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Zanumas' Guide to Sith Assassin Tanking

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Classes > Sith Inquisitor > Assassin
Zanumas' Guide to Sith Assassin Tanking

ckoneful's Avatar


ckoneful
01.27.2013 , 01:22 AM | #1
Table of Contents

1: Introduction
2: Abbreviations
3: Mirror Abilities
4: Talent Tree
5: Priority
6: Stats and Gearing
7: Consumables
8: Crew Skills


Introduction



I first made this guide for Jedi Shadow tanking, and I have converted it for Assassins use. If you notice any errors in spell names and such please point them out.

Assassins/Shadows are the highest threat tanks and the only tanks that make use of active mitigation. What we do makes a huge impact in how well we survive. We have the best, and most, cooldowns of the tanking classes.




CD = Cooldown
End = Endurance
WP = Willpower
Str = Strength
Crit = Critical Rating
Def = Defense
Acc = Accuracy
SS = Saber Strike
TK = Telekinetic Throw
DS = Double Strike
ST = Slow Time
FB = Force Breach
WB = Whirling Blow
FP = Force Potency
KW = Kinetic Ward
BR = Battle Readiness
Cloak = Resilience
MS = Mind Snap
Shield Wall = Deflection
Sprint = Force Speed
Grip = Force Pull
CT = Combat Technique
PA = Particle Acceleration
HS = Harnessed Shadows

Not all of these may be used throughout the guide but they are general abbreviations for Shadow skills or what I may call them



Assassinate = Spinning Strike
Dark Charge = Combat Technique
Dark Ward = Kinetic Ward
Discharge = Force Breach
Force Lightning = Telekinetic Throw
Force Shroud = Resilience
Lacerate = Whirling Blow
Overcharge Saber = Battle Readiness
Recklessness = Force Potency
Shock = Project
Thrash = Double Strike
Wither = Slow Time
Electrocute = Force Stun
Jolt = Mind Snap
Overload = Force Wave
Unbreakable Will = Force of Will
Whirlwind = Force Lift
Crushing Darkness = Mind Crush
Maul = Shadow Strike
Mind Trap = Mind Maze

Talent Tree


Recommended Spec

This is my recommended basic spec for an Assassin Tank. You'll do the most damage with this spec and have the best survivability.

Parenthesis after "Personal Choice" are the talents you can swap those with if you feel so inclined.

Tier 1

Thrashing Blades
Due to rotations not containing Thrash as priority anymore, and force being better spent on jugging Project/Slow Time rotation instead of fishing for PA procs this talent is no longer favored. Personal Choice(Mental Fortitude)

Lightning Reflexes
The +4% Melee/Ranged defense alone from this talent makes it worth it, along with the force regeneration you also gain along side it. Required.

Charge Mastery
3% Elemental/Internal Damage resist per talent point as a tank is quite nice over any other choice as there is plenty of Elemental/Internal damage in Operations. Required.

Tier 2

Shroud of Darkness
This talent gives you a minor increase to your health pool(1% per point). Where this was generally 1/3 points in the past with us now jugging Project/Slow Time instead of DS the points generally applied to Applied Force and better spent here. Personal choice.(Applied Force)

Lightning Recovery
Increasing the force we generate from Double Bladed Saber defense is quite nice. Also, Force Shroud is an invaluable cooldown in the Assassin Tank Arsenal and getting to use this more often is great. Required.

Swelling Shadows
Increases the chance your Dark Charge applies it's effects by 7.5% per point. This causes Dark Charge to proc it's healing effect more often. Required.

Electric Execution
Increases the damage dealt by your Charges by 3% per point. Essentially all this talent will do is increase the damage caused by Dark Charge's proc, which is rather weak as it does not scale with your stats. Not taken.

Tier 3

Disjunction
This talent causes Force Speed to remove all movement-impairing effects and causes Resilience to last 2 seconds longer. Being able to break any slow or root every 20 seconds is a godsend for a tank, along with increasing the duration of the most powerful "Spell" damage reduction tank CD in the game. Required.

