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Zintair
03.25.2012 , 04:23 PM | #1
THE JEDI SHADOW'S HANDBOOK

Current Version of this Guide: V2.1.1a (updated 18-July-2012)
Current Version of the game: 1.3

Updated: July 18, 2012


"A Jedi will always seek the truth... I will expose the dark side's deceit."


A Shadow serves the Jedi Order by being a silent observer and, when action is necessary, a subtle hand. To avoid rash decisions on the part of the Council, Shadows go unseen, gathering information and quietly thwarting those who seek to threaten the Jedi Order. Employing Force techniques that cloud enemy minds, Shadows slip into hostile territory, and when necessary, they strike enemies down with deadly efficiency.

Special Thanks!
Thanks to Philosomanic for constant support and help with the Balance section of this guide so that you the reader have the right information as your ally.

Preface: This guide is a compilation of AstralFire’s original Shadow Handbook with some additions from myself after playing a Shadow since day 1 of early release. The majority of the work should be credited to Astral, for the time being I am merely a humble disciple continuing to pass the knowledge to those seeking it regarding the Jedi Consular Shadow. I also plan on adding sections including information regarding patch notes and changes that have occurred over the course of the Shadows lifetime.

CURRENT PATCH NOTES
Spoiler



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INTRODUCTION

This handbook is intended to be a comprehensive guide to gameplay competency with the Jedi Shadow. As such, it will provide data on effective Player-versus-Player gameplay, Player-versus-Environment gameplay, and some general tips on leveling as a Jedi Shadow. It is not intended to be a walkthrough or guide to any specific World, Flashpoint or Operation, and will only contain some brief looks at specific Warzones. Skill Calculator builds are merely my opinion, and though I do my best to learn as much as possible, I cannot know everything. If you have contradictory ideas, please post them here. While this guide will never be perfect, it will be more perfect with each version than the last. We get better through sharing ideas, after all.

This guide will also go over the basics of gearing as a Jedi Shadow, and highlight some notable pieces of equipment.

* (Formatting Indicates Updated Content) *


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TABLE OF CONTENTS

01. [Introduction]
02. [Table of Contents]
03. [Shadow Basics]
04. [Notable Issues]
05. [Specialization: Kinetic Combat]
06. [Specialization: Infiltration]
07. [Specialization: Balance]
08. [Shadow Companions]
09. [Equipping a Shadow]
10. [Crew Skills]
11. [Appendix: FAQs]
12. [Appendix: MMO Glossary]
13. [Appendix: Keybinds]
14. [Appendix: Shadow <-> Assassin Dictionary]
15. [Appendix: Changelog]
16. [Appendix: Advanced Reading]
17. *[Appendix: Combat Parser Logs]*
18. *[Appendix: Augment Slots]*

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SHADOW BASICS

Parent Class: Jedi Consular
Mirrored by: Sith Assassin
Primary Weapon: Double-bladed Lightsaber, Electrostaff
Off-Hand Items: Shield Generator, Force Focus
Armor Class: Light
Aesthetic Inspirations: Darth Maul, Exar Kun, Satele Shan, Bastila Shan
Story Inspiration: Obi-Wan Kenobi. "We wanted to capture the journey of Obi-Wan Kenobi - someone who begins with unusual insight and talent, but who is still growing into those powers."
Skill Trees: Kinetic Combat (Defender), Infiltration (Melee Striker), Balance (Hybrid Striker)
Resource: Force Points. (Base Max: 100; Base Recovery: 8 Pts/Second)
Playable Species: Human, Miraluka, Mirialan, Twi'lek, Zabrak
Voice Actress: Athena Karkanis
Voice Actor: Nolan North
Key Playskills: Understanding your three ranges (4m, 10m, 30m), predicting energy cost and healing needs.

The Jedi Shadow does not fear wasting her Force Points early in a fight; we have few long cooldowns, and a steadily refilling resource bar. Unlike Smugglers and Troopers, this resource bar does not regenerate at variable rates. The challenge in playing a Jedi Shadow correctly is careful management of several short-term cooldowns and interspersing low or no-cost abilities with medium and high cost abilities, to avoid missing a vital window of opportunity.

