Last updated 04/07/2014!
Updated for Patch 2.7.
Added Crit v. Power analysis with math!
Hello, my name is Brian and I main a sawbones scoundrel from the Jedi Covenant server named Bayani. I don't consider myself an amazing player, but I do know that I love being a healer and that I am absolutely in love with the scoundrel healer of The Old Republic and I've done my fair share of studying and learning. This guide is meant to offer a starting point
for endgame scoundrels to work on their gear and attributes, as well as for people to learn better uses for their abilities. Much of what I learned is credited to the several Scoundrel healers I have had the pleasure of healing with, such as Inovisible, other useful guides (like Classicks's and KeyboardNinja's), and personal research.
The Big Question - What Attributes Should I Stack?
Cunning v. Endurance – Choose Cunning. Cunning will always benefit you more as a healer than Endurance. In operations, your tank should be taking the bulk of damage and there should be no reason for you to focus on survivability. Your healing and your tank’s ability should cover this.
Power v. Critical Rating – The short answer: 100 to 500 will suffice depending on your surge and alacrity, after that just stack power. The long answer: Critical rating after 2.0 adds much less to your critical chance, but you will still see some benefit from critical healing for the earlier hundreds of critical chance. If you do prefer, you can stack some critical rating, and know that although its diminishing returns curve is not harsh at all, the tradeoff with power is harsh.
For the most part, the more power you trade for critical rating the lower your healing effectiveness is. This is highly dependent on your surge rating, but in general the first few hundred points in critical rating is still useful for scoundrels. This is mainly due to three things: 1) Accomplished Sawbones in our skill tree gives a huge 30% critical healing bonus to Underworld Medicine, Kolto Pack, and Kolto Cloud -- your 3 biggest heals. 2) We benefit from diagnostic scan critical heals to gain back energy. 3) There is so much surge available with the current tier of gear that critical rating gains some value. The benefits of critical rating are really felt when burst healing someone from under 10% health to max. With crit and surge combined this is easier than just stacking power. I'll explain the math in the spoiler.
Alacrity v. Surge – The short answer: Have alacrity at least 450 and surge at least 247. Do whatever after that. The long answer: Alacrity is a great stat to have now that it also reduces the global cooldown and speeds up energy regeneration. You'll need at least 440 alacrity to reduce the cast time of Kolto Pack to the global cooldown. You'll need 450 alacrity to use 11 global cooldowns before having to refresh Slow-release Medpac instead of 10 global cooldowns with alacrity below 450. Most guides will tell you to get alacrity down to 0, then stack surge after that. For people who care about diminishing returns, Surge sees heavy diminishing returns around 247. You can choose to stack alacrity after that, but most will still find the marginal benefits of critical healing bonus from surge more useful than the marginal benefits of alacrity. The scoundrel has many instant cast abilities so you can get away with less alacrity. I don't have any hard math on which is better.
The spoiler below contains details about each attribute.
Best-in-Slot Gear - Picking the Right Pieces
Use this section to plan your gear.
- Critical and surge.
Field Medic's Device
- Critical and alacrity.
Field Tech’s Device
- Power and surge.
Enforcer's MK-X Package
- Critical and surge.
Field Medic's MK-V Package
- Critical and surge.
Field Medic's MK-X Package
- Power and surge.
Field Tech's MK-X Package
- Critical and alacrity.
Professional's MK-X Package
- Power and alacrity.
There are 3 relics you mainly want to switch between depending on the fight and the situation.
Relic of Focused Retribution
– 30% chance to gain a 6 second primary stat (for us, Cunning) boost with a 20 second cooldown.
Relic of Serendipitous Assault
– 30% chance to gain a 6 second power boost with a 20 second cooldown.
Relic of Boundless Ages
– 30 second burst of power on a 2 minute cooldown.
Advanced ??? Hawkeye Crystal
Advanced ??? Eviscerating Crystal
Advanced Skill Barrel
The best armorings you can find are Advanced Skill Armoring
from set bonus gear for the PVE 2- and 4-piece Field Medic set bonuses.
All operations mods are bought using token drops from 55 Hard Mode operations.
All commendations mods are bought using ultimate, elite, or basic commendations.
All MK-2 mods are dropped.
Advanced Artful Mod
Advanced Keen Mod
Advanced Quick Savant Enhancement
- Power, alacrity.
Advanced Adept Enhancement
- Power, surge.
Advanced Insight Enhancement
- Critical, alacrity.
Advanced Battle Enhancement
- Critical, surge.
Advanced Overkill Augment 28
- Power. Stacking these will net you 2.6 more units of bonus healing but no boost to tech critical chance.
Advanced Skill Augment 28
- Cunning. Stacking these will net you less bonus healing but a small 1.25% boost to tech critical chance, among other benefits from cunning.