Energize
This talent grants Trash, Assassinate and Lacerate a 50% chance to refresh the CD on Project and make it an automatic critical hit. While Trash is not prioritized this talent is still worth taking. Required.

Dark Ward
Summons a barrier that increases your Shield chance by 15% for 20 seconds with 8 stacks on a 12 second cooldown. This is basically a free 15% extra shield at nearly all times and is a must have. Further increased in effectiveness by our Rakata set bonus. Required.

Premonition
Increases Stealth Detection level by 1 and defense by 1% per point. The stealth detection is rather meaningless for a PvE tank but the extra 2% defense is great to have, basically it's an extra 2% avoidance for 2 talent points. Required.

Tier 4

Hollow
Increases your shield absorption by 4% and causes your Overcharge Saber to heal you for 10% of your maximum health when activated. This is a must have, 4% more damage absorbed when you shield along with granting you a 2min CD that heals you for 10% of your maximum health. Required.

Blood of Sith
Increases your force regen by 30%. This is a must have to generate enough Force to keep up decent threat and survivability. Required.

Tier 5

Electrify
Increases the damage and threat of Shock by 15%. Shock is one of your main moves as Darkness and generating more threat and more damage with it is always a good thing. Required.

Eye of the Storm
Increases armor by 20% and allows Spike to be used out of stealth. More damage reduction is always a good thing, the more the better. Spinning Kick has it's uses for fights like Ancient Pylons where you need as much CC as possible on Elites. Required.

Force Pull
Essentially pulls any Elite/Strong/Standard mobs to your location which also generation a high amount of threat. This is GREAT for positioning mobs for AoE or just trying to get things in a proper position. Also one of the only moves a Shadow Tank can use from further out than 10m. This ability also generates 5152 threat on use and is an amazing opener on even bosses. Required.

Nerve Wracking
Increases damage deal to targets controlled by your Spike or Electrocute by 3% per point. Spike and Electrocute are only usable on Non-Champion mobs and thus makes this talent largely useless. It's purely a PvP talent. Not taken.

Tier 6

Harnessed Darkness
This talent causes Shock and Wither to add stacks of Harnessed Darkness, this causes Force Lightning to be uninterruptible, immune to spell push back, and heal you for 2% of your maximum health per tick at 3 stacks. Also increases the damage of Force Lightning by 25% per stack. Required.

Mounting Darkness
Increases the damage dealt by Discharge(Dark Charge) and Wither by 5% and 10% respectively per point. This is needed for our AoE threat and damage output. Required.

Tier 7

Wither
This is one of our main abilities and applies the 5% damage reduction debuff and adds stacks of Harnessed Darkness. We need the debuff as well as any AoE we can get. Required.

Balance - Tier 1

Explosive Strikes
Currently used just to progress further into the Balance tree. It'll be a slight damage increase during a fight for when you do make use of Trash and Assassinate.

Sith Defiance
Reduces all damage taken by 1% per point. Pretty much just a damage reduction, no reason not to pick up an extra 2% damage reduction as a tank. Required.

Balance - Tier 2

Chain Shock
Causes Shock to have a 15% chance per point to trigger another Shock dealing 50% of normal damage. This is a damage increase to one of the main attacks of the Darkness Assassin.

Torment
Shock is essentially our main ability as a Darkness Assassin and reducing the cost is quite nice, this essentially free's up force for other abilities.



Spell priority list
  • Force Lightning(If at 3 stacks of Harnessed Darkness)
  • Wither
  • Shock
  • Discharge(If debuff not present or <2 seconds left)
  • Assassinate(if target under 30% hp)
  • Thrash(>70 Force, mob above 30% hp)
  • Saber Strike(Filler if none of the above criteria is met)

This is the basic Spell/Attack Priority I follow on a standard boss fight.