The Shadow can access up to three different combat stances, or techniques, which significantly alters her playstyle. Each of these stances adds a chance to affect each of her melee attacks (though no more often than once every 1.5 seconds). Melee attacks which hit multiple times or multiple targets have a better chance of activating the technique once per ability. These stances are off of the global cooldown, but have a high resource cost. It is possible to switch techniques and then immediately benefit from the change, but you can do so only with careful forethought and planning, and at the expense of restricting yourself heavily for several seconds prior.

People familiar with Rogues from World of Warcraft will find only some similarities in the Shadow. For the most part, it is far more survivable with fewer hard controls (such as stuns) and more range as well as self-healing. While it will usually be optimal for Shadows to attack from behind, it is by no means expected or necessary for any but an Infiltrator. The Shadow is also more comfortable with range than the Rogue, especially as a Balance specialist.


--------------------------------

- Project was finally changed to have an instant travel time to match the Sith Assassin Shock counterpart.

NOTABLE ISSUES

- Shadow's Training is not functioning properly and does not increase the damage dealt by Project.



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KINETIC COMBAT

Playstyle: High threat, proactive self-healing defender; melee with some ranged moves.
Technique: Combat Technique
PvE Builds: Standard (31/0/10)
PvP Builds: Slow Upheaval (31/0/10), Slow Stab (31/7/0+3)
Which spec should I pick?: Standard is your best option if you want to both PvE and PvP, as it performs well at both. Slow Upheaval is my recommendation for the hardcore PvPer, and Slow Stab is an experimental build I want to mess around with a bit. Three points are leftover with Slow Stab; I recommend they go in Force Synergy in Balance, or Misdirection in Infiltration.

As an addendum to this, I think 3 points in Misdirection opens up a great Rated Tank Shadow. In PvP the Shadows Stalker set gives +5yrd range to a now improved cooldown timer on Mind Snap to 10 seconds. You are now a complete lock down tank. Your guard target is preferably a DPS Guardian / Scoundrel / Sent or basically a melee class. Your interrupts and utility will easily be able to drop healers, even through Mercenary Shield timer.

Spoiler


Welcome to our tanking tree. The Kinetic Shadow has the highest single-target threat of the three tank styles available in the Old Republic, and we possess a mix of battlefield control, mobility and range that makes the playstyle a blast. The bulk of a Kinetic's survivability is defined by her high blocking chance, while she has moderate avoidance, stable mitigation, and the unique ability among tanks to self-heal. Though the class's armor rating seems initially low, Combat Technique and several of its specialized skill brings the class armor values on par with the Jedi Guardian, and it has superior damage reduction for Elemental and Internal damage, the two types not covered by armor.

ABILITY OVERVIEW

Priority List:

1. Kinetic Ward (1 charge or about to expire)
2. Telekinetic Throw (3 stacks of Harnessed Shadows)
3. Spinning Strike (Target at 30% health or less)
4. Slow Time
5. Project (Particle Acceleration)
6. Force Breach (every CD)
7. Double Strike
8. Saber Strike (Conserving Force)

This priority list holds even single-target, as Slow Time and Force Breach have useful side effects. Substitute other abilities in depending on your spec however this is a true KC rotation.

1.3 Update - Combat Technique now generates 100% additional threat while active. The healing generated by this ability has been reduced by approximately 50%. Its armor bonus has been reduced to 115% (down from 150%).


Kinetic Ward: Always try to keep this ability up during PvE. AoE mobs can drain the charges on it quickly but otherwise is an effective single target tanking ability. Not as effective in PvP because Force and tech based attacks ignore shield

Spinning Kick: This ability is most notable in PvP; it causes less than half a bar of resolve. Kinetic Shadows will be able to use this ability out of stealth, and should use it before any of their other stuns; it's particularly effective after Force Pulling a target into a hazard in Huttball, or to be focus-fired, thanks to the Nerve-Wracking skill. Do not open with this ability at the start of the fight, but save it to disorient the opponent. In PvE, the tank should use it regularly on the primary non-boss target. 1.3 UPDATE Spinning Kick now costs 20 Force.

Slow Time: This ability generates more single-target threat than your Double Strike, increases your Harnessed Shadows stacking, and deals a comparable amount of damage, while also snaring the target and ignoring defense/accuracy. It also delivers a hefty 5% damage debuff to the target. And it strikes up to five targets at a time within 5 meters of your original target. Use it every cooldown. This ability makes Kinetic Shadows very important for harassing opponents trying to move between objectives, especially in Huttball and Voidstar. 1.3 UPDATE This ability will no longer break CC on targets outside of the one you are currently selected on. It is now just as effective single target as it is AoE. A nice and needed buff.

