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The Four Pillars of why you should consider running a DPS assassin/shadow in YOUR rwz

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Classes > Shadow / Assassin
The Four Pillars of why you should consider running a DPS assassin/shadow in YOUR rwz

EatenByDistance's Avatar


EatenByDistance
01.05.2013 , 09:04 PM | #1
Hi Party Time Wakalord Flex Guildmaster here from the Bastion server. For those of you who don't know me, I've been a dedicated PvPer since beta, and the sith assassin is almost exclusively my character of choice. Though ToR is the only MMO I've ever played, I've climbed the ranks from a button-pressing nobody to a member of The Bastion's best PvP guild, "Hey im mvp." Over the last few months I've been slowly working on and adding to an in-depth PvP guide on the sith assassin. It's become quite popular, and can be viewed here: http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=548258

Does any of this matter? It shouldn't, but my point is I have credentials and when it comes to PvP I know what I'm talking about.

Patch 1.4 brought many sizable buffs to DPS assassins. No longer would we die in two hits, or be lucky to do anything more than a 4k crit every minute or so. Despite this, most all of the supposdly "good" PvP guilds (on my server, at least) still consider the class to be gimped at anything other than node guarding. And while 23/1/17 assassins are without a doubt the best node guarders in the game, I still strongly believe that assassins can be extremely competitive in a rated team's main dps train. Certainly moreso than, say, two marauders or two powertechs.

In the following paragraphs I will make my case for the variety of reasons you should consider running two assassins (one node guarding, one DPSing) in YOUR rated warzone team. This arguement is mainly about Deception-based assassins (mainly those running my 0/27/14 "Wakajinn" spec. As noted in my previously-linked guide I believe madness assassins are usually outclassed by their 30m Sorcerer counterparts).

1) Transitioning to off-nodes
Most high level Civil War and Novare Coast matches begin with both sides capping their respective nodes and then jerking around the middle node for what seems like a relative eternity. I've been in Novares where mid went uncapped for well over thirty minutes.

During the stalemate, one side will often send one or two people to screw around with the other team's off node in an attempt to divert people away from mid/just try to ninja the node outright. Be it one person rotating to the enemy or all eight, the defender is usually going to require assistance. Even if it is but one person rotating, almost every defending guild sends someone to assure the node remains safe.

Assassins can rotate faster and more efficiently than literally every other advanced class in the game. We have sprint and stealth, which is only shared by Sorcerers and Operatives, respectively. Both of those ACs are usually healing and can't afford to rotate. We're DPS, the role that is always sent to rotate, and we have the tools to get to the defending node more quickly and safely than any other AC in the game.

"But Wakalord! What if stealth is on cooldown! :[" Even if Force Cloak is on cooldown you STILL will get to the offnode faster than anyone else.

Ok, you've rotated quickly. But couldn't another class have dealt with the actual threat more efficiently? No. We have some of the best burst in the game (and no it isn't restricted by cooldowns. If you think we're useless without Recklessness I'll be blunt: you don't know how this class works and you seriously should check out my stream for some good ol' educating) and can kill those attempting to ninja cap extremely quickly. If said ninja has stealth we have a variety of tools to pop them out of stealth again or at least put them back in combat quickly (death field, overload, lacerate, mass mind control). What can Marauders do? Slash? Use a crappy AoE weapon damage attack they can't spam like us due to their resource bar? Powertechs and Mercenaries (lol) have their Stealth Scan but that is pretty much the only thing that can compare. Snipers can spam their crappy AoE. But neither can get to the node with the same speed as you, and the differences in stealth detection are unimportant, both in their differences and actual application.

So let's imagine worst case scenario. Two or even three people have rotated over. We can sap, low slash into whirlwind and do all sorts of other kinky CC silliness to delay until additional help arrives. Our CC is on par with the Tanksin that is hopefully guarding your node, and with both of you working together you won't even need to begin fighting the incs until more help arrives!