Skill Tree - I Hope You're Using Sawbones
I've recently adopted Classicks's skill tree for more utility. I found Scramble to be very useful in many fights. If you'd like, the points in Scramble can be used in Smuggled Med Delivery instead so that you don't need to generate the upper hand before battle. A personal note, the point in Open Wound in the Dirty Fighting tree can go elsewhere. If you miss the healing bonus from Defense Screen's collapse, put that skill point in Med Screen in the sawbones tree. Also, Classicks notes that you can use the 2 points in Mortal Wound and Open Wound in the Dirty Fighting tree in Holdout Defense in the same tree instead for fights that require more movement, as you can use Blaster Whip not only to move faster but generate a stack of the upper hand as well.
Energy and Upper Hand - Our 2 Resources
It's important to note that you have two resource mechanics rolling for you. The first is energy. You have a fixed amount of energy that regenerates at a different rate depending on how much you have. The more energy you have, the more you regenerate. Keeping your energy above 60 is very important.
The upper hand is generated by certain abilities and will give you a bonus in healing (and damage) as well as give you access to abilities that consume stacks of the upper hand. Always have at least 1 stack of the upper hand active.
Use Cool Head
when your energy drops to critical levels. If I see my energy drop below 50, I usually just burn through abilities then pop Cool Head.
Healing Abilities and When to Use Them
- SRM usually nets the highest amount of healing for scoundrel healers and is our bread and butter, signature, world famous healing ability. It's a very slow heal over time ability that can be stacked up to two times per person. SRM ticks 6 times, 3 seconds apart, and each tick has a 30% chance to grant the upper hand. This can only occur once every 9 seconds. The more people you have stacks of SRM on, the easier it is to maintain the upper hand. Keep 2 stacks refreshed on tanks, sage healers, and raid members that are expected to be taking a lot of damage to maintain the upper hand.
There are also a few fights when you are expecting raid-wide damage and can easily prepare by going around and casting SRM on all raid members.
- KP is a heavily underrated ability that grants a moderate heal and a small heal over time afterwards. Please, do not remove KP from your quickbar.
Although it is a resource hog costing an upper hand like EM and the same amount of energy as UM, it provides more healing than EM and has a lower cast time than UM. If you have at least 440 alacrity, the cast time of KP matched the GCD so it will effectively have no cast time at all. Why is KP so good? Not only does it provide a decent heal up front but the heal over time (and scoundrels are famous for their HOTs) is a very decent HOT and will help you help keep your tank topped off. If you have 2 or more stacks of the upper hand and over 80% energy, KP is the best ability to use.
- KC is my favorite ability. It's an instant cast rapid heal over time that hits 4 targets, the one you use it on and 3 within 10 meters of that person. KC, when used properly, nets the second highest amount of healing for scoundrel healers. With talents, crits, and the PVE set bonus, this becomes a very powerful ability. This should always be used if you have the energy and there are 3 or more targets clumped together.
- EM is an instant cast ability that consumes a stack of the upper hand. It doesn't consume a stack of the upper hand on a 10 second cooldown. Use when you have 2 or more stacks of the upper hand and less than 80% energy.
- UM is your biggest heal and also is one of two heals that require a casting time. The casting time is long and easily interrupted. UM grants a stack of the upper hand. UM should be used when you have only 1 stack of the upper hand or an ally is missing a large chunk of health.
- DS is your only channeled heal, and is a very short, 2-second channel. With all the talents, lots of crit, and high surge, DS becomes an extremely nice, quick, and free heal that gives energy back. Use as soon as you dip below 60 energy.
- Triage is your cleanse. This is very important in certain fights. Please know when you need to use this. Keep track of debuffs on raid members and know which ones need to be cleansed and who needs to be cleansed first.
How to Heal - Should I Follow a Rotation?
If you want to maximize your effective healing per second, by all means follow a rotation. But if you want to be a truly effective healer, you need to be reactive and be able to adapt to the situation going at hand.
I usually keep a few things in mind while healing to decide what heal is the best heal to use at the time.
1. If the target suddenly starts dropping health, use the largest possible heal with with respect to the amount of time you can estimate their health will drop. Use combos to consume all your upper hand liked EM + EM + KP then use UM.
2. Keep Slow-release Medpac
refreshed on several targets (most importantly tanks, sage healers, and raid members expected to take heavy damage.) to maintain the upper hand.
3. When at 2 or 3 stacks of the upper hand and above 80% energy, use Kolto Pack
if it isn't on cooldown. Use as often as possible.
4. Use Kolto Cloud
at a lower priority than Kolto Pack. Use as long as you see at least 3 people near each other. This should be on cooldown unless you know you need to save it for when you need a big heal for multiple targets.
5. When at 2 or 3 stacks of the upper hand and less than 80% energy, use Emergency Medpac
6. When at 1 stack of the upper hand, use Diagnostic Scan
if you're low on energy or Underworld Medicine
7. If someone is missing a huge chunk of health (30% or more), use Underworld Medicine
then Emergency Medpac
I personally don't use a rotation but rather choose the best heal I can at the time, these are some rotations developed by Inovisible that are based heavily on how much alacrity you have. The rotation over 450 alacrity is VERY tight and will require a lot of practice to get all the heals in before you have to refresh SRMP. This rotation will yield really high effective healing per second parses, but we all know parsing isn't everything.
