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12.23.2011 , 01:54 AM | #2
Fus Ro Dah

Or, How to Not Suck at Playing a Carnage Marauder

By Kiba

What is Carnage?

Carnage is one of the three available Marauder trees focusing around dealing bursts of direct damage with Force Scream (hence the Fus Ro Dah), Massacre and Ravage. In my opinion it is an absolutely amazing solo/leveling spec due to its quick-killing ability, but will also perform exceptionally well in end-game along with Annihilation.

The spec revolves around Ataru Form's extra damage proc, the free rage given from Blood Frenzy, the insta-crit Force Scream, Gore, Ravage, and Berserk/Massacre spams. Because of the 'unstable' nature of the damage dealing Carnage will have a priority-based ability queue and not a rotation like other classes will.


The Carnage tree is extremely straight forward and most can probably put together the correct spec by just glancing through it quick (protip, it's this).

Key Talents:

Ataru Form: The ONLY form you will ever be in, Ataru gives us our extra attack that deals a fair amount of damage and allows for one phase of our attack cycle to occur.

Blood Frenzy: Part 1 of the attack cycle triggered by Ataru, every Ataru strike will proc this buff which will grant 1 rage after 6 seconds.

Towering Rage: Part 2 of the attack cycle triggered by Ataru, while Blood Frenzy is active Force Scream has a 100% critical strike chance.

Gore: 100% armor penetration on a 15 second cool-down. Need I say more?

Massacre: No cool-down, costs 3 rage, automatically deals an Ataru strike and increases Ataru strike chance by 30% (for a total of 50%) for 6 seconds. This does roughly the same amount of damage with the Ataru proc as Vicious Slash, and is therefore its replacement (there's a reason Ataru Berserk reduces the rage/GCD for Vicious Slash AND Massacre).

Other Important Talents:

Rattling Voice -> Sever: Makes your Scream cost less/usable more often. -> Makes your Scream, Massacre, and Ataru proc critical strikes hit harder.

Execute: Ataru procs have a 30% chance to make your next rage dealer do 10% more damage. Necessary to get to Blood Frenzy, however timing the 10% damage proc with a Force Scream is god-like.

Enraged Slash: Essentially makes Massacre's rage cost 2 (and by extension making Berserk worth 6 Rage due to it lowering Massacre's cost by 1). **Massacre still requires 3 Rage to use, however will only use two of them (costs 3 but refunds 1).

The above spec is, of course, including the 6 filler skill points. Below are the ones I feel are viable for end-game, marked with my *personal favorites. The placement of them is completely a personal decision.

Cloak of Carnage: Cloak generates 1 rage when it reciprocates damage, 3 second cool-down. Okay on any AoE that procs it and it's decent if you're off-tanking anything, however it would easily turn Cloak into a DPS cooldown and healers will hate you for it: you shouldn't be standing in fire.

*Defensive Roll: The only damage you'll be taking in an Operation should be AoE, this reduces all AoE damage by 30%. Pretty damn nice.

*Enraged Charge: Charge generates one extra Rage. I'm a sucker for mobility and this makes our main (really only) mobility ability even better. Knockbacks are really common and this will help alleviate them. With Carnage's huge Rage dependence it's an added bonus.

Erupting Fury: Increases Fury generated from defeating opponents by 2. Meh. In a boss fight (minus adds) you won't be killing anything until the end, therefore this is extremely situational however decent for leveling/soloing.

Displacement: Deadly Throw immobilize/increased Obfuscate range. You're melee/bosses can't be immobilized. Next.

Unbound: Decent for any knockback/slow combos, however since Carnage doesn't have a close range charge like Annihilation it will (read should) be up when you need it.

*Overwhelm: Ravage immobilizes the target for the duration. "But Kiba, you said bosses can't be immobilized." Yes, but you missed the part where I said personal choice. This adds no direct damage increase but offers extreme utility for the spec in PvP, especially spur of the moment ganks planet-side.

Rotation (Or Lack There-of)

As I said, Carnage relies heavily on a priority system. This is mainly due to the cool-downs not matching up perfectly and spiky rage regeneration from Blood Frenzy.

To make it less confusing, the opening rotation should look like this:

Charge -> Massacre -> Battering Assault -> Gore -> Ravage -> Scream

This will be the only time Massacre will be ahead of Force Scream and is to insure there is a Blood Frenzy rolling.

After your opener you will want to keep Ravage, Gore, Force Scream and Battering Assault on CD at all times while weaving in Massacres and Assaults in when you can (Assault -> Massacre = no net Rage loss).

