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Burning your way through your enemies - Pyrotech PvE Guide

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Classes > Commando / Mercenary
Burning your way through your enemies - Pyrotech PvE Guide

MVaglin's Avatar

11.20.2013 , 04:36 AM | #1
This write up was originally made for my guild, but since there isn't a real pyrotech guide on these forums, I thought I might as well share it here as well.

I am assuming some experience with the mercenary class here, so won't go over every single ability, just the ones that are important to the Pyrotech rotation.

For gearing and general advice, I recommend the stickied Arsenal guide from Odawgg here.

The Spec

For actual fights I recommend this:

A lot of abilities don't have anything to do with your dps output and can be moved around freely. It should be fairly easy to identify which. For dummy parsing (and boss figts with low to none raid damage) you can move the points from ”Stabilizers” to ”Hired Muscle”.

Notably missing are points in ”System Calibrations”. The alacrity it gives actually messes with the proc system Pyrotechs use, and will lower your dps output. Some alacrity is nice though to combat lag and pushback, but what you get from ”Rapid Venting is enough for that”.

The Abilities

Thermal Detonator
The heaviest hitting attack in the Pyrotech Tree. It's about as important to a Pyrotech as Heatseeker Missile is to Arsenal. It doesn't deal damage until a few seconds after it's cast, and part of it's damage cmes from a DoT it applies, so it's not always the best burst move, but on tougher targets it's your highest priority.

Incendiary Missile
A DoT that runs over 18 seconds and also does a low amount of damage up front. As with all DoT:s you want to have this running at all times, but never refresh it until it's actually run out. The good news is that Pyrotechs are only dependant on their target burning and they have multiple ways to achieve this effect, so if the target goes without IM for a GCD or two it's not a disaster.

Combustible Gas Cylinder
Nothing to say about this really, except as a Pyrotech that's the cylinder you want to use. It's one of the ways you set your target on fire and a whole slew of your abilites are dependant on it.

Rail Shot
Rail Shot is the core of the Pyrotech rotation. It deals good damage, vents heat and refreshes one of your dots on the target.

Power Shot
Your bread and butter ability. It's a blaster attack for Combustible Gas Cylinder, it is your major way to refresh Rail Shot and it deals decent damage itself.

I use Unload every time I would have to go Power Shot x 3 where it replaces the first two Power Shots. According to the tooltip it deals slightly less damage at half the heat cost. But I've found that with the armor penetration it gets from ”Advanced Trgeting” it actually pulls ahead ever so slightly in damage as well.

Rapid Shots
Unfortunately, there is no way to get a heat neutral rotation, at least not one that puts out top dps. So you're going to have to mix in Rapid Shots every now and then. Most of the time Rapid Shots will mean you're delaying your rotation by one GCD, since they are hard to weave in without interferring with the tow Power Shots you want to make each cycle. But that's a price we'll have to pay. On the plus side you do get a lowered cooldown on Vent Heat, so can stop thinking about Rail Shot when you have Vent Heat available (or coming off cooldown in the next 10 seconds or so).

Prototype Particle Accelerator
At it's core Pyrotech Mercenariesrevolve around keeping as many dots as possible on the target while proccing Prototype Particle Accelerator every 6 seconds.

PPA claims that UnLoad has a 70% chance and Power Shot has a 45% chance to proc it. Thisis, however, not exactly true. Or rather, it is true for the first UL or PS after a proc, but the second one will proc it much more reliably. So much more reliably that we can build our entire rotation around it in fact.

In an ideal world, our rotation would look something like this 8after the initial opener to set things up):

Special Attack* → Power Shot → Power Shot → Rail Shot -> repeat

occasionally mixed in with

UnLoad → Power Shot → Rail Shot

* = one of Thermal Detonator, Incendiary Missile, Electro Net or Fusion Missile, alternatively Rapid Shots if you're low on heat.

A vast majority of the time, the Power Shot in the above will proc PPA and make Rail Shot available.

Now it's important to understand one thing about PPA. What matters for it's internal cooldown is when it procs, not when you actually use the railshot. As long as you use your second Power Shot (or the first Power Shot following an Unload) on the fourth GCD after PPA procs, it will proc again a vast majority of the time.

This means you have a little bit of leeway as to when you use Rail Shot.

The Opener

This is the opener I use:

Thermal Detonator → Electro Net → (Relic + Adrenal) → Rail Shot →

Power Shot → Power Shot → Rail Shot →

Fusion Missile + Thermal Sensors Override → Power Shot → Power Shot → Rail Shot →

Thermal Detonator →

I know it's a bit long for an opener, but it help serve a couple of points. First it illustrates how the Rail Shot rotation works, second it shows that it's ok to skip refreshing IM for a GCD as long as their is another burning effect on the target, third it lines up perfectly with Thermal Detonator's cooldown. And these attacks are always static, as in as long as there is a boss to shoot at, I won't deviate from this pattern.