Combat Abilities and When to Use Them
- Use to change your position quickly. You can use it twice then it will have a 10 second coodlown.
- Use to stun single targets or to interrupt for 4 seconds. Doesn’t work on bosses.
- Use to interrupt those abilities that need to be interrupted.
- A crowd control ability that will blind a target for 8 seconds or until they are attacked. Doesn’t work on bosses.
- A combat ability that generates a stack of the upper hand from melee range. If you're healing in melee range, this is a great way to generate the upper hand when you have no stacks and if you have the Holdout Defense talent in the Dirty Fighting tree, will grant you a small movement speed boost.
- A combat ability that does damage over time and does a decent amount of damage especially with the Mortal Wound and Open wound talents. Use when you need to help out with DPS.
XS Freighter Flyby
- An area of effect ability damage over time ability that does a good amount of damage but takes a long time to cast and a chunk of energy. Really only used at the beginning of fights or when a lot of area of effect damage is needed in the fight.
- A combat ability that must be used from behind the target but does a good amount of damage. Use when you need to help out with DPS.
- Really situational. You need to be behind the target and in stealth to use this ability. If you're in position to use it in the beginning of the fight you can but you are better off using Flyby.
Burst Cooldowns - Oh Sh*t, Why is Everyone's Health Dropping?
is an ability that increases your alacrity and grants a stack of the upper hand. Use if you have 0 stacks of the upper hand or during a burst healing phase.
Use a Triage Adrenal
for dependable burst. The reusable version is fine, or you can go with the nano-infused version if you can afford to buy these.
If you aren't a biochemist or you can't afford adrenals, you may want use a Relic of Boundless Ages for a burst cooldown that provides you with a significant power boost that will net a lot of healing if combined with Kolto Cloud and Slow-release Medpac.
Defensive Cooldowns - Oh Sh*t, Why Is My Health Dropping?
- Instantly lowers your threat by a moderate amount. This isn't really necessary if you have good tanks and damage dealers in your group. Use if you pick up aggro from the tanks.
- Your main defensive cooldown. It absorbs a moderate amount of damage for 15 seconds. With med screen, will also increase healing received. It should be used when you're expecting a spike in damage for a short amount of time.
It has a minute long cooldown.
- A defensive cooldown that increases your chance to dodge melee and ranged attacks for 3 seconds. This can be used in stealth. This also works as a self cleanse so that you can use Triage on a tank or DPS instead. Use for self cleansing or right before you use disappearing act to stealth rez.
- This will drop all your threat and put you in stealth unless you have any abilities ticking at you. If you don't have any dots ticking on you, use this to drop back into stealth.
Healing Tips - Because Sometimes Common Knowledge Isn't Very Common
Depending on skill tree - Start in stealth
If you take Smuggled Med Delivery in the sawbones tree instead of Scramble, starting in stealth will grants you 2 stacks of the upper hand immediately after you break out of it thanks to a talent in the skill tree. It’s no longer necessary to build up stacks of the upper hand before battle.
Healing from melee range
Healing from melee range isn't always a bad idea. In fact, being in melee range gives you another way to generate the upper hand using blaster whip. If you don't have to stand in range to avoid damage, or if you have a strong sage healer in the party to throw salvation on the melee group, healing in melee range is possible and probably a good idea. Being able to get a quick stack of the upper hand for an Emergency Medpac while you have no upper hand and when someone drops below 20% can prevent many wipes.
Reviving in combat
Besides your combat revive, you can also revive allies if you don't have a DOT ability ticking on you, you can drop all threat, you have no SRM running on anyone, and if you can avoid taking damage. A great combo is to dodge right before using disappearing act. Make sure you do this after your SRM has fallen off on all targets or you will be put back in combat.
This will put you out of combat and will allow you to revive an ally without wasting your combat revive. Use extremely wisely, as you can be easily interrupted by an attack that you could have expected. If you are going to attempt a stealth rez, make sure you won't take any damage as this can easily be ruined.
Cast cancelling Underworld Medicine/Kolto Pack
If everyone is close to being topped off and you aren't pressed to heal, you can start casting Underworld Medicine/Kolto Pack then move or jump to cancel the cast if the target doesn't take any damage. This will save energy.
Cast cancelling is also useful if an ally's health is suddenly dropping. Just jump or move to cancel your cast and throw an Emergency Medpac.
Underworld medicine and Emergency Medpac combo
The biggest heal you can dish out is a combination of Underworld Medicine and Emergency Medpac. Underworld medicine will immediately grant you stack of the upper hand that you instantly consume with Emergency Medpac.
Approaching a tough pull
You can build stacks of the upper hand before a big fight by casting Slow-release Medpac on multiple targets or casting Underworld Medicine and recovering energy with Diagnostic Scan. It’s also a good idea to get 2 stacks of it on the whole group when approaching tough pulls or for the initial phase of a boss fight. There are also tough sections of fights where you’ll know you need 2 stacks of the upper hand on all raid members in 8 man.
Please leave any feedback or anything you'd like me to add to this guide. I hope that you've learned at least a little bit more about the sawbones scoundrel by reading or skimming through this guide.