The mid-fight priority is thus:

Gore > Ravage > Battering Assault > Force Scream > Berserk > Massacre

Using Gore into Ravage is incredible burst and should be done whenever possible. Force Scream is, of course, only used when Blood Frenzy is up and is in front of Massacre because of the free crit and the cool-down. You want to try to use Gore, Ravage, and Scream in that order. Priority is that the majority of your attacks and priority abilities benefits from the Gore buff.

There is a specific reason why Ravage should be ahead of Scream during the Gore phase. As of now it seems that if the last hit of Ravage does not hit within Gore it does not benefit from the buff, as shown:

0 - Gore
1.5 - Scream
4.5 - Ravage Start
6.0 - Ravage End, Gore Ends

If not executed precisely, Gore will fade and the last hit of Ravage will go off at the same time and, due to latency/ability delay/etc, this can happen often. A better alternative is what I now have listed above:

-1.5 - Massacre
0 - Gore
1.5 - Ravage Start
4.5 - Ravage End, Scream
6.0 - (Scream's GCD) Gore fades

This gives Scream's entire GCD as leeway for latency and the like while insuring all of your key abilities benefit from Gore. By using Massacre before Gore you will have the Massacre buff on for the Duration of Ravage so, in the case that Blood Frenzy falls off before that, you essentially have 4 Massacre-buffed hits to get it back up.

Even though Massacre is at the bottom of the list, when you think of Berserk (which is essentially a free 6 Rage) when using Massacre and the cool-down of all the abilities in front of it you will find yourself using it a lot.

Pretty obvious, however you will, at some point, use Bloodthirst instead of a Berserk for a raid-wide burn phase. Know when it's coming and have the Fury for it.

Stat Priority

Strength: Our Primary stat. Increases damage and critical chance with melee and Force powers. You want to maximize this.

Endurance: Lets you stand in fire longer. You want it, but don't go out of your way. Your job is to kill things.

Willpower: You don't want it, Inquisitors will kill you.

Aim: You don't want it, Bounty Hunters will kill you.

Cunning: You don't want it, Agents will kill you.

((This section will need to be updated as more information becomes available, but as of now this will probably be the best allocation.))

Secondary stats available are:

Accuracy: Increases chance for attacks to hit; over 100% it reduces the target's defense (dodge/parry).

Power: Increases damage done by melee and Force attacks.

Critical: Increases critical strike chance.

Surge: Increases critical strike damage bonus.

Alacrity: Reduces activation time. (There is much debate on whether or not this does/should affect the base GCD (for us attack speed) however at this point evidence is pointing to it only affecting the GCD on activated abilities (for us Ravage) and is therefore pretty terrible.

As for priorities, at this point I've been able to piece together this:

Before Crit/Surge Diminishing Return Cap (~30% Crit, ~30% Surge):

Accuracy to 108% > Surge/Crit > Power

After Reaching Diminishing Return Cap:

Accuracy to 108% > Power > Surge/Crit

The weights themselves are a bit misleading due to Crit and Surge's heavy Diminishing Returns. At around ~30% Crit and ~30% Surge (~80% Crit Multiplier) both stats reach soft caps where getting any more Crit or Surge Rating would not yield as much of an increase as it normally would.

Therefore, after reaching those two 'caps' it's advised to swap your priorities to maximize your Power. This is un-buffed as flat percentage increases from buffs does not add to the DR at all; it's based on your rating.

What it comes down to is reaching our Main Hand hit cap before adding anything else.

All Special attacks (everything but Assault) have a base 100% chance to hit. It is currently theorized that bosses have an 8% Defense chance (parry/deflect). By increasing our Accuracy to 108% we negate the Defense chance for our special abilities (Ravage, Gore, Massacre, Scream, etc, can no longer be dodged/parried/resisted). Any Accuracy over 108% only increases Assault's chance to be dodged/parried, and is therefore quite lackluster compared to other stats.

Surge should be brought up to the ~30% DR area as quickly as possible. Scream is one of the main components of damage for Carnage and getting that to hit as hard as possible is one of our main goals.

Crit should be brought up to the 30% DR area as quickly as possible. Ravage, Ataru Procs, and other damage abilities make up a large portion of our overall damage. Because that DR occurs it's best to make use of it before it falls off.

Power is by far one of the Marauder's strongest stats. It's our Attack Power and Spell Power stat rolled into one so, obviously, every one of our attacks benefits from this. Don't sacrifice a lot of it for a little Crit or Surge, but know that getting to those DR points is fairly important.


In the long run I feel Carnage is an extremely powerful spec. I feel at home playing a class with a proc-based extra attack (combat swords <3) and this is definitely my personal favorite tree. The added utility immobilize is a god-send in world PvP and even more so in Huttball (protip: immobilize them over the fire). That and, of course, it's the only spec that revolves around a Thu'um.