2) Damage
This is a fun one. How the hell can Assassins put out the same damage as Smash Warriors or Pyrotechs? An actual step-by-step explanation of this would cause us to lose focus on this topic's overarching goal due to the amount of typing I'd have to do. Also, it's redundent. As self-absorbed as this may sound, CONSTANT proof of our high damage is available on my Twitch.tv stream and archived videos.

While it is true that our burst is far better when we have Recklessness up, proper gearing (i.e. extremely power-heavy) allows us to put out numbers that aren't wholly dissimilar from the more "mainstream" damage dealers. What's far more interesting, however, is our burst in sustained encounters. Yes, better when Recklessness is up, but big crits are hardly all we have (for that see: Concealment operatives). With smart management of procs we are able to keep up an extremely high amount of damage that is guranteed to force helers to kite (which means they aren't healing) and snipers to leave their vaunted cover (which means they aren't doing damage). As long as you aren't using an unprocced Maul excessively there isn't really a problem with energy-management (I've actually been told by guild members that one of the reasons they currently weren't letting me DPS was due to energy management....Umm, let me, the assassin who knows the class and how to manage its energy, worry about that pls).

Due to Wakajinn's moderate use of weapon damage attacks we may not do quite as much damage to tanks as say, pyrotechs, but that is hardly a deal breaker. And still, it beats out Marksman Snipers and Carnage Marauders in that regard.

Played and geared correctly, assassins shouldn't have any problem staying competitive with other DPSers. But even if they do suffer by several ten thousant, they more than make up for it with their aftermentioned peerless transitioning and their...

3) Utility
While 23/1/17 is far and away the best team-supporting spec, DPS assassins like Wakajinn still bring plenty to the team. For one, we have taunts. Marauders don't have taunts. Snipers don't have taunts. Yes, Marauders have buffs that affect teammates within a large radius, but I'd only really prefer having multiple marauders for the Predation speed buff in huttball. Snipers have their ballistic shield, but that's on such a high cooldown that running two snipers over one sniper one assassin is a palpable sign of insanity.

Our utility is on a comparably low cooldown. And by that, I mean CC to hell and back. Low Slash is an amazing move. Interrupt things like Ravage, interrupt caps, use it and then use Whirlwind afterwards for 12 seconds and hey, your target is out of comission for a dozen seconds! Force Slow is amazing for kiting/helping your team kite/stopping the enemy team from kiting. Electrocute is electrocute. Taunts are awesome.

Your ability to screw around with the opposing team's backline (healers and snipers) is unprecedented. Due to our low-CD sprint, dashing through the frontlines is a piece of cake. Since Wakajinn's burst is so front-loaded you can give hell to whatever you want just as quickly as any other DPS (often quicker).

In the thick of the fight, we have no problem dashing into a group of everything and AoE taunting. Due to our skillset, it really isn't a major survivability problem (for the time it takes to do what is needed, anyways). Powertechs don't have that luxury. They can't dive into the middle of the team without a death wish. Positioning is much more important for them in that regard. Juggernauts can do this more safely than us, but they most certainly do not have many of the aftermentioned traits.

Again, imagine worst scenario. Your team is losing mid, and the enemy is starting to cap. You have a vanish, and can delay a cap for a very long time. While you probably already have an operative healer who can do this, it would be inane to ignore the fact that assassins can do this as well. And unlike operative healers, you can always stealth out and go screw around with their off node. My guild usually sends a powertech to do this if they don't want to send their own node-guarding assassin. All this does is divert people because they see it coming from a mile away. You can sneak up unseen and there is a very real possibility of successfully ninjaing the node. Again, no other DPS at mid can do this unless you're actually running a Concealment operative. And if you're doing that, you're in a pretty awesome and ballsy guild and I give you props.

Assassins are also invaluable in Huttball. Though in that case, I would probably respec tank alongside the other assassin and juggernaut (if I felt our damage wouldn't suffer too greatly). I'm not a fan of DPS assassins in Huttball due to our lack of leap. But having another pull would be invaluable and hardly relegates this concept to the sidelines-it actually helps it because tank assassins are godlike in Huttball for a variety of reasons (read da guide yo).

