, 09:31 AM
Most Favorite Feature: Stealth and CC on a Tank
Least Favorite Feature: Low passive mitigatio
Shadows shine ... collecting AOE threat
Shadows fall ... when tanking lots of trash mobs simultaneously
Shadows will ideally fight ... high burst elemental bosses or quick moderate hitting bosses
Shadows are another light saber wielding class 'ala Darth Maul with a double bladed saber. They more heavily rely on force techniques to do their damage though, and less on beating people with thier saber. Low passive damage reduction means they have to be more active with their survivability. To accomplish this they have the best defensive cooldowns between the three tank classes. Some of their moves are flashy (throwing rocks (Reps) or lightning (Imps)) and nothing beats dropkicking someone in the head in PvP. Their combat flows beautifully from one point to the next.
Shadows use a full to empty resource similar to Vanguards. The difference is, it doesn't matter how low they dip in resource the regeneration is always the same. So a Shadow can front load all the damage they want until they completely run our of foce, and will continue to be just as effective as if they had managed it better.
Shadows are a unique tank just because they have stealth and their own CC. For soloing and levelling this is an invaluable tool. Even at end game you can easily solo some Heroics that are supposed to require 4 people to complete. They are also the only tank with an "escape" mechanic because of stealth. If things go badly they can stealth in combat and run away, dropping all aggro and exiting combat. This is less useful in PvE, but hugely useful in PvP.
Shadows in general are very "proc" based when it comes to combat. As a tank you will be using skills that proc a buff which boosts the damage of your next rock throw attack and allows it to heal you while you channel. You will also be hoping one of your skills procs for double damage - and making sure to keep your shield buff up (8 charges, consumed on use). For other tanks I watch my skills more to see what is avaliable - for shadows I watch my buffs more to make more optimal use of my skills.
Shadows in PvE
Shadows lead in to combat with a bit more finesse than the other types of classes. Being able to move in to the proper position without having to worry about disturbing the mob group lets you more easily plan how things are going to go. Normally you will open up with an AOE that builds a high amount of threat, then move into a positioning phase (if necessary) pulling a mob over to a group for AOEs or bouncing them in that direction. With the change in 1.3 you can even CC a close mob then use your new "smart" AOE to grab that intial threat and continue using it to boost threat without having to worry about pulling everything away from the CC'd targets.
In Boss fights I do miss the leap that the other two tanks have, the force speed works almost as well, but I feel less in control while my character zips all over the place from a brief tap on a movement key. With the extra boost to threat though it's far easier to maintain your single target threat on any Boss. Two high threat moves and high damage should mean that you have no issues holding threat after you snap it up to start with. Both high threat moves are on fairly short cooldowns (one is 8s) so can be used basically all the time.
Shadows also have some added mobility. By using a cooldown they can turn one of their 10m skills into a 30m skill. So if you find yourself out of position with an enemy, or they are moving away from (or back to) you - using this cooldown and throwing out some extra damage without having to move around is a huge bonus.
One of the biggest benefits that comes with being a Shadow is the cooldown that blocks all force/tech for 5 seconds. This can be a huge big deal on some boss fights that have a large burst phase and use some form of non-weapon damage. Knowing when to use this can make the difference between a win and a loss.
In practice a Shadow is more effective collecing adds during a Boss fight than any other Tank class - which sometimes puts them in more of an "off-tank" role than "main tanking". This isn't a bad thing, they excel at it and should be used for those kind of situations. They tend to perform best in a mobile environment that involves movement but wouldn't allow a leap from another type of tank. Like running away from the boss, or moving out of large AOE ground effects. Healers will find their health being eaten away a bit more than other tanks, but their self heals will make up some of the difference.
Shadows in PvP
Very dangerous on both sides of a field - very able to both attack and defend, even in a tank spec with tanking gear. Shadows in DPS gear and a tank stance have been the bane of the forums so much recently that they were affectionally named "tanksins". I think because of this potential many people aren't sure what to do with a Shadow in PvP - I see lots of them just dueling on the sides of map trying to solo everything in sight.
Guarding a target is always a boon to the team, but I believe Shadows should be more picky of who they are guarding and in what situation. When defending a healer is generally the best option, but don't be afraid to guard a DPS when attacking to help keep them up while clearing out enemies. Shadows have the highest damage output of all tank classes and should be using it on the front lines to best effect.
When Focused Shadows have their excellent cooldowns to burn through, then can simply vanish if the fight is going against them. Living to fight another day can make the difference between everyone dying and your team losing a node - and you surviving to come back and prevent a capture then hold off long enough for more reinforcements to arrive.
Shadows need to be more DPS focused because they rely on their self heals to make up for some of their lack of overall mitigation. If you aren't hitting someone you aren't getting that beneift - other tank classes have the luxury of picking targets and sitting back to make the best options - shadows will likely be right in the thick of things swinging away with their lightsaber. It's easy to get tunnel vision during those periods, but it's very important to keep an eye on your surroundings. Killing healers or at least keeping them busy should be your top priority - Shadows are the most effective tank class at shutting down a healer and pressuring them enough that they can't help out the rest of their team.
In practice I find my Shadow spending a lot of time fighting battles rather than working toward objectives - this can change depending on group layout and what map we're on (voidstar loves stealth classes), but is usually how it goes. I often use my pulls to help out the team by relieving pressure off someone (healers especially) or preventing an enemy from reinforcing a position (pull -> kick/stun -> snare as I force speed past).
Because of the reputation Shadows/Assassins have currently in Warzones you will find people attacking you as soon as you pull out a double bladed saber. Perfecting the art of kiting people will serve you well in the long run. Using your snare, knockback and channeled throw to slow and keep them at a distance will add to your survivability immensely.
Overall Shadows are the easiest PvE tank to play because of thier ease of rotation (Cycling ~4 skills) and ability to collect AOE threat with almost no trouble. Learning when and how to use their cooldowns just takes practice, and isn't difficult. In PvP they become a bit harder to play because of how dynamic the environments are - but still use the same basic rotations, they just involve more movement and positioning to be effective.