Other abilities that should be used are Mind Control, Mass Mind Control, Force Pull and Dark Ward.

Force Pull generates 5152 threat(IE: Same threat as a 2576 project). This makes for an amazing opener for holding threat off the start. A DPS would have to hit for 5k on their first hit to pull threat just from that.

Mass/Mind Control should be used on CD for threat as long as you do not need the taunt for fight mechanics.

Dark Ward should be used when needed. If the Buff has ~1 second left or your stacks are out, use it.

All cooldowns(Trinkets, Shield Wall) should be used as needed.


Mind Control/Mass Mind Control
Due to information found by Sithwarrior.com(Source) as long as you don't need this for threat wipes/picking up adds this is your highest threat generating ability now.

Wither
Wither is our 31 point talent that applies the +5% damage reduction debuff as well as granting a stack of Harnessed Darkness, this should be used on cooldown.

Discharge(Dark Charge)
In Dark Charge this ability will be an AoE and will apply our -5% Accuracy debuff to the target and should be kept up as much as possible without sacrificing healing.

Dark Ward
As explained in the Talent Section this is basically a free +15%(20% with 2 piece) Shield Chance and should be kept up as much as possible without losing time on it or spending Focus unnecessarily on refreshing it too early. Most bosses will not hit fast enough to use all 8 stacks in the 12 Second CD window but the buff itself lasts 20 seconds.

Force Lightning
At 3 stacks of Harnessed Darkness this ability will heal you for 2% of your Maximum HP per tick and also buffs it's damage quite a bit. The more you heal yourself the longer you survive. Also our most damaging attack.

Sock
Shock applies stacks of Harnessed Darkness and behind Force Lightning at 3 stacks is our hardest hitting ability(Above 30%), especially with Upheaval.

Assassinate
This ability can proc Energize and thus is worth more than a Thrash below 30% health on the target.

Thrash
Thrash is used as a filler when you have excess focus to spend(Greater than 70 force) and it won't interfere with Project/Slow Time for maximum Harnessed Darkness stacks.

Saber Strike
This is our basic attack and essentially is only used when waiting for Force to use other abilities higher in the Priority.



I won't bother to go over each and every stat here as it's pointless to. This section will only have relevant stats to tanking.

Willpower: This is our "Primary" stat and increases all our damage done. More damage causes more threat and allows for more damage from the DPS as well.

Endurance: Endurance increases your health pool. The more health you have the more time a healer has to react and heal you and the longer you can survive without heals. Endurance should only be "stacked" up until a comfortable amount for the content you are doing and your group/healer comp.

Armor: Armor rating comes from your armor, the higher the level the armor/armoring mod the more you will have. The more armor you have, the less damage "melee" attacks will do to you. As you can't really "stack armor" there's nothing more to go into it, you'll get what you can get from getting the best armor you can get

Defense Rating: Defense increases the chance you will Parry melee attacks or Deflect ranged attacks. It Parry/Deflects 100% of the damage of a hit where as Shield will only do as much as your Absorption is at.

Shield Rating: Increases you chance to block an attack. The amount of damage reduced is based on your Absorption Rating.

Absorption Rating: Reduces the damage you take when you Shield an attack.

These stats are all pre-DR
It takes 27 Defense to equal 1% Parry(Melee)/Deflect(Ranged)
It takes 16 Shield Rating to equal 1% Shield Chance.
It takes 9 Absorption rating to equal 1% Shield Absorption.

Stat Allocation

You can only exchange Defense and Absorb for each other, and only exchange Shield and Accuracy for each other. Thus knowing this, you will want to only use Shield enhancements in your gear. The only "choices" here are really between Defense and Absorption.

Absoption > Defense when starting out, but you don't want one heavily ahead of the other. Generally they seem to swap places in the stat priority when Absorption is 100 points ahead of defense, so I recommend keeping defense and Absorption around 100 points apart while focusing more-so on Absorption.