In Ancient Hypergates we have Sprint. So we get to and fro our node faster than anyone else. This supplements our already extensive utility.

4) Survivability
Ah yes, this is the big one. "We can't run DPS assassins because they die in two hits." I would have agreed with that notion prior to 1.4's changes, but not now. Blackout is a godsend for Deception-based assassins. I almost never need the additional force-regen in Wakajinn so Blackout functions exclusively as a huge 25% damage reduction. if you really need it, combine that with a warzone medpac. Given our passive talents in Wakajinn, that's 48% damage reduction.

Hybrid Juggernauts have 40% DR in Invincible. That's on a three minute cooldown. Snipers have their ballistic shield which is an AoE 20% DR that affects nearby teammates on a 3 minute cooldown. Bounty Hunters have 25% DR via Energy Shield. Two minute cooldown.

The only class that comes relatively close in terms of pure resistances is the Marauder. Cloak of Pain has a minute cooldown, 20% DR in Cloak of Pain. Unless your team is EXTREMELY coordinated it'll probably last the full 30 seconds. Saber Ward also gives 50% DR to force/tech (the stuff that really matters for most classes) on a three minute cooldown. Undying Rage is of course 99% DR at the cost of half your health on a 90 second cooldown.

Let's remember, Blackout is on a 45 second cooldown that becomes INSTANTLY available when you leave stealth. Open up in stealth, you have Blackout active plus it is available again. Since we're best at single-target damage (think Lethality agents and Carnage Marauders) there are times we can stealth out without using Force Cloak (which will also reset Blackout when you come out of stealth).

Basically, Blackout is awesome, better/comparable than most other DPS' DR cooldowns and should always be available when you need it.

And then there's Deflection, Shroud and of course Force Cloak. Given the huge amount of force/tech damage on most teams, Deflection can be saved for when you're really being targeted by things that deal weapon damage, making the cooldown a surprisingly small issue. Force Shroud is an amazing "OH SHT" button. While shorter than the Marauder's saber ward, it provides complete immunity. If a team wants you dead bad enough, even Saber Ward's impressive DR won't save you. Neither will Blackout of course, but that's why we have Saber Ward, yeah?

Of course, if a team wants you dead bad enough and they are skilled, you are going to die. But that's how the game should work. No class should be untouchable. So what happens if you get focused to hell and back? You still have enough defensive cds (again, on lower cds than most other classes) and immunities to do plenty of damage in turn.

Sure, dying a dozen times in a warzone sucks, but this is a team game. You can stall, distract and otherwise delay your death (better than most every other class) against even the most steadfast of teams, and in the meantime your healers are freecasting, your snipers aren't needing to kite, and your Smashers and Pyrotechs are smashing their heads on their keyboards and doing a trillion damage.

In other words, you are no less surviable than other classes, be it in a drawn out fight or being focused down quickly. And in many cases you are superior in that regard.

-------

So there are my four pillars of why you should consider running a DPS assassin on your rated warzone team. I hope you enjoyed/were enlightened reading this piece, and more importantly, I hope you will consider running my ilk in rated warzones!

Thanks for reading, if you liked this please make sure to check out my assassin PvP guide and my stream/archived videos @

http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=548258

http://www.twitch.tv/wifileague
Wakalord The Bastion: Hey im mvp
Watch my stream!
Quote: Originally Posted by Xerain
...and the only person who doesn't think so is some B-team assassin DPS who is just dragging his team down by playing the incorrect spec.

Squidkidz's Avatar


Squidkidz
01.06.2013 , 02:58 AM | #2
Two points I'd like to add:

1. In 0/27/14 we have increased stealth and faster rate of movement. This allows us in Novare Coast to (with force speed and predation) run behind the south bunker and sap healers before they get to the fight on the opener.

2. With increased stealth and movement speed, effectively run the 3-1-4 (the one being the dps assassin) in Civil War. Not to mention the usefulness of Low Slash in this endeavor.

(I know, minor points but I felt like contributing).