Shadow Strike: Only use this ability while Find Weakness is an active buff. If you're not SlowStab specialized, don't use it at all.

Force Breach: In Combat Technique, it functions like a cheaper (20 cost versus 30 cost) and weaker version of Slow Time that bypasses standard armor-based damage reduction. It has double the cooldown length, and deals less damage even against heavily armored targets. -5% accuracy is also a significantly weaker debuff than -5% damage in PvP, though it's the other way around in PvE. It's useful and necessary, but not very fun or compelling. 1.3 UPDATE Force Breach (Combat Technique) now generates a high amount of threat.

Force Stun: It has a much longer CD than Spinning Kick, but is also a much longer stun. In PvP, when used on kill targets it should be reserved for targets who are already near their maximum resolve bar. It's also very handy to use on non-kill targets, of course, to prevent enemy ranged artillery and healers from freecasting. In PvE, it should be used similarly to Spinning Kick.

Force Lift: 23/0/18 Hybrids will use this ability a lot due to having it as an instant cast; the two second cast makes it uncommon for use by any other type of Kinetic Shadow. The primary incapacitate basically gives the opponent a full grey resolve bar from nothing. If the target has any grey on their resolve bar prior to casting, they will get a white resolve bar, granting them CC immunity until the bar drains completely. Any damage will break a Lift, but Balance Hybrids will then get a secondary two-second stun. If the target did not already have a white resolve bar, this second stun will trigger and give them one. All in all, Lift is a risky and situational ability and I only recommend using it in PvP on a target you have no intention of killing or can guarantee that you will kill in 2-3 global cooldowns. In PvE, its benefits are slim.

Resilience: Any ability that doesn't deal 'weapon damage' in its description is affected by this ability. Use it together with Force Cloak to make a successful escape, use it offensively when you anticipate a cast, use it to remove all healer-removable enemy effects on you... It's on a short cooldown and grants you five seconds of near-immunity. It's particularly useful for running the ball in Huttball, or surviving boss damage traps like those on the final boss of Athiss or Eternity Vault. Resilience is not affected by nor causes a global cooldown. Jedi Knights and Scoundrels have some immobilizes and snares which Resilience does not grant immunity to.

Force Cloak: Obviously, a very useful defensive escape tool - but you cannot be healed while in it. Make sure to keep stealth in a position that's easy to activate immediately following Force Cloak. Worth noting is that Battle Readiness does not break stealth, but medpacs will - so the former would be wasted if you used it within 10 seconds of Cloaking without first breaking stealth, while the latter will immediately break your stealth and heal you. In PvP, I frequently run for the heal power-ups while being chased, cloak, and then immediately destealth right before I run over the heal. Force Cloak is not affected by nor causes a global cooldown. Infiltration Hybrids do not have the issue of Cloak preventing healing.

Mind Maze: A very useful ability - in PvP it can help a partner take an objective, reduce the number of opponents you have to face temporarily, break an opponent's objective taking without revealing your presence. In PvE, the biggest issue is that you risk discovery if you're not careful, and that your AoEs can break your Maze. It's used well in conjunction with Blackout to prevent the former issue, and strategic use of Force Pull can help with keeping your targets far enough away from your Mazed victim.

Blackout: For most Kinetics, this ability is only useful to ensure that you can remain hidden for a brief period of time while Mind Mazing or scouting. If you're an Infiltration hybrid, you'll want to avoid using it for that and instead using it to guarantee when you can go all-out against a target. I recommend using it at about 25% to 75% Force. Any higher and you risk wasting some of the energy, and going lower risks having periods where you have insufficient energy anyway; none of the Force would be wasted, but your burst period would be hampered. This ability does not respect the global cooldown.

Battle Readiness: Use it whenever you need a 10% heal. This ability does not break stealth. The bonus to your healing over time from Combat Technique is notable, but not significant enough to plan around. The 2 minute cooldown is short enough that you can use it multiple times in long boss fights like in operations: once early on, once in the middle, and then once towards the end. Most boss fights of any kind will allow at least two uses if the first is cycled early, so don't be too shy about saving it. This ability does not respect the global cooldown. 1.3 UPDATE Battle Readiness now increases the damage and healing dealt by all Techniques by 100% for 15 seconds.