If you'd like to figure out your specific stat weights check out this spreadsheet on Sithwarrior.

Defense is a superior stat in theory, as it reduces the attacks damage by 100% unlike Shield which is based off your absorption rating but as is shown by the ratings per percentages listed above you get much more per point out of your Shield/Absorption ratings. Credits to Kitru for this adjustment.

*Endurance is only stacked as much as you need to survive the content you are doing. If you are getting demolished in 2-3 hits it is generally recommended to get more Endurance. Though, no content currently available can do that as far as I've seen.

Augments

The choices of augments for a Shadow tank are:
Advanced Redoubt Augment 22
Advanced Absorb Augment 22
Advanced Shield Augment 22
Advanced Resolve Augment 22

Generally you will get so much shield off your enhancements/ear/implants that you do not need to ever Augment for Shield. Your choices are really between the Defense and Absorb augments, you will use them to keep balance between your Defense and Absorb. Remember, as stated above, you want to keep your absorb roughly 100 points ahead but no further than that.

The Resolve augments can be used if you feel you need more threat, though generally in my experience they aren't needed.



The Stims

Exotech Fortitude Stim is the best choice currently for an Assassin Tank. This adds 128 Endurance and 52 Defense for 2 hours and persists through death.

Rakata Fortitude Stim this is the reusable Biochem-only option for the stim, it adds 112 Endurance and 46 Defense.

The Adrenals

Exotech Absorb Adrenal is the best choice for all fights that are predominately K/E damage. This stim will add 1575 armor for 15 Seconds on a 3 minute cooldown.

Rakata Absorb Adrenal this is the reusable Biochem-only option for the adrenal, it adds 1725 armor for 15 seconds on a 3 minute CD.

As far as I know these are the only options this game currently has for Consumables.



Synthweaving
Synthweaving allows you to craft armor for Force-Users(Strength Medium/Heavy, Willpower Light armor).

Generally, at this point in the game synthweaving doesn't serve much use past making Augmentation kits for yourself, sadly.

Artifice
Artifice allows you to craft Lightsaber Hilts, Color Crystals, Enhancements as well as Relics at end-game.

At end-game Artifice offers you the ability to craft yourself High-End Enahncements, LS Hilts, and Color Crystals for your armor. The Crystals are the only non-binding out of the epics here so they made be gained from another person with Artifice or from High-end sabers.

Artifice can currently make the highest level available Hilts, Crystals, and Enhancements.

Cybertech
Cybertech allows you to craft Bombs, Armorings, Mods and Ear Pieces.

Cybertech can currently make the highest level available Armorings, Mods and Ear Pieces. The armoring do not have the set bonuses though they are great for moddable best/bracers.

The bombs are Cybertech exclusive and can add extra damage.

Biochem
Biochem allows you to craft Adrenals, Stims, Health Packs as well as Implants.

Biochem offers reusable Adrenals, Stims, and health packs at end-game which are all extremely useful. Though, they are no longer currently the best ingame. The crafted, non-reusable ones, are currently the best you can get.

The Rakata Medpack on use also grants you +15% HP for 15 seconds which can be used as an added tank CD.

Armortech
Armortech allows you to craft armor for Non-Force-Users(Aim Heavy, Cunning Medium armor) and thus makes this largely useless to Assassins.

Can make Augmentation Kits, and Absorb/Defense Augments.

Armstech
Armstech allows the creation of Guns, Vibro Knives and Barrels which are largely useless to Assassins.
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ckoneful's Avatar


ckoneful
01.27.2013 , 01:23 AM | #2
As far as I can tell this is updated for ease of use for Assassin tanks. If there's anything incorrectly named or such please comment.
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Kawabonga
01.27.2013 , 09:25 AM | #3
Ideally with full 63 gear, in percentage, how much of each defensive stat should i want to have?

Also, i understand that accuracy should be 0.... I've tried out swapping some shield for accuracy and i noticed that i proc energize a lot more often, and that means faster rotation in force lightning use, while the shielded attacks basically remain unchanged thanks to the +20% from dark ward...

