respect for the work that dipstik, and KBN have done in regards to the math behind maximum mitigation. That being said I do not follow their formula as the best way to increase tank survivability. If we just look at the new raid as an example of how Bioware intends to move forward with this game we get to see that for the most part dodge works on the auto attack of the boss, and very little else, whereas shield works on almost everything.

 

Some bosses are very much different. If we look at the Dash'Roode fight, ~94% of the damage you can expect to be headed your way is capable of being dodged. That same boss allows for 100% of his damage to be mitigated by shield. For Dash'Roode stacking defense will pay you dividends as far as pure damage avoidance.

 

If you go to the very next fight being Titan 6 only ~52% of his damage is able to be dodged, where as 100% of his damage, and the damage of the probes is mitigated by shield. All of Titan 6's abilities that would stress heals are capable of being mitigated purely my shield. (Note: These percentages do not include damage from Flame Burst as depending on how you stack up at the end of the fight this damage is 100% avoidable by positioning) .

 

If you break down each individual fight and look where every point of damage is coming from in that raid, over 9/10 of the damage you are facing will shield. Dodge does not say the same.

 

This goes on and on and on. Long story short, shield does a much better job of keeping your damage even than dodge does. It provides increased toughness in that it mitigates the big hits of bosses (which dodge typically does not). Furthermore it adds to class function as a Vanguard. Now by all means feel free to follow the formula laid out by dipstik or KBN. They have a very sound mathematical foundation. But this is my point of view and it is very successful in raiding. I will add damage charts to this guide if there is an interest.

 

 

Again, thanks for responding!

 

Edit: 1) Just touching again on Dodge vs Shield. For all intensive purposes your dodge and shield values are going to remain separate. The only part where they will compete is augment slots, and relics(until a larger pool of earpieces, and implants come out). Where true character building comes in is defense vs absorb as these two abilities are very much in competition with each other on both mods and enhancements.

 

2) I wrapped the "theorycrafting" in a spoiler tag as for the most part it is going to be hot air to most people. Read it if you desire to, but entirely unneeded from a beginner or casual stand point. Not required at all to have success in this game.

 

3) My main healer loves me.

Edited by Justcae
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War Hero Relic of the Shrouded Crusader anyone still feel this is best in slot still?

 

I still use it. Though I've been trying to find something better I been found wanting. Hard to argue against the stat points it gives you all the time.

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War Hero Relic of the Shrouded Crusader anyone still feel this is best in slot still?

 

I started out at level 55 with two Elite War Hero (Shrouded Crusader) relics. With those relics equipped, I currently have 45.98% shield chance. Recently I have been experimenting with Underworld Relic of the Shrouded Crusader (265 Shield/Absorb for 30 seconds) and a Partisan Relic of Shield Amplification (shielding grants 410 absorb for 6 seconds). The Partisan relic will soon be replaced by a second Underworld relic, but I am liking the results so far. I have not done any number crunching, but the Shield Amplification/Shrouded Crusader relic combo seems to be very useful in operations.

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