In fact, the static pattern is even longer (continuing from where we left off):

PS → PS → RS →

IM → PS → PS → RS →

PS → PS → PS → Vent Heat → TD → RS →

PS → PS → RS

After this point you need to pay attention to your heat and weave in Rapid Shots as required.

The Priorities

Now, since the cooldowns don't line up properly, and heat will haunt you, you won't be able to stick to a set rotation. Or it's possible you could, but it'll mean a lowered damage output. So here's my priority, in order:

Power Shot (if it's the 4th GCD since PPA proc:ed and if Rail Shot is on cooldown)

Rapid Shot (when heat requires it*)

Thermal Detonator (if it doesn't bring you above 40 heat, otherwise below Rail Shot)

Rail Shot (if you've got the PPA buff and the target is burning)

Incedinary Missile (if the target doesn't have the IM DoT on it)

Electro Net

Fusion Missile with Thermal Sensor Override


Power Shot

*= basically if your next ability will push you over 40 heat and Vent Heat isn't available or coming off cooldown soon.

The only thing this priority doesn't really cover is that you need to fit in two Power Shot or Unload in each PPA cycle.

Another possibility is that a proc:ed Rail Shot should have priority over Thermal detonator, since it refreshes the dot from Combustible Gas Cylinder. In theory this should work out perfectly. The DoT runs for 6 seconds and you can fire a Rail Shot every 6th second as well. So you should be able to have the DoT at almost 100% uptime if you always fire rail shot whenever it procs. I've found two problems with this:

1. If there is any lag or pushback added to your rotation this can cause your Rail Shot to be delayed by enough that the DoT will fall off anyway.

2. When you add in Rapid Shots into your rotation most of the time that will cause a delay by one GCD before your next Rail Shot procs, which can also cause the DoT to fall off.

When I've experimented with this, I found that trying to keep the DoT at 100% uptime at the expense of TD lowered my DPS output, but with more practice it could be worthwile.

Note that in this rotation there's no room for Death From Above. It simply doesn't synergize well with the rest of the Pyrotech abilities, and is a tad to expensive. But it's still excellent in fights where you need the AoE.

The Alternative

Kinslayer posted this in the comment which is a good alternative (she's got the current highest parse, so she knows what she's talking about). I end up doing something similar but push TD harder when possible (which is rare I admit), and my opener is slightly different.

TD, EN, Relic + Adrenal, IM, RS, PS, PS (even if proc), RS


General Rotation
IM, PS, PS, RS, UL, PS, RS, TD, PS, PS, RS, (if heat > 19 Rapid), IM, PS (x2 if necessary), RS, UL, PS, RS, TD, PS, PS, RS, (if heat > 19 Rapid), IM, PS (x2 if necessary), RS, UL, PS, RS, TD, EN, Relic / Adrenal, PS (x2 if necessary), RS, IM, PS, PS, RS

It's basically the opener and then just cycling between spam and general rotation but there's a couple of things I think are worth mentioning. Firstly, the primary focus here is on proccing PPA as often as possible and with the possible exception of the very first proc I use RS as soon as possible every single time and prioritize it over every other ability. Secondly, this rotation is incredibly light on rapid shots - you should only have to use it once out of the possible 2 places, which is only 3 times in total from a 5 minute parse. And finally, I delay the 2nd adrenal and 3rd relic use slightly to maximize their benefit as I feel they are more useful being used when there's no need to manage heat through UL and rapid shots.

The Parse

Here is my current dummy best parse using this, with the new armor debuff and health modifier:
TTK: 4m 29.966s

My previous best before that came into effect:
3326,84 dps

The Credits

Most of my understanding of Pyrotech comes from analyzing Odawgg's parses and his comments in various threads.

Also, LordKantner's hybrid guide has been a lot of help. And he's been telling us Pyrotech (or assault specialist) is good for longer than anyone else.

Thanks to Kinslayer for the alternative rotation and for doing extremely well with the class.

Also thanks Bioware for breaking Rail Shot, not sure I'd ever have tried Pyro otherwise

The Updates

Changed the priorites slightly on Odawgg's suggestion.

2013-12-20: Added alternative rotation and priority from Kinslayer, updated my own opening rotation and priorities slightly.