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ckoneful
01.27.2013 , 10:29 AM | #4
Quote: Originally Posted by Kawabonga View Post
Ideally with full 63 gear, in percentage, how much of each defensive stat should i want to have?

Also, i understand that accuracy should be 0.... I've tried out swapping some shield for accuracy and i noticed that i proc energize a lot more often, and that means faster rotation in force lightning use, while the shielded attacks basically remain unchanged thanks to the +20% from dark ward...
DG Absorb Proc Relic
29.23% Def
46.56% Shield
60.28% Absorb

EWH Defense Relic
31.22% Def
46.56% Shield
60.82% Absorb

You shouldn't be using Thrash enough to "notice more procs of energize". You'll do less dps and less healing overall if you use Thrash under about 70 energy threshold.
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Kawabonga
01.27.2013 , 01:33 PM | #5
Quote: Originally Posted by ckoneful View Post
DG Absorb Proc Relic
29.23% Def
46.56% Shield
60.28% Absorb

EWH Defense Relic
31.22% Def
46.56% Shield
60.82% Absorb

You shouldn't be using Thrash enough to "notice more procs of energize". You'll do less dps and less healing overall if you use Thrash under about 70 energy threshold.
I have the full denova set minus shield, ear and implants but my stats are 27.24% defense 48.08% shield 50.64% absorb... i have the DG absorb relic and wh shield relic, that i'm about to swap for ewh defense one. where do i fish 10% more absorb ?

about the thrash, i only stick it in once every 2 or 3 rotations but the energize difference is still noticeable...

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ckoneful
01.27.2013 , 02:19 PM | #6
Quote: Originally Posted by Kawabonga View Post
I have the full denova set minus shield, ear and implants but my stats are 27.24% defense 48.08% shield 50.64% absorb... i have the DG absorb relic and wh shield relic, that i'm about to swap for ewh defense one. where do i fish 10% more absorb ?

about the thrash, i only stick it in once every 2 or 3 rotations but the energize difference is still noticeable...
You have to optimize your gear. Stock gear is terribly itemized and probably has B variant mods. Though, I'm really not sure how you're missing so much absorb AND defense. Are you not augmenting your gear? My current mix of 61/63s has better mitigation than you atm.

http://swtor.askmrrobot.com if you could build your character on that site I could analyze it a bit better.
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Kawabonga
01.27.2013 , 03:37 PM | #7
http://swtor.askmrrobot.com/characte...3-f4e409e69d33

That's me more or less... on me i have different shells, and i selected DG shield and swapped the enhancement...

Augments suck i guess that's the problem :/

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ckoneful
01.27.2013 , 03:56 PM | #8
Yea, don't augment for WP/Power(Unless it's Power/Def or Absorb)

Get rid of any augments that aren't Absorb or Defense.

You also shouldn't really need the high endurance mods, they have 20 more endurance but 12 less WP and 10 less mitigation stat per mod.

Replace the Accuracy Enhancement in your legs with a Bastion enhancement.

You also have a few high endurance low mitigation stat enhancements. Replace them with the 48 end/24 mitigation ones. Either Bulwark or Bastion(Def or Absorb, depending on what you need more of)

Recommend giving my "Stats and Gearing" section a good read.
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Kawabonga
01.27.2013 , 04:21 PM | #9
Will try, but wouldn't swapping endurance for defensive stat balance out?

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ckoneful
01.27.2013 , 04:36 PM | #10
Quote: Originally Posted by Kawabonga View Post
Will try, but wouldn't swapping endurance for defensive stat balance out?
No? All Endurance does is increase your health pool. You want to mitigate as much damage as possible so your healers don't have to heal you as much. You don't generally need a 28k+ health pool, I know a Shadow tanking NiM EC with 25k or slightly less because they're using Power color crystals and high will power armorings.
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