Deflection: Amazing survivability CD in PvE. The 2 minute cooldown is short enough that you can use it multiple times in long boss fights like in operations: once early on, once in the middle, and then once towards the end. Most boss fights of any kind will allow at least two uses if the first is cycled early, so don't be too shy about saving it. In PvP, it's of limited function; it will provide a decent survivability bonus against specializations that rely heavily on weapon damage, such as the Infiltration Shadow, Sentinels and some Gunslingers; it is of less useless against those that primarily rely on tech or force damage, such as the Commando, and completely useless against a Sage. This ability does not respect the global cooldown.

Force Potency: You primarily want to use the ability with Telekinetic Throw as a Kinetic Shadow, as it increases the range to 30m and gives a 60% boosted chance of critical on every single tick. Harnessed Shadows is what you want to save your first Potency charge for. Your second should ideally be spent on Project, as you will almost always have enough Force to activate Project immediately after a full-duration TK Throw. Anything else is a waste for anyone with the Harnessed Shadows skill. If you are Kinetic and don't have Harnessed Shadows, your best bet is to use it with Force in Balance. If you don't have that, either, use it with... whatever, I guess. Note that Projects that activate with the Upheaval skill will consume two charges of Potency, and Force in Balance's heal will also consume a Potency charge. This ability does not respect the global cooldown.

Telekinetic Throw: Never use this ability as a Kinetic unless you have three stacks of Harnessed Shadows. With three stacks and Potency active, I can guarantee delivering 3.5k damage in 1 second, and another 3.5k damage over 2 seconds. That is a massive amount of single target threat, and a massive amount of burst damage. In a multiple target situation in PvE, this should go towards your secondary target, as it will even up your threat very quickly. 1.3 UPDATE Harnessed Shadows: The healing generated by Telekinetic Throw has been reduced to 8% total (down from 12%).

Project: Ideally, you should only use Project with the Particle Acceleration buff active, which can be noticed on your buff bar or with a briefly flashed halo of golden light around your character. When opening, however, you may wish to begin with Project to gain a Harnessed Shadow buff; the amount of healing and damage delivered by Harnessed Shadows is too large.

Force Pull: In PvE, never start a fight with your primary target using Pull; it has a threat component and a long cooldown, so it's best used to reposition a ranged enemy closer to you mid-fight. In PvP, it's extremely versatile; you can use it to close gaps with a target, pull someone into the fire (where you will then stun them), pull them into your group (where you will focus fire and murder them), or - and this is a personal favorite - sprint about 25 meters away from the group and pull a healer or a tank away from the rest of their group. Pulling the healer away prevents him from healing effectively and you may be able to kill him, especially if you broke a tank's Guard on him. Pulling the tank away prevents him from taunting and again interrupts his Guard on an ally. Use your judgement on which is the best to pull away at a given time; I usually prefer to get the healer, especially if it's a Sage, as a Sage can pull their tank right back to them.

Whirling Blow: This move is typically terrible and should only be used when you can guarantee you'll strike at least four targets, or if you like spinning in place like a pretty ballerina. In PvP, it can also be useful for preventing objective caps, but watch out for the Force Cost. However, when paired with Deflection and other defensive cooldowns, the Force cost can briefly become negligible and make its use more compelling when a lot of AoE damage is necessary.

Force of Will: Your CC breaker as a Jedi Consular. In PvE, just use it any time you're stunned for more than a second. Your speed should be used for breaking immobilizes and snares instead. In PvP, try to reserve it for when you have a white bar of resolve, unless you absolutely need to break an objective cap by the enemy or something.

Force Speed: You can do it every 20 seconds, and it breaks all snares and immobilizations on you. Use it judiciously to avoid hazards (like in Hard Mode Directive 7), sprint right through hazards (in Huttball, but this is risky even when paired with Resilience), close gaps, etc.