Also, with the reduced cooldown on blackout, the aoe damage reduction, the (almost insignificant) self-heal on Death Field and the 2 points in Entropic Field and Sith Defiance (not to mention the other survivability abilities that are available to any assassin spec), we are not squishier than dps operatives, even sorcs and powertechs are squishier than us. I would even venture to say that the only other dps that is not squishier is the jugg or marauder. This is a common misconception though even I, when I first ran the Wakajinn when 1.4 was released, respecced after 2 days because I thought it made me too squishy. You just have to get used to it and you'll figure out how to play the spec well enough to put out monster damage and stay alive.
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Cowflab's Avatar


Cowflab
01.06.2013 , 09:30 AM | #3
Quote: Originally Posted by Squidkidz View Post
Two points I'd like to add:

1. In 0/27/14 we have increased stealth and faster rate of movement. This allows us in Novare Coast to (with force speed and predation) run behind the south bunker and sap healers before they get to the fight on the opener.

2. With increased stealth and movement speed, effectively run the 3-1-4 (the one being the dps assassin) in Civil War. Not to mention the usefulness of Low Slash in this endeavor.

(I know, minor points but I felt like contributing).

Also, with the reduced cooldown on blackout, the aoe damage reduction, the (almost insignificant) self-heal on Death Field and the 2 points in Entropic Field and Sith Defiance (not to mention the other survivability abilities that are available to any assassin spec), we are not squishier than dps operatives, even sorcs and powertechs are squishier than us. I would even venture to say that the only other dps that is not squishier is the jugg or marauder. This is a common misconception though even I, when I first ran the Wakajinn when 1.4 was released, respecced after 2 days because I thought it made me too squishy. You just have to get used to it and you'll figure out how to play the spec well enough to put out monster damage and stay alive.
Agreed on all points. I found that when I run 0/27/14, squishiness was never a problem. Most full deception assassins need to understand that the absence of VS is a good thing. The graphic that accompanies VS is a honing beacon for any intelligent premade to tunnel you as fast as possible, because left to your own devices, you can wreak some havoc if left alone. It is one of the single most identifiable and iconic attacks in the game. It also "shows your hand" so to speak. The burst of a 2/31/8 spec is incredibly predictable, and easily countered. Unless your enemies are really paying attention to your buffs, it is very easy to be ignored as even some of the best groups in the game will see a normal thrash and assume you're darkness/combat spec'd.

Dierdrea's Avatar


Dierdrea
01.06.2013 , 06:33 PM | #4
I love running this 27/13 build when I solo q. And I certainly agree with all the points made above.

However, I want to point out the use of free respec as a subber. The point is to have an assassin on your rated team, as for what spec the assassin play, he can switch at any point. My fastest respeccing time is 18 seconds. So it really doesn't matter if you bring a dps assassin/shadow into rwz. It is bringing a good one that will respec if needed to suit the situation. Of course, ideally the sin should be carrying at least 2 sets of gear for situations, I do...

So in the novare, the sin can start off as dps and then switch to tank once node is taken. Or in void star, if attacking: dps, if defending: tank, etc... etc...for each warzone

Until they fix/nerf this, this topic of discussion is kind of moot...as any good rated team will have at least 1 sin...

Xinika's Avatar


Xinika
01.06.2013 , 09:09 PM | #5
Hey, Eaten, I really appreciate your guides! It's great to see someone else providing a benefit to this community. Thumbs up
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EatenByDistance's Avatar


EatenByDistance
01.07.2013 , 12:56 AM | #6
Quote: Originally Posted by Xinika View Post
Hey, Eaten, I really appreciate your guides! It's great to see someone else providing a benefit to this community. Thumbs up
thanks, I am glad you like them
Wakalord The Bastion: Hey im mvp
Watch my stream!
Quote: Originally Posted by Xerain
...and the only person who doesn't think so is some B-team assassin DPS who is just dragging his team down by playing the incorrect spec.

GARhenus's Avatar


GARhenus
01.07.2013 , 02:04 AM | #7
just transitioned from the standard 2/31/8 to your 0/27/14 YESTERDAY

It's interesting since it plays almost exactly the same at first, but once I trained myself to use FiB properly, I'm expecting my overall warzone effectiveness greatly improved.