2014-01-04: New top parse

Akash - Operative Monzcarro - Mercenary
Erekose - Marauder Shatiro - Assassin

Pyrotech Mercenary PvE Guide

MVaglin's Avatar

11.20.2013 , 04:39 AM | #2

Akash - Operative Monzcarro - Mercenary
Erekose - Marauder Shatiro - Assassin

Pyrotech Mercenary PvE Guide

Never_Hesitate's Avatar

11.20.2013 , 05:12 AM | #3
Am I seeing this correctly the td and im are at a 10m range even for the merc?
waiting for ...

MVaglin's Avatar

11.20.2013 , 05:31 AM | #4
That's a bad tooltip on AMR, they're 30 meters.

Akash - Operative Monzcarro - Mercenary
Erekose - Marauder Shatiro - Assassin

Pyrotech Mercenary PvE Guide

Never_Hesitate's Avatar

11.20.2013 , 09:22 AM | #5
Quote: Originally Posted by MVaglin View Post
That's a bad tooltip on AMR, they're 30 meters.
Ok, thanks.
waiting for ...

odawgg's Avatar

11.20.2013 , 08:58 PM | #6
Nice Guide

Only thing I might add (if you want to keep this guide relatively OCD free) is that I personally prioritize TD>IM>EN>TSO+FM all above rail shot but below proc'ing PPA.

The_Duck's Avatar

11.21.2013 , 02:10 PM | #7
This is great. Thank you.

I just switched to Pyro and like it. However, I basically have the same gear as you currently and my numbers are drastically lower than yours (by about 600 dps )

I have a bit more crit currently but I can't imagine that would account for 600 dps.
So, where am I going wrong if I am leveling out at 2500-2600 dps?
My APM is about 8 less than your parse but not sure where the additionals could come from.

Any advice is appreciated.
- The Duck

MVaglin's Avatar

11.21.2013 , 04:31 PM | #8
Welll, getting your APM up is the best way to start. I strongly suggest you look at Odawgg's arsenal guide and especially read the part about Always Be casting. In short, make use of the action queue so that before you're done with your current attack, the next one is already lined up.

I did a cropepd sample of both our parses at 250 seconds to get a more accurate comparison.



We're the same on the number of Thermal Detonators, so you're using those on cooldown. You have more incendiary missiles than me, which unfortunately isn't necessarilly a good thing. I am a little lax with them at times, but I don't think I miss them that frequently, which means you're sometimes refreshing IM when the dot on it is still running.

Now for the big thing, I have almost twice as many power shots as you do, and 25% more rail shots, while you have more unloads than me. Here of course one follows another, more power shots means more rail shot procs, which in turn means more heat dissipated.

But the main thing to improve upon is to get APMs up and being comfortable with the tighter heat management that entails.

Akash - Operative Monzcarro - Mercenary
Erekose - Marauder Shatiro - Assassin

Pyrotech Mercenary PvE Guide

Kinslayer's Avatar

11.21.2013 , 05:20 PM | #9
Quote: Originally Posted by MVaglin View Post
Now, since the cooldowns don't line up properly, and heat will haunt you, you won't be able to stick to a set rotation. Or it's possible you could, but it'll mean a lowered damage output. So here's my priority, in order:
I'm going to have to disagree with you here. True, the 15s CD on Thermal Detonator means it doesn't really fit perfectly into a rotation given the 6s CD on PPA but even after a lengthy discussion with Odawgg yesterday about this and other pyro related topics, I still think delaying it slightly is not a terrible thing.

Comparing my best parse with yours at the 250s mark shows you used 1 more TD, 4 more UL and 8 more Rapid Shots, but I used 2 more IM, 3 more RS and 12 more PS and I more or less adhere to a fairly strict rotation.
M a r i s i
Z o r z

MVaglin's Avatar

11.22.2013 , 02:29 AM | #10
Mind sharing that rotation?

I know I looked at your earlier parses when you were doing something along the lines of

TD -> PSx2 ->Rail Shot ->
IM -> PSx2 -> Rail Shot ->
En/FM -> PSx2 -> Rail Shot OR Unload -> PS -> Rail Shot

I used that rotation when rail shot was bugged, due to how easy it is to use. IM lines up perfectly and gets refreshed the second it falls off, and you get to have an almost 100% uptime on the CCG proc. However, when trying to do that after they fixed rail shot, I'm just overheating like crazy.

Regardless, I clearly have some work to do, over 5 minutes I'm missing out on 3 rail shots compared to you and 2 rail shots compared to Odawgg. And my APMS are lower than both (though that is slightly explained by using Unload more frequently)

Akash - Operative Monzcarro - Mercenary
Erekose - Marauder Shatiro - Assassin

Pyrotech Mercenary PvE Guide