Guard: Judicious use of Guard is one of the things that separates the good tanks from the bad tanks. In PvE, you'll typically want to Guard your off-tank - in a flashpoint, this refers to your best-geared DPS (melee preferred over ranged.) This will reduce the amount of healing that needs to go to them. Healers should generally not be guarded barring extraordinary circumstance. In PvP, however, the Guard mechanic changes greatly and a Healer should almost always be your main Guard target. But not your only Guard target. Watch people near you and switch Guards as necessary or even turn them off if it's going to get you killed - you'll do more if you survive, heal, and taunt than if you just go down. Keeping Target Nearest Friendly bound in a convenient place as well as Set Focus and Target Focus is essential to maximizing good Guard play in PvP. Also try and keep your Guard target about 10m away from you. 15+ breaks the Guard effect, while <10 makes it too obvious who you're Guarding as well as making you both susceptible to AoEs.

Mind Control/Mass Mind Control: PvE, their usage is simple: you don't have threat, you use this ability and get threat. Force Pull is preferable to MC for a ranged enemy, and note MMC's short 15m radius as opposed to MC's long 30m range. In PvP, use Mind Control every CD on someone who's not hitting you (it doesn't trigger a GCD), but I'd reserve Mass Mind Control for the hectic situations. Every now and then I do burn MMC with only a single target around - if a healer is about to go down and they're already guarded and MC is about to end, then I chain in MMC. It's made the difference a few times.

Force Wave: There's about a 0.5s delay in activation on this ability, which can make prediction hard unless paired with a target who is already immobile. Force Wave is also the weakest KB in the game, with the least momentum behind it. Aside from the obvious 'knock someone into hazards or down cliffs' component of all knockback abilities, Force Wave should be used judiciously to get your Guard target some breathing room in PvP.

GEARING


As with all Consular's, Willpower is your primary stat, and you use both physical and Force abilities; Willpower no longer increases the effectiveness of any of your self-healing, however. When gearing in PvE, you will have to balance Shield Rating (chance of a shield effect triggering), Absorption (strength of a shield effect), and Defense. Averaging out these values to provide your maximum survivability has a precise formula. This thread has the related formula you should use if you want to find out what could potentially give you the most survivability out of your upgrade slots. The basic rule is to not try to stack too high on any one stat. In PvE, you will always prefer mods that favor Endurance over Willpower, and you'll never have to make a choice for Endurance versus a secondary stat.

For PvE gearing, you can just stick with the Survivor sets.

PvP Tank with DPS Gearing
PvP is where the whole thing gets complicated. Avoidance and Shielding (especially shielding) are mostly worthless in PvP, as they will not activate properly on a significant portion of the attacks delivered in PvP. My recommendation for PvP tanks is to slot a balance of power and surge rating in your upgrade slots, along with a bit of critical hit rating. This extends to your relics and adrenals; only your stim is possibly in question, since a higher Endurance translates to a bigger Harnessed Shadow heal. Expertise is, of course, the most important stat - it improves all of your healing - but it's basically a default stat that doesn't need to be factored in. At 50, you'll want to run with two pieces of Survivor PvP gear rather than Stalker PvP gear if you went deep enough to get the Stasis skill - just unslot the Survivor mods and put in Stalker mods. Yes, that means you have to get at least two extra pieces of Centurion, Champion or Battlemaster.

Getting the four piece Survivor bonus isn't a big deal in PvP. It's preferable over having two pieces of Stalker and two pieces of Survivor, but the Stalker two-piece bonus is decent enough, so if you want to grab all Stalker pieces initially for the better mods, do so.

I do not recommend equipping a Shield Generator in PvP; you'll be better off with a Focus.

PvP Tank High Protection Playstyle
Updated March 30, 2012

This role requires some form of 31/0/10. Stacking full Battlemaster Survivor set and off pieces, focus your mods more towards Defense but don't neglect Shield and Absorb. Endurance is also of importance and anything over 20k HP is going to keep you up longer. This role works the best in a Rated or organized scenario. Players would ideally be on TS/Vent/Mumble being able to communicate etc. You focus is complete shut down of the opposing players main DPS assault which will no doubt eventually find its way to your healer or Off-DPS.

Defense:

Your main role is not to spam Double Strike to gain PA procs for Project bombs. These are good but it's only secondary to your main function and that is defense of your Guarded target. This rolse has the tendency to be considered the "boring" or "not as much fun" role. It's true, although at times it can be very high tempo. The rotation may not be anything to write home about but the playstyle requires skill and finesse to master.