I've been in top 5 in warzones for damage AND objectives despite acting as side node defender in NC/CW just a couple of hours after trying it (i even topped a drawn-out Novare Coast once)

I also switched from a standard 3 button mouse to a full blown mmo mouse (logitech g600) last friday so I'm not fully comfortable with my new keybinds yet. Even with that, I can see the results

My main question is what actually raises its efficiency in warzones? I thought losing 30% project damage and trading clairvoyant strike for a lower-damage dual strike would greatly gimp its damage output. So far my FiB does score around 3.5k hits if it crits but i only see somewhere around 1.5-2k generally (using power-stacked WH level gear, 75% surge, and 1288 expertise, no EWH pieces yet). But i still end up killing more and dying less than I did before

TLR - just switched yesterday, learning to use FiB better, works in wzs better, but why exactly? and thanks

Also, I'm not sure if this is the case, but I think I lose my target every time I cast FiB.

Griad's Avatar


Griad
01.07.2013 , 06:18 AM | #8
Nice guide and alot of good points, i have to say that even as a full 5/31/5 build atm i still handle myself fine yes off course if you get focused i will fold after a little while but overall pure deception fits my play style and my RW team wouldnt be without me, as a healer killer, dps killer and node capper.

There are alot of great builds for sins atm which is nice.

Thanks for a great guide and info
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Cowflab's Avatar


Cowflab
01.07.2013 , 10:05 AM | #9
Quote: Originally Posted by GARhenus View Post
just transitioned from the standard 2/31/8 to your 0/27/14 YESTERDAY

It's interesting since it plays almost exactly the same at first, but once I trained myself to use FiB properly, I'm expecting my overall warzone effectiveness greatly improved.

I've been in top 5 in warzones for damage AND objectives despite acting as side node defender in NC/CW just a couple of hours after trying it (i even topped a drawn-out Novare Coast once)

I also switched from a standard 3 button mouse to a full blown mmo mouse (logitech g600) last friday so I'm not fully comfortable with my new keybinds yet. Even with that, I can see the results

My main question is what actually raises its efficiency in warzones? I thought losing 30% project damage and trading clairvoyant strike for a lower-damage dual strike would greatly gimp its damage output. So far my FiB does score around 3.5k hits if it crits but i only see somewhere around 1.5-2k generally (using power-stacked WH level gear, 75% surge, and 1288 expertise, no EWH pieces yet). But i still end up killing more and dying less than I did before

TLR - just switched yesterday, learning to use FiB better, works in wzs better, but why exactly? and thanks

Also, I'm not sure if this is the case, but I think I lose my target every time I cast FiB.
Well, FiB/DF gives you another ability to throw into your damage rotation to offset the dmg increase CS/VS gives your shock. Plus it gives you a somewhat powerful AoE damage ability, which is a weak spot for full deception/infil builds. I like to call the 0/27/14 spec the "poor man's Mara/Sent." It also offers you a viable ranged damage ability for stopping caps or when you're being kited. With 1 point in Claws of Decay/shadow equivalent, your Thrash/DS will crit for around the same damage without the honing beacon graphic of CS/VS. Which is probably why you feel like you're not as squishy. Intelligent players will tunnel any Sin/Shadow with that graphic.

thefishdude's Avatar


thefishdude
01.09.2013 , 10:42 AM | #10
I love my Sin and I'll always consider it my main, but you missed out on a lot of points in regards to the other classes. When I have more time, I'll add them to my post, but just as a quick example:

Quote:
Snipers have their ballistic shield which is an AoE 20% DR that affects nearby teammates on a 3 minute cooldown
.

Snipers have a ton of additional damage reduction abilities. Shield probe is on a 45 sec CD and it absorbs a ton of damage (30% more in Eng spec and it can be immediately reset via EMP).

Anywho, I know deception sins are much more survivable now and can put out numbers, but if we see a deception Sin in our rated match....nuked.
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