Guard Target Priority:


Healer
MDPS
RDPS


Starting off you are going to want to focus your Guard on the target that's going to be with you and be able to keep the buff on themselves. Healers come first for obvious reasons. The key however is to remember one major thing. Guard can now be switched on the fly. There are many ways you can do this. I will explain my way, which works for me but maybe not for everyone else.

Key Bind:


F

I use the F key for my Guard Swap. It is by far the most important keybind I have. With this right here I am able to easily cycle through friendly targets and apply Guard to them as the DPS shifts. Using F also allows you to have access to the tab key as well.

Using Guard in this function will allow you the ONLY real effective way of reducing damage on a target down to manageable levels for heals to keep them alive. Whether its a DPS or a Healer your reduction abilities now become the major priority of the rotation.

Tanks are probably going to be place at doors an defending points come Rated warzones and when a tank can effectively move his/her Guard to targets taking the current focus fire, the team is going to notice a significant reduction in damage.

Main Rotation + Priority Abilities

Your main rotation should follow the same Kinetic one however certain abilities should be placed on a higher priority for certain situations. That's the great part about this defensive build. Not only are you going to be absolutely impossible to bring down with heals, you will also have a ton of utility to stop the other team from performing. If you are taking heavy focus fire then you should stick to your Harnessed Shadow efficiency rotation and make sure you can self-heal as much as possible to give you some more time alive.

Taunt:
This should be placed on the heavy MDPS targets which includes Marauders/Operatives/ Powertech Pyromancers. This Taunt has the lowest cooldown so it can be used the most freely. Don't taunt if you are in a 1v1 but if there is another player throw Taunt and it will be a win. Keep it on these type of targets when larger groups start to form and your AoE is on cooldown.

AoE Taunt:

Should only be used if there are 3 or more targets focusing on your Healer. Testing was done in the Outlaws Den FFAPvP area and a tank and healer can survive 3 focus fire dps but it will require the AoE taunt to be manageable. The tank and healers were Shadow/Sage and DPS was full melee Scoundrel/Focus Guardian/Sent Watchman. Any less than three and save the AoE taunt and prioritize the highest DPS target and use single target.

Force Wave (AoE Knockback)

This ability should be used expressly to give your healer breathing room from an MDPS train. Try to aim opponents into obstacles or off ledges to LOS from your protected target. Otherwise use it to gain breathing room in Huttball or knocking people off bridges in Voidstar.

Force Slow:

Any target that I single target Taunt I also apply Force Slow to them to completely reduce their effectiveness. If they popped cooldowns they will not be wasting them as they won't be able to go faster than 50% speed.



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INFILTRATION SHADOWS

"That place is strong with the dark side of the Force. A domain of evil it is. In, you must go."

Playstyle: Spike damage striker, harasser; melee skirmisher.
Technique: Shadow Technique
PvE Builds: Upheaval (2/31/8), Armor Piercing (5/33/3)
PvP Builds: PvP Upheaval (0/33/8)
Which spec should I pick?: Honestly, I haven't done the math on whether Upheaval or AP is a better spec and I haven't been able to find any math on that subject. If anyone happens to know where I can find some, please let me know.

Overview of Recent Changes:

Spoiler



ABILITY OVERVIEW

Priority List:

1. Spinning Strike (Target at 30% health or less)
2. Shadow Strike (Find Weakness)
3. Force Breach (every CD)
4. Project (2x Circling Shadows)
5. Clairvoyant Strike or Double Strike
6. Saber Strike (Conserving Force)

Infiltration is the most martially-based of the three Shadow trees, eventually becoming extremely flashy as a melee combatant. It's the tree the Shadow was built for, and thus levels the most effectively of any Shadow tree early on; where the other trees are grasping for their basics before level 20, the Infiltrator already has most of what he needs. It also is unique, as it is the only spec among all 24 Republic specializations that has no good 30m offensive abilities, and essentially, no method of gap closing beyond Force Speed. In return, it has the most effective control while it is on a target, and the highest damage of any Shadow specialization. The basic conceit of the tree is that you use your martial strikes with a lightsaber to either buy time for your powerful, Force-driven attacks; or that you use those abilities to get into position for a particularly vicious Lightsaber stab in the back.

Note that Infiltration is overall considered to be lesser PvE damage than Balance, both for its higher melee dependency and lower sustained damage.

Double/Clairvoyant Strike: Clairvoyant is essentially the same ability as Double Strike, dealing slightly more damage, using a new animation, and with an excellent secondary effect. Once you have Clairvoyant Strike, take Double Strike off your bar.

Shadow Strike: Generally, try to restrict use of this ability to when Find Weakness has activated, preferably near the end of Find Weakness' buff cycle since it can only trigger once every 10 seconds anyway. It can deal more damage than Spinning Strike for you when it crits. There may be once or twice you'll really need the spike of burst damage and you have the spare Force to use Shadow Strike without the Find Weakness buff active, but it's not going to happen very often, and miscalculated it will cost you more damage than it gives you. You may also sometimes wish to open with this ability in PvP, such as on a weakened target.

Spinning Kick: This ability is most notable in PvP; it causes less than half a bar of resolve. Do not open with this ability at the start of the fight, but save it to disorient the opponent after vanishing with Force Cloak, particularly if the opponent is in mid-activation of a non-instant ability. You can also use Spinning Kick to buy you time to set up for a Shadow Strike backstab.

Low Slash: This ability has some similarities to Spinning Kick for tanks, but important differences; Low Slash does significantly more damage, almost as much as your normal attack. Low Slash is also a daze and not a stun, which means that it breaks on damage. It also fills the resolve bar less than Force Stun. This opens up several different avenues of approach: Low Slash into a brief run into a Force Lift when you want to escape, Low Slash into Shadow Strike for burst, Spinning Kick into Low Slash into Force Stun to maximize damage uptime and minimize their time to react, Low Slash to break someone's non-instant ability... it has a very fast CD, which only helps. In PvP, this is the most game changing single ability for an Infiltration Shadow; in PvE, however, the only reason you would bother to take it is because it's required for Clairvoyant Strike.

Force Slow: Should be spammed on your primary target judiciously in PvP, just about every cooldown. It causes no resolve, does a little bit of damage, and helps you maximize your uptime. It has no PvE usage except on very specific fights.

Shadow Technique, Force Breach and Exit Strategy: Since Shadow Technique has a chance to activate on each hit, even though it's capped at a maximum of 1 activation per 1.5s, all of your multiple hit moves get more benefit from Shadow Technique than it appears. Incidentally, you gain.Exit Strategy charges very slowly. You'd need six or seven full cycles to get a stack of five with high certainty - that's around 30 seconds, and Force Breach will be up every 12 to 15 seconds. Exit Strategy should be simply considered a bonus rather than a need in a maximum DPS cycle, and Force Breach should only be held back when you want burst damage.

Force Stun: It has a much longer CD than Spinning Kick, but is also a much longer stun. In PvP, when used on kill targets it should be reserved for targets who are already near their maximum resolve bar. It's also very handy to use on non-kill targets, of course, to prevent enemy ranged artillery and healers from freecasting. In PvE, it should be used similarly to Spinning Kick.

Force Lift: The two second cast makes this ability uncommonly used. The primary incapacitate basically gives the opponent a full grey resolve bar from nothing. If the target has any grey on their resolve bar prior to casting, they will get a white resolve bar, granting them CC immunity until the bar drains completely. Any damage will break a Lift, but Balance Hybrids will then get a secondary two-second stun. If the target did not already have a white resolve bar, this second stun will trigger and give them one. All in all, Lift is a risky and situational ability and I only recommend using it in PvP on a target you have no intention of killing or can guarantee that you will kill in 2-3 global cooldowns. In PvE, its benefits are slim.

Resilience: Any ability that doesn't deal 'weapon damage' in its description is affected by this ability. Use it together with Force Cloak to make a successful escape, use it offensively when you anticipate a cast, use it to remove all healer-removable enemy effects on you... It's on a moderate cooldown and grants you three seconds of near-immunity. It's particularly useful for running the ball in Huttball, or surviving boss damage traps like those on the final boss of Athiss or Eternity Vault. Resilience is not affected by nor causes a global cooldown. Jedi Knights and Scoundrels have some immobilizes and snares which Resilience does not grant immunity to.

Force Cloak: Obviously, a very useful defensive escape tool - but you can use it offensively to lead into a Spinning Kick when it's absolutely vital.

Blackout: You'll want to avoid using this ability for improving your stealthiness most times, and instead use it to guarantee when you can go all-out against a target; it increases your Force Regeneration. I recommend using it at about 25% to 75% Force. Any higher and you risk wasting some of the energy, and going lower risks having periods where you have insufficient energy anyway; none of the Force would be wasted, but your burst period would be hampered. This ability does not respect the global cooldown.

Battle Readiness: The additional damage increase is fairly large - it can easily pan out to an additional 3000 damage while it's active, by itself - and gets even larger when timed with other cooldowns. Use it early, use it often. This ability does not respect the global cooldown.

Deflection: Amazing survivability CD in PvE. The 2 minute cooldown is short enough that you can use it multiple times in long boss fights like in operations: once early on, once in the middle, and then once towards the end. Most boss fights of any kind will allow at least two uses if the first is cycled early, so don't be too shy about saving it. In PvP, it's of limited function; it will provide a decent survivability bonus against specializations that rely heavily on weapon damage, such as the Infiltration Shadow, Sentinels and some Gunslingers; it is of less useless against those that primarily rely on tech or force damage, such as the Commando, and completely useless against a Sage. This ability does not respect the global cooldown.

Force Potency: Note that Projects that activate with the Upheaval skill will consume two charges of Potency. You'll want to use Force Breach first with this, then Force Potency, for maximum ouchies. And trust me, it will be very ouch. In PvP, your four-piece set bonus gives an extra Potency charge, so you can use it in whatever order you like. This ability does not respect the global cooldown.

Telekinetic Throw: This move is usually terrible as an Infiltration. Potency/Recklessness extends the range and makes every tick have a 60% higher crit chance, making it situationally useful. You may want to bind it if you're really concerned about the lack of a 30m attack and think that there will be sufficient situations where you'll save up Potency to channel from 30 meters away - stranger things have happened. But that will be rare enough that, if you are hurting for keybind space, you won't miss not having this on your bars.

Project: Only use it after two Clairvoyant Strikes or Double Strikes. Don't bother using it before you get the Circling Shadows skill. In PvE, Project has a stun effect on some weaker enemies if you're desperate for a chance to backstab.

Whirling Blow: This move is terrible and should only be used when you can guarantee you'll strike at least three targets (preferably four or more), or if you like spinning in place like a pretty ballerina. In PvP, it can also be useful for preventing objective caps, but watch out for the Force Cost.

Force of Will: Your CC breaker as a Jedi Consular. In PvE, just use it any time you're stunned for more than a second. Your speed should be used for breaking immobilizes and snares instead. In PvP, try to reserve it for when you have a white bar of resolve, unless you absolutely need to break an objective cap by the enemy or something.

Force Speed
: You can do it every 30 seconds, and it increases speed enough to basically ignore most snares (though not immobilizations.) Use it judiciously to avoid hazards (like in Hard Mode Directive 7), sprint right through hazards (in Huttball, but this is risky even when paired with Resilience), close gaps, etc.

Mind Control/Mass Mind Control: PvE, their usage is simple: don't. You're not a tank. In PvP, refer to the Kinetic Shadow overview.

Force Wave: There's about a 0.5s delay in activation on this ability, which can make prediction hard unless paired with a target who is already immobile. Force Wave is also the weakest KB in the game, with the least momentum behind it. Aside from the obvious 'knock someone into hazards or down cliffs' component of all knockback abilities, Force Wave should be used judiciously to some breathing room in PvP, such as immediately before a Cloak.

GEARING

As with all Consulars, Willpower is your primary stat, and you use both physical and Force abilities. The Infiltration Shadow has essentially identical preferences for gearing in both PvE and PvP. You target the Stalker gearsets at 50, and lean heavily on critical hit chance in your passive gear upgrades, while picking up a bit of Surge rating here and there incidentally. Around 5% accuracy from gear is useful - much more and you are subject to diminishing returns that reduce the value of the gear. Your adrenals and active-use relics will prefer to be Surge Rating and Power so that they can be used in conjunction with your Potency. Accuracy Rating is of minimal importance, and I would strive to minimize it in your gear whenever possible. In PvP, Expertise Rating will be your single most important statistic.


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Sanctus formerly Serenity (PotF)
A Republic PvE/PvP Guild
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